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Road to Worlds: Brazil & the Lyon Tamers
Until this past weekend, nothing had been decided in the International Wildcard match between representatives of Brazil and Latin America. First, Riot announced that the match would be a Best of 5, and would take place alongside the semifinals and finals of the North American LCS Playoffs at PAX Prime in Seattle, Washington. The two teams would come from the Brazilian Regional Finals, and the Buenos Aires leg of the Copa Latinoamerica. Copa Latinoamerica began and completed this past weekend, and Brazil’s tournament played everything except the Final match, which will happen Saturday, July 26th.

The journey to Buenos Aires, and the Latin American Regional Final

Latin America is represented by PEX e-Sports. The South American team had a long road to travel during the tournament. Four teams are chosen from national qualifiers in Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina. The final two teams come from the Northern and Southern Circuit of Legends. To win the Circuit of Legends takes two steps. First a team needed to have won one of four weekly qualifiers, and then defeat the other winners in a 4-team Best of 3 bracket. PEX Gaming fought through both stages, and reached the Copa after a tense 2-1 Finals win over Furious Gaming.

In the Copa Latinoamerica, the 6 teams were divided into two groups of three teams. PEX would be matched against Argentine team Isurus Gaming, and Chile’s qualifier, the Renegades of Hell. Surprisingly, neither proved to be much competition, and PEX dominated the group, cruising to a 4-0 group record, and a trip to Argentina to compete in the offline championship.

PEX Team Photo.png

PEX Team Photo Source: Facebook

PEX’s semifinal opponent was Tesla Gaming, the Circuit of Legends winner from Latin America North and Group A runner-up. The Best of 3 was defined by PEX’s ability to shut down Gragas in the top lane. Top laner Mantarraya used Lulu and Karma to hold Gragas to a KDA of 1.25 (4/9/8) over the 2 game series, while mid-laner Uri and AD-carry Megajp combined for more kills (29) than Tesla had as a team (19) over the two games. PEX advanced in an easy 2-0 sweep and moved on to face the Mexican champion and tournament favorite, Lyon Gaming in the finals. There was a little added spice to this match, as PEX’s Uri had spent almost a year as the mid-laner for Lyon Gaming.

Lyon Gaming instantly moved to ban PEX’s dominant champions, taking out FraGioRlz’s Lee SinSquare.png Lee Sin (9/3/21, 10 KDA in 2 games) and Uri’s Yasuo (17/4/18, 8.75 KDA in 2 games). But a penalty incurred in their semifinal left them without a third ban, and PEX did a masterful job of changing strategies. PEX shifted to a very familiar Korean team comp, pairing Gragas and Braum up front with the combo of RengarSquare.png Rengar and OriannaSquare.png Orianna alongside Jinx, giving them both initial burst as well as plenty of disengage. The game was even early, with several skirmishes, but opened up when a 4-man Lyon, after pushing deep to pick Braum, were hit by a perfect Shockwave and Glacial Fissure The massive AoE slow let the rest of PEX clean up all four kills, with 3 going to Megajp’s JinxSquare.png Jinx (after he was down forty minions in lane), and Uri stealing the quadra-kill with a late Command:Attack. PEX went on to take eight of the last nine kills en route to a convincing win.

After a Game 2 where nothing seemed to go right for PEX, it all came down to a deciding third and final game to see who would be going to PAX Prime. Lyon Gaming chose to ban LuluSquare.png Lulu, YasuoSquare.png Yasuo, and RengarSquare.png Rengar, and first-pick Gragas, taking away four contested picks. but that left PEX’s Lee Sin open, as well as Braum. When Orianna went to Lyon, PEX rounded out their comp with Shyvana, Corki, and Ryze.

Again Lyon Gaming pulled out to an early lead, with CS leads in all three lanes, pulling out to a three thousand gold lead just after fifteen minutes. PEX stayed patient, even as the gold lead stretched to over five thousand, having faith that CorkiSquare.png Corki and Ryze would hit their power spikes even though Corki was down over seventy cs to Lyon’s CaitlynSquare.png Caitlyn. And then, at twenty-five minutes, Lyon gave PEX the opportunity they needed to seize control of the game.

With all five PEX members alive and in the area around the baron pit, Lyon’s Elise and Caitlyn tried to 2-man baron, with OriannaSquare.png Orianna, Gragas, and Nami running interference. Eventually the three were pushed back, and when Braum flashed in and ulted, EliseSquare.png Elise panicked and used her smite too early, giving FraGioRlz a perfect chance to steal Baron Nashor, and he converted. PEX went on with baron buff to take two towers and a dragon, and just when the baron was about to respawn, Gragas dove in after RyzeSquare.png Ryze, letting ShyvanaSquare.png Shyvana teleport in from behind. Lyon went in trying to help Gragas disengage, but PEX picked off both Caitlyn and Elise, giving them a free second baron, and for the first time in the match, the gold lead.

