The end of round 1 starts to see the dust settle from the blowing winds of change across the GamesXP Championship stage. The first half of competition is coming to a close, before week 6 begins everyone’s second set of matches. These weeks saw several players step up to the plate when it counted — along with the crushing downfall of others, to the point of teams disbanding going forward. Some newcomers are also on their way into the league.. I’m here once again to take a look at the state of affairs and walk you through the preliminary steps towards closing the first half of first bloods, setting the stage for round 2.
NOTE: Regardless of objective standings based on record, this article will attempt to rank the 10 teams based on their performance and potential taking the weeks into consideration and looking towards future weeks, based entirely around my (the writer's) personal opinion.
10. Atlas e-Sports (0-9) [NEW!]
Elyon Gaming has come and gone, and in their place will rise a new challenger, Atlas e-Sports. Led by Slushie, the team has absorbed their 0-9 record and look to pave an entirely new path going into the second round of competition. Understanding the terms going in is either a sign of confidence or a fool’s gambit, but shuffling in an entirely new roster can certainly throw a kink in the works heading towards playoffs. They will have to prove themselves from the get go; their first week features a match against the Furious Gentz and White Lotus. A perfect check against the bottom and top of the spectrum — we’ll have to see how the new organization performs.
9. Furious Gentz (1-8) [+1]
The Furious Gentz remain furious, but the fire of their fury has dulled quite a bit. It looked to begin with a roar at the start, taking on the undefeated White Lotus and boasting a new roster that showed promise. Game 1 granted Songless his Morgana pick and saw him successfully keeping the Lotus’ mid laner Fuji on his heels, bolstered by Prophetikos opening a path to early game on a Gragas jungle. Super Scyther took a gamble in the top lane, bringing an Urgot pick with Ignite into Fresh Burger’s Sion, doing everything he could to try and secure an early kill to get ahead. Unfortunately, the gambit did not pay off, and Furious Gentz quickly saw defeat. A quicker game 2 loss was on the horizon, as SCommander first picked Lucian to pluck it away from Aetherial, but quickly finding defeat at the hands of his Jhin. Prophetikos still shined in this game, finding early kills on a Kindred pick and trying to quickly make moves to push the game forward, but the team found themselves soundly dominated.
The team had to lick their wounds and immediately move on, with their match against the Purple Cobras just hours later. The first game of this match saw a lot better moves made, with Songless giving way for Prophetikos to run rampant on a new Olaf pick, bullying down Frission in the mid lane to open up a lot of objectives while SCommander held his own on Ezreal, finding an early kill in lane and staying far from fights that looked to bring the team to life. Unfortunately, they were handled as the game went on, with the cohesive Cobras striking them down and outmaneuvering them in key teamfights. Game 2 saw a couple switch-ups. SCommander and 5moothie decided to take the bird duo out for a test flight, and SCommander saw a great performance on Xayah, with 5moothie looking at ease on the Rakan pick that engaged several key fights. Prophetikos dialed back his aggression on a Sejuani jungle this game, with Songless moving to Malzahar to add a bit of lockdown to their composition and let their commander fly free. The mistake, however, came back in the drafting phase. Swapping a ban from game 1, the team decided to leave Renekton open in the draft, giving top laner Synchogazer his prime champion pick. Super Scyther took the challenge head on, running a comfort pick of his own in Camille and once again bringing Ignite to try and challenge an early lead over the Cobras’ pillar of consistency. Once again, a gambit that came to fruition, as push came to shove and pushed him over. The Cobras took the second game and the series, leaving the Gentz in another 0-2 hole.
Week 5 turned out to be the glimmer of hope for the team, as their second wind and first win came in their previously 0-8 brother in Elyon Gaming. A swift 2-0 was what they delivered, with both games brought on the back of Songless flexing entirely new champion picks in Ziggs and Ahri, with game 2 putting the full destructive power of Super Scyther’s Teemo on display, shrooming through the enemy team and devastating the mid game before anything could come together. With this game, Super Scyther departs from the Gentz in lieu of new top laner Skylanceer, and moving forward the team is looking to start their shake up going into round 2. Keep eyes on captain Songless as he diversifies his mid lane champion picks to send a challenge to all teams above. Renewed with at least one win going forward, they have Elyon’s replacement Atlas e-Sports in their sight next week as well as Red Dusk esports.
