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On Wednesday, around 7 PM, I was on the Digital Crusade channel and heard Keta and Holy discussing the matches that we were about to see. Stage three was about to start, and I was thinking they were good company to spend a quiet evening with. The first thing that pleased me was that the production guys had changed the format of the pick and ban, and everything was better visually. It’s quite admirable that people take an interest in changing things based on community feedback. The production team did its job, and it was up to the players to do theirs.

First match – Cyber MD vs. Lenovo Legion Honved. If the team from the Republic of Moldova was winless in the first two matches, LLH was fresh from a second-round win and in high spirits. Cyber started the game better, but by the 10th minute LLH had evened things up in kills and gold. The match had a steady pace from there, with battles around the objectives and on the map. The first four dragons were split evenly and in the 26th minute the situation was still even, but a few minutes later a difficult decision was made. LLH gave up their third dragon, securing baron instead, a baron slain by just two of their players, Ryze and Xin Zhao. Cyber resisted the pressure and quite tactically ceded priority and towers, but when it was dragon time, they made the decisive attack. They won the teamfight and the objective, but a little later, forcing the second tower off the midline, they lost two members. Lenovo went on a chase for the remaining enemies. Meanwhile “xPeke”, sorry, I meant “xDrop”, teleported up to the midlane, taking advantage of an advancing wave of minions. While his teammates were stalling, he was alone with the towers, and towers really hate Ziggs. An abrupt and unfortunate end for the Cyber guys. Lenovo, on the other hand, took advantage of every mistake, and the match was decided quickly and objectively, a match that was action-packed and averaged over a kill per minute.

Second match – Racquestai vs. Random 5. It seemed like the best match of the stage. R5 was looking down from the top of the leaderboard, and Racquestai was recovering from their loss to the Hungarian team. Anything could have happened, and Racquestai knew they had their chance. The match started with a slight lead for the Bulgarian team, but the Ukrainians had two dragons and were only a thousand gold behind by the 20th minute. The third dragon was obtained by R5, but they forced a baron, which they lost; and not only they had lost the objective, but they also lost four members, making the match tied in gold. Racquestai were hoping for the infernal soul, which they got, but at what cost? Before that, they had lost the baron, and before the baron, they were wiped clean in a teamfight. That translated into a difference of over five thousand gold. Another twist came when R5 tried to kill a baron quickly from right under the noses of Racquestai, but this proved to be a costly mistake. They lost the fight, and by extension, the baron. While the Ukrainians were working on the baron, the last two members of the Bulgarian team tried to make the Elder, but full build Ryze had other ideas, and that meant the end. That also meant that R5 was no longer the only one at the top of the leaderboard. Moreover, the next match would bring another team next to the two that gave us a spectacular match, full of twists and turns.

Third match – Infinite Gaming vs. Nexus KTRL. Another good match and, by all accounts, some quality League of Legends. Infinite was coming off a crushing win against Urban, but KTRL, the trophy holders, were coming off a defeat at the hands of Random 5. They had one thing in common: both teams were ripped apart by the Bulgarians. I was expecting an interesting match, as the previous two had been. There were two changes in the starting lineups. For Nexus KTRL, Evil was back on bot, and Khantos is going to be haunted by Mihai, Infinite’s new ADC. Mihai was the ADC who also replaced him in Z10 in the EBL. We know for sure that he’s not a worse player, but I think the synergy has been affected a bit, and the same rhetoric applies to their opponents. Infinite started a little better, with the first assassination, first dragon, and first herald, but gave up the advantage in a fight on top when they got caught on the wrong foot. Infinite’s bot lane was caught on the wrong foot again just a few minutes later, and they gave up two more kills and the next dragon. The advantage was three thousand gold for Nexus KTRL. Unfortunately, the match didn’t get any better for Infinite, and despite the macro play shown, they easily dropped fights, and couldn’t find a solution to any of the questions raised by their opponents. The match wasn’t as hard-fought as the previous ones, but to end on a positive note, Septico seems like he’s going to be a player we’ll be hearing about for many years to come. Yes, sir!

The match that ended the day was again a duel between Romanians – ONETAP vs. Urban. Both teams won against Cyber, and both had lost a pretty ugly match in which they didn’t really have much of a chance. In this match, they opted for two compositions with different goals. Urban wanted to protect its ADC and jungler, who were supposed to carry the load later in the match, while OneTap played an assassin down the middle, two tanks and Blitz. These picks comprised a “pick comp”, and in the early stages things were looking up. They went head-to-head until the 12th minute, with OT having the first two dragons. Sadly, it was the shortest game of the day, ending in 23 minutes, with a win for the Urban guys. Their strategy was successful, but unfortunately, LeBlanc couldn’t kill Kindred in the jungle either, and especially 2Axes, who although heavily target banned again, showed that Jinx can be a truly terrifying hyper carry. He scored a pentakill worthy of mentioning to our grandkids, and it topped off a great performance. Again, OneTap didn’t look brilliant, especially after the early game, and they are running out of time to fix their problems.

That’s pretty much what the four matches were like, and we have some conclusions and some new things we noticed. Even though there were a lot of kills, we also saw different strategies applied in the matches. People were playing around objectives at the right time, when teleports were available, when ultimates were accessible. People are learning, they are showing interest, and if I have a prediction for the next stage, I’m betting on Cyber MD, if they can keep their minds clear, and their appetite for the game. What do you think?

You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTP0PE_6ShY

Written by LolRN

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