We got some bonus SPL this week, and it brought us some extra action. Week three is the the halfway point of the split, and it’s time for the top teams to create some space between themselves and the bottom end. In Europe, the top is more competitive than ever, with elevate surprising everyone while NRG continues to struggle. In North America, Trifecta struggled without Snoopy while LG continue to look dominant. The week, naturally, featured some possibly split defining matchups. NRG and Dignitas faced off on Thursday, SPL Gatekeepers vs Noble and Allegiance vs SpaceStation. If you weren’t able to see the action live, we got the recap of all the big moments right here!
Thursday – Week Two (Mixed)
The Papis 1-1 Team Rival
We got a few games left over form week 2 that we’re taking care of now. The first one is Team Rival vs The Papis. The game probably couldn’t start better for Rival, IceIceBaby(Kali) takes first blood on to iCreedx(Bellona). One of the worst gods to give an early lead to, and IceIceBaby takes full advantage, moving up to 4/1/1 at 11:30 in the match. Team fight in middle lane goes the way of Papis heavily, 4 for 1 and Papis take the gold fury. iCreedx(bellona) lands on top of four, and MrNazer(Thoth) zones out vote(Hou Yi) who had a chance to turn the fight around. The Papis successfully stall out the early game pressure of Team Rival, all the way until a big fire giant fight at 53 minutes! MrNazer(Thoth) cleans up Vote(Hou Yi) and now The Papis have the fire giant. IceICeBaby gets caught out in the jungle, as does Kalas trying to save his jungler, and Papis start rolling down to the phoenix. Dheylo cleans up Wlfy(Raijin). Papis take game 1. Game 2 sees IceIceBaby on the more standard Hun Batz and KaLaS on his signature Fafnir. IceIceBaby(Hun Batz) gets first blood one more time, taking down Dheylo(Susano). Warchi(Jing Wei) goes aggressive trying to clean up Wlfy(Vulcan), but pays with his life. The game continues to roll in Rival’s favor, 19 minutes in Rival have a 15k gold lead, and are up 8 to 1 in the kills. In particular IceICeBaby(hun batz) is sitting 3/0/2 at 19 minutes.. Rival never let up the pressure and take 2 handily, but Papis gotta be feeling good about the 1-1 split
NRG Esports 1-1 Team Dignitas
NRG vs Dignitas is a showdown among two of the biggest names in EU, and it played out like one. Arkkyl pilots the AMC which we’ve seen a lot of lately, but it’s Variety(Cu Chulainn) who has the hot hand, sitting at 3/1/1 11 minutes in. Dignitas get a 4k gold lead early. NRG push back, though, and pick up two kills after Dignitas take gold fury. 23 minutes in NRG start up the gold fury, Dig respond and Arkkyl(Ah Muzen Cab) immediately takes out Adapting(Thor), Yammyn(The Morrigan) falls as well,now 1 to 11 are the kills, dig pull the fire giant and take it no problem. Variety is(Cu Chulainn) is 5/1/3 and Arkkyl(Ah Muzen Cab) is 3/1/3, running through NRG. NRG realize there is no coming back into this game, and hit the F6. Time for game 2, and NRG want revenge. They get off to a great start, 8 minutes in, 7 to 0 are the kills in NRG’s favor. Adapting(Camazotz) is all over the map, in particular keeping Variety(Cu Chulainn) down. ManiaKK(Cabraken) is a big part of why NRG are so dominant in the solo lane. 17 minutes in Dignitas call it over, they surrender and NRG split with Dignitas.
Luminosity 1-1 Spacestation Gaming
Finishing out our Week 2 games with the NA side, Luminosity and Spacestation, this is the chance for SpaceStation to show their top tier against the NA elite. Things look good for SpaceStation early, they go up 2 kills to 1 about 5 minutes in. As the game goes on though, the lead starts to move slowly back into Luminosity’s favor. Baskin(The Morrigan) picks up two kills, as does Barraccudda(Hou Yi). 27 minutes, Zapman(Jing Wei) rades the gold fury for the portal demon that Luminosity take. Andinster(Scylla) tries to help defend, but gets blown up too quickly, despite the aegis. Luminosity do clean up the Fire Giant. JeffHindla(Fafnir), in particular was all over the map. He’s sitting 2/0/7 at 29 minutes and is even ahead of Homiefe (camazotz) in player damage, to show just how involved Jeff has been. The coerce from JeffHindla’s fafnir is just too much, two phoenixes fall. SpaceStation find a few more good defenses, but the Titan is just too low, LG just dive in and kill it, 37:44 on the clock. Game 2 starts up and right away spaceStation pick up first blood, Jigz(Khepri) cleans up MAsk, but Jigz does end up falling to Baskin(Chronos). 11 minutes in, SpaceStation are already up 5k gold and 6.5k exp. Homiefe(camazotz) and ScaryD(Cu Chulainn) are atop the player damage so far and are making the lives of LG difficult. SpaceStation now baiting at the fire giant, Homiefe(camazotz) plays so patiently, cleaning up a kill in the backline. The fire giant falls at 23 minutes and SpaceStation is now up 23 minutes. That fire giant would prove insurmountable for LG, as they surrender, and SpaceStation split with the NA favorites.
