Over 400 people packed into MOTAT’s Idea Collective contemporary innovative space to watch the Tigereye’s take on KingV in the New Zealand Gaming Championship Grand Finals – the culmination of a successful season.
With the NZGC championship title on the line, the winner between these two daunting giants would also claim a majority stake of the $30,000 prize pool and a trip to Los Angeles to watch the 2016 League of Legends World Championship in person at the Staples Center. The pressure could not have been any higher, and the electric crowd made sure to keep the arena energized.
NZGC Grand Finals – Game One
Game one was an extremely close, tense game that lasted almost an hour. That was how you come out and open up the NZGC Grand Finals.
First blood went to King V’s jungler, Bill, with a great flash Cocoon dive on Elise. The teams would play very conservatively for the rest of the early game, with the teams trading kills 4-4 at 20 minutes in the game.
What looked like a great gank by King V in the top lane turned into quick disaster 33 minutes in the game. Tigereye would pick up three kills on the play, going up 12-10.
Tigereye’s OKtiger had one crazy sequence of events 28 minutes in the game, picking up 2 kills on King V’s Kayo and Bill with a burn from a previous Infernal Drake. King V attempted to grab Baron a few minutes later, but Tigereye forced them mid and then chunked them down, taking Baron for themselves.
It was a war of attrition from there, with Tigereye controlling the map and systematically taking down King V’s defensive structures. 50 minutes in, Tigereye found the Ace to seal the game, going up 1-0 in this best of three series.
Flash back all the way to the first series of this season, and it was a surprising Tigereye taking game one against this very team in what was considered a massive upset. Could they rewrite their fortunes this time and win game two?
NZGC Grand Finals – Game Two
This was a must win game for King V. Could they extend this to a decisive game three?
King V had a very dynamic bottom lane duo with Karma and Lucian. Raven also took the hyper carry potential of Fiora in the top lane. Bill on Rek’sai would be the team’s only frontline champion however.
Meanwhile, Tigereye was once again going with the Tahm Kench and Jhin combo in the bottom lane.
The teams played very cautiously for the first eight minutes of the game. That’s when King V attempted dragon, only for Bill to get singled out and hand over FB to Tigereye. While Tigereye got dragon, King V picked up two kills on the back end.
The game remained close through 24 minutes. King V made a crucial mistake of overstaying on the top lane turret, giving Tigerseye four kills and the first Baron of the game.
Up 12-5 29 minutes in the game now, it was Tigereye’s map to control. A misplay by King V gave Tigereye yet another Baron. King V would sacrifice 4 members to try and defend it, with Tigereye making a great push down the middle. Just a few minutes later, it was Tigereye pushing down bottom lane and taking the win.
Tigereye are your NZGC Champions
Tigereye were considered underdogs heading into this championship, having outlasted the losers bracket to get to this point. The team’s superb support player, Broler, explained how they had grown to this moment.
“I think going through the loser’s bracket is what really saved us as a team” Broler stated, “Having so many best of threes and having so many more games to play improved us in the past month or so.”
King V were honorable in defeat, having played two outstanding games to cap a great year.
“Tigereye just outplayed us. We put in a ton of hours, a ton of effort. They just were the better team. At the end of the night, that’s all that matter.” stated King V captain, Raven, in an effort that came up just short.
This was a great season for the New Zealand Gaming Championship, with amazing play on the rift and an ever growing support base off of it. Raven went on to further explain the success of the region as whole.
“It’s been a long six weeks. It’s been a big trial for all us. We’ve really grown as a team. We’ve grown as players. It’s great in the way that we’ve grown. It’s great that we have such a great championship. This is the growth of eSports. This is what we strive for in our everyday lives. I think our performance on stage reflects that. Oceania will be a very strong region in the future.”
Expect big things from LPL moving forward and as always, checkout Letsplay.live for the latest information, schedules, and streams. Let us know how you thought the season went in the comments!