We’ve finally arrived at the end of the Winter Championship 2017. Bloods has been spilt and tears have been shed (extra salty). Without further ado, the final will be:
Both teams went 2-0 in the semis meaning that they look to be on fine form going into this. Here’s a rundown of the teams.
UAE Monkey Cage (University of East Anglia)
Top: Matthew “KARMA ENVY” Rawlings
The UEA team have been around for a long time. Going through some old memories, I managed to find an old article where the then UEA Memers were up against Droolio and the Gang (the Golden Age) in the 2016 Summer Tournament Semi-Final. There you’ll find KARMA ENVY, Lolman07, Nerve (under a different alias) and TheKat (the then ADC). Even back then, KARMA ENVY couldn’t say his IGN without shouting. Even then he didn’t know what a tank was. Even then he was a “massive weeb” (captain’s words). He destroyed Exeter’s top lane in the semi-final with his Rumble hitting nicely barbecued 70% kill participation. Of course, Exeter realised their folly and banned it next match, but Yorick was his next pick. Fun fact: back in 2016, he was the #210 Yorick player in the world. He was less successful against Librother’s Ornn, but expect maximum aggression, few tanks and even fewer control wards.
Pick to watch: Rumble.
Jungle: Lucas “Lolman07” Maurin
A Challenger jungler in the top fifty and seemingly ever present. Apparently, he’s childhood friends and housemates with KARMA ENVY which explains why opposition top laners have been coming out of games so traumatised (captain’s words, not mine). Him and his “best mate” are the team’s driving force. He’s hyper aggressive and can play pretty much anything. However, expect him to be engaging with the help of trusty support “TheKat”. He had two games on Xin Zhao against Exeter, ending the first with a 74% kill participation and being a huge playmaking force in the second. Despite not being able to carry Nerve out of Diamond 5, he is arguably one of the best, if not the best jungler in the NUEL. There might be some competition for Xin Zhao though.
Pick to watch: Rek’Sai (I rolled a dice, he can genuinely play anything).
Mid: Andy “Nerve” Emerson
The captain and self-appointed “gank sponge”, Nerve probably deserves both titles. With Lolman07 making it his mission to make the opposition top laner cry, teams are often left with the option of prioritising bottom or camping mid. A real swell guy who’d prefer to play League of Legends, but is credit to team meaning he often ends up on Zilean. This allow his other teammates to “play like baboons”. On the upcoming final, he had this to say:
“After our summer tournament victory, we’re super excited to make a PROPER final. It’s the third year of trying for 4/5ths of this roster and we’ve had so much fun competing together.
It finally feels like the team is performing to the level it has always been capable of; clearly what we needed all along was a hard stuck D5 ADC to unlock our potential. We’re looking forward to Sunday. I hope Kent are ready to enter the Monkey Cage.”
Pick to watch: Zilean.
ADC: Nikolai “I Came to Party” Mills
The newest member of the team and apparently does what TheKat (also known as Daddy) tells him. This impressionable youth had solid games in the semis. His captain summed up his playstyle as “farms and shoots stuff”. However, being kept on such a tight leash means he’s prone to go wild. Scandalous revelations suggest that he played one week of the competition drunk. It’s now up to his teammates to figure out which week it was. With top lane receiving most of the attention, the team can rely on him to scale into late game. This doesn’t mean he’s not afraid to make aggressive plays. He’s a carry in his own right and with a large pool of hyper-carries to choose from, come late game he is a force to be reckoned with.
Pick to watch: Tristana.
Support: Rayan “TheKat” Karout
The shotcaller of the team, expect to seem him on something with engage potential and a dominating personality. Nothing says “fight” like a big Solar Flare, as shown by two Leona games against Exeter. With that game in mind, you wouldn’t have realised he’s actually a Thresh main (explains the leash). An absolute madman who eats pineapple on pizza and sushi on mashed potato, he knows what he wants. Mad fact (not a fun fact, this guy is nuts), he had a smurf called “intman07” on which he only played crit-Garen. Odds on him whipping it out in the final?
Pick to watch: Thresh (not Garen).
