Week Four of the 2017 SPL Fall Split is here, and it’s make or break time for avoiding having to slog through the gauntlet. This is a chance for the top teams to solidify their place at Super Regionals, and take away one point of stress from the fall split. There were some changes this week; SPL Gate Keepers are now Vigilant and A Mighty Storm are now Team Cryptik. Cryptik also brought on NotGeno, as Vivianx3 stepped down as their support. At the middle of the pack from North America, we have Trifecta, Noble and Vigilant. Each of these teams are so close and this week is crucial to determine where they possibly separate to improve their seeding as the gauntlet approaches. Here’s what went down if you missed any of the action:
Thursday – Mixed
Valance Squad 1-1 Team Dignitas
For the first set of week four Valance Squadron go up against the current top team in the world, Dignitas, who just won the summer LAN. Old teammates clash in this match up, but it looks like Funballer still has tricks to show them. In game 1 he takes He Bo ADC now that the duo lane is left alone on an island. It’s BigManTingz (Geb) who gets punished early, taking two spills. Variety (Tyr) gets a kill on to Duck3y (Cu Chulainn) about 14 minutes in off a two man gank, helping him to get ahead. 18 minutes in, Dignitas’ three kills have given them a small gold lead of about 3k. But a gank in long lane, despite giving up no kills, nets them a free gold fury. Lead is now about 4k gold. 27 minutes through the game Variety and Arkkyl are going off. Sitting at 2/0/4 and 5/0/2 respectively, Valance don’t have an answer for the shot calling of Dignitas. Two phoenixes are down and Dig have the fire giant around their waists. The push is too strong for valance and Dig take game 1. In game 2 Dig first pick AMC. They also have Chronos and Variety back on Tyr. Valance get off to a much better start in game 2, going up two to zero in kills before four minutes. Faeles (Susano) and Funballer (Anhur) already have a small advantage in the solo/jungle match up. Variety (Tyr) gets two man ganked in solo, and now the kills are 3 to 0. Dig is slowing the game down a bit, keeping the gold lead to 2k 12 minutes in, but Valance are grouping and looking for anything they can find. Valance force a fight at gold fury, and though Dignitas force a 1 for 1 trade, Valance get the gold fury. Funballer’s Anhur, along with the control Faeles brought as jungle Susano, was way too much for Dignitas. They stuck in it as long as they could, but Trixtank (Sylvanus) would routinely get blown up in engagements, and Valance force the split.
NRG Esports 0-2 Obey Alliance
After a somewhat surprising split from Valance in set 1, we’re expecting the competitiveness of EU to continue in the second set. NRG haven’t looked like their old selves, but tend to ramp up as the splits go on. Ah Muzen Cab continues to be a priority pickup and Ataraxia picks it first for Obey. CaptainTwig picks up Ratatoskr, who recently saw a buff, in the jungle. Obey get first blood, but not too long later emilitoo (Hou Yi) gets a return kill on to Emilzy (Fafnir). 6 minutes in, Obey already have a 2,000 gold lead. Emilzy trades his life, but Obey pick up two quick kills. Nine minutes in, Ataraxia is already 3/0/1 and the only player who is level 12. Thirteen minutes in, Obey start gold fury, but it’s a bait! Emilitoo gets blown up, credit to PrettyPrime’s Poseidon. As the 24-minute mark approaches, Obey win a huge team fight, three kills with zero deaths results in a team fire giant buff. All phoenixes are down at 33-minutes, Prettyprime blows up Raffer and Xaliea’s Cabrakan gets a kill. The game was 33 minutes long, but it was in Obey’s control the whole time as they take game 1. In Game 2, Adapting takes Awilix, which has tons of synergy with the Sobek for iRaffer. On the flip side, however, CaptainTwig possesses Serqet, though, who he is known to pilot extremely well. Emilzy(Ganesha) starts in middle to help Yammyn(Sol), which means Ataraxia(Cernnunous) gets solo farm against iRaffer. Maniakk(Erlang Shen) and Adapting gank Xaliea and get first blood, thanks to their superior lane clear in mid. So far, CaptainTwig has been having the bigger impact, sitting at 2/0/0 16 minutes in. The kills are all evened up and Obey has about a 1.4k gold lead. But a 3 for 1 in the duo lane is huge for NRG! Twig, Emilzy and Ataraxia all fall, only Raffer falls for NRF, and the gold lead closes to 700. Team fight in long lane side goes HEAVILY in favor of obey, Xaliea and Captaintwig ran through the backline of NRG while iRaffer was chasing a kill. 3 for 0 in Obey’s favor, they go take the fire giant and ManiaKK falls trying to contest. That gold lead proved to be insurmountable. Emilzy(Ganesha) baits in three members under phoenix, they can’t finish him off, and instead three of their members fall along with 2 phoenixes. 29 minutes in 13 to 7 are the kills and Obey have an 11k gold lead. One team fight blew the doors off this game, and Xaliea’s setup has been killer all game. Once again Obey clean up game 2 without any issues and remain undefeated.