8. Reign of Kings (3-6) [NEW!]
The second team coming into the scene follows in the footsteps of the previous team Impulse. The Reign of Kings absorb a 3-6 record going into the second round. Captains Belthasar and Ajjat have rounded up an aggressive crew that looks to take the tournament by storm — placed in a compromising position near the bottom of the standings, they look to make a quick climb upward. The league will prove to be no slouch; their first week will pit them against tough opponents in Purple Cobras and No F’s Given. We will see in just one week whether this team came to bring a new level of competition to the playing field. Will the Kings rise to their throne?
7. No F’s Given (5-4) [-4]
No F’s Given fell from grace over the course of these two weeks. With a win granted from the disbanded Impulse team, their two games were both crushing losses to Phoenix Rising and White Lotus. Their set against Phoenix Rising saw a substitute support and a new acquisition in the top lane — sprinkle m silly makes his third move from Phoenix Rising to Furious Gentz and now to No F’s Given. Tasked with coming to bat against a refreshed Phoenix Rising roster, they crumbled. CanadianChamp and zayfray met head-on with very similar team play styles, typically centered around their bot lane marksmen Neutrinx and RW Arrow. But Arrow and crew were burned in a pair of sub-30 minute losses, although game 2 saw an aggressive performance from sprinkle’s Pantheon in the top lane, putting out an incredible amount of damage in the game but overall crumbling to TPR’s airtight early game transition.
NFG was left no breathing room going into week 5, as their match for the week was White Lotus. To make matters worse, Arrow was unavailable for game 1, forcing a substitute to be used and finding the team picked apart by the super team. Game 2 saw Arrow’s return, bringing an Ashe pick into tow as he looked to put his team on the board for the week. The attempt was unsuccessful, the team falling under 25 minutes this time. A disappointing end of the round will carry into the future of No F’s Given, but the team has to lift their heads and look forward going into the second round. The playing field is still volatile, with the team sitting at the bottom of a 4-way tie among 5-4 record teams. But the team will hardly have time to recover as the start of round 2 pits them against White Lotus once again, along with newcomer team Reign of Kings, boasting yet another difficult week for the team scrambling together to gather around their AD Carry and score up a win.
6. SKIZM e-sports (5-4) [-1]
Oh, SKIZM.. No team experienced such a roller coaster of ups and downs as much as this team through these two weeks, and four games were on their lineup to be played, getting to show off quite a variety of play from this team and their shifting, shuffling roster. ImaSealeo returned to their match against Full Send Gaming, looking to set the tone of things as SKIZM was retaining their footing. The first game saw a strong showing from the SKIZM crew as Deelun rolled out his Draven pick, with bold moves across the map that ripped a huge hole in the top side of Full Send Gaming’s base, exposing an inhibitor early and looking to capitalize into an early win. Unfortunately, Full Send kept their game together and Deelun found himself under the boot of numerous Pantheon ultimates from Left Hook Larry, along with ImaSealeo being denied his aggressive Akali plays from the likes of Anivia zoning and numerous Thresh hooks. Pushing a slow grind into a defeat, SKIZM drafted up for game 2, putting Deelun on his comfortable Ahri pick in the mid lane, with ImaSealeo shifting down to bot lane on a Caitlyn pick. The game stayed at a chill pace for quite a while, with action finally exploding at the 20 minute mark to tip the scales heavily in Full Send Gaming’s favor, with a long skirmish in the bot lane that gave a chance for Mement0 to open mid lane with a Rift Herald — a move that SKIZM never truly recovered from. With their objectives burned down and fights swinging into FSG’s favor, SKZ saw a quick game 2 defeat.