PEX continued pressing, and in the seven minutes after the second baron, the gold lead had ballooned to almost eight thousand gold as PEX took two more towers and an inhibitor. Lyon Gaming knew the game was slipping away from them, and after chasing PEX out of their base, the Mexican team rushed to try and grab a desperation baron. PEX sniffed it out, and a clutch BraumSquare.png Braum ult across all five Lyon members let PEX pick up four clean kills. Instead of going for a third baron, PEX immediately charged down mid, aiming for the nexus, and forcing the surrender from Lyon. PEX won the series 2-1, and will face the winner of the Brazilian Regional Finals.

From Buenos Aires to Sao Paulo, and the Brazilian Regional Final

Speaking of Brazil, the Regional Final also began with on July 19th, with eight teams in a single elimination bracket. Keyd Stars, PaiN Gaming, KaBuM! and CNBe-Sports all qualified with their 1st through 4th place finish respectively in the Brazilian Champions League, and each were paired against one of four teams that came from qualifiers. Keyd Stars came in as the top seed and overwhelming favorites, compiling a 19-3 record in the Champions League regular season and playoffs, before taking a closely contested 3-2 Finals win over paiN. The Stars began their quest to Seattle by brushing aside Ban Karma Gaming in a 2-0 sweep. In fact, all four Champions League teams advanced without much issue, with only KaBuM! dropping a game to qualifier and Champions League 5th place Team AWP. In the semifinals, PaiN would play CNB, and Keyd Stars would play KaBuM!.

Even though Keyd Stars had won all six Champions League meetings with KaBuM!, including two playoff games, the first game was a long drawn-out grind. By the forty-fifth minute mark, there had only been five kills, though Keyd Stars had taken all six outer turrets, and held a seven thousand gold lead.But then the fireworks began. As Keyd’s Renekton was split pushing bottom, and Elise cleared out vision at baron, KaBuM grouped as five and rushed down mid lane, taking the base turret and inhibitor. Renekton teleported back, while Nami tried to hold them in base with a Tidal Wave. After a crazy team fight that lasted more than thirty seconds, KaBuM won a 4-for-3 and began to push down the Nexus turrets with only Orianna and Morgana against Keyd Stars’s Nami. Despite harass from NamiSquare.png Nami, KaBuM took down both nexus turrets, and were within one thousand HP of winning when Keyd Stars respawned and fought them off.

KaBuM Team Photo.jpg

KaBuM! Team Photo

Source: Facebook

The game continued past the hour mark, and again Keyd kept a steady push, taking an inhibitor from KaBuM!. But they pushed for too long, a flash into a max range ult from KaBuM’s Vi secured Tristana. Without their major damage dealer, Keyd had to hastily retreat to defend their nexus. KaBuM won the ensuing teamfight and secured an incredible comeback, taking down the nexus to go one game up on the pre-tournament favorite.

Keyd started Game 2 the same way they started Game 1, slowly stretching out a gold lead of over four thousand. However, KaBuM! were much more eager to skirmish, and they were winning them. A two-for-one after a Keyd Stars dragon let KaBuM take bottom outer tower, and a second two-for-one gave them middle inner tower and a dragon of their own. When Keyd’s GragasSquare.png Gragas tried to answer by taking a mid lane tower, KaBuM collapsed and killed him with no loss. In all three fights, kills were secured by key Aqua Prisons from KaBuM’s support Dans1.

The next fight, KaBuM!’s Jarvan appeared to overcommit to picking off Gragas, which pulled in Keyd Stars’s Lucian. KaBuM were there to turn the fight, and a Tidal Wave plus a Jarvan flag and drag picked off the LucianSquare.png Lucian, starting the chasedown. Twitch sniped Elise, and the team pushed the middle inhibitor tower. Gragas had disengaged from the original dice and was pressuring them from behind with barrels, but what that actually did was keep KaBuM attacking the tower and juggling aggro, and when Twisted Fate crept too close, Jarvan pounced, forcing a Zhonya’s giving them a third kill, with TwitchSquare.png Twitch chasing down Gragas for a fourth and the inhibitor. It was KaBuM’s turn to apply the pressure, and they did so perfectly, only giving up four kills while pickup up eight of their own, grinding down objectives and closing out the game, upsetting Keyd Stars 2-0 and advancing to the Grand Final, where either CNB or paiN Gaming would meet them.

