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NACL - First Day Impressions and Recap


Last Friday, the Season Three World Championships were held in Los Angeles, California, closing out a chapter of high-level competitive League of Legends play. This leaves many players and fans wondering “what’s next?” during the off-season. Thankfully, fans of the Challenger scene already have their answer.

Just before World Finals, Riot announced an official Challenger league that would feed directly into the LCS, allowing teams the chance to take a shot at achieving that pro-level dream. Previously, many Challenger leagues were held by smaller grassroots organizations. While most stayed on a small scale, drawing a modest amount of fans, this new league sponsored by Coke Zero marks Riot’s move to organize the Challenger circuit under one official banner and injecting it with some much needed visibility.

The North American Challenger League (NACL) is one of those community-driven organizations looking to feature the Challenger scene before Riot’s official season starts in early 2014. On October 7th, the NACL kicked off an 8-week season of amateur circuit goodness where teams will duke it out in two separate groups over the course of the next few months for a shot at the $35,000 prize pool. Games are streamed Monday through Thursday, from 5 PM-9PM PST. The top three teams from each group will make it to playoffs at the end of the series.

There are plenty of familiar names participating in the competition: LCS spring split runner-ups Team Coast, fan favorite compLexity, a newly reforged Curse, and, of course, Challenger royalty, ggLA, just to name a few. With such high-profile team playing, can we expect greater viewership and more interest in other Challenger series events? Will any off-season attention to the amateur scene be temporary?

Monday’s broadcast went off smoothly, despite a few tiny overlay snags. If you missed the night’s games, or don’t have time to catch up on VODs, keep reading for picks, bans, and match recaps!

If the first night’s games are any indication, this season is going to be filled to the brim with exciting Challenger series play. Be sure to tune in again tonight. To Be Determined face off against Velocity. Later, ggLA will take on Team Coast. coL will play Napkins in Disguise, and to close out the night, Infinite Odds will play Curse Academy.

GAME 1

COGnitive Gaminglogo square.png vs. Team Coastlogo square.png

COGnitive Gaming vs. Team Coast


COGnitive Gaming Bans: ZedSquare.png Zed, LeBlancSquare.png LeBlanc, RivenSquare.png Riven
Team Coast Bans: KassadinSquare.png Kassadin, EliseSquare.png Elise, OriannaSquare.png Orianna


COG Picks:
Lee SinSquare.png Lee Sin - Top - iDream
ViSquare.png Vi - Jungle - Captain Ziploc
LissandraSquare.png Lissandra - Mid - Zamphira
CorkiSquare.png Corki - AD Carry - nothinghere
SonaSquare.png Sona - Support - Valkrin

CST Picks:
ShenSquare.png Shen - Top - ZionSpartan
JarvanIVSquare.png Jarvan IV - Jungle - NintendudeX
AhriSquare.png Ahri - Mid - Shiphtur
CaitlynSquare.png Caitlyn - AD Carry - DontMashMe
ZyraSquare.png Zyra - Support - Daydreamin

Although first blood went to Coast, by ten minutes, COG were up four kills and 700 gold. Coast picked up the first dragon, and COG retaliated by taking the outer bot tower, establishing a 2k gold lead and edging ahead by mid game.

Shiphtur (AhriSquare.png Ahri) and NintendudeX (JarvanIVSquare.png Jarvan IV) secured a shutdown on Zamphira (LissandraSquare.png Lissandra), evening out gold and kills. By 17 minutes, Coast picked up the second dragon of the game, and completely evened out the gold difference.

Coast quickly pulled themselves further into the lead, taking outer and inner mid towers and creating a hefty 3k gold lead. Coast continued to drive the pace of the game with their heavy CC, assassin-style team comp, catching clean kills and punishing COG for positioning mistakes. Coast burned down the middle inhibitor with a 5k gold lead, and took the first Baron just shy of the 30-minute mark.

Later, an explosive fight at COG’s bot inhibitor ended with Coast closing on the Nexus to take the first win in the first game of the season.

GAME 2

Velocity eSportslogo square.png vs. Infinite Oddslogo square.png

Velocity eSports vs. Infinite Odds


Velocity eSports Bans: KassadinSquare.png Kassadin, ViSquare.png Vi, ThreshSquare.png Thresh
Infinite Odds Bans: ShenSquare.png Shen, EliseSquare.png Elise, GragasSquare.png Gragas


VES Picks:
RenektonSquare.png Renekton - Top - Cris
EvelynnSquare.png Evelynn - Jungle - Nk Inc
ZedSquare.png Zed - Mid - frommaplestreet
CaitlynSquare.png Caitlyn - AD Carry - Slackoh
ZyraSquare.png Zyra - Support - Evaniskus

Infinite Odds Picks:
RumbleSquare.png Rumble - Top - gmlefboy
JarvanIVSquare.png Jarvan IV - Jungle - Sunjo of Joseon
OriannaSquare.png Orianna - Mid - Lachang
EzrealSquare.png Ezreal - AD Carry - Xia0MeLocusMindy
FiddlesticksSquare.png Fiddlesticks - Support - Zaineking

Infinite Odds started the game with a late invade onto Velocity’s blue buff, and successfully stole it. A failed gank from Velocity results in a double kill for EzrealSquare.png Ezreal, who cleaned up RenektonSquare.png Renekton and EvelynnSquare.png Evelynn for first blood.

