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IT’S TIME TO DECIDE THE BEST COLLEGIATE TEAM IN EUROPE.

Get ready for the Summer Break Collegiate Invitational. Four of the best teams from universities across Europe will be facing off in a Riot-organised tournament to crown the best collegiate team on the continent.

The tournament will be over two days. It will feature a day one best-of-one round robin to determine seeding for day two. The second day will involve best-of-three semifinals, immediately followed by a best-of-three grand final to declare the champions who will win a trip to the 2015 World Championship Finals in Berlin.

Without further ado, let’s preview the participating teams and what to expect from them.

REPRESENTING THE UK

Section co-written by Alex ‘Synygy’ Winton.

Nottingham Bears

Representing our very own NUEL will be our 3rd season champions: The Nottingham Bears. The team from the University of Nottingham had a somewhat turbulent season. They started off strong as part of the Super8 but began to struggle towards the end of first term and early second term. This all changed with a jungle-marksman role swap going into the March tournament. From week 2 of that tournament their results speak for themselves: They didn’t drop a single game for the rest of the season, finishing with a 3-0 win in the Grand Finals against championship point leaders Birmingham Storm.

Top Lane: Billy ‘Trashclub Billy’ Card

In the top lane can be found Trashclub Billy, the team’s carry in the top lane. Though preferring high damage champions such as Ryze, Fizz and Irelia, he is perfectly capable of filling a tank role if the team requires it. Look out for Billy getting ahead in the early-mid game so he can hold a large influence over teamfights and objectives.

Jungle: Hal ‘mc hal’ Chadwick

Until Christmas mc hal was the marksman for the team before switching to his current role of jungler. Favouring the supportive-tanky junglers of Sejuani and Gragas that, despite nerfs, are popular in the current meta. Such champions fit well with mc hal’s playstyle of always looking for the engage, but that can sometimes be punished when he makes over-aggressive plays. He synergises well with Trashclub Billy when applying map pressure which can often swing the other half of the map in their favour.

Mid Lane: Vytautas ‘Crownz’ Perliba

Crownz is the mage in the mid lane for the Nottingham Bears. He struggled earlier in the season in the assassin meta but is enjoying the current poke meta. With champions such as Jayce and Ezreal he is showing very strong performances. Poke fits well with his playstyle of being a safe mid laner, he balances his own safety with his capacity to deal damage effectively, which lets mc hal and BearsArePeople pick the engages so he can follow up.

Bot lane: Ben ‘rFi’ Davis (ADC) & Lewis ‘BearsArePeople’ Carter (Support)

The bottom lane for the Bears consists of rFi at marksman(formerly the jungler) and BearsArePeople at support. On its own the lane is the most passive on the team, they almost always look to play it safe and wait for jungle or teleport ganks which inevitably turn it in their favour. BearsArePeople can often be found roaming the river area to establish vision control, sacrificing laning power for vision around mid lane and dragon.

Team Summary:

The Nottingham Bears are definitely a solo lane oriented team when it comes to the laning phase, but if left unchecked their duo lane can create a lot of pressure through vision. Coming out of lane ahead in the mid-game gives them the freedom to make objective plays and rotations when they’re at their strongest. Shotcalling is definitely one of their biggest assets. Into the late game they aren’t afraid to make big calls when behind to claw their way back into the game, but will usually opt to take the safer route if it’s available.

REPRESENTING RUSSIA/CIS

CIS

The team representing Russia/CIS are from the National Aeronautical University (NAU) in Kiev, Ukraine. Team МИКРОКОНТРОЛЬ (Microcontrol). They battled through well over 500 teams to be one of the top 32 teams in the Russia/CIS university ladder to qualify for Season 1 of the University Battles Finals. They continued their winning ways until they found themselves on stage in a concert hall in Moscow facing a team from St Petersburg in the best-of-5 grand finals. Two games in the score was 1-1. Four games in they had won the 500,000 Roubles (approximately £5600) prize and entry to the top-tier of local play, the StarSeries.

Top Lane: Parubenko ‘Bounty’ Eugene

Bounty is a carry from top lane. Commonly found playing Fizz or Hecarim he, at worst will draw huge jungle pressure and still go even. At best he can use his aggressive picks to outfarm and outright kill his laning opponent.

Mid Lane: Eduard ‘Magoose’ Smal

Magoose completely matches the oppressive, aggressive laning of Bounty, except he plays in the mid lane. Of anyone on the team Magoose is the one to get most solo-kills. If he had a job description is could be summarised entirely in the single phrase of “go ham”. Whether it’s on Diana, Yasuo or Fiora (yes you read that correctly), Magoose can be found diving his opponent which, if the opposing jungler catches on before it is too late, often backfires.

Jungle: Maxim ‘Fanky’ Kokhanovsky

Fanky can be found slotting into one of the two main jungler playstyles each game. Either the supportive-tanky jungle style or the early-peaking, gank-heavy jungle style. For the former he can be found on the ever-present pick of Sejuani, while for the latter he leans towards Jarvan IV. With two solo laners with a tendency to pick up kills for themselves he likes to make a home for himself in the bot lane.

