Earlier this month, players gathered from across Great Britain and Ireland to compete in the first Forge of Champions Open Tournament. But from the hordes, one team arose above them all: EJBY Brotherhood. Their mid lane maverick, OnlyVixen, spoke to us about the team’s journey.
OnlyVixen is a name that has floated around the UK scene for a while, but this year, the mid laner is seeking to truly make a name for himself. And right now, it seems that EJBY Brotherhood might just be the right motley crew of League of Legends talents to help him achieve that.
Named after the Danish town of Ejby by their jungler Ceikey, who put the team together, the Brotherhood was only formed in the last minute. And the lineup was built with one mission: to steal a UKLC spot from Bulldog Esports or DarkSpawn Gaming, the two teams who have slipped into the Promotion Tournament.
“The day before Forge of Champions started, Ceikey came to me and said he really wants to knock out the bottom two teams since they didn’t take him as a starter,” OnlyVixen recalled. “I laughed and was like, ‘Are you serious?'”
Over the next few days, the roster came together: alongside OnlyVixen and Ceikey, an intimidating bot lane formed of the highly-ranked duo Den Voksne and Shayzien was recruited. Disaster struck when their original top laner backed out on the morning of the tournament, but a Challenger replacement under the amusing alias “jg diff victim” joined at the last minute to allow the team to compete. With the squad assembled, EJBY Brotherhood entered into the Forge of Champions seeded, single-elimination, best-of-1 bracket, knowing that every game was do or die.
“We knew our first hard game would be [against] Newcastle Jags,” OnlyVixen said, going through their lineup. “Coming into it, we had no idea what to expect of a truly high elo NA jungler in eThug; Chemera, who I’d had my eye on for a while and had been talking to but essentially knew nothing of as a player beyond his op.gg; and Fuyu, a completely new name, to me at least,” OnlyVixen said. “I was more excited to play versus them more than anything, though. Always love figuring out unknown quantities.”
The Jags’ mid-jungle synergy proved to be on point, as eThug’s Vi made repeated ganks on OnlyVixen’s Lissandra to quickly rack up a large kill lead. With Vi sitting on a 4/0/1 scoreline at 9 minutes and 10 seconds into the game, Brotherhood had to rely on a dominant bot lane to carry the team to success.
— Newcastle Jaguars (@NewcastleJags) April 13, 2019
“After Jags, we knew that Lionhearts would be a hard game too,” said OnlyVixen. Another team with some big names from the higher echelons of the European West ranked ladder, Lionhearts were the Brotherhood’s semifinals opponents. Promising mid lane prospect Zeiko was one adversary that OnlyVixen was particularly keen to face. “I was excited to play versus Zeiko since he’s super young, super talented and hasn’t had his chance to show up in a competitive environment yet.”
This time, OnlyVixen was allowed to pilot a champion with more outplay potential—Akali, into Zeiko’s Cassiopeia. And it was the Akali who came out ahead, with a string of back-and-forth fights resulting in a mid lane solo kill for the assassin.
Despite the team being down in gold, EJBY Brotherhood were able to keep up the outplays and eventually to outscale Lionhearts, progressing into the Open Tournament 1 final. With a guaranteed top-2 placing, Brotherhood had already locked in a spot at the Forge of Champions Main Event.
— Lionhearts (@LionheartsUK) April 14, 2019
Looking for an Org
The final game, against the smartly-named “Looking for an Org”, was all about securing the optimal seeding heading into the Forge of Champions Main Event—and, afterwards, the Promotion Tournament.
“I got Akali into an even better match-up,” OnlyVixen said of the match against Resilience’s Vladimir, “and it ended up being a decently clean game from us.”
With a 6k gold lead (and 2 dragons) accrued by 14 minutes into the game, EJBY Brotherhood were able to snowball their way to victory and emerge as triumphant winners of the first Open.
