Who can beat M5 and CLG?
ECC Warsaw predictions
The European Challenger Circuit in Warsaw, Poland is about to start. RIOT and the ESL organized a nice location in the very middle of Warsaw at probably one of the most well known buildings: the multimedia center. Surprisingly - and also bad for all the other participants - CLG.eu will fly from Korea to Warsaw to take part in the challenger event. But in my opinion, because of having CLG.eu and Moscow Five there we can expect a great fight for the crown of Europe.
group a - do you really want to go to the semis?
In group a there is SK Gaming, Curse.eu, Team Acer and MeetYourMakers. As you all know the TOP 2 will make it to the semi-final - but honestly... who wants to play against M5 or CLG?
Taking a closer look at Curse and their current shape, you cannot say anything about them. Curse was quiet strong at the beginning of 2012 and managed to perform good in a lot of tournaments, but it looks like they lost something at DreamHack. If you have seen the five guys sitting next to each other and playing their games, you missed motivation and clear communication - maybe Curse needs someone who is not shy of screaming through the whole hall as we saw in other team games like Counter-Strike 1.6. Motivation and compliments can mean much during an offline event. But you always have to take care and expect something from Curse - as they just showed in the Elite of Europe tournament, where they took down fnatic and TSM with 2:0 and came out on top of the tournament by a final 2:1 over mousesports. A few days ago the team moved into their gaming house in Berlin, Germany - a nice opportunity for them. If their ingame communication is good and the five guys play at the limit, we will see Curse.eu in the ECC play-offs for sure.
Play-offs and success - two things SK Gaming wants to reach. Ocelote and his team, or let's say ocelote, kev1n, Nyph and two more players (nobody is sure with how many players SK will attend with at the ECC, maybe 10 to change during the games) are having a hard time. Public criticsism and also bad words from other professional gamers regarding the lineup changes during the last few weeks and days and how ocelote handled the situations as the team-captain didn't let the team shine. The community started huge discussions about SK's management and why they still believe in ocelote the entertainer. Especially the fall of 'YoungBuck' seems curious - public statements against an international top clan like SK are always bad, but it was the team's fault, that's for sure. But we've seen teams performing at the upper limit after lineup changes quite often in League of Legends eSport history - that's why no one should underrate SK for the ECC. The situations with in-game motivation and bad internal company are not a given. ocelote may not be the best AP carry in Europe, but he is still good enough to play in one of the best teams of the world - that's for sure. ocelote is the type of gamer a team needs. Screaming, raging, celebrating - things which are useful during an offline event. If SK's captain is able to transfer his unconditional will to win every game and take the momentum, SK is able to beat everyone in this group and make it to the Top 4. Aranae has to proof himself as a teamplayer and fit to SK's playstyle for a successful tournament - otherwise the lineup will support the bad opinions of the community and play themselves into big problems.
Team Acer is currently boot camping and trying to get a good shape for when they will attend their first offline event as a team. Having grouped five of the best Polish LoL players, they're are not hotly tipped as a favourite, but showed great results during the last weeks - most of the time being stopped only by the Russian beasts of Moscow Five. The polish grab bag has the big chance to prove themselves at ECC as one of the top teams in Europe. Pressure is high for the guys but they seem to be sure about their skills and expect a lot from themselves. On paper group a seems to be the easier one, since the top 2 of Europe, CLG and M5, are both seeded in group b, but the huge problem is that you cannot take the measure of every team in group a. It seems like everyone can make it into the top two. For Celaver and Co. the ECC is also very important regarding the European Championship final of season 2 at this year's gamescom. Placing top 2 or at least top 4 would give them a safe slot for gamescom and the possibility to not face M5 or CLG in the first round of the bracket. As already mentioned Team Acer is the grab bag of group a with a clear vision: playing convincingly.
