1,024 players entered the Guardians of the Ancient Seasonal, with 32 making it to the next stage. Let’s go over the highlights from Saturday to get ready for the Finals!
MajiinBae is arguably the most successful NA shard tournament player, and a mainstay of Seasonal tournaments. So he was an obvious choice to watch for a good run this time. He is playing against Sasori501, a player who fought through the Last Chance Gauntlet for their spot in the seasonal tournament.
The players both have a very similar lineup, bringing Draven Ezreal, and Thresh Nasus, but differ on the third deck. Sasori has Azir Darius, while Majiin has a Dragons list with Aurelion Sol and Shyvana.
While the players differ on initial lineups, in the banning phase both players ban the other's unique deck, giving us a complete mirror match.
The players start off their mirror lineups with Majiin on Draven Ezreal and Sasori on Thresh Nasus, both players having a passive start. But Majiin has a House Spider to prevent any aggression and a Tribeam Improbulator to scale.
Sasori is much worse off, having no aggression and only pushing the first point of damage on turn 5. Sasori is eventually forced to develop a 5/5 Nasus that dies instantly to a Thermogenic Beam.
A Spirit Leech popping a Cursed Keeper gets Sasori potentially back into the game, but without early damage, scaling Nasus to be lethal with an Atrocity is a tall ask.
Sasori has a second Nasus, which is also killed by Majiin. But thanks to the champion, Sasori pushes enough damage for a third Nasus and Atrocity to be a concern for Majiin.
Majiin develops Captain Farron, and Sasori appears to disconnect- passing after roping out this and next turn. The Captain Farron trivially closes out the game with no answer.
Sasori stays on Nasus Thresh giving us a mirror match.
Both players curve Baccai Reaper into Cursed Keeper, but Majiin has the turn 2 attack token and Rite of Calling to threaten 6 damage. Sasori has no Rite or Ravenous Butcher of their own to contest the swing.
Despite the punishing turn 2, Sasori manages to get back on board with a Fading Icon, and ends up ahead after a profitable turn 5 attack. But Majiin has a Thresh, which is better than everything Sasori has.
Majiin curves Thresh into Nasus, and Sasori does have their own Thresh, but no good answer for the Nasus. Sasori is already behind on slays, and it’s only getting worse.
Sasori plays their own Nasus, but Majiin is ready with a second copy of Nasus for Siphoning Strike, instantly killing Sasori’s and leveling his own.
Without a Nasus, and with Majiin leveling his Thresh for a double Nasus attack, Sasori has no way to defend themselves and dies to the attack.
Don MoeZera, better known as MrEmotional, is a longtime member of the competitive scene and streamer. He is playing against Gaston Mez, another streamer and tournament competitor from Uruguay.
Moe is one of the few players on the broadcast playing none of the big decks. Instead, he opts for triple aggro with Discard, Azir Darius, and Elise Noxus Burn.
Gaston Mez is playing a more standard lineup, with Overwhelm Dragons and Trundle Lissandra Control.
Moe bans TLC, while Gaston Mez bans Elise Burn.
Gaston begins with Dragons, and Moe chooses Azir Darius.
Moe comes out swinging with triple 1 drop, but Gaston contests with Mountain Goat and Dragon Chow.
After the Fangs into Screeching Dragon completely stabilizes, Moe uses a Noxian Fervor to threaten lethal. But a single combat leaves Gaston at 5, and with one Solari Sunforger, Gaston goes back to 20 with a strong board.
Moe had a window to win the game, but once he’s behind on board with no potential for burnout there’s really no hope.
Moe stays on Azir Darius, while Gaston moves to Overwhelm.
Moe has another triple 1 drop hand, and simply runs Gaston down, attacking for lethal on T4.
Gaston has Ice Shard to barely stabilize but has nothing to contest a Ruin Runner and dies to a Decimate from Moe to finish them off.
Quick and efficient.