Congratulations to “EJBY Brotherhood”, the winners of the first #ForgeOfChampions Open Tournament!
Runners-up “Looking For An Org” also join them in progressing to the FoC Main Event ?
— LVP UK (@LVPuk) April 14, 2019
“Overall, it was a fun tournament for all of us and I’m glad I got to play against players I really wanted to know more about as soon as possible,” OnlyVixen said. Looking back on their run, he highlighted Newcastle Jags in particular for providing the sternest opposition. “Jags was by far the hardest game, we weren’t worried in either of our games after that at any point, despite it maybe looking close in the Lionhearts game, for example. eThug and Chemera worked scarily well together and they caught us off guard with it, for sure.”
With that knowledge, it’s perhaps no surprise to see who OnlyVixen is predicting to join them in qualifying to the Main Event at the next Open. “We fully expect Newcastle Jaguars to qualify as first seed for the next Open, even if I don’t think they’re beyond beatable for the others,” he said. “After that, I actually can’t call it between Lionhearts and Zen Garden. I know there are a couple of other teams coming in that weren’t in the first Open, but I’m not sure they’ll be at a level that can beat those three.”
At the Main Event, both EJBY Brotherhood and Looking for an Org—alongside whichever two teams qualify from Open Tournament 2—will have a chance to compete with the 9 teams in the UK League Championship. Although he’s not too confident in his team’s ability to win the whole cup, OnlyVixen definitely has certain opponents in his sights.
“We can beat anyone from 5-9th I believe, but the top 4 shouldn’t be contestable,” he said. However, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t relish the prospect of playing some of those players. In fact, there’s a long list of UKLC stars that he’s eager to prove himself against.
“I really want to play against Diabolus, Kroghsen’s been around a long time and I’ve always respected him as a competitive mid. It’s been too long since I played versus him in either Solo Queue or a competitive environment,” he said, before also highlighting Barrage’s mid laner. “That same logic applies to Kruimel too, who’s ancient compared to most League players right now. Watching Yusa [Diabolus’s ADC] do so well this split makes me really want to feel what its like to play against him rather than just watch.”
“I really want to play against Phelan to learn more about [their jungler] Sof, and Chibs [MnM Gaming’s mid laner and Rookie of the Split] I don’t think I’ve ever even met in Solo Queue, so he’s exciting for a bunch of obvious reasons I think. Beyond that, I’ve either played with or against a lot of who’s left, and when I haven’t, I’ve got literally hours and hours of replays to study from Solo Queue and competitive.”
After the Main Event concludes, EJBY Brotherhood will have a shot at earning Ceikey redemption when they play in the Promotion Tournament, where they could potentially replace Bulldog Esports or DarkSpawn Gaming in the UKLC. It’s an achievement that OnlyVixen says would mean “a huge amount” to him personally.
“I haven’t been relevant in a long time and I never truly existed in the UK scene,” he explained. “Plans always fell through too, which kinda led to my mental boom last year. If we don’t qualify, we’ll probably end up going our separate ways and try to find teams somewhere else, but if I even could—which is far from guaranteed—it’s almost always preferable to play in your home region anyway, even if just for how easy it makes things, and this is the best route to [do] that currently.”
Finally, with qualification safely secured, OnlyVixen gave his best advice for teams and players who are entering the second Open Tournament with the intent of replicating the Brotherhood’s feat. “To the other players signing up for the second open tournament I can only say ‘enjoy it’, and if you’re really in a team that you think can get top two and qualify for Forge of Champions, then work your ass off so you have no regrets.
“For those 3 days where you’re playing, nothing else should matter.”
You can follow OnlyVixen on his Twitter, and you can catch him playing in Forge of Champions when the Main Event kicks off on the 30th of April. You can even potentially play against him by signing up for Forge of Champions Open Tournament 2 yourself! The Main Event will be broadcast in its entirety, so make sure you tune in to twitch.tv/lvpuk to catch all of the action.