VGL BLITZ Europe recap
powered by Elgato Gaming
Playoffs Day went off to a great start with four action-packed quarter-finals matchups, with the likes of SK Gaming and Team Secret making it into the mix. All matches consisted of 2-0 sweeps where momentum played a big factor in teams being able to consolidate their advantage and play to their strengths – operating a clean opening game and closing it up decisively on the second. Perhaps one of the more surprising outcomes was the knockout of the European giants Team Secret where they were dropped by the up and coming Skengman Society. From these initial outcomes, it was immediately clear to see that going far in the tournament would require a large hero pool and effective mechanics of said heroes since you aren’t able to choose the same heroes each round and need to be able to pull of new and innovative strategies to counter your opponent.
Semifinals – Matchup 1
Beyond Horizon VS SK Gaming
This was a surprising match up at first when we learnt that SK had happened to choose the heroes with the worst win rates, while their opponents BH has indeed chosen the heroes with the highest win rates. Artemis was jumped on early in the jungle, wielding the hefty and immobile Baron but was able to walk away relatively safely. Jetpacks continuously made use of his ultimate in order to scout out his opponents in order to garner information and create strategies. There was a lot of jungle pressure from both sides as they looked to consolidate their position below the lane. Bashn used his gauntlet in order to try and force an engagement and some heavy fighting took place. SK made their presence known across the map and looked to engage upon the Gold Miner. When it was contested, they were able to draw first blood and even took the second. They followed their advantage up with a crystal miner pushing their lead up to 5-0. SK were able to juggle the damage from Skaarf particularly well in teamfights which gave them more sustainability. The second engagement led to KValafar picking up a double kill while Tyruzz was able to finish off the remaining member of BH. They once again follow up their advantage by taking a turret and the Gold Miner, narrowly avoiding a steal attempt by BH – they lead 14-0. However, BH were able to exert a great amount of pressure on their counter-attack, taking a turret and after some smart plays came up to 14-8 with a minute remaining. BH were looking in great shape and it almost seemed as if they could do the impossible until Bashn was dropped after a hard engage by SK.
SK opened up this second game with a surprising selection of heroes, all of the captain role. ImtheDoom was able to land his Kestrel ult at the start of the game, signalling that there was a lot more to come from BH. SK were very aggressive at the start of the game, placing pressure on lane. Bashn was caught out after an engage but ImtheDoom was able to trade the kill back. SK came out of this 2-1. Bashn was locked down once again offering another point to SK and it was evident that Tyruzz and Kvalafar were intent on bringing the pain. Their combination of CC meant it was a cycle of rinse and repeat and their lead grew to 6-1. However BH came back to take a turret, smartly dodging impales and choosing their fights. An Adagio ult by jetpacks locked the whole of BH down and Artemis was unable to escape their wrath. BH shifted their focus down to the jungle and were able to secure the Gold Miner for themselves, narrowing the scoreline down to 8-7. It all boiled down to the last teamfight where BH were able to take the brace and avoid casualties to pick up the game by one point.
SK started this one off by plunging deep down into the jungle and making a surprise rotation up through their opponent’s lane brush. A Forced Accord by jetpacks was effective but were unable to make anything of it even when facing only 2 members. Artemis, the missing member of BH had other ideas and was focused solely on objectives, taking down not only the Gold Miner but the Crystal Miner as well, granting his team a 6 point boon. BH started another Gold Miner but it was stolen cleverly by SK through utilising Phinn’s Forced Accord to drag it to their side and a well-placed ultimate by Tyruzz. The score leveled up at 7-7. Both teams were anxious for a fight and after a tough engagement both sides walked out with a traded brace, pushing the scores up to 9-9. At this point the game was literally neck and neck, with neither side making any ground. BH decided to go back to their trusty old Gold Miner but it was stolen once again by jetpacks and SK after which an engagement occurred. Still, scores evened up at 12-12. The final engagement was a frenzy of abilities and items as BH were able to turn it around and end it at 15-13.
