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Wild Rift North American Series: Third Circuit - Major 3 Recap

                                                                                               WNS Major 3 Recap by @AlistarOP

The last of the Majors have passed us and brought us yet another action-packed weekend. Major 3 brought four more tickets for the WNS Championship, as well as plenty of upsets and a chance at redemption for our teams.

With only Immortals and Sentinels having qualified through Major 2, we were left with a multitude of top teams, all of them vying for a Top 4 finish. Any team that didn’t make it to Day 2 would be forced to rely on the Last Chance Qualifier next week, so everyone was out to secure their place here. On top of those prized tickets, there was a $10,000 prize pool to fight over too!

The bracket was set, let's get into the action.

Cloud9 vs Saint

Cloud9 had been on the rise after a successful Major 2, but they’d find a roadblock in their match against Saint. While Cloud9 have veterancy on their roster, their opponents have shown a formidable lineup in the Qualifiers, and expectations were that Saint would be able to win through their topside trio of CrownPrince, Camel, and IceY.

It took a while for this expectation to come to reality in Game 1. Tarzaned kept things even on the topside, as Oldskool and Selmaw won the 2v2 on the botside. As we approached the 5-minute mark, Cloud9 had won a Rift Herald skirmish to put them 7-3 up, but Saint had the crowd control to bring things back in the following skirmish around Dragon. Cloud9 had given themselves a lead to start but it simply wasn’t enough, and, as predicted, Saint’s topside trio took over. At 10 minutes, the teams were 8-8, and by 15 minutes Saint was 18-11 ahead. With Death’s Dance Master Yi technology, there was no stopping the snowball as Saint claimed their 21-minute victory to start the day.

Game 2 felt like the exact opposite, with all the action coming from Saint’s Dragon lane, and by 5 minutes they were 7-1 ahead. Cloud9 made their stand and looked to equalize, but Saint simply played the map perfectly and rotated quickly. There was no stopping or catching this Saint machine as they closed the game within 15 minutes. A clean 2-0 sent Cloud9 to the Lower Bracket, where they had a gauntlet to run if they wanted to keep their WNS Championship dreams alive.

Tribe Gaming vs Saint

After their steamroll over Cloud9, Saint found their next challenger in Tribe. Over the past Majors, we’ve been following the Tribe Gaming story as they look to return to their former glory. Could the new kids put them in their place, or would Tribe take this as a chance to prove themselves?

Saint was willing to throw curveballs to help claim a Game 1 win, taking Evelynn in the Baron lane. However, as our excitement calmed down, we realized how hard a composition it would be to pull off. With Evelynn, Rengar, and Ahri, this composition was loaded with damage but needed a lead. A lead was never found. After losing the first teamfight, around 5 minutes in, Saint was put to a 1-5 deficit and could never make a mark on the game. It was a feast or famine composition, and Tribe starved them.

"Is it the return of the best team in North America?"

Going into Game 2 we had the question of, was it just a composition problem for Saint, or were Tribe really on form? Saint was here to say it was the former and took control with an early lead in this second game. It looked like it was going Saint’s way, but Tribe claimed shutdowns and objectives to give themselves the gold lead. As the scoreline equalized at 10 minutes, Tribe sat with a 3k Gold lead, and it was only going to grow further as they slowly dug Saint’s grave. With Selmaw leading the way, Tribe worked towards a 16-6 lead and closed the game in 16 minutes, with a 17k Gold lead.

"What a good look from Tribe Gaming. It's slow, it's controlled, it's patient, and it’s exactly what we’ve been missing"

No More Ego vs SuzakuGG

The stream then turned to NME and Suzaku. The last time these teams met was a 2-0 for NME in Round 1 of Major 2, but Suzaku had weeks to prepare.

With relatively standard drafts coming from the two teams, we saw a relatively slow start to Game 1. With traded blows and objectives, it wasn’t until the seventh minute that we saw First Blood, as TSuki outplayed a 3-man Tower Dive to not only survive but also have the team collapse for a 3-0 start for Suzaku. With so much burst damage on their side, there was no stopping the snowball and Suzaku took the game in a dominant fashion. 16 minutes on the clock, and a clean 16-3 scoreline.

