Considering it's arguably the most important Seasonal tournament yet, Rise of the Underworlds is going to test which players can rise to the occasion and lock in their seat for the upcoming World Championship. While everyone is anxiously waiting to see how the qualification methods all play out, let’s take a quick breather and check out the highlights from day 1.
Round 4 - Mr eMOEtional vs 4LW
(Pirates/Discard/BANNED: Lulu/Zed) vs (Sivir Demacia/Lee Sin/BANNED: Anivia)
We started off the day with a few familiar faces from the previous Seasonals Top 32. Game 1 pit Moe’s Pirates against 4LW’s Lee Sin, a matchup largely dependent on 4LW’s ability to quickly find and protect as many Eye of the Dragons as possible. So when turn 3 rolled around and 4LW invoked The Messenger instead of playing an Eye from hand or deck, things were looking all but doomed as Moe continued to go as wide as possible.
On turn 4 Moe went in with 3 attackers including a Miss Fortune, clearing out 4LW’s blocking Messenger and Tail of the Dragon with a devastating MF/Make it Rain combo while keeping his entire board intact.
The following turn 4LW finally found an Eye, but had to use both parts of a Sonic Wave and a Twin Discipline to get Miss Fortune off the board and secure a Dragonling for the next turn.
After a little back and forth trying to unsuccessfully kill the Dragonling, Moe sent his whole board at 4LW who managed to hang on for the time being by using a Gifts from Beyond to Severum his Eye. With only 2 cards left in Moe’s hand, stabilization was looking possible for 4LW. But when a Decimate slipped through the cracks, it only took an attack from a Legion Saboteur to close things out.
Mr eMOEtional 1-0
Game 2 started off on the right foot for both players, with Moe getting a wide start with a Zaunite Urchin/Flame Chompers combo alongside an Arena Battlecaster, and 4LW getting an Eye on turn 2.
On turn 3 4LW tried to use Gifts from Beyond to get a 2nd Eye and make it nearly impossible for Moe to push through meaningful damage, but some patient passes paid off as Moe was able to Get Excited one of the Eyes and keep the game in an even state. This clearly did some damage to 4LW’s mental, who let a sole Draven go unblocked the next turn instead of throwing the Dragonling into combat.
The next turn 4LW was forced to awkwardly expend some combat tricks to make sure to have a Dragonling for the defensive turn, while Moe refused to make a move until 2 spells had been played. When the large attack did come in the next turn, it left 4LW without a board and at only 7hp. Surely Moe would be able to close it out on his next attack turn, as 4LW was already down 2 Eye against a 5 wide board.
But Moe’s next attack turn never came, as Lee Sin hit the board for 4LW. He suited it up with a Zenith blade and a Twin Disciplines, leveling it up, and kicking the pesky Battlecaster into the nexus for lethal.
It’s not uncommon for a meta shaking deck to pop up just a few days before a major event, and Sivir Demacia certainly took this Seasonal by storm. While the deck wasn’t exactly new, its popularity on ladder and in tournaments was not indicative of the massive presence it put up on Saturday.
Finally on a deck that plays some units, 4LW got on the board early in game 3. After a few early game trades went even, 4LW seemed to have the advantage with a nearly half finished Warlords Palace on turn 4 while Moe seemed stuck with a low impact hand until he could get down an Augmented Experimenter on turn 6. After a potential hardcast Vision setup was denied by Waking Sands, Moe was resigned to take a relatively weak double Daring Poro attack while 4LW cast another Akshan.
4LW cast Sivir and went into combat to drag a vulnerable Legion Rearguard in front of it and went in with his Akshan and Merciless Hunter. Having top decked a 2nd copy of Vision, Moe cast one to get a trade onto the Hunter and continued to wait patiently for the next turn when he could finally cast his Experimenter.
But Moe’s plans falter as his Experimenter is hit with a Rite of Negation. Next turn, 4LW gets off a big attack and follows it up with a rally to clear out Moe’s board which leaves him with nothing but a Jinx to try and power through 7 nexus health. It was a tall order, but Moe draws another Experimenter thanks to Jinx and finds a Get Excited off the top, securing lethal with the Super Mega Death Rocket and the Get Excited on the following turn.
