Major 3 is complete, and with it brought an action-packed weekend! While Tribe Gaming and Team NME are waiting at the NA Regional Championship, this Major saw four more teams qualify to join them, Plus, a battle over a $10,000 prize pot! What four teams made it and how did they do it, you ask? I’ve got you covered.
We started the weekend with a Sentinels vs Jotu is Cuter matchup. Sentinels had made Major 2, but wasn’t able to clinch a top-two seed to qualify straight into the Regional Championship, while Jotu is Cuter had come through the Third Circuit Qualifiers. Both teams were deemed ‘middle seeds’ so we expected close results.
Game 1 could not have started better for Sentinels with Rest letting loose an Enchanted Crystal Arrow from the Dragon lane which flew across the map and found its mark on TSuki in the Baron lane; netting Sentinels First Blood. Jotu was expected to help lead his team to victory, being more of a playmaker than his lane opponent, but he too fell less than twenty seconds later in a dive gone wrong. While Jotu is Cuter attacked the bottom side of the map to equalize the scoreline at 3-3, a fumble around Sentinel’s Blue Buff gave over a three-for-nothing trade, giving Sentinels a 6-3 advantage and putting a nail in the coffin. The 15-minute game ended with an 11k Gold lead for Sentinels, as they stood 13-3 over their opponents.
Sentinels continued their domination into Game 2, picking the newly available Brand to light the way. Able to gain First Blood once again, Sentinels set off to a strong lead and sat with a comfortable 4k Gold lead at 10 minutes. With Baron spawning, it quickly snowballed as they baited Jotu is Cuter to check and contest, which ended up being their doom. TSuki’s Kennen had struggled to make an impact in this game, and when he finally found a great Ultimate at the 13-minute Dragon, it was too little too late. Sentinels claimed their 13:38 win, 13-3 on the scoreline, and sent Jotu is Cuter to the Lower Bracket.
With Cloud9 taking a 2-0 win over Choncc Chortle, who were expected to be a potential upset team, we saw them face up against Grilled Cheese in the Semifinals.
Game 1 kicked off with action, as Cloud9 looked to dive the Dragon lane before we even hit the second minute. With a 2v4 situation for Grilled Cheese, they were able to play the dive out well and took a two-for-two trade; although an execute meant a 2-1 scoreline in Cloud9’s favour. With the game going their way, it was easy for Cloud9 to snowball their lead through solo kills and smaller skirmishes. However, a more teamfight-oriented composition helped keep Grilled Cheese in the game as they found favourable trades as the teams grouped. It all fell apart for Grilled Cheese, however, as we approached the 15th minute. A trap from Cloud9 was sprung from a bush, and Meals’ Brand arrived to turn their opponents to Melted Cheese. A clean Ace and a free Baron lined Cloud9 up for a 17-minute win; Tarzaned fountain diving for a Triplekill to take the scoreline to 28-12.
Game 2 offered Grilled Cheese a chance to redeem themselves, and they came in with a switched up draft; throwing out a Brand ban for good measure. Even though Cloud9 opened with a Gold lead in the first minute or so, Grilled Cheese created action in the Mid lane which set them up with a 4-2 lead before we hit the 2-minute mark; Steezy throwing the right cards on Twisted Fate to keep the kills going. With a Twisted Fate leading, Grilled Cheese started their snowball and by 8 minutes were 9-4 on Kills. But a 9-minute Dragon saw Cloud9’s return as Grilled Cheese funnelled into a corridor against an Orianna and Graves. While this fight surely helped, it was Cloud9’s macro play that secured the win for them; a decisive Baron call set them up for success as Grilled Cheese couldn’t capitalise on the leads they had. A 14-minute win sent Cloud9 to the Upper Finals.
(Grilled Cheese vs Cloud9 - Game 2 Gold Graph)
Game 1 opened with a relatively normal draft, however, while Immortals decided they wanted two Marksmen, with a Lucian and Senna locked in for the Dragon lane, Sentinels went the exact opposite, locking in an Orianna instead. With a Galio and Twisted Fate to give them a global presence, Sentinels came off to a 3-0 lead after a quiet 7 minutes, as they were able to respond to a four-man dive onto MichaelUdall. This disaster put Immortals too far behind, and Sentinels were able to utilise their strengths, and lead, to snowball the game. A 15-minute Baron nearly backfired, but Sentinels cleaned up and finished the game at 16:27. A 14-2 win.