NME were ready to punch back in Game 2, with YikeZ running through the Mid lane to help claim First Blood within the first minute. NME started to grow an early lead over Suzaku, but it was short-lived. An overextended Dragon lane offered a way back in for Suzaku, and they worked to equalize the score. With the teams relatively even, it was TSuki who completely zoned JXCKI out of the 11-minute Dragon fight and allowed Suzaku a 5v4 fight they could win. With momentum on their side, it was a clear route to a 17-minute victory, with a19-8 scoreline and a near 10k Gold lead.

With that, Suzaku have come through and claimed a WNS Championship spot as they continue their Major 3 run. They only joined in Major 2, where they fell in the Lower Bracket, so this was a huge showing that exceeded any expectations.

We jumped to the Lower Bracket to end Day 1, where we saw teams fight for their lives. Just one win is all they needed for a WNS Championship ticket.

Saint vs Reflexion

Saint came into Game 1 swinging, as Nori flashed forward and barely missed out on a kill in the Dragon lane within the first twenty seconds of the game. With the Junglers splitting the map vertically, Saint played aggressively and dived onto the Dragon lane to pick up First Blood. Reflexion responded with a dive in the Baron lane, giving Saint a 2-1 lead to start the game. With an early lead, Saint mirrored their earlier dominance as they took over the game. By 10 minutes, they were 10-2 up and looked untouchable as they outplayed Reflexion and had answers for everything. With a 15-minute Baron, Saint walked the waves in and closed the game within 17 minutes.

Game 2 was no different, and this time the early flashes from Saint in the Dragon lane succeeded in claiming First Blood within twenty seconds. And, again, every time Reflexion tried something, Saint had an answer. As we saw a Reflexion collapse in the Dragon lane, we saw a perfect Facebreaker from Khansui to pull everyone back into IceY’s Moonfall, giving Saint the three-for-nothing trade, and just three minutes into the game. As we’ve seen with Saint, when they’re given a lead they run with it. As we passed the 10-minute mark, they were 15-6 and 8k Gold ahead. It was turning into an easy snowball with so much damage and engage potential. It was systematic, as they took the Dragon lane inhibitor to apply pressure and give a free Baron, which then allowed them to push in for the win. A 15-minute victory for Saint, as they continue to show that they’re here to compete as they move forward to the WNS Championship.

No More Ego vs Cloud9

NME and Cloud9 seemed to have clashed continuously, being members of the Top 5 across the WNS, and the last time they met was a full three games with NME finally taking the win. With only one ticket left to the WNS Championship available here, the teams were fighting for their lives, as losing would mean being forced to go through the Last Chance Qualifier.

With a Singed in the Mid lane, Cloud9 kicked Game 1 off with easy kills, as the Mega Adhesive helped to find picks. NME kept things close, going into teamfights with huge Moonfalls from Truth’s Diana as LuanDj looked to be dominating the fights, but Tarzaned was running away with it. With 100% Kill Participation to start, sitting 6/0/5 at 9-minutes, the Rengar was Legendary as Cloud9 went 15-7 at 10 minutes. NME simply didn’t have the damage to challenge in fights, and the fed Rengar was able to tear through their lines. A 15-minute game and 29-9 on the scoreboard.

"Revenge for Cloud 9 against the team that had taken them out of the last Major"

With Rengar banned for Game 2, Cloud9 switched in the Nunu alongside the Singed runback. This time NME was ready to fight from the start, and the teams sat even for the first six minutes of the game. But it swung Cloud9’s way after a split fight gave Oldskool two Doublekills and put the Senna on a Rampage. It was an easy snowball to make, especially with Tarzaned’s Nunu, and Cloud9 were 12k up at 12-minutes as Zelo’s Renekton constantly tore through NME’s lines. It all culminated at 15-minutes, in a fight that looked like it could go NME’s way, but Tarzaned made sure there was absolutely zero way for NME to win. The sub-16 minute victory sent NME packing, as Cloud9 punched their ticket to the WNS Championship after a 32-9 game.