Mr eMOEtional 2-1
Round 5 - Zorig Dungu vs Mr eMOEtional
(Draven Ezreal/Azir Irelia/BANNED: TF GP) vs (Pirates/Discard/BANNED: Lulu/Zed)
Zorig elects to start off with Draven/Ezreal, a deck historically favored into aggro though susceptible to burn. It’s a delicate line and requires limiting the amount of unit damage to take in the early game as much as possible. But without a House Spider to get on board early Zorig was at the mercy of Moe’s triple 1 drop opener, taking 6 damage on turn 2 even with a Mystic Shot to remove one of the attacking Legion Rearguards.
On turn 4 Zorig tried to establish a 2nd blocker to pair with his Draven, but an Arachnoid Sentry from Moe had other plans, It llet the self proclaimed “best aggro player in LoR” push his opponent down to just 5 nexus health on turn 4 with a Jack the Winner and Gangplank still in hand. Zorig’s own hand was mucked up with 2 Ezreal, 2 Captain Farron, and 2 Statikk Shock. I’ll spare you the brutal details.
Mr eMOEtional 1-0
Game 2 looks better for Zorig as he has a Boom Baboon to go alongside the Mystic Shot this time to try and keep a little healthier in the early game. But Moe shows no mercy and sends a Get Excited at the nexus, discarding Survival Skills to protect the Rearguard from the Mystic.
Despite the cheeky play, Moe was unable to keep up the aggression and gassed out into a Crowd Favorite that got locked up by back to back Arachnoid Sentries, letting it get picked off by a Ravenous Flock and Statikk Shock. Without a Jinx or Experimenter off the top, Moe was unable to mount any more offense.
Zorig Dungu 1-1
With the Noxus/Piltover mirror match out of the way, Moe got to move into his comfort zone: playing aggro against Azir/Irelia.
By turn 5, both players had both of their champions on board - a position that was awkward for Zorig. Moe used a Zaunite Urchin to level Jinx with 1 mana remaining, meaning Zorig had to try and find a way to level his Azir before going into combat, This is because a 1 attack Sand Soldier would allow Moe to block with his damaged Draven, use the Axe to discard his Zaunite draw (Vision), and use the Rocket that turn. Unable to find a way through it and deciding that not attacking wasn’t an option, Zorig was forced to give Moe the Rocket.
The following turn Zorig tapped below Homecoming mana to play a Blossoming Blade, which ended up pairing very poorly into Moe’s two topdecks of House Spider and Arena Battlecaster, which swiftly closed out the game backed up by another Rocket.
Mr eMOEtional 2-1
Round 6 - MonteXristo vs Orb Meister
(Azir Irelia/Reputation/BANNED: Plunder) vs (Sivir Demacia/Plunder/BANNED: Lulu Jinx)
While many players flocked to Sivir Demacia because of its favorable matchup into the popular Ionia/Shurima decks, those stats don’t really account for the Azir/Irelia player opening with 3 copies of Sparring Student. While Orb's hand looked really solid and may very well have beaten most Azir/Irelia hands, he hadn’t even managed to finish off all of the Students when Irelia and Azir hit the board on turns 4 and 5 respectively.
In the next game Monte found both of his champions very early again, but didn’t have as strong of a foundation. Orb tried out his best Pirates cosplay with Plunder, hitting the board early with Crackshot Corsair. Monte got down both of his champions without too much trouble, but back to back Yordle Grifters from Orb spelled trouble. Orb had already done a very good job of racking up level progression for his champions, and being loaded up on Warning Shots would spell a quick end for Monte if Sejuani hit the board, as Reputation is a deck based around strike effects like Whirling Death and Bloody Business for removal.
