By Sascha “Yiska” Heinisch
Soon we will once again mess up the date on important business or school papers, as we learned to love the ’09. It will take a while to get used to the ’10. Damn you ’10. As demented as we are, we humans like to look back at the year and see what we have accomplished. I, for one, managed to bounce 15kg up and down with my body weight but despite that, I also happen to know what happened with coL.WoW this year. While my weight might surely be interesting to some of the ladies out there (or maybe even some guys *cough*), I will however talk about coL.WoW this time and leave the rest till I’m drunk enough. Enough with the sillyness! Time machine go!
The WoW year began with the introduction of new WoW squad that was formerly known as GotGame.east, consisting of Jordan ‘happyminti’ Mance, Alex ‘Sodah’ Ringe and of course Elliott ‘Venruki’ Venczel. The team was well known for playing a rather extravagant and arguably worse variation than the common line up RMP which was Rogue, Mage, Druid. As they had issues with their old sponsor, despite being an outstanding team who managed to place second at the IEM North American finals which automatically qualified them for the World Finals which would be held in March 2009 and a 1st place online qualification round finish on the CGS realm, it was definitely one the hottest teams on the market and it was only the logical decision for coL to pick them up.
Things changed though, with the Blizzard 3.09 patch in mid Febuary. The damage of both Rogue and Mage were severely gutted and counterclasses of the RMD setup were dominating the live ladders. I‘d argue that the Death Knight class back then had been a counter to Druids like we had never seen before, as a couple of months later Blizzard would give in and changed the way Plague Strike worked.
The first tournament of the year had to be held in Hannover, Germany at the Cebit 2009. With 7 European teams, 2 Korean teams and 3 North American teams, the tournament was one of the most high calibre tournaments there ever was, alongside the Blizzcon tournaments. Back then, RMP was even more powerful than it is now and it was absolutely dominating the competitive scene. This also showed at Cebit as 8 of the 12 teams were playing the lineup and the top 6 were filled with only them. Back in TBC, RMD was considered a slight RMP counter but unfortunately for the coL.WoW team, the case wasn’t the same in Wrath of the Lich King and they finished last. The tournament surely had a great atmosphere as Happyminti explains in this video which is still definitely worth a watch. The finals of this tournament were surely breath-taking as SK-Korea was up 2-0, one win away from winning it all and Orangemarmalade comes back with an amazing 2vs1 performance, makes it a draw and the team comes back to win it all. SK-Korea was never to be seen in an international tournament again.
Quite possibly the most epic WoW Arena moment of all time.
While this was a big hit to coL.WoW team, in retrospec, they have to say that was possibly the best thing that could’ve happened to them, as Sodah switched to Priest to form the trifecta of RMP, the one consistent line up that had always been somewhat viable in the competitive WoW arena scene. Not only that, but many people would later argue that Sodah is quite possibly the best Priest in North America, if not the world.
Next, it was time for the qualification phase for the Blizzard tournament which traditionally is hele on a tournament realm with a regular online ladder. The first half of the ladder was plagued with Shadowcleave (back then Paladin/Warlock/Death Knight) and as the nerf to those classes hit, Blizzard decided to not reset the ladder like they normally did after the first phase, which was a huge surprise to most teams. The last nights are always intense but coL.WoW still managed to qualify, granting them a spot in the North American finals in Cologne, Germany in the last week of June.
Between the ladder qualification phase and the Blizzard tournament, there was another challenge for the coL roster. MLG Columbus, scheduled for the first week of June and therefore a great practice for the Blizzard regionals. The first offline tournament as RMP surely was a tough one. In round robin, they beat every team despite eMg (who is now known as Check6). They even beat the winner of the tournament SK.US in a close series of 3-2 showing how much potential they have. On the second day, the team of SK.US had the slight edge, sending coL.WoW to the lower bracket where they faced Ensidia once again and lost; giving them 4th place in Columbus. It was a very solid placing in such a high caliber tournament.
If you have ever played WoW you will know that playing and losing a mirror match is really a hard thing to accept, as it is on even grounds. Sure, even when RMP mirrors were still played with a lot of RNG, but nothing too major to say that a lower skill team won because they had good luck. The key to success in WoW at the time was be RMP and be good at mirrors or play a different comp and counter RMP.
As we know, things just don’t always work out as we predict or want them to in life. At the Blizzard Regionals in Cologne, which was played in a double elimination tournament mode. Again, in retrospect we have to say they lost to the two best teams there at that time. TSG went on to win Blizzcon in Anaheim and eMg would continue to be the most succesful team of the year despite not making it to Blizzcon. The deflating score of the Blizzard North American Regionals: 0-3 TSG and 1-3 eMg.
