Synonymous with success, Monash University is the final obstacle blocking UNSW from the title of Unigames Champions and the opportunity to play against the rest of the world in the first-ever International College Cup in Xian, China.
Both teams knew that they were strong, and clearly respected each other – neither team has any weak links. The sentiment was echoed throughout the LoLSoc discord, with plenty of keen UNSW fans both excited and anxious for the series. Everyone knew that it was anyone’s series to win. With both teams entering champ select for game 1, a battle for the ages was about to commence.
Sitting down at McDonalds, and for reasons which neither myself nor science could ever answer, munching on a KFC Zinger Burger, Minhcam told me that he believed that there is nothing more important in a series than the result of Game 1. For a young team like UNSW, the first game in a series is like the handshake at the start of a job interview. A firm and self-assured handshake results in much confidence and a smoother interview, while an awkward and janky one spells its end.
With that being said, UNSW didn’t even awkwardly shake Monash University’s hand. They straight up missed it and tripped over. At 23 minutes, UNSW found themselves being two towers down and at a 7.3k gold deficit, with every lane down in CS and baddie’s staple Miss Fortune on the road to being flame horizoned.
However, while UNSW was being out-rotated and cracked open in every facet of the rift, small rays of light still shone. Even if behind the opposing hypercarry Kai’sa, baddie held the majority of UNSW’s kills, even having 100% kill participation in the midgame. UNSW’s also had a very teamfight-centric teamcomp with strong synergy from the CC behemoth Ornn, Sona’s ult, and Swain’s potential of teamfight disruption to complement Miss Fortune’s potentially-devastating ult.
At in the middle of the 35-minute mark, with Monash posturing menacingly towards UNSW’s Tier 2 Turret, UNSW knew that this was their final chance until they completely cost control of the game. However, a stellar ult by Ben Song’s Sona on a mispositioned Kai’sa allowed Xternal’s Swain to pull her deep into UNSW territory for an easy teamfight. In that teamfight, Lulu was late to peel for Kai’sa as she had been forced to burn flash due to an earlier excellently-positioned pillar from Minhcam (at the back of a strategic Nevermove from Swain).
With baron buff by their side, UNSW was able to claw back from almost-guaranteed defeat with a very clean teamfight. Fun fact, UNSW won that game and still had a gold deficit at the end.
After a death-defying comeback from UNSW in Game 1, the fellas were feeling primed for Game 2. Not only would a win here put the series at Match Point, but the psychological wave which UNSW was riding would become a tsunami.
Game 2 started off well, with Minhcam executing a smartly-pathed gank in the toplane allowing Glup to hold steady in the inherently losing Cho’gath vs Aatrox lane.
However, a well-reacted Monash countergank killed UNSW’s momentum and allowed Vladimir to start snowballing.
Unfortunately the Crimson Reaper eventually went out of control, allowing him to dominate the botlane and prevent another performance like in Game 1. Seeing the way which baddie contributed to the damage charts last game, it was ultimately an intelligent call by Monash to focus on suppressing the UNSW botlane in Game 2. It was only a matter of time until Monash ended the game.
As the lads loaded into Game 3, there was unrest amongst the UNSW LoLSoc Discord Viewing Party. Many questioned UNSW’s teamcomp due to a lack of sustained damage and not enough AD. The casters put it best, describing the teamcomp as “great in lane, but not in skirmishes”.
Monash knew this, and so around the 9-minute mark prepared to force a teamfight at dragon. UNSW lost the fight, as expected, and began to trail behind Monash’s pace.
However, a grand showcase of resilience from UNSW allowed them chances to stage a comeback. Like in Game 1, baddie’s Miss Fortune was slowly starting to ramp up, and was able to pop off in a well-fought teamfight in the topside river.
With UNSW clawing themselves back in the game, it was do or die. Posturing in the Monash base with Baron buff, and with a quick zoning Weaver’s Wall on the Monash Trundle (who… had flash), Glup was given the opportunity to force an engage and UNSW made quick work of Monash.
In Pick/the Ban phase of Game 4, UNSW was thrown a curveball as Monash banned baddie’s famously reliable Miss Fortune. However, the team’s trust in their botlaner did not waver as they, by surprise, picked a juggermaw composition with Galio and Morgana as primary peel units. However, Monash hadn’t revealed all their cards as they retaliated with a surprise Heimerdinger pick in the botlane.
UNSW only had one job this game – to help Koggers reach Poggers. The decisive moment came at the 10-minute mark in a botlane skirmish after Monash secured an Infernal Dragon.
With UNSW’s botlane on the path to snowball, Monash was forced to focus on shutting them down. However, UNSW was able to see this botlane focus as an opportunity to break the topside Inhibitor Tower at 14 minutes.
With toplane open so early, the UNSW botlane was given more freedom to move around the map, which eventually lead to UNSW achieving their Pog’Maw win condition. Not much could be done on Monash’s end when the Kog’maw had a Molten Edge, Runaan's Hurricane, Guinsoo's Rageblade, and a hefty wall of tanks surrounding him.
Talking to Xternal after the decisive game, he shed light on the way he felt playing it. He elaborated that both himself and Glup had to be unselfish to play the comp, but the temporary feelsbad was ultimately overshadowed by the win. The understanding which these two players had to sacrifice everything to their carry is not only testament to their discipline as players, but also to the strong teamwork which the boys have displayed throughout all the tournament.
GG Monash! GG UNSW!
While both teams played well, it was ultimately UNSW who came up on top.
The being said, the resilience which UNSW showed this series was incredible. If there was one way to describe it, it would be that there were no weak links – every player belonged in the game and had purpose. This extends to the surrounding team – ozo1329’s intelligent drafting enabled the team to play with their best champions in the best team comps and the LoLSoc Exec team should also be recognised for their efforts in helping the Unigames team.
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Written by Kenzo “Neo Tokyo Floral” Jeanson [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]