Monte was living in an ideal world on turn 6 - his Reputation was triggered, he had a leveled Sivir and LeBlanc on field, and had 2 Incisive Tacticians in hand. Orb however was also in paradise, as he laid down a post combat Sejuani to dissuade the Tactician play. On the following turn he played 1 of his 2 Warning Shots to level up Sejuani, then played Gangplank. This combo threatened to freeze the board on attack thanks to Powderful Explosion, and Monte’s Bloody Business was held hostage by the other Warning Shot. Monte managed to find a line that would let him live at 1 and potentially mount a comeback on the next turn if Orb couldn’t damage his nexus, but a nabbed Shaped Stone pushed through the last bit for lethal.
Orb Meister 1-1
Two Sivir decks enter, but only one can leave.
Monte took an early board lead when he was able to string together a Waking Sands and Merciless Hunter to take a relatively free kill onto Orb’s Sivir and level his LeBlanc in the process. That same combat saw Orb fall down to just 8 nexus health and Monte sitting at 13. Orb played another Sivir to which Monte responded with a Baccai Sandspiner, knocking her down to 4 attack. Orb preemptively Shaped Stone’d Sivir back up to 7 attack and sent her in solo, knocking Monte down to 6 nexus health. A Relentless Pursuit followed, but the ensuing Sivir/Ruin Runner attack only succeeded in knocking Monte down to 3 while killing two of his units. On the next turn Monte was able to play his own Sivir, power it up with Might, and push through exact lethal with Sivir and LeBlanc thanks to his own Sivir leveling up right on time to spread the Overwhelming love.
Round 7 - Aikado vs Satella de HB20
(Draven Ezreal/Shen Demacia/BANNED: Lee Sin) vs (Go Hard/Plunder/BANNED: Feel the Rush)
Aikado started the show with Shen/Jarvan while Satella elected to go for Go Hard. Both players started off rather wide, and in the first big attack of the game Aikado boosted up a Rivershaper with Sharpsight to get major value. But then they were hard countered by a Glimpse Beyond, stopping the Rivershaper draw and effectively wasting the Sharpsight. By the end of the turn, Satella was 4 cards up on Aikado.
Aikado was able to swing things back a little on turn 5 when the Rivershaper was used to its full potential and got to strike the nexus as well as Single Combat a Keg to deny a board clear on a Withering Wail.
The fight over the Rivershaper continued to be the focal point, with Aikado slamming down Twin Disciplines as soon as they were found to protect the merman from combat and Red Cards alike. This strategy proved fruitful, as Rivershaper continued to go into combat turn after turn while Satella struggled to stay on board. After a Ruination got hit with Deny, Aikado pushed through a big open attack and the Rivershaper continued to pull its weight by grabbing a Golden Aegis from the deck, allowing Aikado to push through a second time for lethal.
In game 2 Satella found Go Hard in a more timely and effective manner, killing a Boom Baboon and taking an early board lead with a Jagged Butcher. Fortune Croaker came down and was met with Draven, but a 2nd Go Hard from Satella post combat put everything back to square one with a lonely Butcher in play. Aikado’s hand was still looking good though, containing a few copies of Sump Dredger alongside another Draven, plus a Tri-Beam Improbulator to stack up.
After some back and forth in the mid game, Aikado was able to slam down a Captain Farron on turn 8 with a 2nd copy in hand and Satella sitting at 15 life. Satella got a Keg on field, cast the 3rd Go Hard onto Captain Farron, and finally got to play a Pack Your Bags on the following turn. Draven died, Farron fell to 1 health, and Aikado fell to just 6 nexus health. This forced him to Thermogenic Beam a Zap Sprayfin and block a Dreadway Deckhand with his Farron while a 2nd copy hit him down to 4. With a handful of awkward removal and Decimates, Aikado didn’t have the time to try and finish the game and was overwhelmed by the flood of units from Satella on the next turn.
Satella De HB20 1-1
Satella opened up with another low to the ground aggressive Bilgewater hand, gaining control of the board very early while racking up level progression. Aikado’s hand was slow and awkward, but he did have 2 Tri-Beams to stack up and contest some of Satella’s champions in the late game.
