UOL made their entrance to Worlds as exciting as they possibly could, smashing V3 in their opener and then commanding a solid victory over PSG in their second game of the day, taking control of Group B with a 2-0 record. And they did so with some creative picks, giving themselves a lot of flexibility in their future drafts, featuring Orianna in two positions now, with a last-minute flex to the bot lane in their opening game.
The most impressive - and intimidating - part of their Orianna bot lane in Game 1, however, is that they hadn't planned or practiced it prior to picking it on stage. "We actually never played Orianna on bot before, but Gadget is just good enough to first time a champion. We saw a good time to pick Kassadin so we picked it," explained UOL mid laner, Lev "Nomanz" Yakshin in a post-game interview with Jeesun Park.
Coach Fabian "Sheepy" Mallant broke down their draft and gameplan in further detail. "The main idea is they picked Karthus and Galio, so we just flexed the Orianna bot lane because Kassadin can just farm for free... The plan was pretty straight forward. They gave us time to scale, and their team comp was a pretty normal team fighting comp. So we just assassinated their backline to win the game."
And that Kassadin pick was crucial for their victory, especially considering Nomanz is a master escapist. "The enemy team kind of trolled, they didn't kill me. They left me 1v1 vs Galio so I survived and made my escape, and then with the Camille TP we turned it around to kill them," exclaimed Nomanz.
In a post-game interview with Laure Valée, Sheepy shared his confidence in UOL's potential for this Worlds. When asked if this would be the LCL's year of qualifying for the main stage, he answered "Of course! 100%... We are really happy now about the start and all eyes are set on the Group Stage. If we go down, we'll go down fighting, and I think this is the year we'll go really far.
And Nomanz is hungry and ready for a Group Stage qualification. If they do make it, UOL could slot into any group, especially if MAD and LGD fail to qualify. When asked who he'd hope to face, Nomanz looked straight to the best. "Obviously ShowMaker and Knight! But honestly, I'd like to play against every LCK and LPL mid laner, as well as the LEC. But for the LEC I'm already playing against in EUW solo queue, so it's not quite as hype as someone like Knight or ShowMaker. "
At the end of the day, UOL took sole ownership of first in the group after taking down PSG. They have two games left to determine their final seeding, but they sit in prime position to move forward to the main event.
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