With that, we had our Top 4 teams, all of which qualified for the WNS Championship. The weight was now off their shoulders, so Day 2 turned into a battle for glory, seeding, and bragging rights. And we kicked it off with a rematch of the first series of the weekend.

Saint vs Cloud9

With the teams now holding a 1-1 head-to-head record, this series would help settle the debate, and Cloud9 were ready to make their argument in Game 1. With Oldskool’s Vayne surrounded by enchanters, and Tarzaned back on the Rengar, it was clear that Saint would have a tough time from the start. Yet again, Tarzaned’s Rengar took over the game, starting with a Doublekill within the first two minutes, before hitting Level 5 and returning Mid for a third Kill before we even hit the three-minute mark. Cloud9 was able to press this early lead, going to a 8-2 scoreline by 5 minutes. The team continued pressing advantages, even taking a four-for-nothing trade around the 10-minute Dragon. Cloud9 was online and warmed up, taking Game 1 with a 30-11 scoreline at 15 minutes.

After such a bloody start to the series, Cloud9 closed it with a calmer and more calculated Game 2. As we approached the 5-minute mark, there was only one kill on the board and that was to Saint, and yet Cloud9 sat with a healthy Gold lead after playing the map perfectly and out rotating their opponents. With a growing lead, it was only a matter of time before Cloud9 took hold of the game. With a final fight around Elder Dragon and Selmaw’s Nami stealing the objective away, Cloud9 closed the 18-minute game with a 15-8 scoreline.

With Tarzaned in top form, Cloud9 set themselves up for a Lower Finals appearance. But who would they be facing?

SuzakuGG vs Tribe Gaming

Tribe had been playing at a new level in Major 3, and they looked revitalized, but Suzaku had been on a roll. Could this new team bring down the old guard to advance to the Grand Finals, or is this the redemption arc for Tribe?

With standard drafts for Game 1, it was all eyes on Suzaku, filled with engage tools, to see what they could get done. We got what we asked for, with Demon King’s Nunu claiming First Blood. The early game was full of trades, with Suzaku using their plentiful engages to find fights, but they were always answered by Tribe taking objectives and keeping the Gold close. However, a fight around the 13-minute Dragon was split, and it went happily into Tribe’s favour and put them in the driver’s seat, especially as it allowed for a 14-minute Baron. It took until a fight over the 18-minute Elder Dragon for Tribe to finally put it to rest, taking the teamfight win and ending with a 15-11 scoreline and 8k Gold ahead.

Game 2 was a slower start, as Suzaku fell back to the engage tools with Wukong and Yasuo, but could never put them to use. At 5 minutes, Tribe was 3-1 up with a growing Gold lead, and by 10 minutes we saw no more kills but even more, objectives had been secured by Tribe. An explosive teamfight over the 11-minute Dragon sealed the deal, MaxGreen’s Gragas finding a perfect Explosive Casket as Tribe cleaned house, putting down the Rift Herald to claim all three Towers in the Mid lane. After taking Baron, Tribe pushed for the sub-16 minute win.

It was a clean game from Tribe Gaming, and set them up for the Grand Finals.

SuzakuGG vs Cloud9

As usual, the Lower Finals was just a means to get to the Grand Finals. Suzaku was looking to get another go against Tribe, while Cloud9, especially Oldskool, were looking for revenge.

Game 1 started slowly, but a 4v4 in the Dragon lane kicked things off after 3 minutes. It was started by Suzaku, but Cloud9 answered and took the 3-2 lead. It looked like it was going to be Cloud9’s game, but Suzaku, out of nowhere, found a way back in with a pick onto Tarzaned which snowballed into an equalized scoreline in the eighth minute. The game stayed on a knife’s edge until we finally had a big clash at the 13-minute Dragon. This felt like a summary of the two teams and the series, as both Dragon laners got a Quadrakill, but it was only isjerboa who limped away alive. As Cloud9 looked to reset the map, Demon King went on the hunt. With a pick onto Oldskool in the Mid lane, and Cloud9 split across the map, Suzaku quickly pushed to end the game out of nowhere.

