The CBLOL and the Red Canids
The CBLOL tends to be a bit of a mystery when it comes to international League of Legends. Hardly, if ever, do teams that come out of Brazil take games off of teams in the group stages of MSI or Worlds. CBLOL teams have had a myriad of experiences in the earliest parts of the most stacked competitions that the League of Legends scene has to offer. Some have made their name with their attendance; brTT is a name that some eagle-eyed and dedicated viewers outside of Brazil may know. Others recognize teams such as the recent MSI attendee PaiN Gaming or the iconic Kabum Esports roster that beat Alliance in groups back in 2015. Here, we have an obscure, young team that has almost no international experience, and an organization that has only been to Worlds once with a completely different roster in 2017. But how did this upstart Red Canids roster bring themselves newfound glory and their organization its first domestic title in five years? In order to find the answer, a mixture of data, drafts, and overall good teamwork needs to be done. This is the Red Canids.
A Background into the Red Canids Organization
The Red Canids are a team of interesting origin and history, with the team having roots as an INTZ sister team before having their slot sold to investors in early 2016. Since becoming their own independent org, the Red Canids has been a mainstay in the Brazilian League of Legends scene, whether it be in the main CBLOL league, or battling their way through the BRCC (Brazilian Challenger Circuit). During that time, there was some success domestically and internationally in the team’s past, with a spring split title and MSI appearance in 2016. Since then, the team has faltered a bit. They were relegated in 2018, but were able to put together a solid roster to re-qualify for CBLOL and enter the newly franchised CBLOL in spring of 2021. Most of that tested roster were playing in CBLOL for the first time ever
Meet the Canids
Before we can take a look at the team as a whole, we need to take a look at some of the players that make it up. The first player that should be commended is the only veteran leadership for the roster; the steadfast bot-laner, TitaN. TitaN was a part of a Kaboom Esports roster that was relegated in 2017 but then fought their way back up through the BRCC and proceeded to win Spring and Summer splits in 2018. After a disappointing 6th place with Kaboom Esports in the Spring split in 2019, TitaN has been with the Red Canids since. Through the ups and downs of the Canids’ challenger bids over nearly two years, he was able to get back to the CBLOL that he once ruled as the champion. TitaN did not make it alone, however; due to the Red Canids having a solid academy system, he was able to bring a few very talented players with him.
Aegis, like many people on this 2021 Red Canids Roster, was a product of the smaller Brazilian academy system. While TitaN was taking over the CBLOL in 2018, Aegis was just getting his start in the BRCC with the Red Canids Academy roster as their jungler. While there, he would eventually play a few splits with future Red Canids’ main roster teammates, Avenger and Grevthar. Aegis eventually started playing alongside TitaN in 2020, after being called up from the Red Canids academy roster.
Avenger, much like Aegis, was a Red Canid prospect. But unlike Aegis, Avenger was called up to the main roster as soon as the main team got relegated to the BRCC in 2018. Despite changes to the roster, Avenger was a constant until he moved to mid-lane positional coach in spring 2020. Eventually, Avenger was switched from being the mid-lane positional coach back to being the starting mid-laner after a rough split in the BRCC that almost got them sent further down in the League ecosystem. As for the Canids’ other mid-laner, Grevthar, we’ll touch on him later.
Guigo joined the Canids upon their relegation to the BRCC as their starting top-laner, but did not come through the academy system. Guigo had the fortune of having an older brother, Vitin, ( who had played in the CBLOL previously with an ill-fated Team oNe roster. That connection to Vitin likely got Guigo noticed in order to eventually get the opportunity to play for the Canids. Guigo was there alongside Avenger as the roster took shape, being a bright spot alongside new and different additions. It was through this core of four (TitaN, Aegis, Avenger, Guigo) that were able to work their way up out of the BRCC and into the CBLOL.
Once the Canids finally got back to the CBLOL, they decided to make one last roster change. The Canids replaced their steadfast Support Cabu, who had been there throughout the rough stages of the Canid’s reformation, and replaced him with Jojo. As for JoJo’s background, he had been a part of a few successful Flamenco Esports and Team oNe rosters that saw success at the CBLOL and the BRCC levels respectively, (and played with Vitin at one point). Jojo was the last part that made up the Canids’ main roster, going into their first CBLOL split since 2019. Lastly, and much later on, the longtime academy mid-laner Grevthar would make a return to the main roster of the Red Canids. Grevthar would be coming in when he was needed most, for when the Canids were on the doorstep of being eliminated in playoffs as they were in the spring split.
