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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.
Today’s update is a preview of the European teams only. To see team profiles for the North American squads, please check out yesterday’s post.
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|
European Team Profiles
The kings of Season One and lords of IEM New York, Fnatic has been in slow decline over the past six months. Repeatedly coming up short in LAN events, Fnatic made waves yesterday when they announced the removal of long-time Top Lane player Shushei. Since Shushei appears to be on the roster for MLG Anaheim, it remains unknown if Fnatic will bring another player to California to compete. Word on the street is that sOAZ will take his slot, but the management remain silent about their future roster decisions. The swap of Mellisan for Pheilox at the Support position already disturbed one of the most stable rosters in League of Legends, and another new addition may require too much adaptation from Fnatic at short notice. Their chances depend on which players board the plane to America, though fans should hear an announcement in the coming couple of days
A surprise announcement shortly before the Reign of Gaming International Invitational heralded the migration of one of Europe’s top teams, Absolute Legends, to their new home at Curse. A top contender as of late, Curse EU disappointed at the RoG Invitational by taking fourth place, and suffered from the lack of their usual AP Carry, ext1nkt, as Jungler Saintvicious played in his stead. With a full roster for MLG Anaheim, however, Curse EU carries high expectations into this event, and fans know that they can finish on top. Top Lane player Youngbuck has grown remarkably in the short time since his arrival, and Curse EU shows some of the most crisp teamplay and intelligent playcalling worldwide. While they took second place at their only other live event to date, Gamers Assembly, their inexperience may reveal itself against perennial LAN warriors.
A bit of an enigma over the past few months, Sypher has used a revolving roster of substitute players to flesh out their line-up as people come and go. In spite of these constant shifts, Sypher continues to perform well, taking the gold at Gamer’s Assembly and finishing near the top of the Absolute Pro League and several smaller cups. AP Carry Moopz has the core of the roster, providing a core player that can dominate Middle Lane. Their new Jungler hyrqBot also seems to have adapted well to his new team, though he has yet to play in a LAN with the current roster. Like Fnatic, it remains to be seen who Sypher will send to MLG since Lounet and Lyumi have left the team. Sypher is the dark horse of MLG Anaheim, and could very well cause some major upsets and win the whole event. Conversely, not many people will consider a middle-of-the-pack finish a failing for the French squad.
A team saddled with immense fan expectations, CLG.EU needs to come up with a big win at MLG Anaheim to keep them in the race for the Season Two Championship. As Snoopeh expressed in his interview with ggChronicle, the chances to win Circuit Points in Europe are few and far between, and the clock is running out to qualify for the $2 million prize pool. Fortunately, if any team can pull out a victory in a field saturated with talent, it’s CLG.EU. With arguably the most skilled AP Carry and Top Lane players in the game, Froggen and Wickd should be able to lead their team to victory if the can reliably win their lanes. A first place finish in last weekend’s In2LoL EU Kickoff Tournament showed that CLG.EU will be at the peak of their powers coming into California.
Once a global powerhouse that secured a silver medal at IEM New York, SK Gaming has had remarkably little success so far in 2012. Their disappointing results, combined with the recent lane swap between kev1n and the wildly popular Ocelote, will further hinder their chances at winning MLG Anaheim. Despite boasting a stable line-up, SK has appeared mediocre over the past few months, ever since securing a fourth place finish in a relatively weak field at IEM Kiev. MLG will prove much more challenging than Kiev, and unless their players have adjusted to their new roles faster than anticipated, SK will do well to finish inside the top eight.
While the lack of a bracket makes predictions particularly difficult, since we cannot see which teams will play each other in the earlier stages of the tournament, these are ggChronicle’s estimates based on the teams attending. Please note that the previously unannounced teams can be viewed on MLG’s site, and contain some notable contenders such as Legion, Orbit, Team Green Forest, 4Not, and vVv. Curiously, famed Street Fighter professionals Marn and ClakeyD appear to have formed their own team for the event, as well.
Without further ado, here are our predictions to twelfth place:
3. Curse EU
4. Team Dynamic
9-12. SK Gaming
Although Team SoloMid continues on a hot streak, CLG.EU needs this win badly to stay in contention for the Season Two crown. CLG.EU has the determination, skill, and stability to claim their first major victory, and they are fortunate enough to have an opportunity to take it without Moscow Five in the picture. As for the rest of the tournament, Team Dynamic looks to continue their ascent and should be able to repeat their fourth place finish from IPL 4 after losing a close series to the potent Curse EU. TSM.EVO will take a hit due to the lack of practice time for their players, while mTw.NA will finally make a splash at a LAN on the back of their superb recent performance. CLG and Dignitas will slip for now as they adjust to their roster changes, while Sypher, Legion, SK, and Curse will round out the top dozen.
Have predictions of your own or disagree with ours? Leave a comment below.