Are we sure Spring is approaching in the UK? It still feels rather chilly these days. But you know what will most definitely warm the atmosphere? The return of the UK & Ireland’s top League of Legends circuit: The UKLC 2020 Spring Split!
Megalodontus looks at the rosters announced so far and shares his opinion – and crazy ramblings – on the team power rankings.
With LVP ceasing operations in the UK, many were wondering how the UKLC would continue in it’s current form. Luckily DreamHack came in as chief organisers – and the Spring Split is about to begin on February 4th.
DreamHack has since released the relevant details for the 2020 Spring Split, such as the eight participating teams (falling from 9 to 8, with Diabolus dropping out), the format of the competition, the schedule, the tournament rules and prize breakdown.
The “Dream Team” – as Hiprain calls it. The original British casting trio for the UKLC – Aux, Excoundrel and Hiprain – are reunited once more. They will be casting not only the UK & Ireland’s top circuit but also the Nordic Championship.
Fans of their impeccably on-point humour and casting synergy will now get a double dose should they be interested in tuning in.
But of course, the stars of the tournament are the teams and players who weave magic onto the Rift, while mere mortals like me can only dream. In case you’ve missed the flurry of announcements happening recently on roster reveals, look no further!
UKLC teams and rosters
The back to back champions of the UKLC and also current reigning Forge of Champions’ champions (phew, what a mouthful!) return in 2020 with a ‘same but different’ line-up.
They’ve kept the core spine of Dan, MagiFelix and xMatty and added two new youngsters in Pride and Bravado.
Perhaps the most interesting choice is their coach in NicothePico, who remains a polarising figure in the community. If there ever was a time to prove himself capable to the naysayers, this would be it.
Keep an eye on: Support Bravado. From one academy team to the other, Bravado arrives on British shores from Schalke Evolution and is assured to bring a lot of flair with his plethora of engage champions. Fnatic Rising had to do with a makeshift support in Ronaldo -now on Misfits- last Summer, have they finally found a perfect fit?
Currently riding a high on their Neosurf Cup victory and their partnership with media giants BT, BT Excel -formerly known as XL UK – had a rather rocky year in the LEC in 2019, but finished on a high with 2nd in the UKLC and top 8 in EU Masters.
They’ve kept four of their starters last year in Send0o, Taxer, Special and Kasing and replaced departing botlaner Hjarnan with Giants Gaming’s British player Deadly, who had a roaring display in the Neosurf Cup.
BT Excel will surely be aiming to snatch the UKLC crown from Fnatic Rising this split. The question is: can they?
Keep an eye on: ADC Deadly. You’ve seen him in the EU Masters and you’ve seen him at the Neosurf Cup, now get ready to see him light up the UKLC. Known to be a highly aggressive botlaner, he is never afraid to take big risks, which makes him truly ‘deadly’ to both his enemies and his allies!
Summer 2019 was such a high for the sole Irish organisation that you could bet your last copper on them singing “WHAT A PHELAN!” to Irene Cara’s classic song (dear oh dear, Megalodontus, I’m leaving this in just to show ENUK readers how bad this is – Dom).
Reaching 3rd after running a grueling gauntlet, Phelan are looking to build upon their success from that. They’ve kept Beartree and signed on four different members, with former Enclave Gaming’s support Raizins. Keeping their Forge of Champions coach, Furndog, will prove important in the long split ahead.
What magic will we see from the Irish Wolf Pack this spring?
Keep an eye on: Midlaner Dragane. A European journeyman who’s played in various ERL’s, he brings much needed experience to this new Phelan roster who aims to do better than last split. Known for his aggressive champion pool and explosive play, will he light a path for the Irish wolf pack or light himself up?
Okay, let me be the first one to apologise to Nvision. During the offseason I did not give them a hair’s chance of making any significant moves, and I’m glad they’ve proven me wrong.
They have made a phenomenal roster consisting of former Fnatic Rising players Shikari and Prosfair, while also obtaining Noltey and Yusa from MnM, both highly respected players in the UK. Rounding out the roster with promising Swedish midlaner Adept, this roster certainly has been ‘nvisioning’ a run for the UKLC crown (groan – Dom).
Keep an eye on: Midlaner Adept. Adept to put it simply is regarded as untapped potential, many regard him highly for his mechanical ability. In a roster full of experienced names, it will be fascinating to see how far he can take the challenge to UKLC midlane titans such as Special and MagiFelix.
“Man the grapples, fire the cannons!” shouts Jeff Simpkins, owner of Barrage (is this an actual quote or fake news? I’ll let the readers decide – Dom).
The naval crew of the UKLC once again sets sail, leaving a forgettable 2019 behind and bringing back a roster from stranger shores. Other than the already established names of Kehvo/Hadow, they’ve recruited rookie Erixen on loan from Nordavind, OPL jungler Sybol and an old name from NA in Flaresz.
They remain an unknown quantity going into the split. Can they surprise us?
Keep an eye on: Jungler Sybol. He comes from the land down under, where women gl- ah nevermind, you know the rest. Like the rest of the roster, he comes in as a bit of a dark horse. While he can play meta junglers, he’s known for his love of aggressive, carry junglers. Looks like it’ll never be a dull day on the Rift where Barrage sails!
What happens when demons and devils make a pact? Looking to build upon a decent run from last summer, Demise have signed three former Diabolus players after the org dropped out in Kerberos, Munckizz (who was on Barrage last split) and Dragdar.
