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Wild Rift North American Series: First Circuit - Major 1 Recap

The first season of the Wild Rift NA Series is in full swing, and we’re here to make sure you’re all caught up on the action! Over the past couple of weeks, teams have been battling through qualifiers with the Top 8 teams attending this weekend’s Major 1. 

Major 1 not only gave bragging rights, a $15,000 prize pool, and guaranteed spots in Major 2, but it also set the scene for the first official season. Tribe and NME spent 2021 battling over the top spots, while Sentinels, Immortals, and Cloud9 have been on the rise. Will we see continued dominance from our old friends, or will new teams climb to the crown?

No More Ego vs Cloud9

We started the weekend with a banger, as NME and Cloud9 have proven themselves to be contenders in the past having performed well in last year’s Summoner Series and recent Fight Nights, and they took us to a full three games to kick off Major 1.

Things started well for Cloud9, securing their lead during the usual Level 3 Scuttle skirmish, but a 6-minute Dragon fight saw a huge team engage from YikeZ’s Rakan and Game 1 swung to NME’s favour. It was a clean from NME, and they topped it off with Jxcki taking a 1v3 Triplekill before ending the game.

While NME ran it back with the Game 2 composition, Cloud9 went a little spicier. Tarzaned took Riven to the Jungle, while Meals ran a Soraka Mid. Eyes were quickly on the Dragon lane, with Selmaw getting a double bubble to set up Tarzaned for an easy dive, claiming First Blood and a Doublekill. That lead was all that was needed. NME kept us on the edge of our seats but Tarzaned led Cloud9 to victory, the 15/1 Riven equalizing the series.

With the success from the previous game, Cloud9 went into Game 3 with Soraka and Riven once more. It was a bananas start to the game, with Meals’ Soroka getting a Solokill for First Blood within the first minute. But this was a culmination of the series, the Gold dead-even as we went into the fifteenth minute; and it was a 15-minute fight that gave NME the win. The teams fighting in a choke point, perfect for a Corki and Diana, spelled disaster as NME were able to dive onto Cloud9’s backline, claiming the 16 minute win.

Cloud9 dropped to the Lower Bracket, and matched against Family who fell to Immortals, alongside Reflexion and 16Bit Genesis who lost to Tribe and Sentinels respectively.

The stream, however, moved on to the Semifinals. Sentinels vs Tribe Gaming and Immortals vs No More Ego.

Sentinels vs Tribe Gaming

Sentinels and Tribe had faced each other in Qualifier 1 on their journey to this Major, and Sentinels picked up that win. Was it time for Tribe’s revenge as they looked to reclaim Wild Rift dominance?

Tribe started Game 1 with an early lead, seeing 3 Kills in the first couple of minutes and first Dragon going to Tribe uncontested. However, Sentinels were simply biding their time with Mali and Sheesh keeping them in the game until an explosive fight at 8 minutes gave Sentinels an Ace and the lead they needed. It was a scrappy composition, and Sentinels used the lead to eventually close the game with 20 Kills ahead.

Game 2 went a similar way, looking good for Tribe as Starting helped to give a 3-2 lead within 5 minutes. Yet again, it was Sentinels biding their time, and over the space of 2 minutes, they clawed back from a 2-5 deficit to sit at an even 6-6 with a slight Gold lead.

Yet again, it was an explosive fight which threw Sentinels into the lead, and Tribe couldn’t catch them. A 17 minute win, 21-8, put Sentinels through to the Upper Finals.

“This Sentinels looks insane”

Immortals vs No More Ego

Immortals could arguably be seen as a favorite for the Wild Rift NA Series, having won the first Qualifier to get to Major 1, and coming second in the Summoner Series last year. It was up to NME to beat them, like they had done so many times before.

NME pulled out a Garen Support in the hopes of taking Immortals down, but unfortunately it wasn’t the answer. By 10 minutes, Immortals were close to a 10k Gold lead, and it was looking dire for NME. With a valiant final stand around Dragon, NME found themselves split and Immortals cleaned house, claiming Baron and a win.

NME looked refreshed going into Game 2. They started with a lead and looked to push it further around a 4-minute Rift Herald. While they were able to steal the objective away from Immortals, Immortals were able to steal away the lead as they equalized the scoreline and took a Gold lead. It turned into a game of throws, as NME found leads before handing Immortals a comeback. It took until 13 minutes for Immortals to find a convincing advantage and hold onto it. After 20 minutes of back and forth, Immortals finally put the nail in the coffin, closing the game at 23-14, and joining Sentinels in the Upper Finals.