Friday – Week Three (Mixed)
Burrito Esports 0-2 Valance Squad
We got week three started on a Friday, so we got some bonus SPL this week. It started off with Burrito, a lower end team, going up against Valance, who are trying to earn a spot among the top teams. Valance Squad start off hot, 6 kills in 7 minutes, Faeles(nemesis) setting up a lot of the kills. they’re up 3k gold and enjoying a six to seven gold lead. BigManTingz(Terra) makes a strong rotation, setting up Funballer(Ah Muzen Cab) to delete Kespainify(Skadi). Game 1 was in control of Valance Squadron from minute one. Valance Squadron don’t give up a kill all game, as Duck3y(Cu Chulainn) ends the game atop the damage charts, 3/0/3. Game 2 sees FaraKrik take the Aphrodite mid, a god we don’t see a lot of. Faeles took serqet, who can cause problems for the immobile aphrodite. Faeles(serqet) dies in an invade and gives first blood to Dzoni(susano), but nothing else went right. 3 kills overall for Valance, while Burrito only get 1. Valance Squadron play a little loose, and Burrito play better, 12 minutes in the kills are twelve to eight, but valance still have a 4k gold lead. Duck3y is continuing to play lights out on Bellona, sitting at 10/1/4 at 19 minutes. burrito hung around for a few minutes, but Valance tightened the screws, and kept on the pressure. In about 25 minutes valance take game 2 and take both games of the set.
The Papis 0-2 Elevate
The Papis take on Elevate, who have elevated, in game 2. The game starts slow, but around the six minute mark, things pop off. Jermain(rama) kills MrNazer(Sol) but the Papis pick up two kills and get away with a lead. That lead would be short lived, though. 20 minutes in Elevate are up 9 kills, and 1500 gold. N0Numbers(Bellona) in particular is causing problems for Papis. Deathpanter was leading the damage charts on Thoth, helping to keep Papis down. 33 minutes in, Elevate make their move, still at the top of the damage charts is DeathPanter(Thoth) with 27k. He’s 4/1/11, being set up by N0Numbers(bellona) who ends the game 3/0/8. The Papis look to turn things around in Game 2 where Warchi chooses to pilot Artemis, the late game monster. Dardez(ymir) and Jermain(Rama) get two quick kills in duo lane, but dracomario(Ganesha) and Warchi(artemis) down early. now with a nearly 2k gold lead, Elevate control the map. Dardez takes bumbas along with watcher’s gift and roves around the map causing terror. An early gold fury goes to Elevate at 6 minutes, and they don’t look ready to give up control. 12 minutes in papis are 5k gold, and the experience is even worse. Dardez(ymir) is up 2 levels up on the enemy adc. N0numbers(Erlang Shen) does get the first kill for Papis on to Dardez(ymir), but it’s just not enough, the gold lead now 9k a 15:40. Seconds later, they surrender. Elevate show up, and take the set 2-0.
A Mighty Storm 1-1 Team Allegiance
In set three we get to see the new roster for A Mighty Storm go up against one of the bottom teams record wise, but certainly talented, Allegiance. In game 1, Cyclonespin(Erlang Shen) gets first blood and then Vivianx3(Geb) falls as well. Oceans(Sol) gets big 14 minutes in, sitting 3/0/0, and ALG is up 4.7k gold. Allegiance pick up 3 more kills, but FineOkay(Vamana) and Shadowchair(Vulcan) steal the gold fury. Only a few minutes later though, Weak3n(odin) cages all of A Mighty Storm. Metyankey(Hou Yi) rains the suns down on top and A Mighty Storm have had enough. The surrender comes out at 21:49. Vetium picks Cupid in game 2, while Shadowchair takes scylla. Two picks that are good, but not as high picked as some of the normal gods. The game stayed even through 11 minutes, but Cyclonespin(Cu Chulainn) rotates into the back of a teamfight in mid and cleans up Vivinx3(Terra) after the poke from Oceans(Chronos). Sam4Soccer(Sun WuKong) dives onto weak3n(Thor) who is still low under tower, and gets a kill. The game stays relatively after the exchange until 26 minutes. ShadowChair(scylla) gets a big kill on Weak3n and gets the reset thats to the set up from Vivianx3(Terra). NeiruMah(Fafnir) gets caught out as well, and falls, but Vivianx3 joins him. A Mighty Storm never pull far ahead in kills, but they have a 12k gold lead 45 minutes into a close matchup. The gold lead ends up being more than ALG can handle, and A Mighty Storm gets the split.