Immortals started their reverse sweep with Game 2, and Sentinels continued with their global power with Ashe, Twisted Fate, and Galio picks. But Immortals had a Pantheon to respond and plenty of long-range power to combat the short-range composition they were opposing. This turned out to be a relatively even game with multiple players evading death by the skin of their teeth, and at 15 minutes they were an even 6-6 on Kills, Immortals leading by less than 4k Gold. However, a solo kill from IraqiZorro and a pick in the Mid lane opened Baron for Immortals; and this meant death for Sentinels as they contested. It was a longer game, but Immortals evened the series with a 19:34 win and a 15k Gold lead.
With Ashe off the table for Game 3, a champion that had helped set up many picks for Sentinels in the previous game, they fell back to the Brand which had been left open. It started with a disaster for Immortals too, as they looked for an invade on Sentinels’ Red Buff but were forced off of it; this not only set YikeZ behind but allowed Sheesh to freely farm Immortals’ top-side Jungle too. This further snowballed as MichaelUdall showcased the power of the Brand and Sentinels were soon 4-1 up and knocking down the first Tower. Even with such a lead, Sentinels started to fall as the game went on and the teams fought around objectives; the prowess of Orianna and Renekton showing as they fought in corridors. Even though Sheesh and his shutdown gold was a tasty target, it seemed sushi was on the menu as Immortals kept getting picks onto Beginning’s Nami, eradicating Sentinel’s disengage. Using these picks to get control over the map, Immortals soon had the Baron Buff and could look to close the game with an 18k Gold lead as the Nexus was destroyed at 17:48.
With the Upper Finals matchup primed for Day 2, we jumped to the Lower Bracket to see which teams could advance to the Top 4 and the Regional Championship qualification.
Grilled Cheese vs Jotu is Cuter presented a lot of incredible matchups, with plenty of playmakers on either side which we were excited to see clash. However, that didn’t necessarily deliver for Game 1 as we saw standard drafts from both teams, no sighting of the discussed pocket picks or Brand; although Jotu had a lot of respect paid to him as Akali and Diana were banned away. This would prove fruitless, however, as TSuki stepped up and a huge Orianna shockwave from the Baron- laner gave Jotu is Cuter the lead they needed to snowball. When they were 8k Gold up at 10 minutes, there was no stopping their 17-minute win; ending with a 21k Gold lead and 8-0 on Towers, it was a clean game to start the series.
Game 2 saw a revision for Grilled Cheese as they started their reverse sweep. Jotu is Cuter were probably laughing as they locked in their draft. Not only did Jotu get Diana, but Malphite and Jarvan IV were there to create an impactful combo too. In a contrast to the previous game, the Lee Sin made an impact in the early game. Csj not only helped to claim First Blood but also boasted a 100% kill participation as we approached the 9-minute mark, even accounting for both of Grilled Cheese’s deaths for that true 100% kill participation. Even though the game began to slow down, Csj had already set himself, and his Ahri, up with a lead that they used to push through and claim the Game 2 win at 15:35 with a 10k Gold lead. Jotu is Cuter never had the chance to make an impact with their draft.
The first two games were one-sided, but the deciding Game 3 could not have been closer. Grilled Cheese started with an early lead, but it was never enough to amount to anything meaningful, and by 15 minutes the teams were even on Gold. Even an Ace and Baron was not enough for Jotu is Cuter to claim the win, as the teams traded constantly. But it was Grilled Cheese who came out ahead; eventually taking the Elder Infernal Dragon to cement their lead, taking Baron, and the game at 23:19. It was a 28-17 scoreline in Grilled Cheese’s favour, but even with that 11 Kill difference, it was Jotu is Cuter that held the Gold lead, albeit by a mere 1k.
That was the end of the 2-1 era, as every series of the weekend soon turned to swift 2-0’s (other than the 3-0 Finals). With Grilled Cheese advancing, we jumped over to Sentinels vs Choncc Chortle to see who’d be joining them.
