January 17th marked the return of the UK League Championship or the UKLC, and what an explosive beginning it was! Huge team fights, comebacks and even the season’s first Pentakill, it’s been nothing short of eventful.
Let’s take a quick look back at Week 1 of the UKLC and what’s in store for the week ahead.
We kicked off day with the first match of the 2021 Spring Season, with Demise taking on the re-promoted Bulldog Esports. Despite Bulldog’s dominant 3-0 win over NerdRage in the promotion match, expectations were not high for this team. Bulldog however flipped those doubts on its head and mauled our resident reapers, with toplaner Hachi’s impressive solo-kills on Rifty being a big highlight of the match. 1-0 to break Bulldog’s 0-14 season last summer.
Game 2 saw defending champions NVision Esports take on Enclave. Enclave started off and continuously put pressure on their opponents through the early and mid game, but NVision patiently waited for their chance. They had set up botlaner Spark to carry the game...and carry he did. The only thing everyone remembers vividly is Hiprain’s yell of ‘PENTAKILL’ as NVision go 1-0.
Resolve and MNM Academy certainly was a tense affair. One of the more anticipated matches of the day, MNM were not intimidated by Resolve’s perceived strength and went in the game fearlessly, even out teamfighting Resolve at several points and leading the game in kills and gold. But it was not meant to be, and Resolve true to their namesake, bit back hard in the late-game and sealed a hard-earned victory.
The final match of the day was a north vs south match between Barrage Academy and London Esports. Barrage came in with a point to prove and picked up a number of early kills. But as the game drew on, London showed much more composure and coordination in the ensuing teamfights. With Beeley’s Lucian and DenVoksne’s Jhin constantly shedding Barrage’s frontlines, it’s a victory for the south this time around.
Day 2 started off with Resolve vs Enclave, with Resolve looking to further their lead and Enclave looking for their first win. The game went on mostly even, each team taking kill for kill, turret for turret. But soon Resolve’s “Press R” composition as quoted from caster Hiprain started to come online, and teamfight after teamfight, Resolve pulled ahead. Despite a Pentakill for Enclave, it was not enough. Resolve goes 2-0 going into Week 2.
The second game in Barrage Academy against Bulldog Esports was mostly an even game, kills traded for turrets and so forth but Bulldog had obtained the Ocean Soul. Despite a clutch Elder Drake steal by Barrage, Bulldog then aced them in the ensuing Baron fight at 33 minutes to close the game. Toplaner Hachi’s Aatrox was a menace again, will he get it next week?
Up next we had MNM Academy against Demise. Both teams sat at 0 wins from Day 1, and this was their chance. It was mostly a quiet affair until a Baron contest at 24 minutes swung the pendulum squarely into MNM’s court. Unfortunately for Demise, the pendulum never swung back. MNM used their Baron Buff decisively and closed the game six minutes later.
The final game of the day would be another fiery affair between London Esports and NVision Esports. London started off strongly while NVision were content to put their eggs in the ‘Sparks basket’ again and play it patient. As the game drew on, NVision won all the crucial teamfights at the dragon pit, and that was enough. NVision go 2-0 and reminded the UKLC why they are the defending champions.
Preview for Week 2
Three 2-0 teams, two pentakills and one week later we enter Week 2 of the UKLC! Bulldog, NVision and Resolve lead the standings at 2-0, and while Resolve will play London (1-1) and Barrage (0-2) to see if they can maintain their lead, the big match will be between Bulldog vs NVision on Day 2. Of course, this is assuming they win their respective matches on Day 1, since it means only one team continues their streak.
Other teams at 1-1 like London and MNM have looked decent even in the games they lost and are looking to bounce back, but they face Resolve and Bulldog respectively next week. The rest of the teams at 0-2 will have to pick themselves up and adapt quickly. Barrage especially, since they play both Resolve and NVision.
With that in mind, it’s only the first week of UKLC and if it’s anything like last season, it will be a fight to the finish. Which match are you most excited to see? Let us know on Twitter!