Both teams entered the lane with plenty of vigour and anticipation. A sharp and feisty engagement meant BH had to fall back after taking a large portion of damage. Strangely enough, there was no emphasis placed on the jungle whatsoever as the teams focused their efforts on pushing the lane and trying to gain whatever advantages they could through endless poking and prodding. SK were able to control these fights through their poke-heavy comp and picked up a short and sweet brace giving them a 2-0 lead. Tyruzz was caught off guard by a neatly placed Malice and Verdict by ImtheDoom but SK countered by deleting Artemis and building an advantage at 3-1. Jetpacks was especially useful in effectively sustaining his team through consistent use of his Imperial Sigil allowing them to trade better. The focus shifted throughout the match as SK and BH dropped into the jungle and placed their efforts there. The next team fight was disappointing for BH with Bashn having no choice but to take the brunt of the damage for his carries however no one was locked up. Both teams settled on a retreat however SK pushed the lane and were able to secure a turret and solidify their lead at 6-1. BH opted for a teamfight and a trade took place where SK came out the better side at 8-2. With time running out, they chose to cement their victory by playing it safe and steady.
This was the crunch match, the winner of whom would progress onto the Finals. Both teams chose to start the match off differently, with all members of SK moving into lane while Artemis chose to take some jungle farm to add some experience and gold. A team fight broke out into the jungle and with neither side making any glaring mistakes, a retreat was in order and the score continued to sleep at 0-0. SK made a quick move for the Gold Miner however, and were able to successfully take it landing them 3 points. Bashn was able to keep his team healthy with the Lyra however which made matters difficult for SK in engagements. SK were unable to output enough damage with their team and item composition so they chose to focus on the objectives. They took the Gold Miner once again but lose their Krul, Tyruzz in the process. SK retained their lead of 6-1 as the game was hitting its peak. Kvalafar and jetpacks decided to push in the lane and caught BH out of position as the turret was chunked down decisively by the Skaarf. Artemis came too late to try and contest it and was shut down by the SK duo as they blew full steam ahead at 10-1. BH became nervous as a result of the game’s inevitable outcome and tried to make a change by making a desperate play for the Crystal Miner as they forced a retreat from SK. However, they failed to take into account timings, both from the time it would take for SK to appear and how long it would take to eliminate the Miner – with the wrong carry. Hard engagements took place and left the game at 14-4. SK stormed forward and were able to pick up the last point relatively easily as they strode on out to the Finals.
SEMIFINALS MATCHUP 2
Lemon & Lime VS Skengman Society
L&L opted to start off this series by taking a trip to the jungle while their counterparts chose to instead apply some pressure on the lane. ManLikeMoh, having built an Echo on his Phinn, was able to get off two hooks but neither of them came to any avail as the score remained at 0-0. L&L decided to dive SS as Apfel single-handedly dismantled their line-up with an assertive triple kill on the Rona. With this advantage they pushed in and secured the turret then glanced at the Gold Miner. SS were hot on their heels however and executed a sneaky steal, adding some weight on the scoreline as it read 6-3. A teamfight broke out shortly after and L&L looked confident picking up three kills but lost a member in the process. Nevertheless, it looked promising for them at 9-4. They chose to advance upon the Crystal Miner, but were unable to secure it and lost both GhOst and Apfel as a result precariously pushing the score to 9-6. They lost faith at the next engagement losing out on the points and SS were looking confident as the score crept eagerly to 10-9. They made a smart decision to avoid the Gold Miner sensing it wouldn’t be an unfavourable conclusion but after realising time was running out they went for a last-ditch attempt. This got stolen by L&L and compounded this turn in events by securing further kills and the game itself at 15-9.
