The NLC has returned, and what a return it was! It’s been a very action-packed week of games (as is tradition in the NLC), so let’s take a look back at what happened and what we can expect in the week ahead!
The first match of the NLC spring kicked off with BT Excel vs Nordavind, a match with a lot of build up behind it. Despite some proactive plays from Nordavind, Excel played it slow and steady, and after a decisive fight at the Baron pit from Excel they never looked back. Orome’s Renekton became an unstoppable force with Goredrinker and they go 1-0 to start the season.
Tricked Esport vs Dusty was up next and this game too was slow and steady but in a different manner. Tricked drafted an incredibly annoying composition with Ashe and Maokai bot-lane with double Imperial Mandate, and an incredible amount of poke damage. Dusty held on valiantly and at times had great chances, but Tricked slowly whittled their foes down to take their first win of spring.
Granit vs Godsent is a match where few had complete knowledge of both sides, as there are a number of rookie players (especially on Granit). In a match where expectations were minimal, Granit exceeded them all. From their first gank at bot-lane at 7:40, Granit floored the pedal and never let up. This was an all-important first win for Granit, and a statement to the rest of the NLC: Don’t take them lightly.
Defending champions Fnatic Rising vs Barrage was the last game of the day, and it was the other hyped match. Despite Fnatic needing to use their substitute player Lindgarde, many still expected a Fnatic victory since they had Febiven. However, the warships had other plans. From start to finish, Barrage led the game. Fnatic didn't get a single kill till around 25 minutes! Barrage proceeded to take the Baron, the nexus and the win.
We saw Team Singularity vs Riddle Esports to start off Day 2. While the game held mostly even till the mid game, Singularity started to ramp up and continuously pick fights from Prosfair’s Rakan which led to their Baron at 25 minutes. Fight after fight, Singularity continued winning and never let their guard down. 1-0 to Singularity.
The next game in KOVA Esports and MNM Gaming was much more of a volatile match. Things looked bleak for KOVA from the early game thanks to MNM’s strong start. However, KOVA marksmen Snurmi stepped it up and many times kept them in the game. Both teams constantly traded kills with each having chances to close the game, but ultimately MNM found the all important fight and pushed it through to the end.
Dusty and Godsent was up next, with both teams going 0-1 in the first day. Dusty began with a clear gameplan: sack top-lane. Zombie had an extremely rough time in the beginning, but inch by inch Godsent fought back. Slowly but surely, Dusty could no longer break through their ranks, and in the ensuing teamfights going into the late game, Godsent methodically closed the game out.
The final game was BT Excel taking on Granit Gaming, and honestly even with Granit’s win over Godsent, few could predict how closely they would contest Excel. In fact, gold, kills and turrets were even till 19 minutes, before a big fight at the drake pit swung the momentum right to Excel. They then used it to methodically secure objective after objective and finally claimed victory. 2-0 to Excel in Week 1.
Game 1 started off with two teams that could potentially upset BT Excel: Nordavind and Tricked Esport. Some might have doubted Tricked due to losing most of the summer roster, but not after this game. The Danish outfit comfortably led the game from start to finish, and challenged Nordavind at every turn without fear. After a clean fight at Baron at 30 minutes, Tricked closed the game to go 2-0.
Riddle Esports vs MNM Gaming was next, and MNM were slight favourites after their scrappy win against KOVA Esports. However, Riddle were prepared. This game like MNM’s last match, had many scrappy fights but only this time Riddle came out on top. Pressing their lead relentlessly, Riddle pushed through and took their first win of spring.
Following up on that would be KOVA Esports and Fnatic Rising. Both teams were 0-1 and would appreciate a win here. Despite still using their substitute, Fnatic Rising were dominant from start to finish, accruing a 6.6k gold lead at 16 minutes. KOVA had some hope due to Fnatic’s mistakes, but eventually Fnatic would find a fight and take the win.
The final match of Week 1 was Team Singularity vs Barrage Esports, and hopes were high for this match due to previous performances from both teams. As the game went on, Barrage became far too eager to get into fights and Singluarity punished them hard for it. This continued throughout the game as Barrage desperately searched for a way back in but ultimately, it was for naught. Singularity secured their second baron and pushed for the win.
Preview for Week 2
One week into the NLC and it’s already shaping up to be another fiery season! Both Group A and B have had a lot of expectations and surprises alike going into 2021.
For Group A, Excel leads the group to no one’s surprise, and Tricked has really shown some very strong performances. Which is handy because next week the match to watch will be Excel vs Tricked! Will Tricked take down the academy side or will Excel continue to dominate?
Nordavind at 0-2 will be looking to bounce back and prove the strength of their roster. They face both Godsent and Granit (who have surprised many), and those should be tense matches.
For Group B it’s much closer. Singularity perhaps unexpectedly leads at 2-0 while four teams tie at 1-1. Anything less than first is unacceptable for Fnatic, which is good because they face Team Singularity on Day 1. Who will come up on top?
Other teams at 1-1 such as Barrage, MNM and Riddle have important matches as well, such as MNM vs Barrage, Riddle vs Fnatic and MNM vs Singularity. It’s going to be utter chaos in Group B once the dust settles.
Looks like fans will be spoilt for choice when Week 2 rolls in. Which teams do you think will surprise? Let us know on Twitter!