With the advent of the LCS in the Northern American environment, the other main competitions now serve as exhibition stages for not only the LCS but also teams looking to get into it by May (or July, need to check info). An international showdown was added to still retain some of the MLG-LoL glory, but it was clear that the LCS took central focus.
The crowd was at its lowest during the Promotion Series due to relative lack of interest from the audience and the games’ schedules (early in the morning). The Finals did attract viewership, though, but it can’t compare to the LCS or the International Showdown.
The viewers and the live audience definitely got what they paid for as the LCS matches were exciting (with massive upsets and crisp play from all teams). Top it with an International Exhibition that saw 4 of the best teams in the world fight it out for the Grail and you have a recipe for success.
The Summer Promotion Qualifiers – MLG Slot
Four teams had the chance to contend for a spot in the Summer Qualifiers and they all wanted to warrant their presence in it. Battles were hard-fought between Cloud 9, Dignitas’ B-team, Curse Academy and Velocity Gaming but there had to be one and only one remaining team for that spot.
It was not to be Dignitas B as Cloud9’s poke comp (with AP Support Janna at the helm) constituted an unsolvable problem in itself. Cloud9 also allowed Draven (WildTurtle) to have an opportunity to shine brightly as his duels never failed to captivate the crowd. Ultimately, however, it was a matter of better teamfighting by the Draveneers as they always capitalized on the ones they won to snowball advantages and take objectives, setting up the stage for the poke siege.
It was not to be Curse Academy either. The games could have gone either way if not for Curse Academy being, for a lack of better word, cursed; every time they initiated, they lost their teamfights. Velocity Gaming did try their best at throwing the 2nd game but it did not work as they emerged victorious on the overall series.
One of the two remaining teams (Cloud 9 or Velocity Gaming) was to capture the objective they came for. Despite valiantly fighting, Velocity Gaming was no match to Cloud9’s crisper play and more methodical approach of the game. They marched towards the LCS Summer Qualifier Circuit in a takedown-by-takedown basis, though they did manage to scare themselves in the 2nd game – almost throwing it at dragon, only for it to be thrown harder by Velocity in a repetitive fashion.
There is a lot of work for all teams involved in the tournament to be at the level of play the LCS teams are at. Reducing the number of throws as well as capitalizing on opportunities faster would help greatly in guaranteeing a legitimate spot at the LCS Summer League.
The International Exhibition Invitational
The viewers and attendees were all in it for two things: The LCS and the International Exhibition. The LCS games featured loads of upsets and also set a trend: Dignitas, one of the teams in the invitational, would come up with a no-show. Indeed, not only did they lose their games against Gambit Gaming, they also went for a 1-2 result in the LCS. The Russians swept the series in a methodical fashion despite Scarra trying hard to salvage anything he could with his now-trademark Diana.
Curse Gaming was the only team left from the NA circuit in the tournament. However, with “God jungling for KT-Rolster B” it was just not supposed to happen. It may have been due to the lack of preparation for this match in particular since CRS did shine in the LCS and played the way they should have played against KT-B. Instead, it was the newborn Korean team that snowballed every small advantage they could get. They were not shy to take the 2nd game as CRS gave it to them on a golden platter after a 5v1 chase-turned-bait.
It was up to Gambit Gaming to save the day against the Korean takeover on the MLG circuit. Gambit Gaming had a bye on the EU LCS, meaning they could show up in this Invitational and get more experience against Korean and NA teams.
Things looked extremely bleak for them on Game 1, though, as KT-B was all over the place. Their ganks were successful and they capitalized on them to take objectives. Gambit’s fighting spirit did hold them in it a bit longer, but it was not meant to be.
The Russians, though, unleashed the Thresh Prince on Game 2. Coupled with Kayle, Kha’Zix, Udyr and Kog’Maw, Edward was not shy on forcing plays. It was Game 1 upside down as, this time, Gambit Gaming was the team with the almost-flawless execution. This notion was in a flagrant display as one of Edward’s Thresh Hooks ™ resulted in a 4-0 in favor of Gambit. KT-B was not Gambit, they did not desperately hold onto it.
It all came down to Game 3. Two noteworthy events shaped the game’s events: The Thresh ban from KT-B, combined with KTB InSec selecting one of the jungling characters he is famous for (Zed). Gambit Gaming played in a crisp manner but it was clear that InSec was on another plane of existence altogether. By engineering otherworldly plays, he allowed KT-B to have a fighting chance despite their turrets falling at an alarming rate. It all came together for the ever-patient KT-B as they not only prevented Gambit from doing Baron after a teamfight, they also took it for themselves. From then onwards, it was KT-B’s game to lose. To lose, they did not, as GG Darien (Renekton)’s impatience (due to getting poked down) cost his team the game. Of course, the Russians were not to lose the game immediately; in true Gambit fashion, they delayed the end by a dozen of minutes.