The second match was in some ways identical to the first where L&L started off in the jungle as SS focused the lane. Once L&L rotated up, they found they were able to effectively pressure the lane with strong poke coming from MrKcool’s Blackfeather and dynamic zoning through Apfel’s Celeste. They consistently shut this lane down from SS but no material gains were to come of it as the match remained at deadlock. GhOst tried to make a play by landing his gauntlet but L&L simply weren’t able to dish out the damage necessary to secure a kill. Their strong efforts were later rewarded as their pressure took down a turret and along with it the three members of SS – L&L looked dominant at 6-0. Their presence was clear to see and they knew it too as they coolly took away the Gold Miner and backed away. SS looked to take advantage of the clear lane and so pushed it in along with the turret. L&L weren’t so keen on SS’s newfound ambition and after some serious poking and retaliation, eliminate two members of SS, albeit leaving them with low health. They were in a commanding position as the timer kept ticking down at 11-3. L&L looked for an engagement and it was none other than Apfel who effortlessly found a double kill and saw ManLikeMoh drop shortly after. At 14-4, all they required was a point more but given the location of this last teamfight they made short work of the Crystal Miner and ended at 17-4.
The final match of this series saw a different start than usual. L&L chose to drop a member in the jungle to solo up some experience and gold while SS brought the party to the lane. SS appeared confident and applied some significant pressure in the lane however once Apfel rotated up it was a different story altogether. They dove straight into SS and after losing one member, Apfel turned it up a notch and picked up an outstanding triple kill giving them the lead at 3-1. The same story was told again as Apfel struck home the power of Koshka landing another triple kill and showing no mercy whatsoever. L&L were able to dive so easily into SS’s comp and SS had absolutely no answer for the aggression. They were able to take the turret however given the delayed presence of L&L in the lane as they had taken the turret just previously. As the score stood firm at 9-4, an engagement broke out where L&L scored a brace but SS were able to trade a kill back. SS looked anxious and unsure about these teamfights given the strong performances from L&L – Apfel led the charge as they picked up a triple, eliminated the Crystal Miner and took the win progressing into the Finals. What was evident from this particular matchup was how the triple ranged comp suffered so heavily from an engagement which didn’t occur on their terms – a quick, aggressive dive.
Third Place Match
Beyond Horizon vs Skengman Society
Skengman opened up the series with a convincing kill as ManLikeMoh utilised his Echo well, pulling in ImtheDoom not once, but twice and securing the point. BH force a teamfight effectively well, with Artemis using the portal to jump directly into lane from the Gold Miner’s Pit. ImtheDoom uses the sustaining capacity of his Rona cleverly and rotates between chasing his targets with his A while whittling them down with his C. The score evens up at 2-2 but with members of BH returning from base, Skenman try to take down the turret but end up having to retreat as a result of the oncoming pressure. However, Artemis remains and is able to secure the turret but gives up his life as a consequence – the score settles at 5-3 for BH. Skenman are able to pressure lane and take a turret as they rotate down to shop. BH jump in once catching SS off guard and look for the engagement but zziwa appears to have other ideas, dancing in and around the fight with his chakrams pulling off a triple kill giving them a 9-6 advantage. After Skenman eek out the Gold Miner and enjoy another successful engagement, it’s all deadly silent at 14-7 where the Gold Miner is up for contention. Although BH are able to take it triumphantly, there is nothing to save them from the onslaught of Skenman where the final point is picked up to end the match 15-10.
The match opens up with both sides jostling for control of the lane, with a lot of poke being displayed. Artemis chooses to take a round of the jungle, and after shopping rotates up to lane. A superb gauntlet from Bashn stuns the majority of Skengman and Artemis jumps in and delivers the hurt to KAMRAN who gets taken down quickly. Given this turn of events, BH choose to push lane and whittle down the turret as much as they can. However, as KAMRAN appears from base SS look to reverse the pressure and take down Bashn and ImtheDoom to amp up their scoreline at 2-4. They cement their recent advantage by picking up the Gold Miner and return to base. Another fight takes place as the rushdown comp of Skengman plays to its advantage and cleanly pick up all three members of BH to lead 8-4 and then 11-4 as they once again take down the Gold Miner. Skengman shop and look to press their advantage by forcing a fight in BH’s jungle brush – some good fighting takes place but ImtheDoom is zoned out and unable to fully participate – BH picks up a brace while Skengman eliminates their entire team – 14-6. Artemis gets jumped on, and with little to no support drops to give the second game in the series to Skengman.
