Last Week in LoL Esports: Jan 23rd-Jan 30th
Updated: Feb 3
- By Edward Brady
The full week of League of Legends esports all around the world has wrapped up. We saw two leagues enter a short break, one wrapped up a preseason tournament, and the Mean Green completely dominate in their quest for the Collegiate League of Legends Championship. I have a quick breakdown of our very own UNT Esports, and all 4 major regions around the globe to catch you up on anything you may have missed.
Let’s get started...
CLoL Week 2: The Mean Green sweeps the Mustangs without much issue.
The Mean Green utterly dominated the 30th ranked SMU Mustangs in a 2-0 sweep. Although the Mustangs showed more fight than Roanoke, at no point in the series was UNT ever truly threatened. The games only lasted 21 and 19 minutes respectively. Complete stomps in almost every regard as every member of UNT was vastly superior to their opponents. UNT barely even had to really try. If you would like a more detailed recap of the beatdown, click here for more info.
Current Record 2-0 (4-0 game count)
Current Rank 8th in South Division
Next opponent: #11 UT Arlington at 3pm CST @ twitch.tv/untesports
LCS (NA): Team Liquid wins Lock-In Tournament by ending Evil Geniuses’ perfect run
The preseason Lock-In Tournament that began on January 14th has finally crowned a victor on Sunday. Despite the tournament losing a lot of prestige and steaks thanks to Visa issues resulting in many roster complications (TL had to run subs because CoreJJ couldn’t get a green card in time. TSM, GG, and C9 had multiple players unable to make it. C9 ran a mixed roster and the former two ran their whole Academy rosters) the tournament still had quite a few hype moments and surprises. CLG actually showed promise with their young roster and gave their fans hope for the first time in years. The seemingly innocuous Immortals completely collapsed and failed to pick up a single win in the group stage. After getting their starting jungler for the knockout round, Dignitas, a team a majority of people had at dead last upset the defending Summer champions in the quarterfinals.
The finals came down to two of the more exciting teams of Lock-In. Team Liquid brought back one of the most storied players in LCS history Bjergsen. Elya, despite subbing in on short notice showed some great stuff in the support role. Hans Sama performed as advertised. And Bwipo went above and beyond and marked himself as one of the more exciting players to watch in the upcoming season. Their opponent Evil Geniuses were perhaps even more exciting. Despite all the hype surrounding the young and scrappy roster and the massive amount of potential they possessed, there was a worry of them flopping. That worry did not come to pass. 17-year-old prodigal mid laner Joseph “jojopyun” Joon Pyun played with fire and aggression. He was completely unafraid, mechanically skilled, and somehow managed to live up to the massive amounts of hype he received. Inspired came over to NA to win if his play throughout the tournament is any indication. Vulcan looks as good as ever despite the new team. Danny didn’t appear to have a dreaded sophomore slump. And Impact was as solid as ever. The team didn’t drop a single game on the road to the finals (including a W over TL in groups).
Despite the hype, the series went Team Liquid’s way in only 3 games. While they were by no means complete stomps, the series still did end in a sweep at the end of the day. Evil Geniuses drew criticism for drafting compositions with very little damage on them, and it certainly did them no favors against a TL roster that came to play. Bjergsen took the young rookie to school across the first two games and helped Team Liquid shut out EG in game 3 on his signature Ziliean. Team Liquid picks up their 2nd Lock-In title in a row and is still the only team to ever win the tournament. The regular season begins this Saturday at 3:30 PM CST with Evil Geniuses vs TSM. The runner-ups vs a debuting young roster. It is sure to be a good one.
LEC Week 3 (EU): Fnatic faulters, Rogue pulls away, and the middle of the table clutters up.
The LEC saw the standings start to get a little more clustered. 5 teams are within one game of each other. There are really only two teams who feel completely out of the running. The top of the table is still up for grabs. Regardless of the uncertainty, there were some key storylines throughout the week. Fnatic had a chance to prove themselves and pull away from the competition with critical matches against fellow undefeated Rogue, and their biggest rival G2. They lost both of those matches. The Rogue match was a decisive defeat, while the G2 match was back and forth for a while, but G2 just played the critical fights better. While this is by no means a reason to hit the panic button, the week was one of the missed opportunities for Fnatic.
Meanwhile, Rogue was the team who actually managed to pull ahead of the pack. Despite everyone assuming the organization was all but dead after losing Inspired and Hans Sama, the team has come out swinging and has made a name for themselves as one of the biggest surprises of the LEC. After a convincing win against Fnatic, they won a close game against Team Vitality, one of the expected top dogs of Europe. Considering close games were the type of games the Rogue teams of old tended to lose in agonizing fashion, the new look for the squad has brought a sense of cautious optimism back to the league. While they have a reputation for choking when it matters and some are wondering when the “playoffs Rogue” is going to show up, the fact that they are two games ahead of everyone else when they were expected to be middle of the road at best is a good sign that the Rogue front offices might know what they are doing after all.
These next few weeks are going to be vital for the playoff race. Many of the so called “contenders” are going to get key shots to prove themselves. Those that truly have what it takes must take the first step towards proving it, while the pretenders will be exposed in due time. The LEC will resume play at 11 AM CST this Friday with SK Gaming vs Astralis, two teams whose seasons are on the brink already. The masochist in me who loves bad League of Legends and hates himself cannot wait for this matchup between the titans of ineptitude.
LPL Week 3 (China): Two super teams collide, and LNG enters the break undefeated
The final week before the break for Lunar New Year was a short one with only games on 4 days as opposed to the usual 7. While many of these games were slap fights between the bottom of the table, there were some standout moments. In the battle between former Invictus Gaming teammates, TheShy and Weibo Gaming (formerly Worlds 2020 runner-ups Suning) took the series 2-1 over Rookie and Victory 5. The core of Weibo is bouncing back from a disappointing 2021 as Huanfeng, Angel, and SofM ran over their competitors in games 2 and 3.