Tribe Gaming vs Family

This was the first time we saw Family this weekend, after they beat Cloud9 in the Lower Bracket to face up against Tribe Gaming. Family looked like they were in control of the draft, banning anything that looked to fit Tribe’s composition, but a good draft wouldn’t win the game.

Family were proactive, moving lanes around the map to gain priority before objectives. Simple yet clean and effective. But 2 minutes of relentless assaults from Tribe set them up with a 7k Gold lead before we hit the seventh minute of the game. The grave was dug, and Family couldn’t climb out. Tribe could have ended in under 12 minutes with a convincing 16k Gold lead if only they had minions to help the final push.

Family went into Game 2 with a more scale orientated draft, with Jax and Vayne, but Tribe were quick to punish with a clean dive onto Lynn’s Vayne to kick things off. Ttigers and MaxGreen were on fire, and their engages set Tribe up for a clean 14-minute victory to advance through the Lower Bracket. 

No More Ego vs Reflexion

With their rivals of Tribe waiting for them, it was time to see if NME could make it past Reflexion to face them. Even with Reflexion taking a note from eastern teams with a Nunu Jungle, the early Scuttle skirmish gave three Kills over to NME, giving a firm lead within the opening minutes. After such a bad start it seemed impossible for Reflexion to find a footing, and by 10 minutes Tribe were 12-2 and 10k Gold up.

After such a decisive win for NME, Game 2 felt a lot closer. Kill trading and blinking health bars littered the early game, but NME slowly but surely edged themselves ahead. Even so, it still took 17 minutes for NME to close the game, and series, with a 26-12 scoreline and 21k Gold lead. 

Our top four were locked. Immortals, Sentinels, No More Ego and Tribe Gaming were guaranteed a spot at Major 2. Day 2, therefore, was all about seeding and rivalries.

Tribe Gaming vs No More Ego

Historically, it seems Tribe have regularly got the better of NME. Usually getting the upper hand, and winning their regular clashes across the Summoner Series last year, Tribe were here to continue their dominance.

We could not have asked for a closer series either, befitting of the two teams’ growing rivalry! Game 1 started with disaster for Tribe, making plays but being forced to watch NME escape. It culminated in a 4-minute dive onto Aluy, which was outplayed and cost Tribe two Kills. Things continued to go NME’s way, even stealing away the Rift Herald, but Tribe were able to snatch the game out of their hands. Fights felt like knife edges, but it was Tribe who came out on top.

NME came into Game 2 with a vengeance, kicking it off with a quick First Blood before the Mid laners clashed to take NME 3-0. This lead snowballed, and NME were soon rampaging across the map. By 16 minutes, they were 21-1 and closing the game. This was a clean game from NME, and proof they wouldn’t just roll over for Tribe.

It all came to Game 3, and while both were guaranteed their Major 2 spot, they needed the bragging rights and the ability to challenge for the Major 1 podium. It took just 2 minutes for First Blood to come in, with MaxGreen’s Dr. Mundo falling as the rivals clashed. NME snowballed their lead, just as in the previous game. It took over 9 minutes for Tribe to get their first Kill, but NME claimed their ninth at the same time. Regardless of the lead, with Tribe having such a tanky composition the game dragged out as NME simply couldn’t kill them.

This ended up being one of the longest competitive games of Wild Rift, as the teams clashed for a full 41 minutes and 18 seconds. But such a long game played into NME’s hands, as the Veigar scaled and eventually nuked his targets. We could not have asked for a better end to the series, and it came to an end as minions destroyed the Nexus.

Immortals vs Sentinels

After such an incredible game, we moved to the Upper Finals and another three game series. In an anti-climatic start, it took 8 minutes for First Blood to come through in Game 1. That just felt like the ‘go’ button, however, and the teams skirmished endlessly around the middle of the map. It was another drawn out game, lasting over 25 minutes, but Sentinels eventually took the win with an even scoreline.13-13 on Kills, and less than 2k Gold difference between the teams.

Immortals, however, came back proving that they may bleed, but they are, in fact, immortal. Claiming First Blood, and then going 4-1 by 8 minutes, this was a faster Game 2 and Immortals made their clean run to an 18 minute victory. 16-3 on Kills, and barely losing any objectives as they equalized the series.

