Gambit Gaming pull out Gangplank, but Unicorns of Love have bigger trump card
That's a testament to the power of the Runeglaive, a relatively new jungle enchant that gives auto attacks a burst of magic damage. Runeglaive has brought a host of new heroes, like Ezreal, back into the meta. The old top lane stalwart Gangplank has increased in solo queue popularity, and Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet was ready to bring him into pro action—it was no secret he'd been practicing it.
But the Unicorns of Love didn’t care. They let Gambit Gaming pick Gangplank against them in an important bout between teams tied at 7-8 in the thick of a competitive playoff race. Unicorns of Love had a trump card of their own.
The Unicorns and mid laner Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage’s decimated Gambit Gaming with a Runeglaive-wielding Orianna. Schrage posted a ridiculous 15/3/3 KDA while scoring a pentakill to close out the match to put Unicorns back in the driver’s seat in a tough playoff race.
The team is now 8-8 in sole position of fourth in the league, one game ahead of Gambit Gaming, Giants Gaming, and Team ROCCAT, who are all in a three-way tie for two playoff spots. They needed that win considering next week they’re up against the 16-0 Fnatic, though a win over Giants Gaming will likely secure them a playoff run.
The victory shows that Unicorns can still win after their recent roster change, with Berk “Gilius” Demir coming in to replace the departing jungler Marius “Kikis” Szkudlarek. In Demir’s debut with the team, he fell prey to Dennis “Svenkskeren” Johnsen’s Nidalee as Unicorns fell in a surprising upset to the league's second-to-last-place team, SK Gaming.
“We were all a bit shaken up yesterday,” the team’s AD carry Pontus “Vardags” Dahlblom said after the match in his post-game interview. “I think we expected to go a lot stronger into the games. Stuff happened, things didn’t go as planned, and we lost.”
But that didn’t slow a team known for their ability to keep competitive League fun as they entered a tough game against Gambit Gaming.
The team came in with a plan and knew the potential power of their mid-lane Orianna pick, but they weren’t completely ready for Gambit’s unorthodox draft.
“The [Gangplank ban] yesterday gave us the idea that [the pick] might happen, so we had it in our mind and we had a plan for it a bit,” Dahlblom said. But Gambit picked Gragas and Rek'sai in their first rotation, two traditional jungle champions, leading them to believe Gragas may be played top. “We were definitely surprised with how they picked Gragas and Rek’Sai, we expected Gragas to go top and then Gangplank happened.”
Gragas ended up going to Edward Abgaryan at support, but that didn’t slow Unicorns. They managed to mitigate Gangplank’s split push power by scoring a couple early kills on him while Vardags and Zdravets "Hylissang" Galabov held their own against the powerful Gambit bottom lane featuring Konstantinos "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou on lane bully Lucian. Unicorns managed to build a lead, but at times they seemed a couple mistakes away from losing it. But that's also the Unicorns' favored style: turning a match into a frenetic mess. And they shone while doing it, even with their new jungler.
In the end, Schrage’s Orianna was too strong. Utilizing a Runeglaive build, Orianna can stack a ridiculous amount of auto attack buffs. Her passive, Clockwork Windup, gives her increasing magic damage every time she attacks. The Runeglaive makes the entire auto attack magic based and adds even more bonus damage. Then the Challenging Smite summoner spell, an integral part of building Runeglaive, adds even more in the form of a True Damage burn.
All of that turns Orianna into a “good AD carry,” Schrage says. One that's doing magic damage and features a kit with plenty of burst and utility.
That allowed him to dominate the match with a whopping 15 kills, the kind of performance you love to see from a team’s star player during crunch time.
That eighth win doesn’t guarantee Unicorns a playoff spot, but it means a win over Giants Gaming on Thursday will. And considering what Unicorns managed to do in the playoff last Split, and even in this game, that may be all the team needs to live out another Cinderella story. Unicorns always seem to have another trick up their sleeve.