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This article was written by Brendan Feely

Following on the success of the 2018 Spring Championship which saw Trinity College Dublin represent Ireland at the University Esports Masters in Tenerife, this year saw the kick off of the tournament with high hopes and expectations for the Irish College scene. This season has seen the sign up of 18 teams spread over two divisions, with the Division 1 participants fighting for the right to represent Ireland once again and knock Trinity off of their throne. After two weeks of intense competition, Division 1 has been a fight for dominance in the opening weeks with 5 teams already managing to force their competition to an equal standing.

Division 1 – Week 1

UUSU (BYE Round)

IADT Gaming vs UCD Swans:
Both opening games for IADT Gaming and UCD Swans were a landslide affair. Managing to round up both games in under 25 minutes a piece, UCD Swans engulfed IADT Gaming in rapid fire matches.
MVP – UCD’s Kevaman truly showed the power of his Bot Lane, managing to secure 19 kills in the second game, along with an average Kill Participation rate of 83.66%. this is definitely a threat to be wary of moving forward.

NetSoc Rebels vs Trinity Force:
Following in the same trend of UCD Swans, NetSoc Gaming has come into the tournament guns blazing. With only one second between the game times, NetSoc punished the current title holders Trinity Force with resounding victories and teaching them the lesson that this is a new year, and anything is possible.
Objective Control – NetSoc have shown an impressive ability to not only dominate the lanes but also dominate the map with an impressive 21 towers, 5 dragons and 1 baron over the two games. With just under an hour of gameplay, this is an impressive record and we will ensure to keep an eye on this going forward.

Maynooth Crusaders vs CIT Sprouts:
Continuing the opening week vibe, Maynooth Crusaders followed in their namesake and conquered CIT Sprouts. With a decimating three-person combo of Galio, Sivir, and Thresh, the Crusaders rolled over CIT Sprouts in an average of 30 minutes per game. Whether this combo is a one trick wonder or simply proof of their perfection remains to be seen, but the Crusaders have definitely established themselves as a threat to any team.
Point of Interest – Niall Pyke is certainly a consistent top laner. Being able to secure near identical stats in both games is a rare achievement, but definitely a beneficial one. A team who can instinctively rely on their top laner is one that will go far indeed.

TUD Apes vs. DCU Titans:
Bucking from the trend of quick victories, TUD Apes and DCU Titans managed to bring us into what was becoming the mythical 40-minute territory. In the opening game, TUD Apes set the trend with a victory over the Titans in a 41-minute game with Mezy and Bluebullberry stomping their laning phase and ensuring a victory for them. However, in round 2 the Titans came back for vengeance. In a complete reversal, the Titans managed to slowly but steadily grind down the Apes and secure themselves a victory showing that they will not go quietly into the night.

Players to Watch – These games have shown that the Bot lane duos for the Titans and Apes are the powerplay for both teams. Their victories and defeats were dependant on their performances as the rest of the teams managed to perform consistently in both games. Only time will tell if this will be the decisive factor for both teams.

Division 1 – Week 2

Trinity Force (BYE Round)

NetSoc Rebels vs UUSU Resolve:
Following their BYE Round, UUSU looked to enter the fray this week with aiming to overcome NetSoc Rebels who had shown some impressive gameplay so far. By all indications this trend of victories looked set to continue with a decisive victory by NetSoc in less than 25 minutes as they secured 21 kills in a rather one-sided affair. However, UUSU were not down for the count. They brushed off the dust of defeat and rallied in game 2. Going on an early offensive aggro style play, UUSU began to make up for their earlier lackluster performance and started to even the playing field. That isn’t to say that NetSoc went quietly. In fact, this turned into one of the closest games so far, going over 50 minutes and ending with a 41 – 38 kill score. NetSoc seemed to be playing the overall better macro game but UUSU seemed to have a knack for quick adaptability which prevented NetSoc from snowballing. UUSU also identified a chink in NetSoc’s armour with Berndog’s Kennen, who had performed 5/0/8 in game 1, ending at 2/9/16 in game 2. Despite being behind by 6k at 32 minutes, UUSU were able to hold and contest Dragons and Barons. This culminated in one final push by NetSoc at 50 minutes, taking an inhibitor for 1 death. UUSU were quick to counterattack NetSoc’s base, managing to take out 3 for 1. One last fight went poorly for NetSoc, losing 2 to 5, allowing UUSU to secure the win.

