Light at the end of the tunnel: ManaLight finish 1st in ESL UK Prem after beating Banditos

The ESL UK League of Legends Premiership season 3 group stage is over – and ManaLight is the top seed going into the playoffs.
Often the final week is simply about organising final seeds of the ESL UK Premiership LAN finals (taking place this weekend – April 2nd and 3rd) and for others its about bragging rights or just having some fun with their team.
The 1st place tiebreaker was between Manalight and Renegades this week, the 3rd place tiebreaker was for Exertus/Choke to decide play-off seeding, whilst MnM and TCA were 5th/6th and FM/CBA were battling for 7th/8th. With the importance to these games present, let’s look at how they went.
 

Game 1: TCA vs MnM

This was the battle for the 5th to 6th place seeds.
TCA and MnM opened up with strong lane-swaps but TCA secured a 1v1 first blood in the mid lane for Haetoong’s Corki. This quickly provided TCA with a nice gold lead within the early stages of the game – and they also got themselves a Rift herald for effective pushing power in the top lane.
MnM, however, got themselves some picks around the mid game to keep pressure away from them, and made it look like MnM had a chance looming in the immediate horizon.
But that dream faded away quickly after MnM lost out in a fight or two around 20 minutes in. TCA got all they needed to win the game at 28 minutes with a 10k gold lead – and they finished with 15-6 kills on the scoreboard.
This meant that TCA took the 5th place position for the first tie breaker of the day in the 7th week of the regular split, narrowly missing out on playoffs.
 

Game 2: Exertus vs Choke

The second game of the day was between Exertus and Choke. This battle was for the 3rd – 4th place finishers to determine the seedings going into the Premiership LAN finals at the weekend.
The game was slow but methodical for the first 12 minutes of the game, but a huge fight went down that practically dictated the rest of the game. Exertus took a fight against Choke and came out victorious with 4-1 kill trade, which resulted in a further 5k lead from the aftermath of the fight.
From there Exertus pushed endlessly till 20 minutes and held the frontline at the base of Chokes walls.
But at 20 minutes Choke pushed out and made a stand! Unfortunately for Choke they lost the fight in a 2-5 trade, which resulted in Special getting a triple kill and Gakis getting a double kill. This move gave Exertus the opportunity to destroy Choke’s mid inhib and then got Baron, which shot their gold lead up to 8k in seconds.
With this baron Exertus got more and more of Choke’s base and at 25 minutes all they needed was one pick onto Joekerism to end the game. Exertus finished the game with a 14k lead and a score line of 13-3 to finally decide who gets the 3rd and 4th seed for the LAN finals on the weekend. Both teams then awaited for the victors of ManaLight/Renegades to determine who their opposition will be in the first stage of the LAN finals.
 

Game 3: Renegades vs Manalight

This was the big one: the battle for the 1st and 2nd seed positions. After already going to a 5th game and Renegades beating ManaLight at i57 last weekend, this match was one to watch.
The game opened for once in a normal lane situation and immediately went interesting with two summoners being burnt in a 3 min trade bot-lane on the side of ManaLight. But first blood came from top lane where Alphari solo killed Rifty at 7 minutes in.
For the next 15 minutes the game would be based on interesting skirmishes and trades from both sides. The kill score went 7-8 in favour of ManaLight but Renegades were still 2k gold up despite the kill disadvantages.
But the picture changed at 25 minutes when Renegades got Baron, traded 2-1 kills and pushed their lead up to 8k within minutes of that advantage being established. They even smashed open the bot lane inhibitor for that extra security to help towards the win they desired. However, they couldn’t escape from the chase ManaLight put on them and got three deaths to turn their 6k gold deficit to a 3k deficit.
With hope in sight for ManaLight, they did something truly remarkable after nearly losing out on the game. At 31 minutes, ManaLight got the pick they needed to crack down the base of Renegades by picking off Yuuki and Impaler. From those picks, the ManaLight squad slowly gained in confidence, and took down the rest of the Banditos one by one as they hurried out of their base to fend ManaLight off.
ManaLight made an impressive comeback to earn themselves the first seed going into the playoffs – and a perfect seven-game streak in the group stages.
 

Game 4: CBA vs FM

The final game of the day was between Cliff is a Boosted Animal (CBA, Infused’s former roster) vs FM for the battle for 7th-8th, after both teams failed to pick up a win throughout the regular season.
Like Renegades and ManaLight, this game opened with standard lanes, which proved to be exciting once again. Within the first 3 minutes of the game the bot-lanes had a scrap and resulted in first blood for CBA’s Brixton. Minutes later top-lane had a 2-2 fight with both teams getting a kill each.
This happened throughout the early and mid-game over and over again to constantly fluctuate gold differences between the two teams.
However the game started to take its toll when CBA secured a baron around 23 minutes in. Ultimately this baron allowed CBA to excel their leads in order to end this endless skirmishing that was taking place throughout the game.
CBA’s ADC Cliff put in an excellent performance, going 5/0/8 as Corki.
With the Baron CBA had managed to finally crack open the base of FM eSports and win fights to finally end the game at 26 minutes, with 19-10 kills on the scoreboard and a 6k lead to finally grant them their first and their last win of the split.
This meant that FM ended the split 0-7 and will go down into the relegations as the weakest seed for promotion matches.
 

What’s next? Here comes the playoffs…

esl-prem-final-standings
This is not the end of the ESL UK Premiership Season 3 – the playoff LAN will commence this weekend at the ESL UK’s new studio in Leicester.
Who will win and head into the Challenger Series qualifiers?
Will Manalight do what Infused did last split and go undefeated?
Will Renegades finally get the Challenger Series promotion match that they just missed out on before the start of the ESL UK Premiership?
Perhaps Exertus might make a name for themselves at LAN as they were deemed to be top three and could possibly take 1st in the finals this weekend?
With jungler Dandychap being dropped by Choke, will Nutri step in and save the day, like he did for FM last season, when he helped them to finish second?
As for Choke, the lowest seed out of all the playoff teams after the tie breakers from today’s games, could they cause an upset?
We can only find out come the weekend!
Tune in to the ESL UK Twitch stream at 2pm on Saturday April 2nd and Sunday April 3rd to watch the matches live

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