The final game is Discard vs Overwhelm.
Moe has a pretty mediocre start with pushing no early damage, but has access to the important top end of Jinx and Crowd Favorite.
Gaston fights back with multiple large units, and even has an Ice Shard to completely stabilize against the one health units from Moe. But Moe’s Jinx levels, and despite Gaston having a Merciless Hunter to answer it, Moe draws a second and the rockets start flying. Gaston actually manages to threaten 1 less than lethal with Battlefury, but Moe topdecks Noxian Fervor to shut down that idea.
Don MoeZera 2-1
For round 5 we follow another player we have seen in previous seasonals, RealPrismSword. Prism is a long-time Masters Tier player, streamer, and writer for DotEsports. He is playing against Art1ficer, a Masters tier player from the United States.
RealPrismSword brings Zoe Lee, Dragons, and Ashe Noxus, while Art1ficer has Draven Ezreal, Thresh Nasus, and Dragons.
RealPrismSword bans Thresh Nasus, and Art1ficer bans Dragons.
The Players start off with Ashe Noxus and Dragons.
RealPrismSword has Legion Marauder and Strength in Numbers in hand, and just curves out with them and two Trifarian Gloryseekers.
Art1ficer manages to answer two marauders with a Dragonguard Lookout and Single Combat with Shyvana.
Art1ficer uses a Screeching Dragon and another Dragonguard Lookout to handle the board from RealPrismSword, but is falling behind on cards due to Whispered Words and the inherent 2 for 1 with Strength in Numbers
A second Strength in Numbers takes almost all Art1ficer’s resources to handle, and a Shunpo puts RealPrismSword very close to closing out the game. Art1ficer plays Aurelion Sol to recoup some advantage, but RealPrismSword is able to go wide around the dragon and sneak through the last point of damage.
Art1ficer stays on Dragons, and plays against RealPrismSword’s Zoe Lee.
RealPrismSword starts the game with Lee Sin, which immediately puts him ahead.
An Eye of the Dragon is answered by Equinox off of a Zoe Supercool Starshart, allowing Art1ficer to continue aggression.
Art1ficer taps below Concerted Strike mana for Screeching Dragon on turn 5, allowing RealPrismSword to develop Lee Sin.
Lee Sin immediately levels and gets overwhelm from Zenith Blade, pushing 17 damage on the spot.
With RealPrsismSword having a Bastion in hand, there’s nothing Art1ficer can do, and gets killed through hush on the next attack.
Zorig Dungu is an extremely strong tournament player, having made a name for himself in Giant Slayer’s own Fight Night: Legends. Plus, he’s even the brother of another strong tournament player, FilthyGamerWeeb.He is playing against Jacowaco, who is also a seasoned tournament player. He also represents Team OTK, and is also a Game Developer outside of being a top level competitor.
Both players brought Overwhelm. Zorig supplements with TLC and TF Fizz, awhile Jacowaco has Ashe Noxus and Azir Irelia.
The players banned the current broken deck and the historic one: Azir Irelia and TF Fizz, and began with Overwhelm vs Ashe Noxus.
Zorig has an aggressive start with Ruthless Raider and Merciless Hunter, but Jacowaco manages to contest with Trafarian Gloryseeker and Icevale Archer.
Zorig begins to develop the large units overwhelm is known for, but Avarosan Hearthguard allows Jacowaco to keep pace.
Jaco using Elixir of Iron, Troll Chant, and Flash Freeze to end up completely killing Zorig’s Board. With no board and still being pressured by Ashe and a wide board, Zorig simply can’t hang on.
The stay mostly neck and neck, but Zorig ends up with a better midgame between having Renekton compared to Ancient Yeti, and having a Ruin Runner. But Jacowaco has a better late game lined up between a T1 omen hawk and a Preservarium.
With a pair of combat tricks, Jacowaco comes out ahead from the midgame swing from Zorig, and having a better late game already means Zorig is firmly behind now.
