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The Spring Championships at MLG Anaheim mark League of Legends’ glorious return to Major League Gaming, following a seven month hiatus after MLG Providence. The field, however, has expanded from four teams to a staggering twenty, with twelve invited squads and eight up-and-comers converging on southern California. Moreover, this tournament features five well-known European teams who will fly across the Atlantic to test their mettle against North America’s best. MLG Anaheim represents by far the most competitive international field since IEM Hanover, and should give LoL eSports fans insight as to the state of the competitive teams as we move into the second half of Season Two.
Please note that the eight “up-and-coming” teams have yet to be announced by MLG, so all preview information and predictions will not take their presence into account. Today’s update is a preview of North American teams only, and we will publish our European team profiles and predictions tomorrow.
The LoL action will be spread across four different streams for your viewing pleasure, depending on which team you prefer to watch. All times below are preliminary and provided by MLG’s website in Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). An announcement has not been made as to which teams will be playing on which streams.
|League of Legends Main||League of Legends 2|
|5:30 PM-7:00 PM||Winners R2 A||5:30 PM-8:00 PM||Winners R1 A|
|7:00 PM-9:30 PM||Winners R2 B||8:00 PM-10:30 PM||Winners R2 C|
|9:30 PM-12:00 AM||Winners R2 E||10:30 PM-1:00 AM||Winners R2 F|
|10:00 AM-11:30 AM||Winners R3 A||10:00 AM-12:30 PM||Losers R1 A|
|11:30 AM-1:30 PM||Winners R3 B||12:30 PM-3:00 PM||Losers R2 A|
|TBD||Winners R3 C||3:00 PM-5:30 PM||Losers R2 C|
|TBD||Winners R3 D||5:30 PM-8:00 PM||Losers R3 A|
|7:30 PM-9:30 PM||Winners Semis A||8:00 PM-10:30 PM||Losers R3 C|
|9:30 PM-12:00 AM||Winners Semis B||10:30 PM-1:00 AM||Losers R4 A|
|11:00 AM-11:30 AM||Pregame Show||9:00 AM-11:30 AM||Losers R5|
|11:30 AM-1:30 PM||Winners Finals||11:30 AM-1:30 PM||Losers R6|
|1:30 PM-3:30 PM||Losers Finals|
|3:30 PM-9:00 PM||Finals|
|League of Legends 3||League of Legends 4|
|5:30 PM-8:00 PM||Winners R1 B||5:30 PM-8:00 PM||Winners R1 C|
|8:00 PM-10:30 PM||Winners R2 D||8:00 PM-10:30 PM||Winners R1 D|
|10:30 PM-1:00 AM||Winners R2 G||10:30 PM-1:00 AM||Winners R2 H|
|10:00 AM-12:30 PM||Losers R1 B||10:00 AM-12:30 PM||Losers R1 C|
|12:30 PM-3:00 PM||Losers R2 B||12:30 PM-3:00 PM||Losers R1 D|
|3:00 PM-5:30 PM||Losers R2 D|
|5:30 PM-8:00 PM||Losers R3 B|
|8:00 PM-10:30 PM||Losers R3 D|
|10:30 PM-1:00 AM||Losers R4 B|
|9:00 AM-11:30 AM||Losers R5|
North American Team Profiles
Counter Logic Gaming
Counter Logic Gaming enters MLG Anaheim with high expectations from their fans, given the massive team swap that occurred a few short weeks previously. The departure of star Jungler Saintvicious, who left for greener pastures with Curse, left a gaping wound in CLG’s line-up. Looking to fill the hole in their roster, CLG managed to snag renowned Top Lane player Voyboy, while simultaneously rotating HotshotGG to the Jungle position. This new line-up first saw action during the SoloMid NA Invitational, in which CLG took third place behind TSM and Team Dynamic. Considering that CLG lost IPL 4 to Team SoloMid prior to shuffling their players, CLG cannot be considered a favorite for MLG Anaheim. However, given the talent of their players, they should prove a dominant force at future MLG events, once they get more time to solidify their strategy and develop their teamwork. HotshotGG’s play should be under the microscope and scrutinized by fans and haters alike, providing a lively debate as to CLG’s place in the North American scene.