Their next match was the twice rescheduled clash with the Purple Cobras, also ushering in the major retool of the SKIZM lineup. The bot lane was drafted out, and new ADC and support Carmony and backpack were brought in tow. Mávèríck returned to the scene, previously absent in week 3 and looking to make a strong showing with his return. Gødyr came to play in game 1, reminding the Cobras why his Evelynn pick is something to be feared, coupled with the new ADC taking flight with Xayah and putting the Cobras’ substitute ADC on his back heel for the entirety of the game, with the pair of them stealing the show and dominating game 1, with newcomer backpack sporting a nearly 100% kill participation on an unexpected Soraka pick. Game 2 shifted picks away from the norm, with Deelun looking to show up on a Talon pick and Gødyr flexing a Nidalee that had run circles around Elyon Gaming in a previous set. The early game picks and plays were shut down in full, and Mávèríck found his Sion pick turned on him by Synchogazer in the top lane with aggressive effect — the team was dealt a crippling loss with only 3 kills picked up in a span of 30 minutes. The Pass The Sion mini-game continued into Game 3, falling back into Mávèríck’s hands, with Deelun rotating his champion pool and pulling a Ryze pick to tackle the Cobras head on. Once again, the fresh bot lane duo of Carmony and backpack would take charge of the game, domineering an early lead on Tristana and once again taking Soraka to give the marksman a clear shot at decimating the enemy’s frontline, as the Cobras attempted to shut them down in full with a barrage of backline pick-offs such as Brand and Xerath. Mávèríck, Deelun, and Carmony all rode through to the end with only 1 death apiece, securing a victory on the long-awaited match.
Elyon Gaming was the next match to tackle, and more roster swaps were inbound for the crew. Gødyr saw himself out of the jungle in favor of newcomer Perona Obsession, and the support role door revolved back to laxin85, a member who hadn’t seen play since SKIZM’s second week in the tournament. Notorious for his Morgana play, it was respectfully banned away from him for the duration of the set. Their gameplay looked airtight as they took on Elyon Gaming, whose roster had been set in stone for some time and taking on their early gameplay head on. Laxin’s return proved valuable; the protection his Tahm Kench provided Carmony let him shine alongside Deelun flexing his Akali pick for the Elyon crew to get sent running to a quick defeat. Likewise, Mávèríck and Perona Obsession were able to flourish on Shen and Kayn, scoring the highest kill participations of the game, easily finding their way into teamfights and aggressively setting plays up for the rest of the team. Game 2 saw more of the same song and dance, with laxin switching to a more aggressive Brand support to keep the pressure up on Elyon for Carmony to tear through the early game transition, his Xayah proving deadly as he would end the game 12/0/5, plucking numerous kills through Perona Obsession’s hyper aggression on Jax — along with brutal ultimates from Mávèríck’s Ornn that rang through Elyon Gaming’s roster without much of a fight. They secured the win and looked to climb to the top of the standings, now sitting at 5-3.
Their week 5 match found them faced against Phoenix Rising, a team on a meteoric tear through the league since their roster changes, looking to match them blow for blow at the end of the day. IE Eurotas and Stevenator joined the roster for the jungle and mid laner for this match, rounding out what would be the starting roster for SKZ. Their first game looked promising, with Stevenator pulling a very strong showing on Galio in the mid lane, dealing a monstrous amount of damage and making his presence known all across the map. Unfortunately, the Phoenixes rallied together and surrounded their marksman Neutrinx to out-pressure and overpower SKZ into a slugfest win. Game 2 slid quickly out of SKIZM’s control as TPR continued to implement their game plan, their new permanent top laner Aleskander leaving Mávèríck on his back heel in tandem with mid laner Kaze64 to take an early lead and remove SKZ’s ability to play the game with a devastating engage comp from Kennen and Zed. The game 2 loss came quickly, and the team found itself sitting at 5-4 going into round 2. After an almost endless revolving door of roster changes and substitutions, SKIZM e-sports is looking to find its footing going into the second round. For a team of highs and lows, we will immediately get to see if they can bounce back to their highs — their rematches with Full Send Gaming and Team Phoenix Rising are first up on their plate. Expect much more than a scrap from one of the most volatile teams the league has to offer.
5. Red Dusk Esports (5-4) [-3]
Red Dusk Esports took a tumble downward this week as well, their only ‘win’ achieved being a markup win from the disbanded Impulse team. The week kicked off with a match against Full Send Gaming, looking to set the team up on their feet as they brought in new top laner jaanmj. The first game saw complications from the get-go, with support yay yay 123 on the bad end of some connection issues that strained the team’s early game, quickly being capitalized on by FSG along with constant jungle pressure that put both solo laners on their heel. KTA MID flexed a new Vel’Koz pick against ChrizMeister’s standard control mage style, but eventually the team found themselves defeated. Pops Fry Cook came in for game 2 to take over the support role, but the team was not able to make adaptations necessary to take on Full Send, as prepared as they were. Game 2 saw the team crushed with no towers and only 3 kills to speak of, terrorized by a Volibear jungle pick that overpowered the team in the early game and led to their near-immediate defeat. A hard loss to start off with, but Red Dusk has been known for their star moments.
Their next match of week 4 was against Team Phoenix Rising. Owner and substitute Random Sync stepped into the marksman role in place of Funeste at the start of the series, looking to fill a very large pair of shoes for the team who found him at the head of many of their victories. With KTA moving to the bot lane for game 1, the team found themselves at the mercy of the Phoenixes, putting their bot lane on display as RDE found themselves on a leash from a sudden Zyra pick. Game 2 returned KTA to his MID and put Random Sync in the ADC role again, returning with renewed fire as KTA brought Akali into the mix. The entire team would band together for an incredibly strong showing, though, but ISmellAPig stole the show with a Kayn pick that tore through the early game transition, opening up a path for everyone on the team to shine in teamfights that shoved TPR in and shut them down. KTA and Random Sync ended with 13/2/10 and 8/1/7 score lines, along with Pops Fry Cook bringing a massive 75% kill participation on his Alistar, bringing a strong second wind to the team as they delved into game 3. To add to matters, Funeste was returning for game 3, looking to ride the energy the team was bringing off of a very clean win. KTA flexed his Akali pick once again, bolstered by Funeste getting his signature Kai’Sa pickup. Unfortunately, it would be the Phoenixes that get the last laugh, as Funeste found himself on the heel of the Xayah/Rakan combo, and enemy jungler CanadianChamp turned up the heat to get TPR’s mid laner rolling on Yasuo. With one tower to their name, Red Dusk found the wind knocked out of their sails once again, a close set wrenched from their hands.
Moving forward, the road looks uncertain for the team of vagabonds. Funeste is leaving the team on account of ranking past the league’s cap, and his replacement in C9 Cheesecake enters the scene fresh into round 2. The new bot laner will be immediately put to the test, of course — their rematch with Team Phoenix Rising is immediately over the horizon, along with a clash with the Furious Gentz. Another team of ups and downs, look to see Red Dusk pick themselves up and carve their own path going forward.
4. Full Send Gaming (5-4) [+2]
Full Send Gaming came off of a strong week 3 and looked to continue their roll through the league, looking to make a statement with three matches that were all no slouches. SKIZM was first up, their roster not yet swapped up and looking to take on Full Send as a cohesive unit. The first game looked to start on shaky ground, with Full Send committing to a fight in the bot lane that opened up every one of their top lane turrets to the inhibitor by the 15 minute mark. This deficit wouldn’t hold for long, though, as midgame transitioned into several fights found by the loving hook of PheenixDC’s treasured Thresh pick, several catches that started fights on a moment’s notice, leading to more R-button-to-death moments from the familiar combo of Left Hook Larry’s Pantheon jungle and Snypet’s Miss Fortune. The two boasted the most damage dealt to champions by far, both over 22k with the next highest around 15k. The team wrestled back control of the game from their early losses, cutting them down and ending the game in convincing fashion, with ChrizMeister on his comfort Anivia pick going 7/0/5, both deathless and farming above 10 CS per minute in the process. Game 2 saw a much more calculated approach, with Mement0 delivering the bomb to SKIZM as they committed heavily to a teamfight in the bot lane that PheenixDC stole with death-defying kill pickups off of chaining Pyke ultimates, leaving the top laner on Gangplank to clear out tower after tower and blow a hole through SKIZM’s objectives that they could never recover from. A definitive 25 minute win came for FSG, starting them off well going into week 4.
Red Dusk Esports was the next team in their sights. A favorable drafting phase put more of the same locked and loaded comfort picks into Full Send’s hands, and they came full salvo at Red Dusk, ChrizMeister, Snypet, and PheenixDC sent a reminder to the team that their core of Anivia, Miss Fortune, and Thresh remained unbreakable as ever, with ChrizMeister dwarfing the game’s damage once again, alongside Mement0 flexing his favored Ornn pick, shutting down hopes for Red Dusk’s new top laner jaanmj to flourish. Red Dusk scrambled to ban away so many picks that made their life rough in the last game, but Full Send Gaming has proven time and time again to be a team with several adaptive picks that still compliment their playstyle just as well. With 3 of Left Hook Larry’s top champions sniped away from him, his next pick still showed more of his early game aggression in Volibear. ChrizMeister made the horizontal move to Orianna with his Anivia pinched away, and Snypet got to see his Miss Fortune through the draft phase once again. The bear came up big, with a quick game seeing 20 kills for the team and Left Hook Larry packing a 90% kill participation to snowball his team to a landslide victory, solidifying a second win for the team and sending a message that their ability to come together in the mid game and flex the strength of their tried and true team compositions was becoming something for every team to fear.
Week 5 saw a battle at the summit, with Full Send Gaming taking on the Purple Cobras. The Cobras were finally set with their full roster, and Full Send was on a tear that threatened to secure a clean sweep. The Cobras brought a beefy lineup to the first game to try and bolster their defenses for bot laner Tomato Farmer to shine on a Kai’Sa pick, but Full Send Gaming proved again that early game aggression was in the cards and stacking their deck would punch holes through the Cobras’ iron defense. Left Hook Larry found himself on Nocturne again, securing Ornn and Miss Fortune for the classic R-to-victory trigger finger compositions they’ve scorched teams with in the past 3 weeks. To boot, ChrizMeister brandished a Taliyah pick from his swiss army knife of control mages. This game would see a classic Full Send Gaming dismantling, with Left Hook Larry making aggressive plays to stifle the enemy jungler and leave laners second guessing every move. Mement0 shined like a beacon in this game, matching damage dealt to champions with Snypet despite several Bullet Times clearing through multiple members of the Cobras throughout the 37 minute climb. ChrizMeister ended with a 12/1/14 scoreline, moving around the map and securing plays to inevitably end the game in convincing fashion. Game 2 saw a shift in the Cobras’ draft, taking away Snypet’s prized Miss Fortune and pulling away Left Hook Larry’s Pantheon and Nocturne to boot, setting him back on Volibear as the Cobras drafted into much more comfortable champions on their own. The game took a sharp tone very early on, and even with PheenixDC on his Thresh, the entirety of the team was taken to Hook City, finding numerous engages off of their terms against Desolate Earth’s Blitzcrank. Drafting much less tankier than their standard with Mement0 on Gangplank, the team was caught entirely off guard and could hardly hold their base together before falling to the Cobras’ pick power. Game 3 put the team back on their proper footing, gunning into another R-you-to-death composition as Snypet’s Miss Fortune returned alongside Mement0’s Ornn, now with Left Hook Larry brandishing a Rengar pick to take the frontline and pose a hyper-aggressive threat in the middle of all the AoE chaos his team brought to the field. A Full Send Gaming draft that looked textbook in the eyes of anyone used to seeing their coordination come together and blow away enemy teams not as prepared. Unfortunately, the early game aggression got turned on them, with Leona and Xin Zhao coming from the side of the Cobras to make early plays and put Left Hook Larry at a deficit, with Mement0 locked in combat in the top lane once again with Synchogazer’s Sion. Full Send found the heat turned up, and couldn’t get their composition to click in time before they were overrun by the Cobras crew. The set fell out of Full Send Gaming’s hands after a strong game 1 showing, and they end the first round at 5-4.
Their last set has shown where the holes in the rising stars are being exposed. Seemingly unstoppable for weeks, Full Send Gaming now find themselves in analysis, but there’s no doubt that the numerous strong showings they’ve made will come to fruition in time, and prove that all holes are patchable. Look to see more of the same solid team fighting and laser point aggression from the team as they head into round 2, with an imminent rematch against Purple Cobras as well as SKIZM e-sports.
3. Purple Cobras (6-3) [+1]
The Cobras put venom back in their fangs this week. Four games were on their lineup between weeks 4 and 5, so they would be running the gauntlet to find their placement this week. Their first match pit them against Furious Gentz. The team found themselves taking steps backwards early on, with Frission weathering a storm in the mid lane from continuous ganks and dives from the Gentz’ jungler, Prophetikos. The team pressed through a short-lived early game backpedal, and every other member of the Cobras came through with only 1 death, the martyr mid laner still pulling ahead with top damage to champions as his Syndra pick would wreak havoc once more. Game 2 saw comfort picks falling into the team’s hands, as Synchogazer was gifted his Renekton top lane with enemy top laner Super Scyther challenging it with a Camille pick up, bringing Ignite for a head-to-head clash as he looked to bring down the star top laner. Likewise, Friction was granted his comfort Jax pick a second time in a row, bringing the staff down onto the Gentz with devastating success as the pair dove into fight after fight, making light work of the Gentz with Frission controlling the pace of the fight from afar on Veigar, once again escaping with the most damage dealt and a commanding 9/4/11 scoreline.
The twice-rescheduled match with SKIZM e-sports was next in line. Unfortunately, Tomato Farmer was nowhere to be found for the match. The team brought in their substitute ADC, Black Rósë, for the first time. Unfortunately, SKIZM’s new marksman in Carmony turned out to be an overwhelming force, flexing his Xayah pick and leaving the sub ADC dusted, with Frission’s Lux keeping up in damage dealt but unable to secure kills against the beefy SKIZM crew, leading to a very quick game 1 loss. Game 2 saw the Cobras pick up their pace, with Frission leading the pack on Syndra and the team as a whole looking for early aggression to be their guide — Desolate Earth controlled the bot lane with a Brand support pick while Friction took to his tried and true Kayn to make a shakeup of SKIZM’s defense. Synchogazer continued his turn of Pass The Sion with SKIZM’s top laner, making an equally impressive showing as the team only dropped 3 deaths to the SKIZM crew, finding the keys to success to enable their substitute marksman to find his footing in the team. Game 3 saw more of the same picks fall in tow, with Desolate Earth looking to put on another show with his Brand and Friction taking his Kayn for a runback. SKIZM took their turn in Pass the Sion, handed to Mávèríck as Synchogazer tried to answer with an Ornn. Unfortunately, shades of game 1 haunted the team again as Frission put out a colossal amount of damage on Xerath — 27,000, the most damage dealt to champions in game by either team. But the bot lane proved to be the lynchpin, as enemy ADC Carmony ran away with the game on Tristana this time, with the Cobras unable to recover and dropping the third game along with the set. Unfortunate circumstances aside, the Cobras pressed forward.
Elyon Gaming was their next match. Game 1 showed off a dominant performance, as Synchogazer and Frission were both granted access to their dominant Renekton and Ahri picks, with the rest of the team broadening their roster on slightly less conventional picks. The solo laners cleaned the game in typical fashion, brushing the lower end team out of game 1 and into a game 2 draft that saw more of the same. With Synchogazer comfortably on the croc again, Frission took a cheeky play from another’s book and ran an AP Malphite in the midlane, proving explosive as he detonated his way into Elyon’s backline and crushed their hopes of making their way into the game, ending the game 8/0/12 on the back of a dominant performance.
With two wins notched under their belt, their week 5 match found them pit against Full Send Gaming. All things considered, the two teams were matched up fairly even — both teams were 5-3 going into the game with relatively similar wins and losses to previous teams, both teams had a consistent gameplan that revolved around their roaming mid laner and playmaking jungler creating a lot of early game chaos, along with supports notorious for their hookers. In practice, it turned out to be the differences that would create a rift; Synchogazer and Tomato Farmer were very often heralded players for their solo prowess, opening up plays by themselves and creating strong early leads to be broad shoulders for their teammates to springboard off of — in contrast, Mement0 and Snypet were very often the catalyst to strong 5-on-5 teamfights that consistently saw the two at the forefront of coordinated engages and the overwhelming backline DPS, respectively. This disparity would lead to their game 1 loss; ChrizMeister’s Taliyah outmaneuvered Frission’s Lissandra to every fight and Mement0’s Ornn ults set up for clean Bullet Times from Snypet’s Miss Fortune, hardly giving the Cobras an inch to retaliate in most fights. Game 2 had to bring change, and it certainly did — the Hook City Showdown would be brought to light as Desolate Earth returned to his Blitzcrank pick, picked right into the face of PheenixDC’s signature Thresh. With Friction and Frission on Kayn and Syndra, and Synchogazer allowed to make another pass on Sion, the Cobras were looking for their playmakers to come in strong. Lo and behold, they did just that — Desolate Earth made a monstrous impact from start to finish, sending the hand of fate through fight after fight and yanking Full Send Gaming right out of position and into the grinder, ending on a horrifying 7/1/16 scoreline and 80% kill participation, seizing victory alongside Frission’s clean Syndra stun combos. Game 3 saw the Kayn taken away as an early catalyst to success, but the Cobras had a new plan in mind. With Synchogazer remaining on the Sion, it was the bot lane of Tomato Farmer and Desolate Earth that suddenly kicked up their lane aggression to 10. The pair locked in Lucian and Leona, looking to dominate and kick down the door of Full Send’s calculated Miss Fortune/Braum pair and shut them down before they could get their composition online — with the looming threat of Miss Fortune, Braum, Orianna, and Ornn ultimates and a lurking Rengar, the team put all of their chips in early domination as their key to success. Friction came up big on Xin Zhao, securing early kills that put Tomato Farmer far enough ahead to run and gun through fights and keep every Full Send damage dealer under his heel for the duration of the early to mid game transition. Desolate Earth went on an absolute rampage, finding several multi-man Leona ults from all angles, ending with a 3/1/15 scoreline to compliment his carry’s 8/0/5 KDA. The team’s laners shut down Full Send before they could come to fruition, and the set win went to the Cobras.
The Purple Cobras have broken the mold laid out by previous weeks moving forward; no longer do opposing teams only view Synchogazer as the sole threat, carrying deadly executions on Renekton. Every individual member of the Cobras has shown to break through into stellar performances, and picking them apart as a whole is difficult when so many players have dodged target bans into a continuously adaptive pool of champions. The Cobras have to prove themselves once again versus Full Send Gaming next week, as well as a clash with the all new team Reign of Kings to show that the resilience of a team making a strong showing for the top of the standings is not to be taken lightly.
2. Team Phoenix Rising (6-3) [+5]
It’s a good day to be a Phoenix. Since the roster acquisition of Darquesse in the support role and the stabilization of Aleskander and Kaze64 in the top and mid lanes respectively, Team Phoenix Rising has been on a warpath through the league. Previously a team struggling to meet ends with other teams scraping the bottom of ranks, the team has spread its wings and soared to a top 3 spot earned by multiple dominant performances. No F’s Given was the first team in their path in Week 4, with sprinkle m silly departed from the TPR roster and now facing the team down as NFG’s top laner. The Phoenixes answered in turn, with Kaze64 finding an explosive early lead on Ekko that let him spread chaos in skirmishes that NFG couldn’t recover from. Neutrinx, with Darquesse in tow, looked to send a message to RW Arrow that there was a clear challenger for the top ADC spot in the league, taking an early lead on Tristana and smashing through the game. They would cement that message into NFG’s mind with the second game, with Kaze64 stealing the show on a sneaky Zed pick that picked off targets left and right, with incredible focus on the bot lane for Neutrinx to explode onto the scene, taking his Tristana for a second ride and being accompanied by CanadianChamp on a Diana jungle pick that put on an unexpected amount of early pressure, diving into fights fearlessly that led the team to a convincing set win.
Red Dusk Esports was their next set. Game 1 moved at a quick pace, starting to become the team’s very normal identity of pure early domination to choke the other teams out of being able to fight back. CanadianChamp brought out a Warwick pick that has thus far only been seen by the likes of him, while Neutrinx looked to be finding comfort on the Tristana pick once again — but it was Darquesse the stole the show on a Zyra support pick, making an explosive entrance into several early fights that garnered her the highest damage dealt to champions on a one and a half item mage. The 21 minute victory looked to spell a quick 2-0 for the team, but Red Dusk adjusted going into game 1 and brought a new round of picks out for the TPR crew to manage. Most notably, ISmellAPig tore a path for the team on a Kayn pick that dominated the game in damage dealt, shutting down Kaze64’s bold Yasuo pick and preventing him from playing the game as KTA MID’s Akali maneuvered around his crewmates’ tanks and picked the team apart one by one. Red Dusk seemed to find the answer to the Phoenixes early strength by collapsing for early fights and out-muscling them — but like any birds of prey, TPR would once again rise to the challenge. Red Dusk looked fierce out of the gates, bringing a Rengar pick from ISmellAPig as he looked to double down on his early aggression that got his team ahead before, but CanadianChamp shut him down with an Amumu pick that made plays and set up moves for the powerhouse bot lane to come through on the devastating Xayah/Rakan combo. Kaze64 took another gamble on his Yasuo pick — paired with clutch engages from Darquesse’s Rakan, he found incredible success this time around, ending with a 11/2/12 scoreline and the most damage dealt to champions on the scrappy swordfighter, cleaning through Red Duck and securing their second win for that week.
The TPR roster looked stronger than ever as they went into their week 5 matchup with SKIZM e-sports, another team most recently rebuilt, leaving a lot of up in the air speculation about how they would match up with the up and coming stars of the Phoenixes. And yet, by now the team was ironclad in their setup. Game 1 saw the feathered duo fall into TPR’s hands once again, and bolstered by an Amumu and Ornn frontline, it was becoming more and more apparent what kind of teams that the team could draft up, with Neutrinx having a defensive core and Kaze64 running chaotic aggression on a Kassadin pick — the ADC dealt 35,000 damage over the course of the 31 minute game, over 40% of his team’s damage as they rallied around him to prove unbreakable. Game 2 saw the show stolen in an entirely new way; Aleskander finally burst onto the scene, breaking away from his sturdy tank picks in the top lane and running straight into enemy lines with a fresh Kennen pick. Neutrinx hardly found himself involved in the game as the top laner solidified his spot on the roster as more than just the impenetrable front door, surging lightning through the SKIZM crew and pushing to a dominant game 2 win with 32% of the team’s damage dealt to champions, CanadianChamp also once again keeping the enemy in check with his fierce Warwick pick, nigh-unkillable with an 8/2/9 scoreline.
Team Phoenix Rising is making a heavy challenge to be a top contender in this league, scoring win after win after win and not looking to let up at all going forward. In a contest of those still scratching and clawing for the top spot, look for the Phoenixes to make waves in the coming weeks. Red Dusk Esports and SKIZM e-sports will be looking for their rematches next week, and if time has shown its results appropriately, Team Phoenix Rising has been reborn from the ashes of a team that skirted the bottom and look to soar to the very top.
1. White Lotus (9-0)
The Lotus continues to bloom. On top of the standings once more, White Lotus only had two games to play out as their bye from the departed Impulse came in week 4. The first of their matches was against Furious Gentz — many will remember the renewed fire in the Gentz’ captain SCommander as he boldly made claims to hand the undefeated team their first defeat in this set. Just as many will remember the starting steps that appeared to deliver on this message; Songless’ Morgana put Fuji in a bind more than once in lane, keeping him dogged on his back heel while the Gentz took an early 5-0 kill lead. But White Lotus remained solid as stone in their gameplay, farming up and outplaying the Gentz in macro, one of their consistently strong points that teams have yet to be able to break through. Kairos refused to be outdone on his trademark Sejuani, however; through rotations and superior macro, they built an advantage over time and let teamfights dictate themselves, with accompanying bulky picks Sion and Alistar proving too massive of a frontline for the single-dealer comp of Gentz to be able to get through. Stabilizing through to game 2, Fuji got to flex his fingers on an Akali pick, with Aetherial back on Jhin as the two continued their carrying rampage, bolstered once again by a 3 man frontline of the same members. The Gentz could hardly reach the marksman as he popped kills one after the other — he would end the game 7/0/15 while Fuji pulled out hearts with a 12/2/3 scoreline. As it was, the team that boasted with words would not be able to punch through the iron wall.
Their second game against No F’s Given would be an equally quick bout; little is to be said of White Lotus breaking the mold on their tried and true team compositions — game 1 saw NFG fall under 25 minutes to the 3 tank frontline with Aetherial’s Lucian gunslinging up in front and Fuji assassinating on LeBlanc from afar. RW Arrow returned to the team for game 2 and brandished an Ashe pick at the crew, but Aetherial took the previously Piercing Arrow’s favored pick away, dominating the game on Varus as he set up initiates all his own for Fuji to run amok on Zoe while Fresh Burger kept sprinkle m silly — the support-turned-toplaner — under lock and key with a fresh Irelia pick, clenching a swift series win.
The formula of White Lotus has been cracked only twice by teams in this league thus far. They stand at the top looking down, looking to make an equally domineering sweep through the second round, and only the teams that previously made a crack in their armor look to be any challenge. But as stated in previous articles: the playing field is still volatile underneath the throne. We’ve seen teams fall and rise between weeks, and every team looking up at the White Lotus majesty will have their own plan formulated to seize their crown. The start of round 2 will see No F’s Given pit against them once again, as well as the first of two new teams, Atlas e-sports, being given a warm welcome to the league by the ironclad crew.