For those of you that have not been keeping up to date with the ESL UK Premiership League of Legends tournament, the group stages finished last week on Sunday. With proceedings coming to a close, the newly christened NUEL 5 conclude their tournament in 5th, a fantastic showing considering such roster upheaval. Here is a quick rundown of how the team performed in the final weeks.
Choke Gaming vs NUEL 5 (2-0)
Unfortunately it was a rocky start for the new roster. With only two days to prepare it was always going to be uphill battle, but the team acquitted themselves well all things considered.
At ten minutes, the NUEL’s finest were hanging in there, three kills and 2k gold down as a result of some fine picks orchestrated by Choke’s jungler Nocturnal Plex on Kindred. However, things were beginning to snowball as Droolz and Mazrim found themselves forced in by the combined powers of a Tristana and Tahm Kench. Their tower crumbled into the dust and things were certainly looking in Choke’s favour. By twenty minutes the NUEL 5 were showing signs of life, picking up a few kills, but Choke’s gold lead stood at a lofty 5k. Simply put, the NUEL 5 did not have the power to compete as Choke stormed through the base, destroying the nexus at 28 minutes.
The second game began and seemed to be repeating the first, Nocturnal Plex having huge pressure from the jungle. The NUEL’s bottom lane were again finding themselves forced back. The lack of peel for Rayunmort and Droolz worried the casters coming into the mid-game, but the NUEL 5 managed to hold Choke at bay, the opposition’s gold lead squeezed to 3k by the twenty minute mark. A pick onto Viktorio’s Olaf nearly gave Choke another dragon, but ShavenTortoise managed to steal it. Unfortunately though, this was the NUEL’s last small victory. One more fight later and the gold deficit had opened up to 8k as Choke capitalised on it with three towers. The NUEL 5 held on manfully, but were ultimately undone as Baron buffed minions took their toll. A 2-0 loss, but with some positives to take away against one of the top teams.
NUEL 5 vs exceL eSports (2-1)
This time the NUEL 5 looked a completely different team. With another week of preparation under their belt, the players were looking a lot more confident. This match was looking particularly spicy with National Championship regulars Synygy and Billy on the side of exceL. The NUEL 5 were hungry for victory, this rivalry a delectable side dish to the main course that was victory and precious points.
The first match went heavily in the NUEL’s favour. Lasting thirty minutes, the team were aided by solid performances from all members, Rayunmort being the pick of the bunch on Anivia. Pressure from ShavenTortoise on Kindred and a nice teleport from Rayunmort from the midlane meant at fifteen minutes the NUEL 5 were sitting on a lead, 5-1 in kills with a 2.4k gold lead. A big fight in the bottom lane meant they extended their lead, 8-3 in kills with a now 5k gold lead. The game had snowballed away from exceL and despite a desperate fight for Baron Nashor, the NUEL 5 were able to close the match pretty comfortably.
However, if the first match had the NUEL’s chosen champions brimming with confidence, it had riled up exceL into a frenzy. This time it was exceL who secured the early lead and exploited it, Synygy’s improved presence on Gragas from the jungle surely playing a part. Despite running an incredibly solid teamfight composition, some ill-advised fights meant Billy’s Heimerdinger was able dish out plenty of damage in confined spaces. The Lulu-Gragas combination made it hard for the NUEL 5 to pin targets down and get back into the game. A triple kill for Heimerdinger in front of the midlane inhibitor turret meant the game was all done and dusted, the NUEL retreating to lick their wounds.
That second game had shown exceL were no pushovers and that the NUEL 5 would have to up their game if they wanted the win. ShavenTortoise targeted exceL’s midlaner Ped and proceeded to focus his attention there. By the ten minute mark, the pressure on the midlane meant that Rayunmort had picked up three kills. Solid laning from Viktorio on Maokai in the toplane meant a small cs lead was building up though Droolz and Mazrim were again suffering, but holding. All that the NUEL 5 needed was for the roaming deathball of ShavenTortoise and Rayunmort to use their lead which they did to great effect, picking up a couple more kills. A siege at the bottom inner turret saw a fight break out, the NUEL 5 able to comfortably ace exceL while only losing Viktorio in the process, opening up a 7.4k gold lead by twenty-five minutes. The writing was on the wall for exceL and a Droolz pentakill later meant the series was in the bag, 2-1 to the NUEL 5.
NUEL 5 vs Terra Cotta Army
After Team Paria forfeited and handed the NUEL 5 another much sought win, the team had another week to contemplate their final series against the Terra Cotta Army, a match that would decide which team landed 5th place.
The NUEL 5 looked eager to carry on their run of good form, stamping out an early lead on ShavenTortoise’s trusty Kindred pick. With the new patch snowballing games even harder, the NUEL’s finest managed to increase their lead, picking up a few more kills and towers by the fifteen minute mark. The gold lead stood at 4.3k. A fight over dragon a few minutes later drew TCA out of their base but huge pressure from Viktorio’s Jax in the top lane meant resources had to be sent to deal with him. The inhibitor went down the to the NUEL 5’s toplaner, dying heroically but picking up a kill in the process. All too fast, TCA had run out of options and the game ended at twenty-three minutes.
It seemed this game TCA learned from their mistakes. ShavenTortoise’s Kindred was banned away this time forcing him onto Rek’Sai while Viktorio was given Malphite to play with despite a convincing performance on Jax the previous game. Whether these small changes played havoc with the NUEL 5 is open to debate, but every lane seemed to struggle to keep up with the game, cs differentials all going in TCA’s favour in every lane. Meanwhile TCA seemed to be also gaining a minor edge in early skirmishes meaning a 2.4k gold lead had opened up at ten minutes. The Army tried to pile on the pressure, but the NUEL 5 kept things level, refusing to allow the game to get out of control. Yet for every kill they picked up, an objective would fall, the NUEL slowly pushed back to their inhibitor turrets. By twenty-five minutes the deficit had stretched to 8.6k. The TCA played smartly and clinically, closing out the game with constant pressure, proving that their team was made of more than just a clay-based ceramic.