While their lives weren’t necessarily on the line, this was the Upper Finals and a win would punch a ticket to the Grand Finals. You could see that pressure was being felt, it took 5 minutes for First Blood to come through as neither team wanted to overstep and make a mistake. Immortals wouldn’t give an inch, using Hoon’s Ahri to create picks and apply pressure. Facing such a lead, Sentinels weren’t able to make objective trades and fell further behind. It felt like Sentinels were never able to find a footing in the game, and Immortals controlled the map before destroying the Nexus at 17 minutes, 14-3 and a 17k Gold lead.

Immortals went from their consistent third place in 2021 to a top two finish, and a shot at the First Seed going into Major 2.

Sentinels vs No More Ego

With Immortals now waiting in the Grand Finals, it was up to either Sentinels or NME to get the rematch against the team which had sent them to the Lower Bracket.

NME hit the ground running for Game 1, YikeZ and Truth setting up for an early lead, and by 8 minutes the Support Thresh had 100% kill participation with a 4/0/6 KDA. Even when leading on Kills, NME couldn’t run away with the game and after 20 minutes, the Gold was dead even. It came to an end when Sentinels seemed to have found access to the backline, with Beginnings’ Galio flashing over a wall to taunt NME’s carries, but Truth found his way onto the opposing backline too and the Akali took Sentinels’ damage away. This meant a 24 minute win for NME, as they set themselves up for the Grand Finals.

“This is like watching two tropical birds doing their little mating dance”

Game 2 was a lot slower to take off, both teams paying respect to their opponents, as it took over 8 minutes for First Blood to come through; even after 3 Towers, Rift Herald, and a Dragon had been claimed. But when the teams eventually spilled blood over the second Dragon, it was NME that came out on top. YikeZ once again put on a clinic with Rakan, while Mali unsuccessfully looked to turn the fight in Sentinel’s favor. This was repeated over objectives, each one bringing a fight, and each fight allowing NME to get further ahead. A last-ditch effort around Baron at 15 minute sealed the deal, however, and gave NME the opening they needed to start to close the game. A convincing and well executed 17-minute win for NME with a 16-2 scoreline.

“NME have done it like that, all the way, they’ve taken down Cloud9, they’ve taken down Tribe and Sentinels, NME will move on to the Grand Finals to face off against Immortals”

Immortals vs No More Ego 

The Grand Finals represented the pinnacle of NA Wild Rift, both teams having had a successful history and strong showing at the WNS so far. Now, however, it was time to find the Major 1 Champion, and set the scene for the rest of the season.

NME were riding the success of the previous series, and took the Game 1 lead with a huge Wukong Ultimate to set up for LuanDJ’s Yasuo, a 3-0 start from the 5-minute Dragon. With such an early lead, NME were in the driver’s seat, and their foot never left the pedal. Having claimed all following Dragons, Baron, and a 18-5 lead, it was an easy 21 minute victory for NME to start the series.

fThis was the wakeup call Immortals needed, as they ran their own Yasuo composition for Game 2. The game was even throughout, and we waited for a combo from Orianna or Lee Sin to set up Hoon for a crazy Last Breath, but it was all about Charm. Death Sentence after Death Sentence, the support carry came through, and Immortals equalized the Grand Finals after a 20 minute game.

Potentially unhappy with the lack of Yasuo combos from the previous game, Immortals went into Game 3 with a team of knockups. It took a while to come online, as NME took the lead early in the game, but once the Malphite, Orianna, and Alistar were able to group with the Yasuo, it quickly changed pace. NME held on, but after 16 minutes of throwing themselves at their opponents, Immortals took command of the game. Another 20 minute game to take them to match point.

After that, NME were done with Yasuos and banned it away, and even with the pressure of this being the potential final game, NME weren’t holding back. The teams were butting heads from the start, but it took 5 minutes for First Blood to come through as Immortals turned a fight on its head with a Gragas Cask. Truth and Tibe tried to make things work for NME but they couldn’t quite do it, and Immortals had so many options to start fights and get onto the backline. With a 9-2 scoreline, and a 10k Gold lead, Immortals started to put nails in the coffin as they secured a 13-minute Baron, before a final fight gave Lebmont a Triplekill and Immortals the game, and the series

“Immortals deliver under pressure, Number 1 in NA has a nice ring to it”

With a convincing Top 4 teams, all looking ahead to Major 2, attention now turns to Immortals. Can any of the teams rise to match Immortals? Will a new challenger arrive in the second Circuit? All teams performed incredibly, Sentinels and NME proved that Immortals aren’t unbeatable, but the Major 1 Champions have secured their crown, for now.

Keep your eyes open as we head into the second circuit, featuring more qualifiers before more Major action on March 12th and 13th!

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