It all came down to this. With both Unicorns of Love and Cloud 9 having performed impressively in their respective previous matchups, neither team wanted their efforts to have been in vain. However, there could be only one Intel Extreme Masters San Jose League of Legends champion – who would come out on top of the best of five grand finals?
Game 1: Will the Unicorns live up to the hype?
- Unicorns of Love: Rumble, Zed, Soraka
- Cloud 9: Irelia, Gnar, Leblanc
- Unicorns of Love: Lucian, Braum, Lux, Kayle, Maokai
- Cloud 9: Thresh, Lee Sin, Syndra, Lissandra, Corki
After their amazing debut performance the day before, Unicorns of Love (UoL) had a lot of expectations to live up to. However, Cloud 9 (C9) did not underestimate them as their NA counterpart Team SoloMid did. The man who was behind most of UoL’s success, PowerOfEvil (PoE), took a different path in his champion selection for the first match. Instead of putting himself on a strong mid lane champion, he chose Lux and changed up his playstyle. Considering PoE dominated in both series yesterday to carry his team to the grand finals, it made little sense to play passively.
Meteos got his favored Lee Sin and the blind monk was put to use very early in the top lane to claim first blood onto an out-leveled Vizisacsi. Meteos had an easy job after that gank, because all of Cloud 9’s lanes were winning. He didn’t have to worry about kill pressure on Hai in mid, so he used the early strength of Lee Sin to starve Kikis of his own jungle. Catching Kikis backing near a ward meant C9 had dibs on the first dragon slayed at 12:05.
Every time Cloud 9 made a play and took an objective or a kill, the Unicorns tried to hard to answer back. That put them in a lot of unfavorable positions where they got collapsed on by the C9 calvary. It really felt like PowerOfEvil wasn’t even in the match, having little impact with his play on Lux. He purchased a Mejai’s Soulstealer but was always too far away and late to the action to get stacks. By the time he got a few assist stacks, the damage increase was completely overshadowed by the power Cloud 9 had built up.
It was lights out for UoL, and with their vision control Cloud 9 was able to sneak a Baron at 28 minutes. The Baron buff helped them push to take the mid and bot inner turrets. Unicorns of Love were simply not strong enough to stop the push. After taking bot inner, C9 rotated back to Mid to push for the inhibitor. They brute-forced the turret down and stomped out every member of UoL besides the tanky tree. The spawn timers were not long, but they were long enough for C9 to push for the Nexus turrets and take out the Nexus itself before Unicorns of Love could do anything about it.
Game 2: Can Poppy save the Unicorns?
- Unicorns of Love: Rumble, Zed, Lissandra
- Cloud 9: Irelia, Thresh, Gnar
- Unicorns of Love: Corki, Warwick, Morgana, LeBlanc, Poppy
- Cloud 9: Maokai, Lee Sin, Janna, Lucian, Orianna
After the poor showing in game one, Unicorns of Love had a great draft. The famed Vizisacsi Poppy came through, and PowerOfEvil got his LeBlanc. Unicorns of Love also picked up Warwick for Kikis, but they tunneled a bit early on by trying too hard for kills whenever the ultimate was up. The overextension from Kikis made first blood an easy one to pick up for a collapsing C9, saving the suppressed Meteos at 8:35. Meteos was on fire early on, and answered every one of Kikis’s ganks with a return kill and more.
Everything changed after the first teamfight of the match broke out in bot at 13:40. Vizisacsi’s trigger finger helped him teleport down faster than Balls did and he burst down Sneaky. After Sneaky was down, it made it easy for PoE and co. to take three more members of C9, ending the fight with a four for nothing. They followed that up with the first dragon of the game as well as the bot outer turret.