Everything was on the line for the third game with both teams eager to come out of the blocks hard. As a result, spectators only had to wait three minutes for first blood, ShavenTortoise and Rayunmort combining at level two to take down both Sean17 and Raizins, also denying Lee Sin’s level three from his red buff. This got the ball rolling beautifully for both the jungler and midlaner of the NUEL 5 as they set about putting their stamp on the game and by twelve minutes the NUEL 5 were up 9-1 with a 3k gold lead. Even more impressive was Rayunmort’s 100% kill participation. However, this confident start turned sour as the NUEL 5 tried too hard to press home. By sixteen minutes, the gold lead had been reduced to just four hundred gold, credit going to TCA’s Numen as he established a strong lead over Viktorio’s Malphite. Another fight on the top side of the map meant TCA had actually seized the lead from the NUEL 5 leaving them back at square one. Having said that, the NUEL had the consolation of collecting all three dragons thus far. The NUEL 5 recognised their plight and fought back, managing to sneak away the middle inhibitor, but a smart rotation from TCA forced a fight around Baron Nashor. The NUEL managed to stop the threat, but lost three men for it, TCA amassing a 2k lead.
Baron was always going to be the objective that could secure the game, particularly for TCA considering Anivia’s waveclear, but it was the NUEL 5 that claimed it. TCA had managed to finish off all of the NUEL 5’s members, but the Cryophoenix stood strong Some fantastic Anivia play from Rayunmort isolated Lucian with the Baron, killing TCA’s AD carry. He bought enough time for his team to come rushing in, dying in the process, but saving the buff for his team who cleaned up Yasuo. The remnants of TCA were forced to deal with super minions in the middle lane and the Baron was NUEL’s. But nice play from Raizins meant ShavenTortoise was caught out of position. The NUEL 5 were not disheartened and returned with their jungler, sieging the bottom inhibitor, their team’s superior late-game scaling coming into play. Raizins could not quite pull off a Lee Sin play worthy of a montage to protect the inhibitor and the rest of his team fell in quick succession. The day was the NUEL 5 as they claimed the place in the standings labelled “No.5”.
Thoughts from Frozen Dawn
We caught up with Will “Frozen Dawn” Burgess, Head Coach of the NUEL 5 to get his perspective on things?
How did you feel the ESL Tournament went?
“Since I stepped in to coach and we formed the new team, we went undefeated 3-0. So it went really well! A lot better that most other people were expecting. The matches themselves were not that clean but we had great performances and won so I guess that’s all that matters in the end, but we will definitely be looking to improve – we are in no way satisfied.”
How do you think the team is looking now?
“I would say that the team is looking very strong. The new patch threw us quite a lot, the players (and me as coach) took a long time to adapt. We were losing scrims and getting smashed in Ranked 5s. Then suddenly we had a practice night on the ladder where we went 4-0 and I knew the team had finally got it. We went on to beat TCA the next day.”
What are your hopes for the future of the team?
“I personally want the team to have a really good showing next split of the ESL Premiership. To say I want us to get top four is in some sense unreasonable since our player pool is dramatically lower than the current top four teams. Also, all our players and staff are uni students and so cannot commit as much time as perhaps some of the players in the top four can. That being said, I definitely want us finishing at least 5th, being the strongest out of ‘bottom 4’ teams and I would like to have a strong showing versus some of the top four teams, maybe taking a game off them and possibly even a series if we play to our best ability.”
“As well as the ESL Prem’ I would like to get us looking into Insomnia. Although it is not up to me as to whether we go or not, I love the idea of taking a team to LAN it would be fantastic for many reasons. I think that with the necessary time our chances of a top eigh finish are very likely.”
How challenging was putting a new roster together and getting them up to standard for the remaining matches?
“I was not consulted in the forming of the new roster. In fact, I was brought on in the same recruiting process. Top, Mid and Jungle were all selected by our managers (Balint and Dowsey) who, to be honest, spent hours going through the NUEL website headhunting high elo players. The bot lane was selected in a similar fashion except we trialled two possible bot lane duo’s. I was given the honour of choosing which of those two to go with! On a side note, I am super excited to be selecting the new roster for this upcoming split!”
“Getting the team up to standard was a huge task. For a start the team had a bad stigma attached to it after what happened in the previous half of the split, even though we shared none of the same players/staff. The NUEL itself wanted us to form just so we didn’t forfeit our place; no one really had any hope, other than me and the managers. From this I had to figure out how to teach them to synergise, trust in each other’s calls as well as learn really basic strategy like level 1 warding and lane swaps… oh God we don’t talk about lane swaps! All of this had to be done in a week. The players worked incredibly hard and were extremely receptive to my coaching. From there we went on to win straight matches. In a sense it was very challenging but the guys were fantastic to work with and it was of course very rewarding.”
“I am very much looking forward to spending another split as Head Coach. Hopefully with a lot of prep time, a more appropriate process for choosing our players and greater support from the NUEL and others, we will achieve great things and make this team a truly formidable force in the UK scene.”
Would you like to apply for the League of Legends NUEL5 team? Please fill out this form by the 10th of December and we’ll get in contact with the best applicants by the 12th via email. Anyone who isn’t contacted by the 12th has unfortunately not made it to trials this time.
NUEL5 Application Form