IEM Oakland (LoL) 2016: Day 2 Recap
Unicorns of Love 2-1 Team SoloMid
Today’s opening game pitted North America’s hometown heroes Team SoloMid, against Europe’s most colourful crew in the Unicorns of Love. The last time these two teams played was two years ago at IEM San Jose, when the rookie EU team, through unconventional picks like a Twisted Fate jungle, upset the favourites in TSM.
Fast forward two years and we are in the same situation. UOL, despite all of the naysayers, once again defeated TSM in a best of series. The first game in today’s series looked very dominant for TSM. Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen took control of game one. Svenskeren's multiple top lane ganks empowered Kevin "Hauntzer" Yarnell to become incredibly powerful on the Poppy pick. From there, the two made cross map plays to get the rest of the team ahead, and closed the game in a semi clean fashion.
Game two and three, on the other hand, went in the complete opposite direction. Tamás "Vizicsacsi" Kiss completely dominated Hauntzer in games two and three on Kennen, obtaining multiple solo kills. Fabian "Exileh" Schubert also had an amazing showing in the next two games, flourishing on his unconventional Kassadin pick. UOL showed in this series that they are not a team to be taken lightly, and proved that they have the ability to take this whole tournament.
Flash Wolves 2-0 Longzhu Gaming
The start of game one looked great for Flash Wolves. Hung "Karsa" Hau-Hsuan had a great early game performance on Nidalee, repeatedly ganking his lanes to success. FW macro play from the early to mid-game was also much better than Longzhu Gaming’s, allowing FW to grab a ton of “micro objectives,” as stated by Indiana "Froskurinn" Black. This game’s problems arose around the mid game, when neither team looked like they had any semblance of what to do. This caused an unnecessary base race to occur, where both teams lost almost their entire base. FW caught out two members of LZ at 40 minutes, finally allowing FW to close out this game.
The second game was a much cleaner performance from FW. Huang "Maple" Yi-Tang made full use of the Aurelion Sol pick, coordinating roaming ganks with Karsa to perfection. LZ couldn’t respond to these roaming plays, and with no opposition, FW was granted many kills and towers. At 27 minutes, FW found their game winning team fight. An engage by FW caught and decimated the Korean team. With LZ almost all dead, FW took the Baron. Holding true to their name, the Korean killers used the Baron buff to march straight to the mid lane and close out the game, wiping LZ on their way.
Unicorns of Love 3-2 Flash Wolves
This first game of the grand finals clearly displayed the same problems FW had at the 2016 World Championships. Karsa and co. accumulated a substantial lead in the early to mid-game, but could not translate their advantage to a game win. FW, despite having the tempo lead, did not make use of it at all. Even with two of UOL’s inhibitors down, and the Baron buff, FW just couldn’t end the game. FW was only able to end the game due to a failed engage by Vizicsacsi.
Games two and three were completely in the favour of UOL. Vizicsacsi dominated Yau "MMD" Li-Hung in both games, staying true to the MVP title he received earlier at this tournament. Both Kim "Veritas" Kyoung-min and Zdravets "Hylissang" Iliev Galabov carried game three as Ashe and Thresh. They repeatedly caught out FW with Ashe’s Enchanted Crystal Arrow, and Thresh’s Death Sentence, facilitating UOL’s victory.
FW showed a breath of life in game four, but UOL swiftly crushed any fleeting hopes the Taiwanese team had in their game five, playing Kalista, who almost everyone deemed to be the worst AD Carry at the moment. UOL closed out game five and this final series in dominant fashion. This is UOL’s first ever tournament win in the two years since the organization was created, and this iteration of the roster looks like it can win even more in the upcoming 2017 season.
What was your favourite moment of IEM Oakland? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.
Article by Malcolm Abbas. Follow him @SmashhLoL
Photos courtesy of LoL Esports