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The League of Legends: Wild Rift Horizon Cup Knockout Stage kicked off with a showdown between the two Southeast Asian teams in the tournament: Team Secret from the Philippines and SBTC Esports from Vietnam.
In a rematch of the Wild Rift SEA Championship grand finals, Secret avenged their loss there by sweeping SBTC 3-0, knocking the Vietnamese team out of the Horizon Cup on Friday (19 November) and advancing to the semi-finals.
Secret got off to a fast start in game one, with Caster "Chewy" Dela Cruz dominating the bot lane. SBTC responded with a sneaky snowball-black mist combo from their Nunu and Senna picks.
However, the Filipino team managed to win the teamfights they needed behind solid performances from Heri "Tatsurii" Garcia and Robert ”Trebor” Mansilungan.
With the rest of the team knowing which opponents to pick off in every encounter, Secret continued to build on their gold lead as they snowballed.
But it was the bubble from James Karl "Hamezz" Santos’s Nami pick that sealed the deal in the fight at the Baron pit, allowing his team to win the team fight and secure the Baron. And in under 18 minutes, Secret march down the SBTC Nexus and take the first game.
Both teams pulled innovative drafts in the second game, with SBTC opting for high magic damage and Secret going for the double assassin combination.
Taking advantage of SBTC’s lack of crowd control, Secret’s assassins dove in and out of towers and team fights to overpower their Vietnamese opponents on every turn. With Eleazar “Azar” Salle’s stellar performance on Akali, and Tatsurii hot on his Zed pick, Secret scored multiple Aces.
The Vietnamese team attempted to retaliate by engaging the Filipino team in the mid lane and eliminating Chewy and Tatsurii. However, with Trebor and Azar slicing through SBTC's tanks, the brawl dragged on, enabling Tatsurii to respawn and teleport into the mid lane to clear out SBTC.
With incredible mobility and heavy damage, Secret stormed down the opponent Nexus in less than 15 minutes to take their team to match point in game two.
Desperate for a victory in game three, SBTC tried to mirror Team Secret's early game aggression. However, Secret showed that they were the better team in each encounter, denying SBTC's kills and map objectives.
With Azar’s dominant Darius gaining triple and quadra kills and an excellent Nami support from Hamezz, the team dominated SBTC with a 14,600 gold lead, the highest gold lead in the tournament.
Finally, Team Secret earned a statement victory in the quickest game of the Horizon Cup as they wiped out the opposing Nexus in under 12 minutes.
Team Secret will meet Chinese powerhouse Da Kun Gaming in the semi-finals on Saturday (20 November) in another best-of-five series.
The winner of this match will advance to the grand finals, where they will face the winners of the other semi-finals match between Thunder Talk Gaming and Rolster Y.
The Wild Rift Horizon Cup grand finals will take place on Sunday (21 November) and will be a best-of-seven series.
Meanwhile, SBTC Esports bow out of the 2021 Wild Rift Horizon Cup in 5th-6th place, taking home US$40,000 in consolation.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.
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