If Happyminti had known that these teams were on their way to world domination, would he have stepped down into retirement? I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we miss Jordan as he was not only a great player, but also a very open player who did a lot for the organization.
A new Rogue had to be found and at that time there were two new Rogues on the rise; Woundman and Reckful. The latter had been at Regionals with his extravagant comp of Rogue/Ret/Priest and also pulled off a Furious Gladiator against his contender while also being apart of the first team to ever reach 3k rating on live ladders. After a couple of games it was clear that despite some minor synergy problems between Reckful and Venruki; who both were always the strat caller in their respective teams, Byron “Reckful“ Bernstein was the one to fill the gap. In early August he was announced to be the successor of Happyminti only a couple of weeks before MLG Dallas.
The team trained hard and most people considered them to be the best RMP in North America at that time. After the tournament pretty much everyone involved would say that MLG Dallas was the best tournament competition wise they had ever been to. It was also the first occurance of the Beast Cleave comp, back then still with the wing king “Kintt“ Arthur, baby. (pardon *cough*). While our team was still with all due respect, got pretty much stomped by the RMP hard counters x6tence playing PHD and of course eMg’s Beastcleave, they did really well against the other teams. The formerly best RMP in North America that had thrown us into the lower bracket in Columbus SK.US got ace’d 5-0 and the other matches were won as well. They shouldn’t have lost another series in that tournament to any other team that those two hard counters and placed third in Dallas, beating Reckful’s old rivals for Furious Gladiator Fnatic 3-1. A second big step towards the MLG Finals. Keep in mind, players not organizations keep the points therefore all points from Happyminti from Columbus were gone.
In October something that had never happened before took place as the last spot for MLG Anaheim had to be filled and compLexity stepped up and offered a wild card. In collaboration with MLG & Gotfrag a tournament was hosted to determine who was going to get the free ride to MLG Anaheim and quite possibly a contract with coL. As the first team couldn’t attend, the second team going by the name of BHMS (Brogo has Massive Snutz, best name ever?) consisting of Brogo, Massive and Snutz (get it?) playing Shadow cleave (now Druid/Warlock/Death Knight). A young team with definitely a lot of potential as they also showed in Anaheim. First things first.
The first tournament day was definitely a bummer for our RMP. Teams from other continents have a very different playstyle and while you might beat every team of one particular comp available to you to train against, it might be a completely different ball game against a team that has a different approach and therefore they got 5-0’d against SK.EU, the team that would go on to finish 2nd. On the other hand the new to the tournament scene team of BHMS managed to beat SK.US 3-2. Both teams gave an interview after the event which you can see here. As the tournament progressed it became pretty apparent that lots of teams had changed their strategies and our RMP wasn’t able or didn’t adapt to those in team, leaving them at a disappointing 7th place. Bitter fact, when it was still mathematically possible for them to make it to the final four out of all teams our very own BHMS had the burden to kick them out of the tournament which on the other hand enabled them to make it to the final round in which they finished 4th after a very quick loss against Check6 and a pretty hard match against SK.EU. Nevertheless, for a young team like BHMS to come up to a tournament going from unknown to top 4 was definitely a nice compensation for the radicoLs and showed the world that wild card tournaments really do produce quality teams. The tournament was once again won by Button Bashers around the Mage hero Orangemarmalade and they once again inspired an entire scene that practice is key in WoW and that there is more to it than just countercombing.
The last event of the year in mid December then was ESL Edmonton which was the North American Championship finals in the Edmonton mall which is the largest in North America. With four teams getting an invite for Cebit in ’10 (urgs…) and only 7 teams attending of which one was a local team, the challenge didn’t seem to hard on paper. The only problem? Sodah wasn’t around to play with the team as he had finals at that time. This happened on such short notice, that Venruki and Reckful didn’t managed to get enough practice in with Vrty and this definitely had a huge impact on the performance of the team. As they even had the arguably easier group with only two teams despite them being in it and only having to win one series, they still had to overcome EG and guess who, Reckful’s old friends Fnatic. The team ended up losing both games and therefore not qualifying for Cebit. Out of all people in the world, I am probably the saddest as this was the first chance for me, the German, to meet our squad.
Fear not though radicoLs! coL.WoW will be back in the second week of ’10 (screw you ’10, screw you) with the MLG Finals in Orlando and as Sodah promised in this video the guys will learn from their mistakes and step it up. This was the WoW year of compLexity and if you reached that line, you definitely are resistent to tl;dr and I admire you. Stay tuned!