NA Challenger Series Week 3 Recap

Introduction This week marked the third week of the Summer 2015 North American Challenger Series. With only five weeks of round robin play before playoffs, this became the first week that teams could clinch playoff spots.

One of the biggest teams in League of Legends will be without their star player this week, and the reasons why aren't clear


This week marked the third week of the Summer 2015 North American Challenger Series. With only five weeks of round robin play before playoffs, this became the first week that teams could clinch playoff spots.

This week, the matchups were as follows:

(Image from http://na.lolesports.com)

Check out the VODs and a recap of all of the games this week below!

Team Imagine vs. Renegades: Game 1

Team Imagine: Fizz, Gragas, Azir, Tristana, Janna

Renegades: Maokai, Nidalee, Varus, Kalista, Nautilus

Although the early game went even as far as early gold advantages, Renegades were able to stall out until their poke comp hit some item spikes before taking control of this match. Early on, Imagine held up relatively well, boasting a kill lead for much of the laning phase. However, Renegades’ superior CS scores kept the gold even until around 22:00, when their poke comp allowed them to take over vision and sieging, pushing out all lanes with a 3k gold lead.

Renegades continued to keep up their gold lead, sieging turrets and taking Dragons, hitting their fourth at 29:30. At 31:30, Renegades siege bot with a 9k gold lead. Half of the team pokes from the jungle while the other half applies turret pressure in what looks to become like all other sieges where Imagine has to back off the turret due to poke. However, mancloud’s Azir initiates on Alex Ich’s Varus in the jungle and a fight breaks out, but Renegades score an Ace for two deaths, allowing them to push the inhibitor. Unfortunately, the VOD cuts out here (Zirene cites technical difficulties on Twitter), but Renegades end up winning Game One with the superior poke composition and gold advantage. 

Team Imagine vs. Renegades: Game 2

Team Imagine: Yasuo, Gragas, Azir, Corki, Nautilus

Renegades: Shen, Rek’Sai, Ezreal, Urgot, Thresh

Game Two plays out in standard Renegades fashion, with the team maintaining an even gold lead until hitting their item power spikes, allowing them to snowball quickly afterwards. In the first 18 minutes, both teams traded objectives around the map to keep the gold equal, but Renegades begin to pull ahead. At 18:15, Crumbz on Rek’Sai ganks Yasuo with a Shen ult on him, securing the kill for RF Legendary’s Shen. Immediately afterwards, a Remilia Thresh hook catches Nautilus in the mid lane, and Maplestreet’s Urgot ults Azir, resulting in two more kills for Shen. It becomes apparent at this point that Renegades’ single target CC is able to turn bad positioning on Team Imagine’s part into easy kills. Renegades take mid turret after, and Thresh hooks Corki, ending up with a doublekill for Alex Ich’s Ezreal after the skirmish, equating to a 3k gold lead at 20 min for Renegades

At this point, Renegades have hit a lot of their item spikes, and they make their advantage known. Maple splits bot while Alex Ich’s Ezreal continues to poke Imagine in the top lane until they are low enough for Renegades to engage 4v5 and get two kills while Maple takes a turret bottom. The team then turns to Baron and kill a contesting Gragas with an over-the-wall hook, securing the Baron Buff afterwards.

With Baron, Renegades siege mid and a fight breaks out, giving Renegades three kills for nothing, mid inhibitor, and another turret top. The time is now 25:30 and Renegades have an 11k gold advantage, showing how much can snowball in just five minutes. The game ends when Renegades siege bot at 28:00, and a fight breaks out, giving Renegades three kills for nothing and allowing them to push through to the nexus to win the game and clinch a spot in the NACS playoffs.

Winterfox vs. Cloud9 Tempest: Game 1

Winterfox: Fizz, Rek’Sai, Ziggs, Corki, Thresh

Cloud9 Tempest (C9T): Maokai, Gragas, Ezreal, Jinx, Nautilus

Game One progresses incredibly slow, with only three kills coming out in the first 25 minutes. The first big teamfight happens at 29:00 when C9T takes a go at Baron, and Winterfox get an Ace for one, gaining a 2k gold lead and the Baron buff immediately afterwards. C9T loses only one turret to the Baron buffed Winterfox, who extend their lead to 3k by 33:00. However, the game continues to stall and by 45:00, the gold differential is still the same, with both teams tied at three Dragons a piece.

At 45:30, C9T picks up their fourth Dragon, and a fight breaks out afterwards, giving C9T three kills for nothing and allowing them to pick up Baron, evening up the gold at about 69k for each team. With the Baron buff, C9T pushes turrets to claim a gold lead, with turrets evaporating to the damage output at 49 minutes into the game. C9T gains a gold lead of about 2.5k, but the difference is mostly negligible for this point of the game. With both teams realizing that the next team to win a fight wins the game, they carefully navigate the map as five, looking for the perfect fight. This happens for C9T at 51:15, when an Ezreal and Jinx ultimate annihilate Winterfox’s Ziggs in one shot, allowing C9T to flash engage on Winterfox and pick up enough kills to turn and rush the nexus, pushing to victory in Game One.

