Four tournaments. Four trophies. Fnatic Rising were made to win, and win they have; by claiming Forge of Champions Summer 2019, they have completed a clean sweep of domestic trophies in 2019. The Quadruple.

This week saw the final games of the Forge of Champions Main Event, a best-of-3 single elimination tournament with 13 of the strongest teams from different competitions across the UK and Ireland.

Five teams remained in the tournament entering Round 3, with Barrage, Diabolus, Phelan Gaming and MnM Gaming all set to battle it out for a chance to challenge Fnatic Rising.

Here’s the biggest stories of the final week!

MnM finally fight off the wolves

Despite looking like the better team for much of the season, MnM Gaming have consistently struggled against Phelan Gaming. β€œEven last split, Phelan were one of the only teams that beat us,” said Shogun in an interview last week. “I guess they just have our number.”

This time, MnM were finally able to gain revenge, though it was tremendously close.

After MnM took Game 1 quite convincingly, Phelan fought back in the second bout, ensuring the best-of-3 would go the distance. The final game was an absolute bloodbath: at 33 minutes, 35 kills had been traded back and forth, and Phelan held a 3K gold lead as they approached the Baron. With Noltey dead, this looked like their window to find the objective and close out the game and series. Enter Chibs.

The Baron steal was enough for MnM Gaming to get back on the front foot, allowing them to push for the win as Phelan were knocked out of the competition.

Diabolus can’t stop climbing

After Round 2, all eyes were on Barrage: their defeat of Excel UK was the upset of the tournament, and their team appeared to be hitting a new level of form after the arrival of IceBreaker and Kd0 rejuvenated the roster.

Yet Diabolus had been quietly amassing strength too, and they gave Barrage a rude awakening with a strong win in Game 1. In all honesty, they should’ve had ended the series in the next match: but a couple of pivotal mistakes, first at the Baron and then at the enemy Nexus, allowed Diva to steal an unlikely comeback against the run of play.

Diabolus were not to be thwarted, however, and emerged victorious in Game 3 off of a fantastic carry performance by the series MVP, Dragdar, who is quickly becoming one of the most exciting prospects in the league. That set them up for a Round 4 match against MnM Gaming.

And, just like in their recently-released Snowdon video [spoiler alert], Diabolus could not be stopped from climbing to the top.

The Devils attacked Chibs’ champion pool all series long, but despite being forced on to an off-meta Ahri pick in Game 1, MnM’s mid laner popped off. Noltey’s repeated ganks mid helped him snowball an advantage against Furuy’s immobile Ryze, and he then rotated that strength down bot lane to much success. Though Chibs was on a much more comfortable champion in Game 2 (Zoe), it was Diabolus who struck back, as Furuy’s Pantheon continued to make space for Kakan’s Kayle to rain down death.

In the final match, MnM took an early lead that they tried to force into an early Baron. And guess what happened?

UKLC TEAMS: PLEASE. PRACTICE. YOUR. BARON. TAKES. PFI’s excellent theft made it 3 Baron steals in 3 series this week, and it lead to Diabolus pulling off a 2-1 comeback to deny MnM a shot at the Forge of Champions trophy.

Claiming the Quadruple

The Grand Final saw Fnatic Rising play for the first time since their semifinal finish at the last EU Masters a month ago. And despite the wait, there was no hint of rust on the squad.

Game 1’s draft may have left some fans head-scratching: those who have been following Worlds 2019 will understand why most red side teams had been banning Qiyana throughout Forge of Champions. The champion has the second-highest pick and ban presence at Worlds, where the best players can pull off disgusting combos to clean out entire teams. And Fnatic’s Nji proved he was fully capable of the same.

Diabolus had been putting up a decent fight, but that swift combo into Herald and first tower cut short their dreams of a Game 1 win. The final nail was hammered into the coffin by Bando, whose monstrous Ryze took down 3 opponents in the enemy base single-handedly before the Nexus went down.

The final game was more even, and more fun. After being thoroughly beaten in the first match, Diabolus were playing fast and loose in the second, picking a full Yordle composition to pump up their synergy and take the fight to Fnatic.

And it almost paid off. Furuy’s Veigar was huge, and Dragdar was finding kills alongside The Heathen’s Lulu that brought back frankly frightening memories of the Ardent Censer meta of 2017.

Yet their opponents were still Fnatic Rising. For every kill Diabolus claimed, for tower they took, for every wave they pushed, Fnatic were taking that little bit more; until, with a sense of inevitability, Diabolus ran out of trades to make.

In taking down that final Nexus, Fnatic Rising closed out an unbelievable year. Four-times champions. The Quadruple.

The UKLC has barely begun, but it’s already clear where we stand in the competition’s timeline: in the era of Fnatic Rising.

 


 

Next up is the Promotion Tournament, where NVision Esports and Barrage will have to fight for their UKLC survival. They’ll be joined by teams from the Forge of Champions Open Tournaments and compete for promotion to the UKLC Summer Split: make sure you tune in to twitch.tv/lvpuklol to catch all of the action.

Stay tuned to our Facebook,Β Twitter, andΒ InstagramΒ for more updates and announcements as all the season’s drama unfolds!

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