With Spring 2020’s EU Masters coming to a close, both rookie and veteran ERL talent have had their worthy shot to prove their worth at the top of European League of Legends
With Spring 2020’s EU Masters coming to a close, both rookie and veteran ERL talent have had their worthy shot to prove their worth at the top of European League of Legends. Giving players a stage to prove that they can make the jump to the LEC, many will earn a chance at the highest level with ex-EUM talent filling Europe’s most prestigious league more and more each split.
Despite failing to win their native LFL (Ligue Française de League of Legends) this split, LDLC had been considered one of the tournament favourites after qualifying from one of the largest regional leagues. DACH’s Prime League, Spain’s LVP SLO and the UK’s UKLC made up the remainder of the top four leagues, whose sides would have all fancied themselves as potential champions.
LDLC found themselves in a group with only one side out of these top leagues (Spain’s Vodafone Giants), however Poland’s up and coming Ultraliga also provided a tough opponent in AGO Rogue. A tight group saw these three finish with identical 4-2 records, while the Dutch League’s Defusekids propped up the group without a win.
Tie-breaker victories over both Giants and Rogue booked LDLC’s place in the quarter-finals, where their first opponents were the UK’s BT Excel. Excel themselves were full of momentum, having lost their opening 3 games only to win 4 in a row to surpass the group stage after a tie-breaker win over Team GamerLegion. In a best-of-3 series, LDLC took down the UKLC runners up in a convincing 2-0 win.
The semi-finals put the French side against AGO ROGUE once again, with a surprising win for the latter starting the series off with LDLC needing to make up ground. They managed to turn things around and earn a 2-1 victory, allowing them to go to the final where they then won 3-0 in a series against Poland’s second seed K1ck. This victory was not only a huge win for the organisation (their first in EU Masters) but was also a great showing for their roster, most of whom will be hoping that their performances can earn them a spot on an LEC roster this Summer.
For a 3-0 sweep, the grand final between LDLC OL and K1ck Neosurf was anything but one-sided. Game 1 was a back and forth affair, each side taking the lead at various points of the game before the LDLC closed things out following an elder dragon pickup on the 33rd minute. YellOwStaR´‘s Bard was a particular highlight (and went on to be one again in game 2), as clutch ultimates were used to both set up unexpected picks as well as sway teamfights in his side’s favour.
Game 2 was more of the same, with both teams swinging punches before an elder drake eventually secured things for the French team. Another close encounter, this time K1ck had led the way in terms of dragon control and looked to have been more likely to win at some stages, led by Matislaw’s brave Corki dives and Puki Style’s huge Miss Fortune ultimates. However, losing the elder dragon was all it took for LDLC to take the win and reach match point.
YellOwStaR’s Bard was eventually banned in game 3, however his Braum play was more than up to scratch as he helped his team with 26 assists out of their 28 total kills. In the top lane, under fire Bando, who had been seen as LDLC’s weak link, had his performance of the tournament as he earned 9 kills with an eventually gargantuan Cho’Gath to aid the team in securing their final win of the series, closing the tournament with a 3-0 victory and proving LDLC as the best team in the European Regional Leagues.
Though his team did not go on to win EU Masters, K1ck Neosurf’s Puki Style was undoubtedly the player of the tournament. A long-standing, well-liked player in the Polish scene, Puki’s support could be seen across Twitter as fans of the scene were changing their profile pictures in waves to a simple picture of their favourite ADC.
The trend took on to the rest of Europe and beyond, eventually becoming so far-reaching that LCK champions T1 had changed their team’s logo to Puki while the player himself was officially trending in some areas of the globe. Players at the top of the EUW ladder even began changing their in-game names to match the Pole’s, with Puki Style 1 through 99+ being taken by the end of the trend.
When he woke up the morning of the final, Puki found that he had earned thousands of new followers and is now one of the most well-known names in European League of Legends. A sure-fire way to gain new fans ahead of Summer, teams will likely be lining up to secure the services of the Polish ADC and Puki will now be one of the most in-demand players in the ERLS (that is if he isn’t pipped by an LEC side).
K1ck Neosurf to reach the final
Not coming from one of the ‘big four’ leagues meant that K1ck’s chances were all but written off ahead of the tournament, with few expecting them to even make it out of their group. Beating some tournament favourites in the shape of GamersOrigin and Movistar Riders on their way to final was a huge testament to the team’s strength, and losing in a number of close matches to LDLC in the grand final will surely leave the players with some regrets as to whether they could have done slightly more to swing the close series in their favour.
However, the Polish team can be hugely proud of their achievements, finishing much further than was expected of them while also being one of the only teams to sport a completely native roster with players only from their region. Those that were willing to back K1ck to reach this far were a very small minority, but would have been just as pleasantly surprised as the rest of the viewer base to see the team make it this far.