NA Challenger Series Week 1 Recap
The first week of the Summer 2015 NA Challenger Series began this week, on Tuesday June 23rd. For anyone new to the NACS, there are six teams taking part in the series: Team Coast, Winterfox, Team Imagine, Vortex, Renegades, and Cloud9 Tempest. Each team plays two games a week: one game on Tuesday and one game on Wednesday, both against the same opponent, until they have played against all five teams. At the end of the five weeks, the NACS playoffs take place, with the winners getting a chance to qualify for the NA LCS. More details on how the NACS works can be found here: http://na.lolesports.com/articles/challenge-accepted-challenger-series-summer-split-primer
This week, the matchups were as follows:
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Check out the VODs and a recap of all of the games this week below!
Team Coast vs. Winterfox: Game 1
Team Coast: Gnar, Rak’Sai, Kog’Maw, Sivir, Alistar
Winterfox: Maokai, Gragas, Azir, Vayne, Janna
Game One starts off with a lane swap, with Winterfox sending their duo lane top, and both teams opt for the double jungle as a result. While Winterfox decides to set up a freeze in the top lane, Coast pushes on to the bottom tower, taking it at 4:55. Coast then sends their duo lane top to deal with P1noy and Ken in a standard duo lane matchup.
At 11:00, Coast’s Mash and KonKwon push top lane to the turret and then hide in the top lane brush. Thinking that Coast’s duo lane has recalled, Winterfox’s Ken and P1noy push the minions back to Coast’s turret, but are caught off-guard by an Alistar Headbutt-Pulverize combo, allowing Mash’s Sivir to pick up First Blood on a Janna kill.
Winterfox sneaks a Dragon in response, but then Coast sends four players top to take down Vayne and secure their second turret of the game. From here, Coast bides their time, setting up vision and eventually evening up the Dragon count at one per team. Coast plays the next few minutes very carefully, getting a pick and rotating to secure all three outer turrets while maintaining all of their own.
Though the game is in Coast’s favor, they continues to farm and avoid fights, keeping the gold lead at about 3K while securing the next two Dragons. At 33:00, Coast turns to take Baron, finally deciding to group bot and push afterwards. A fight breaks out, and Coast’s fully farmed Kog’Maw secures a triple kill, allowing Coast to push through to the bottom inhibitor.
Now with a 10k gold lead, Coast groups to take more objectives, securing two more turrets and their fourth Dragon. Coast then sets up vision around Baron, taking the buff and coming out of the fight afterwards with an Ace. They use the buff to take out all three inhibitors and a nexus turret before retreating. This one-sided match ends with Coast taking their fifth Dragon of the game and pushing through to the nexus to win the game with super minions in all lanes.
Team Coast vs. Winterfox: Game 2
Team Coast: Gnar, Rek’Sai, Viktor, Corki, Alistar
Winterfox: Maokai, Gragas, Azir, Sivir, Bard
Game Two starts off with normal lanes, allowing Winterfox to gain a slow lead through CS advantage alone, but when Winterfox’s Ken on Bard facechecks the bot tribush, Shrimp appears, knocking him up and handing First Blood over to Mash on Corki.
After that, the game became all about Coast’s Shrimp on Rek’Sai vs. Winterfox’s ShorterACE on Gragas. Rek’Sai began invading all of Gragas’ jungle, stealing camps, buffs, and securing kills on the Winterfox team. By gaining complete control of ShorterACE’s jungle, Shrimp also allowed Coast’s Cris on Gnar to safely pressure top lane, building Black Cleaver as his first item and bullying Avalon’s Maokai out of lane whenever he wanted. Soon, Winterfox’s top turret falls due to this advantage alone.
The jungle war continues, and Shrimp continues to take camps and buffs from ShorterACE. This eventually ends up with a fight breaking out in the jungle, resulting in a quadra for Corki and an Ace for Coast, giving them further turret control and consequently extending their gold lead. With the gold and map advantage in Coast’s favor, Gnar builds Frozen Mallet as his second big item in order to put further pressure on his split pushing abilities, and at 28 minutes, Coast decides to take Baron with their 10K gold lead, taking it without contest.
By 32:00, Shrimp is 100cs ahead of ShorterACE and three levels ahead as well. While Coast is able to finish off some outer turrets with their Baron buff, Winterfox’s Azir and Sivir prevent Coast from taking any inhibitor turrets. But when the next Baron comes up, Coast is able to take it again without contest.