Sentinels hit the ground running for Game 1, and Sheesh was relentless as they dived the Dragon lane multiple times, even with Eighties there to make it a 3v3. By 6 minutes, Sentinels were 4-1 up. However, with almost no hard engage tools, they were unable to press the advantage so had to wait for Choncc Chortle to come to them. At 12 minutes a fight occurred with Choncc Cortle unwilling to back down as Sentinels found a flank on them in the Baron lane, the ensuing Ace took it to an 11-3 lead and a free Baron for the taking. It took a while for Sentinels to seal the deal, but they closed the game in the 17th minute with a 14k Gold lead.
Another set of interesting drafts came in for Game 2, as Choncc Chortle took a variety of melee champions into a Brand. These were perfect targets to set on fire and watch it spread; however Choncc Chortle also had Katarina for Mali. With a spin to win, Choncc Chortle were soon leading after a 9-minute Dragon fight. In such a close game, with the teams practically even at 16 minutes, a pick onto Eighties was all Sentinels needed. They didn’t even get the kill, but the brief 5v4 situation made it safe to do Baron, and within two minutes they closed out the game with only 8-5 on Kills, but a near 10k Gold lead to their name.
With that, our Top 4 teams were named. Grilled Cheese, Cloud9, Sentinels and Immortals had now qualified for the NA Regional Championship, so now the focus came to who would be the Major 3 Champion and take the lion’s share of the $10,000 prize pot? Day 2 gave us that answer.
To see who the Lower Bracket finalists would be, we had Grilled Cheese vs Sentinels to start Day 2. While Sentinels came into Game 1 with a standard draft, even able to take the Ashe which they have prioritised a lot on Red-side, Grilled Cheese answered with a Mid lane Riven. Even with exciting picks, it didn’t start in Grilled Cheese’s favour; Orianna was able to bully out the Riven and Tekshi wasn’t having a fun time into the Fiora either. The early game was filled with even trading, and Sentinels were barely able to scrape together a 2k Gold lead at most as the teams exchanged kills. Disaster struck for Grilled Cheese as they attempted to sneak a Baron, however, and Sentinels were able to respond. That 7-8 scoreline quickly turned to 7-12 and Sentinels took the objective for themselves. Another Ace and Sentinels closed the game at 16:10, starting the series strong.
We finally saw a pocket pick come out for Grilled Cheese in Game 2, Tekshi’s Singed, and it would be in wonderland against the number of dashes on Sentinel’s side. Plus, it would be helping set up picks for his own team with the Mega Adhesive. However, the Singed could not lead the way for Grilled Cheese, and Sentinels found themselves with a 9k Gold lead at 10 minutes, both Dragons to their name, and having destroyed three Towers. A 12-minute Quadrakill for Rest meant Baron, and a Triplekill ended the game; Rest slaughtering his opponents as they stood on the respawn fountain.
Grilled Cheese had made the achievement of going to the NA Regional Championship, but their weekend ended here and Sentinels moved on to the Lower Finals! To find their next opponent, we jumped to the Upper Bracket Finals; the winner would go to the Grand Finals while the loser would face Sentinels for the other Finals spot.
Both Immortals and Cloud9 had stomped their way through Day 1, and it was time to see the titans clash. Not only did we see Tarzaned’s Lee Sin for Game 1, but also a Miss Fortune + Thresh Dragon lane for Cloud9 too. This pairing worked wonders to start, with a Thresh hook setting up for the Lee Sin and First Blood, but as Cloud9 applied pressure, Immortals took the lead; a cross-map Ashe arrow gave YikeZ a 3-minute Triplekill and Immortals were 5-1 before we even hit the fourth minute. With decent engage tools and ways to find picks, Immortals were able to capitalise on these early kills and snowball their advantage. With a 17:25 win with a 16k Gold lead, Cloud9 may have controlled the Dragons, but this was a statement from Immortals.
This dominance continued into Game 2, as Immortals picked a 13-minute win to take them to the Finals. JXCKI once again took the Thresh, and was able to guide Cloud9 to early leads, but Gume had Immortals on his Xayah’s back and was able to keep the scoreline equal. While the fed Marksman was doing work, Cloud9 continued to keep themselves in the game; a 10-5 scoreline at 10 minutes was in Cloud9’s favour, but they were still even on Gold. Out of nowhere, IraqiZorro’s Akali flew in from off-screen, and Immortals were able to clean house in a 5v5, taking a four-for-one trade and looked for Baron. We saw a little dance around the objective as the teams took it in turns to attempt it and contest it, but a steal eventually came in for YikeZ and the ensuing fight secured the win for Immortals.