With MYM we now take a look at the second Polish team in group a. Since the lineup joined MYM they didn't show that great results, but the Polish guys sniff their chance to get a last minute ticket to Cologne and compete in the EU final. This is probably their only motivation looking at the group. Of course the skill difference between Europe's top teams is slight, but MYM won't have high expectations when traveling to their captial city. Like Team Acer they are looking forward to great support from the crowd, but the home advantage counts for three teams at the ECC - so it's not really an advantage anymore. Even though the teams in group a look quite equal, MYM will be the underdog and probably won't make it to the play-offs - just a good start by winning their first game in convincing fashion against Team Acer can give them the momentun for a run.
group b - sight-seeing for x6 and EloHell?
No seeding? Random drawing? That's why CLG.eu and Moscow Five are in the same group - but they will already be excited to face each other in the grand final. That is what everybody expects, but let's first of all check their group for ECC.
Moscow Five - the most dangerous team in Europe. It's not just that the guys around Alex_Ich are highly skilled individually, they always know when and how to surprise in case of team combos or strategies. After having seen them competing in some invitational tournaments the few last weeks, we will see a lot of Zilean bans for sure. Also Janna bans seem to be legit - not for M5 having her as a support, but Alex_Ich showing his skills on one of the best AP Jannas in the world. A more or less bad DreamHack performance and a huge throw against CLG.eu was extra motivation for the Russians to try harder than ever and be in the best possible shape for the next offline tournament. M5 doesn't like losing and that's exactly what they did against CLG in Jönköping - now it's time to fight back and prove they fit their role as the best European team.
'CLG, CLG, CLG' - do you remember the DreamHack crowd cheering? What a nice move from CLG that they interrupted their time in Korea to attend the ECC in Warsaw. CLG has a big advantage coming into Warsaw: they didn't really face any of the European teams during the last few weeks, because of their OGN participation. They practiced a lot against and with CLG.na, but most of the time had their streams on. M5 will have their own tactics against CLG, but what about the other teams? Maybe ban Anivia and Alistar? No one knows. You don't know what CLG has adapted from the Korean teams and learned during their stay in Korea. But you definitely know that CLG is at least a top 3 team in Europe and will go through this group stage. They are currently ranked second in the challenger circuit standing and therefore will for sure be at gamescom, but look forward to a more or less easy opponent in the very first round. Since fnatic won't be around in Poland they could probably fall to place 5 and CLG has to get some points to save their top 2 position to not face fnatic in the first round - Curse.EU, SK Gaming, Team Acer and Alternate are possible opponents then.
The very new EloHell team will have their offline premiere at ECC in Warsaw. Lead by season 1 champion and former fnatic AP carry, Shushei, the Polish lineup wants to surprise in group b. With Veggie in the jungle they are building a strong duo and the flagship of the very first own EloHell League of Legends team. Shushei, and therefore his team, will have a lot of supporters at the event, since the crowd likes him as a player and a person. Regarding the group situation: It could probably not be worse for them. First offline event, two teams advance, CLG and M5 in your group - so what's positive in here? Maybe that everyone is from Poland and won't have a long trip back home. Sightseeing won't be interesting, since they should know their capital city. There is the same problem as for MYM: The first match will bring an early decision: everything or nothing.
Sad fact: They will face M5 first. So EloHell, enjoy your free Sunday.
Sight-seeing is a good keyword for x6tence - have you Spanish guys ever been to Poland? It's cheap! But seriously: x6 will be underrated by most of the teams in Poland. The Spanish lineup around Morden, its jungler, proves their skill from time to time in online tournaments. There is a lot of potential in this team, but if they want to be named in the top 10 list of European teams, they have to show something offline - Warsaw is their chance. Also if we take a look at the CC standing, x6 can still make it to gamescom if they don't place last in their group. So we will probably see two offline events in a row with x6tence - a good sign for the Spanish organization and the players itself, who are not that famous and no one really expects much of them. They will play the opening match of group b against CLG and since CLG played OGN matches on the 25th they definitely be jet-lagged - no matter what they will try to not be (of course the nice hotel paid by RIOT will do its job, but jet-lag is jet-lag). It's hard to win a best-of-three series against CLG, but it's not impossible - even for x6.
What do you think who will make it out of the groups? Who do you think will win the whole tournament? Feel free to join the discussion on reddit.com! Also write why I am right or wrong with my predictions by tweeting to me on twitter.com/macftw.