The NLC 2021 Spring Season saw a new winner in BT Excel, who finally banished their demons to defeat academy rivals Fnatic Rising and claim the crown. Now, summer has arrived, but the cold winds of war remain in the North, heralding a new NLC season.
With new teams, new faces alongside familiar ones, what new tales of glory will be woven in the upcoming battles? To find out, we once more approached the participating teams and asked what their expectations are for the NLC Summer Season. We first hear from the participants from Group A in a two part article.
Bow before your returning champions of the North and EU Masters runner-ups, BT Excel! The British powerhouse dominated the NLC spring, dropping only two games the entire season, before trouncing arch-rivals Fnatic Rising 3-0 in the Grand Finals. It’s safe to say Excel are aiming to win it again. Second place is not an option.
Perhaps what’s more terrifying than their past results is their capacity for further growth. They shouldered the weight of the NLC and doubters aplenty through the run in the EU Masters, yet defied all odds to make the finals. Now they return not just more confident than before, but also hungrier to top last season’s results.
All eyes will be on them this season as they fend off challengers to their throne.
“Last season went almost exactly how I would've wanted it to go. I think we found our footing pretty early into the NLC and from there we didn't really falter. I was incredibly excited to see what we were going to be able to achieve in the EU Masters and, aside from our first week where we had to figure out the patch, I believe we lived up to our expectations.
I’m very proud of how much the guys have developed as players and grown as people, and I'm hoping that we mimic our NLC performance in spring and then finally close out the season with an EU Masters title!”Swiffer, BT Excel Head Coach
What a turnaround it has been for Team Singularity. The NLC 2020 Summer Season as well as the Fall Open were tournaments to forget, but last spring they achieved a remarkable fourth placed finish, falling to Nordavind 2-1 in the Lower Bracket of playoffs.
Singularity have kept their roster the same from spring and will look to capitalise on their prior teamwork and synergy from there, with players like Dragdar and Furuy having very solid performances in spring. For the first time since 2020, Singularity will have much expectations put on them to be able to at least mount a challenge against the academy teams. Will they rise up to the occasion?
“It's no secret that Team Singularity wanted to build a one-year project at the beginning of 2021 and I'm happy to have fulfilled that goal. Keeping a roster of five together for a year has many intangible benefits, as well as self-evident ones.
It's my hope that whilst the majority of rosters in the NLC shuffle around and have to re-establish synergy, we can continue to progress from our fourth place last season and challenge ourselves to win it all. The ability of this roster is certainly there, but the battle is to reach that ceiling this summer.
I'm hopeful that given a rejuvenating off-season without trials and given time to reflect on where we could improve from spring, you'll see an even stronger Singularity this summer!”Torok, Team Singularity Head Coach
Tricked Esport have been steadily establishing themselves as one of the playoffs staples so far in the NLC: Top four in 2020 summer, top eight in the Fall Open and finishing fifth/sixth last spring, losing to Team Singularity 2-1 in playoffs. Tricked have also retained the services of their coach Vandett0 from last spring, so no doubt their ambition is to aim higher than a fifth/sixth finish for summer.
For summer, Tricked have gone for an interesting mix of players compared to spring. Retaining the services of midlaner Poulsen (whom caster Guldborg lauds as the best mid), they have added names like veteran jungler Taxer and bot-laner Den Voksne, who was outstanding with London Esports last spring. Time will tell how well this team performs, and their social media hashtag ‘#GETTRICKED’ could work for or against them indeed...
“Last season we had a lot of complicated internal issues, nothing serious but definitely some things that prohibited us from performing to our maximum potential. There was a rift in the way that the team functioned and for this summer, it was important that we built a team that meshed better together.
When we started the roster building we hadn't decided on which path to go down, it was all about what opportunities arose. But after our tryouts were done, we ended up with a team that in a lot of ways is an upgrade to our spring roster, due to the way we mesh together both in-game and on a personal level.
This summer we expect to grow faster and peak higher than last split, and we have also restructured a lot in the way we grow our players. So for us in Tricked, it really is a brand new beginning.”Vandett0, Tricked Esport Head Coach
Say hello to the newcomers in the NLC, Resolve. Resolve acquired Barrage Esports, thereby promoting to the NLC by default and having an academy spot in the UKLC. From their rise in winning the UKEL, then winning the UKLC last spring to entering the NLC summer, Resolve are not here to merely participate: They have ‘resolved’ to challenge the best.
Resolve’s roster contains three of their UKLC players in sof, Chemera and FastLegged that won the league in near perfect fashion. To bolster their ranks they’ve added promising top-laner Kaylem and veteran bot-laner Achuu from Tricked. As the only UK team outside of the academies, Resolve have a lot to prove in place of Barrage. How far can Resolve steer this new vessel?
“It has always been our goal to become the best team in Europe and we're sticking to that. We're optimistic about the NLC Summer and we're eager to show how capable we are as a team and organisation. This season will be a good test and I believe that we've put together a roster capable of achieving playoffs this season if not more.
The time constraints have been difficult given the circumstances but I feel we have done very well to put together a strong team.”Rai, Resolve Founder and CEO
Granit Gaming were the darlings of NLC summer. Underdogs to the tee, no one expected anything from them. And yet game after game, they persevered, and achieved playoffs in their first NLC season. It was truly a remarkable effort by all accounts.
For summer, Granit have changed their entire roster from top to bottom, bringing in mostly newer faces, except jungler Indecision who played for Godsent in spring. They will once more be the underdogs in Group A as their roster is very young, and will need steadfast leadership. Will Granit Gaming repeat the miracle once again?
"We are all very excited to be part of the Granit Gaming family for the NLC 2021 Summer Season. Despite everyone predicting the team to finish last place in spring, the organisation and its members managed to surprise everyone by making it to playoffs.
For summer, we are looking to surprise a second time in a row, despite everyone predicting us at last place once again! In order to do so, we've recruited a roster full of young and promising players. They might be inexperienced, but they are all very talented. We have full confidence in ourselves as a team to be able to perform well.
Our goal for this season will be to help all these young players to progress and set the basis for them to have the career they deserve."Peña, Granit Gaming Team Manager
Last spring was, perhaps, very unlucky for Dusty. The sole Icelandic team in the NLC went into the final day of the regular season desperately needing a win against Nordavind, and their loss to them meant Dusty were sent to relegations. It was so close for them. But still, they braved through relegations and beat Bifrost 3-1 to remain in the NLC.
The challenge for them is not yet done, Dusty will not be satisfied to play in relegations again. They’ve hired coach Flash and midlaner Warzi from the Ultraliga, as well as familiar names such as toplaner Zombie, botlane duo Emtest and Baloo for the task of making playoffs. Will Dusty finally succeed, or will their dreams once again sink beneath the depths of the Atlantic?
“We are going for a bit different approach this season by having no Icelandic players. While that isn’t ideal for the organisation and probably contradicts some things I’ve said publicly before, it just wasn’t an option for summer. Instead, we will be supporting the Icelandic League of Legends scene in other ways.
However, we are very confident in the roster we have now and a lot of time has gone into finding the perfect balance. This team has clicked really fast, people are enjoying playing together and making very good progress as a unit.
We are all very optimistic for the upcoming season, and we will be disappointed with anything less than making playoffs!”Ásbjörn Ásbjörnsson, Dusty CEO and Founder