Acquiring the services of European journeyman Zoir in the midlane and support Kalhira, Demise have once again sharpened their scythes and are ready to make the UKLC ‘fear the reapers’, as is their hashtag.
Keep an eye on: Toplaner Kerberos. Ah yes, King Kerb has finally returned after taking a split off, the UK rejoices. Known for his incredibly aggressive champion pool -and Cho’Gath- and his split pushing shenanigans, Kerberos becomes a real menace in the game if he’s not shut down early on and has single-handedly won games for his team before. Can he do the same again?
MnM are an org that are always near the top of the UK scene, and in 2019 they have been consistently placed top 4. Last split despite expectations riding high, they got ‘roasted’ by Phelan in the penultimate gauntlet match. Well you know the old adage of ‘if you can’t beat them…’. Returning coach Pad has taken Phelan’s core members of Sof, Chemera and Achuu and complemented them with Mumus and Efias, looking to better the results from last split.
Scraping off the burnt bits from their gelatinous existence, the blazing fluffy snacks are looking to cause an upheaval once more in a market full of average, imported candy. (Now this is a line I cannot fault, I love it – Dom)
Keep an eye on: Support Efias. He comes in with big shoes to fill. MnM’s roster previously played in Phelan with support Visdom, who arguably was the most integral member of the team. Efias is no slouch and comes in with a lot of winning experience from the Italian scene, where he also made EU Masters with Campus Party Sparks. The question is, is it enough?
Enclave Gaming have said how saucy their new roster looks but so far have only proven their memes are just that, which is not a bad thing unless you’re Nick ‘Crane’ Turberville.
Missing playoffs in Spring and getting knocked out in the first round in Summer, Enclave, like Barrage, might seek to wipe the slate clean and begin anew. Perhaps their new roster then could contend against the academy teams? More to follow…
UPDATE: Enclave posted their roster a day after this article went live:
Keep an eye on: Midlaner Air. Air is truly a rookie, and he can possibly defy all expectations. He has a very flexible champion pool an plays many champions from the top lane in mid and vice versa, which will give Enclave much needed flexibility in their goal to reach playoffs.
The definitive, unbiased, objective, best, 100% true, expert ENUK power rankings
It is scientifically proven and empirically tested that power rankings make their readers enter fits of rage while screaming fanatically how wrong these rankings are at the top of their lungs.
This continues on for a while, along with ground stomping, hair pulling, more yelling and table flipping, but they still continue to read them anyway.
And what does all this achieve? Nothing really. But hey, they’re warmer than before and it’s winter. Call it a form of altruism if you will.
With that spirit of goodwill in mind, ENUK’s very own experts Megalodontus and Joshua Mulgrew have worn their best flame retardant hazmat suits to bring you the only power ranking list you’ll ever need in the UKLC. Here it is:
Other power rankings
We’ll add a few tier lists from people in the scene here:
Excel’s chance for glory?
Comment by Megalodontus
“The UKLC ultimately is quite an unpredictable competition. Fnatic Rising were the only sure thing last year, however with the competition greatly improving and Fnatic developing new rookies, I believe two things:
- There is a chance Nvision could potentially overtake them, as I don’t see Fnatic using their LEC members.
- Positions 4 to 7 are highly volatile and can shuffle endlessly til the final week of competition, where only one will make playoffs.
For teams that could potentially cause huge upsets and throw power rankings out, I’m personally looking at Barrage and Phelan.
This should be BT Excel’s chance to reap some glory with the acquisition of Youngbuck and Deadly. But will Fnatic prove me wrong? Or will a non-academy team surprise? I’m excited to see the possibilities, so let the games begin already!”
Comment by Joshua Mulgrew
“A whole lot has changed about the UK league this split, not only do we have a new tournament organiser but we also have a swathe of new talent coming into the league. What I’m sure everyone can agree with though is that the quality has massively gone up across the whole league, which should make this split the closest we’ve seen in a long time. This year the academy teams have multiple challengers that can on their day take them down. Here are some of my thoughts:-
- BT excel academy look to be the favourites this split. With the addition of Deadly paired with Kasing, Excel should be able to clinch the top spot this year with Fnatic Rising’s roster arguably being slightly weaker this split.
- Nvision back from the dead come into this split as likely the favourite to upset and challenge the academy teams. With the likes of Prosfair, Shikari and Yusa their squad looks to be in a good position to challenge the top two dogs in Fnatic and Excel.
- On Phelan, well…I may be a slight bit biased on this one but I think they really has a strong chance of making top 4 at the minimum. After our gauntlet run and third place finish last split, this new iteration of Phelan consists of a great mix of rookie and experienced talent which could lead to a similarly strong finish this split compared to last.
That being said the level of competition this split is huge and I think we will likely be seeing 3-4 teams closely compete for the top four finish, nothing is guaranteed this year. Any number of teams could shoot up the rankings, it all comes down to how they perform on the day. Whatever the results, its looking to be one hell of a close split!”
DreamHack’s UKLC will begin on February 4th 2020 and concludes with a live finals in Stockholm, Sweden on March 29th in the DreamHack studio. You can catch all the action at twitch.tv/dreamhacklol.
Megalodontus is a miraculous survivor from the mass extinction and somehow learnt how to use his stubby fins to operate complicated mechanical equipment and drink tea. Worryingly for cryptozoologists, he’s been writing League of Legends articles too.
A self-taught writer who’s had the privilege to work with good editors who aren’t terrified of his pearly whites, Megalodontus is often seen writing either independently or for various websites such as this one. When not writing, he usually runs it down mid in real life and is fascinated with watching paint dry.