Skengman open up the game in commanding fashion as ManLikeMoh lands a devastating gauntlet which stuns up both ImtheDoom and Bashn as Artemis farms up in jungle. KAMRAN is able to pick up a kill from the engagement. Skenman rotate down and catch Artemis by himself but he doesn’t fall without being able to trade a kill back – score lands at 2-1 for Skenman. Skengman Society choose their next engagement wisely and are able to pick up two kills and the Crystal Miner for added value. BH appears to be falling apart. Lane pressure is applied and Skenman walk out of their next fight at the dominant position of 9-2. Skenman jump right into lane and dive BH who have no answer at all given the nature of their composition. Skenman are able to easily secure two kills and the turret placing them at 14-2. Not long after the turret is destroyed some clever juggling by Skengman Society allows them to pick up their final point and claim third place.
SK Gaming vs Lemon & Lime
Tensions are high and anticipation is paramount as both teams look to take home the mammoth prize pool. Opting for a safer start, SK and L&L head to the shop to pick up the necessary items and infusions in expectation of an oncoming engagement. MrKcool makes a hasty opening at the upper lane brush as he sets his sights on Kvalafar. Fighting erupts into full swing as both sides do all they can to make the most of the situation, but it is L&L who walk away with a one point lead. L&L’s Krul focuses on the Gold Miner as the Stormcrown makes its mark for a 4-0 advantage. Both sides jostle and poke around in the jungle as they tentatively try and apply damage of some importance. GhOst makes the initial engagement and lands some good CC allowing his teammates to follow up – they make the most of their advantage and pick off all three members of SK turn by turn. L&L follow it up with the Crystal Miner, effectively locking in their victory at 10-0. But L&L want more, and ambitiously are able to take out the Gold Miner as well for a huge 13-0 scoreline. A long, drawn-out engagement take place and players are tapping at their screens furiously as Tyruzz gets dropped for 14-3. MrKcool then ends the game in the most epic way possible – a From Hell’s Heart straight to the back for the win.
SK open off this game very aggressively, with jetpacks setting off his wolves immediately and the trio collapsing on GhOst who is all by himself in lane. However he is able to retreat behind turret and SK shift their focus elsewhere and go down to shop. They rotate up once again looking for the engagement and L&L respond with some nifty mechanics and play as they reverse the fight for a 2-0 lead and compound this with the addition of the Gold Miner. SK attempt the Gold Miner as L&L is still returning back from lane and the sanctuary however it is up for contention as MrKcool jumps in and is able to take away the Gold Miner for his own team for 8-0. An engagement then takes place and somehow GhOst is able to stay alive, buffing up his carries and sustaining the team to victory as they pick up the kills to lead 11-0. A quick rotation is made up to lane and the turret is decimated within seconds leaving only a point left for L&L to end the game. KValafar jumps in aggressively and SK find themselves two kills but it wasn’t enough to stop himself from dropping to the impressive MrKcool. L&L finished the game in a truly confident and unmatched way in which we’ve never seen before.
L&L send both their carries off to the back of their jungle while GhOst move to the middle of the map to provide some vision and information. SK move aggressively and are able to lock up GhOst before he retreats to the rest of his team. Both sides retreat and SK gets a chance to shop before once again advancing towards L&L. SK make a clever play by allowing Tyruzz to solo the Gold Miner while imitating the presence of a full squad in the jungle brush and it works – 3-0. However L&L then look for the fight and after a hard-fought engagement they pick up all three members of SK while losing Apfel to inch back up at 3-4. Both teams anxiously pace around the Fold as they congregate in the jungle for another fight but L&L is clearly the victor as they exhibit a perfect display of skill to scoop up three more points to lead 6-4 and compound this advantage with the addition of the Gold Miner. L&L force through a fight as MrKcool initates with his Prime Directive. He builds his stacks as the fight rages on and is able to utterly decimate and melt through the SK roster for a triple kill and 12-4 lead. With the entirety of SK stuck within their timers and the lane free of distraction, L&L push it through and secure the turret and claim themselves as the righteous winners of the EU Blitz tournament with a convincing 3-0 sweep.
LEMON & LIME BLITZ CHAMPION