Photo credit: CBLOL
What makes a Crazy, Crimson Canine?
On a more macro level, the Canids made for a scary bunch in 2021. Not only did they do a great job going for early dives, picking people off in the jungle, and having solid overall lane domination, they were also great when it came to objective control. A lot of this can be rested on Aegis’ shoulders; he was very consistent at getting early dragons, often grabbing the first two dragons that spawned. Aegis regularly traded early Dragons for Rift Herald. The constant utilization of pressure that the various Dragon buffs have allowed for the team to look for other pressure points, rather than focusing on stacking up Dragon kills or eventually Soul Point. Speaking of pressure points, the Canids were great at getting Worthless Deaths (WD) or at least causing many WD-like scenarios; of the five highest individual WD games, three of them were where the Red Canids put on 4-5 on whatever poor soul became their desired target. Another reason for WD counts being high is Guigo’s Solo Killing. Guigo ended the year with an average of .72 per game, a stat that not even the likes of Jizuke and Chovy can match. It's uncommon for a player to have one awful game, its even more so when it happens to multiple opponents towards the same team. Whether it be Aegis waiting in the jungle, or a rotation from JoJo, the Canids were fantastic at finding people when they were alone, more often than not finding them when they are off split pushing, especially if the Canids manage to not do well enough with their early game aggression.
Another key factor when it came to the Canids is team fighting. They were able to draw out solid fights to keep them in games, or they could crush teams with any early game advantages they could muster. This is mostly due to the likes of TitaN being able to find openings with kills, thanks in part to Guigo and Aegis being aggressive enough to initiate fights and crowd control (CC) their opponents well enough for the rest of the team to clean up.
The reason as to why the Canids were so good at both? The draft. Due to that mix of veteran experience and challenger-tested talent, a good chunk of the Canids had really solid picks they could play. TitaN played a fair amount of Kaisa and Ezreal, but he could slip into many different picks, ranging from more aggressive picks like Aphelios to more supportive champions like Senna. Guigo had a lot of carrying potential on more aggressive picks like Renekton and Camile. Avenger and Grevthar could play most meta mid-laners and Aegis has a champion pool deep enough to play either Lee Sin to Ivern, whom he has a 100% win rate on both. As to what fuels the Red Canids’ proficiency at the macro play, an evaluation of their micro play over the course of the year is in order.
Spring: Setting the foundation
The Spring split started well, with Red Canids only dropping a game to a successful Flamenco Esports roster in the first three weeks of play, setting the trend of only really losing to first place Flamenco and second place Vorax Liberty. Their two outlier losses ranged from the eventual spring champions PaiN Gaming to an underperforming Furia. Overall, the Red Canids ended the regular season with a 12-6 record and landed the third seed for playoffs. Unfortunately, that seeding would also reflect their placing; they beat the lowest-seeded playoff team in the form of Kaboom Esports but lost to second place Vorax in the Semifinals.
But, this was a good foundational time for the new look Canids roster. Spring was a proving ground of strengths and weaknesses. Many of the Canids had some sort of stat that allowed them to stand out in a crowded league. TitaN, for example, was able to have high amounts of success in multiple areas; such as an average of 271 minion kills per game (second-highest in the CBLOL in Spring regular season) and an average of a double kill per game, something that only the aforementioned Brazilian legend brTT was able to do during that same time. There was also some overwhelming success for Aegis. Aegis managed to have the highest average minion kills per game of all CBLOL junglers with 187, the highest KDA for a jungler at 1.8, and the third-highest average assists with 8.5 per game. A lot of these consistent high points led to an average gold difference (GD@15) of 344, which does not sound like much until the rest of the CBLOL junglers are looked over, and most of their GD@15 stats were either below 100 or even negative.
Others, like Avenger and Guigo, had a bit more of a mixed bag. Avenger’s damage left something to be desired in team fights, with an average of 204 per game, the third-lowest in the CBLOL. Avenger also tied for fourth in average assists (6.83 per game), as well as minion kills (an average of 254). On the bright side, Avenger did have the second-highest average kills, and tied third for average death count with a 2.3, totaling a fourth-best KDA of 1.7. As for Guigo, he had the highest average solo kills per game in the league, with a .61, with most top-laners far behind in the low .30’s and .40’s. Guigo’s teamfight damage was pretty solid, fourth-highest average teamfight damage with 334, but a lot of the good stopped there. Guigo’s 3.1 average kills per game put him as sixth in CBLOL top-laners, with Vorax Liberty fNb’s 4.1 being the one to beat, and having the second-highest average deaths per game being at a 3.6, his KDA sits at a .84, which is in the lower half of the top lane KDAs. Add this to a third-lowest average minion kills per game (218), and Guigo was someone who struggled to lane while behind.
