After a long day of competition and a shaky group stage, EG hits hard, taking the first game. Not ones to concede easily, Empire strikes back with a two game victory answer, grabbing their first championship title of 2015: MLG champions.
— Team Empire (@team_empire) April 13, 2015
Team Empire sustained quite a run at the MLG Pro League Championships in Columbus, Ohio this last weekend, surrendering only one loss to EG, in the group stages. Their performances earned them the upper hand, allowing them to be seeded directly into the grand finals, after a 4-1 record and final tiebreaker for the first place versus Ninjas in Pyjamas, in the group stages.
EG on the other hand, had struggled more than was expected, falling to both MVP.Phoenix and NiP in the group stages, thus seeded as the fourth and final place into the playoff brackets. The North American favorites had a chance to redeem themselves and take revenge on the two teams, as they powered through both MVP.Phoenix and NiP in the brackets, with their sights set on the grand finals.
EG versus MVP.Phoenix
The first match for EG to overcome was against MVP.Phoenix, which were relying on their impressive group stage plays. Despite their recent performances and being able to secure first blood, MPV.Phoenix lost all three lanes and, after a bad fight on the top lane, GG was called after less than 30 minutes. The Koreans fought hard in the second game, even managing to take down both Tier 4 towers and break base in under 40 minutes, but EG was able to maintain an advantage and control most of the game.
EG versus NiP
Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan had a deathless match on Magnus in the first game versus the Swedes. This helped to secure the first victory and put EG one step closer to their goal of reaching the grand finals. The Swedish roster was not about to give up without a fight, and with Linus “Limmp” Blomdin dominating on Puck, EG called GG, forcing a deciding third game. Game three drafted SumaiL’s signature Storm Spirit, that with Clinton “Fear” Loomis’s amazing Queen of Pain performance squashing Jonas “jonassomfan” Lindholm’s Axe brought the game to a favorable outcome for EG.
EG versus Team Empire
Despite the long hours of play for EG – which had to fight their way to the grand finals all day, while Team Empire were fresh and well rested, the North-Americans opened the best of three series with a bang. Grabbing first blood and several kills within the first five minutes, EG was looking strong and forced Empire to focus all of their attention on trying to bring down SumaiL on Magnus midlane. Despite being behind, Empire’s Tiny-IO combo had the potential to turn things around in the late game, so the Russians decided to play safe until then. However, a four for two trade did not go in Empire’s favor and an unfavorable clash were not helping the Russians make the most of their strategy. An amazing fight at the 40 minute mark near the dire Secret Shop kept things exciting, but it was SumaiL’s RP that cinched things up for EG and led to a rampage as well as end game.
Team Empire came out strong in the second game, with a 4-0 kills advantage by Ilya “AlohaDance” Korobkin on Treant and Andrey “alwayswannafly” Bondarenko on Vengeful Spirit. Ayrat “Silent” Gaziev’s Juggernaut had incredible farm, with 8.5k networth by minute 15 and was able to always keep his team ahead in advantage. Comapre EG’s combined networth at 17 minutes of 21K versus Silent’s 10K+ alone. Despite another huge play by SumaiL, allowing EG to steal the aegis, a wipe of four on Empire and EG having some advantage on XP, it wasn’t enough to turn the game in their favor or to steal the victory.
Most likely, the at least eight hours of intense playing started to take a toll on the North Americans. EG drafted SumaiL’s Storm Spirit once again, but this time it was against the Russians’ aggressive line up on Sniper, Queen of Pain and Razor. SumaiL struggled to make an impact against the Disruptor. By the 26 minutes mark, Team Empire was able to take the first set of barracks. GG was called only minutes later.
Team Empire claimed the $34,758 grand prize and championship title, while Evil Geniuses claimed second place prize of $21,724.