50 Kent – In Da Rift (University of Kent)
Top: Greg “Greggo” Smith
Low-key advert for pasty shops everywhere, Greggo often finds himself in “steaky” situations (I admit, that was half-baked). Often targeted in champion select, he’s a big boy and much like a 2/2 Raid Leader in Hearthstone, he can “handle it”. He’s big boy nature carries over to his champion pool which is filled with the biggest of boys: Maokai, Ornn, Darius, Cho’Gath. Even a wild Shen appeared in the second match of their semi against against Leeds and was a huge facilitator for his teammates’ aggression. Often taking one for the team, it will be interesting to see how he matches up against KARMA ENVY. If it makes it through champion select you might see Irelia, but expect tanks.
Pick to watch: Irelia (one day).
Jungle: Serge “Skudzy” Huleani
Skudzy suffered a tough examination at the hands of one of the best junglers in the NUEL in the semis, but he was suitably up to the task. Now he’ll face just as tough a test against Lolman07. However, his team will be banking on him to count on top. They are quick to praise the effect he has on his team as their primary shot caller, his marco knowledge elevating them to a whole new level. Their captain compares it to moving “from checkers to playing chess in 3D”. A man familiar to the ESL scene and a caster to boot, he has bags of experience that will be crucial to his team’s success. The way they talk about him, you’d think he wrote The Art of War. Two Xin Zhao games last week with KDAs that don’t do him justice mean he’s ready to match Lolman07. This looks to be spicy.
Pick to watch: Kayn.
Mid: Ben “Hotcrossbon” Gardiner
Hotcrossbon has been described as “strong and stable” by his captain, the foundation upon which the team is built. This would be summed up by his strong and stable 0/2/16 on Karma on in the first match of their semi-final, able to shield big business (most notably the ultra-bankrolled kaiwhy) from death and more importantly taxes. However, you’d be forgiven for forgetting after watching their second match against Leeds. Abandoning anything resembling fiscal responsibility, the Kent midlaner dished out damage to all members of the opposition equal to their needs, a redistribution of wealth that Communists everywhere could only dream of. Incredibly confusing extended political metaphor aside, he almost single-handedly snowballed the second game out of control, pushing his opposite number out of lane and with constant roams towards the botside of the map. He’s known for playing a more supportive role, but he’s not afraid to mix it up.
Pick to watch: After that semi? Xerath.
ADC: Kai “kaiwhy” Growcoot
The team’s captain and potential distant cousin to Crash Bandicoot, he is one of half a very content bottom lane. If botlane were a suburb, the East Anglia duo would be the really kinky couple down the road while the Kent duo would be the old married couple thinking of downsizing and moving to somewhere “a little quieter”. On an individual level, kaiwhy excelled in Kent’s semi. He has this to say about the team:
“Honestly, as a team, I think we feel like we’re in new territory; we’ve never been this high. But since the start, we always had an inkling that we’d successfully make it to the top. We synergise incredibly well as a team and we’re all good friends in real life.”
What. A. Cutie. As the sole damage dealer in the first game, he was able to make great use of Ezreal’s mobility to avoid the incredibly tanky frontline of Leeds while in the second game, despite an early death, he remained relevant and was a fantastic source of damage with perfect positioning. With his significant other, Citilan, beside him, he’ll be the team’s main carry with a large variety of champions at his disposal. Expect a botlane focus.
Pick to watch: Ezreal.
Support: Chun “Citilan” Liu (aka. Sean)
According to his captain, he’s not a big talker, but he is a big playmaker. Rumour has it that their synergy is so strong that they finish each other’s sentences (cute). On a macro level, his ability to feed information to the team is incredibly valuable while on a micro level, he’s always ready to back up his captain, carry and soulmate. In fact, they’ve ascended to a level where they don’t even need to communicate. They only use words as a courtesy to us mortals. Leona, Alistar and Thresh all figure big in this guy’s champion pool meaning that there will be heavy competition with TheKat. But Morgana and Braum games in the semis prove that he’s got other tricks up his sleeve, the former being an interesting counter to some of these playmaking supports. In fact, it was his Morgana bindings that made the picks for the team to get back into the second game. With both playmaking and defensive capabilities, she might be just what they need.
Pick to watch: Morgana.
Where to watch
Where else but the NUEL’s very own Twitch channel! Join us today at 5:15pm to see the big game cast by our very own duo, Peter “Counterfeit” Hartnell and Stuart “Cyn” McLeod. Good luck to both teams and see you there!