Ucal in tears after finally beating LPL rival, keeping playoff dreams alive

It's a tough blow for Top Esports.

ThunderTalk Gaming upset Top Esports in the 2023 LPL Spring Split earlier today, following an intense series won 2-1.

The loss was particularly tough for League of Legends superteam TES. It marked their third loss in a row and robbed them of a chance of securing their LPL Spring playoff ticket. TES veteran midlaner Rookie wiped away tears when he left the stage, keeping his head down. On the winning side, TT midlaner Ucal was also very emotional.

Both players have been longtime rivals. They have faced off several times at the highest level over the years, including in the 2018 World quarterfinals. But Ucal had yet to win a duel with Rookie until today.

Screengrab via Riot Games

TT not only defeated TES, but also steamrolled through the last game. They ended the last one with a roughly 4,000 gold advantage, unexpectedly starting to snowball in the mid game. At the 36-minute mark, TES ran to their doom by forcing a fight for the Elder Drake and lost their last teamfight.

Following the hard-fought victory, Ucal started crying uncontrollably while picking up his equipment. He was cheered by his teammates and the audience, eventually leaving the stage with a bright smile on his face.

The series also inaugurated the introduction of Patch 13.5 in official leagues. It saw the return of Aurelion Sol for the first time in almost three years in the LPL, played by Rookie. Despite their defeat, the Aurelion Sol pick showed great promise in the competitive meta.

TT has established strong precedent and is building momentum thanks to this victory. But their upcoming schedule is tough, and they’ll have to make one more upset to secure more chances to qualify for the 2023 LPL Spring Playoffs. They’ll play EDward Gaming on Friday, March 24 at 5am CT, for the regular season’s last week. EDG is currently at the top of the LPL standings with a 11-2 record.

Top Esports, on the other side, are still on the verge of confirming their playoff ticket despite losing three series in a row since last week. They’ll play against Bilibili Gaming next Saturday at 5am CT.

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