Major 3 is on the horizon, and this week saw the first of the Qualifiers for the Third Circuit. The top two teams qualify for Major 3, where they’ll join teams from Major 2 to fight for a spot at the NA Regional Championships!
Our week began with a refreshed look from Tilt City Banditos, who have fielded different rosters throughout the different qualifiers, as they faced Crimson Crows who are another relatively new roster. On paper it felt like Crimson Crows had an edge when it came to draft for Game 1, but the Banditos put the pressure on right from the start. Good vision control led to early control over the Dragon, and a good first fight for Tilt City Banditos; Dx31 coming up huge with a Quadrakill on the Katarina as they Aced Crimson Crows before we even hit 5 minutes. The stomp ended at 13:25, with Dx31 falling to the Nexus as they closed the game to take the scoreline to 20-2.
By time we got into Game 2, Crimson Crows had found their feet and were able to put up more of a fight. Early pressure gave them First Blood, but, with a ton of engage tools on Tilt City Banditos’ side, it wasn’t long until the Banditos found themselves in the lead as they forced fights. It might not have felt like as much as a stomp, but the scoreline said otherwise. A win at 14:46 gave Tilt City Banditos the win, 21-1 on Kills and otherwise a super clean game; not losing a Dragon or a Tower.
We then jumped to cover Dino Nuggets vs Threat Level Gaming as they went into Game 3 of their Opening Match. With the series at 1-1, we knew this would be a close game. Close is what we got. By 10-minutes, the teams were only 1-2 on Kills, even after a 5v5 teamfight around Dragon which only saw one death. After a slow start to the game, we had a flurry of action from 11-minutes. Dino Nuggets took Baron as Threat Level Gaming pushed the opposite side of the map. One more fight, which was relatively even, was enough to give the Nuggets time to push with the Baron Buff. The series winning game ended at 13:27, as Dino Nuggets went from even to win in the space of minutes.
Elsewhere, Dojo Ninja’s fell to Nhà Văn Hoá in the Opening Match of Group B, and we dived into the Winners’ Match of each of the Groups. Remember, top two from each Group would go on to the Day 2 Bracket, and a win in the Winners’ Match secured that spot.
We continued with Dino Nuggets, however, and joined them in their series against Chilly x Midnight. Game 1 saw the teams trade blows constantly. The pick potential from their drafts allowed for early skirmishes and plenty of kills in this hype matchup. It didn’t matter how fed IanF looked on Xin Zhao, however, as Chilly x Midnight’s Wukong + Yasuo combo just proved too strong, and they slowly took the lead. With Yasuo getting fed, and enough knock-ups to enable him, Chilly x Midnight took the Game 1 victory at 18:12; 20-9 on Kills and nearly 15k Gold ahead.
Game 2 came with different drafts, which Gracie clearly wasn’t happy with. Dino Nuggets came in with Ziggs, Kai’Sa, and Varus as their first three picks. In response, Chilly x Midnight, unable to runback the Yasuo, took the Riven and Aurelion Sol. Sol’s roaming ability helped Chilly x Midnight to find priority around the Dragon-side of the map, while Riven was making use of the new items to become a terror in the Baron lane. In contrast to the previous game, this time it was close. Dino Nuggets had stolen the first Dragon, before Chilly x Midnight secured the rest, and at 15 minutes they were dead even on Towers taken, only a four kill difference, and just a 3k Gold lead for Chilly x Midnight. All they needed was an Elder Dragon, and Chilly x Midnight found the fights they needed to eventually take a 16-minute win.
Meanwhile, we saw Nhà Văn Hoá take down Jotu is Cuter in a 2-1 series, and Team Celestial found a 2-0 win over Tilt City Banditos. This pushed us to three more matchups to decide the final three teams going on to the Single Elimination Bracket.