Bot Lane: Vlad ‘Kinzu’ Belokon (Marksman) & Lukyanenko ‘Anarchist’ Igor (Support)

Compared to the other lanes, the bot lane is relatively calm. That is until the first gank or teleport down. Then the strong early marksmen such as Graves or Corki alongside the hard engage of a Thresh or Leona explode into action and their opponents either get to safety under their tower or end up waiting to respawn. Anarchist in name, Anarchist in nature.

Team Summary:

Team Microcontrol thrives by having completely dominant lanes and strong playmaking players. They eschew scaling in favour of strong early-mid game compositions and snowball their way to victory from there. The key to defeating this playstyle could involve preventing their overwhelming laning from snowballing. Either with lane-swaps or jungle ganks punishing overextends and forcing them to adapt to a game of objectives and rotations.

REPRESENTING PORTUGAL

portugal

The competitors from Portugal are the team from the Instituto Superior de Egenharia do Porta (ISEP). ISEP are the final team to have qualified for the Collegiate Invitational, having only won the e-University League finals this past Sunday. They fought through a tough tournament of the top 8 teams from Portugal to qualify. Entering the tournament as 4th seed they would end up coming in second place in their group, having lost a close game to the first seed, FEUP. They would fight back to the finals in day 2, ending the tournament in style by getting revenge on FEUP with a 2-0 victory.

Top Lane: Alexandre ‘Truklax’ Nascimento

Continuing the trend, Truklax is yet another top laner who has rejected the tank metagame in favour of more aggressive picks. He doesn’t want to just sit top in a wet-noodle fight and farm, he wants to win his lane. Hecarim and Irelia are his go to champions but he isn’t averse to pulling out Olaf as a counterpick. Having (ideally) then won his lane Truklax is free to make teleport plays, commonly bot lane, to grow the advantage further.

Jungle: Gonçalo ‘Crusher’ Brandão

Crusher is a jungler of wide champion pool and wide pool of playstyles. He can play tanks (Gragas), aggressive gankers (Rek’Sai) and he even threw in a Nunu for one of the games at the weekend. Whatever the team needs, Crusher is well able to fill the role and adjust his playstyle accordingly.

Mid Lane: Rui ‘cabecdeprco’ Rocha

In the mid lane, cabecdeprco can be found playing safe, scaling champions. Orianna and Vladimir are his go to pair, but despite their relative weaknesses early compared to other picks he won’t let them fall behind. In fact it isn’t uncommon for his opponent to find themselves pushed out of lane or outright killed. As a result he reaches his power spikes alongside or before his opponent and is rarely punished for his picks.

Bot Lane: João ‘dransk’ Ramos (Marksman) & Pedro ‘waisLrgn’ Meira (Support)

As with other teams in the tournament, the bot lane is a safe one until it is inevitably thrown into chaos by ganks and teleports. Having said that Dransk and waisL certainly aren’t strangers to getting kills on their own when they run more aggressive pairings (think Corki & Alistar). In support it is undeniable that waisL prefers the tanks of Alistar and Nautilus, but he is perfectly capable of utilising Janna if neither are available. For marksman Corki is the go-to pick, but mixing it up with Tristana or Jinx is something that isn’t uncommon.

Team Summary:

ISEP are a team that run well balanced compositions in terms of scaling and playstyle, it is rare for their picks to have a clear deficiency. They let their strong laning phase carry them to a lead then close out with the efficiency of a skilled team while their opponents have little in the way of comeback opportunities. Their only loss at the national finals came as a result of trying to focus into a specific compositional playstyle (poke) that was lacking (poor disengage) and so their strong early lead fell apart after laning phase. The key to beating them could be for opponents to identify such mistakes in champion select, if ISEP even let’s it happen again.

REPRESENTING TURKEY

Upon the conclusion of the Turkish National University Tournament we sent a highly trained team of spies to gather intel on the winning team, Uludağ University.

Unfortunately we lost contact with the spies shortly after they reported about a troupe of guard kittens. As a result we now suspect that they currently reside in numerous feline stomachs. The only information we were able to extract from them was that the correct terminology for a group of kittens is a kindle.

As such we regret to inform you that there is no intel to report to you regarding the Turkish representatives. Such information remains locked in a vault of adamantium, deep underground. Rumour has it that the vault contains at least one Darkin and no less than two future Martian World Champions. However we cannot confirm these rumours, not least because we suspect there were started by a jellyfish.

All we can confirm is that the Turkish representatives likely have a dark and mysterious past.

Word has it that Riot’s spies have had better luck than our own, you can check out their findings here.

TUNE IN AND WATCH!

Collegiate teams are, nearly without exception, each used to winning through snowballing from a superior laning phase. Now, for the first time, with the top teams from Europe competing none of the teams will be able to rely on that. How will they react? You’ll have to tune in to find out.

The Collegiate Invitation will be running on Tuesday 14th July and Wednesday 15th July. You can tune in to watch from 1pm BST each day on the Riot Games European Twitch channel.

We aren’t biased at all here at the NUEL, so good luck to every team participating (ok maybe a bit more luck aimed towards Nottingham).

~Peter ‘Aezure’ Dakin