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Unified Grand Prix: The Story So Far

Unified Esports Association 3/1/2021

 

What's up everyone!

 


What a wild ride it has been so far in the Unified Grand Prix! The rift has been riveting recently as famous and familiar faces come together in the form of casters, players, and production staff to bring to you and showcase the next level of NA developing talent. If you’ve been keeping up with it like me, then you’re already aware of the nitty-gritty details, you’ve already been shocked at some of the results, and you’ve already reserved your gaming chair for the next upcoming round. But maybe some of you haven’t been keeping up with events.

That’s where I come in.

So, before I jump into my overview of how things are going so far, let me preface this by saying that this is the Unified Grand Prix. Teams are competing for a spot at Proving Grounds to show Riot and the LCS teams that they have players and talent worth recruiting and signing for the upcoming season. It’s quite literally a tournament of dreams, as only a few will get to realize theirs. It has been incredibly exciting to watch nevertheless.



The Play-Ins

The play-in round would open with Cloud9 Amateur taking on Barrage. Gabriel "Fanatiik" Saucier would make the rift his playground on Graves as he ran the map. He and his mid laner Eain "APA" Stearns led the charge as Barrage routed the C9 Amateur team 33-6 in the first game. Cloud9 Amateur would get their revenge in game two as Lawrence "eXyu" Xu snowballed his top laner, Lawrence "Speedo" Yap and they’d lead the team to victory on Lillia and Gnar while Michael "Wixxi" Fernandez popped off on Vayne. He ended the game with an 11/0/7 KDA. Game three would see eXyu and Speedo put the Nidalee/Renekton combination to work to get an early lead, with Wixxi piloting Ezreal and building the more recently adopted early game build that includes Duskblade of Draktharr and Essence Reaver. They quickly ran with the game, monopolizing the first four dragons and closing the game out after a fight in Barrage’s topside jungle to advance to the next round.

Zoos Gaming would take the second series of the day with a clean 2-0 sweep over UPL favorites Supernova. In game one, Peyton "RBM'' Demarest would give viewers an outstanding performance on Lee Sin, quickly snowballing his team to a whopping 9K gold lead at 20 minutes. The game would be wrapped up at 27 minutes with Supernova forfeiting after losing the second Baron teamfight of the game. Game two would introduce eccentric picks Swain top and Poppy support to the Unified Grand Prix, with the former being piloted by former LCS player Kieran “Allorim” Logue and the latter being in the hands of Douglas “Rhino” Scott Reynolds. RBM would continue his aggressive assault in the jungle on the Lee Sin pick again, but to no avail, as Lee “Strompest” Seung-min would go on to pick up kills off of the skirmishes on Yone and become a huge problem. However, Allorim would prove that the Swain top pick was not trolling after being a massive threat in the teamfight for the fourth dragon, leading to a clean ace and breaking the game wide open. Following this, Zoos would go on to get picks on both Strompest and Jackson “Array” Moldenhauer to quickly close the game out of nowhere and advance.

In the third series of play-ins, Revival and Winthrop would trade games and take us to our second game three of the round. The Winthrop University solo laners (William "Doxa" Lee and Younes "HyBriDZz" Tafza) popped off on LeBlanc and Aatrox in game one, but Revival would capitalize on a poor macro call from Winthrop to turn around game two. Winthrop closed the series out in a 31-minute game three after securing all four dragons and paving the way for Tony "Saskio" Chau to carry the last teamfight on Jinx.

The fourth and last series of the day would see Maryville University pick up the second 2-0 of the day against Evil Genius Prodigies. The first game would turn out to be a huge bot difference as Evan "EvanRL" Lawson and Jordan "Shady" Robison would use the combination of Jinx and Tahm Kench to put Kyle "Shiro" Sakamaki and Lin "Richard" "Mist" Zi-Lan early, snowballing the team to a 25-minute finish. Ryan "Chippys" Short would throw a curveball in the draft of game three with Nocturne top into the Camille pick of Jett "Srtty" Joye. The result would be a scrappy game where viewers would witness 11 total kills within the first 9 minutes of the game as globals from Twisted Fate, Galio, Nocturne, Senna, and Ashe were all put to work. Nocturne would prove to be a success, ending the game 8/3/14 as EG Prodigies were constantly on the defensive and the constant catches from Nocturne and Twisted Fate would render the Camille pick a non-factor for most of the game while completely abusing the lack of mobility that Kyle "Shiro" Sakamaki had on the Senna pick. Maryville would end the game at 28 minutes on the back of a Baron power play.



Round 1

Round 1 was mostly one-sided as only two of the six best-of-three series played would go on to a game three. After losing to TSM Academy 2-1 in the winner’s bracket, Winthrop would go on to sweep C9 Amateur and give them their second series loss (the first being to Sola Fide 2-0) and eliminate them from the tournament. Zoos Gaming would go on to send Counter Logic Gaming Academy to the loser’s bracket following a dominant game three performance. CLG Academy would go on to keep their tournament hopes alive by defeating and removing Maryville University from the tournament. Maryville would exit the tournament after being swept twice. The other team to beat them was No Org in the winner’s bracket. TSM Academy, Sola Fide, Zoos Gaming, No Org would advance through the winner’s bracket to round two, while Winthrop University and CLG Academy would advance through the loser’s bracket.



Round 2

Round 2 would see the academy teams struggling as TSM Academy would be sent out of the winner’s bracket after getting swept by Sola Fide, and CLG Academy would be removed from the tournament after losing to No Org, who would be sent to the loser’s bracket by Zoos Gaming. Zoos Gaming continues their run into the third round. Winthrop would later make their tournament exit after losing to TSM Academy in the loser’s bracket. Of the four series played in this round, only the Zoos Gaming/No Org series would go to three games.



What’s Next?

Rounds Three and Four begin TONIGHT as No Org looks to prove that they can not only play at the same level as TSM Academy but also beat them. Zoos Gaming will also look to continue their impressive performance so far as they take on Sola Fide, who have not dropped a single game in any of their series so far at the Unified Grand Prix. All four of these teams will advance to Proving Grounds Spring 2021 by being the top four teams at this tournament, so now they’ll battle it out for placements, bragging rights, and recognition.

Where do you fit in all of this? Well, you’re going to (hopefully) be right there, screen-side, cheering for your favorite team of the top four.

Join us all and catch the action here https://www.twitch.tv/academy The first series begins at 6:00 PM EST.

The journey to the top of the Unified Grand Prix is almost at a close, but there’s still far more excitement to come. Who will rise above the others? Are all of the academy teams done for? Is the gap closing between NA academy and NA amateur teams?

Find out tonight!



 




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