The field has been narrowed down to just two teams in each division. The Winter Bash 2.0 has thrown us surprises, twists, close matches and shock stomps. Now just one Best Of 5 separates the remaining teams in Division 1 and Division 2 from taking the crown in their tier, and establishing themselves as the team to beat for the rest of the college year. Let’s have a look at the finals of the ICE Winter Bash.
Trinity Gankers (TCD) vs. MU Star Destroyer (MU)
The two teams we expected to be the finalists have delivered. However, they have had vastly different tournament experiences in their path towards the final. For Trinity, they’ve been a wrecking ball that has ran through the competition since game one of the competition. Their star-studded lineup has been peerless, and their current map score of 11-1 speaks for itself. Maynooth, on the other hand, began the tournament in lackluster fashion. They have had a treacherous trek back, but a strong tiebreaker performance allowed them to secure first place in Group B and cement themselves as powerhouses once more. Comfortably dispatching of WIT in the semi-final, they are going from strength to strength, and are riding a tidal wave of momentum as the final approaches.
Stylistically, this match may be a tale of two botlanes. Crucial areas of the map for both teams, this will be a brawl from minute one as teams attempt to set their key players up for success. Trinity are likely to have advantages in the solo lanes, with Hussey Cat and h0wl bringing more experience in their roles than their counterparts. Maynooth can match Trinity in terms of cohesion, something they struggled with early in the competition. Trinity’s semi-final against their sister team exposed their map play just a little, whereas Maynooth have been showing a watertight macro game and good teamplay in their recent performances. Maynooth may not be used to being outmuscled by opposing teams, but have the brains to match the brawn of their opponents in this final.
Key Matchup: bgscurtis vs. Blaise. Former teammates, good friends, and recently rivals at the support position. Much has been made of Blaise’s takeover of the Irish scene, as his consistent improvement on a strong entry makes him seem more and more indomitable. He has shown he can adapt to any meta, fully transitioning into the full-powered support player he was seemingly always destined to be.
Enter Curtis. Beginning as a jungler, his entry into the scene was a lot less smooth. After a pilgrimage with the northern teams over the summer and a move to the support role, bgscurtis has been quickly building his reputation as one of the strongest supports around. He may not have the savvy of his opponent yet, but do not count him out by any means. Where Blaise may stay his hand and opt for the defensive play, bgscurtis will bring the aggression and make the selfless play for his team. He and Deviilz have bested these botlane foes before, and all of bgscurtis’ work may have set him up perfectly for besting his northern rival.
Prediction: Call this as the final after Week 4 of the competition, and Trinity would have been the prediction without any hesitation. The tournament’s number 1 team on paper, their titanic presence has not been diminished at any stage of the tournament. But Maynooth have something going, hitting their stride at just the right time. In spite of their flaws, they have been excelling as a unit and showing the veteran composure that has brought their players so much past success. This one could go either way, but I’m willing to bet on the champions to take the victory once again. TCD 2-3 MU.
Trinity Forced Meme (TCD) vs. DCU Pickles (DCU)
TCD may be looking for a victory in both tiers this week, as their Division 2 team lines up against DCU in the final BO5. Both teams have been stride for stride in their separate halves of the tournament. Topping the group with little opposition. Facing a much sterner challenge in their respective semi-finals. Showing resolve and engineering comebacks to win their matches and qualify for the final. It’s strange to see how both paths have been so alike, providing us with this final clash between the tournament’s top teams.
Trinity had questions about their late game play prior to their semi-final against NUIG last week. After two long and arduous games, those doubts can be cast aside. If they cannot dominate early as they had in the group stage, they’ve shown that their way back into the game is unrelenting aggression. Willingness to fight often allows their individual skill to shine. Whether they destroy you early or outplay you late, Trinity are taking the fight to you to open up their route to victory.
DCU’s semi-final trials could be attributed to their use of a substitute, as UmbreonReaper and Witzel combined once more in the duo lane with diezombiefool’s absence. Nevertheless, their issues seemed to extend beyond that, as they struggled to set the tempo for Game 1. With their undefeated streak out the window, their return for Game 2 was the team we expected to see for this match. When they can control the pace of the game, their teamplay is unparalleled in Division 2, and their map control will bring them too many advantages for opponents to contend with.
Key Matchup: NaniLeFak vs. diezombiefool. Supports are important, right? Two players that have experienced ups and downs in the competition that will be vital in the final. NaniLeFak has been a force on the tanky, teamfighting supports. His ability to protect the team’s carries was essential in their semi-final comebacks.
However, diezombiefool may just be the perfect support player to expose his opponent. The Trinity bot lane has shown some weaknesses in the laning phase, which plays right into diezombiefool’s hands. If he can avoid the gaffes that have hindered him throughout the tournament, he may be set to give DCU some real traction in the bottom lane, and allow his team to build a strategy from there.
Prediction: Despite displaying some new weaknesses in their semi-final, Trinity also showed us some reassuring strengths. Their individual strength and strong early focus has been carrying them through the tournament so far, and now they seem to have developed other ways of dealing with opposition when needed. DCU’s teamwork serves them well, but I do not think it will serve them well enough here. They will pose the biggest challenge to Trinity of the competition, but TCD have improved to the point where they can overcome anything in Division 2. TCD 3-1 DCU.