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MLG Anaheim Preview

By Irena 'curlychan' Pencheva
Jun 5, 2012 16:13

ImageThe next Challenger Circuit event is taking place this weekend at the MLG Spring Championship and 19 teams will try to earn the important circuit points. Read on for a brief overview of the participants.

It’s been some time since we had such a massive offline tournament in League of Legends. IPL 4 featured only 8 teams and barely one of them was coming from Europe. MLG is raising the bar with 19 teams (15 North American and 4 European), Best of 3 and double elimination format, soundproof booths, 4 streams and 6 of the best casters at the moment. The only thing we are still missing is the bracket. If you’re feeling a little disorientated with all the changes in the LoL scene or just want to refresh your memory, here’s a quick look on the participants and their recent endeavors.

1. US Counter Logic Gaming

This will be the first offline event where CLG (and a couple of other teams) will show their new line-up. After they recruited US Joe 'Voyboy' Esfahani and HotshotGG moved to the jungle, it was obvious that the team will need a bit of time for adjusting and maybe even more time until the “new” jungler learns his role well. Their recent results in both the IPL 5 qualifier and the SoloMid NA Invitational weren’t great and they left in the earlier stages of the first and got third in the second. Because of that, both CLG and their fans are probably not expecting a top 3 finish in this tournament like in the IEM Hannover (3rd) and IPL 4 (2nd). What’s more Voyboy won’t be attending the event because of school obligations and will be replaced by US xHazzard. Nevertheless, it would be a crucial mistake for any team to underestimate them and let them use their ever so annoying poke comp or their split-push strategies, as there is little doubt about them still being one of the strongest weapons in their arsenal.

2. US Team Dignitas

Dignitas is another of the NA teams that was affected by the 3-way players’ swap as they lost Voyboy and recruited Crumbzz to be their new top laner. As you probably know, prior to that he was filling in the jungler role at US Team Curse , so he is also in the process of mastering his new position. Dignitas used to be considered top 3 NA team by most or even the best NA team by some, especially after achieving second place at IEM Hannover, but both the fans and the players are probably not expecting much from this tournament since the recent change in the line-up. Recently they didn’t perform well at the IPL 5 qualifier and the SoloMid NA invitational, but they did qualify for the NESL Pro Series finals.

3. CA Dynamic

Team Dynamic rose to fame at IPL 4 under the name of Monomaniac eSports. It was their first offline event and the first time they met each other in person, but that didn’t bother them at all and they won a lot of matches against teams, considered to be far better and experienced than them. Soon after that they changed their sponsors and name but it didn’t affect their performance at all. Their latest achievement is winning the first IPL 5 online qualifier, securing their spot at the tournament before any other major NA team (except US Team SoloMid , who have a direct invite to it). They also got second place at the SoloMid NA Invitational, beating TSM in the winners’ bracket final, but losing to them in the grand one after a long and tough battle.

4. US mTw NA

This is probably one of the lesser known teams, especially for the European fans. It was formerly known as APictureOfAGoose and was picked up by the German organization mTw a couple of months ago to represent them across the ocean. They are regular participants in the NA online tournaments such as Go4LoL and have just secured their place in the NESL Pro Series Finals. They’ve also reached the IPL 5 first qualifier final but lost it to Dynamic. As this will be their first offline event, it will be entirely up to them and their preparation for the tournament to show what they’ve got and surprise the audience and the other teams.

5. US Team SoloMid

After the initial slump following the first place at IPL 4, TSM steped up their game and in only a week won the first SoloMid NA Invitational and the RoG Invitational with a really solid performance. All of the players seem to have made up their mind that they want to be the best at every possible tournament and their overall improvement is rather obvious. Counter-jungling from TheOddOne, roaming from Reginald and Dyrus, flash-Moonson(s) from Xpecial and hard carrying from Chaox – they have mastered it all and they won’t hesitate to beat anyone, even their newly picked-up second team.

6. US Team SoloMid EVO

The latest addition to the SoloMid organization has attracted a huge amount of hype in no time at all, but it is still unknown if they can live up to it. After the name change they had a couple of good results which were then followed by a couple of not so good ones. They’ve just attended their first LAN event with the current line-up and things looked well for them against the European teams and not so well against the original TSM team. With only a couple more days to practice until they fly out for MLG their performance this weekend can go either way. One thing is sure, if there’s a team with a strong claim for the second place, it’s them, as Dyrus’ words from his EG times “We're the best second place team in the world” were proved to still be valid.

