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Proving Grounds Week Three - The Struggle to Semifinals!

Upper bracket

Upper bracket favorites Cloud9 Academy made quick work of Evil Geniuses Academy in game one with an aggressive dive comp including Malphite, Lillia, Lucian, Sivir, and Alistar. A whole host of bodyguards primed to protect an extremely fed K1ng on Sivir, C9A straight-up ignored objectives and simply fought their way through EGA for the win. Game two wasn’t much different, with EGA maintaining a soft lead early through mid game with the help of objectives, but failing to adjust their playstyle to C9A’s second draft -- another composition framed around protecting ADC K1ng, this time on Tristana. C9A Isles absolutely played his entire face off this game, staying in-step with his unhinged, unpredictable ADC, who stomped EGA late game and netted themselves a spot in the upper bracket semi-finals.

Evil Geniuses Prodigies vs No Org saw the very last hope of Amateur in Proving Grounds move on to the semifinals. Branded as something of a mysterious band of anti-establishment misfits, No Org felt more like a band of merry mercenaries against EGP. The first game was cautious but optimistic for No Org, exercising a slow start, a slow mid game, and a slow late game to maintain full control and ensure EGP had no room to wiggle into NOR's Nexus. The second game followed the same script as game one, with NOR maintaining a 5-0 lead until 20 minutes. Surprisingly, this is literally exactly what happened in game one. After 20 minutes, EGP had nothing to lose, and worked on baiting NOR into engagements that could net EGP a potentially fatal Nexus rush. Despite their best efforts, EGP continually lost skirmishes with NOR, and finally fell. No Org -- the final hope of Amateur -- will go on to the semifinals against Cloud9 Academy.

Lower Bracket

This week’s focus was very much on the lower bracket, with 100 Thieves Academy rising up to the challenge and making the lower bracket miracle run of our dreams.

TSM Academy vs Barrage was tough for fans of Amateur to watch. Barrage is a team that’s played over 90 games in 2021, while the average Academy team has played somewhere between 15-25 games. Barrage has worked very hard to train and go head-to-head with teams who have much more time and resources than them. Unfortunately, the end to their status quo destroying run has arrived. Barrage went 2-0 vs TSM Academy. Barrage successfully managed to lock down the early game in both games, but struggled to find punishments to shut down TSMA in the second half. TSMA, known for their ability to snipe punishing team fights and secure leads despite being behind during late game did exactly that.

Dignitas Academy vs FlyQuest Academy had some interesting moments, but these teams are very evenly matched. Both teams have made huge strides during this split, and Dignitas lost the second game by a hair. FlyQuest Academy executed three incredible late game team fights in game two, initially only holding 3 kills to Dignitas’ 13. Rushing Baron and the Nexus after two successful late game skirmished helped FlyQuest Academy punish their way to the win. This game was a real testament to patience and discipline, and FlyQuest Academy showed potential well beyond their years.

100 Thieves Academy vs Immortals Academy seemed pretty cut-and-dry, with the expectation of a 2-0 sweep for 100TA in sight. 100T’s mid laner Damonte on a dominant Orianna made the whole arrangement feel decidedly stacked against IMTA’s green roster. Immortals Academy didn’t go down without a fight, though, and took us to a game two by dominating every position early game with the help of jungler Potluck’s aggressive, punishing gameplay. IMT’s mid laner Pretty wasn’t the win condition, per se, but that was how they secured the win late game -- Shockwave after Shockwave. The third game saw two very cautious teams attempting to maintain control and not take any risks. Eventually, 100TA pulled ahead in objectives with some cheeky team fights and secured the W.

8th seed Zoos Gaming -- LCS caster Allorim’s meme dream team -- showed up against Golden Guardians Academy’s 10th seed as one of the final hopes for the League of Legends Amateur community. The famed Toilet Paper Cat Team named after Allorim’s cat couldn’t manage to pull out the W against what feels like a newly born Golden Guardians Academy. GGA feels much like an endearing protagonist at zero hour pulling off some unexpected triumphs. The main characters of both of these games were a wide-eyed, bushy-tailed GGA RoseThorn on Lillia and Olaf while GGA Prismal menaced bot lane on Xayah and Varus.

FlyQuest Academy vs TSM Academy made it to a game three, with fun-loving, relaxed FlyQuest Academy surprising everyone with jungler Nxi on Hecarim running yakety-sax style circles around TSMA in game one. Returning to the status quo, game two was an increasingly intimidating performance by TSMA, winning with 16 kills to FLYA’s 4 and a 13k gold lead. Game three saw FLYA once again putting their absolute best foot forward, maintaining a lead for the majority of the game, unable to pull through the late game against TSMA. One opportunistic team fight over dragon in TSMA’s (red side) blue buff jungle secured the W. It was the ole TSM late-game snipe, something both Academy and their LCS counterpart are known for.

100 Thieves Academy once again fulfilled their promise of a lower bracket miracle run. Golden Guardians Academy pulled out all the stops and brought forth one of the more exciting drafts we’ve had so far -- Nocturne, Hecarim, Seraphine, Kai’sa, and Alistar. Once again, MVP RoseThorn came through for his team with a KDA of 1/0/18 -- 100% kill participation. Meanwhile, 100TA suffered at 3 kills to GGA’s 19, with three ocean drakes making them nigh un-killable. Game two saw 100TA return with a vengeance, winning with just over 10k gold and only two towers total for GGA. The third and final game was a tragedy for GGA from the outset, ending with 2 kills for GGA and a whopping 14 for 100TA. Perfect came out of 100T Damonte on Zoe and 100T Kenvi on Kayn during the third game, making them key players with insightful roams and impeccable timing.

Evil Geniuses Academy fresh out of the upper bracket against an exhausted TSM Academy still felt evenly matched despite TSMA fighting their way through the lower bracket since week 1. Evil Geniuses Academy has been one of many unexpected growth titans in Academy this year, making huge strides by quickly adapting and then winning. That’s exactly what happened in game two after a discouraging game one for Evil Geniuses Academy. EGA obviously had TSMA’s number, shutting them down early and exercising caution not to give TSMA an opening to punish during the late game. Evil Geniuses Academy moved on to lower bracket semifinals against 100 Thieves Academy. 

Speaking of 100 Thieves Academy, they took their turn against another Evil Geniuses team in Evil Geniuses Prodigies, securing their place in the semifinals against Evil Geniuses Prodigies’ elder team, Evil Geniuses Academy. While all of us were hopeful for another quirky Evil Geniuses Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo, anyone who’s tuned in to 100 Thieves Academy since LCS mid laner Damonte joined Academy knew exactly how this one was destined to turn out.

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