MRN: Jayce, Kha'Zix, Evelynn.
MRN: Olaf, Nocturne, Ahri, Urgot, Taric.
Dirtnap Gaming wasted no time, sneaking into MRN's brush near the wraiths on red side. Without knowing they were there, ClakeyD on Nocturne got caught at his wraiths and went down for first blood. Jdwu on Lee Sin got the kill and all remaining members got assists; a great start for DNG's squad. ClakeyD continued his horrid start to the game by getting caught invading Jdwu's jungle and lost his life as his flash was still down. Lee Sin then moved to top lane and kept the team momentum going by helping Shen to get a kill on Olaf that netted him some extra gold. The jungle battles continued, as Jdwu invaded Noc's red and, with the help of Shen's ultimate, got yet another kill on the scoreboard. Minutes later, in an attempt to take a bite out of the DNG lead, Urgot engaged on Ezreal with his ultimate and got some help from a Nocturne ultimate to get their team's first kill.
Utilizing the Nocturne ult yet again, Noc and Ahri jumped all over Karthus mid but a clutch Lee Sin shield not only saved Karth's life but resulted in Nocturne's 4th death of the match. A similar scenario happened shortly afterward at 14 minutes with Noc and Ahri engaging on Karthus. This time a combination of the Shen and Karthus ultimate turned it around into a 2 for 1 in DNG's favour. Effective counter plays were important throughout most of the mid-game and DNG kept their slim advantage.
At 18 minutes, a dragon fight broke out and it ended 2 for 2 in kills. Although MRN took the dragon, Shen was able to push toplane and drop a tower which allowed DNG to maintain a 4k gold lead. Shen proved to be effective at split pushing, utilizing a new item to Season 3 called Ravenous Hydra which was seen in Shen's item build more than once this tournament. The item also adds to his damage and sustain for teamfights, this may be the start of a trend. DNG had a 5 to 1 tower lead at 22 minutes and kept up the pressure.
As Shen kept split pushing, DNG ran with a tightly packed group of 4, clearing jungle buffs and looking for more kills. They utilized this tactic, as Shen with homeguard boots(speed buff) was able to ultimate in and engage on MRN near Baron. This seemingly advantageous tactic turned out poorly as MRN was far too tanky. Losing only Taric and Ahri, MRN turned the forced engagement into a team ace. Ezreal got bursted immediately and Karthus had no mana to cast spells; this left DNG with their first major team fight loss and MRN had closed the gap in gold. After this point, the sheer importance of the game was evident as both teams played it extremely safely and mostly just farmed.
DNG got the gusto to attempt Baron at 36 minutes and ClakeyD rushed in over the wall for a huge steal. Karthus was once again out of mana for the fight, after expending it all trying to kill Baron and his ineffectiveness in the team fight cost them the lead. DNG lost the fight horribly and lost their advantage. MRN was now in the driver's seat and had built up a substantial 5k gold lead. MRN wasted no time and killed the mid inhibitor before DNG respawned. MRN kept pressing their advantage, which resulted in a major team fight bottom lane. DNG got forced back and another inhibitor fell. Team MRN had orchestrated an incredible comeback victory and pushed into the nexus for the first win in this last-chance set.
MRN: Evelynn, Kha'Zix, Jayce
MRN: Olaf, Jarvan IV, Ahri, Ezreal, Sona.
On the heels of an enormous comeback victory, MRN's gameplay seemed confident and skilled from the beginning of the match. Jarvan's jungle pressure was immediately relevant, he aided in fending off a gank top; Olaf was level 6 and got away from Chogath and Riven, but Jarven kept Kassadin at a distance. This proved to be very important, as Olaf's lane fell strongly into his favour as he killed Riven for first blood. Riven had not gone back to base yet and Olaf utilized his ultimate to great effect as he dove under the tower with no hesitation. Jarvan continued to showcase his jungle prowess by appearing botlane and trapping both Graves and Lulu in his ultimate, which resulted in both their deaths. Kassadin successfully roamed bottom at the perfect time and was able to finish off the retreating Jarvan who was at low-health but it still proved to be a positive net result for team MRN.
A big story of the tournament and of this particular game was Olaf, who completely demolished throughout his laning phase against Riven. He killed her 1 on 1 numerous times and rushed a Warmog's, which was a very popular choice for a variety of champions all tournament long. The massive amount of health proved to be too much for Riven to handle alone and MegaZero's presence toplane demanded some attention from Cho'gath as well, which in turn led to Jarvan and the rest of MRN free to plunder DNG's jungle. MRN was able to secure dragons and Olaf continued to be a monster in a primarily split-pushing role as the game progressed. Even though both teams played it relatively safely, MRN was extremely effective at pushing lanes and killing towers. When grouped as five, MRN was extremely difficult to engage on. The risk of getting ulted by Sona and the combination of Ezreal, Jarvan, Olaf and Ahri (all very mobile champions) proved to be a deterrent to DNG's hope of engaging.
As MRN pressed midlane near DNG's base, Jarvan saw an opening so he used flash and ultimate on Kassadin, which Kassadin was able to rift walk away from easily, but it left him at low health. This opened the flood gates for team MRN as all the members began aggressively engaging a weakened DNG squad, who suffered two casualties and fell back deep into their base allowing MRN to kill the mid inhibitor turret. MRN continued their safe play and attempted to push all lanes at once, creating problems for DNG. Their dominance was apparent, as towers were in their favour 7-0. DNG was unable to deal with MRN's sustain and de-engagement potential; they were forced to constantly play defensively as they were being battered and sieged from all sides.
DNG still proved to be very dangerous, earning a few kills throughout midgame. At 34 minutes it was rather even at 13-7 in kills but towers were 9-0 in DNG's favour. It was evident the constant pressure was working in MRN's favour in a big way. Comparing two item choices of the toplaners, their roles in teamfights and in the game are seen from two angles: Olaf had a Warmog's and Thornmail while Riven had a Black Cleaver and Blood Thirster. Olaf's focus on defensive items does not limit his effectiveness at either split pushing or in team fights; Riven's focus on offensive items is a requirement to be dangerous in the game, especially after a rough laning phase. The threat of Riven, Kassadin and Graves was something that MRN dealt with very carefully and they continued to siege while waiting for the right moment to engage. Then as the last inhibitor was about to fall, Ahri landed a charm on Pr0lly's Kassadin -- and he was instantly blown up. This proved to be the end of DNG's run, as MRN collapsed all over the remaining members and pushed the nexus for the win. It was a hard-fought game, MRN utilized specific tactics to great effect and DNG was unable to contain the unending pressure on all lanes.
MRN advances and earns a spot in Season 3, along with it comes all the fame and fortune of being a professional League of Legends player. Congratulations to all members of team MRN and best of luck in the coming season!
More information about the LCS tournament brackets and links to VODS for all matches in the tournament can be found here.
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