After a long year of League of Legends, the Grand Finals have come to a close and we’ve crowned ourselves a champion. In a season that saw big highs, deep lows, and lots of new challenges, the drive of the players and teams is really what brought us to this point. Without further ado, let’s cover what happened in five thrilling matches between the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the University of Texas at Austin (UTAUS).
In game one, we see some pretty standard team compositions. UIUC has a more skirmish-based group, as it lacks any real knockup setup potential for the Yasuo on the side of UIUC, whereas UTAUS has a really good teamfighting composition. Featuring Orianna with 3 Champions who can deliver the ball to where it needs to go as well as the support-carry in Senna bot lane paired with Sett in the tank role, this comp was ready to roll.
In the game itself, we started off with some action at the 3:30 mark with a tower dive in the bottom lane by UIUC. It turned into burned teleports by UTAUS’ mid and top, but the engagement ended with just a 1-for-1 exchange, with UTAUS committing more resources.
UIUC came back for a second tower dive just after 6 minutes, and the fight ended in a 2-for-1 advantage for UIUC, with two kills going to Qwacker in the toplane on Mordekaiser.
Just before 8 minutes in, Qwacker was back to terrorizing bot lane. SushiKilla rolled around to help with yet another dive in the botlane, but the dive went awry and UTAUS ended up on top. VelocityOne picked up two kills, one of which was a shutdown, in an aggressive dive that did not go the way of UIUC.
After minutes of scrappy skirmishing that left the teams even on kills, UIUC saw an opening after UTAUS extended into the mid lane with the Rift Herald. A massive Moonlight Vigil from Kuderic broke the game wide open, and UIUC took a clean 5-to-0 teamfight just before the 17-minute mark.
UTAUS then found two picks on UIUC, who was caught out of position. They then saw an opportunity to keep the domination train going with yet another tower dive, this time in the top lane at the 19-minute mark. This opportunism left 3 dead on the side for UTAUS and just 1 on UIUC’s side. A setup for a baron take on the side of UIUC lead to them winning the game after a decisive team wipe, with UTAUS making their last stand at the dragon pit 21 minutes in.
Going into game two, both teams had more pick-based comps, with neither team seemingly interested in teamfighting completely. Graves and the Trundle were picked up along with Diana, Rakan, and Varus, meaning that the teams wanted to fight and fight often--just not in an all-out manner.
The game was almost dead even at the 10-minute mark, with small scrappy skirmishes happening all around the map. UTAUS decided they wanted to take a page out of UIUC’s playbook and go for a bottom-lane dive, which ended up going awry. They ended up with 4 dead, only managing to take out UIUC’s support in the process.
When UIUC went to grab the dragon a couple of minutes later, they pounced and got two unanswered kills, which made the score even again.
The game continued with fierce skirmishes that you can only see in the Grand Finals of a collegiate tournament. Qwacker was absolutely dominating his laning opponent. With a fed Xerath, Varus, and Urgot, UIUC baited UTAUS to the Baron pit, taking both the Baron’s life and the UTAUS players’. UIUC then marched down midlane and handily finished off their opponents, sending us to a game 3.
Is that a...Graves mid? UIUC was definitely going for an AOE “dunk” sort of composition, using the Jarvan as their setup followed by the aoe potential of Graves and Lulu. UTAUS brought back the Orianna, hoping to foster CC potential between her and Nami to help the team win teamfights.
UTAUS got to an early lead this time with some really good plays around the map. They set up their top lane early with a two-man dive onto the Mordekaiser. The bot lane play was the most impressive of all, with Noodlz turning his overextension into a double kill with the help of his support VelocityOne.
This can’t be explained in Twitch clips: the individual play by UTAUS all across the map was better than UIUC. UIUC kept getting into fights, but UTAUS was winning all of them without any real domination or key teamfights taking place. UIUC couldn’t help but watch and throw a few bodies into the fray as UTAUS took Baron and Mountain Elder with ease. A 4-for-4 teamfight happened in the base when UTAUS went to close the game, featuring some fancy footwork from Kuderic and maybe some overeagerness on the team’s part. After securing the Baron, a fight over the Elder Dragon occurred, where UTAUS dealt the killing blow to UIUC and pulled themselves to a game 4.
The same song-and-dance happened again here: one team runs a more pick-oriented composition, while the other goes for a more teamfight composition...but really, both teams were set up for teamfighting. UIUC was obviously built better for it, as their team featured Wukong and Sejuani backed up by Lulu, Xerath, and Aphelios. UTAUS claimed Lissandra and Nami for aoe and the potential for a frontline monster in the Aatrox.
The first six minutes went quietly with no kills, with the teams seemingly content to farm it out. They then realized they were playing League of Legends, not Farming Simulator, and went for the whole “kill each other” route. Most of these skirmishes aren’t really worth a Twitch clip except for this one, which really seemed to secure UTAUS’s early game lead.
In a fit of possible desperation after getting slaughtered across the map in skirmishes, UIUC went for what I’d call a risky Baron at the 22-minute mark while behind. They got rightfully slaughtered, and the Baron was stolen away from them. UTAUS took advantage of this and walked right down mid minutes later to send us to a game 5.
Going into Game 5, the teams were certainly under a little bit of pressure to win. UIUC just couldn’t close it out; with their backs against the wall, UTAUS certainly wasn’t going to go softly into the night and make this writeup an easy task. So for the final time, my expertise in the Gold ladder will explain to you the climatic events that lead to us crowning a Grand Finalist.
UIUC came back again with a boatload of carry potential across the map, and UTAUS wanted the same. This game would be decided on the prowess of the individual and if the hypercarries of Darius or Fizz can take off for UIUC.
The game started off quietly... for 50 seconds, anyway, until UIUC found UTAUS prodding around their jungle and snapped off an early kill. This seemed to satiate the bloodlust of both teams, with only two more kills happening until around the 12-minute mark, where UIUC found a massive fight in the jungle after they stumbled upon UTAUS taking Ocean Dragon.
Like an egg rolling off your kitchen counter, the game was broken wide open. That hyper carry Fizz? He was 6/0/3 going into this next teamfight, and Dandito was not holding back.
14 kills to 2 and a 10k gold lead at around 19 minutes put UIUC at a massive advantage. Was it possible that UTAUS could come back? Nope: UIUC walked down bot lane pretty much uncontested to win game 5 and become our CSL Grand Champions.
Congratulations to UIUC. While it took them a while to close down the series, they did it in a spectacular game-5 fashion, showing us their individual prowess as well as their strength as a team. Congrats to all the teams this year that gave it their all and who learned and improved together. This concludes our 2020 League of Legends season, and we wish everyone the best here at CSL, especially the class of 2020. Until next time, I’ll see you all on Summoner’s Rift.