With the UKLC Grand Final just two days away, it’s time to reflect on how we got here. When Excel UK won in the final round of the Gauntlet, they secured themselves a spot at the Final and EU Masters. They also put an end to an incredible run from Phelan Gaming.

From a 7th-8th place tiebreaker with NVision to just one win short of fixtures in Twickenham and Europe, Phelan were the story of the week (check below for our own Ode to their success). Ultimately, however, Excel UK won the Playoffs race, ensuring that they’ll be competing for their first UKLC title on their home turf in this Sunday’s Grand Final.

Here’s the biggest stories of the Gauntlet!

Phelan’s climb

Phelan’s story truly started in Week 7, when they were facing the prospect of missing out on Playoffs entirely. The team had recruited former MnM Gaming coach Pad to work alongside their existing head coach, Conor, in a last-ditch effort to elevate the team. If they had lost a tiebreaker to NVision Esports, they would’ve plummeted into a relegation scrap alongside Barrage and teams from the upcoming Forge of Champions. But they did not lose, and the rest is history.

The first signs that this was no longer a team to be underestimated came when they made short work of Enclave Gaming without dropping a game.

Then, they 2-0’d Diabolus.

At this point, it was already looking like a fairy tale run for Phelan. Had they been convincingly beaten by a Demise squad who had proven their pedigree all season, no one would have been surprised. But instead, Phelan pulled off another 2-0, bringing their undefeated run to seven games. Considering they’d only won 2 games in seven weeks of regular competition, their improvement was simply absurd.

Their undefeated streak stretched to eight games before it was finally ended by MnM Gaming, but even that was not enough to prevent their progress. With a 2-1 victory over the Marshmallows, Phelan suddenly found themselves just a win away from a spot at the UKLC Grand Final and qualification to EU Masters.

Excel triumph

At the final hurdle, Phelan found an opponent they could not surpass: Excel UK.

Eager to make amends for their failure to reach the top 2 in Spring—and with a date against Fnatic Rising on their home turf on the line—Excel pulled out all the stops for their Round 5 series with Phelan. Their first game was a demonstration in how to utilise the revamped Pantheon as a support, as they continually dove Phelan’s bot lane thanks to the protection of Kasing’s Aegis Assault.

The second match in the series was far closer. Despite Excel’s trademark early game success helping them pull ahead, Phelan bounced back to make things into a real contest (partly because Chemera was channelling Faker). But Excel were not to be denied. With Send0o’s Gnar popping off, the team out-fought Phelan and took down their Nexus.

Ode to Phelan

Weep not for the wolves of Ireland;
Breakers of ties, destroyers of dreams
Surviving constant awful puns
Rewriting script, meta, and memes.
Weep not for the wolves of Ireland
For relegation they need not fear;
Not whilst Beartree—still not unlocked—
Yet clutches a Comet Spear.
Not while Chemera doth flex
And Sof doth pray to the Infernal God;
Not while Visdom maketh plays
And Achuu maketh Needlessly Large Rod.
Weep not for the wolves of Ireland
And sing no requiem—
Unless you are NVision, Enclave,
Diabolus, Demise, or MnM.

 


 

Thanks to all of our teams for making Summer Split one to remember. But there’s one part still to play: this Sunday, at 15:00 BST, Fnatic Rising will attempt to defend their UKLC title against Excel UK in our first-ever live event. We’ll see you there.

If you’re watching from home, make sure you’re ready by following our channel at twitch.tv/lvpuklol—or head to a viewing party at Wanyoo’s London studio. And stay tuned to our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for more updates and announcements as all the season’s drama unfolds!

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