Today the Forge of Champions promotion/relegation tournament officially begins. EJBY Brotherhood, Hybrid eSports, Looking for an Org and NVision Esports will be battling in a mini-tournament. Two teams will then go on to face Bulldog and DarkSpawn Esports in an attempt to participate in the UKLC Summer Split.
Perhaps the most interesting side competing in the promotion tournament are EJBY Brotherhood. Especially considering that they were only half an hour away from not even qualifying for the competition. Their mid laner Vixen discusses how his side’s last-minute inclusion has given the team an opportunity to qualify for the UK scene’s premier competition.
He says: “It was a very last minute team. The idea of which was discussed the day before the Open Qualifier. On the morning of Forge of Champions, I secured our top laner (Lena) and we signed up like 30 minutes before the deadline. It was a very rushed job haha. I never had plans to play in Forge of Champions and turned down multiple teams for that reason.“
The rest was history. After deciding to qualify for Forge of Champions, the side went on to win the open tournament and make their way to the Forge of Champions main event, whilst also giving them a chance to be promoted to the UKLC. To the mid laner making it to the pinnacle of British League of Legends, proves to him that the time and effort spent on the game, was worth it.
“It would mean a lot (to be promoted), I like the team I’m in now and it won’t continue if we don’t win. I want our top and support to be able to prove that they’re valuable assets to the UK scene and can have a career going forward. I also don’t want to let down the Danes we have who play an obviously major role in the team’s success and without whom our Forge run wouldn’t have even been an idea. The more I’ve thought about it, if we win I’ll handle whatever comes, the rewards are super irrelevant, performing and proving the work was worth it is everything.”
All that remains is for Brotherhood to win four games and then their dreams of making it to the UKLC will come true. However, Vixen knows that every side will be also looking at that same goal. So, going into the clash with NVision Esports the player is aware that they will need to be cautious and prepared or his side could suffer a bitter defeat.
“Personally, I suppose the word would be… tentative? I’m excited to play, but also nervous as per usual because I’m just not someone who handles performing under pressure well, especially when people are relying on me. The only solution to that is playing in these situations more and more. But, I haven’t had the chance to do that since I took time off last year,”
“Honestly we’re most afraid of the wildcards, and at the top of the wildcard or unpredictable team list, it has to be Hybrid eSports UK. Having seen their games they seem very… unruly? Like they’re a collection of good players that have come together. At least during the main stage at Forge of Champions, it didn’t seem like they had a particular style? Other than being mechanically better than their opponents. I don’t know if they’ve honed themselves as a unit by now, but whether they have or haven’t, they should be the strongest opposition for us.”
Much like ‘Looking for an Org’, Brotherhood does not have any backing by an organisation. Meaning that the side are all free agents just looking to make an impact. To many, this may signal a sign of weakness because they don’t have the luxuries that teams like Hybrid and NVision have. Yet, to Vixen he believes that this is a positive as they only have to represent themselves.
“I’d say we have to less to prove as a result of having no backing, we haven’t even been able to secure a regular coach for half the times we’ve screamed, so it’s just the players organizing and figuring out the vast majority of what our team is going to be. People expect things of us because we played well in the open qualifies, we expect things of ourselves because we know what we can do and it’s just about showing up on the day,
“Organising scrims is annoying btw shoutout to all the good managers in the scene.”
As the promotion tournament unfolds it will become clearer who the biggest threats to DarkSpawn and Bulldogs’ UKLC places will be. Can ‘Looking for an Org’ and Brotherhood prove that you don’t need any backing to prove your worth? Or will NVision and Hybrid prove too difficult for the other sides to handle?
By Tom Daniels