After talking a big early game, Satella was having a hard time finding a solid conversion. They couldn’t find any champions for the mid game, and when a Dreadway finally came down it was immediately blasted by a Tri-Beam to summon a Cloud Drinker. With Satella at 10 and Aikado at 5, Aikado had to end the game on the next turn before the leveled Gangplank the Dreadway searched for got to attack and clear through Aikado’s last bit of life. He pushed through 7 damage with Ezreal and some axes, deciding his best bet was to hope for a burn spell off the top of the deck. Aikado drew Mystic Shot and now had to hope Satella didn’t have a Monster Harpoon to kill Ezreal, and after making us all sweat for a solid minute, revealed they didn’t have it and Aikado’s Ezreal was free to ping the 1 damage necessary to clinch the win.
Round 8 - Mr eMOEtional vs xGoldenRulex
(Pirates/Lulu Zed/BANNED: Discard) vs (Sivir Demacia/TF MF Shurima/BANNED: Draven Ezreal)
For round 8 we got to check back in with Moe for the 3rd time today, but it was GoldenRule’s TF/MF Shurima that captivated the audience for game number 1. Moe struggled to push damage in the early game through Red Cards and Make It Rains, and Merciless Hunter was able to pick off anything that the AoE left behind. GoldenRule happily traded away units with Moe while stacking up some Baccai Reapers, and Moe was forced to use a Noxian Fervor on one of the Reapers rather than sending his single precious burn spell at face. But even that wasn’t enough to save Moe from the onslaught, as his nexus crash landed to 0 that same turn.
Game 2 was looking better for Moe as he was usually able to keep at least 1 unit on the board at a time through another onslaught of Merciless Hunters and removal spells. While each attack turn only chipped through a little damage for Moe, the amount of residual burn that exists in Pirates really started to add up alongside the unit damage being pushed through. Miss Fortune, Crackshot Corsair, Legion Saboteur - Moe was able to find them all and rack up more damage than what was just presented on board. GoldenRule was continuously stuck on the back foot, and wasn’t able to mount any kind of offense until turn 7 when they were down to 5 nexus health. By that time, Moe was just a Decimate and a Zap attack away from lethal, none of which GoldenRule had an answer for.
Mr eMOEtional 1-1
For game 3 we were treated to a classic matchup from the LoR history books - Elusives vs Challengers. GoldenRule was able to find multiple Cithria of Cloudfield to contest all of the non-elusives Moe was throwing down, and set up a challenger on the off turn to threaten an answer for Moe’s first Zed.
The first big attack of the game was made by Moe, who pushed through 10 damage against a few blockers. GoldenRule’s attack turn was expectedly spent playing damage control, setting up Silverwing Vanguard alongside the Swiftwing Flight and Merciless Hunter already on board. But Moe had another Brightsteel Protector to keep Zed safe, and GoldenRule was unable to get the full value he needed. Moe went in for another wide attack with 2 Twin Discipline on backup to secure lethal. It proved to not be enough, and GoldenBoy was able to live another turn at 4 health thanks to a Concerted Strike and Shaped Stone securing the kill on Zed. This left Moe with no board and very little hand.
GoldenRule puts their foot on the gas and blasts Moe for 19 damage on the next turn. Moe set up 2 Shadow Assassin, and hoped it would be enough to push through lethal on the next turn. He sent in his units and 1 fell to a single combat, but there was no answer for the Golden Aegis afterwards and GoldenRule was forced to concede.
Mr eMOEtional 2-1
Round 9 - Sqweeby vs Nalkpas
(Draven Ezreal/Sivir Ionia/BANNED: Plunder) vs (Karma Ezreal/Sivir Ionia/BANNED: Lee Sin)
The final round of the day treated us to another matchup between returning top cut players - Sqweeby from the Empires of the Ascended Seasonal and Nalkpas from Cosmic Creation. A lot was on the line for Sqweeby as both players currently sat at 7-1, and Sqweeby did not have a ladder placement high enough for a 7-2 finish while Nalkpas did.
