Only a few weeks ago the European Regionals were concluded, with 1 big surprise, SK Gaming taking down CLG.eu. Despite a great event i expect this event to be more competitive. The Americans have more teams who can challenge the best. However realistically There are 4 teams who have chance on qualifying. But unlike Europe i feel like the Americans who're not seen as the favorites can pull something out of the bag. At IEM we had Alternate, Elohell and Acer.pl. Not really teams you'd expect to do something. In North America you got teams like Dynamic, TSM.Evo, Legion and mMe Ferus who are not in the top4 teams are all great teams who can challenge any of the top4. However in an online environment it's likely the more experienced team like TSM, CLG, Dignitas or Curse will take home a win.
Only half a year ago there were only 3 teams that really mattered internationally and that was the holy trinity of Dignitas, CLG.NA and TSM. These teams would've been the only contenders but the scene has changed and exploded so much this year. Not only are all 8 teams extremely good, there are even teams who're as strong but just missed the boat. Orbit is such a team and all though they've only been around a few months they're going to be one of the best in season 3. Their potential and skill with Nientonsoh is very big and it's a pitty they're not here. Anyhow on to the teams that did make it to PAX.
Baylife will always prevail, we've seen it time and time again in the past few months. Starting with the turn around at IPL4. From that moment onwards they've missed the first place only once. That was the MLG Summer Arena where Azubu Blaze went to as well. There the Koreans showcased their skill. Impeccable team fighting and well thought out team compositions characterized their plays, Azubu Blaze had everything down while TSM could only play catch up in pretty much every series. A game they lost every single time versus Blaze.
Luckily for them we've not yet arrived at the actual finals and for now they "only" have to deal with their countrymen. Their track record against their fellow yanks has been one which should give them enough confidence. However unlike 3-4 months ago, this time the other teams are going in prepared, the addition of more gaming houses takes away the advantage that Team Solomid had over every other team. They made it popular and something where they got popular as well was streaming. Something which they haven't been doing the past few weeks. They didn't even attend MLG Raleigh because quite frankly they don't need the money nor the circuit points. Not showing their tactics was the biggest reason and it gave the other teams a chance to rack up some more points. It'll most likely pay off for the rulers of the bay.
The switcheroo between Dig, Curse and CLG.NA caught a lot of attention. i felt like CLG.na got the worst deal in the short term. They lost Saint who got replaced by HotshotGG in the jungle which was met with a lot of critique. Hotshot's pool of champions was already quite small and since he didn't like playing solo queue it looked like an awful decision. However he's been showing progress and dedication of learning his new position, asking Snoopeh for advice is one of the examples. Meanwhile top it was Voyboy who took over, this was met with different opinions since his playstyle was far more agressive than the rest of CLG.
Depsite all of that, they've steadily been improving on every front, a logical consequence because they have been living in a gaming house for around 3 months now. All though they got knocked out by Azubu.Frost, arguably the best team in the world, they stayed in Korea, declining MLG Raleigh so they could keep practicing 24/7 versus the Koreans. A wise move which could become brilliant if they're able to dethrone TSM as the number 1 North-American contender. They'll have team compositions down and it'll be the first time in a long while every other NA team will see them in action. No one knows what to expect from them but you can bet your ass that they'll only want 1 thing, the gold over their all time rivals of TSM.
They got Saintvicious from the triple switch in America, an ingame leader who's not scared to make the necessary calls in times of need. A precious thing to have and something which they lacked. They've grown a lot which they proved by taking 1st place at MLG Raleigh only last weekend. All though their was a lot of drama surrounding it which you can't have missed. They apologized, learned their lesson and will be going into PAX with a lot of momentum. The addition of their own gaming mansion only made them stronger. they are the only team to take a game of Azubu Blaze at the MLG Summer Arena, an accomplishment on it's own.
However their they still had some doubts in 5v5 teamfights, they weren't on the same page sometimes which lost them games. Most fingers pointed towards Nyjacky who's slowly been adapting to the teams playstyle. If they are all on the same page like they were for the most part at Raleigh they will be top3 and they'll do it in style. The other new member which joined the team for Pobelter was Westrice who got benched by TSM.Evo. All though Saint feels like both are at the same level, the latter pulled his weight at MLG with Darius. Don't forget that They're all very good individual players who are "this" close to being one of the very best.
Lets start off with the obvious, Dignitas had to deal with alot of drama in the last few days, just like Curse. They've only made it harder on themselves by doing the things they did. Whether they fixed the matches or not, doesn't matter. It's going to be on all their minds and that could definitely influence their performance at PAX. The ARAM was fun to see but disrespectful to everyone. On to other things which was the loss of their starman Voyboy. Crumbzz who replaced him brought some balance and stability in the team because when Voyboy was playing bad, Dignitas played bad. This issue was resolved and once they got in Korea, for me they were going to be in this top3 for sure.
However an unlucky run of events saw them go home after only a month. I Will Dominate got extremely sick which left them with no other choice but go home. The opportunity for an ultimate preparation like CLG was gone and all though they've been scrimming in NA these past few months, it's certainly not the same as playing against Korean teams. Their performance at MLG was mediocre despite them stating they wouldn't really care. Crumbzz did say they had some tactics up their sleeve for PAX and i'm sure it'll take most teams by surprise but what i'm not sure off is when they're going to use it because their opposition starting with Dynamic and possibly after them CLG.NA is not to be taken lightly.
From the 4 teams left i feel like this team is the one who could do the most damage, they have the easiest opponent in the the first round, Dignitas. A team of whom they won a set off at MLG Raleigh which was only a few days ago. They had NintendudeX back in the team and they performed to their usual standard again. Something that they didn't do at IPL Face off with Atlanta. They're a team who can win from pretty much everyone online and have a strong showing offline. It's possible they defeat Dignitas but i don't expect them to do any better.
The remaining teams are definitely no left-overs. mMe Ferus or the ex-mTw.na took 3rd at MLG Raleigh which will also give them a lot of momentum going into the regionals. However they're not really a consistent team, something which they will miss versus their first round enemies of TSM.
Talking about TSM, their sister team TSM.Evo had an awesome start when they remade Epik Gamer, the addition of WingsOfDeathx, Aphromoo and UnstoppableX looked lik a perfect mix as they stormed through every single team. However it didn't last, Aphromoo didn't like the way the team was going and left. DontMashme replaced him and he filled the shoes well at Raleigh. As a team though it didn't go down well and without practice they won't have much chance against Curse in the first round.
Last up is Legion, the former RFLX Gaming, raised a few eye brows at IPL Face off. Together with a sub, Wild Turtle who was only just learning mid, they surprised lots of people. They took 3rd place but with their full line up it wasn't the same fairy tale. Their performance at Raleigh wasn't to write home about and they'll won't need loads of paper for this event as well since they're up against the unknown force of CLG.na.
|Jeroen Vercauter // KwijLBEAST|
Posted 8 months ago: Thu, 30 Aug 2012 19:14:21 +0100
|North Am||May 24||China|
|CPH Wolv||16||-||3||EYES ON|
|More results ...|