Noble eSports 0-2 Spacestation Gaming
SpaceStation Gaming got off to a weak start when they were still getting used to all five members. Ever since then, though, they’ve looked like a top tier team, and they need full points here against a floundering Noble team to stay near the top. Right away though, Noble get two early kills on to ScaryD (Erlang Shen) setting up Whalrus (Osiris) and Skeeledon (Ravana) for an early lead. The target looks to be Jigz (Sylvanus) early, as Noble commit on to him twice. The second attempt does not work out, though, as SpaceStation get three return kills. Now at 9 minutes in SSG have evened the game back out. 16:30 in, portal demon is started up, Jigz falls once again to Wowy (Jing Wei), but two kills are taken back, with Zapman (Rama) getting credit for both. SpaceStation get the portal demon as well. Andinster continues to sit atop the player damage charts, his Thoth is a monster sitting at 3/0/11. 33 minutes big pluck out of Jigz once again, Whalrus is deleted, Andinster is on a tear! With only Moswal left standing SSG take game 1, and Andi probably shouldn’t get to play Thoth. Game 2 looks much more like a game between two evenly matched teams. Through 17 minutes things all but even, despite SSG holding on to a two kill lead. Noble take the portal demon and Skeeledon (Nemesis) sets up Wubbn to finish off ScaryD with the Sylvanus wisps. 26 minutes in Moswal finds the ult on to Jigz, and he is deleted, but ScaryD finds skeeledon in back. Then he lands his Lord of the Afterlife on to four members of Noble, they have to retreat and SSG clean up one more kill along with the gold fury and portal demon. Trying to establish position on the right side, Wubbn gets caught out. Skeeledon and Whalrus fall trying to defend their support, Wowy and Wubbn are not far behind. Now having a 5v1 advatage at 35 minutes, SSG take down the mid lane phoenix and Moswal’s not enough to stop them from taking game and the set 2-0. Game 2 really felt like it came down to just one team fight after Noble hung with them all game.