With no real way to catch up, Zorig simply loses to the threats already developed, being unable to stabilize against two Ancient Yetis.
Sekuu has been covered previously on Seasonals broadcasts, as a streamer and prominent tournament competitor for the Wobbly Wombats.
Sekuu brings Ashe Noxus, Overwhelm, and J4 Shen against Elchelero’s Deep, Zoe Vi, and Overwhelm.
The players start off with Shen J4 vs Overwhelm
The players play a matchup focused around combat tricks, and they start flying early. Elchelero gets Sekuu on T3, with a Shaped Stone trading up for a Laurent Protégé on a Ruthless Raider. But Sekuu returns the favor with Riposte on Rivershaper to kill an Ancient Yeti.
Sekuu has a Screeching Dragon to fight for the board, but Elchelero has Battlefury to immediately threaten lethal.
Sekuu barely manages to make it out of the turn alive thanks to Sharpsight, but is put into an awkward spot being at 2 life with no clean answer to a huge overwhelm unit, and dies to the next attack.
Sekuu stays with Shen J4 as Elchelero moves to Zoe Vi.
Elchelero has a very slow start, but Sekuu is missing a real way to gain an advantage. Targon having a slow start with invokes is no big deal, though. Eventually a J4 does show up, and Sekuu is clearly ahead on board.
Sekuu has also managed to keep up with the natural card generation from Targon thanks to a Rivershaper earlier, and has a Laurent Protégé traded for 2 cards.
Elchelero uses a Vi to try and regain control of the board, but a Concerted Strike easily answers her.
The players fight over a Single Combat to kill a second Vi, and Sekuu emerges ahead on board. But with a weak hand, Elchelero immediately Starshapings, and has an Immortal Fire to stabilize. Sekuu has issues pushing through the board, having only a Greenglade Caretaker.
Sekuu finally finds a Screeching Dragon to make some amount of progress, but a second Starshaping from Elchelero found The Great Beyond, and Sekuu simply can’t make progress anymore
A few elusive attacks later, and the game is closed out.
Big Ogre is a streamer and tournament competitor previously from Hearthstone, but now competes in Legends of Runeterra from Chile. He is playing against Dao, a strong Masters Tier player.
Both players bring Draven Ezreal and Thresh Nasus, with Big Ogre adding Dragons, while Dao adds TLC.
The players ban TLC and Draven Ezreal to begin with Draven Ezreal vs Thresh Nasus.
The game begins with a reasonably aggressive opener from Big Ogre, having Baccai Reaper into Fading Icon, which is contested on T3 with a Draven.
A Statikk Shock on a Spirit Leech and the Fading Icon helps Dao remain healthy, but Thresh from Big Ogre makes progress against the board. Dao stuns it with Arachnid Sentry, but Big Ogre levels it with two backup Threshes available in case this one dies.
Dao levels Ezreal, threatening to burn Big Ogre out before the Threshes matter, but it dies to Thresh, challenging it.
A second Ezreal reestablishes the threat of burnout, and lethal is presented with two Ravenous Flocks and a Culling Strike. But a Glimpse Beyond manages to remove enough spells from the stack to keep Ogre alive, and a second Nasus closes out the game with Atrocity.
Big Ogre 1-0
Dragons vs Draven Ez
Dao Once again has T3 Draven, But Big Ogre already is moving to the powerful late game from Dragons, having used a Dragon Chow and Mountain Goat to stabilize the board.
Big Ogre develops a Shyvana which is stunned with an Arachnid Sentry, and Dao continues playing 3 drops with Sump Dredger.
Big Ogre uses a Screeching Dragon and Fangs to fight for the board.
On turn 7, Big Ogre develops an Eclipse Dragon, which is immediately killed by a Tribeam Improbulator on 8 that makes Rhasa the Sunderer.
A second Tribeam for 9 finds Commander Ledros, and the game is just impossible to win for Big Ogre after those tempo swings.