Infinite Odds looked to pick up the first dragon at 7 minutes. By 8 minutes, Infinite Odds led the game with a 2k gold lead, holding the tower, kill, and dragon advantage. Within the first 10 minutes, things didn’t look great for Velocity.

Velocity managed to trade objectives, making counter-pushes and not allowing Infinite Odds to bully them all over the map. Infinite Odds started fights, Velocity turned and cleaned up, but Infinite Odds always managed to limp away without too much lost.

Overall, Velocity put up a good fight, but Infinite Odds began to take possession of the map. Much of the game was played on Velocity’s half of the map, and Infinite Odds began to chip away at Velocity’s base. The only gains Velocity seemed to make were punishing Infinite Odds for attempting to pick off base turrets and inhibitors.

Infinite Odds finally broke down Velocity’s defenses and took the Nexus by 40 minutes.

GAME 3

CompLexity Gaminglogo square.png vs. To Be Determinedlogo square.png

compLexity Gaming vs. To Be Determined


compLexity Gaming Bans: ZedSquare.png Zed, NidaleeSquare.png Nidalee, AatroxSquare.png Aatrox
To Be Determined Bans: Lee SinSquare.png Lee Sin, GragasSquare.png Gragas, CaitlynSquare.png Caitlyn


coL Picks:
RivenSquare.png Riven - Top - MegaZero
ViSquare.png Vi - Jungle - Lautemortis
KennenSquare.png Kennen - Mid - PR0LLY
CorkiSquare.png Corki - AD Carry - Chuuper
FiddlesticksSquare.png Fiddlesticks - Support - MeyeA

To Be Determined Picks:
ZedSquare.png Zed - Top - Westrice
ZacSquare.png Zac - Jungle - heavenTime
FizzSquare.png Fizz - Mid - Arthelon
CaitlynSquare.png Caitlyn - AD Carry - ROBERTxLEE
ThreshSquare.png Thresh - Support - Bubbadub

compLexity Gaming secured themselves an early lead in kills and gold, as To Be Determined lost their outer bot turret. An overextended Chuuper went too deep in mid lane, and To Be Determined managed to kill him and counter-push, evening out the gold because of the mistake.

coL took the first dragon of the game, and secured outer top turret as well. MegaZero continued to pressure top, taking the inner top turret as well. To Be Determined were forced to set up defensive wards and wait it out as coL relentlessly tore up To Be Determined’s base, backing out only after securing bot inhibitor to heal and shop with a significant gold lead.

coL made an attempt at Baron later in the game. Despite To Be Determined’s attempt to steal and contest, coL were ready and waiting, punishing them quickly. Chuuper cleaned up for the triple kill, and coL rocketed down mid lane for a definitive win.

GAME 4

Curse Academylogo square.png vs. Gold Gaming LAlogo square.png

Curse Academy vs. ggLA


Curse Academy Bans: ZedSquare.png Zed, NidaleeSquare.png Nidalee, AatroxSquare.png Aatrox
Gold Gaming Los Angeles Bans: Lee SinSquare.png Lee Sin, GragasSquare.png Gragas, CaitlynSquare.png Caitlyn


Curse Academy Picks:
RenektonSquare.png Renekton - Top - Rhux
ViSquare.png Vi - Jungle - OneBadBrad
KassadinSquare.png Kassadin - Mid - Only Jaximus
CorkiSquare.png Corki - AD Carry - fabbbyyy
FiddlesticksSquare.png Fiddlesticks - Support - Tsatsulow

ggLA Picks:
VayneSquare.png Vayne - Top - Quas
EliseSquare.png Elise - Jungle - KOR Kez
OriannaSquare.png Orianna - Mid - Bischu
TristanaSquare.png Tristana - AD Carry - otter
ZyraSquare.png Zyra - Support - NydusHerMain


First blood went to ggLA in a bot lane skirmish, while Rhux picked up a kill onto Quas in the top lane almost simultaneously. CorkiSquare.png Corki picked up a kill on ZyraSquare.png Zyra after FiddlesticksSquare.png Fiddlesticks died, and Curse Academy looked a little bit stronger coming out of the early laning phase.

The first fifteen minutes were fairly even as the teams traded towers across the map. Over time, Curse Academy pulled ahead in kills, while ggLA were up in turrets.

The turn came at a dragon fight where ggLA cleaned the fight up and took the objective. ggLA then went on to turn a teamfight in mid, and evened out the kill difference, raising their gold. Later, they picked up the first Baron of the game.

ggLA pressed their advantage into the late game, taking down the Nexus just as Curse Academy surrendered, as the first day of the North American Challenger Series ends in a double Nexus explosion.



Written by Darlene “Aureline” Postma - @dchanimaya
Edited by Alex “amagzz” Magdaleno - @amagzz


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