On day 2 of Rift Rivals, Cloud9 learned the hard way just how bold the Unicorns of Love’s shotcalling can be.
Let’s set the scene first. At the start of this play, Unicorns of Love pick up Sneaky and Smoothie, thanks to their over-aggression on Exileh without vision. The rest of C9, with no hope of saving their bot duo, immediately begin to push mid and bot.
The Unicorns are now presented with 2 choices. Their first option is to strengthen their vision around Baron and send Exileh to match Riven’s push bot, ultimately trading their mid turret for 2 kills. Since Unicorns are looking to scale with their comp, the even gold trade is positive for them, plus they also get better Baron vision in case they need to stall the game.
The other option is that with Baron spawning, they can choose to engage it. And that’s precisely what the Unicorns decide to do. While a 20-minute Baron seems risky, Gnar being full health and able to turn Mega, plus Samux already having Blade of the Ruined King, means that the Unicorns won’t fall too low on health and can secure it fast enough before the C9 botlane duo can respawn and get to the pit.
Additionally, with their numbers advantage, high CC comp, and strong mobility, the Unicorns can easily defend and get a kill on any single C9 member that approaches to attempt a steal.
Now the ball is in C9’s court. They can continue to push mid and bot, or they can try to stop Baron. C9 chose the latter, and here are the reasons why.
Note that Exileh, on Kassadin with TP, is not with his team when they started Baron. Should C9 choose to ignore Baron and continue the push, Exileh likely could have held the mid lane against C9’s mid and jungle duo. The best C9 could’ve gotten would have been a kill on Exileh and a bot turret, which would have been a bad trade for Baron.
So all 3 of C9’s members head toward Baron in the hope of threatening a steal or damaging the Unicorns enough that they’d have to abandon it. C9 has to commit every member, as sending Lee Sin alone against the Unicorns’ high CC comp would’ve been guaranteed suicide.
C9’s first focus is getting rid of Hylissang on Thresh. Not only is he a huge crowd control threat, but his exhaust can mitigate a lot of potential AOE burst from Ray--burst that C9 needs to deal to scare the Unicorns off of Baron.
Let’s play the clip out. Hylissang lands a hook on Contractz across the Baron wall and the rest of Unicorns instantly follow up to kill him, removing C9’s chance for a smite steal. Meanwhile, Jensen attempts to burst Hylissang, but is unable to get the kill. Baron’s HP continues to dwindle down which eventually forces Ray to go in, but since Hylissang is still up, Ray instantly gets exhausted, thus mitigating most of his damage. Unicorns then easily secure the Baron with smite and also pick up the kill on Ray.
All in all, the Unicorns of Love’s fast decision-making and clear understanding of their comp’s strengths led to them turning what otherwise was a fairly even game into a decisive victory in just one bold call.