Game 2 felt like some deja vu, as Cloud9 controlled the early game and took a 3-2 lead over the first few minutes. However, this time it didn't take as long for Suzaku to bounce back. A tower dive in the Dragon lane went horribly wrong for Cloud9 in the sixth minute, and Suzaku claimed an Ace before we even hit the 7-minute mark. While it only equalized the Gold, it allowed Suzaku to start snowballing as they were 11-5 at 10 minutes. It all concluded over the 14-minute Dragon, as Cloud9’s engage was futile and Suzaku wiped them out. With only Selmaw defending against the five-man squad, it was a sub-15 minute victory with a 21-8 scoreline for Suzaku, as they locked themselves in for a rematch against Tribe Gaming.

Tribe Gaming vs SuzakuGG

Suzaku had done well to get this far, having exceeded expectations and taken down some big names, but Tribe too had proven the doubters wrong. Now, they came into the Grand Finals looking to prove themselves even more. Who could take the number 1 seed from Major 3?

Tribe had their foot on the pedal for Game 1, realizing that Suzaku could scale well into the late game, so they dropped the Rift Herald in the Baron lane within the first 5 minutes, instantly netting a sizable Gold lead. In response, Premonition claimed First Blood onto Starting. It felt like a fight for momentum, as both teams looked to claim control of the game. But it swung into Tribe’s favor as a 10-minute Dragon skirmish gave them a 4-3 scoreline, with ttigers cleanly stealing the objective before claiming the Rift Herald too. While Suzaku was able to keep trading even as the game went on, it meant they could never snatch the lead away. All Tribe needed was the 18-minute Elder Dragon to fight over, and they could end the game.

"It's slow, it's steady, and it's a win for Tribe gaming"

TSuki took Fiora into the Baron lane for Game 2, and while a lot of attention was put onto whether it’d perform well, the action kicked off in the Dragon lane as Tribe got a 2v2 kill for First Blood within the first minute. While Suzaku was soon able to equalize, they were, again, on the back foot. With the lead in hand, Tribe played well, picking apart Suazku’s skirmish composition and finding angles onto the backline. As we approached the 10-minute mark, Tribe was nearing a 10k Gold lead and simply looked untouchable. While Suzaku found favorable fights, surely putting the pressure on, they couldn’t climb back into the game. It was a 16-minute game, and Tribe ended it with a near 16k Gold lead.

"Are Tribe Gaming back?"

When it came to Game 3, Tribe was ready to end the clean sweep. It was a slower start than previous games, but when it came to the 5-minute Dragon skirmish, it exploded into a lead for Tribe, and they sat over 3k Gold ahead. They rotated the momentum, going to the Baron lane with Rift Herald and set up a dive, taking them to 8-0 before 7 minutes. The action just didn’t stop, and Suzaku finally picked up their first kill at 8-minutes, while Tribe responded with another 4 kills. Tribe thwarted every attempt by Suzaku, and with a Rift Herald charge, destroyed the Nexus to end the series with a sub-13 minute game, 26-1, and over 21k Gold ahead. This was a statement.

"They announce to the rest of North America, the return of the king, the former throne, is coming back"

With that, we have four more teams lined up for what looks to be a competitive Wild Rift North America Championship at the end of the month! Tribe Gaming leads the way out of Major 3, but can they now challenge Immortals and Sentinels? Congratulations, of course, to SuzakuGG, Cloud9, and Saint who also advance! Now, we look to No More Ego and whether they can make it through the Last Chance Qualifier this week.

The LCQ will play out this weekend, bringing the final two spots for the Championship. Can NME claim them and join the rest of our top teams, as expected? And who will join them?

"I hope Immortals and Sentinels are ready at the Season 1 Championship because Tribe has your names as a target"

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