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Time flies, ladies and gentlemen. We’ve just reached the fifth stage of the Digital Crusade League of Legends Season 4, and I thought it would be a decisive stage, but let’s see what exactly happened. First, we had a casting trio of regular hosts Keta and Holy, and they were joined by Varga. We know Varga from the EBL rebroadcast, where he shoutcasted the spring split. It was a pleasure seeing him again. At the end of the stage, we had three interviews, but we’ll talk about that later. Until then, let’s check out the matches.

OneTap Gaming vs. Lenovo Legion Honved. The teams were at opposite poles in terms of rankings. Lenovo was among the top, with three wins and only one loss, and OneTap second to last in the standings, with only one win and three losses. The more in-form team was, of course, the Hungarian team, while OneTap had a poor record. The match started with the first kill for the LLH jungler, where AOS was caught out of position. They then continued with another kill on bot lane, where the same Malacko managed to secure his second kill, and the match seemed to be getting back on track. Only then we witnessed a miracle, as if Lazarus himself got up and stomped on the Lenovo guys, who didn’t understand what hit them. Jarvan, piloted by Morfarius, jumped on their heads from a variety of angles, Lucian danced and shot around, Bard threw ultimates from two screens away, and Syndra, well… Syndra melted the champions from the opposite team with damage. The match ended incredibly fast, and it felt even faster, because the first ten minutes were all Hungarians, and they lost everything in the next fifteen. But Ionuț, didn’t you expect this? No, I didn’t expect that at all. What a way to start a stage! The match would have meant qualification for LLH and the last chance for OneTap. Unbelievable play from the Romanians, and at least in stage 5 they show us that they are very good players. AOS – the toplaner, said at the end of the match that they were trying some overly difficult teamcomps, which if they were to execute properly, they would’ve had to be “too godlike at this game”. Fair enough.

Cyber MD vs. Nexus KTRL. I already had the idea in my head that surprises were possible, but Cyber MD have shown throughout the competition that they can lose even when they’re ahead, and Nexus KTRL must have treated the match like a “now or never” situation. The Romanians need to qualify for the final round, and that was obvious from the way the match started, with lots of early kills. Morcovel was all over the map in the first few minutes, except for mid lane, which was constantly attacked by the Cyber guys. It was like watching a boxing match where fighters let their guard down and threw punches into each other’s guts, but Nexus KTRL were hitting twice and Cyber only once. They had a lead of almost two thousand gold in the 13th minute, and also took the first two dragons. Cyber tried to match Nexus KTRL in every move they made on the map, but they always fell behind. If the top laner died, they would try to make a play on mid or bot, and it didn’t always work out for them. With every battle the advantage was growing in favor of the Romanian team, who was out for blood at every minute. They had the tools to start a fight, absorb the damage of their opponents, and at the same time, they could send any opposing player to the base in less than a second. It was a clear difference starting with the draft and continuing with the execution. Nexus KTRL has returned among the top teams, where I believe it belongs. It was a hard-fought game, but no surprises. No interviews from Nexus KTRL. Sad reactions only.

Urban Esports vs. Random 5. The Bulgarian team was the clear favorite against a team that looked both hot and cold throughout the competition. However, Urban showed us that they are learning. Two stages ago they gave us the shortest match and they did it through 2Axes, who was protected by almost the entire team and managed to carry the match. They applied the same strategy in this match, but with different champions. Kai’sa was now the hero who had to carry the load, and the others just had to give him the opportunities. R5 responded with a simpler comp,one that didn’t have such a clear win condition. They could have done a bit of everything, but it should still have been easier for them to win the battles. The match progressed with each team taking turns getting a small lead, a lead they couldn’t hold for more than a couple of minutes. Urban did the right thing though, they took all three towers off the top by the 14th minute. Even though they lost the botlane, they made sure they had a lane they could get priority on very easily. The battles didn’t go their way at all, but they were always pushing the lane and taking the goals. Near the 20th minute, they had five towers taken and two thousand gold disadvantage. In the 25th minute, the match was ending in their favor. The battles were executed with surgical precision, the decisions were sound. They hit and hit hard. Everything changed so quickly and so categorically that, I think, the Bulgarian team didn’t understand much of what had happened. It was a great match and an unexpected win. Good job, Urban, another surprise today! CPM was a bit disappointed at the end of the match, considering how many Malphite ults he wasted.

Infinite Gaming vs. Racquestai. Infinite was getting back in shape, and Racquestai was looking to qualify for the Cluj tournament, one that will be held without an audience, unfortunately. It was the last match and it looked like it was going to be the best of the day, the teams were the closest in value and the match started well for Infinite. Speedy seems to be an important voice in the team, and in the first ten minutes things went naturally, they seemed to be following a well-laid plan. Gank on the bot, Mihai and Pitaaar managed the waves of minions very well, hence two kills. Royal also managed a solo kill on the mid-lane. Things were really going well, but that was only until they decided it was ok to leave a single Ziggs against a tower, and it didn’t turn out great. They traded Herald for the first tower of the match, and it seems they calculated the risks, but they’re not very good at math, because things didn’t go in their favor from there. Racquestai is a solid, mature team that sticks to their guns when things aren’t in their favor. They don’t act rashly, unlike Infinite, who by mid-game was a bit chaotic and didn’t recognize the winning conditions very well. I remember two times when Speedy, the jungler, would push on mid and then on top. He was playing like he was their only hope and that’s not a healthy attitude. Of course, it’s just an outsider’s opinion, but I’d rather prefer in those situations it was Michael at split push, and the team playing around to protect him. There were also little mistakes that actually revealed bigger ones. Players from the Infinite team died because they were giving recall while in a vision bush for Racquestai or died trying to escape a ward. They still need to work on their vision, on when to take out wards, and be more in-game and cautious. There are things that can be fixed, but there are only two games left. The Racquestai team is in shape and at the top of the leaderboard for a good reason. BMJ gave us some insiders. We knew that 4 players on this team had played in the LCL in the summer split, and after all, it is a Riot recognized league that has a wildcard for Worlds (UOL this year). As I was saying, we knew this, but the midlaner gave us some more details about their training and it seems they are active teams at a higher level, and it shows in their play. They really add value to the competition, and I hope everyone is motivated and eager to take down this rising dragon from Ukraine.

These were the matches, and they were very interesting. Honestly, I really enjoyed the interviews at the end, and the chance to find out more about the teams directly from the players. Things get complicated, as you can see in the rankings, and by now we know for sure that Racquestai is qualified, and Cyber MD is eliminated. On Saturday we should find out who will be in Cluj and who will stay at home, but surprises can happen at any time, as we saw in stage 5.You can watch the full stage here, and you can find me here.

Written by LolRN