7. US Team Curse

Curse is the third NA team that will be showing their new line-up for the first time in an offline event. They were left with 4 people after Crumbzz decided that he can’t continue being a part of the team but didn’t waste even a minute and got SaintVicious in the roster. The good part for them is that he doesn’t need to learn a new role as he’s in his usual position in the jungle, but they still need to work on the team synergy needed for ganks and teamfights as their recent performance in the IPL 5 qualifier and the SoloMid NA Invitational was far from good. At least they qualified for the NESL Pro Series finals, though they lost their first match against Dignitas last night.

8. EU Counter Logic Gaming EU

Image is widely regarded as one of the top 3 teams in Europe, but is still lacking any circuit points. Because of that they will be coming into the tournament with all the determination and skills they have and looking to secure themselves the highest possible place. Unfortunately for them though, MLG is only their second LAN event together and this may become a problem for the team. They’ll have to face their enemies in front of a massive audience and don’t let it distract them even for a second. Will they be able to do it? We will find very soon. Another interesting question which should be answered is do the NA teams know about Froggen’s Anivia, because if they don’t, the ice bird is going to cause them all sorts of troubles. Recently failed their DreamHack qualifiers, but won the first IPL 5 spot for Europeans, the SK Trophy for May and reached the EsportsHeaven Cup final, which will be played later tonight. They are with no doubt showing their best form before MLG.

9. EU Team Curse EU

YoungBuck, Malunoo and Xinec with SaintVicious and Elementz from the NA team

If any of you missed that information, former Absolute Legends are now the European team of Curse. The swap of sponsors didn’t really help out the team at the RoG Invitational, but after all they were missing a core player – their AP carry Extinkt. As he will be joining his teammates for MLG, we are expecting a far better performance from all 5 of them, especially against the other European teams which are the usual victims of’s big plays.

10. EU Fnatic

Fnatic were the last team with no line-up changes since Dreamhack... until yesterday. They have finally followed the common trend and took the hard decision of removing PL Maciej 'Shushei' Ratuszniak from the roster and replacing him with the former aAa player Soaz. Additionally, their support player DE Peter 'Mellisan' Meisrimel is unable to attend LAN events at the moment due to university obligations and the team has added a sixth player who is subbing for him for a couple of weeks. The combination between Lamia and Pheilox is working pretty well for now, but there’s no way the new top laner would have had enough time to adjust to the team and vice versa. It will be a really tough job for Fnatic to show a good performance, but if luck is on their side, they can remind us of their former offline glory. Upon their return from Korea two weeks ago, they showed their improvement by qualifying for DreamHack Summer and beating top teams like RU Moscow Five a couple of times, but it’s hard to predict if they can continue this trend considering the line-up change.

11. EU SK Gaming

Since the recent lane swap between Ocelote and Kev1n, SK is pretty much in the same position as CLG.Prime and Dignitas with a player still in the process of learning a new role. The former AP carry is looking good in the top lane, but still has a lot to learn until he can be on the same level as Wickd and Voyboy. Kev1n has previous experience in the mid lane so he’s doing really well especially with a couple of champions like Orianna, Galio and Ahri. Anyway, their recent performance was far from optimal, though they did took third place at the SK Trophy. MLG will be a big test for the team and the decision they made and if they perform well, it will be a huge boost for their confidence.

These are the 11 Pro teams, who were invited by MLG for the tournament, but they are not all of the participants. 8 more NA up-and-coming teams will have the chance to show that they have what it takes to win against the more famous and experienced ones. Some of them are more or less known and have participated in online tournaments, others not so much. Here’s the list:

US 4not
US Legion
US Orbit Gaming
US Redact
US Team Green Forest
US vVv Gaming
US Wolf Pack

So after we are all clear with the participating teams, time for some predictions. Who are you betting on? The two TSM teams look like the strongest contenders among the NA teams, but Team Dynamic and mTw will certainly try to achieve a place in the final top 4. and are the better half of the European representatives, so if they can manage to deal with the offline pressure and the usual domination of NA teams against European ones, shown at IEM Hannover, IPL 4 and RoG Invitational, they can find themselves in the top spots as well.

The show starts at Friday, 8th of June, 2:30 AM CET. It’s really inconvenient for the European audience, but if you decide to watch it anyway, there’s no doubt what the teams are going to show us will be worth the lack of sleep.

Pictures courtesy of Team Dynamic, Counter Logic Gaming and Reign of Gaming.



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