With gold evened out, it seemed UoL’s Warwick/LeBlanc combo was too much for Cloud 9 to handle, with the Unicorns getting multiple picks on C9 players in rotation. The Poppy split push was another strong weapon in UoL’s arsenal, and they used this to draw multiple members to stop it but Vizisacsi just Ghosted away to safety every time. Cloud 9 did wise up to the split push and dealt with it by ignoring it and taking Baron instead. Vizis teleported in to help UoL pick off a few Baron-buffed C9 members before the rest escaped.
The Unicorns started their second base race of Intel Extreme Masters at around 33 minutes, but the Baroned up C9 team’s pushing power was much stronger. Sneaky and Meteos got through to the bot inhibitor before UoL could really damage the mid inhibitor turret. The other three members of C9 stopped the ports, and in an elongated 2 minute chase fight Cloud 9 came out ahead with two turrets, an inhibitor, and four kills – UoL had to settle for a consolation prize of only two kills. At 36:40, C9 returned to UoL’s base to push on to the mid inhibitor turrets, with Balls’s Twisted Advances sticking onto PowerOfEvil for an easy kill. Hai landed a great Shockwave on Vardags, and the defense of UoL was completely broken after that. Cloud 9 joined their super minions in bot to finish off the Nexus turrets and then the Nexus in 38 minutes.
Game 3: Game point
- Unicorns of Love: Rumble, Zed, Lissandra
- Cloud 9: Irelia, Gnar, LeBlanc
- Unicorns of Love: Braum, Lucian, Syndra, Xin, Hecarim
- Cloud 9: Thresh, Lee Sin, Maokai, Corki, Fizz
Game three was game point for Cloud 9 in their matchup against the Unicorns of love. Cloud 9 played practically the same composition in the two matches leading up to this, and they locked in the same champions once more. Vizisacs, meanwhile, continued to show his large and unorthodox champion pool by picking Hecarim. PowerOfEvil did get Syndra, another aggressive champion, but even with their comfort picks Unicorns of Love had a lot of figuring out to do in a short amount of time, not seeming to know how to answer the Cloud 9 composition.
Unicorns of Love took the earliest dragon of Intel Extreme Masters with it going down at 3 minutes, but they used three champions to take it down and lost a wave or so of creeps in the process. That helped C9 get an early start in lanes that had already been in their favor the entire series. Unicorns of Love continued to show their bloodthirst when a greedy Kikis overcommitted trying to kill Hai in mid, giving up first blood in the process at 5:52.
Overextension was a theme for UoL in the entire series against C9. Cloud 9’s superior coordination with the help of LemonNation’s brilliant hooks won them multiple fights over the course of the match. It was very skirmish-heavy game that ended in 49 kills, the highest of the tournament. Even though the Unicorns came out with kills here and there, it was always a favorable trade for C9, who usually came out with more kills that transitioned to objectives. It became a little harder for Cloud 9 to close out the game towards the end, where perhaps a little fatigue from all the games they played earlier came into effect, but the Baron at 35 minutes gave them the power they needed to do so.
Cloud 9 took the remaining inner turrets from UoL before they hovered around mid waiting for a pick. After UoL push a little too far up against the Baroned up C9, LemonNation picked off Kikis with a Flash/hook. The pick let C9 take the mid inhibitor uncontested. A few minutes later at around 38:30, a fight broke out in the top side of UoL’s jungle. It turned into a massacre of the mythical beasts and Sneaky came out of the battle with a pentakill. The rest of UoL’s base fell just as easily as their champions did, and Cloud 9 swept the series with style.
Congratulations to Cloud 9, our Intel Extreme Masters San Jose champion!
Read our recap of Alliance versus Cloud 9 below:
You can also find our recaps of yesterday’s games below:
- Unicorns of Love vs. Lyon Gaming: battle of the beasts
- Cloud 9 vs. paiN Gaming: is rain forecast for paiN’s parade?
- Team SoloMid vs. Unicorns of Love: can the stampede be stopped?
Thanks for watching!
For more information about Intel Extreme Masters San Jose and the others events in the tournament series including the upcoming Intel Extreme Masters Cologne, be sure to check out the the official site.