As a last hope play, Winterfox set up a death brush bot with hopes of catching Mash’s Corki, but it’s Shrimp that ends up walking into it. Shrimp’s tankiness allows him to stay alive through the ambush, and the rest of Coast shows up, coming out of the fight with a three for nothing trade, taking bot inhibitor and a nexus turret before backing off.
The final play comes when Coast catches Winterfox in the top jungle, pushing them towards top lane and then turning to take mid inhibitor while Winterfox recalls. By the time Winterfox is back in their base, Coast is able to turn and win the following teamfight in the base, finishing the game off with the nexus kill.
Team Imagine vs. Vortex: Game 1
Team Imagine: Gnar, Ekko, Xerath, Vayne, Thresh
Vortex: Rumble, Lee Sin, Kassadin, Sivir, Annie
Game One starts off with normal lanes, and First Blood goes to themassacre8’s Vayne when Imagine’s Ekko ganks bot. Imagine’s Wolfe also secures a second kill in the mid lane when Vortex’s Kassadin dives too far under the turret, attempting to get a kill of his own. Shortly after Kassadin returns to lane, Wolfe’s Xerath picks up Imagine’s third kill with the help of an Ekko gank. Dardoch’s Ekko then shares the wealth, visiting the top lane to grant Big ol Ron’s Gnar the fourth kill of the game. Before the clock hits 10 minutes, all Imagine lanes have gotten at least one kill.
Vortex’s jungler, Chau, quickly answers back with a dive and a kill on Imagine’s Thresh in the bot lane. Wanting to ensure all lanes are winning, Imagine’s Ekko returns bot, but a countergank involving teleports from both top laners ends up in a fight with Vortex coming out with four kills for one, taking the bottom turret easily after.
Vortex continues to pick fights after this, coming out on top of bloody fights and evening up the early lead that Imagine has acquired. By 24 minutes, the kills and gold are even between the two teams, with Vortex being up a turret. The teams dance around baron, and a fight breaks out with Imagine coming out with two kills for nothing and taking mid second tier turret as a result.
With a slight 3k gold lead, Imagine sets up around Baron again, leading to a fight that Imagine wins, allowing them to take the first Baron of the game at 29:30. Imagine use the baron buff to gain a further gold advantage, taking turrets and their third Dragon before converting their gold lead into a larger item advantage, forcing their way down mid lane to win the fight in Vortex’s base and close the game out with an Ace.
Team Imagine vs. Vortex: Game 2
Team Imagine: Gnar, Gragas, Xerath, Corki, Thresh
Vortex: Fizz, Rek’Sai, Kog’Maw, Jinx, Morgana
Game Two starts off with a lane swap, with Vortex sending their duo lane top and Fizz accompanying Rek’Sai on the top jungle invade. At the same time, Imagine sends Thresh to help Gragas in the bottom invade, and Vortex groups four top to take top turret at four minutes. Imagine responds with a turret bottom, and the lanes swap back to normal. However, Vortex’s Veritas picks up an Avarice Blade on Jinx while Imagine’s themassacre8 comes to lane with damage, allowing Corki to pick up first blood for Imagine as a result.
The game quickly becomes relatively unorganized, with both teams finding picks and engaging in skirmishes, most of which end up in Imagine’s favor. Skirmishes seem to be Imagine’s goal in order to avoid dealing with Jinx and Kog’Maw’s waveclear, but every fight starts off with someone getting caught out of position. Skirmishes continue to happen around the map, and Imagine pulls further ahead with more kills netted in the long run. However, these skirmishes seem relatively unplanned, and no objectives are taken afterwards due to the lack of set up.
At 30 minutes, a fight breaks out for what would be Imagine’s fourth Dragon, the first time a fight occurs for an objective in a long time. Due to the gradual lead they have acquired over time, Imagine comes out on top, taking their fourth Dragon.
Once again, the game reverts back to small skirmishes and champions getting caught out of position, and Imagine scores kills on both Veritas’ Jinx and Gate’s Kog’Maw. They use this numbers advantage to take Baron at 33 minutes, eventually gaining two turrets with their buff. Imagine recalls with some extra gold to prep for the fight for their fifth Dragon. With Vortex’s Kog’Maw running out of mana during the zoning dance around Dragon, Imagine takes their fifth Dragon and wins the following fight, pushing straight through to the nexus to win the game.
