Disappointment for UCC Esports as the League of Legends squad failed to qualify for the next round of Irish Collegiate Esports. A combination of bad luck and overaggressive plays resulted in the Netsoc Rebels missing out on a place in the knockout stages by one point despite their hugely positive start.
The team’s third game was played against the Maynooth Crusaders, resulting in a 1-1 tie. The first game went soundly to UCC but a lack of coordination in the second round resulted in Maynooth pulling back an equaliser. The fourth game was a loss due to latency issues. Large amounts of visitors to the web cafe where the Rebels were based caused a lag in the internet connection. This only got worse as the game went on, giving TUD Apes an easy second round victory. Another factor could have been team captain Bernard Grabarczyk’s abscence. The captain was unable to play in the third and fourth match. Wyne Ybanez substituted in for him ably but this could not have helped the team’s chemistry.
The Decider v IADT Gaming
The fifth and final match was against IADT Gaming. Before the match, jungler Adrian Lamug said “Grand, we didn’t scrim (play a practice match) together this week so it’s kind of rusty between the team.” If that was the case, it wasn’t obvious from the first round. Strong performances across the board led to a complete breakdown in IADT’s defence after 21 minutes. The round was over five minutes later. The stars of the first round were Lamug and mid-laner Shijie Zheng, whose strong teamwork dealt a total of 19 kills between them. Zheng was an intimidating presence as hard-hitting Kassadin, while Lamug seemed to be everywhere at once. Grabarczyk completely froze the top-laner in their tracks, and Patryk Bak and Qingpeng Ruan held down the bottom lane.
The second round, however, ended in disappointment for the Rebels. It started with a series of champion bans that seemed targeted towards putting Lamug and Grabarczyk on the back foot. A more confident IADT resulted in them gaining an early lead which the Rebels did not recover from. A comeback seemed possible in the mid-game as the team began to pull back together, but a disastrous attempt to stop IADT from taking the Baron seemed to spell the end for the team. Tensions ran high after the match: “We played badly, basically,” said Lamug. On his teammates’ performance, he said “Individually we played very well, but League is a team game and we failed to play as one.” Substitute jungler Mark Cullinane concurred: “I felt the boys were robbed.”
Grabarczyk was more positive about Sunday’s result: “Not bad, to be honest. First game was a stomp and second game we just picked bad champions and didn’t respect them so we got behind early when we really shouldn’t have.” Bad luck with BYEs also contributed to the loss. The practice of giving a free win to one random team each round worked against the Rebels. They were not the beneficiary of any BYEs and lost out on sixth place because of it.
A common link when talking to the team was the lack of cohesion. On the overall performance of the team, ADC sub Cormac Coleman said “They didn’t have enough time playing together.” Lamug agreed: “Yeah, basically, we could have scrimmed more. And the RNG (Random Number Generator, which chose the BYEs) really went against us.”
Grabarczyk, however, looked on the positive side: “Everyone played well. Our main problem was just team compositions and strategy but individually everyone was good.” When asked if he would play next year, he said “Yeah, for sure. Just gonna switch up positions and maybe have two teams also.”
The rest of the tournament can be followed from Irish Collegiate Esports’s website, or from their Facebook or Twitter accounts. They stream one League of Legends match a week on Twitch.