Luminosity Gaming 2-0 Trifecta
Luminosity take on Trifecta in the final set of Thursday SPL action. Trifecta are right in the middle of the pack, while LG are sitting at 1st. Cynosure picks up Ne Zha, a comfort pick for him, while Mask picks Ratatoskr who’s been seeing a lot more play since his flurry of acorns got buffed. KikiSoCheeky is the one struggling early, though, Aquarius and Mask are putting out way too much pressure. Kiki and Cynosure are struggling to get camps and it’s giving the solo/jungle of LG an early lead. Trifecta take a fight in the solo lane jungle. They do kill Mask but give up Kiki, Cynosure and Aror in trade. LG continue taking their jungle buffs. LG, sitting on a 3k gold at 13 minutes start up the gold fury and force a fight. The fight looked bad for LG at first, with Baskin dying early, but Trifecta had to over commit. Aquarius gets a big taunt into the damage from Barracudda and LG win the engagement. No gold fury claimed, but a 7k gold lead. LG do go back, clean up Hurriwind and the Gold Fury and now they have a real lead at 6,000 gold. Snoopy gets a hot gold fury steal with the Hou Yi suns, but it’s not enough to slow down LG. LG go straight for the fire giant and portal demon. The fire giant buffs nets them two phoenixes. They back up and get one more fire giant and siege down the lats phoenix. All LG need are Baskin and Aquarius who finish off game 1 and now Trifecta look to at least salvage a split in game 2. Hurriwind picks up Ra in game 2, a pick he’s seen a lot of success on. Cynosure and Kiki both play warriors this time, bringing a lot of overall tankiness to their comp. The tankiness doesn’t matter when Hurriwind gets four man ganked at 5 minutes, though. Jeffhindla perfectly places the Dharmic Pillars and locks down Hurriwind setting up Baskin to confirm the kill. Trifecta respond right away with a three man gank on to Aquarius in solo, but LG also take away the gold fury. they open up a 1k gold lead early. Trifecta keep the game at that level until 12 minutes in, but Barracudda solos snoopy and opens up another gold fury fight. Mask claims Kiki’s life and though the gold fury stands LG increase their lead. a few more successful engagement give LG a 9k gold lead 21 minutes in. They siege the tier two tower in mid and though they take the tower, Trifecta picks up four kills. Despite those deaths LG go right for the fire giant when they re-spawn, and Trifecta can’t fight into it. Barracudda is 4/1/9, Baskin 9s 3/1/7 and they’re just too big for Trifecta to touch. This push would be their last push, breaking the base of Trifecta and taking the set 2-0.
Saturday – Europe
The Papis 0-2 Team Dignitas
One of our bottom seeded teams up against the top team in EU is the first match up of our all EU day. It’s slow through the early game but Arkkyl takes Ah Muzen Cab into the long lane and Dheylo (Ravana) makes a point to gank him twice and set up Warchi for two early kills on Hou Yi. 16 minutes in Dignitas force a fight at the portal demon and QvoFred chases down Dheylo and picks up his 3rd kill of the game. They do secure the portal demon. The papis are the gold fury as soon as it spawns, and Dheylo falls immediately. Papis drop the gold fury and lose the fight handily. Four members drop for free and Variety wasn’t even a part of the fight. The papis surrendered at the end of that fight, about 17 minutes in to the game. dignitas get an early lead in game 2 as, this time with two kills going on to Variety who selected Erlang Shen. The papis took Ah Muzen Cab for themselves and put it in the mid lane on MrNazer. Warchi takes Raijin into the duo lane. The unorthodox approach doesn’t work out for them early, as Warchi ends up 2 levels behind Arkkyl in the long lane. Ten minutes in the papis try to sneak a gold fury, they do confirm it, but they lose Dheylo, DracoMarino and Warchi in the process. Portal Demon falls to Dignitas and the experience lead continues to shoot up, now at 7500. Dignitas set up a bait in the fire giant pit and they catch themselves a bee! MrNazer falls first and iCreedx (who’s playing He Bo solo) falls as well. Warchi gets cleaned up and the game now feels heavily in control of Dignitas. The Papis choose to stick this one out though it doesn’t last much longer. 30 minutes with fire giant dignatas assault the base of Papis. Arkkyl is 9/2/10, OvoFred is 5/1/12 and titan is all but gone. Dignitas look every bit of the Summer champs that they are.
Valance Squad 0-2 Obey Alliance
Obey are looking like the best team in EU right now, undefeated so far in the fall split. Valance have looked good in their games, but their record doesn’t reflect it. With the Fall Split winding down in one more week, Valance have gotta show up against EU’s elite. In game 1, Obey get first blood and Xaliea, on the solo Sobek, gets credit. Now Duck3y is a little behind, but it’s CaptainTwig who is happy to be back on a favorite of his, Ratatoskr. There are some fun picks in general, with Ataraxia on Ullr and BigManTingz on Baachus. Emilzy steals a portal demon and it’s been down hill ever since. Obey then take a fight 23 minutes in and win it 3 to 0. Prettyprime coming up big with a double kill. Now the gold lead is 10k, and Obey have a fire giant around their waists. CaptainTwig has gone the tanky rat build, with mystical mail and Ancile. It nets him a 3/0/9, and Ataraxia plays lights out too. Game 1 goes to Obey and Valance look to shake it up in game 2. Game 2, we see Obey ban out Anhur, recognizing that it’s a big comfort pick for Funballer. He instead ends up on He Bo again, but it’s Obey who start off hot. They’re up 3 to 0 6 minutes in, with two deaths for lawbster (Neith) already. Funballer does manage to solo Ataraxia (Ah Muzen Cab). CaptainTwig (Serqet) again is driving the game. He’s 3/0/4 25 minutes in. He and Emilzy (Terra) have been too much for valance, but they do take a fight in solo. Xaliea cleans up a kill and now with 5 v 3 they take the fire giant. Duck3y over commits to try and steal and end sup falling. The lead is just too much for valance to fight back into. Obey Alliance continue to look like they can beat anyone, perhaps even Dignitas.