This time, we jumped to Group B to see who out of Dojo Ninja’s and Jotu is Cuter would be advancing. We were gifted with two interesting drafts. Dojo Ninja’s came in with a heavy teamfight composition, with Leona, Malphite, and Wukong to lead the charge, against a more pick orientated draft of Kha’Zix and Akali, with Akshan and Vayne to add fire power to Jotu is Cuter’s side. With so much single target damage, it’s no surprise that Jotu’s squad found their first two kills when invading the enemy Jungle just minutes into the game. But when the teams grouped, the Ninjas showed the power of their composition with an easy three-for-one trade. Even with clear strengths for either composition, Jotu is Cuter just played more towards their own and by 10 minutes were nearly 15k up in Gold and 20-10 on Kills. There was no coming back for Dojo Ninja’s. Game 1 went the way of Jotu.
Game 2 gave us a run back from the Ninja’s, although with Wukong banned away they took Xin Zhao, another strong teamfighter, and took away the Akali. In return, Jotu is Cuter ran a completely new style; with a Sona Mid-lane to round it out. And the game could not have started worse for the Ninjas, as Jotu led an invade that claimed double Flash from Ninja’s Dragon-lane. Sparkle got the ball rolling, literally, as the Rammus led Jotu is Cuter through the early game. Every time Dojo Ninja’s tried something, the Rammus was there to counter; and he soon got a little fed. While all the attention was going onto the armadillo, Isjerboa’s Vayne in the Mid lane was doing well for themselves. Even after losing a fight at the 10-minute mark, Jotu is Cuter held a near 12k Gold lead and a 7/1/7 Vayne. After they had a bit of fun, and showed off some insane Vayne mechanics, Jotu is Cuter closed the game at 12:38 with a 20k Gold lead and 28-12 on the scoreline.
Day 2 came, and with it the Single Elimination bracket. 8 teams had qualified from Day 1, and only two could qualify for Major 3. We had seen Jotu is Cuter secure their spot, as both Dino Nuggets and Tilt City Banditos secured theirs with 2-0 wins.
Chilly x Midnight vs Jotu is Cuter
Having seen strong performances from both Chilly x Midnight and Jotu is Cuter, we were excited to catch their Quarterfinals series to start the day! Even more so once we saw the explosive compositions from both teams. And in true League of Legends fashion, the Junglers met over the Scuttle Crab. With Jotu’s Katarina joining the fray, Jotu is Cuter were able to pick up First Blood, and a second kill as Sparkle’s Lee Sin flew in for more, all before the fourth minute. As the target turned to Repusoaix, as they found themself in a 1v4, both Sparkle and Jotu dropped to the Aurelion Sol; making it a two-for-three trade. When Chilly x Midnight saw their chance to turn on the aggression, it came back to bite them. Perhaps direspecting the Varus’ crowd control, and also not knowing that Jotu was waiting in the wings, they dived the Dragon lane in what they thought was a 3v1. But with a Chain of Corruption under the Tower, and Katarina to spin around, Jotu is Cuter was able to turn the trade into a four-for-one. Nothing could stop them from there, and Jotu is Cuter closed Game 1 with a 15k Gold lead at 12 and a half minutes.
Chilly x Midnight went into Game 2 with a comp we like to see, but Jotu is Cuter wasn’t exactly a bad draft either. With lots of tools on either team, it was going to come down to execution.
This is a high execution bar for Chilly X Midnight, if they win this game, it's because they played so much better than Jotu is Cuter.
Both Junglers hovered around the Mid lane, hoping to get the ball rolling, but Repusoaix waited for the 1v1 before killing Jotu for First Blood. By 5 minutes, Chilly x Midnight were 4-0 up, and exactly where they needed to be to find success. Able to snowball, Chilly x Midnight were able to be at a point where they could just fish for kills; throwing out things like Fizz’s Chum the Waters on cooldown just to see if they could get something. It took until the 14th minute before Jotu is Cuter found their first kill of the game, but when the opposition has 15 and a 10k Gold lead, it didn’t mean a lot. A 17:54 victory took us to Game 3!
