BY ADIL 'GM BONCH8' HISHAM
On the back of two consecutive defeats, Kuala Lumpur Hunters (KLH) were required to win their next four matches if they hoped to keep their Road to Worlds in their own hands.
The stakes were high in the Garena Premier League (GPL) with two potential Worlds slots on the cards but the Hunters were unable to sway reel in the results.
GAME 1 | KLH vs. H2 : No escaping QaspieL’s jungle
Going up against Headhunters (H2) from Indonesia, the odds were greatly stacked against the Garuda Premier League champions who have failed to win a match a GPL for the past few editions. Regardless, this was a must win for KLH by any circumstances.
Taking full advantage of the tank meta, ArrHedge registered a healthy lead on Galio with 5 kills just before the 15 minute mark. As the Indonesian side began to show some bite, KLH managed to establish a lead over H2 as all members from Top to Bottom started to click with one another and capture crucial objectives.
QaspieL’s Rek’Sai was a thorn in the side of H2 especially during big team fights. Gaining full control of the jungle in the late game, H2’s Cho’Gath was eventually no match for KLH no matter how big he got. Throw in Veki’s silky Xayah and you’ve got yourself a winning formula.
GAME 2 | KLH vs. H2 : The Hunters bite back
In their second game, KLH showed a lot more force and conviction to comfortably take down H2. Having experienced a tough time in GPL, KLH Shiro showed the fighting spirit of a true Hunter as his Renekton picked up Ninja Tabis, BOTRK and Black Cleaver as early as 18 minutes.
No close calls here as KLH cruised past H2 to claim their second win of the game. This win in particular, sent KLH to second place in the overall standings.
GAME 3 | KLH vs. RSG : No way past RocKK-solid RSG
A dominant all-round performance for Resurgence (RSG) from Singapore which saw their Top Laner RocKK shell out the highest amount of damage from the game on Rumble. Equalizer after equalizer, there was no stopping the former SEA Serpent star.
Right from the start, QaspieL’s Nidalee pick was one to ponder on considering the current meta. QaspieL’s moment of magic came when he picked up KLH’s first kill by baiting the Blue Sentinel to tank Lucian’s ultimate before sneaking a spear into Zac.
However, the tide would turn for the worse as poor decision making in unfavourable teamfights saw KLH lose control of the game. RSG eventually snowballed their way to a big victory against their long time rivals.
GAME 4 | KLH vs. TME : Eagles soar past wasteful Hunters
The odds were stacked against KLH at this point as they were caught in a situation whereby even a win against Team Manila Eagles (TME) would not guarantee them a spot in the knockout stage. Regardless, both teams picked up hyper carry with Tristana for KLH Veki and Kog’Maw for TME Marky.
The match went in favour of KLH for most parts of the game having captured to Baron’s to shred down inhibitors and even Nexus towers. However, KLH failed to fully utilize their Baron buffs and a catastrophic error during a team fight which saw TME’s Shen and Zac completely nullify the Hunters.
Finally, a last ditch team fight over Elder Dragon was once again thwarted by TME’s Shen who saved his carry in heroic fashion. Better utilized for late games, Kog’Maw was free to dish out free damage to win the fight and secure the game.
GAME 5 | KLH vs. YG : Early exit for Malaysia’s representative
With the GPL Knockout Stage no longer in sights, KLH went up against the first placed team from Vietnam, Young Generations (YG). It is worth highlighting again that YG’s only defeat thus far had come at the hands of KLH in Day 1.
QaspieL’s roaming in the jungle was strategically managed by YG’s excellent warding which saw the Malaysian jungler endure a tough encounter. Bad positioning and some poor itemization from KLH Shiro meant the game would swing by rather quickly.
Trying their best to hold on and rally on, KLH’s defences eventually broke with YG securing top spot from the Playoffs. In the final encounter, Philippines’ TME would eventually claim the second qualifying spot into the knockout stage after beating Singapore’s RSG.