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Finals Rundown and The Road Ahead

Upsurge Esports 3/27/2021

What's up, everyone? TéJaun here again.

In case you missed it, you missed a huge series in the form of the UPL Finals. In quite the fashion, Illinois State University would lock horns with Revival and take home the UPL Championship in a series that would see action from all sides and plays from all parties.

So, assuming you missed it or just like reading my updates and want to see it from my point of view, I am here to catch you up on the events of the past and set the stage for the events of the future.

Let's dive in.

Game 1:

The opening game of the series would see a spicy draft from both sides. Analysts touted that ISU's strategy should be to play for the bot lane through star bot laner Kim "William" "Disconector" Do-hyun, and they seemed to realize this also as they drafted the Blitzcrank support counter pick into Revival's blind pick Karma. Other notable picks included Young "Hyper" Seo on Evelynn, Michael "Concept" Su on Jax, and Drew "DrewDozer" Neiburger looking to take the early lead on Lucian against Cory "Sudzzi" Miller's Cassiopeia.

Hyper would spend the first 10 minutes of the game working magic, picking up three early kills despite Revival securing the first dragon of the game. The bot lane picks would prove to work out, with Disconnector nabbing two kills on enemy bot laner AZ0G before 15 minutes. Things were looking up for ISU.

However, the Lucian pick didn't work out well for Illinois State and Sudzzi managed to not only be ahead in CS by the 18-minute mark but also up by 2 kills and 3 assists, having more of a map impact as well. On top of this, Revival had been steadily playing the dragon game and winning hard in the topside through Concept's repeated teleport plays and kills on the enemy top lane. After a series of repeated skirmishes and two team fights, AZ0G had also clawed his way back into the game.

Despite Hyper's solid performance on Evelynn (finishing the game 8/4/0), he couldn't carry the team through team fights against Revival's scaling comp and superior team fight, and they'd find themselves losing every team fight after the second dragon, including the Baron team fight that would lead to a game-ending power play.

Game 2:

The second game of the series would see a completely different draft from Revival (excluding the blind pick Karma), but this time including the Hecarim and Orianna jungle-mid core.

Daniel "Sybr" Lou and Concept would absolutely pop off during the first 20 minutes of the game, picking up three kills apiece before Hyper (or anyone else outside of Miguel "Shamwwow" Magno on ISU) had time to even be a part of one. It looked as if Revival's stronger topside would hold true and they'd carry the game away before Hyper could even be a part of it.

Holding true to their dragon-oriented style of play, Revival would secure three out of the first four dragons and look poised to take the fourth until a huge four-versus-four team fight would break out mid in favor of ISU, turning the tide of the game as they'd pick up Baron. From there they'd also win a skirmish leading to them taking their second dragon (and denying soul) before sneaking a second Baron at the hands of DrewDozer and Shamwwow.

The fights would continue to go in the favor of ISU as Revival would be denied a second attempt at soul point, only this time there would be no coming back. ISU would leverage the team fight that would give them their dragon (putting them on soul point as well) to siege down the bot lane with Baron and into Revival's base to even the series at 1-1.

Game 3:

The third game of the series would see a completely different draft from Revival, including the blind pick Karma this time, which would be replaced by a first pick Hecarim which would later lead into the double-equestrian combo of Rell and Hecarim. In addition to this were top-tier ADC Kai'Sa and a Yone pick for Sudzzi, followed by a Zac pick out of nowhere for Concept in the top lane.

However, ISU would pull out some stuff of their own! Matching the Kai'Sa/Rell with Xayah and Leona, they'd lock in Xin Zhao for Hyper and use their red-side counter pick to lock in Poppy as a direct answer to the Zac.

Hyper would run over the early game on Xin Zhao, helping to put Sybr in the ground early, securing two early dragons, and being a part of five of his team's first eight kills while holding four of them.

The third dragon fight would see a bump in the road for ISU, with AZ0G playing the fight just right in order to secure the dragon.

Up until this point, the top laners had been really active and the Zac didn't seem too greatly affected by Poppy, with the former having a scoreline of 2/0/5 and the latter being 3/1/1 by 18 minutes.

But then ISU would turn up the heat again, winning a team fight for both the third dragon and then again for Baron, putting them at a 6K gold lead. Following a pick in the jungle on Charles "Chookies" Thornburgh, they would open the base of Revival. With nothing else to do but mount a last-ditch effort, Revival would launch an unsuccessful team fight to defend their base. ISU would power through it, winning the team fight with a decisive three kills and losing no one, to end the game and put the series on match point.

Game 4:

In the last game of the series, Revival would revive the first pick Karma but instead flex it to the mid lane, opting for a Jinx/Braum botlane and using their last pick to secure Urgot for Concept, with Sybr piloting Volibear. Illinois State would stay true to the meta, opting for Hecarim/Orianna as their first two picks to answer the Karma, followed by a strong Xayah/Nautilus botlane, before again using that red-side counter pick to lock in Gangplank to deal with the Urgot.

Sudzzi would open the early game with two kills after an extremely scrappy first five minutes between both teams. Sybr then ganked topside and caught Cameron "Nausicaa" Maine on a roam, feeding him to Concept for an advantage topside. Despite this and Revival securing the first Rift Herald of the game, ISU would change the series up by securing the first two dragons of the game.

The two teams would alternate picks and tower damage back and forth until a team fight at 17 minutes where ISU would ace Revival off of a pick on AZ0G. They'd transition this not only to taking the second Rift Herald and the third dragon of the game (putting them on soul point) but a 6K gold lead.

With only Baron standing in their way, ISU would force the team fight that would be the nail in the coffin for Revival, smashing through Revival's front-to-back comp with Hecarim/Orianna and securing.

Adding insult to injury, they'd force yet another team fight (this time the game-ending one) and give some style points to Shamwwow, who'd pick up a quadra-kill on the Gangplank counter pick.

After a hard-fought series, Illinois State University would claim their first Upsurge title in what could be considered an upset of a series given Revival's strong regular-season performance.

Congratulations, Illinois State University!

What's Next?

With such a banger final, it can be hard to imagine that there's anything else that could follow that. Well, lucky for you, you don't have to imagine- because there is! The next registrations for Upsurge tournaments are already up for not only League of Legends, but also our other titles! But be quick! Though we're accepting a few late applications, the deadline is at the end of the day TOMORROW, March 28th, 2021.

You can learn more about the events here! You can also keep tuned for more frequently updated information via our Twitter and stay tuned for the next Upsurge Tournament Streams on our Twitch.

Until then, I'll see you next time. Catch you on the upsurge.