by Sascha “Yiska” Heinisch
Azael and two completely new players to the offline tournament scene, going by the name of Tenderlion and Smartin, are heading to MLG Anaheim for Evil Geniuses. Their line up is going to be Rogue/Warlock/Restoshaman, the class combination with which Azael almost made it to Blizzcon this losing 2-3 to the later world champion TSG. He was still playing with Kollektiv and Zyz at this time though and things have changed. It will be one tough tournament for this team and a top 4 placing seems unlikely as not only did their team just form a couple of weeks ago, but also because their comp needs an almost perfect amount of team play. Unless this team surprises everyone by playing a different line up, they won’t be a serious threat to the top teams.
Not long ago, the Rogue/Mage/Priest line up of SK.US around team leader Ryan “Realz” Materson was considered one of the best teams and RMPs in North America if not the world. The top player base travels at light speed though and lately it looked like the team wasn’t able to keep up and their performances continuously degraded starting from Blizzcon in which they got thrown out of the tournament in round 3 by the European team x6tence and then of course MLG Dallas in which they didn’t manage to qualify for the final four. Their team couldn’t really impress on live realms and Pookz played more with Azael than with his own team lately. Realz is said to be playing his Rogue a lot which won’t help them in Anaheim at all. They probably won’t make it to the top 4 even if they manage to get a good chunk of training in. They are currently the second ranked team on the MLG point ladder and with the points they earn by attending this event, they are already qualified for the MLG Finals early next year, which is probably the reason why they attend this event in the first place.
Check Six, the current #1 of the MLG ladder chimes in with a lot of momentum and confidence into Anaheim and rightfully so. After their former organization eMG wasn’t able to support them sufficiently anymore, they not only switched sponsors but also exchanged the now inactive Kintt for Michael “Toez” Edwards, the former healer of Gravitas Gaming. He’s said to be one of the most promising and versatile healers in North America and will definitely be a significant improvement to their line up, that already won the last MLG event in Dallas anyway. That said, they need every edge they can get as their line up of Enhancement Shaman/Hunter/Paladin (also known as Beast Cleave) took quite heavy nerfs after the last event but most top players will confirm that it’s still a top tier comp. They are well known for their preparation before tournaments and it wouldn’t surprise me if they’d come up with a completely new comp. This team is one of the favorites for this tournament and everything below top four would be a huge disappointment.
After the 3rd place of MLG Dallas, compLexity established their spot as the dominant RMP in North America and the addition of Byron “Reckful” Bernstein to the team seems to pay off. It won’t be an easy tournament though, as many teams made considerable changes to their roster and on top of that the RMP line ups in general had quite some trouble making it into the grand finals. These last couple of days of preparation will be crucial for their performance in Anaheim. Everything between 1st and not even qualifying for the final four is possible and the form of the weekend will most likely decide.
The winner of the compLexity wild card and second place of the qualifying tournament will be attending their first tournament in Anaheim. They run the comp of Druid/Death Knight/Warlock which is widely considered a top tier class combination. The teams is said to have some trouble with adjusting to a tournament setting as Brogo, the druid of the team, is said to be using an unhealthy amount of addons which will most likely influence his performance in an offline setting in which addons aren’t allowed quite a bit. If their class composition and their confidence level of winning the wild card will create a high enough weave of momentum for them to ride to a top 4 spot is questionable but not impossible. Last place to final four, everything can happen for this team.
Probably the most unpredictable team at the tournament is the Korean team of Button Bashers. Looking at their team history, this RMP had magnificent victories such as the ESL world championship followed by a second spot in the Blizzard Korean finals but also experienced a heavy down swing as they got thrown out 0-2 at Blizzcon and didn’t make it into the final four in Dallas. The tides seem to turn once again though and as many community experts agree that by exchanging Hannival for their new Rogue Hiren, they got rid of their weakest link and are the great team, that made so many jaws drop when Orangemarmalade managed to pull of the 1vs2 in the final game to make it a draw and later win it all. Koreans are known for their different playstyle and their hard work and Orangemarmalade lately stated that 7-8 hours of playing a day before events is their usual training schedule. This team has a very good shot at the final four and it really depends on how much they can prepare against line ups such as Shadow Cleave and Beast Cleave.
Fnatic is for RLS, what compLexity is for RMPs. They also were the only team with their class combination in the final four in Dallas, both have very strong and new to the offline scene Rogue players, they both play a comp which had a hard time lately at tournaments and people are questioning their ability to win a tournament and both have a good chance of getting into the final four nevertheless. Yog and Douja have been around for quite some time now and are very experienced players and their third player, Woundman, should’ve absorbed enough tournament atmosphere to perform his A-Game in Anaheim. Everything is possibly.
SK.EU, the brand new team under the SK organization takes off to their first tournament together as a team. Their Death Knight Another and their Warlock Inflame aren’t strangers to the WoW community though and most definitely are among the best WoW players Europe had to offer for quite some time. After the split up of the most successful team of the TBC era – Nihilum Plasma, which Inflame was a part of, and the dispartment of the former SK.EU where Another used to play, these two where searching for a capable Druid, which they found in form of Alexis “Enigmz” Martin. Most people consider them a save pick for the final four, if not the tournament win as they are one of the highest profile teams to ever make it to an MLG tournament.