PaiN Gaming and CNB had split their regular season series 2-2 in Champions League, but paiN won their playoff series 2-0. The second seed hit the ground running, which initiated a lane swap landing two swift kills on paiN’s Jungler SirT, on Jarvan IVSquare.png Jarvan IV. The lane swap was a huge success, and paiN were able to take both top and bottom towers without surrendering either of theirs, forcing CNB to answer the swap by sending their duo top. PaiN never stopped applying pressure, constantly warding deep into CNB’s jungle, and by twenty-eight minutes they had taken their first baron and were sitting on a gold lead of over twelve thousand. Within another five minutes, the game was over, and paiN were one game away from the Grand Final.

CNB were more careful in picks and bans, seizing a Lucian/Leona lane that would allow them to bully JinxSquare.png Jinx/ThreshSquare.png Thresh a little. This time it was CNB’s turn to pick up an early kill, as an Evelynn gank from CNB’s Revolta let Manajj pick up a kill onto Lucian. The action seemed to die down until a crazy 3-for-3 trade that saw kills in top and bottom. CNB focused on denying Orianna blue buff, and picked up a kill in the jungle contesting paiN Gaming’s blue. The action seemed to die down, a few kills traded back and forth before a computer issue for CNB resulted in a forty-five minute pause. After the pause, paiN denied CNB’s first attempt to end the game. But CNB simply went for baron, however when paiN’s SirT couldn’t steal the baron from Evelynn, CNB cleaned up three kills and pushed down the nexus, setting up Game 3.

In the third and deciding game, paiN’s Kog’Maw/Morgana looked for the blue side lane swap again, but CNB anticipated it and also sent Twitch/Nami top. It looked like a large tactical advantage for CNB. They held a cs lead throughout laning phase, but paiN’s Olleh on Morgana roamed mid a few times, allowing Kog’Maw to recieve more experience and hit level 6 first despite the farm deficit.

The game progressed past twelve minutes with no blood spilt, until Jarvan and Lulu headed top for CNB. With Flash down on Kog’Maw, Jarvan flagged and dragged Morgana, baiting out the spell shield before ulting Kog’Maw, letting his team clean up the trapped AD carry. Neither team could pick up a tower from the engage, and the game continued its slow pace. Finally, at around seventeen minutes, it sprang to life, with paiN’s 3-man invade of red buff caught out by Jarvan, and Nami. An Aqua Prison allowed mid Yasuo to ult in, secure two kills, with Jarvan cleaning up the third.

It was exactly the burst of gold CNB needed, and soon they began to gain control of the map. A poorly contested dragon by paiN gave Yasuo another double kill, in which CNB began to pull away, turning their focus to setting up baron. CNB could not find an engage, and when they tried to force down mid, a Nami Tidal Wave let the rest of CNB chase down paiN, with Yasuo picking up a third consecutive double to go to 6/0/2, with CNB taking middle inhibitor.

CNB Team Photo.jpg

CNB Team Photo


Another dagger came moments later. When paiN had respawned, they attempted to rush down and take a baron without CNB noticing. Jarvan was the first to sniff it out, and when Nami sent Tidal Wave through the pit, Yasuo jumped on paiN’s Lee Sin, killing him before he could use Smite, and letting Nami secure baron with an auto-attack. CNB took down a second inhibitor in top lane, but paiN was starting to reach their late game point with Mundo and Orianna.

A brilliant Command: Shockwave on everyone but Yasuo pushed CNB out the first time they tried to end, and a poorly organized attempt to contest baron handed paiN four more kills. However, instead of taking baron, paiN had to recall to defend against multiple lanes of super minions, losing their first nexus tower. A second attempt to end resulted in Yasuo split-pushing and being collapsed on while his team secured baron.

Finally, on the third attempt and with Yasuo alive again, Yasuo was hit by a Dark Binding, which pulled Dr. MundoSquare.png Dr. Mundo and Kog'MawSquare.png Kog'Maw closer to try and put some damage on him. Jarvan hit a clutch max-range combo on the Kog’Maw, and the Yasuo dove in, deleting him from the map. Mundo tried to pull the super minions out of the base, but Yasuo popped his Guardian Angel, Lulu chased him down to finish the job. With only two members of paiN up, CNB stormed in, taking down the final nexus turret, and the nexus. After forty-five hard-fought minutes, CNB will meet KaBuM! on July 26th to see which team plays PEX at PAX Prime’s International Wildcard next month.

Whichever two teams make it to PAX, we can expect a very interesting tactical matchup, with each team having different champion priorities. With PEX demonstrating they are likely the most flexible team of the three in terms of strategy, they are most likely the slight favorites. On the other hand, that didn’t seem to bother either Brazilian team much.

Published on 23. Jul 2014
Written by David "ReleaseTheAnts" Stull - @GkStull
Edited by David "TheDynasty" Spitler - @TheDynastyLoL and Luke "Music Skypirate" Ray - @MusicSkypirate