SPL Gatekeepers 2-0 Noble eSports
SPL Gatekeepers take on Noble in the final set of the day. Paindeviande’s newest team is looking better than expected, and Noble are looking a little shakier than expected, so the matchup ended up being real close. Skeeledon(Camazotz) gets off to a great start, chilling at 3/1/06 minutes into the game, but PainDeViande(Ganesha) helps to set up Grave(nemesis) for some early success. Fight at red buff sets up a big fight for SPL GateKeepers, they get kills for zero, and now the have about a 1.5k gold lead 7;30 in. SPL Gatekeepers are constantly pulling or starting up objectives, and Noble are committing to the defense, and they keep trading out evenly. 21:30 in, the gold lead is negligible. Gatekeepers finally sneak away a Gold Fury at 24:41, establishing the first real lead of the game. But in the late game it’s all AKillatheHun(Thoth), blasting away multiple members with his final Judgement ultimate. Four members from SPL Gatekeepers stick around against only two for Noble, and that’s all it takes to clean up the game, 53 minutes in. Game 2, sees SPL GateKeepers secure the first blood onto Wubbn(Ganesha) in solo, but PainDeViande(Athena) falls in mid as well. 20 minutes in SPL Gatekeepers are now up 12 to 7, with a 5k lead. This game is much more in control of SPL Gatekeepers than game 1, 32 minutes in 2 phoenixes are down and they get the last one. Only Whalrus is left standing, and Gatekeepers get the sweep. Moving to 15 minutes in the game Dignitas is up in kills 2 to 4, and has about a 2k gold lead. Qvofred still hasn’t died yet and is all over the map.
Saturday – Week Three (Europe)
Elevate 0-2 Team Dignitas
The first set of our all EU day sees Elevate play against Dignitas. Elevate is on the rise and Dignitas are the top, so this is the litmus test for how real the Elevate dream is. Ah Muzen Cab is picked again, this time by Zyrhoes in the mid lane to go up against DeathPanter’s Thoth. Variety(Cu Chulainn) drops for first blood to N0Numbers(Erlang Shen), but Qvofred(nemesis) gets an immediate return kill on to Cherryo(Osiris). 20 minutes in though, Dig force a fight at gold fury. Elevate have to commit and that’s just what dig was waiting for, it’s a 3 for 1 trade, with Dig also securing gold fury. Qvofred(Nemesis) continues to play lights out, ending the game at 6/1/4, maximizing the hastened katana’s haste effect. In game 2 Dig get off to a good start again, getting first blood for Trixtank on Fafnir. Cherryo picks up Change’ into but Qvofred’s serqet, as well as Zyrhoes’ The Morrigan, which is a bit of a counter match-up. Dardez also relies on heals, as he’s piloting Sylvanus. 15 minutes in, the lead has still not been given up, the gold lead is already 8k and 7 kills to 0 is enough for Elevate to hit the F6 and surrender against the current top team in Europe.
The Papis 0-2 NRG Esports
Papis and NRg are set, and the world champs are in need of a 2-0. Pais have been playing up lately, so it own’t be free. Yammyn picks the chronos they got a world’s skin for, and picks up first blood on to Warchi(Hou yi). Adapting(Thor) cleans up iCreedx(Cu Chulainn) as well. Twelve minutes in, the kills are already a little bit out of hand. NRG are up eleven to two in the kills, and it leads to a 5k gold lead. The final scoreline betrays how well Papis played, despite being down 20 to t, 28 minutes into the game. NRG has all three phoenixes down 29 minutes in and are looking to end the game. Papis try to stick around, but the world champs are just too much. Game 2 is where papis have to try and reset, and keep the set going. They change it up by putting Dracomarino on serqet support. 15 minutes Papis are up over the 2 time champs, 3 to 2 in the kills with a….1k gold lead! Hey, a lead is a lead against NRG. NRG though, being the vets that they are, stall the game out until 33 minutes. Papis get a pick but it’s NRG who take the portal demon. At the fire giant, NRG take a 3 to 1 fight, and the fire giant itself. MRNazer(Sol) damage is enough to delete iRaffer(ganesha), but Warchi(ah muzen cab) falls as well. Mr Nazer(sol) is next along with iCreedx(Osiris), and NRG are firmly in the driver seat. PApis make an excellent phoenix defense and force NRG away. It’s a fight at fire giant, 48 minutes in and they trade 2 for 2. Time for another reset. Dheylo(susano) ult is off the mark and that defines the fight, the papis lose that control that they’ve relied on. MrNazer and Warchi are gone, and now NRG push in 5v3 at 52 minutes. Papis play a hell of a game, but NRG are just too much.