With their lives on the line, both teams came ready to battle it out and they clashed at just 5 seconds; before quickly scurrying back to their Jungle after giving a glancing staredown. With Chilly x Midnight getting an early lead, it was up to Jotu is Cuter to get back into the game; and that is what they did. Going from a 2-0 start to 6-3 around the 4-minute Dragon, it looked firmly in Chilly x Midnight’s hands. But by 8 minutes, the scoreline was equal at 9-9 and the shutdowns helped give Jotu is Cuter a Gold lead too. The fights were explosive, with huge plays on either side, but a 15 minute teamfight proved pivotal; and the win allowed Jotu is Cuter to claim Baron and put the nail in the coffin. Jotu is Cuter closed this incredible series at 18 minutes, a 17k Gold lead to their name as 26-17 on Kills.
With Musketeers, Yawn, and Nhà Văn Hoá all getting 2-0’s, we moved on to the Semifinals.
Yawn vs Nhà Văn Hoá
While we may be familiar with Yawn, this is the first time we’d seen Nhà Văn Hoá; and they locked in Draven to start their series. With an Irelia vs Darius match up, and Draven + Thresh, the sidelanes were full of action. First Blood came in a 4v4 fight near the Dragon lane before we even hit 2 minutes, with Nhà Văn Hoá claiming the first kill, before giving two kills over. It all got out of hand, however, when the teams met for Dragon. It started well for Nhà Văn Hoá, but a huge Corki Package through their lines, and an Irelia flank, just set Yawn up for an easy Ace. With such a lead, Yawn took control of the map as Nhà Văn Hoá were unable to contest any objectives. Every fight just meant more kills and a growing lead until Yawn closed the game at 14 minutes. A near 20k Gold lead, and 28-10 on Kills, just shows how one-sided this game ended up being.
Nhà Văn Hoá came into Game 2 with a similar draft, only swapping their Dragon lane out as the Draven clearly didn’t work; a Ezreal now gave more safety for AD Carry Em Bé. This time, the early fight around the Dragon lane went the way of Nhà Văn Hoá, and they found themselves 3-1 up before the 2-minute mark. The game continued to go the way of Nhà Văn Hoá for the first 8 minutes, but Yawn found their way in to pull it close to even; until eventually yet another huge Corki Package helped put Yawn in the driving seat. With their eyes on Dragon and the bottom-side of the map, Nhà Văn Hoá tried to rush Baron as a response. Yawn answered, and another teamfight win just opened the Baron to be taken by themselves instead. It wasn’t a clean end, as Nhà Văn Hoá found picks as Yawn pushed, but it only delayed the inevitable. ZenithGod went dunk dunk dunk dunk with the Darius for a Quadrakill, and Yawn closed the game at 15:12.
Jotu is Cuter vs Musketeers
With Major 3 on the cards, both teams were looking for a win to get themselves into the Finals and qualify. With standard drafts, and Jotu running Yasuo, we looked for explosive fights and skirmishes, knowing these players would be out for blood. Within minutes, Hitman claimed First Blood for Musketeers with a solokill onto TSuki. With only a slight Gold lead, it still felt like the Musketeers were in control of the game; Rift Herald helping to secure a less than 2k Gold lead at 10 minutes, 6-1 on Kills. It looked like Jotu is Cuter had better positioning as the teams squared up for the third Dragon of the game, but Musketeers said otherwise; a near clean Ace came through as Cold’s Ezreal picked up a Quadrakill. While it wasn’t necessarily a clean end, as Jotu is Cuter was able to draw it out, it was still a dominant start to the series for Musketeers as they closed the game within 20 minutes, 26-5 on Kills.
Jotu is Cuter drafted a slightly safer composition for Game 2, a Ziggs for some safety and a Nami for disengage; and it worked wonders for them. The first kill of the game didn’t come until nearly 7 minutes, and it was on Jotu is Cuter’s side as Jotu found a pick onto OG BS. The solo lanes were activated, and TSuki and Jotu fought for the win; as well as Jotu fighting to redeem his Diana after questionable performances previously in the week. By 7 minutes, Jotu is Cuter was up 7-2 and in a prime position to win the game. While the fights got messier, as the Musketeers utilised the impact of Orianna, Galio, Senna and Olaf, they couldn’t compete with a fed Jax and Diana; who finished the game 6/1/3 and 9/4/5 respectively.
