MLG Columbus 2015 ProLeague Championship kicked off today, in Ohio. The six teams were scheduled for two matches each in the Round Robin phase, designed to seed out the top four teams into a Step Ladder format.
Team Empire vs. MVP.Phoenix
As expected, Empire had a weak early game, with Zeus as support and Slardar as carry on the same team. Damien “kPhoenii” Chok had some great early game plays on his Clockwork, managing to keep Team Empire under control and then shined again later in the game when Empire attempted a split push strategy. Kim “Febby” Yong-Min’s crucial mistake at minute 23, when he died while his buy-back was on cool down, created a wide opening for Team Empire to finally come back into the game by securing the aegis and gaining some map control. However, in the end, Roman “Resolut1on” Fominok was the real MVP of this first game of the group stages with his ShadowFiend’s big plays.
Ninjas in Pyjamas vs. Balkan Bears Corleone (BBC)
The laning phase went in BBC’s favor, as they had one of the most scary duo roaming supports: Skywrath mage, Ogre Magi and Queen of Pain for mid-lane. Once the laning phase started to pass, BBC realized that their passive farming strategy was not working out very well, as they began to lose their creep advantage. With this in mind, the team started to force aggression on NiP, creating a window for Linus “Limmp” Blomdin to gain four kills in a row and help to quickly complete his item build. NiP slowly and calmly started to gain the advantage and executed their strategy well, only counter-ganking, slowly taking towers, and successfully securing the pick offs. With no one other than Omar “w33haa” Aliwi’s Troll Warlord able to leave base safely, NiP was able to take Roshan without much effort and finish the game.
Team Empire vs. Evil Geniuses
With both teams being confident on their mid-lane signature heroes – Sumail “SumaiL” Syed Hassan on Storm Spirit and “Resolut1on” on Shadow Fiend, the game turned out very differently than most people might have expected. SumaiL’s Storm Spirit was focused on so much, being ganked and shut down and had little impact on this game. EG managed to shut down Gleb “Funn1k” Lipatnikov on the off-lane, while Clinton “Fear” Loomis had free farm. Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling, fond of promoting the Rod of Atos build, was able to build one very quickly thanks to his seven kills-two deaths score early game on his new signature hero Skywrath Mage. A couple of skirmishes and a terrible play when Silent on Wraith King, blinked to stun an enemy hero, missing five mana for his reincarnation skill and ended up dying, caused Team Empire to lose a really good team fight and the Roshan. With an incredibly farmed Fear on Juggernaut being unstoppable, EG started to take all of their objectives. Empire forced a team fight and ended up getting five man wiped. Shortly afterwards, GG was called.
MVP.Phoenix vs. BBC
BBC seemed to be afraid of the Treant last pick – considering that MVP.Phoenix had a phoenix on the team already. The Balkan Bears were surprised by the Drow last pick for Kim “Febby” Yong-Min. As the game progressed, MVP.Phoenix started to take tower after tower by 5 man pushing, while BBC seemed unable to react. BBC thought they had the opportunity they were looking for when MVP.Phoenix took an awful fight, trading four heroes for one. However, with Drow’s strong farm and Kim “QO” Seon-Yeob’s Shadow Fiend gaining worth, when MVP attempted Roshan for the second time, BBC failed in contesting it and were shut down. MVP.Phoenix was able to proceed by taking down mid barracks and forcing two buybacks while taking top barracks. With no buy-back on W33ha’s Troll Warlord, BBC was forced to call GG.
Not Today vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas
Less than one hour before Not Today had finally arrived at the venue due to delayed flights, it seemed obvious as early as their drafting phase that they were having difficulty focusing. The game was decided from the very first minute, since NoT allowed NiP to lay their hands on four of their favorite heroes, including the Tiny-IO combo, Axe and Dazzle. NiP was able to play within their most comfortable zone. Other than the first blood that Not Today was able to draw, the Tiny-IO combo completely dominated over Bryan Freddy “Smash” Sina’s Ember Spirit, the Peruvians strongest mid and early game weapon. Exceptional farm and plays by Jonas “jonassomfan” Lindholm’s Axe made the game even easier for the Swedish rising stars. With the relocate combos of both Axe and Night Stalker, NiP prevented Not Today from being able to defend towers. The game slipped from Not Today and shortly after the 30 minute mark, a completed 6 slotted Tiny headed mid to destroy base.
Up next at the MLG Columbus
The Round Robin phase will wrap up tomorrow, making way for the first Step Ladder Bracket. The first place team from the Round Robins will be directly seeded into the grand final. The second place team will be seeded into the semifinals, while the third and fourth places will wind up in the quarterfinals.
10 AM Round Robin – Balkan Bears Corleone vs. Evil Geniuses
11 AM Round Robin – NoT Today vs. Team Empire
12 PM Round Robin – MVP Phoenix vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas
01 PM Round Robin – Balkan Bears Corleone vs. NoT Today
02 PM Round Robin – Ninjas in Pyjamas vs. Team Empire
03 PM Round Robin – Evil Geniuses vs. MVP Phoenix
04 PM Round Robin – Team Empire vs. Balkan Bears Corleone
05 PM Round Robin – MVP Phoenix vs. NoT Today
06 PM Round Robin – Evil Geniuses vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas
07:30 PM Step Ladder Bracket – Round 1