Unicorns of Love take IEM Oakland with 3-2 finals win over Flash Wolves

by Josh Bury Nov 21 2016
Thumbnail image courtesy of theScore esports / Unicorns of Love

Unicorns of Love defeated Flash Wolves 3-2 in the Grand Finals at Intel Exteme Masters Oakland Sunday, earning the $50,000 grand prize and topping off an improbable run through the bracket that saw them take down both teams that were seeded directly into the semifinals.

After upsetting Team SoloMid in the semis earlier on Sunday, UoL headed to the Grand Finals to face Flash Wolves, who went through Longzhu Gaming to get there themselves. The finals saw Flash Wolves get off to a strong start, winning Game 1 with some strong contributions from Hung "Karsa" Hau-Hsuan in the jungle on Nidalee. The Unicorns struck back in Game 2 with a 7/0/8 Jhin performance from AD carry Kim "Veritas" Kyoung-min.

The Unicorns got out ahead in the series after Game 3, as Fabian "Exileh" Schubert went off on Orianna in the mid lane with a 10/2/5 record. Flash Wolves struck back, however, taking the fourth game in dominant fashion with almost a 20k gold lead at the game's end.

With the series tied 2-2, Veritas had another big performance for UoL, this time on Kalista. His 11/2/5 record helped carry the European team to victory over their Taiwanese opponents in just over 27 minutes, taking the series 3-2.

In addition to the prize money, UoL earn a spot at the IEM Season 11 World Championship, set to take place in Katowice in spring 2017. They will join EDward Gaming, SK Telecom T1, H2k-Gaming, Cloud9, Albus NoX Luna, the eventual winner of IEM Gyeonggi, and an eighth team whose qualification method is as-yet undetermined. Flash Wolves, meanwhile, have earned $20,000 in prize money.

To get to the final, Flash Wolves defeated Longzhu Gaming 2-0 in the semifinal. While the margins were closer in Game 1, FW dominated the second game with strong performances from both mid Huang "Maple" Yi-Tang and substitute AD carry Lu "DoubleRed" Yu-Hung.

The other semifinal, where the Unicorns defeated Team SoloMid, was more surprising. Although TSM was playing with substitute AD carry Jason "WildTurtle" Tran and had not spent much time preparing for the event, the 2-1 match win was still a coup for UoL, who placed fourth in the EU LCS spring playoffs. Exileh had a great Game 3 performance on Kassadin as he went 8/2/8 in the 36-minute victory. The last time the Unicorns took a series from TSM was in the semifinals of IEM San Jose 2014.

In the quarterfinals, the Unicorns defeated Brazilian challengers INTZ e-Sports 2-0 in two dominant games, with over a 15k gold lead at the end of each.

Before Longzhu were knocked out by Flash Wolves, the Korean team faced The Chiefs eSports Club in the quarterfinals, and they put up solid wins against the Oceanic roster. Lee "Chaser" Sang-hyun had two strong Lee Sin performances in the jungle to help the South Korean roster reach the semifinals.

Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find him on Twitter.