By Winston C.
It’s the Intel Extreme Masters Tournament which is being hosted in Oakland, USA. Six teams from five different regions have been invited to play in IEM. Lasting only two days, the schedule is short and extremely intense coupled with a small prize pool being only $100,000. The five teams that have been invited are as follows: Team SoloMid from North America, Unicorns of Love from Europe, INTZ from Brazil, Chiefs eSports Club from Oceania, Longzhu Gaming from South Korea, and Flash Wolves from Taiwan.
Day one started off with Europe’s Unicorns of Love facing up against Brazil’s INTZ. UoL stomped their opponent both games going 2-0, each round only lasting 25 minutes. In general, both rounds were a massacre and Unicorns were able to close out both games cleanly and sufficiently. In total, Unicorns had 34 kills while INTZ a mere 7 kills. This matchup was completely one-sided considering Unicorns of Love was against a wildcard team. Unicorns of Love will now be able to proceed to semifinals against Team SoloMid. Up next was Oceania’s Chiefs eSports Club fighting against South Korea’s Longzhu Gaming. Longzhu Gaming ended 2-0 against Chiefs eSports Club. The first round lasted a gut wrenching 49 minutes with advantages and leads being thrown left and right. Chiefs had the opportunity to win but eventually threw their last opportunity, allowing Longzhu to win. Longzhu was able to pick up 27 kills against Chief’s 14. Second round lasted a lot swifter lasting only 27 minutes with kills favoring to Longzhu at 25 against 12. Considering how Chiefs eSports Club’s last international competition was in 2013 and how they are also a wildcard team, their showing was impressive considering they were faced up against a Korean team. Longzhu Gaming will now move on to face against Flash Wolves in the semifinals.
Day two was the beginning of semifinals and finals. First round was Unicorns of Love versus North America’s first place team, Team SoloMid. The first round ended with TSM winning a 37 minute round. Though they won, they played with a lot of aggression that ended with small leads being thrown and easy mistakes being made. It was as if Team SoloMid was playing with disrespect of Unicorns. Nevertheless, TSM was able to rack up 28 kills against Unicorn’s 14. Round two was a 180 as TSM lost miserably to Unicorns of Love. The round only lasted 29 minutes but was super close with kills being almost tied 24 to 20 in favor of UoL. This was a disappointing performance from Team SoloMid and shocked many fans. Round three was the last and final round. The round was 35 minutes and tensions were high. Both teams were tied and this was the last round. Whoever won, was going to proceed to finals. In the end, TSM pulled the classic move. They played sloppily most likely because they were tilted from losing last round. Kills were in favor of Unicorns, 23 to 16. No one on TSM played well. Many people put their blame on TSM’s sub, WildTurtle. Though in general TSM didn’t play like a team. The first Semifinal ended 2-1 for Unicorns of Love. Unicorns of Love will now move on to finals.
The second semifinals is Taiwan’s Flash Wolves against Longzhu Gaming from South Korea. First round was the longest out of all the games lasting 40 minutes. Both teams have a reputation of throwing leads in the late game so putting them against each other was an interesting watch. The kills were surprisingly low and tied only being at 9. 9 kills in a 40 minute game is impressive. It was a long and drawn out game as if both teams were afraid to poke each other with sticks and what seemed to turn into trench warfare except no one dared push for an advantage. Though a very long game, Flash Wolves was able to pick up the first round. Round two was a lot shorter (by only a large amount of 10 minutes) but the game was a lot more chaotic. As usual, Flash Wolves would have a large early game lead and throw it mid game but then Longzhu threw their mid game lead and FW eventually just won. The round ended with 19 kills for Flash Wolves and 7 for Longzhu Gaming. Flash Wolves will now moved on to finals.
The finals had begun. It was a surprising turn of events as many fan favorites didn’t make it to finals. In the end it was Unicorns of Love against Flash Wolves. In a best of five, anything is possible and anyone can win at this point. Who will win and who will fall. Round one started off very close with both teams’ kills neck and neck. 11 for UoL and 14 for Flash Wolves. The round was back and forth with both teams throwing their lead. Both teams have reputations of doing a horrible job at closing off games, it was a matter of who threw the hardest that would allow them to win. 48 whole minutes later, Flash Wolves won the first round. Round two began, teams switched sides from blue to red, and red to blue. Kills being spilled left and right, it was a massacre. The round was long and at this point you knew every other round up ahead will be long as well. This round lasted 30 minutes and what seemed like a Flash Wolves win, eventually favored over to Unicorns of Love. Kills were 19 for UoL and 7 for Fw. So far it was 1-1. Round three began, and it was pretty much deja vu. The round lasted around the same neighbourhood as 30 minutes. Unicorns of Love had the same amount of kills at 19 while Flash Wolves barely improved to a meer 11. As round four began, the tables turned, the weather felt different. Flash Wolves’ energy and determination kicked back in. This was a stomp and they dumpstered Unicorns of Love. You could say this was one of the most “violent” rounds in the entire series. Flash Wolves racked up 27 kills while Unicorns of Love managed to gain a meer 5. The round was swift and clean, only lasting 24 minutes.
Game 5 – The Last Round
It was 2-2, which meant they were dragging it into game 5. Hype music in the air particularly Silver Scrapes (a classic song played by League of Legends tournaments when rounds get to game 5), and hearts pumping at immense speeds. This was it, this was the last round to decide the winner of IEM Oakland. Drafts were being picked and what a first seemed like a normal draft turned sideways quickly. Unicorns of Love doing the classic thing they usually do in the European Leagues, which is drafting an unorthodox team composition. They pick Kalista and Thresh in the bot lane. This pick was risky because if it fails then the whole game could have been thrown away. Unicorns of Love seemed to have drafted a team comp that is reliant on two team members to carry while the remaining support their onslaught. The only problem for Unicorns of Love is that their comp is heavily reliant on both to build damage into the late game. On the other hand, Flash Wolves drafted a fairly balanced team composition which was more team fighting oriented. Meaning they want to make plays and fights happen that will favor them. As the last and final round began everything was on the line. Early game was easily in the favor of Flash Wolves considering how Unicorns’ bot lane was a liability. Most of the fights occurred bot side to try and exploit Unicorns of Love’s weakness which is early game. Unicorns of Love were able to pick up a few kills left and right but the kills advantage was in favor of FW. What seemed like an easy game for Flash Wolves, they pulled a classic move and threw their lead and advantages. Slowly but surely, Unicorns of Love was able to make picks and win over small advantages. Every player on Flash Wolves started playing sloppily. Mid game was when fights ensued. Flash Wolves would engage on a player but then seem completely split on who to prioritize. Like a child unable to pick between two toys, they were throwing easy fights. After every single fight, Unicorns was able to keep alive their two most important players and they would just clean up the fight. Time became a cost, and Flash Wolves was not able to respond anymore. Unicorns of Love pushed their way through into the enemy base and began destroying the enemy nexus. 3-2 in favor of Europe’s Unicorns of Love. They defeated North America’s first place team, Taiwan’s first place team and has grasped their hands on victory. Unicorns of Love are the winners of IEM Oakland 2016. With this win, they are qualified to go to IEM Katowice in the near future. GG