The veil of mystery surrounding the MLG League of Legends Invitational has finally been lifted, and not a moment too soon. We're just 10 days out from the tournament, after all! Let's take a look at the teams that have been invited this time around for a chance to compete for a $30,000 prize purse in Dallas at the Fall Championships.
1st: $16,000 2nd: $8,000 3rd: $4,000 4th: $2,000
After seeing their sister team Azubu Frost come really close to winning the Season two Championship, Blaze will be hungry for revenge against NaJin Sword, who knocked them out of the Asian Season 2 regionals. Blaze previously won the MLG Summer Arena and was their only performance at a MLG event, so they'll be looking to make a strong impression in front of a live audience in Dallas. Though they are playing without star top player Reapered, with no announcement of a replacement as of yet. We'll have to see how well the rest of the squad does without him.
Led by former CLG player SaintVicious, Curse looks to redeem themselves in the eyes of fans after falling early in the North American regionals and the scandal that was the finals of the MLG Summer Championships. Hopefully the team learned their lesson from that incident and is looking to come out honorable and play well in Dallas
Similarly to Curse, Dignitas also looks to redeem themselves from the collusion incident tehy were involved in at the MLG Summer Championships, as well as to make everyone forget about their reletively poor performance at the Season 2 World Playoffs.With no roster changes, however, they look solid and ready to compete in Dallas – team captain Scarra in particular seems hungry to get back into the thick of competition.
Led by fan favorite Maknoon, NaJin Sword is the second of the Korean squads invited to the MLG Fall Championships. Finishing in the 5th-8th spot in the Season 2 World Championships after losing an upset against the eventual champions Taipei Assassins, they should come out swinging. Especially considering the teams that they beat in the group stage, including CLG.EU and Team Dignitas, are both at this event – its possible that overconfidence will be their undoing, especially against Azubu Blaze, who they knocked out of the Season 2 Regionals. In any case, we'll see how they perform in Dallas.
Team Dynamic is perhaps the most underrated team of the event, with no real Season 2 success in the books for them at all, as they were eliminated early in the North American regionals. However, they have been a staple of MLG Prizefights events, as well as all of the other events in the North American scene including IGN Pro League and other MLG events. Out of all the teams listed here, I would say Team Dynamic has the most to prove, to show the world they belong in such an elite lineup of teams. Time will tell if this proves to be the case, but for now, I dub them the Dark Horse of this tournament.
Counter Logic Gaming Prime (NA)
The main squad of the renown Counter Logic Gaming has seen a ton of changes this past year. Ranging from SaintVicious and Elementz heading over to Curse, to (most recently) Voyboy being kicked off the team in favor of the Korean Locodoco, CLG has alot of work to do to get in sync with each other. This event will be the first in which this new lineup will do battle with other top teams in an offline setting, after finishing in 9th-10th place at the World Championships, taking only one match against SK Gaming. After cheering for their sister EU squad in the World Championships, you can tell they want a piece of that almost attained glory, so you can bet they'll come out swinging on November 2nd.
Counter Logic Gaming EU
Counter Logic Gaming's EU branch has seen decidely more success than the North American side since its formation in Dec 2011. An extremely strong season 2 wrapped up with taking victories off of most of the teams they faced, aside from one match in the group stage against NaJin Sword. They'll be looking for revenge here, to be sure. However, the absense of their rivals Azubu Frost in this tournament means that, if they can get through NaJin, they have a shot at taking this whole tournament.
Combine the matchups with the fact that they have had one of the more stable rosters in League of Legends eSports and they are looking mighty powerful heading into Dallas.
Team Solo Mid
North American fan favorites Team Solo Mid are coming off of a hard loss in the Season 2 Playoffs against Azubu Frost, who knocked them out of the tournament in the quarterfinal round, proving that they just aren't quite ready to deal with the Korean metagame. The question coming into Dallas is this – have they had enough to both cope with their hard loss against Azubu Frost AND come up with some strategies to beat the Korean metagame? Because if they have not, I find it unlikely that Team Solo Mid will place top three in this event.
"I'm looking forward to seeing what the North American teams can come up with to compete with the Korean metagame, but to be honest, they didn't fare so well in the Season 2 Playoffs against them, and I just don't feel that enough time has passed for anything to really have changed.
Look for Counter Logic Gaming EU to make a strong showing. Not only are they the most stable team on the roster of this tournament, they've also had the most experience against Korean teams in recent tournaments. If they can best NaJin Sword, they will have the best shot at beating Azubu Flame out of any of the teams here. If that does not happen, look for a NaJin Sword vs Azubu Flame finals (assuming the bracket lines up that way), with Najin just barely eeking out a win.".