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As a committee member of the University of Birmingham LoLsoc myself I’m always aware that I need to be careful about being biased towards them. But this season the teams are giving me plenty to write about, not least UoB Storm well and truly destroying their “Forever 2nd” curse.

WINTER HAS COME, AND IT’S BROUGHT A STORM WITH IT

When you are talking about UoB you have to start with Storm. The team that was cursed to be “Forever 2nd”. Last season they always seemed to have one team above them, whether it was Cambridge or, the eventual champions, the Nottingham Bears. But so far this season the curse just isn’t holding true at all

After a mixed Qualification week (where they dropped a game to the Aston Aunties) they bounced back going completely undefeated for the rest of the first split. They ended up with a Bo3 rematch in the finals against the team from Aston and they won it 2-0 to win the first split of the season. Could I be sensing a Birmingham rivalry ready to unfold?

I caught up with UoB BlueBear, Captain and AD carry player of the team, after the matches to find out what his thoughts were.

What is it like to finally have won something?

“So naturally we’re all pretty happy to have won something, even if it’s just one split. It feels good because now we know we can do it, but there’s still a long way to go.

There are a couple of strong teams we haven’t yet faced, Portsmouth and Manchester for example. And also to be able to beat the strong teams consistently (like Cambridge and Aston) we’ll have to improve even further.”

What’s changed in the team this year to get you the win?

“The roster this year is looking good. Our old top laner stopped playing, although he subbed for us last week while Rory (Nyx) couldn’t play in the finals, so we got a new player top, who is also new to the Uni this year.

I don’t think top was his main role and with that in mind, he has definitely exceeded expectations and is still improving, so I have high hopes for the rest of the NUEL season but what really counts is is we can maintain our position at the top until the end of the year.”

But that was last week. Things changed this week and when you are at the top the only change is for the worse. Storm won only their first game against the Plymouth Drakes before dropping games to both Huddersfield White (the summer Champions) and the UKC Kittens. To add insult the injury, the Aston Aunties who they beat previously made it into this splits finals and will face Huddersfield White next Sunday.

DON’T FORGET THE OTHER WEATHER PATTERNS

If you haven’t noticed, all the UoB teams are named after weather patterns. Well all of them except those cheeky sods in UoB Birmingham. Regardless I feel it is appropriate to refer to the UoB teams collectively as the Weather Patterns.

It’s not just Storm themselves who rocketed up before dropping down, most of the other Weather Patterns have as well.

Particularly from Qualification Week two statistics stand out:

  • 4 out of the 8 Weather Patterns made it into the National League, the most out of any university.
  • The Weather Patterns had a 75% winrate over 32 games (24 wins 8 losses). 4 out of those 8 losses were against other teams from UoB. If you discount those mirror-matches you get a win record against other universities of 20-4.

Similarly to Storm it has been mostly downhill from there, including Tempest dropping out from the National League. Both Monsoon and Birmingham have also dropped down in the National League after their amazing starts.

Down in the Midlands Regional League Tempest still sit at the top of the region. Thunderstorm, who finished in the top 10 during the Summer Tournament, have slipped down the rankings this week to 19th to the point with Maelstrom now breathing down their neck in 21st. Bringing up the rear in a, still respectable, 39th is Corsair.

Oh and finally, will someone from Bantstorm please tell me what a bantstorm actually is?

HOW DOES THE SOCIETY RUN THINGS?

The University of Birmingham LoLsoc was only officially established last year. While the first year was somewhat chaotic, this year everyone involved knows what they are doing better. Now the society has gotten past it’s growing pains there is a real sense of community amongst the members. I asked BlueBear for his thoughts.

What has the society been doing to organise  teams this year?

“There were lots of new people, to the uni and to the society, so players needed help finding other players. We think it’s great that last year we were able to have like 10 or so teams of varying levels, some of them groups of friends and some more competitive.

So this year we decided we’d put together the top 3 teams from the Uni, to give us the strongest showing possible. For this we got people to put their summoner names, names and roles into a form and I sorted out trials for these 3 teams. When these 3 teams were sorted we created a table for teams who were looking for players, and players who were looking for teams to allow all the players to get onto teams easily.

Now I keep contact with several of the higher ranked teams, and sometimes we scrim, share advice about the new patch etc etc.”

It isn’t just the high ranked teams that scrim though. It seems that every other day teams are scrimming. In fact with all the results posted and streams of scrims you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s for more than bragging rights. In fact the university is holding its own in-house tournament over the next few weeks to settle the ranking disputes. NUEL ranking isn’t taken too much into account and every team wants a chance to overtake the team above them whilst hoping they don’t get upset by the teams chasing them.

Here’s hoping that such a competitive spirit continues to serve the University of Birmingham so well.

If you think that your university should be featured in a spotlight then drop me an email explaining why: aezure@thenuel.com

~Peter ‘Aezure’ Dakin