Along with Guigo’s struggles, the Canids also had a few weak points in their macro play. Despite Jojo being able to have the tied third-highest average vision score of 79 per game among supports, the rest of the Canids would not be able to keep pace in terms of having good vision. The Red Canids were not able to clear vision effectively, which tended to limit their aggressive, roaming play if they were behind in gold or experience. Additionally, the Canids had an overextension problem; they would sometimes charge into team fights where they either did not have enough health or enough team members nearby to support.
Overall, there were a lot of bright spots as well as a few weaknesses. However, if one member had a bad game in terms of farming minions due to jungle pressure, there would be a good chance another would be ahead due to that pressure being elsewhere. If there were times where TitaN wasn’t having a good game, Guigo, Aegis, or Avenger could carry them to victory. With players picking up the slack when needed, the Canids made their way to the Spring playoffs as the third seed, managing to beat the sixth-seeded Kabum esports 3-1, but losing out to a Vorax roster that they took their first and only game off of during their 3-1 loss.
The few downsides that the Canids had could be seen best with their playoff series against Vorax, one of the few teams they would lose to consistently in the regular season. Firstly, Vorax was able to beat the Canids at their own game; aggression. On many occasions, Vorax players would either group up earlier than the Canids would, or at least have enough members in the nearby jungle to turn a fight if Guigo decided to fight a player solo, or if Aegis or Jojo decided to dive in on a fight out of the dark brush. Once they were spotted, Vorax would collapse, much like the Canids would do to other teams, and slowly dismantle them with each and every dive. Secondly, since the Canids were losing in lane, they opted to go for teamfights, of which Vorax were able to punish due to positioning themselves far away enough that the Canids had to fight them, or they simply kited, (pulled away from the teamfight), once they realized they were getting engaged on. One of the last issues, and probably most self-inflicted, was their drafting. While the Canids were able to prioritize the bot lane in the first round of picks and bans, they often put themselves in a position where Guigo was forced to play tankier champions, into a duel-heavy lane with Vorax top-laner fNB, who managed to get more aggressive picks, such as Renekton. While that does not sound like much, the Canids did rely on having lots of good options, and while the rest of the Canids were doing their best to keep it competitive, Vorax dismantled each lane one by one, caught out the Canids when they lacked vision, and tore them away from their aggression that they played so well.
Despite being a challenger team not even six months prior to their playoff exit, the Canids had made a lot of progress with lots of good micro play with individual talent that gelled well together. Overall, the Canids had lots to look forward to in the Summer Split.
Photo credit: https://twitter.com/REDCanids/status/1440763317841137666
Summer Regular Season: The mid-season slump
The momentum for the Canids from Spring did not quite translate as well in the Summer. While many members of the Canids were able to continue to perform up to their Spring stats, some even surpassing them, there were still some issues that didn’t give the Canids a lot to look forward to going into the Summer split playoffs. With all of that being said, the Canids did have some good among the bad.
TitaN was one of the few that was able to keep some of his spring from up; he was still the best when it came to average minion kills per game, now averaging 287, and his overall average teamfight damage improved from 582 in spring to 655. However, his average kills per game did drop down to five per game, and his average of one double kill per game last split also went down to .78 per game. Aegis was also able to keep up some good parts from spring; he was able to retain his average minion kill supremacy with 179 per game, managed to raise his average kills per game from three to four, and kept up his GD@15 dominance, averaging 506 gold per game, well over most other CBLOL junglers.
As for Guigo and Avenger, some issues still lingered. Guigo was still able to maintain his solo kill skill, with an average of .47 per game, but in comparison to other top-laners, it was the fourth-best, and it gets obliterated by PaiN Gaming Robo’s .94. In terms of farming for minions, Guigo did improve, going from averaging 218 to 226 minion kills per game, but that was sixth in regards to his top lane counterparts. Guigo did manage to get into the top five average kills, with an average of 3.35 per game. As for deaths, Guigo had the highest average death count of all CBLOL top-laners in the regular season with 3.82. Overall, Guigo’s KDA was .87, which was an improvement from spring, but since he was landing a KDA that was getting beat by Loud’s top-laner Tay (1.13), nor was it going even, was not a good look.
