Wembley Arena conjures up images of cheering crowds and breath-taking sporting action. Week five of the European LCS took place in London for the first time last weekend, soaring well above and beyond that image, especially for young team Supa Hot Crew. Additionally, following a one-game victory and one-game loss last weekend, Yerrow was eventually announced as the new support for Supa Hot Crew this week.
However, LCS in London was a long time coming for British eSports fans, and their passion (and vuvuzelas!) for the players, British or not, was endless as 11,000 people flocked to Wembley Arena over the weekend. Some brought their Teemo and Rammus hats while others proudly donned their All-Stars t-shirts, the event having taken place at Le Zenith in Paris earlier this year.
Impaler of Supa Hot Crew could not even comprehend 11,000 people in the same room, let alone at Wembley: “It’s a really prestigious venue – at first I thought it was at the stadium and I thought ‘I’m probably not going to play, I’m too nervous!’”
Cheered on by the home crowd
The fans were there to cheer on their favorite teams, but Supa Hot Crew did seem to triumph with the help of an additional British player in their midst in the form of Yerrow. They were dubbed ‘the home team’ by fans, boosting Yerrow’s confidence as he subbed for the team’s regular support Wewillfailer. Yerrow had previously played alongside Supa Hot Crew’s jungler Impaler in Dignitas UK, where they had been taking the British eSports scene by storm.
Yerrow was confident that he and Mr Rallez would prove to be a threatening bot lane, saying:
“I’ve played with Rallez in solo queue before – I’ve played against him, I’ve played with him. For me as support, I usually adapt to any ADC – I find it quite easy to understand how the ADC plays so I can actually position and control how the lane goes. I think with Mr Rallez, I think he’s a really talented ADC, one of the best I’ve played with.”
Inside the arena, the final of the EU Challenger Series saw H2K crowned champion after taking the best of three against Ninjas in Pyjamas in only two games. For the LCS games, it was obvious that the audience was inclined towards the British players – Fredy from SK and the two young Brits from Supa Hot Crew. While SK lost to Alliance in the first LCS game of the day, the crowd were still wild with excitement after having been treated to a game between the first and second place teams of the current leader board, especially when combined with commentary from English casting duo Deman and Joe Miller.
In the other first day games, ROCCAT beat Millenium convincingly whereas Fnatic only just about defeated Gambit’s four-man sub team. The latter was a 42 minute game featuring clutch ward kills, the audience more than happy to cheer the vision removal for both teams.
Supa Hot Crew also defeated Copenhagen Wolves, and Impaler was happy that their first match in England was against them: “We’re tried and tested against [Copenhagen Wolves] – we know we can win, we know what they play and they can’t really throw us off guard because being thrown off guard in front of 11,000 people – you choke really fast. It’s really important that you play solid and standard, so that’s what our aim was going into our first game.”
But Yerrow was nervous playing in front of a massive audience for the first time. He was used to playing in front of 100 people at British LANs like Insomnia and MCM, but now he was making his debut on the LCS stage in front of thousands of fans:
“Before the game I was like ‘Impaler, feel my chest’, and he was like ‘Woah’! The first 15 minutes of the game I was like ‘I can’t mess up, I can’t play bad, I need to perform.’”
Yerrow needn’t have worried, though, because the fans adored his Nami plays, and there were countless messages of support on Reddit and Twitter complimenting his mechanics, of which he said:
“I didn’t expect it at all! I thought I would just get one or two comments but eventually I got lots of fans and followers on Twitter as well. It felt really good to perform so it kind of gives me more motivation to continue playing as well.”
Big challenges on day two
Day two had a lot of promise as the British players were set to go head-to-head in the second LCS match of the day. It definitely lived up to expectations: crowds were louder and rowdier, craving those live clashes.
Team Coast was victorious over Team LoLPro in the NA Challenger Series best of three, and ROCCAT took advantage of Gambit to give them their fourth win in a row. Millenium also secured third position in the table for the week after winning their game against Fnatic, who they were previously tied with in the same position. Additionally, Alliance defeated the Copenhagen Wolves, but the Wolves still showed they had fighting spirit, having gone toe-to-toe with the table leader until the final moments.
The atmosphere inside the arena was absolutely incredible, and the audience were lively throughout. They took full advantage of their Wembley location, chanting “Oggy Oggy Oggy”, singing the national anthem, howling in support of the Wolves, and stomping their feet along with Queen’s We Will Rock You.
All eyes in the arena were on the Battle of Britain – SK versus Supa Hot Crew. Selfie’s Nocturne mid pick was a surprise but sadly did not live up to the team’s expectations as Jesiz snowballed out of control as Kassadin.
Yerrow explains that the seemingly unorthodox Nocturne mid was because Supa Hot Crew’s analyst, LastShadow, was an expert on the Korean scene, and had seen Nocturne perform extraordinarily in OGN:
“Our comp pretty much 80% relied on Nocturne going really well and snowballing and punishing Kassadin. I think at one point he was 100 CS up so we wanted to put him on a side lane so that he could push and fight anyone 1v1 and then me and Mr Rallez would pressure top lane. But eventually when Nocturne died to Kassadin 1v1 mid, it kind of snowballed after that and then things went badly.”
Now that Yerrow has joined the Supa Hot Crew roster, he has a lot to look forward to, especially playing and practicing with his old teammate Impaler once more:
“It’s definitely nostalgic! Because back then, me and Impaler – we always assisted each other with the calls. But in Supa Hot Crew, since I was a sub, I didn’t really know how the calls worked or who made the calls, so didn’t really speak up that much. I think if I had played with Supa Hot Crew more, it could have gone better, especially losing to SK – we could have been a bit more practiced with our comp and the Nocturne mid. I felt like we actually could have won but we just needed more practice.”
What’s next for Supa Hot Crew?
Impaler knows that there’s still a lot of hard work to go into Supa Hot Crew if they are to qualify for World’s at the end of this split. It’s even more true now that they have new support Yerrow, who may have a lot to get used to:
“The LCS is just much more competitive. You have to be willing to practice for the majority of the day. Not just that, you have to watch replays, you have to watch international games, you have to be completely up-to-date with all the information you can get.
You need to be committed to improving because you can always play [the game] but until you find all your small mistakes and start improving on them, you will never get good enough to go against international teams – and that’s what Supa Hot Crew’s aim is. We want to get good enough to go to World’s and not lose every game!”
And what have they enjoyed about their short return to England? “The good food,” says Impaler. “I’m also going to restock on teabags because I’ve almost run out,” he adds, laughing.
Week six of the LCS kicks off today at 12:00 CEST – tune in at lolesports.com!
All photos, including header image, courtesy of Jack McQuone.