Meanwhile, LNG has entered the break on a 5 game win streak, ending on a high note with a 2-1 victory over FunPlus Phoenix. After making waves in the offseason by obtaining regular-season MVP and 2019 Worlds winner Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang, combining him with their star jungler Tarzan, and most of the core of 2021 has led to another strong start. Despite the scoreline, things have not been all smooth sailing for LNG. Their other acquisition LvMao hasn’t exactly been up to par with the rest of the team, and people are wondering why they even bothered when Iwandy was perfectly serviceable.
Finally, to close out the week, fans saw a match they had marked on their calendars since the very beginning. Royal Never Give Up, after an unexpectedly great season with a Spring title, an MSI title, and a Worlds quarterfinals berth, obtained elite top laner Bin from Weibo, putting Xiaohu back in the original role he played for 5 years. Meanwhile, Bilibili Gaming made an all-in push in the offseason. They obtained top talent from all over the LPL, (Breathe from Team WE, Fofo from Rare Atom, Crisp from FPX), but their most notable acquisition was bringing one of the greatest players in the game’s history Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao out of retirement. Unfortunately, we would not get to see him face his former team as he is still on his usual start of season break. His replacement, the up-and-coming PCS superstar Doggo was still a very positive acquisition. As the two hyped rosters met on the rift, RNG would take the final series of the week 2-1. Game 1 was close, but the power of Xiaohu and Bin allowed RNG to literally run it down mid as BLG was powerless to stop them. Game 2 was almost all BLG, all the time. Doggo went deathless, Breathe’s Tryndamere ran rampant over the backline, and Weiwei’s Rek’Sai was an unexpected point of power. In-game 3, it was all RNG, all the time. A bot side dive by Weiwei backfired horribly as it went 1 for 1 while Wei took the Rift Herald, and he took an entire tower alongside Bin.
With those matches out of the way, the LPL will return to play on February 10th at 3 am CST with Rare Atom vs Invictus Gaming. The current standings are listed below.
LCK (South Korea): Gen. G takes their first loss. T1 holds off the reigning champs to stay undefeated.
To cap off this piece with another league entering a short break, the LCK saw the standings shakeup with some monumental matches played last week. The rebranded Kwangdong Freecs continued to struggle despite the initial hype, (how does a team with Kiin and Teddy place dead last?) losing both their matches. On the opposite end of the optimism spectrum, DRX bounced back from their abysmal 0-3 start to win 3 straight. Deft’s potential last ride will not go to waste as they took out a Fredit BRION at the bottom of the table, and upset a Nongshim RedForce that made waves by acquiring T1 Canna, DK Ghost, and Gen. G BDD. They are now tied with them, Damwon KIA and KT Rolster.
Speaking of KT Rolster, this seemingly unassuming middle-of-the-pack team was the ones to hand the much-hyped super team, Gen. G, their first loss of the season. Despite Chovy (Gen. G’s most exciting acquisition) having as strong a laning phase as ever, the first-ever (kind of) LJL import Aria had more impact in game 1 with key shockwaves on Orianna. Meanwhile, in-game 2, Rascal continued his tendency to get solo kills and helped KT take over the game. Aiming went deathless, Aria had 6 kills, and KT played a complete game to take a surprisingly convincing 2-0 sweep of one of the LCK’s top teams.
To cap it off, the Match of the Week lived up to expectations. A rematch of Summer finals and Worlds Semifinals between two teams on slightly different trajectories brought the viewership and brought the hype. Damwon KIA after losing Khan to retirement, Ghost to NS, and BeryL to DRX hasn’t quite been the dominant force they have been for the past few splits. Despite this, the deadly duo of Canyon and Showmaker, and their new weapons in Burdol, deokdam, and Kellin are performing admirably enough to still maintain a top spot. Meanwhile, T1 only made 1 change (losing Canna, promoting Zeus) and has re-established themselves as the team to beat in Korea. What followed was a 3 game long smackdown between the two that ended up being one of the best series we’ve seen in 2022 so far.
Game 1 was an incredibly even affair that saw both teams trade kills and objectives one after the other. It was dead even for the longest time as the teams went through 9 dragons, 3 barons, and 55 minutes before the 2nd and final Elder Dragon fight went DK’s way to net them the first win. In-game 2, T1 fired back in convincing fashion. Almost everyone got champions they were well known for and they all completely ran Damwon over. Keria’s Thresh was on a mission with hooks after hooks finding their way onto key members of Damwon KIA. Gumayusi got his signature Aphelios and was completely untouchable on it. Oner and Zeus got comfort champions in Lee Sin and Gwen and looked as good as they usually do. And Faker was just his usual self, this time on Vex.
For game 3, it would be a back-and-forth affair. Oner and Zeus’s mental would be tested as Oner had his red buff stolen early and Canyon picked up 1st blood. Oner would be a nonfactor for most of the early and mid-game, dropping down to 0/5/2 at one point. With Baron Buff and the mid inhibitor cracked, DK looked prime to give T1 their first loss of 2022. But Damwon KIA went too deep into the base, and they punished them hard. That one opportunity was all T1 needed. Faker’s Leblanc did what Fanker’s Leblanc did best. Kill people and win games. The baron fight went T1’s way, the Baron Power Play was clean, and they quickly closed out the game to get revenge for Worlds. They took the series 2-1 and jumped to 6-0.
The LCK will return on February 9th at 2 am CST with T1 vs Hanwha Life Esports. The current standings are listed below: