Six weeks of Evil Eight and Challenger Series games culminated in the Challenge Battles, where six teams fought for a coveted spot in the Summer Live Championships in Cologne. Two of the Evil Eight teams, SK Gaming and SNOW Tsunami, kept their spots after some tough competition, but the third team, Team Supremacy, lost their spot to Rising Lotus.
SK Gaming (E8) 3-2 over Team Elysium (C)
|Match 1||SK Gaming (A)||Team Elysium (B)|
|Match 2||Team Elysium (A)||SK Gaming (A)|
|Match 3||SK Gaming (A)||Team Elysium (B)|
|Match 4||Team Elysium (A)||SK Gaming (B)|
|Match 5||SK Gaming (A)||Team Elysium (B)|
SK Gaming found themselves in the unlikely position of playing for their Live Championship lives in the Challenge Battles, having vastly underperformed this season.
In Game 1, the triple-melee composition from Team Elysium suffered against the double-ranged composition from SK Gaming and struggled to dive onto their targets. This turned very quickly after the 15-minute mark as Elysium were able to ramp up and the crystal Taka, in particular, was very difficult for SK Gaming to pin down. The adaptability of Elysium was apparent in the game and was focal in allowing them to recover from their early trouble, adapting to something that we haven’t seen come out from SK in a very long time.
It was an eerily similar start to Game 2 for SK, as they claimed a quick lead and there was a tense moment mid-game when MEDIC was wildly out of position and it looked like they would lose their good start. Fortunately, SK were able to maintain their lead thanks to the strong Lance play coming out from lloH4uK who, despite playing as a carry, was tanky enough to act as a frontline along with Lyra to keep MEDIC alive.
SK Gaming failed to take advantage of their powerful composition in the early game of the fourth match, which allowed Elysium’s Skaarf to scale up, leaving SK in a compromising position. There weren’t many kills in this game, but every single kill counted for Team Elysium as they were able to push objectives down very quickly and close out the match.
Team Elysium were looking good as they entered this fourth game with a score of 2-1, and winning this game would guarantee them that spot at the Summer Championships. We saw Elysium opting for the triple-melee composition worked so well in the first game, but SK countered this draft with the scarcely seen Reim — a hero who does exceptionally well against melee. The Reim pick clearly worked well, as SK stomped into a very early lead and were not only able to deny Elysium of their jungle but take the first three turrets in 10 minutes.
Who would have thought that this series would have gone to five games? Elysium placed a lot of focus on taking down MEDIC in the lane and, certainly, the future of SK Gaming was hanging by a very thin thread as it looked set for Elysium to win the series. The end of the match was breathtakingly close, but SK pulled through and claimed the the series in a stunning 3-2 victory.
SK played some of their best games in their series that we have seen in a very long time, and it does feel that they play much better when their backs are against the wall. It would be great to see them bring this solid gameplay to the upcoming Evil Eight Seeding Week and for the Summer Live Championships. We’ll have to see if they can find the consistency necessary to make a deep run in the season-ending championship tournament.
Rising Lotus (C) vs Team Supremacy (E8)
Rising Lotus claimed a spot in the Summer Live Championships as Team Supremacy forfeited the series.
SNOW Tsunami (E8) 3-0 over Angry Pandas Black (C)
|Match 1||Tsunami (A)||Angry Pandas (B)|
|Match 2||Angry Pandas (A)||Tsunami (B)|
|Match 3||Tsunami (A)||Angry Pandas (B)|
Looking at this matchup on paper, most people would have picked out SNOW Tsunami as the clear favorites to win. In the first game, the Angry Pandas really struggled at the strong push capabilities of SAW and Skye. The Pandas quickly lost control and it was all over at 12 minutes — one of the shortest games that we have seen in the Challenge Battles.
The second game had a slightly better start, but again Pandas succumbed to the combination of SAW and Skye. The Angry Pandas were unable to retaliate the heavy damage that Tsunami were dealing out, and by the late game Tsunami had invested in so much armor that it negated the double weapon composition from the Pandas.
Luck had not been on the side of the Pandas, and they switched in Tony ‘Taka’ Luo who, lo and behold, did actually pick up that Taka for the third game. Unfortunately for the Angry Pandas, Taka was not the miracle that they needed and they lost their first turret in the first 7 minutes. Nonetheless, both teams were relatively close in terms of gold and kills, but a very pivotal teamfight in the jungle swung the momentum even more in Tsunami’s favor and they were able to claim the Kraken as well as two turrets. The Angry Pandas were not able to claw their way out of the deficit and they lost the game very shortly after.
SNOW Tsunami laid rest to the criticisms that they didn’t have what it takes anymore with a very convincing performance. They’ve finished in Second Place in two Live Championships in a row, and they’ve now qualified for a chance to make it three.
Watch the Seeding Round for the Live Championships this weekend at www.twitch.tv/vainglory