The first game started off well for Sqweeby, who was able to level a Zed on turn 4 after saving it from a Thermogenic Beam with Spirit’s Refuge. Since he had a Ghost and Flurry of Fists in hand already, Sqweeby was looking at potentially a really early lethal. A 2nd Thermo was attempted by Nalkpas and was once again blocked, this time by Deny. That meant Sqweeby was out of protection for the Zed, and going all-in against a deck that played things like Concussive Palm and Gotcha seemed like a good way to get knocked out of the tournament. Sure enough, Nalkpas played a Palm on the Zed when Sqweeby summoned a Ruin Runner.
Nalkpas tried with all his might to Thermo Beam Zed for the third time, but fired it off just as another copy of Spirit’s Refuge was found to protect it yet again. With nothing but combat tricks in hand, Sqweeby decided it was time to pull the trigger. He buffed up his Zed and went in, and the answers from Nalkpas didn’t quite line up properly.
Nalkpas elected to switch decks for the 2nd game and found some aggressive footing with 2 Treasure Seekers to start things off. Sqweeby was able to trade away a portion of the board, but he seemed to have found the wrong half of the Draven/Ezreal deck, unable to utilize the little card draw he found effectively. After a Tri-Beam killed a Ruin Runner and pushed some damage into another, things looked like they might be looking up for Sqweeby. He was able to clear away some small units with Statikk Shock and was starting to build toward a hand that could control the game.
But Nalkpas had other plans, as he threw down a Sivir, Ghosted it, and suited it up with a Flurry of Fists to boot. With 12 elusive spell shielded damage coming into Sqweeby’s 11hp nexus, he was powerless to stop it.
The final game of the swiss rounds for these players came down to two very different Ezreal decks. If things went to the late game, Nalkpas would surely win and knock Sqweeby out of top cut contention. It was up to Sqweeby to play a more proactive Draven/Ezreal game and try to tempo out the low follower deck with 3 health units that were tough to remove.
So when Nalkpas started off the game with back to back Fallen Feline’s, Sqweeby’s plans already seemed to be falling apart. He needed to be the aggressor, but Nalkpas had stolen the opportunity away with some cats and a reduced cost Gotcha to clear away Ballistic Bot. Sqweeby developed Draven, and Nalkpas hit him with another copy of Gotcha. Sqweeby played another Draven while Nalkpas summoned Ezreal, and both players Thermo Beam’d the others champion.
It was turn 6 before Sqweeby was finally able to hit the enemy Nexus. He continued to stack his single Tri-Beam as high as he could while Nalkpas maintained a steady flow of cards coming in with a Scattered Pod. Both players were very low on cards as we approached the late game, a situation that heavily favored Nalkpas assuming he could string together Karma and a draw spell once enlightenment was hit. When turn 8 came and Sqweeby didn’t slam down a Farron, Nalkpas refused to put a unit on the board when all he was staring down was an Ezreal, which he then killed with a Thermogenic Beam. Sweeby was forced to use Statikk Shock just to the nexus to dig for some threats. He didn’t find them.
Turn 10 came and Nalkpas started things off with Karma, and Sqweeby was forced to throw out his Tri-Beam and hope there was nothing to stop it, but a Deny swiftly ended the illusion. Stuck on some weak units and ineffective spells, Sqweeby was forced to watch as Karma doubled Time Trick and found Hexite Crystal. Scattered Pod came down as an Elusive, Hexite Crystal wiped Sqweeby’s board, and he was forced to discard Rummage with Sump Dredger to try and get something on board so he didn’t die to Karma. With his remaining mana, Nalkpas Concussive Palmed, threatening 11 damage around whatever blocker Sqweeby played next. At only 10 nexus health, Sqweeby was eliminated from the Rise of the Underworlds Seasonal.
After an intense day with every series going to game 3, the Top 32 was locked in. Be sure to check back next Saturday to see how it all plays out at twitch.tv/legendsofruneterra, and who our last champion will be before the World Championship next month!