Point of Interest – NetSoc continue to show an imposing macro ability and team coordination, but UUSU’s debut showed equally remarkable adaptability. It was this ability to adjust to various attempts and strategies that enabled UUSU to secure a win after their initial defeat.

TUD Apes vs IADT Gaming:
Hoping to recover from their lackluster performance in week 1, IADT faced off against TUD this week needing to secure a win to show they are contenders for the division. Unfortunately for them, the Apes weren’t going to give them that chance. After an initial cautious game 1 as both teams fought for dominance, the TUD Apes managed to secure game 1 in a little under 30 minutes. Having got a feel for IADT’s play style, the Apes came rampaging into game 2. Giving no quarter, the Apes decimated IADT Gaming in the quickest game so far at 20:34 minutes and securing a 23 – 5 victory.

Players of Interest – Both samyoo12 and RustyTale of IADT Gaming seem to be struggling to find their footing, having selected the same champions in both games, only to see their performance fall off drastically in game 2 with the Apes having gotten a feel for their play style. This may be more due to TUD Apes ability, but it is a point IADT may need to be cautious about.

UCD Swans vs Maynooth Crusaders:
Coming from a 2-game victory in week one, both teams were anxious to test their mettle against one another and prove they are the better team. Maynooth Crusaders played an aggressive style in game one, managing to achieve an overall 22 – 15 kills in favour, along with slaying three out of four dragons in the game, but it was not meant to be. Managing to keep their coordination, UCD Swans managed to defeat the Crusaders in a surprising upset and secure the first game. Not to be dissuaded, the Maynooth Crusaders rallied their lanes and drew the Swans into a long, bloody campaign resulting in a 28 – 20 in favour of the Crusaders. Ensuring greater objective control this time, Maynooth was able to push forward and eventually secure the win with 2 barons tipping the scales in their favour.

Learning on the Fly – Maynooth Crusaders are starting to show a knack for understanding their opponents and ensuring any move on the Rift is quickly answered. For teams facing them in the future, I’d recommend securing that first game victory if you can because the Crusaders won’t let it happen in game 2, that is for sure.

DCU Titans vs CIT Sprouts:
This was definitely an interesting game to round out the week, with the Titans aiming to push higher in the rankings and the Sprouts needing to secure their first win. Titans turned this want into results, rapidly securing lane and map dominance over their counterparts in a rather one-sided affair. The Sprouts did manage to secure 11 kills in the 26-minute match, to the Titans 25, but without a single tower taken to their name, the writing was on the wall. All seemed rather set for game two, but CIT was not done yet. A surprising morale recovery and vast improvement in their overall gameplay saw the CIT Sprouts start going toe to toe with the Titans. DCU ensured that CIT paid for every bit of ground they took but the Sprouts were willing to pay the price if it meant final victory. Managing to take control of the objective game this time around, the CIT Sprouts secured 2 barons, 4 dragons and 11 towers to boot and used this to ensure a 24 -16 victory over the DCU Titans at the 37-minute mark.

Player of Note – ClickidyClank of CIT Sprouts had a disastrous first game against the Titans, with a 0/6/9 performance overall, but they managed to recover from what many would consider a tilt-able experience, to help CIT secure their first win with a 4/5/13 success in game 2. If you are looking for a weak point in CIT look somewhere else, as I certainly wouldn’t want to face someone who can recover so quickly and help stomp the opposing team.

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