--By Edward Brady
The UNT League of Legends varsity kicked off their 2021 campaign with a swift 2-0 victory over Barton College. UNT came into the match seeded 5th out of the 70 teams in the south conference, the highest the program has ever been ranked so expectations were high.
To say they surpassed them would be an understatement. In-game 1 mid-laner Lil Nate (playing Sylas) and support Rainy (playing Blitzcrank) worked together to get 1st blood 6 minutes into the game while at the same time jungler SavVi (playing Hecarim) and top laner Incn (playing Irelia) got another kill across the map. Only two minutes later and Incn solo-killed his lane opponent while the rest of the team won a team fight around ocean drake. UNT was already winning by quite a bit, but from there, the lead snowballed at a rapid pace.
At 15 minutes, UNT had a 10.6k gold lead, and an 11-2 kill lead. For context, gold leads around 15 minutes in pro play are usually around anywhere from the triple digits if the game is close to around 4k if the game is a stomp. At no point in the game did Barton College have anything resembling control over the game. UNT practically ran them over all game long.
The game only lasted 20 minutes, for reference, a team can only early surrender at 15 minutes with a unanimous decision and the standard surrender (4-1) is only an option at 20 minutes. UNT ended with a 16.5k gold lead, the kill score was 18-2, and 3 members of the team (SavVi, Lil Nate, and AD Carry PuertoJew) went deathless, but special mention goes to Lil Nate who went 9/0/2 (Kills/deaths/assists), ended with a 3k gold lead over his lane opponent, and did 30% of his team’s damage, the most on the team edging out Incn who did 29%.
Game 2 was more of the same. PuertoJew’s Aphelios and Rainy’s Thresh got a 2v2 first blood a little over 3 minutes into the game, two minutes later, the duo, alongside SavVi’s Kindred worked together to get PuertoJew a double kill. Only 5 minutes in and UNT was already up almost 2k gold. The other lanes weren’t going much better for Barton. Incn was double his opponent's CS, and Lil Nate also had a CS lead. 9 minutes in, Rainy landed an excellent hook to secure PuertoJew another kill, while Incn survived a 1v2 long enough for 2 UNT members to show up and Incn picked up a kill, he was also had about tripled his opponent’s CS.
Disaster continued to strike for Barton as their attempt to prevent UNT from taking Rift Herald not only failed but UNT picked up 2 more kills to jump out to a 7k gold lead. At around 15 minutes UNT had an 11.8k gold lead and the kill score was 18-2. The game was an even bigger stomp than the previous one as it lasted only 19 minutes, UNT ended with a 17.2k gold lead and they had 22 kills to Barton College’s 2. The big difference was in the Bottom lane, The Barton AD Carry went 0/7/0, only completed boots abut no full items, and only had 96 CS. His support was just as bad with neither completed boots nor full items, and a 0/6/0 scoreline. On the other hand, PuertoJew completed 2 full items + boots, had 170 CS, and finished 10/0/5. Rainy was also up 1 item on his counterpart and went 2/0/11. The other members also did incredibly well. SavVI went deathless, Lil Nate did the most damage on the team and the 2nd highest in the game, and Incn finished 1 full item and 103 CS ahead of the Barton College top lane.
To put it simply, this series was a massacre. It was kind of expected as Barton College was seeded 66th, and the other top teams won their games by similar if not even greater margins, (the top-ranked team won a game in 9 minutes) but nonetheless, the level of dominance on display was impressive. Over the entire series, Barton College had 4 kills, 1 dragon, 0 towers, and never once held a gold lead. UNT just played good League of Legends. They capitalized on mistakes, they didn’t make any stupid decisions and they never gave Barton a chance to get back in the game. The biggest stat of note is that UNT has the highest KDA out of the 70 teams in the conference at 28.3, almost double the KDA of the next highest team ETSU Esports. The best part is this is only the first game of the season, with more time, the roster should hopefully get even better. If this team keeps trending upwards, you might want to keep an eye on them, this season has the potential to be very interesting.
UNT will continue its campaign at 3 P.M. this Saturday vs USM Gold. Notably, USM beat SMU last week and we're one of only 4 teams to pull off an upset. Although SMU was seeded much lower than UNT, the Mean Green can’t afford to drop their guard when every game matters. As a reminder, teams that go 6-0 or 5-1 will make the playoffs. All matches can be found on https://www.twitch.tv/UNTEsports.