Burrito Esports 1-1 NRG Esports
Set three is the bottom of the EU SPL going up against the two time world champions. Dzoni is on Ratatoskr, Fusify is playing Sylvanus, and he’s been the target for NRG early, already falling three times. 17 minutes through the game Burrito are still hanging within 2k gold of NRG, but ManiaKK rotates to the middle lane and again cleans up Fusify. He’s 0/5/2 at this point. One teamfight later though, they clean up a 4 for 1 against NRG. Kespainify(Jing Wei) finds ManiaKK over the wall with the ult and Burrito are coming back for a well earned Gold Fury. The portal demon falls too, and they immediately back and pick up the Fire Giant. Now burrito have a 2k gold lead and the fire giant on their side. Emilitoo starts the split push in duo lane while burrito starts pushing down the tier two tower in right. Emilitoo backs and buys a power potion to defend the tier two in left. Fusify knocks up Yammyn and Emilitoo, they have to immediately go into aegis and it’s ManiaKK who gets caught out. NRG try to defend against fire giant but come too far forward. Fusify blinks and knocks up two and Farakrik immediately drops the zeus ult on top. He cleans up one, Dzoni cleans up another and the path to victory is clear. Burrito take game one off of NRG. Burrito rock the world champs in game 1, but like the pros that they are NRG regain their focus and look strong in game two. Yammyn picks up Janus and he’s providing all the utility for his team, getting them out of trouble at the last minute. Dzoni has to play Awilix this game, and he’s still looking strong. It’s Fusify though who continues to get picked. Emilitto and ManiaKK roll the whole game, ManiaKK on his signature cabraken. The story line here is that Burrito look strong in game one, but the ratatoskr ban shuts down Burrito.
Elevate 0-2 Team Rival
The final EU set is Rival up against Elevate. Elevate have…. elevated lately, and they’re looking to stay in the top four. Rival have been struggling and need every point they can get. Wlfy picks up Janus, a pocket pick of his and pilots it exceptionally well. Vote, though, is the one who shows up big for Rival, top of the kill charts on Hou Yi. IceIceBaby takes the Odin jungle and continues to lock down Cherryo on Hun Batz. Elevate had some bright spots, like DeathPanter going through the whole game with dying on Thoth, but Dardez’s support Ne Zha never gets off the ground. He ends 1/7/2. Elevate look to adjust in game 2 after Rival maintained control basically the whole game. Game two goes the distance as well, lasting upwards of 30 minutes, and once again Vote is looking excellent on Hou yi. Dardez takes a traditional support in Sobek, but it doesn’t go much better. DeathPanter takes Janus this game, and once again doesn’t die, but he also doesn’t provide much damage. IceIceBaby also continues to show his flexibility in the jungle, switching over to nemesis and causing all kinds of problems for N0Numbers’ Artio in the solo lane. 34 minutes, up 15 to 5 in kills, Rival finally find some more points to start climbing back up from near the bottom.
