UNT Esports League of Legends varsity team keeps playoff hopes alive

-By Edward Brady

After the 2-1 loss to Niner Esports (Charlotte) last week, the UNT Esports League of Legends varsity team will have to win out in order to qualify for the playoffs of the CLoL south conference. Their bounce-back game would have to come against Lumberjack Esports (otherwise known as SFA), the 50th seed who stumbled out of the gate but racked up two consecutive wins vs 53rd ranked WVU Esports and upset the then 15th ranked (originally 24th) Blinn College Buccaneers. Neither team could afford a loss from then on out, but only UNT would walk away with their season intact.

UNT came into game 1 with one objective in mind: jump on an enemy, kill the enemy. SªvVi picked Udyr, whose entire kit revolves around running up to the enemy and smacking them, Incn picked Camille, who wants to jump onto one target and stay on them, Lil Nate picked Syndra who can stun the opposition from a distance and the UNT duo revisited the Kaisa/Rell kill lane. SFA would go for a more teamfight oriented comp drafting champions with game-changing ultimates such as the Malphite, Nunu, and Seraphine. The Jinx in the bot lane was unexpected and questionable given how weak she is early on when UNT wants to jump on her. The comp was rounded out with Nautilus in the support position.

What was expected to be a close match between two teams fighting for their playoff lives saw UNT deliver a thrashing not seen since week 1. Not even 3 minutes in and Incn was already up 13 CS and had already solo killed malphite for first blood. Only two minutes later and PuertoJew and Rainy dived onto the SFA duo with the help of a teleport from Incn to pick up two more kills, and when the Seraphine teleported in after the duo already died, they just killed her too. SªvVi was also already up 25 CS and 2 full levels in the jungle. This level of domination continued throughout the rest of the very short game.

Lets put it this way, over the entirety of game 1, SFA got 3 kills, one onto Rainy during the dive, and two onto Incn when he overextended and was already massively ahead. That is it. No towers, no dragons, no baron, nothing else. Incn finished almost 3k gold ahead of his lane opponent and the malphite went 0/7/2. SªvVi finished 3 levels ahead of the enemy jungler. Rainy made excellent engages while the Nautilus was almost invisible all game. Finally, Lil Nate and PuertoJew, oh good God Lil Nate and PuertoJew. The Mid and ADC for SFA were 0/6/0 and 1/7/0 respectively. Lil Nate was 8/0/8 and PuertoJew was 15/0/7. Lil Nate had a 25 stack Magis, (4 stacks per kill up to 25, lose 10 on death. Stacks give 5 AP each. High-risk high reward) a two-level difference, and finished 5.8k gold ahead of his lane opponent. PuertoJew finished 3 full items ahead, 3 levels ahead, and did 34% of his team’s total damage. The game didn’t even last 20 minutes and UNT was simply unstoppable in Game 1.

The Game 2 draft saw a lot of surprises from both sides. Although the Udyr and Viktor from SFA and the Kaisa, Sett, and Lillia were pretty standard, the rest were curveballs of varying magnitude. SFA picked up Chogath top (has been pushed out for other meta picks) and a Sivir/Janna bot lane (both not exactly high priority picks). UNT shifted upended the expectations even more with a Jayce mid (usually top but Jayce hasn’t seen much play this year) and a Vayne top. Vayne is traditionally an ADC, and Vayne top is a very niche, very hard to play pick meant to bully out and kill front liners like Chogath. If everything goes right, Vayne will pop off, but if things go wrong and she gets behind (which is very easy to happen due to her high learning curve and squishiness) she is useless.

UNT would stumble out of the gate with SFA catching SªvVi out in their jungle for first blood, but UNT would keep up the early aggression with a gank from SªvVi and a TP from Incn to secure two early kills back. This resulted in the Vayne getting control of top lane (27 CS to 9 at 5 mins) and got PuertoJew early push in the bot lane and a tower plate. Incn would take a 1v1 with the SFA mid in the top lane while the two junglers would scuffle in the mid lane. Incn would get the solo kill onto Viktor and the rest of UNT was quicker to the punch to help out SªvVi in mid lane. Two more kills to UNT. Only seconds later and Lil Nate would trade his life for the SFA top laner, putting him very far behind only a few minutes in. After a short pause for technical issues, the game was back on. While SFA would take the first dragon, UNT responded by getting more pressure around the map.

Nine minutes in and a dive in the bot lane went wrong resulting in a kill for the Chogath, who had at this point, swapped to mid to stop getting bullied by the Vayne. SFA made an effort to shut down the Vayne but it backfired as Incn turned the gank into a kill of his own, and Lil Nate was bullying the CHogath almost as hard as Incn was. Kills and gold were going onto the key members of UNT and the snowball started rolling. Although a clever teleport by Viktor would result in a shutdown kill onto Incn, SªvVi and Lil Nate responded with another kill onto Cho. SªvVi roamed top to get a kill onto the Viktor (which was becoming a common trend by now) and barring 2 dragons, UNT was winning hard all across the map. UNT was up 10-4 in kills, Incn and Lil Nate had the same KDA (5/1/2) and were up a full item UNT had taken 2 towers to 0 and they were up 10K gold at 15 minutes. It took 4 members of SFA running at Lil Nate to pick up the shutdown. And while they would pick up the rift herald, UNT was already diving onto SFA in their own base. Any kills or objectives SFA was picking up didn’t feel substantial. Considering the amount of high-risk low reward plays UNT was making, it became pretty clear that UNT was just having fun with their opponents. Even when SFA got a pick or two, there wasn’t much of a sense of urgency When UNT decided to get serious again UNT ran over SFA and ended the game at 24 minutes with an ace in the base and a 12k gold lead.

UNT Esports will resume CLoL play vs Auburn University this Saturday at 3 PM. Auburn was originally seeded 22nd and aside from a small tumble against Niner Esports, (the same team that beat UNT) Auburn has had a pretty decent season sweeping 2 teams ranked below them and winning 1 match via forfeit. To reiterate the final two matches are must-win games for UNT Esports to make the playoffs as only teams that go undefeated or 5-1 qualify. You can catch the match at 3 P.M. this Saturday at https://www.twitch.tv/UNTEsports.

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