One of this past weekend's League of Legends championship series games shocked fans thanks to the arrival of a hero character who hasn't shown his hideously mutated face in the eSports scene in quite some time: Urgot. Even more unexpected was the way he carried his team to a resounding victory.
League of Legends pro teams Team Solomid (TSM) and Gravity faced off this past Saturday, March 21st. While there wasn't a clear expected winner before the game, the real surprise came moments before the match started when Gravity's mid-lane player Keane selected Urgot of all available champions. Even the game's commentators were...amused by the pick, to say the least:
None of this skepticism had to do with Keane's abilities as a League player, mind you. Rather, it all had to do with people's doubts about Urgot. While Keane is well-known for playing the champion in the relatively casual non-championship matches he streams on his personal Twitch channel, Urgot hasn't had any real presence in pro League games for years at this point. His fall from grace stems from a crippling series of nerfs League developer Riot forced him through, leaving him a shell of his former powerhouse self and the butt of many jokes in the game's large online community.
Gravity didn't start off its match against TSM very well. But midway through the game, they picked up a lot of steam and never looked back. Keane's Urgot proved particularly devastating against TSM.
What made Keane's Urgot so effective? Well, once he'd leveled the champion to a certain point, he proved to be an unstoppable tank. But even early in the game, the commentators were noting that Keane was pairing two of Urgot's ranged attack moves to apply consistent pressure to the mid-lane—keeping his opponent on the defensive most of the time:
Regardless of any particularly technique that Keane used with his Urgot, however, the champion selection benefitted Gravity in a more general way. Since Urgot is such a rarity—especially in pro games like those played during LCS—the opposing team didn't really know what to make of him. Lucas Larsen, a player for TSM, admitted that they were caught off guard by the Urgot pick after the game was over:
It's important to note that, despite Urgot's oft-maligned place in the current League of Legends metagame, fans don't exactly dislike him. If anything, they just feel sorry for the guy—they want to see him succeed more often. People's excitement was palpable once Urgot's surprising, years-in-the-making rebound started to blow up on Twitter:
Once Keane got back on Twitter after Gravity was done winning the game against TSM, he couldn't resist a celebratory tweet either:
All I have to add is: welcome back, Urgot. We missed ya, buddy!
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