The University of California, Irvine took home the trophy today in the League of Legends College Championships. They did so in a dominant fashion, going 3-0 against Columbia College.
UC Irvine commanded not only the finals, but the entire College Championship Tournament. With three members with former professional experience, the games looked fairly one-sided in the finals. Columbia put up a fight in game two, but looked helpless in games one and three.
UC Irvine was favored from the beginning because of their stellar macro play. The team synergy has shown to be strong, and the players able to adapt to different play styles. They had a controlled play style and each individual shone.
The jungle difference defined the first game. UCI Youngbin on Graves was constantly in CC BukZach’s jungle, stealing camps and harassing him.The pressure from his solo laners, Capt Nuke and Descraton, allowed him to snowball. This pressure bled over to the bot lane as well, turning a losing matchup into a winning one.
UCI went into the mid game with a small gold lead of around 2,000. This quickly escalated into a 5,000 gold advantage due to objective control. Stumpey was able to neutralize the Gnar as Cho’Gath, he was never able to stop the pressure. He and Descrator on Swain were almost always in side lanes taking towers and the pressure was immense. After Baron Nashor was secured, UCI played slowly until one final fight. Here Descraton’s Swain got a triple kill, which allowed them to close the game.
This game was more evenly matched, with Columbia fixing issues with their draft. They drafted a winning match up top and a strong engage in Sejuani. For the majority of the game, they did have a lead. The junglers were even and no lanes had insane pressure like before. CC Julien’s Swain was able to pick up a double kill from a failed dive top. CC as a whole was able to keep the pressure up against UCI, but UCI showed that they weren’t going to lay down.
Columbia took the first Baron of the game after catching UCI Youngbin out. They tried to pressure the base of UCI, but ended up not winning a fight bottom and losing a team fight. From here, UCI found their opportunity to take back control. Through great macro play and ability to split Columbia apart, they found fights that brought the gold lead back. After getting a pick on CC EvanRL’s Varus, they secure Baron and cleanly close the game. Columbia showed growth in this game compared to the first, but it wasn’t enough to best UC Irvine’s level-headed play.
Much like the first, game three was decided by immense solo lane and jungle pressure from UCI. A prolonged blue buff invade into CC’s jungle resulted in a first blood for Descraton and the blue buff being stolen by Youngbin. Even though CC Julien was able to get his comfort pick of Orianna, the first blood and a roam from UCI BloodWater shut it down.
UCI Youngbin, with the experience advantage, was able to enable his top and bot lanes for major success. Capt Nuke and Lattman were able to smash their lanes and gain great leads. Once the towers started falling, there was no stopping them. No matter what Columbia tried to do, UCI was able to assert pressure all over the map. The long range poke and siege potential from Jayce, Zoe, and Morgana was too strong, and CC was helpless to fight it. After securing a Baron and three inhibitors, UC Irvine cleanly choked the life out of Columbia and brought down their nexus in 35 minutes.
In these three games, UC Irvine demonstrated that their macro game is at a very high level. Not only this, but their individual talent is impressive as well. Drafting was another strength of theirs, limitng Julien to non-comfort champions and counter picking Stumpey to keep him down. Isaac “Azael” Cummings Bentley commented that UCI looked like the most “pro ready” team in the entire tournament. A high honor for players in the College Championships, and a well deserved one.
To re-watch the games in their entirety, visit https://www.youtube.com/user/LoLChampSeries.
Featured image from LoL Esports and Riot Games.
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