Burrito Esports 0-2 Obey Alliance
Obey alliance, one of the SPL’s elite, take on Burrito, who have been having troubles this split so far. Obey alliance start the game with Ataraxia(Cernnenous) alone in the long lane, it gives him a small lead over Kespainify(Skadi). Two kill go the way of Obey before 6 minutes, CaptainTwig(nemesis) and PrettyPrime(Raijin) get credit for those kills to start trying to build a lid. Captaintwig(Nemesis) playing way into the jungle of Burrito sets up a gold fury invade attempt for Obey. They don’t get the speed but they do win the fight, 3 for 1. Now Obey are leading in kills at 8 minutes 5 to 1 with about a 4k gold lead. at 18 minutes in the game, Obey pick up two kills and the gold fury, now sitting up 14 to 2 in kills, and 11k in gold. Captaintwig(Nemesis) is 6/0/4 at this point, aided by Emilzy(Sylvanus) at 3/0/5. Dzoni gets his signature Ao Kuang but ends the game 1/5/2. Burrito have to surrender and look ahead to Game 2. Game 2 starts off with pressure onto Xaliea(Osiris) in the solo lane, but his juke boots are on and Dzoni(Susano) drops the kill. Prettyprime picks up Janus, and is able to get the last hits on two kills before the nine minute mark. at 20 minutes in, Burrito finally get the fight they want at gold fury, 2 for 1, with another forced to back giving them four members strong against just 2 of Obey. The call isn’t clear enough, though, and the gold fury remains leashed and CaptainTwig(Odin) just walks up and steals it. Obey alliance keep the lead, now up 7k at 23:40, and ahead 15 to 6 in the kills. The defense from the Papis is good enough to keep Their Titan alive, but 38 minutes in now, Obey have all three phoenixes, Kespainify(Jing Wei) gets deleted by the through space and time from PrettyPrime(Janus). Obey take the set 2-0.
Valance Squad 1-1 Team Rival
The final set of EU SPl week three is Valance Squad vs Rival. Rival has been struggling mightily record-wise, despite playing at a high level all split. Valance is in the middle of the pack and this set could push one team up and the other down. Wlfy takes Kukulkan, looking to get setup from IceICeBaby(Thor) in the jungle. Funballer also picks up Ah Muzen Cab, who’s been getting more and more popular lately. The two teams are very evenly matched, that’s why we don’t see lawbster(sol) pick up wlfy(kukulkan) for first blood, until 18 minutes in. Valance pick up the gold fury once Kukulkan is no longer around, and start to build a lead. A few minutes later, Rival take the gold fury but Valance pick up another two kills, mid tier one tower falls as well. The next big fight is at 26 minutes and the man of the hour is Lawbster, coming up big with the Supernova, cleaning up a quick double kill. the fight goes 4 to 1 in favor of valance and they get a fire giant as well. The lead Valance establishes here will be the final swing of the game, as Rival are never in control again. Valance end up sneaking in and taking down the titan, taking game 1. It doesn’t take nearly as long for game two to pop off though, with Duck3y(Bellona) falling in solo lane to Deathwalker(Osiris). the kill is answered almost immediately by Funballer(Skadi) who rotates all the way over to solo. Rival keep up the frantic pace through 10 minutes, moving up to a kill lead of 5 to 1. Rival have a lead of about 5.2k but give up 3 kills for 2 to Valance. Valance go on to take 3 more kills in the very next team fight, bolstered by LAwbster’s Raijin. Despite those successful fights, the gold lead never goes back in their favor, and Rival continue to push their lead, with Vote’s Hou yi causing problems for Valance in particular. They make their final push 29 minutes into the game, Vote ending up 10/2/8.