Dragons vs Thresh Nasus
An early Zoe and Mountain Goat are the plays from Big Ogre, and Dao does an excellent job of grabbing the board with Cursed Keeper, Last Wind and Baccai Reaper. But Big Ogre is able to start developing Dragon’s powerful midgame units with Shyvana and Screeching Dragon.
Dao is forced to simply cycle with Spirit Leeches and Glimpse Beyond for no real value, and the game is quickly slipping away.
A 10/10 Nasus is the last gasp for Dao, which is answered in combat with Hush, and ends up having to play a second Nasus and Atrocity just to stay alive.
Dao does find a line where if they drew into the third Nasus and second Atrocity they would be able to win. But having not found that there is just no path to a win.
Big Ogre 2-1
While MajiinBae has already been introduced (and needs none), Hyped is a member of Team Liquid, having previously competed in Artifact and Hearthstone. Now, he’s cutting his teeth in Legends of Runeterra.
The players both have Draven Ezreal and Thresh Nasus, but Majiin has Dragons, while Hyped has Azir Irelia.
The players both ban the other's 3rd deck, leaving us with a Draven Ez and Thresh Nasus Mirror.
The match starts with both players picking Draven Ezreal.
MajiinBae breaks the ice with a T3 Draven, forcing a Get Excited to discard a card from Hyped, and both players take the game slow.
Majiin has more cards already, and Hyped has no compensation.
Hyped continues to pass, and remains behind on cards and on board.
With how passive Hyped has been playing, Majiin just slams a Captain Farron. Hyped punishes with a leveled Ezreal into Scorched Earth, swinging the game back in their favor.
The players continue to play very passively, and Majiin is forced to Tribeam Improbulator the Ezreal. Fortunately, Hyped does not have the Captain Farron to punish, but a second Ezreal is also quite scary.
A Get Excited and a second Tribeam Improbulator handle the board from Hyped, and Majiin is again firmly ahead.
Hyped develops into a huge swing, but Majiin is able to contest the board, and is forced to give up his Ezreal, But Majiin plays a second Captain Farron, which lethals through the two decimates alone.
Hyped stays on Draven Ezreal.
Hyped has a House Spider, blunting any aggression from Majiin, and a Draven to start accumulating advantage.
A Thresh is answered with Culling Strike, and Majiin pushes a chunk of damage.
Unfortunately, Hyped is accumulating more advantage with Axes and Ezreal generating mystic shots, making progress on both the board and Majiin’s life total.
Majiin tries to contest with Thresh, but Hyped has a Culling Strike, and Majiin fights back with a Rite of Negation.
The Thresh game plan is just too slow, and Hyped slams the door shut with a Captain Farron to end the game outright.
The final matchup is again a mirror, this time with Thresh Nasus.
Both players have a solid early game, but Majiin’s is distinctly better, having more pressure and early damage. Hyped ends up having to play a Merciless Hunter without even getting a value trade out of it.
Majiin’s single issue is having multiple Glimpse Beyonds, and not having fodder to convert them. But a proactive Vile Feast from Hyped gives an opportunity to convert the first, which finds fodder for the others.
Majiin has Thresh on 5 and Hyped fails the Thresh check, putting him far behind.
Hyped is forced to play a 4/4 Nasus, which simply doesn’t threaten anything. Majiin uses a Box to trade Thresh for Nasus, and then develops an 8/8 Nasus to dorce a block and Glimpse Beyond.
Majiin is much further ahead on board and still has resources left in deck, while Hyped is drawing close to death.
Majiin’s Nasus goes uncontested, and just crashes in for lethal.
After an exciting roundup of games, you can watch the VOD from the event cast by Boulevard and JDoza here. Also, be sure to tune into the Top 32 broadcast this Saturday at 1PM PDT (Pre-show at 12:30 PM) at twitch.tv/legendsofruneterra!