So we went to Game 3, the winner would not only be faced with Yawn in the Finals, but would also qualify for Major 3. With Musketeers running back with a near identical composition, Jotu is Cuter went for all out aggression. Musketeers focused on the top side of the map, an early gank to take First Blood followed by all five members moving for the Rift Herald. Without taking their foot off the peddle, the Musketeers continued their attack in the Baron lane, dropping the Rift Herald as four members pushed. Tsuki and Jotu responded, and were able to fight the 2v4 to halt the siege. Even after the little set back, Musketeers came back in fights where they could split their opponents up and find picks.
This was one of those games, a perfect one to finish a Best of Three series, with a nail biting finish; Jotu is Cuter claimed the Elder Mountain Dragon, only to be wiped by Musketeers. As they pushed for the win, they were plagued with a lack of minions, and the low health members soon fell to the Nexus they were trying to destroy. A Triplekill went to Sparkle thanks to the Nexus, and Jotu is Cuter were able to respawn and push right back. Within a minute, it was Jotu is Cuter’s turn to attack the base, and this time they had minions. A 19:42 win took them to Finals! It could not having been a more upsetting end for Musketeers, but an incredible series from them.
Jotu is Cuter vs Yawn
The final series to finish the week! Both teams had qualified for Major 3 by making the Finals, but now it was all about seeding and bragging rights. Game 1 saw targeted bans, each team taking away power picks from their opponents. Jotu was back on the Diana, however, and after an hour long series, TSuki said “put me on Vayne” into Dawn’s Irelia in the Baron lane. Aggression came from both teams, and plenty of close shaves came through. Even though they traded relatively evenly, it was Jotu is Cuter who slowly edged ahead; and a 10-minute Triplekill for Isjerboa put them 10-4 up over Yawn. The close game turned to domination, and Jotu is Cuter ran away with the lead. Finishing at 16:21 with a near 19k Gold lead, an excellent start to the series.
While Yawn went into Game 2 taking away Jotu’s Diana, Jotu is Cuter simply ran back the Vayne for TSuki. This time, Yawn weren’t going to let Vayne be relevant, and a three man dive in the Baron lane gave First Blood at 2 minutes. With Jotu is Cuter then, questionably, contesting the Dragon, Yawn were able to explode their lead by 5 minutes into the game. As Nine’s Diana got more and more fed, backed up by a clean Varus from Joey, the game looked bleak for Jotu is Cuter as they simply could not contest Yawn. A dominant 12 minute win, 9/1/6 Diana, and 9/0/13 Varus, from Yawn took us to Game 3.
With first seed on the line, Yawn brought in a ton of engage to help them force a win. On the otherhand, Jotu is Cuter ran a similar draft to what we’d seen in previous weeks; both Twisted Fate and Singed as a call back. As you’d expect, the teams were butting heads within minutes, and an early 2v2 in the Mid lane gave Yawn First Blood with Sparkle taking a Doublekill in return. With this boost, Sparkle continued his farm and hit Level 5 before we hit the 2 minute mark. With access to the Rengar Ultimate, the hunting began as they instantly went for a dive in the Dragon lane; as TSuki also found a solokill as Singed in the Baron lane. Yawn returned the favour, diving the Dragon lane just minutes later to equalise the Gold. It soon became a battle of the assassins, with both Nine’s Akali and Sparkle’s Rengar being 4/1 as we hit the 6th minute. The fed Rengar did more, and, with Sparkle leading them, Jotu is Cuter soon started to dominate the map and objectives. It was only a small lead, but it was big enough. Even when Yawn found an incredible engage, it was Jotu is Cuter that came out on top; Isjerboa somehow surviving through a Lee Sin kick under a Tower and a Malphite Ultimate. A 17 minute Ace meant Baron, and an 18 minute Ace meant game. With a 27-13 scoreline, Jotu is Cuter take the first seed as they advance, with Yawn, to Major 3!
We have one more Qualifier, next week, before Major 3. September 18-19 will have more action, as teams fight for two more spots and the ability to join Jotu is Cuter, Yawn, Immortals, Cloud 9, Grilled Cheese and Sentinels in the last Major before the NA Regional Championship!