UKLC playoffs preview with casters Jamada and Hiprain: ‘Guldborg has been singing the praises of the Danish teams, but Resolve are going to eat them for breakfast at Telia Masters’

UKLC1
The League of Legends UKLC 2021 spring regular split has ended, with Resolve going undefeated with 14 wins in a row and 0 defeats – an historic achievement for their first UKLC split.
The fight for playoffs was another slugfest with London Esports, Enclave and MNM Academy filling the last three spots. Only the two playoff finalists will progress to the Telia Masters.
We caught up with UKLC casters Jamada (pictured left) and Hiprain (right) to talk about the 2021 Spring Season, their playoff predictions and their expectations for the Telia Masters.

Another season of UKLC comes to a close, and as usual we had a mixed bag of fiestas and siestas! How would you reflect on the split as a whole and what were some of your highlights?

Hiprain: I don’t think there is one game that stands out to me as there were so many upsets and big games. But if I think back, I think of the Bulldog Esports vs Demise match.

Even though the expectations we had for Demise changed massively over the split, I still think Rifty is one of the best top-laners in the UKLC, and Bulldog Esports’ Hachi solo-killing him in Week 1 – his first split of playing in UKLC too – was a massive moment.

Jamada: This split was probably my favourite UKLC season so far right next to Summer 2020. It was basically a repeat scenario, minus the fact Resolve had locked in first place, and we had five teams scrapping it out for three playoff spots.

The highlight for me was probably the first clash between Resolve and MNM. On a personal note, because it was the first time I’d cast my former team, and also because it was the closest Resolve came to dropping a game all split.

A refresher before playoffs

What are your thoughts on Resolve going undefeated, with 14 wins and 0 losses? How far do you think they can go?

Hiprain: Resolve, on paper, were clearly a strong team. 14-0 is still crazy impressive, the other teams are no slouches so it’s a massive achievement. Looking forward they are the clear favourites to take first, and I think this team is very capable of winning the Telia Masters.

Jamada: Resolve always looked like they were going to be the first place team to me, but it was always going to be about how quickly they’d become a stable team. Pretty damn fast, I’d say.

14-0 is a testament to how strong their roster is individually and as a team when stacked against other UKLC rosters. I think it’s more than within reach to see these guys go and steamroll most of the Telia Masters.

Hiprain, how was casting this season of UKLC without Aux or Excoundrel? Did it feel strange?

Hiprain: Good riddance to the pair of them!

In all seriousness, I’m still lucky enough to work with them so I still get my fill of those two.

It’s been nice having some new talent on the UKLC broadcast. We’ve been aware of Jamada and wanted to get him on for a while, and his growth in the last six weeks has been incredible.

“If I think back across the split, [London Esports bot-laner] Den Voksne has been focused in fights so many times but he stills is able to kite, reposition and then turn the fights around. I think he’s been a real standout player [at London Esports].”

Hiprain

Jamada, this is your first full season casting since you were the head coach of MNM last year. What’s the transition and the experience been like for you?

Jamada: I’d been casting for around 18 months when I fully made the choice to become a caster, so fortunately it hasn’t been hard to make the move. The way that I look at the two roles is very similar, except as a caster you have to also captivate and engage an entire audience by being entertaining, as well as educational at the same time.

But the move has been great, and has only been made easier by Hiprain and everyone else on the NLC broadcast team. I wouldn’t have been able to grow as much as I did this split without them. I’m thankful that I’ve got this opportunity to cast a game I love, in a community I’m passionate about!

Which teams or players surprised you the most this season?

Hiprain: I already said Hachi, even though he didn’t make it to playoffs he really impressed me.

Honourable mention to Thomas Goh from Barrage Academy. After not finding a single win in Summer 2020 and dropping the first few games of the split, he still stood out as a solid mid-laner.  

Jamada: Honestly there’s quite a list I could make. Hachi from Bulldog’s opening weeks demanded Aatrox bans from his opponents for the remainder of the split.

London’s Merpillian showed some serious growth after a bumpy start. While you could still pick out some plays here or there, it was nice to see tangible progress from start to finish.

Kzed finally made his UKLC debut and smashed it, just falling shy of playoffs in his first split with Barrage. MNM’s Regan as a resident rookie UKLC support really impressed me with how aggressively he was willing to play (even if it was to his detriment).