Sunday – North America
Team Cryptik 1-1 Spacestation Gaming
A Mighty Storm have a new name and a new org. They want to make them last as well, trying to stick around and catch up to Noble. Their new(old) support NotGeno picks up bacchus, an aggressive god, and plays like it. He sets up three early kills, and even though he takes a spill, he nets his team an early 1k lead. 12 minutes in, Cryptik are still enjoying a lead, but it’s time to fight. Homiefe(Thor) lands on ShadowChair and he cleans up a kill. He doesn’t get out for free though, Fineokay(Osiris) gets that kill and SpaceStation take the fight 2 for 1. Cryptik still have a 2k gold lead, but SS are still hanging around. SS stall the game, no problem, and 27 minutes in they win a fight 4 for 0, picking up the gold fury and moving to the fire giant. Just like, Spacestation are up 5k gold. The game certainly isn’t over, but Cryptik have lost their lead. Andinster and Homiefe work together so well to control the team fights, between the Raijin and Thor. After giving the lead back to SSG, Cryptik never saw it again. Down 1 to 0, they look to picks and bans in Game 2 to turn things around. Jigs gets Fafnir in game 2 and we get to se ehim put on the juke boots in Cryptik’s jungle, avoiding even the supernova from Shadowchair and hopping away for free. SSG do sit up 3 to 2 in kills, only 5 minutes in. Sam4Soccer struggles on serqet early, sitting at 1/3/1 12 minutes in, whilst homiefe is 4/1/2. Homiefe makes full use of Ratatoskr’s semi-global presence, setting up Andinster and Zapman. Despite SSG holding on to a lead, 23 minutes Cryptik win a fight, clean up two and take the gold fury. Cryptik only down 2k gold now, with the portal demon also on their side. Fineokay’s Hercules is really difficult for SpaceStation to handle, he’s been able to zone multiple members while they take objectives. Despite the early struggles though, Sam4soccer shows up for Cryptic, finding four more kills by the 32 minute mark, and the ticking time bomb of Vetium on Skadi starts to go off as well. SSG still have about a 3k gold lead, but at 33 minutes it doesn’t mean much. Zapman is has been struggling to deal with Vetium’s skadi, sitting at 1/10/7 37 minutes into the game. A teamfight on phoenix ends up being a succesful defense by SSG, but then Fineokay sets up Sam4Soccer to spread her poison through the whole team. Fineokay cleans up three members and keeps ShadowChair alive. Now 5/1/13 he’s just too big and there is only one bit of antiheal on SSG. Andinster kills Sam4Soccer over the wall, now it’s 5v4, but Fineokay pulls Jigz back into damage and he dies. He also deletes the struggling Zapman, phoenix falls and Fineokay gets credit for killing ScaryD. He ends 8/1/14, and it really looks like Fineokay makes that victory happen.
Noble eSports 0-2 Trifecta
Trifecta and noble are neck in the standings, with Trifecta one up in the standings. A split would favor them, since they’d stay ahead, but both teams are looking for every point they can get. Noble get off to a hot start, as both teams start three in mid lane and no one goes to duo, getting a pick on to snoopy and Whalrus and Skeeledon get both Kiki and Cynosure. Wubbn pulls Aror in and Moswal finishes off the kill, now they have the gold fury and a 4k gold lead at 12 minutes. Hurriwind is on Janus, ad he’s actually topping the player damage chart 22 minutes in. Then he steals away a gold fury with the through space and time, Hurriwind is keeping Trifecta in this one. Noble immediately force the fire giant, patiently baiting in Trifecta. They manage to pick Kiki, force out Hurriwind and secure the fire giant. Hurriwind steals portal demon again, 29 minutes in. Kiki also tracks down Wowy (Jing Wei) and take that kill as well. Whalrus falls as well, and now Trifecta have pressure on the Fire Giant. KikiSoCheeky coming up big in that last team fight, creating space, but Snoopy finished off Wubbn. Trifecta gets the fire giant, but Skeeledon at least kills Hurriwind, stripping him of the FG and delaying their assault. Wubbn hits another pull on to Kikisocheeky! Moswal blows him up, then it’s Hurriwind who falls not to far behind. Fire giant goes down for free, and now Noble are in the driver’s seat. Right side phoenix falls and mid falls as well, and now it’s 38 minutes in. Trifecta defend their left phoenix, though, and force Noble back. Now Trifecta have a chance to even things out. They do better than that, 4 for 0, Snoopy blowing up Noble, and now they siege down the duo side phoenix. Trifecta defend and in the end, pick up Game 1. In Game 2 Hurriwind is on Raijin instead of Janus and Whalrus is on Ravana, who doesn’t see as much action as he used to. Game 2 is going much more in Trifecta’s favor in the early game. Up 5 to 1 in kiils and 3k gold. Trifecta hold on to the lead for the rest of the game, as well. 23 minutes in they get a deicide, up 16 to 2 in kills and 14k gold. Fire giant buff is on all five members and Snoopy is disappointed he hasn’t had much of a chance to be involved. The 3v3 of Cynosure, Hurriwind and Aror are a collective 14/2/24, devastating the middle of the map. Skeeledon and Wubbn have not had a chance to get going this game and Trifecta aren’t gonna give it to them. Trifecta end up cleaning up game 2 in a much more convincing fashion, and take the set.
