The Villains and 2EZ hit the Rift last night in an epic three game duel, showcasing why both of these two teams are contenders this year. Villains are the reigning champions, with 2EZ taking the second seed as qualifiers. Both teams won their round one matchups (Villains had a 2-0 sweep over Decode, 2EZ won 2-1 vs DNA).
With 2EZ just a point behind in the standings, could they upset the defending champions? Let’s jump right into game one.
Villains vs 2EZ – Game One
2EZ went with a conventional, poke heavy composition with tons of wave clear – Viktor, Lucian, and Karma are all champions with heavy AoE wave clear. Villains responded with plenty of wave clear themselves, picking up Cassiopeia, Sivir, and Ekko to counter. With both teams comprised of mostly squishy champions, picks could also be huge.
While the Villains were able to pick up first blood with a two-man dive in the top lane, 2EZ responded immediately with a great dive in bottom lane. 2EZ’s jungler, Rin Touyama, landed the spear on Nidalee with a great Stand United ultimate follow up by Jakattack on Shen. It was Villains’ Shiny’s first death of the season as well.
With the ADCs now in the top lane, 2EZ’s cupcake and blinky camped the bush until Purcle unsuspectedly got too close, resulting in his death. From there, 2EZ picked up a series of picks. Shiny overstaying in top lane also gave 2EZ’s Blinky another solo kill.
Another pick 14 minutes in the game, this time on Villain’s bunbun, increased 2EZs lead to 6-2, as well as a gold advantage of 3k. Villains tried to respond by three man diving Rin Touyama in the mid lane, but 2EZ was there with the quick rotation, giving them another 2 kills.
Despite 2EZ’s substantial early game lead, the Villains were able to fight back and close the game to within 2k gold at 27 minutes. With 2EZ taking down another drake, Villains decided to try and sneak Baron. While Villains were able to secure it, 2EZ collapsed in time to secure three kills on the backend of it.
2EZ was able to take mid inhibitor turret, but then had to back off. Villains still had two members with Baron buff, grouping mid to try and take their advantage. Villain’s Kenste on Cassiopeia was critical for the next team fight, landing a huge ultimate on a 2EZ squad that was in terrible positioning. That play resulted in an ace for Villains and eventually the come from behind victory.
Villains vs 2EZ – Game Two
Heading into game two, we saw both teams gravitate towards similar compositions. Villains Dolfs was jungling on Hecarim this game (an early aggressive jungler) and 2EZ’s midlaner, Arkael, went with Lissandra to provide the team with more crowd control.
First blood went over quickly to Villain’s Dolfs. With Jakattack low on HP and taunted by Shen, he literally just had to walk into lane and press E for the kill. Just like in game one, 2EZ was able to respond with a beautiful spear play by Rin Touyama (playing Nidalee for the second game in a row), sniping Villains Kenste in the midlane.
Another excellent gank by Dolfs, this time in the mid lane, put him up 2-0 early in this game, not something you want to see on Hecarim. 2EZ refused to stop making plays though. Rin Touyama caught Dolfs out of position trying to take down scuttle crab. Bunbun attempted to rotate down and help his teammate, but in the end it just netted 2EZ two more kills.
After a ton of back and forth action in the early game, the kills were all tied up at 6-6, but 2EZ had outfarmed Villains to the tune of a 4k gold lead. A terrible call at drake left the Villains out of position and down, giving 2EZ a quick ace.
Now up 8k gold, 2EZ was able to easily take down Baron buff. Their map pressure and control was too much for Villains to come back from this time. Just 25 minutes into the game, 2EZ was up 19-8 with a 15k gold lead.
With one more heavily one-sided teamfight in mid lane (and a superb Gnar ultimate from jakattack), 2EZ was able to take game two and force a decisive game three.
Villains vs 2EZ – Game Three
The winner of this game would take over first place in the points standing in the very early onset of this season. 2EZ prioritized Nidalee once again with first pick (and with the way Rin Touyama has been playing on her, why not?). Villains responded by taking the Braum and Sivir combination in the bottom lane. Rounding out our pick and ban phase, 2EZ decided to grab Trundle instead of Gnar this game (Gnar went over to Villains instead).
For the third straight game, Villains grabbed first blood with an excellent dive by bunbun in the top lane. A 1-1 for trade in the bottom lane (Rin Touyama was there again to set up an excellent pick) left Villains with an early 1k gold lead.
This game was extremely back and forth until the very end. With the teams once again trading kills, Villains took Infernal Drake with 2EZ responding by taking a tier one outer turret in the top lane. A four man dive by Villains just a few minutes later gave them another kill, but once again 2EZ Arkael was there to clean up the backed for a 1-1 trade.
Vision was critical for this next play. With 2EZ spotting Villains jungler topside, the team decided to 5 man dive the bottom lane. It resulted in 3 kills for 2EZ, getting them right back in this game.
After finding two more picks in the mid and bottom lane, it was now 2EZ up 8-4 with a 3k gold lead just 19 minutes into the game. Jakattack looked to play with this new lead, aggressively pursuing the enemy team, knowing his team was there for backup. It resulted in another three kills and a drake for 2EZ.
27 minutes into the game, both teams realized Baron could ultimately decide the outcome. Heavy vision and positioning was now taking shape around this key objective. A pick on bunbun by 2EZ and a subsequent kill on Dolfs left a 3vs5 Baron fight in favor of 2EZ.
Villains tried desperately, and on multiple occasions, to interrupt 2EZs Baron attempts. While they were successful to a point, 2EZ was more than content to pick up kill after kill, extending their lead to 20-11.
Rin Touyama has been great this entire series, but he made a crucial mistake 37 minutes into this game. With 2EZ pushing down Villains top lane inhibitor turret, Rin Touyama made a greedy play that left him exposed to Gnar’s ultimate. It resulted in a domino effect that netted Villains a much needed ace (including a quadrakill for Kenste).
2EZ attempted to respond by quickly rushing to Baron, but Villains were ready. In one of the most exciting play of the season so far, bunbun and Kentse tag teamed to blow up three members of 2EZ in a matter of seconds (Kentse would get another quadrakill).
2EZ wasn’t going to give in to Villains comeback attempt, scrapping for plays and picks. With Villains now exposing the base of 2EZ, they looked to push down the final nexus turrets. Once again, we have ANOTHER nomination for top play of the season.
Kenste would be poked out the fight by Blinky, who immediately looked for the enemy ADC. He gave up his life, but was able to take Shiny down low enough for his team to clean up. After multiple Guardian Angels going down, Kenste tried to wait in the backline, looking to clean up kills, but jakattack found him and disposed of that idea.
Was this it? Were Villains finally going to lose their first series in over three years? With only bunbun up, jakattack immediately teleported to the base to try and end. An inhibitor immediately spawned though, and 2EZ had to back off to Baron instead, picking patience this time.
Villains desperately needed a team fight now, but it was 2EZ that would catch out Shiny and Purcle in the jungle. That would ultimately seal Villains fate. With death timers now over one minute, 2EZ pushed into Villains base and finally knocked down the Nexus.
For the first time in over three years, Villains are no longer the top team in the NZGC. That spot now belongs to 2EZ.