It’s been eight weeks since the start of the tournament and what a journey it has been. Heroes have fallen. Minions have been slain. Scuttlecrabs have been brutally murdered. However, only two teams could emerge victorious from the fighting to go to NUEL Live for the Grand Final. Before we get to that though, here’s a quick look at the winners of the Regional Finals and Lower National League Playoffs.
Lower National League Playoffs
Strathy (University of Strathclyde)
North and Scotland
Huddersfield Black Sword (University of Huddersfield)
DMU Team 3 (De Montfort University)
South-West and Wales
Cardiff Welsh Guardians (Cardiff University)
London and Surroundings
Urf Warwick (University of Warwick)
National League Semi-Finals
Grey Warwick vs Cambridge Memers
Grey Warwick were the marginal favourites coming into this best of three having finished top of the National League on points. However, Cambridge were by no means an underdog. First game would seem evidence of that as both teams slugged it out, both failing to gain a telling advantage. Nice moves from both teams, including a slick dragon buff steal from VGT BenJi kept things level. While Warwick had a minor gold lead, it was them who were caught out in the top lane despite dispensing with the Memers’ Soraka. Princephilip and The Headcrusher went down for Warwick, essentially turning the tie on its head, Cambridge were then able to pull ahead and take the win.
The second game was slightly less competitive as Cambridge capitalised on the momentum they’d built in the first. With only lemmewinplz’s Nocturne as a discernible frontline champion, it was imperative for Cambridge to pull ahead in the early game despite their overwhelming amount of disengage tools, a tough task when facing the early pressure BenJi’s Elise. However it was lemmewinplz’s Nocturne which had the better of the early and mid game, able to secure or at least in assist in six of the team’s eight kills in the first fifteen minute of the game. While Warwick held on, Cambridge were able to knock down towers quickly, ending the game at twenty-seven minutes and making them the first team to reach the Grand Final.
The cornerstone of Cambridge’s victory in both matches was Chessbridge, raining damage from afar with Ezreal (7/0/11) in the first game and pulling out Sivir (5/0/13) for a more utility based approach in the second. He was the one shredding the opposition with the help of some immaculate positioning shown by him going deathless over both games. The Memers could always rely on him, particularly in the first game where the game was balanced on a knife edge. Congratulations Chessbridge for earning our MVP award across the tie.
Aston Aunties vs University of Birmingham TCA Storm
Two huge rivals came together in this semi-final, the Aston Aunties having been the ones to sneak the second automatic qualification spot while Storm had been forced to run the gauntlet of the Wildcard Tournament. However, in the National League Week 2 Final, the grudge match had ended in favour of Birmingham, banishing the ghosts of tournaments past. With Birmingham hoping to at least reach second, the teams kicked off.
The first game saw the Aston Aunties, take control of the tie in the early game and midgame, able to amass a 5.5k gold lead by twenty-five minutes. Towers and inhibitors were falling and the onslaught couldn’t be stopped. The game was over in a matter of minutes.
The second game was much more even and perhaps more akin to what viewers had been hoping for. Early pressure from J3T on Gragas paid wonderful dividends for the Aunties, but rather than crumbling, Birmingham were able to hold on and even pull ahead on their Midlands counterparts. It was Birmingham TCA Storm who were able to grab towers more effectively. By thirty-eight minutes they’d secured an inhibitor and both teams were looking towards Baron, Aston to defend and Storm to close the game. As Storm started it, Aston engaged, but the crowd control of Braum and Nautilus was too much to get through, able to zone out the Aston damage dealers. Once their frontline fell, it was left for Storm to clean up as BlueBear on Sivir secured a quadrakill. The score was now 1-1.
In the third and final game, the teams were pretty even going up to the twenty minute mark, though it was Aston who had secured a two tower advantage over Birmingham. However, a fight around the midlane served to lengthen the gap between the two sides, despite the cs advantage for Birmingham’s top and botlane. Matty Triceps’ Lulu was a thorn in Storm’s side participating in all fifteen of Aston’s kills by thirty-five minutes. Despite being caught out around the Baron pit, she bought enough time for the rest of the team to come in and cleanup a Storm team lacking the necessary cooldowns to turn and fight. MSR’s Kalista rained spears from afar and after a short chase onto Daddy’s Nautilus, was able to snag the pentakill. With noone up to protect the base and an inhibitor missing, Aston were able to secure the win and place themselves into the Grand Final.
The MVP for this tie has to go to J3T whose early pressure on both Nidalee and Gragas consistently asked questions of Birmingham in all their games. While this early presence did not transition into a win in the second game, Aston were able to make it count in the others and snowball their leads.
This year we’re hosting the event at ESL’s Studio One which is based more conveniently in Leicester, this is going to be pro level quality and a rare experience to watch esports live in a professional studio with other League of Legends fans. As well as the GAME National Championship Grand Final being played, there is the chance for ten lucky attendees to play on stage in front of the crowd, live on stream.
For more information, follow the link here.
While the GAME National Championship main season won’t be back for a while, there is the post-season Cross-Regional Tournament to look forward to this weekend. Each team will play against three teams, one from each other region. Each game won will earn one point for your region and at the end of the night we will declare the region with the most points this year’s winner.
-James “Nilknarf” Franklin-