As for Avenger, he did not quite hold up either. Avenger had middling damage numbers, averaging a 209 average damage in team fights, tied with a doomed Furia mid and below half the rest of the league’s mid-laners which were averaging around 250. Like Guigo there were some bright spots. Avenger did average 7.7 assists, which was top three for all mid-laners during the summer regular season. Avenger had better farming numbers than the rest of the mid-laners (252), second-best minion kills, and an average GD@15 sitting at 244, another top three stat. Despite putting up the highest average kills in mid (4.3 per game) he had a high average death count, clocking in at 2.6 per game, putting his K/D/A near 1.64. While that did put him at the top half of the league, it was still behind playoff teams and other mid carries.
Despite all the small improvements, the Red Canids did not fare as well as they had in Spring. The Canids were starting to suffer a bit of a problem; they would lose games against both playoff level teams, such as PaiN gaming and Flamenco Esports, and a few other, not so well-performing teams, like a Furia roster that managed to go 4-14. While there were a few good wins against the likes of Vorax Liberty, as well as a surging Rensaga, the inability for the Canids to consistently win was a major cause for concern. While the Canids did end up finishing the Summer regular season with a 10-8 record, something not far off from their Spring work, it landed them the sixth seed in the playoffs, and like that sixth-seeded Kabum Esports roster that the Canids had beat in the last split’s playoffs, it was looking like the Canids were going to have a similar exit.
The Canids had their backs against a wall, there was a gauntlet of teams ahead of them that they had either consistently struggled with or lost to in the regular season. Something had to give, something had to change, and ultimately, the Canids did something that they had neglected to do over the course of the year; make a roster change. Not content with another potentially disappointing playoffs run, the Canids decided that the change they needed was in Mid lane, due to Avenger not quite having the best performances during the regular season. As such, the Canids opted to go back to a player that had experience playing with most of the roster; Grevthar.
While Grevthar was still in the newfound CBLOL academy league, his Red Academy roster was not exactly performing well either, and in a few ways, it was also probably going to suffer the same fate as the main roster was. Both teams had been doing well enough to get a playoff spot, but they had not been good enough to get a high seed. Both rosters also struggled to consistently beat top teams and had few consistently good records against other, lesser teams. Grevthar, as mentioned earlier, may have been a part of the academy roster, but he also spent playing time with Guigo and Aegis on the main roster all the way back in BRCC, and was even coached by Avenger at one point. While Grevthar would be getting called up to the main roster, Avenger would effectively serve as a substitute, as a backup plan.
Photo credit: https://twitter.com/redcanids/status/1424081166202716168
Summer Playoffs: The Redemption
The Red Canids may have entered playoffs with not the highest of expectations, yet they made the most progress during their playoff run. Many of the Red Canids members were finally able to be given room to do what they do best and got hot at just the right time. For example, Guigo’s average solo kills per game shot up to 1.28 per game, doubling his regular-season efforts. Aegis kept up the pressure, averaging 180 minion kills per game, and was one of the two junglers to retain a positive average GD@15 during playoffs. TitaN’s KDA of three put him at the top of all the bot-laners in the playoffs, thanks in part to his 4.18 kills per game and average deaths of 1.5. Grevthar may not have been able to have as much overwhelming success on the stat sheet, ranging from getting out farmed by some mid-laners by 20 minions on average, or his average GD@15 being -20.18, he was able to make things count when it came to team fights. Gevthar averaged 3.94 kills per game, due to some of his flashy work on carries like Akali, and was also able to average 8.36 assists per game, due in part to some heroics on Kled. The Red Canids were able to also acknowledge their weaknesses, grouping together more often, playing safer with vision, and not overextending team fights, which allowed them to beat many of the teams they struggled with. In short, the Red Canids came together at the perfect time.
Onward and upward
The Red Canids have become kings of Brazil once more, thanks in part to the mix of veteran leadership and bright talent cultivated in the academy system. The Red Canids produced a newfound mid-lane star in Grevthar, who is looking to impress internationally. The Canids also produced a top lane phenom in the form of Guigo, who continues to be unafraid in dueling any lane opponent. Aegis, like most of the Red Canids roster, is going to his first-ever international event with some of the best dominance a jungler can muster. Jojo finally won a title, proving that he is in fact a CBLOL level talent. Lastly, there is TitaN, who has now managed to take yet another team from challenger to champions and is finally atop the CBLOL after years of hard work. As for the Canids themselves, it’s not clear how things will fare in Play-Ins, if they will be able to keep up their incredible work. One thing is for certain, is that the Red Canids are going to be quite an entertaining team to watch.
Photo credit: https://twitter.com/REDCanids/status/1444400102790074369