Winterfox vs. Cloud9 Tempest: Game 2

Winterfox: Shen, Nidalee, Jayce, Corki, Morgana

Cloud9 Tempest (C9T): Fizz, Rek’Sai, Azir, Kalista, Thresh

Game Two was messy for both teams, but especially for Winterfox. The game starts off with standard lanes and first blood going to C9T’s Yusui with a three-man gank mid against Arcsecond’s Jayce. At 9:30, C9T’s Fizz catches Winterfox’s Nidalee in the jungle for a solokill, and the theme of the game is introduced. Throughout the next 15 minutes, C9T takes small advantages through Dragons and towers after picking off members of Winterfox in the jungle, but the gold stays even until about 31 minutes.

At 31:20, a fight at dragon goes in C9T’s favor, putting them up 2k gold and giving them the largest gold lead of the game. C9T continues to get picks, and at 37:00 they catch Winterfox in the jungle yet again to get three kills for one, taking mid inhibitor and securing their fourth Dragon afterwards.

By 39:00, C9T has amassed a 7k gold lead, but is unable to convert this into any successful pushes against Winterfox’s poke comp.  At 41:20, C9T takes Baron and pushes in all lanes, grouping for their fifth Dragon at 44:20 while Solo’s Fizz splits. With the Aspect of the Dragon buff, C9T groups bot to take both mid and bot inhibitors, rotating top afterwards. A fight breaks out in the top lane and C9T comes out ahead, pushing all inhibitors and then taking the nexus to win the game.

Vortex vs. Team Coast: Game 1

Vortex: Gnar, Olaf, Viktor, Sivir, Annie

Team Coast: Rumble, Rek’Sai, Azir, Tristana, Nautilus

Game One starts off immediately in Coast’s favor, with Tristana picking up first blood on Vortex’s Olaf  when Rumble baits him to facecheck a river brush. From this point onward, Coast slowly suffocate Vortex, pushing their advantages wherever they can. Vortex plays the early game with great rotations for turrets, but Coast is able to keep up with turret trades of their own, picking up a 6k gold lead by 20 minutes.

At 26:25, a fight breaks out mid and Coast picks up four kills for one, turning to Baron immediately after to pick up the buff with a 8.5k gold lead. Coast continue to push lanes out with this buff, taking their fourth Dragon at 29:30 and owning all of Vortex’s jungle camps.

Despite Coast leading by 12k gold at 34 minutes, Vortex engages in the mid lane, giving Coast an Ace for nothing and allowing them to push top and mid inhibitors before grouping at Baron. Vortex show up to contest, but they lose the fight and give the Baron buff over to Coast. With super minions in the top and mid lane, Coast take an easy fifth Dragon and group in the bottom lane to push straight through to the nexus for victory, ending the game with a 20k gold lead.

Vortex vs. Team Coast: Game 2

Vortex: Maokai, Nidalee, Varus, Sivir, Nautilus

Team Coast: Ryze, Evelynn, Azir, Vayne, Lulu

Although Vortex came out swinging, Team Coast was able to pivot in the mid game and come back in the end. In the early game, Vortex showed great map pressure, taking trades and acquiring turrets with jungle support to go up 3k gold by 17:30. However, Team Coast quickly show why they were undefeated going into this game, taking a quick Baron at 20:45 when they knew Vortex was heading towards Dragon.

With Baron pressure on turrets and superior rotations, Coast quickly catch up, attaining a 4k gold lead by 24:30. However, Vortex’s poke comp make it incredibly difficult for Coast to siege turrets. Instead, Coast spends the next 10 minutes winning fights and taking smaller objectives, increasing their gold lead to 10k by 36:00 but still failing to break the inhibitor line. At this point, map control is in Coast’s favor, and although they have trouble sieging, it becomes clear that Barons and Dragons are under Coast’s control.

Unable to beat the poke comp 5v5, Coast sends Vayne to split push and at 38:00 Vayne is able to solokill Maokai and take bot inhibitor. At 40:00, Vortex attempt a miracle Baron and a fight breaks out that ends with Coast coming out on top with four kills for two, taking their fourth Dragon afterwards. Coast then turns to take Baron at 42:00, winning a fight in the mid lane afterwards to push down the middle to victory, securing their spot in the NACS playoffs with an undefeated record.

Standings and Next Week’s Schedule

The standings after week three are:

(Image from http://na.lolesports.com)

And here are the matchups for next week!

(Image from http://na.lolesports.com)