ECC Poland saw two distinct sets of teams competing for a chance at the $15,000 first place prize. On one hand were the upstart teams, three from Poland and one from Spain, all attempting to achieve victory against all odds and see their place in the Season Two World Championship come one step closer. Opposing them were names recognized by any League of Legends fan: CLG.eu, Moscow 5, SK Gaming and Curse. Despite glimmers of hope for the underdogs, the semi-finals bracket saw only the names of the veteran teams up on the scoreboard.
Even with the early elimination of the Polish teams, excited fans filled the venue and spilled out into the rest of the famous Zolte Tarasy mall, watching each match streamed. Everyone in attendance knew that for the four main attractions, ECC Poland meant more than just prize money. The all important seeding for the upcoming World Championship could see dramatic shifts depending on the placements of the top three, with CLG.eu flying from Korea to try and maintain their 2nd place seating.
ECC Poland also saw a rematch of two of Europeís hottest rivals, CLG.eu and Moscow 5. Meeting in the second match of Group B, CLG.eu exhibited the cool and deliberate playstyle that has trounced M5 in the past, racking up a victory without too much exertion. It appeared CLG.eu would be the unstoppable force of ECC Poland, advancing on onto the semi-finals with three convincing wins. M5 rallied, however, and advanced on with the promise of possible re-match in the finals.
Roasting temperatures onstage seemed to affect all the teams, with CLG.eu doubtlessly feeling the added exertion of extreme jet lag from their 35 hour flight from Korea. Faltering in game one against a powerhouse SK performance, their second match resulted in a grueling 51 minute win for CLG.eu, and a shot at a must-win game 3. With their second place seeding potentially on the line, CLG.euís Froggen took control of the match early and never gave SK a chance to recover. Despite the victorious rally against SK, however, the three game match no doubt damaged CLG.euís already strained stamina, and their final matches would be against none-other than their rivals Moscow 5.
In contrast to CLG.euís semi-final marathon, Moscow 5 confidently took their semi-final qualifiers 2-0. Eager for a rematch against the team that has consistently defeated them in multiple tournament playoffs, M5 exploded into the first match. Unlike other teamís constant attempts to limit Froggenís impact on the game, M5 strategically focused on eliminating the rest of CLG.eu. Unable to mount a cohesive defense against repeated ganks and counter-jungling, CLG.eu fell quickly in game one. Switching to a defensive lineup with Malphite and Nautilus in an effort to reach their comfortable late-game play, M5 overwhelmed top and bot lane once again to crush CLG.eu in an utterly one-sided 44 minute win.
CLG.euís second-place finish at ECC Poland will see them still solidly seated in second place for the upcoming World Championship. But their 0-2 defeat at the hands of M5, a team they have consistently beaten in final matches in the past, is a warning that they cannot ignore. Whether a perfect storm of sweltering heat, jetlag, and travel time may have contributed to their ultimate loss, the daring and innovative play of M5 is an undeniable threat. These two teams will undoubtedly face each other again on the World stage, and this time CLG.eu will have their own grudge to settle.