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Time goes by, the LAN comes, all is cool and we love it. Finally the Cluj show has started and God damn it, boys and girls, we’ve got it all! I want to start with the production, which is way above what I expected and it blew me away. The lights, the colours, the stage, the handsome casters, everything shines in Cluj. In between matches we also have content to keep us from getting bored, some fun games, we also have interviews in a separate area, casters in front of the stage, the trophy placed in front of the players to keep them motivated. I look at it all and can’t help but think how much work is behind the whole event. A sincere hats off to everyone involved and I look forward to being there next year! And it was all topped off with some interesting matches.

First let’s talk about the format, because there are four teams and yet we have a tournament. We had two series. Nexus KTRL vs. Racquestai, and Urban Esports vs. Random 5. Even if they lost, they still had a chance, because the losers would play a series of their own and the winners would play another series. Upper bracket and lower bracket. The winner of the upper bracket will advance to the final, and the loser will get to play the winner of the lower bracket. You can have a bad day, afford the luxury of losing one series and prove in another what you’re made of. One more good thing about this whole tournament.

First series. Nexus KTRL vs. Racquestai. The team from Ukraine was the first qualified of the tournament and also the team that dominated the qualification phase. The Romanians, on the other hand, were the last team to qualify, in a terrible last stage for them, with a last-minute substitute and qualified on a tiebreaker. The first match was surprising, as it went in Nexus KTRL’s favor and wasn’t even close. With Septico back in the starting line, they looked better than ever, and with Comeback also managing a pentakill. They dominated and did so convincingly, with many plays executed precisely with enough caution not to allow their opponents to come back and they finished cleanly. The second game was a different story, or at least it looked that way in the first phase, where Racquestai showed it was a good team, but the mistake was still in the draft, where they tried to match the Nexus’ comp. Gwen to Akali, Kassadin to Vladimir. Apparently evenly matched duels, but even if Kassadin enjoyed a lane free, the same could be said for Vladimir. The Ukrainians started well, and it seemed to be going in their favor, but once they were forced into team fights, Vladimir and Akali came out on top, and Yuumi made the difference for the Romanians who turned the match around and also ended the series. Totally unexpected for me and a well deserved win for Nexus KTRL. I think Racquestai came in a little too relaxed, but they have time to recover.

Second series. Urban Esports vs. Random 5. Urban arrived to Cluj with a well-defined identity, with clear options for victory. R5, on the other hand, had qualified in the last round, although they had started the tournament very well. The first game was dominated in the first phase by the Bulgarians, who always managed to bring another man to the party and take the advantage, but the Romanians closed ranks, and like redoutable stoics, they gritted their teeth and got back into the game. Urban’s jungler dictated the tempo very well and managed engage after engage to get them back into the match. The Bulgarian team seemed to be out of sorts on the Rift and as the match progressed they looked more and more lost. Eventually Urban managed to end the match. This is where I expected R5 to go to the bathroom, wash their faces and get over this defeat, but the opposite happened. CPM grabbed his Shen and from the first minute dominated the top lane against Kenne. Let me tell you a secret. That’s not how the lane is supposed to go, but unfortunately for the Bulgarians, they lost there and just like a snowball thrown downhill, CPM slapped them from all sides with teleports and ultimate pro actives, never defensive. Of course, that wasn’t the only reason the match turned into a slaughter, because that’s what it was. It seemed like the Bulgarians fell under the tournament’s burden because in the second match they didn’t matter at all. They barely managed to collect two kills in twenty-three minutes. I just hope that it was an accident, indigestion, something that can explain this. I don’t want to believe that this is their current form. They are very good players with experience in various regional leagues who should show they are capable of much more than they have shown so far. Urban, however, dominated, and not only dominated, but did it differently than we are used to so far, with Vrow playing assassins (no more Lulu), and even being the first option for damage and 2Axes barely second. But they look good, they show versatility and I can only be happy seeing what a nice development the team has had in these weeks.

There were two series that ended quickly and where the favorites didn’t necessarily win. Nexus KTRL is very comfortable on stage and their progress is very good. Urban proved that hard work pays off. Probably the most versatile team in the tournament, who can change its style from game to game, and that’s very important in a best of three or five game. Random 5 looked like a team that couldn’t rise to the occasion, and Racquestai simply choked. Who will come back stronger? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to see it. It was a good appetizer, but I want the main course already. GG Digital Crusade! You can watch the show here.

Written by LolRN