We finally saw an Akshan in Game 1, and MichaelUdall made great use of the Rogue Sentinel to carry Sentinels to the win. As we had become accustomed to, an even early game of fair trades meant that by 10 minutes the teams were 7-7, but the Akshan had gotten a Quadrakill. As the game continued, the trades slowly went into Sentinels’ favour and their Gold lead grew. A pick onto JXCKI meant an easy Baron, and the team quickly peeled off to Ace Cloud9 and win the game before JXCKI had even respawned.
In a contrast to previous games, Game 2 started with action. Meals danced with death, laning with a blinking health bar as he refused the recall, but that wasn’t where First Blood came from, surprisingly. Instead, it was Tarzaned, who had invaded Sentinels’ Blue-side Jungle and was promptly collapsed on. His Dragon lane also came to support and paid for it as Immortals found themselves up 2-0 at 2 minutes. It was action-packed with cross-map plays, with Sentinels even winning a fight over Dragon as their Jungler was taking the Rift Herald. Cloud9 kept it close, able to draw it back to a 13-10 scoreline as we hit the 15-minute mark, but yet again we saw a Baron fight seal the deal; a near Ace and the objective put Sentinels firmly in the lead. With a fight over Elder Dragon, the game was done and a 19:27 win sent Sentinels to the Grand Finals!
Grand Finals gave Sentinels their opportunity to get revenge on Immortals. Immortals had only dropped one game over the course of the weekend and it was to Sentinels; proof that they weren’t quite immortal.
The pedal was to the metal in Game 1, as Immortals didn’t want to give Sentinels a chance to breathe or scale, however, Sentinels were there to put the brakes on. Although initially able to prevent Immortals from snowballing, a 9-minute Dragon fight was the start of the end for Sentinels; IraqiZorro was able to freely get onto the Sentinels' backline and Immortals took a three-for-nothing trade. With the fight giving a 6k Gold lead, it was easy for Immortals to take control of the game; Sentinels only got one more kill over the following 10 minutes. It may have taken until 20 minutes for the game to eventually close, and they may have given over one more kill as they did so, but Immortals took the 18k Gold lead win after a dominant opening game.
Immortals went into Game 2 with the same aggression, again having the Ashe to give them priority in the Dragon lane, and this time they abused it. With a Corki available to roam, and Pantheon to support the engage, the Ashe + Rakan lane was able to give Immortals the lead they needed to snowball. They didn’t even opt for the usual Rift Herald for Dragon trade, and instead contested the objective and took a kill before heading to Dragon. By 10 minutes, Immortals were 5-1 on Kills but shutdown Gold and Towers helped keep Sentinels from falling too far behind on Gold. By 20 minutes, though, Immortals were 20-1 and had closed the game with a near 20k Gold lead.
Sentinels went into Game 3 seemingly revitalised, drafting more damage and more tools, and even taking the Ashe away from Immortals, but it was too little too late. While we had a quieter early game, focused more on the Junglers and invades, the teams once again clashed at Rift Herald; Immortals walked away from the two-for-one trade with the objective, summoning it to boost themselves into the lead. By 10 minutes Immortals were 7-1 up with a growing Gold lead. Sentinels felt more alive this game, but their fate was sealed and Immortals were eventually able to take the sweep. It was a 24-minute game as Sentinels nearly found a way back in, but they couldn’t bring Immortals down.
With that, we send two more teams to the NA Regional Championship. Immortals, Sentinels, Cloud9 and Grilled Cheese will join Tribe Gaming and NME. While Immortals looked flawless during Major 3, do they have what it takes to finally bring down Tribe Gaming? They have only played one series against each other during the Wild Rift Summoner Series, and it was a clean 2-0 for Tribe. This Third Circuit has only emphasised the talent and close matchups we have going into the Regional Championship, and we can't wait to see how these teams match up and who can get revenge!
Our eyes now turn to the Last Chance Qualifier! Running October 1-3, we have two more qualification spots open and up for grabs! We’ll see you there!