This last season of the Black Monster Cup kicked off with a bang. With a new tournament structure consisting of a GSL format where four groups and the top two teams advance from the playoffs as well as the top Challenger scene teams in attendance, this season was bound to be a good one.
The group stages featured some great matches, with SK Gaming Prime dominating group A by winning two straight games while OhMyAGosh lost their first match to Ahraz eSports only to later beat them to qualify. Group B, which featured three Challenger Series teams in the form of Unicorns of Love, H2k Gamers and Ninjas in Pyjamas, was the undeniably group of death, with UoL making quick work of NiP and H2k to advance as first seed and H2k steamrolling NiP. The more balanced Group C saw Virtus.Pro emerging as top seed and eSuba taking second, while in Group D returning champion Return reason lost to newcomers Team Salsa in the winners bracket but managed to pick up the victory against RoX.KIS to qualify for the playoffs in the second seed.
Quarterfinals: Over before they began?
The quarterfinals kicked off with SK Gaming Prime gaining a fairly easy 2-0 over the reigning champions Reason Gaming. Unfortunately, H2k Gamers were unable to participate in the playoffs, so the third place team out of Group B Ninjas in Pyjamas filled their spot. NiP took a 2-0 victory over Virtus.Pro to advance through. The third quarterfinal was Unicorns of Love up against eSuba, which turned out to be a 2-0 as well. Last but not least was OhMyAGosh versus Team Salsa, which was one of the closest series of the quarterfinals. However, Team Salsa with two ex-LCS players in form of Babeta and Samux were able to prevail and win 2-0.
Sadly, the quarterfinals were mostly one-sided games, but that just meant that that semifinals were going to be amazing.
Semifinals: Scores to be settled
The semifinals saw a rematch - but more importantly a grudge match - between SK Gaming Prime and Ninjas in Pyjamas. This was a rematch from the EU Challenger Series Playoffs just a few weeks earlier, with SKP having emerged as the victors with a 2-1 win to secure a spot into the Spring Promotion Tournament of 2015.
In game one, NiP took an early 2-0 lead with a nice gank on top lane. However, on the back of Zytan and Zyzz SK Prime were able to secure their first game win. NiP fought back hard in game two, taking it to game three to resemble the series they had just a few weeks prior. However, in game three Zyzz again really shone brightly to help carry his team to a victory and the grand finals.
This left us with Unicorns of Love up against newcomers Team Salsa. UoL finished in third place last season, and were looking to do better than that in this one. PowerOfEvil and Vardags really got to shine through for their team in this series, carrying them to a 2-1 victory to accomplish a minimum of a second place win.
Grand finals: A Prime victory
The grand finals saw SK Gaming Prime go up against Unicorns of Love and in a very interesting series. In game one, we got to see PowerOfEvil play Diana for the first time in the season. Zyzz and Zytan, meanwhile, had already proved earlier in the season that they could put their team on their backs and proved this yet again: Zyzz finished game one with a 13/2/8 score while Zytan finished at 0/1/26. One other major player for SKP’s side was SmittyJ, who had a very strong early start and finished at 8/1/10.
Game two finally allowed PowerOfEvil to play like he had earlier in the season, securing Fizz and with him a 13/2/9 scoreline. Vardags also helped to secure a game three by going 9/1/12 on Corki.
With this, the finals came down to a single match between these two LCS promo teams, with PowerOfEvil once again able to secure Fizz. This time, however, Kha'Zix was let through the banning phase and Kikis was able to snatch him up. With a final ace coming through for SKP’s side without them losing a single man, on the backs of the bug (10/3/12) and Lucian (10/4/7) SKP secured their victory and title of champion of the Black Monster Cup Fall Season!
With the third season of the Black Monster Cup now concluded and Unicorns of Love on their way to the LCS, we can now look forward to the winter qualifiers, which will be beginning in the new few weeks - stay tuned for more coverage!
If you fancy your chances and want to test your skills against some of the best teams in Europe, head over to the Black Monster Cup website and sign up! Who knows - maybe I’ll be seeing your team at the groups stages in a month’s time!
See you then!