Shogun and MnM Gaming are not used to losing. During the UKLC Summer Split, MnM did not drop a single game to a non-LEC side. Except, that is, to Phelan Gaming.
When Phelan took down MnM in the Round of 8 on Week 6, they ended MnM’s flawless record against teams other than Excel UK and Fnatic Rising. It was the first time that the Marshmallows’ grip on third place seemed to pulled in to question, and it was by a team that was languishing near the bottom of the table.
That result foreshadowed what was to come two weeks later. At the start of the Playoffs Gauntlet, Phelan came in as the lowest possible seed. By the end of the week, they had beaten half of the UKLC teams in consecutive games and stolen 3rd place from MnM, bringing their overall Summer Split record to 3-1 over the all-UK side.
Now, the two sides are set to face once again, in Round 3 of Forge of Champions.
Shogun’s Forge run
MnM’s 4th-placed UKLC finish saw them seeded into Round 2 of the Forge of Champions bracket. There, they took down Enclave Gaming in a 2-0 sweep, though the first game looked like it could go either way.
— UKLC – League of Legends (@LVPukLoL) October 10, 2019
“I think we just didn’t have our game heads on, you know?” Said MnM’s support, Jonathan “Shogun” Guy. “And then, I think that because of how close it was, we might as well have lost, which really kicked us up the a***.”
It was a mistake they did not let happen again. The following match was a lesson in execution, as MnM earned a spot in Round 3.
“You feel the shame being brought on yourself,” he laughed. “So I think that gave everyone a bit of fuel to be like “the second game has to be clean.” Because we have to show that there is that gap. That we are better.”
After the UKLC Summer Split Playoffs came to an end, the MnM boys banded up for a London bootcamp at the Red Bull Gaming Sphere. It’s an experience that Shogun believes has already provided big benefits for the team’s synergy.
— MnM Gaming (@MnMGamingUK) October 9, 2019
“You know, it sounds silly, but I’m a strong believer in the social environment for these kinds of teams,” he said. “And it is kinda crazy, but spending that time with people, it kind of re-boosts your relationship with them. You can totally ignore the game side of it, and the scrimming, which obviously was useful.
“But I think that when we have a lot of fun, it’s like you remind yourself, ‘We’re good mates, we get on well.’ I think that helped a lot, you know? It makes you want to spend more time together, it gives you a lot of passion for wanting to play.”
— Shogun (@UKShogun) September 19, 2019
Eyes on Phelan
The next challenge is Phelan, and revenge. “Even last split, Phelan were one of the only teams that beat us,” Shogun laughed. “We went on to beat them after that, but yeah… I guess they just have our number.”
However, since the end of the Playoffs, Phelan Gaming have undergone some significant changes. The existing coaching staff has left to be replaced by UK Veteran Furndog, while experienced support Visdom, Shogun’s opposite number, has also moved on, with JeppeHou coming in.
“At the time [when Phelan beat us], they had Pad and Visdom, and that’s changed, which hopefully should be in our favour,” Shogun said. “But I don’t want to comment on that, specifically, because I know nothing of their support. Hopefully they’ll be weaker because of it!”
Photo courtesy of DLC Studios
But those aren’t the only people that Shogun believes were responsible for Phelan’s previous victories.
“I think their rookies, Chemera and Beartree, I think that they put effort in. They obviously worked hard, and they kind of got themselves from—you know, I think every rookie is undisciplined—and I think they got themselves to a point of discipline and they deserved to win, as well, which is something to credit. I think they did really well, ” he said.
#UKLC Rookie of the Split
In the most competitive category, @BeartreeLoL edged out the rest as the standout newcomer.
— UKLC – League of Legends (@LVPukLoL) September 24, 2019
“They even grew to the point where they, themselves, were able to carry some of those games and just perform really well independently. I think that was a strong factor in it. I don’t have any issue with saying that it was because they worked hard.
“I’m ignoring Sof because he’s not a rookie, but obviously Sof too. But more predominantly Chemera and Beartree for me, because they’re both solo lane rookies.”
Going the distance
Fnatic Rising and Excel UK have always been the favourites in every UKLC competition thus far. And yet, Excel faced an early exit from this Forge of Champions at the hands of Barrage. Where does that leave MnM’s aims for the tournament?
“I mean, Excel are out now, right? So I’m going to go to the final!” Shogun laughs.
“I’ve never done a best-of-5 in the UK before. That’s actually a big aim for me. I would really like to get a best-of-5 under my belt. I’m pretty sure I haven’t done one; because best-of-5 finals are always reserved for the final two teams, aren’t they? And I’ve always personally ended third or fourth. So for me, I think it’s about getting there, because I’d really like to participate in one. I think it’d be fun. Even if we just get 3-0’d,” he chuckled.
As for getting there, Shogun is confident that if they can win next week, they can progress again. “Honestly I have a lot more confidence against Barrage or Diabolus then I do against Phelan,” he said. “So I think if we go through Phelan, you should expect to see us in the finals.”
The Forge of Champions Main Event is being broadcast in its entirety, so make sure you tune in to twitch.tv/lvpuklol to catch all of the action. After that, there’s 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.