Image and article by Megalodontus
The end of the 2019 UK League Championship (UKLC) split is on Sunday September 1st – and the finale could not be better. Fnatic Rising and Excel UK will square off for a match of ultimate UK League of Legends supremacy at Excel’s homeground Twickenham Stadium.
We take a closer look at what to expect from the UKLC grand final.
While we hate to prattle on about the fiesta blanketing the British news sites, there is certainly one thing Her Majesty will not be suspending – and that is the UKLC Grand Finals! But before we get onto that…
A quick word in honour of Phelan Gaming
To Phelan Gaming: No matter how your gauntlet run ended in defeat to Excel, be proud. As the only Irish organisation to make it to playoffs, you defied the odds and expectations of everyone within the scene.
Hold your heads up high and continue to howl. We await your return in 2020 with the strength of your pack.
The challengers: Excel UK
Excel and Fnatic were like two dragons in the regular season, fighting without a care amongst the clouds while the rest of the league looked on from below. And both have qualified for the EU Masters of course.
Ending the split with 25 points, just 2 short of Fnatic, it is no surprise that Excel now face them in the grand finals.
And what a team they’ve become. Excel have put last split’s disappointment behind them and risen like a phoenix. Known by the popular moniker “Flex-cel” for their mind boggling champion pools and ability to place any of their carries in any lane, until the draft is over you never know who goes where or on what champion.
Much like their LEC sister team, Excel have an incredibly strong, proactive early game and they can easily snowball it out of control, particularly during the 10 to 20 minute phases of the game.
Their love of skirmishing and playing ‘on the edge’ is helped by their often dominant laning phase. As a team they live and die by this philosophy. Mid laner (or sometimes top or bot laner) Exile exemplifies this to the tee. He’s still the extremely explosive player we know and love, and thankfully jungler Taxer and support Kasing‘s strong performances have helped mitigate this to an extent.
Top laner Send0o too has had a standout split (especially on Gnar) in comparison to Spring, and as for Hjarnan, what more hasn’t been said about the world’s best Heimerdinger?
If they continue to believe in their progress and their unity, Excel could certainly upset. And needless to say, they’ve probably prepared something very special (not their substitute) for the upcoming clash of titans.
The kings: Fnatic Rising
Now, we could very well start with the usual “Fnatic are the best, always the best, aims to be the best” narrative and while the standings would make that appropriate, it is fair to say current UKLC holders Fnatic Rising have had their struggles with the new roster. Theirs is a tale of two halves within the split.
With the departure of support Prosfair and top laner Shikari choosing to bench himself, Fnatic’s hands were pretty much bound. But they wouldn’t be where they are today if they did not relish tackling adversity head-on.
The first step was to role-swap gifted mid laner Ronaldooo to support, where his aggressive nature and love for dueling in lane allowed Fnatic to play with more freedom. The second was to get a top laner to fill in the void of Shikari, and Bando was their answer, who according to coach Jandro, is more of a carry-oriented player. This current iteration of Fnatic has only played twice in Tower 7 against MnM Gaming, and despite two non-serious games and drafts they still emerged victorious.
So other than their scrim partners and themselves, no one really knows the true skill ceiling of this team. Fnatic’s greatest strength then: the element of surprise.
What is known is from their performances in Tower 6 where Shikari played is that Fnatic are incredibly, still on the rise. They are still the hardest team to decisively defeat in the mid to late game and will punish any misstep with impunity, possessing arguably the best teamfighting in the UKLC.
Jungler Nji had trouble adapting to the team early on but with his pocket Zac and a more comfortable playstyle, he seems to be settling in rather snugly. Botlaner xMatty is still ‘Mr. Reliable’ and MagiFelix‘s ability to dominate the lane and absorb a huge amount of pressure has proven invaluable to Fnatic.
While there are known quantities within the team, who knows what Fnatic Rising will draft or how they will play in the Grand Finals. But no matter how thick the veil of uncertainty, Excel UK still know this: they are Fnatic, the emperors of Europe. Underestimate them at your own peril.
In conclusion & more on the finals
As mentioned, both Excel UK and Fnatic Rising have already qualified for the EU Masters. The winner of this final will be directly seeded into the Group Stages, avoiding the pool of sharks that is Playins.
Needless to say, winning this series means everything, not just for the EU Masters, but for bragging rights as the champion of the UKLC.
For the finals, the Riot Games and LVP teams behind the UKLC have also announced the first three sponsors of the UKLC: Wanyoo, Chillblast and GT Omega.
Wanyoo is the largest gaming cafe chain in China and has recently opened their first UK gaming cafe in the heart of London at Charing Cross Road.
Chillblast are an award-winning PC building company who have provided the UKLC with top-of-the-line PCs for all competing players on stage at the finals event, while GT Omega are a leading gaming product brand who have supplied the UKLC with elite gaming chairs for all competing players.
Another UK esports organisation and UKLC participant, Enclave Gaming, will also have a stand at the finals.
We only have one request. Here at ENUK, some of us do love our football. So if Ronaldooo scores first blood, we hope the casters will repeat this LIVE on stage:-
Onward then, Twickenham beckons!
Tune in at 3pm BST on September 1st at https://www.twitch.tv/lvpuklol to watch the finals of the 2019 UKLC Summer Split live.