With the last series of the NZGC regular season, and so much at stake, this was bound to be one of the most exciting series so far in the short history of being played at the Hexedome.
If Tigereye can win 2-0, they will claim the second seed (and a chance to play King V). If 2EZ wins 2-0, they can claim the second seed. A 2-1 series win by Tigereye would allow Villains to sneak in as the second seed.
Let’s jump right into game one of this epic series.
2EZ vs Tigereye – Game One
2EZ picked up Zac in the jungle, a rare choice but one that’s growing in popularity worldwide. Blinky and x5 Cupcake went with Lucian and Karma respectively, providing a ton of early burst damage capability.
Tigereye countered by grabbing Gangplank in the top lane and a safer bottom lane with Jhin and Tahm Kench.
A great Gangplank ultimate at 7:30 in bottom lane started the action. OKtiger would pick up first blood, followed by the double kill on Karma.
The action continued a few minutes later, with Tigereye diving bottom lane once again. They thought they had the advantage with four members bottom side, but 2EZ collapsed just in time. The fight ended up going 4-1 in favor of 2EZ.
Poor communication by 2EZ left jakattack all alone after teleporting mid lane, giving up mid lane tier 1 tower as a result.
The teams continued to trade kills throughout the early part of the game. After trading 2 kills for 1 death in 19 minutes, Tigereye found themselves up 5k gold thanks to their tower and CS lead.
An Infernal Drake at 22 minutes really broke open the game for Tigereye. While 2EZ was able to steal it away, it was Tigereye that came away with a near ace.
Another lack of communication 25 minutes in the game left jakattack once again teleporting into a throng of Tigereye players as they peeled off Baron. After picking up a few more kills, Tigereye was up 15-8 with a commanding 7k gold lead.
The game was essentially over after a great Baron play at 28 minutes by Tigereye. A huge push up mid three minutes later netted Tigereye four kills and the game one win.
2EZ vs Tigereye – Game Two
2EZ ran back essentially the same team comp in game two. Zac was once again the pick in the jungle, and the high damage threat of Cassiopeia was the mid lane call for Arkael. Since Gangplank was banned, jakattack was taking the ever popular Gnar in the top lane.
Where to begin with Tigereye’s pick phase! Bomi grabbed the mechanically demanding Lee Sin. With Jhin banned, OKTiger went with Jinx. Artaphernes again grabbed Aurien Sol in the mid lane.
2EZ was so close to getting first blood, but rarefiction was able to escape with just a sliver of health. Bomi then came in to pop Rin Touyama’s passive, cleaning up the first blood as rarefiction teleported back into lane.
This game was super close at 10 minutes, with both teams tied at 2 kills a piece and 15k gold each. A minute later 2EZ started what looked like an easy dragon, but a great ultimate by Jinx popped Zac’s passive, allowing OKtiger to come in and get the kill while Tigereye stole the dragon.
The action really started picking up after 20 minutes in the game (both teams were tied at three kills each and around 30k gold to this point). An excellent ult by x5 Cupcake on Bard netted 2EZ a kill on rarefiction. From there, the team was able to trade 3-1 and grab a mid turret, finally opening up a 3k gold lead.
After Rin Touyama overstayed in the river and died, it looked like 2EZ may squander their new found lead. With 2EZ’s jungler down, Tigereye immediately turned towards Baron. That’s when jakattack landed yet another crucial Gnar ultimate. 2EZ turned the fight in their favor, going up 11-5.
Another failed teamfight by Tigereye just a few minutes later netted Blinky a quadrakill on Sivir (now 6-0-10) and 2EZ an ace. Now up 16-6, Baron was an easy objective on their way to a game two victory.
With the series now tied at one game a piece, we were headed to a decisive game three!
2EZ vs Tigereye – Game Three
For 2EZ, jakattack was playing his third different champion in as many games, this time Shen. Rin Touyama was really liking the potential of Zac, once again picking him in the Jungle. After Blinky’s dominating performance on Sivir, why not bring it back for game three?
Tigereye was perfectly content with running rarefiction on Mao’kai once again. Artaphernes took out the ever popular Yasuo in the mid lane. Meanwhile, OKtiger was back on jinx (with Broler on Nami this game).
The big surprise was Nidalee getting through pick and ban phase (and Bomi gladly picking her up for Tigereye).
First blood went over pretty quickly once again. This was set up in the bottom lane after a great gank by Rin Touyama just 3:30 into the game.
Game three was setting up much like game two, with both teams content on farming up early. A few kills were traded by both teams, but the game was once again tied in gold at 10 minutes. And just like in game two, chaos soon broke out.
Another great dive by Rin Touyama on Zac netted Blinky a double kill. Then the outplays happened.
Tigereye responded by taking mid turret, only for Rin Touyama and Cupcake to come ulting in. Artaphernes and Bomi were ready though, and they quickly took down Cupcake and popped Zac’s passive. After an attempted teleport by jakattack to save Rin Touyama’s life, both players would go down to give Tigereye three kills and put them right back into this game.
A failed attempt to dive the top lane turret gave Tigereye another 3 kills. 2EZ was playing uneasy, and Tigereye was just looking for that crack to break the game in their favor. That play happened just 18 minutes into the game.
After catching Rin Touyama out in the mid lane (who had a really good game up to this point), Tigereye was able to push down mid, claiming two more kills, three consecutive mid lane turrets, and the inhibitor. If that’s not one of the most back breaking, demoralizing series of events, I don’t know what is.
It was desperation mode for 2EZ, and they knew it. With super minions pushing into their base, 2EZ had to decide to defend top turret or try and make a play. While they were able to kill rarefiction, they lost two members in the process.
Tigereye made sure not to show any cracks in their demanding lead, starving 2EZ of resources and just methodically taking out their defensive structures. An OKtiger quadrakill and a Baron later, Tigereye came out victorious, winning the series in dominating fashion.
This was the first three game series at the Hexedome, and what a thriller it was. With the Tigereye win, Villains will now advance to take on King V, and a chance at defending their crown.