Renegades vs. Cloud9 Tempest: Game 1
Renegades: Rumble, Ekko, Jayce, Sivir, Thresh
Cloud9 Tempest (C9T): Maokai, Rek’Sai, Viktor, Corki, Annie
Game One starts off with standard lanes, and First Blood goes over to C9T’s Hard on Rek’Sai as he ganks RF Legendary’s Rumble in the top lane. Renegades’ Crumbz on Ekko quickly answers with a Renegades kill on Lod’s Corki in the bottom lane, evening up the score 1-1. Crumbz returns bottom, and the Ekko stun followed by the Thresh hook is too strong, allowing Renegades to pick up a kill on Annie and Rek’Sai, resulting in Renegades also getting the first Dragon of the game.
Alex Ich gets a kill in the mid lane and Renegades’ bot lane takes C9T’s tower, then as soon as C9T’s Viktor respawns and heads back mid, an Ekko gank sends him back to the fountain again with a kill for Alex. Maplestreet’s Sivir rotates top to take that turret while RF’s Rumble is dove in the bottom lane. Renegages collapse but lose the fight, giving up bottom turret and four kills to C9T.
At this point, the kill count slows down, with both teams engaging in small skirmishes without many kills. Renegades take their second Dragon after a fight, losing only RF Legendary and forcing all five members of C9T to recall with low health bars. Renegades then set up vision in C9T’s jungle and continue to farm and siege, eventually taking down mid turret and turning to take their third Dragon.
The game continues with both teams avoiding large fights, but Renegades slowly gain the advantage through turret kills from rotations and small skirmishes. Fueled by a 6k gold lead, Renegades take their fourth Dragon at 38:45. Renegades then set up vision around the Baron pit and take it at 40:50. C9T reacts late and initiates a fight, losing three of their members for nothing, allowing a Baroned up Renegades to push straight down the mid lane to the nexus and win the game.
Renegades vs. Cloud9 Tempest: Game 2
Renegades: Kennen, Gragas, Yasuo, Urgot, Annie
Cloud9 Tempest (C9T): Rumble, Rek’Sai, Varus, Kalista, Nautilus
Cloud9 Tempest starts the game out with a lane swap, sending their duo lane top, causing RF Legendary’s Kennen to join Crumbz’s Gragas in the jungle. This ends up with Renegades sending four members bottom to take the turret and C9T answering with the top turret. While C9T returns to normal lanes, Renegades send their duo lane top, resulting in 2v1 side lanes for both teams.
The 2v1 setup goes in C9T’s favor, with Lod and Sheep taking RF Legendary’s tower while C9T’s Rumble holds top. C9T takes first Dragon after bot turret, and they rotate to take mid turret after pushing Alex Ich’s Yasuo off with a few ultimates. With Renegades 3 outer turrets down, Renegades try their best to stall and farm up while C9T tries to find a way to push further. Renegades are successful in stalling the game, allowing RF Legendary’s Kennen to catch up in farm without giving up any more turrets, but the stall gives C9T their second Dragon.
With 153 CS at 17 minutes, Alex Ich’s Yasuo starts to split push while the rest of Renegades protects against C9T’s four-man siege. Renegades continue to make the game about farming and splitting, holding off any more C9T aggression, and decreasing C9T’s gold lead to only 500 gold by the 20 minute mark.
First blood doesn’t come until 22:30, when what would be C9T’s third Dragon of the game spawns, and C9T collapse on the objective. However, Renegades collapse too, and their team fight comp allows them to pull off an Ace for nothing, taking Dragon, two towers, and putting them up 3.5K in gold. After this, C9T attempts to siege mid turret, but they overcommit on a dive and Renegades get a four for nothing fight, increasing their gold lead to 7K.
The Renegades turn to Baron after Yasuo gets a solo kill on Rumble in the bot lane, but C9T win the fight, taking Baron but losing their bottom inhibitor. With little to no waveclear, Renegades push the lanes out as much as then can, but a Baroned-up C9T groups mid to take the second tier turret uncontested while Renegades send Kennen top to trade a turret back. As a response, C9T takes their third Dragon and the Baron buff expires.
At 35:00, Renegades are still up 4.5K gold, so they send Kennen bottom to split while the rest of the team preps for the respawning Baron. A ward behind the Baron pit shows C9T what Renegades are doing, and C9T’s Rumble ults the team, but Renegades turn to pick the fight, getting 3 kills to turn and push bot lane through to win the game.
Standings and Next Week’s Schedule
The standings after week one are:
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And here are the matchups for next week!
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