As a team, London surprised me the most. Their roster was definitely slept on, but they seemed to understand how to be successful with the tools they had.

MCon Hachi 2020 Split 2
Both casters have been impressed with Hachi’s performances for Bulldog

So before we get into the playoffs matches, who is your regular season MVP and why?

Hiprain: London’s Den Voksne. If I think back across the split, Den Voksne has been focused in fights so many times but he stills is able to kite, reposition and then turn the fights around. I think he’s been a real standout player. 

Jamada: Resolve’s Sof. This guy was by the numbers and gameplay our best player in the UKLC this split, and Resolve cruised to the 14-0 record off the back of his performances.

That being said, there are plenty of honourable mentions: Den Voksne, Artorias, Cleanser and Thomas Goh all played vital roles for their teams.

Let’s start with the first playoffs series: Resolve vs MNM Academy. Resolve of course are undefeated while MNM have shown somewhat inconsistent form. How do you think this match will play out and what will be the final score?

Hiprain: To me this is the most simple game we’ve got in playoffs: I think MNM have been off form and they were lucky to make playoffs. If MNM find that form at the start of the split, they could take a game from Resolve. But if I’m going off the last two weeks, this game is a Resolve 2-0.

Jamada:  MNM were the only team that came close to making Resolve drop a game and since their second match against them, where they were dismantled, have been a shell of their early split success. Whilst the storyline is interesting, I feel that unless MNM can get their stuff together in the week of prep, Resolve are gonna stroll through this series 2-0.

The second series will be London Esports vs Enclave. Of course, we cannot forget their last match which lasted 54 minutes! Both teams have been on an upwards trajectory, but who do you think will take this and what can we expect from this series?

Hiprain: I think London need to get their game together, the last two games were long. Sure, they were in control but Enclave have been on a big upwards swing lately, and London will need to be more decisive, otherwise Enclave could take it. I think no matter who wins this series it’s 2-1

Jamada: This is our close series. Enclave’s trajectory in the back end of the split have been steadily upwards, but I fear these games could potentially be decided in draft.

Enclave have a pretty clear pattern and way they want to play, and London are a team that will do their research and likely punish it. I can see this being a 2-0 for London, but if Enclave have their comfort champions throughout the series, I can see it being a 2-1 either way.

The 54-minute game in question

So assuming your predictions for both series’ comes true, who will win the UKLC 2021 and what will be the final score?

Hiprain: It’s a best-of-five for our finals so I’m sure it’s going to include Resolve. Whoever they play its a 3-0 Resolve win, PERFECT SEASON BABY!

Jamada: It’ll likely be Resolve and I can see them brushing aside London or Enclave in the finals. Although, I can see London maybe breaking that perfect record… but it’s unlikely.

We’re probably about to witness a perfect UKLC split!

“14-0 is a testament to how strong their [Resolve] roster is individually and as a team when stacked against other UKLC rosters. I think it’s more than within reach to see these guys go and steamroll most of the Telia Masters.”

Jamada

With the conclusion of the UKLC playoffs, we’ll see two representatives enter the Telia Masters. How do you think our UKLC representatives will fare?

Hiprain: Honestly, I’ve not seen any of the Telia leagues. Doing NLC and UKLC doesn’t give me much time to keep up with even the UKEL.

Guldborg has been singing the praises of the Danish teams, but Resolve are going to eat them for breakfast. 

Jamada: I’ve actually not been able to keep full tabs but from my understanding, Galaxy Racers (Sweden) and Absolved (Denmark) will be the other two teams that will be the talk of the tournament. These two rosters are as or more stacked than Resolve depending on how you rate the players.

I think Resolve will be fine until we see those matchups where they should finally be challenged.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Hiprain: It’s been an amazing split and the UKLC continues to be my favourite project to be part of. The guys at DreamHack have been amazing and are super passionate about this league! 

Jamada: I’d like to thank everyone really, the viewers, players and team staff for making the competition so enjoyable.

Hiprain, of course, for helping me refine and develop my skills in my first full split and just being such a cool guy to work with. 

The whole production crew behind the scenes are fantastic to work with and love what they do, and DreamHack for doing such a great job and being so passionate about the leagues!


The UKLC playoffs take place on Sunday February 28th and you can watch the action on NLC’s Twitch channel.

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