On October 1st, Leaguepedia formally announced the creation of a new league in the amateur circuit, The North American Challenger Circuit. With it, 10 teams would be competing for the chance to take the lion’s share of the $35,000 prize pool. Here at Cloth5, we’ll be covering the 8 week season, highlighting what we think are the best games as they unfold over the course of the league.
During Week 1, both Team Coast and compLexity Gaming dominated the each conference with undefeated debuts. Although Team Curse managed to take a game off of COGnitive Gaming, their new roster didn’t impress and was probably one of the reasons why there was a second overhaul including the departures of mid laner Pobelter and marksman Aphromoo. Also struggling on the challenger level was LCS team Velocity who brought in Slackoh to fill the void ecco left when he quit the team in September but couldn’t exactly help deliver the best results as VES dropped 3 games in their opening week.
Infinite Odds versus compLexity Gaming
For Week 1, we’ll be examining day 4’s game featuring Infinite Odds versus compLexity Gaming. After several roster swaps, Infinite Odds finally settled on a team revolving around former Coast player Jintae and former Team Summon’s Sickoscott. Meanwhile compLexity has had the luxury of playing with the same roster since June when they added MegaZero to the top lane.
Drafting’s Do or Die
Since patch 3.12 was released, gone were the Zacs and Elises of top lane. Instead, we saw the reemergence of Jax in the top lane due to Trinity Force buffs and in hand, a new top lane meta had been created. Besides niche picks like Riven, the top lane is now a revolving door centered around three champions: Jax, Shen, and Renekton. At the Season 3 World Championships, the semifinals series between SK Telecom T1 and Najin Black Sword showcased this state of equilibrium as Jax beat out Shen and Renekton beat out Jax, leaving the narrative of Shen versus Renekton to be solved at a later date.
Excuse the troll pick, the lobby was remade with Shen in that position.
Well, in this particular game we had the chance to witness that particular matchup as during the banning phase, Infinite Odds removed Jax from the game with their 2nd ban, most likely in fear of MegaZero’s capacity to play with carry-oriented top laners such as Irelia. In response, compLexity picked Renekton as their 2nd/3rd pick leaving out Shen as the only remaining current “viable” option in the top lane.
However, aside from the war in the top lane, pr0lly pulled out an EU favorite as he picked up Kassadin to lane against Orianna and chose Teleport as one of his Summoner spells in true xPeke fashion. On paper, Infinite Odds had an excellent lockdown team with 4 of their champions having the ability to lockdown the Rift Walker and focus fire him down.
Global Pressure in Whose Hands?
A rare occurrence this game: a lapse in judgement by compLexity
After Lautemortis gave first blood to Caitlyn in the first two minutes, the game had quietly calmed down into a general farm fest with players hoping to hit 6 as soon as possible to begin more frequent rotations and engage in teamfights with full capacity. However, Infinite Odds took to locking their sights on pr0lly’s Kassadin as they understood that with just a kill or two, the champion could snowball into one of their worst nightmares. Thus, Sickoscott’s first Assault and Battery ultimate was used on Kassadin in order to secure a kill. Although their initial thoughts were correct in that they needed to shut down, they may have overlooked a fact when they decided to do Dragon: Kassadin chose Teleport as his Summoner spell. When Infinite Odds attempted to rush the dragon, a ward placed square in the middle of the pit allowed pr0lly to enter midfight but in the top lane, Renekton disallowed Shen from even teleporting into the teamfight due to his stun. In the end, yes Infinite Odds took the engagement away with a Dragon but on the other hand, pr0lly was given a kill to begin his snowball.
Although this first skirmish still resulted in a gold advantage for Infinite Odds, this fight showcased some of the genius of compLexity’s team composition. In the top lane, yes it’s a given fact that Renekton can simply use his Ruthless Predator to stun Shen as he attempts to Stand United. In fact, MegaZero happened to stun Shen two times during the extended laning phase, 50% of the ultimate frequency during this game. But the most intriguing fact that followed through this matchup was MegaZero’s build choice. Instead of opting for the tankier build consisting of a Sunfire Cape rush, he instead opted for a Ravenous Hydra. Even though Renekton already has innate waveclear in his kit, the ability to sustain more, and an auto attack reset, this item choice made Shen’s life a living hell. Due to the increased waveclear, Shen could simply not keep up with Renekton as the immense waveclear kept shoving him back and disallowed any split pushing from the side of Infinite Odds. As a result, Infinite Odds had to rely on Vi and Zyra picks but Caitlyn and Orianna don’t necessarily provide front-end burst damage so the results were mixed. In the end, it just wasn’t as 4v4s stayed 4v4s without Shen teleports, they went in favor of compLexity.
When you give a Kassadin a kill…
The Kassadin was also an incredible pick for this particular team composition coupled along with Teleport. Taking a page out from Fnatic’s book, pr0lly paid attention to the words on paper and wonderfully executed teamfight after teamfight by singling out key targets after they were hit unprepared by Teleport. Additionally, the CC lockup provided by Leona meant that Kassadin was free to roam the backlines and disable important carries from outputting their full damage potential.
Although Infinite Odds usually came out a kill or two down in these constant engagements, compLexity had the added advantage of being able to pick up objectives immediately after these skirmishes. Similar to OMG at the World Championships, their tendency to skirmish near key objectives proved fruitful as compLexity simply outpaced their opponents in item builds. Eventually after a trio of aces, compLexity won out their game against Infinite Odds with ease at the 29 minute mark.
If compLexity continues to cruise through the NACL as they have been this past week, they could very well find themselves as LCS participants in the next split. With key challenger teams and regulated LCS teams being subject to constant roster changes and swaps, they’re one of the more established teams along with Coast who have had the ability to allow their players to create some sense of synergy that only comes along when you spend an extended length of time together. Keep tuning into this series as the NACL progresses these next 7 weeks and be sure to catch the games Monday through Friday at 4PM PST at their Twitch or Azubu channel!