One of the rising stars of the League of Legends eSports scene, Team Dynamic came into their prime at IPL 4 under their former banner, Monomaniac. Fans of the casual scene will recognize that their success sprung from their acquisition of two strong players from the high-level amateur team Just Your Average Joes: Top Lane threat ZionSpartan and AD Carry Zig. In Vegas, TD proved themselves almost the equal of the big North American three, CLG, TSM and Dignitas, and later picked up a silver medal in the SoloMid NA Invitational. Now that some time has passed to work with their new line-up, TD should be in a position to flex their muscles in Anaheim. Given the recent swaps that have drastically affected the chemistry of other squads, Team Dynamic has been gifted an incredible opportunity to come up big in the Californian sun.
The departure of Voyboy has become central to Dignitas’ story over the past few weeks, with replacement Crumbzz arriving from Curse to fill the void in Top Lane. Since Crumbzz not only swapped teams but switched positions from Jungle, Dignitas currently suffers many of the growing pains as their long-time North American rival, CLG. Unlike Counter Logic Gaming, Dignitas seems to have fallen off a bit harder as they were knocked out of the Solomid NA Invitational by mTw.NA. Often one of the most innovative teams in the world of LoL eSports, Dignitas has surprised their opponents with quirky and effective strategies since their days as Rock Solid. During IPL 4 they unveiled a team composition that utilized three common Support champions to deadly effect, but lost momentum as their opponents quickly adapted to their tricks and banned the necessary components. Now that school is over for the summer, Dignitas will be practicing hard for MLG and their upcoming stint in Korea, so they should be in better shape than their recent results indicate.
While certain teams may hit set-backs from line-up changes, mTw.NA looks golden after adding Support player Muffinqt and swapping positions for the umpteenth time. mTw’s players remain some of the most versatile professionals outside of the old Epik Gamer roster, which gives them an edge in inventing meta-breaking strategies. Famed for their Jungle Pantheon and Jarvan/Leona kill lane back when they were APictureofaGoose, team captain Atlanta leads team compositions that most other squads would never dare to run. Seeming to hit their stride during the SoloMid NA Invitational and looking strong in recent scrimmages, mTw longs for success at MLG Anaheim. They have finally arrived at their first LAN after facing difficulties getting their team to IEM Kiev, which they qualified for but could not attend due to travel costs. They will, no doubt, shock their opposition with some strange champion choices and will attempt to catch their opponents unprepared.
Has Team SoloMid ever looked more dominant? They’ve won the last two LAN tournaments that they attended, IPL 4 and the Reign of Gaming International Invitational, and finished on top in their latest online tournament, the SoloMid NA Invitational. It has been the Spring of TSM, and no one seems to give them much trouble in North America as of late. Their only real obstacles have come in the form of European teams like CLG.EU and Natus Vincere, which both managed to beat them in the SoloMid EU Invitational. A SoloMid team at the peak of their powers may be able to overcome hurdles that have tripped them up in the past, and Reginald‘s incredible AP Carry play has revolutionized the team. In many fans’ eyes, Anaheim will be TSM’s tournament to lose and anything less than a first place finish will come as a disappointment. It’s a tough standard to live up to, but no team has looked so dominant since the early days of CLG.
Curse has long been a fringe contender, nipping at the heels of greatness but never quite catching up to their more celebrated North American peers. The reunion of Saintvicious with former CLG Support player Elementz may catalyze a team that has long stood on the cusp of tournament success. Curse, like their brethren at CLG and Dignitas, suffer from the same swap hangover after the loss of Crumbzz, their long-time Jungler. They made a quick exit from the SoloMid NA Invitational recently with quick losses to CLG and mTw.NA, though MLG will be their first major LAN since finishing in the middle of the pack at IPL 4. Another issue with Curse had been the stability of their line-up at LANs, since they almost always require emergency substitutes due to freakish circumstances. Their move into a gaming house and the creation of a stable, full-time line-up with Nyjacky and Pobelter should give them success in the future, but MLG will likely be too early.
Team SoloMid EVO
The latest craze in the North American scene, the former Epik Gamer hit a home run with their new line-up after their metamorphosis into TSM.EVO. Making it all the way to the third game of the Reign of Gaming Invitational finals before losing to their sister squad of TSM, TSM.EVO has come together more quickly than many optimistic fans could have imagined. The lingering question remains: if they can accomplish this with just a little bit of practice, what can they do once they move into their new gaming house? While they should remain contenders for the Season Two crown, Salce‘s high school graduation this week should limit practice time before the showdown in Anaheim. While they have looked strong in lane, they lack the coordination of other teams due to how raw their teamwork is at this stage. The talent here is phenomenal and the growth potential is enormous, so they might upset some teams with higher expectations that may dismiss them too quickly.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for a preview of the European teams and predictions of MLG Anaheim’s results!