The weekend came and went, but brought us many exciting League matches. Both TSM and Leaguepedia ran invitationals over the weekend that saw different winners than the usual suspects on the North America scene. Fans were almost able to catch a glimpse at CLG.Prime in the NGTV Battle Royal against Locodoco's new Korean team sponsored by Startale. Links to the VoDs can be found here (TSM Invitationals, Leaguepedia Invitational, CLG v Startale G1 G2&3)
TSM Invitationals - The Team Formerly Known as Goose is Loose (Brackets)
With CLG.Prime and Dignitas in Korea and unable to compete, this tournament looked to be an easy one for TSM to plow through after their recent LAN results. However, the team has been out of practice with Reginald's vacation and other contributing factors, which led to them being bounced early after losses to Curse.NA (2-1) and mTw.NA (2-0). With TSM out of the way, and Curse.NA withdrawing from the tournament halfway through, the field opened up for several teams. CLG.Black had a nice little run until they ran into Dynamic who beat them 2-0, and then mTw.NA defeated them in the lower brackets 2-1, relegating CLG.Black to third place.
This set the stage for a Dynamic vs mTw.NA final. Dynamic had the 1 set advantage having already given mTw their only best-of-3 loss in the opening round of the tournament, but could only manage 1 win in 5 games. mTw took the first 2-1, and then overpowered Dynamic in the second 2-0 scoring a major confidence boost after recent disappointing finishes. This tournament had Atlanta playing top lane and Balls switching to AD carry. The change, at least for now, seems to have shaken things up in a good way for mTw (netting them $1,200). Dynamic stays a bridesmaid in this tournament, but they will gladly take a second place finish and $500.
The Leaguepedia Invitational invited 16 NA teams to compete for $3,000 in cash prizes and $2,000 in gaming gear. No TSM, Dignitas, or CLG.Prime in this event paved the way in the second event of the weekend to feature not as familiar faces. TSM.EVO looked strong early in the tournament, seemingly back to their top form with a nice series win over CLG.Black, but couldn't carry that momentum over against Dynamic. Nintendudex was uanble to play in the tournament, and so TheOddOne subbed in for Dynamic and helped them defeat TSM.EVO 2-0 to push Dynamic into another final this weekend. They would be joined by a team that continues to build off a nice showing at MLG Anaheim, Orbit Gaming. Orbit took out Curse.NA in a close 2-1 series, then squeaked by Ordinance Gaming (who took out TSM Invitational winners mTw.NA 2-0) in another tight series to square off in the finals against Dynamic.
Orbit looked like the more polished, stronger team against Dynamic as they played their best matches of the tournament en route to a 2-0 victory. The team hasn't showed it can consistently beat the likes of Dignitas, TSM, and CLG.Prime yet on the NA scene, but Orbit is quickly proving to be a formidable opponent. Their players have long been high on the solo queue ladder, and have come together as a team nicely in a short time period. Nubbypoohbear and Nientosh have firmly established themselves as top players at their respective roles, and their team has shown a blossoming synergy that allows them to take and keep early advantages. As for Dynamic, playing without Nintendude saw them have back to back second place finishes, but teams seem to be figuring them out the more they see them. Still, consistent top 4 placing in essentially tournament they enter is a luxury very few teams enjoy, and Dynamic has earned a lot of respect in the NA scene in a short amount of time. It will be interesting to see how teams like Orbit and Ordinance can perform as teams get more and more looks at them in a tournament environment, but the NA scene once scoffed at for its lack of depth now sports many scrappy teams outside of the old guard.
NGTV Battle Royal - CLG.Prime sweeps away Startale
Since both CLG.Prime and Dignitas have gone off to Korea, not much has been seen of them in a competitive team setting. The gaming house environment seems to be serving CLG.Prime well though, if Monday morning's results (and recent scrim updates from Bigfatjiji's twitter) were any indication. The Battle Royal is a best-of-5 setting that saw CLG.Prime take on Startale (Locodoco's new Korean team). CLG won in dominating fashion sweeping the series in 3 games, and showing off some of the chemistry that the gaming house has allowed them to build. Hotshot was ganking effectively with Nautilus and Alistar (early and often), and he helped them secure several objectives as the team still had a few sneaky tricks up their sleeves (like a sneaky 2 man baron from Doublelift on Corki and Voyboy on Jax where they jumped over the baron wall to go unseen by Startale wards).
The CLG team has been scrimming many of the top Asian teams, such as Taipei Assassins, World Elite, Startale, and both Azubu teams (formerly MiG) in preparation for the OGN summer league and winning the majority of them (brackets found here). Unfortunately for fans, those scrims haven't been allowed to be streamed, but according to Bigfatjiji, when CLG.EU arrives in Korea on the 6th they will be streaming the scrims vs each other. If Dignitas has had the type of improvement CLG.Prime has appeared to gain from their gaming house, the Korean summer league might have a very North American feel at the top.
Stay tuned for more e-Sports updates and more news as it comes in concerning you favorite players and teams!