Marta J. October 8, 2019
The final series of the League of Legends 2019 World Championship play-ins was contested by the LCL’s Unicorns of Love and the LEC’s Splyce.
The European favorites came out on top of the series with a 3-2 score, but the Unicorns didn't go down without a fight.
Unicorns open series against Splyce with a comeback win
The first game of the series seemed to be well in hand for Splyce. First blood with a gank under Unicorns’ top lane tower was followed by more kills and a 3,000 gold lead within the first ten minutes of the game.
Unicorns regained confidence going into the mid-game, although it didn’t seem like the team had any chance of making up the difference against Splyce. The LEC third seed maintained the gold lead, killed three dragons, and eventually took the Baron.
For a long while UoL did little more than hold Splyce back, but the game swung hard around the 25-minute mark. Unicorns won a fight for the second Baron, pushed through Splyce’s mid and bot lane, and scaled into the late-game as a stronger team.
This allowed them to take a stunning comeback win to open the series.
Splyce strikes back to even the score
Unicorns started the second game strong, with Nihat “Innaxe” Aliev taking first blood with Ashe, asserting himself in the mid lane, and killing a Dragon. Despite that success, Splyce kept step with UoL in terms of gold through the early game.
Throughout the mid-game, Splyce started fighting back. The team took down Unicorns in a fight and killed the Rift Herald. That allowed Splyce to gain a 5,000 gold lead by 20 minutes, almost entirely from kills and objectives. Unicorns tried to come back by flanking Splyce in the bottom lane, but a costly skill shot miss from Innaxe cost them yet another fight.
Unicorns was forced to go all-in on a fight for Baron, but Splyce wasn’t backing down. Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup’s Kai’Sa wiped out Unicorns, leading to a win that tied the series.
Splyce dominate Unicorns of Love in game three
The picks and bans phase saw Splyce first pick Xayah, to which Unicorns answered with a Caitlyn-Morgana bot lane duo, but it wasn’t enough to save them the game.
Splyce started by evading Unicorns’ blue buff, and rotated towards the bot lane soon after to take first blood. Unicorns tried to answer by diving Splyce’s top tower, but only added more fuel to the fire for Splyce.
Those early game successes for Splyce carried them through the rest of the game.
Splyce had an answer to every action Unicorns tried to take. Going into the mid-game, the team was up 3-1 in towers, and had earned 40,000 gold in just 20 minutes. Splyce played overly confident at that point, but the gold lead prevented UoL from ever punishing them.
Splyce dominated the game on every level, and advanced to match point as a result.
Unicorns of Love brings things to game five
The teams went back and forth for an even start to the fourth game. As Unicorns took down the top and mid towers, Splyce took out the Dragon and the bottom tower. It didn't take long before Unicorns began pressuring the bottom inhibitor tower, thanks to a strong start from Lev “Nomanz“ Yakshin and his Qiyana.
Even though Unicorns had strong vision control around Baron, Kirill "AHaHaCiK" Skvortsov used Smite too early which allowed Splyce to steal the buff. That small victory didn't help Splyce win the following teamfight, but it helped to drag the game out a bit.
Eventually, Unicorns took down Splyce’s bot and mid lane inhibitors, which was followed by another early Smite on Baron from AHaHaCiK, and another steal from Splyce. Two Baron steals wasn't enough to steal the game, though. AHaHaCiK redeemed himself from there with big plays using Karthus’ Requiem to give Unicorns the win and force game five.
Splyce secures a spot at the main event by eliminating Unicorns 3-2
The deciding game of the series started with Unicorns taking first blood top, which Splyce answered with a kill mid. No team managed to assert itself economically, but Unicorns dealt more damage to tower plating.
The close match-up continued through the mid-game until Splyce started bottling up Unicorns with a siege. Unicorns’ bot laner Innaxe started solo attacking the Baron 24 minutes into the game, and by the time Splyce reacted, UoL took Baron by sacrificing two kills.
However, this wasn’t enough to scare away Splyce. They continued building their lead by taking down towers, and eventually zoning Unicorns away from the second Baron. Unicorns had an answer again when they broke Splyce’s formation under their inhibitor tower and won a teamfight.
But one fight wasn’t enough to take control out of Splyce’s hands. After taking the Elder Dragon and forcing a reaction out of Unicorns of Love, Splyce won the fight they needed to eliminate Unicorns from Worlds. They won the series 3-2 and secured a spot at the main event.