Sunday – Week Three (North America)
Team Allegiance 0-2 Spacestation Gaming
The beginning of NA Sunday, marks the end of week three, but not before more spots in the standings are hammered out. ALG is struggling at the bottom and SpaceStation are looking to prove their elite with the addition of Zapman. Andinster is on his signature Ra, but it’s Homiefe who’s causing all the problems for ALG. He sits at 3/0/6 at the end of the game, But what a game it was, balanced on a knife edge all game, ALG stay even with a top team like SpaceStation, showing what talent their roster has. In the end, one fight at gold fury, 30 minutes in, resulting in a four man wipe in favor Spacestation opens up the duo lane side. Tier 2 falls, phoenix falls and titan falls, with game 1 over just like that. Game 2 goes a lot longer, also staying very even throughout. Metyankey(Cernennous) leads the player damage for ALG and his 5 kills were helping to slow down SpaceStation, but it’s SpaceStation who end up victorious. Zapman is 3/1/8 on Hou Yi and Andinster continues to play out of his mind on Raijin, at 7/1/7. This set shows, though, just how close ALG are to the rest of the region, despite their standings.
A Mighty Storm 0-0 Luminosity
What better litmus test for a new roster is there than the cream of the NA crop, Luminosity gaming? Well, A Mighty Storm will get to see just how they fare in game 1. A Mighty Storm have a new roster and Barracudda and Jeff have been playing together for years, so you take your guess how Game 1 goes. Luminosty, only 23 minutes in are 15 to 1. the gold lead is 21K and Baskin is 6/0/7 on Raijin. Jeffhindle on Terra though is 0/0/14 with the perfect support slashline. The whole game felt to be in control of LG, but that’s to be expected. A Mighty Storm has strong players and look to regroup in Game 2. Luminosity do go on to 2-0 the newly formed A mighty Storm who still ahve some synergy issues to work out, before they can take sets off of the upper echelon of NA.
SPL Gatekeepers 0-0 Trifecta
Set three fo the days sees two middle of the road teams with top 4 aspirations battling it out. Trifecta lost a set without Snoopy and SPL Gatekeepers, looking good with pain leading the charge. Who will come out on top today? KikiSoCheeky takes Cu Chulainn, showing again that he’s not afraid this split to take traditional solo laners. Camazotz makes it through picks and bans and Grave is happy to pick it up, He has an excellent game, going 8/2/5 and giving cynosure(Susano) bat nightmares for the next week. DayToRemeber looks clean as well, going 4/0/8. The real story here, though? PainDeViande truly levels up when he’s allowed to play Ganesha. It’s his comfort pick right, and for good reason. He goes 0/1/16, the highest kill participation on his team, and he was the setup man all game. Game 2 is an entirely different story. 27 minutes into the game Trifects have 28 kills to only 5 of SPL Gatekeepers. Aror on Terra is 1/0/16, but Cynosure was all over the map with 13/1/12 and counting 28 minutes in. AkillaTheHun(Sol) could never establsih his footing. He’s had some strong games on Sol this split, but Trifects this game wasn’t having it. Snoopy being in the game is a big deal for Trifecta, who looks a lot better with their full roster together. Also, go to 4:40 in game 2 to see Snoopy pull of one of the hottest Hou Yi ricochets in SPL history.
Noble eSports 0-2 eUnited
Noble has been struggling so far this pslit, after surprising in the summer. eUnited, on the other hand, looking like world beaters so far, 2-0ing everyone they face off against. PBM was a strong addition to astrong team, and they look to keep it going. eUnited looks great in game 1, not a hwole lot of kills, but a whole lot of objective control. Benji(Cu Chulainn) gets way ahead of Whalrus’s Osiris, and is happy to zone all game, keeping Skeeledon(Awilix) and Whalrus away from his backline. Venenu has 12k damage 20 minutes, and Skeeledon struggles mightily. He ends the game 1/4/1. Noble decide to surrender about 20 minutes in to the game, recognizing that in a two game, struggling through a loss can be way too much frustration. If Benji was the man in game 1, then Scream was the man in game 2, piloting serqet and punishing Wubbn, who manages to pick up Artio. Scream(serqet) ends up 6/0/7, and he strategically pulled off a split push in midlane. His team slows down all five member of Noble as they push in solo, freeing up scream to not only take the tier two in mid, but it gives Venenu(The Morrigan) time to rotate in. PandaCat 4/0/7 also played well against Wowy all game, who had to deal with a 3 level defecit most of the game. eUnited continue to prove that they’re elite in NA, and Noble will have to look for points elsewhere.
More SPL Week Four action kicks off Thursday September 28th, 1:00 PM EDT on HiRezTV!
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Anatoliy “AnatoLiy” Alekseyenok is an Associate Esports Specialist at HiRez Studios. You can follow him on Twitter @iGAnatoLiy.