Excel UK have got off to a roaring start in the Summer Split! They stormed the tower, giving pause to those who thought Fnatic Rising would remain unchallenged at the top.
Diabolus and Demise also sit in the top 4 following an intense first week in the UK League Championship, despite being dumped at the bottom of many preseason tier lists. There will be extra attention on the demonic duo this time around, as they aim to cement their spots and prove their doubters wrong.
Who’s overachieving? Who’s underachieving? Here are 4 questions that we’re looking to have answered in Week 2 of the Summer Split!
Will Phelan check the bush?
Last week, Phelan Gaming looked pretty confident in their tie against Diabolus. But despite pulling ahead and securing multiple crucial objectives like Baron and Elder Dragon, they couldn’t close out the game. A key factor in their defeat was their inability to properly control vision around their flanks, allowing Diabolus to ignore a Baron bait and opening up themselves up to devastating teleport flanks from Kakan’s Kennen. In other words, they didn’t check the bleedin’ bush.
If Coach Conor can drill some vision vigilance into his charges, then Phelan might be a real threat heading into Week 2. But their Round of 8 opponents, Demise, are no slouches themselves, as they defeated NVision in (almost!) record timing. Should the Reapers show that they don’t need to rely on their missing captain Batu to beat Phelan, they’ll begin to look like serious contenders for a top-half finish.
Game 1: Phelan Gaming vs Demise 18:00 BST
How angry are Fnatic?
Fnatic Rising were considered far and away the strongest UKLC team by most tier list pundits before the Summer Split, but they slipped up at the first hurdle in last week’s tower challenge. Will their loss to Excel UK ignite ambitions of revenge in Week 2?
Let’s be honest: no one would be surprised to see Fnatic rampage through the bracket to take down Excel and seize the tower back for themselves. After all, 80% of this roster dominated the Spring Split Playoffs, won the inaugural UKLC Split, secured a top 4 EU Masters finish, and then won Forge of Champions. And now, they enter the second week with no points and their eyes on a comeback. Who stands in their way? NVision Esports, the youngest team in the league, who were handily beaten by fellow newly-promoted side Demise in Week 1. (Is anyone else sweating suddenly, or is it just me?)
Needless to say, an NVision win here would be the largest of all possible upsets. We’re not saying it’s impossible; we’re just saying we might need Dr. Strange to calculate the possibility for us. Can the youngsters rip apart every tier list for good?
Game 2: NVision Esports vs Fnatic Rising 19:00 BST
Are Diabolus actually good?
To be blunt: heading into Summer, most people considered Diabolus’ drastic roster overhaul a dramatic downgrade. Preseason tier lists were pitting them into the bottom three, with the newcomers Demise and NVision; they weren’t anywhere near the conversation for an EU Masters spot. Yet last week, their new line-up picked up where the old had left off, making a run to the bracket final and slotting into second place on the UKLC table.
Don’t Fear The Reaper – Diabolus Remix pic.twitter.com/KNLVltydAn
— UKLC – League of Legends (@LVPukLoL) July 4, 2019
Now, we’re not suggesting that this team will be able to match the achievements of the Spring squad, by finishing above Excel UK and earning a spot in Europe. Perhaps, however, early criticism of the roster was overly dismissive. Should they overcome an Enclave side who looked lacklustre against MnM, Diabobro might just demand recognition from a few more subjects.
Game 3: Diabolus vs Enclave Gaming 20:00 BST
Can MnM live up to the hype?
MnM Gaming: the all-UK superteam. It’s quite a moniker to live up to, and MnM have some way to go if they’re to meet expectations.
The Marshmallows got off to a decent start last week, with their solo laners styling on Enclave as Only Angel picked up MVP on his UKLC debut. But they were defeated by an in-form Excel side, leaving their true strength something of a mystery.
This week provides the perfect opportunity for MnM to solidify their status as a top-3 side in the league, as they’re facing one of their main rivals for the spot. Barrage had the misfortune to meet Excel in their first game last week, but they showed enough to suggest they’re capable of derailing MnM’s hype train in Week 2.
Game 4: Barrage vs MnM Gaming 21:00 BST
Remember, this week’s action doesn’t stop with the Round of 8. The four winners of the above fixtures progress to the bracket semifinals on Thursday, which also starts at 6pm BST. The winner of the bracket will then have an opportunity to dethrone our reigning tower champions, Excel UK, in the UKLC’s second tower challenge of the Summer Split.