Team Vigilant 0-2 Luminosity Gaming
The newly picked Vigilant face off against crowd favorites Luminosity Gaming. PainDeViande is known for being able to pick up a squad of ranked All-Stars and shape them into a legitimate SPL team. He may be doing it again, but not against Luminosity. Jeffhindla and Barraccudda take no prisoners in the long lane, going a collective 7/2/14 against 3/7/6 for Vigilant. Pain in particular was a target for Luminosity, which we often see as a call when one of the supports is behind. Mask picks up nemesis and uses it shred whatever protections PainDeViande tries to pick up. Despite the pressure his team is under, DayToRemember actually plays very well this game on the Jing Wei, standing tow to toe with Barra, and is the only big late game threat they had. Mask is able to dive into four and clean up PainDeViande. The game takes 37 minutes as LG play with the patience befitting veterans, and move into game 2 up 1 to 0. DayToRemember picks up Ah Muzen Cab to give himself a strong late game carry, in case he’s the one who’s staying even this game. Unfortunately Jeff and Barra focus him out and he takes two early deaths. Game two goes out of control even faster as Luminosity continue to grow more comfortable and more confident as the split goes on. eUnited remains undefeated and Luminosity know they have to keep up and can’t afford to drop games against Vigilant. 15 minutes in DayToRemember continues to struggle, 0/5/1. This game it’s Baskin who looks untouchable on the Raijin, following the set up from Mask on Ne Zha. Luminosity take a fight on the fire giant and Aquarius is able to solo against 3 members. Team Vigilant throw in the towel and Luminosity take the set 2-0.
Team Allegiance 0-2 eUnited
ALG going up against the undefeated eUnited may look like a stomp on paper, but ALG is a roster stacked with individual talent. They start off with an early kill lead, credit to Weak3n’s first blood, but eUnited hang around, evening things up at the 13 minute mark 3 to 3. Scream picks up Ratatoskr who has seen a lot more play since his buff, but his global presence isn’t enough to stop ALG from sneaking away a 14 minute gold fury. eUnited respond immediately with a portal demon, though, to keep things close to even. ALG commit very hard on to the duo lane, but Sceam, Venenu and PandaCat stay alive and pick up two return kills on to Weaken and NeiruMah. Metyankey eventually falls to a gank from Scream as well, and now eUnited have tied up the gold despite the 3 to 6 kill deficit. 21 minutes in Weak3n dives onto pandacat and falls, but keeps him away from the gold fury which helps keep ALG even. Metyankey builds the frostbound hammer to give himself some more health, and a 20% slow on his basic attacks. ALG hold with the undefeated eUnited for a while, but Pandacat is just too big, and 44k player damage to end the game is waaayy more than ALG can handle. eUnited clean up game 1. For game 2 eUnited get Artio and Ganesha, two high priority guardians for Benji and PolarBearMike. Weak3n takes Rat this game and Scream takes Camazotz. This game comes much easier to eUnited. Benji, multiple times, kites around all of ALG while his team takes objectives elsewhere on the map. Scream gets big early on and runs the map, leading the whole game in player damage. ALG looked like they could hang with the big boys in game, but game 2 is not very close. eUnited stay undefeated going 2 up over ALG.
Last SPL Week Five action kicks off Thursday Octber 5th, 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.