9. Erik ‘Medion’ Engström (Sweden)
It will probably be the most surprising entry on this list for the majority of fans CS, because so few will be from the era in which Medion was at its peak. To understand the level of play Medion I have to take you back with me in 2001. At that time there was no consensus best player in the world, fans are just beginning to build support around names like Heaton and Ksharp, who they were still very much in their infancy as elite players. Potti was the man considered the best pro, as will be the case later, but he went unrecognized even, for the most part. Enter Medion, Swedish star player.
Medion was the first true all-around player in the history of CS, although Rambo and BigDog can challenge him on this front. As early as 2001 most players are very significant share in terms of being a cleaner or a AWPer rifler. If they were riflers then that means using AK or colt, using August or Sigg was considered unorthodox. Even in terms of positions, they had one or two players they could play at a high level. This is where the brilliance Medion came as Swedish can use literally every single weapon to a high level or until then, and did.
After the first generation of competitive line-up of Ninjas in Pyjamas (NIP) was dissolved, Medion join the Mafia vesslan allowed him to establish himself as perhaps the best player in the world, he considered dominant player individual as someone like Heaton was still establishing itself and waiting for his first tournament of the largest offline. He was on the winning team in the ‘nip vs Nip’ final Celebrity CPL Holland, where the players were divided between mafia.
When nip saw the light and reformed their line-up following the LPP, Medion has been an important part of their run dominant three titles straight Cpl including a line-up American small changes seasonally final with. The last day equivalents good for someone like Medion will be players like Tentpole or traces, which has played different roles in their teams, but could affect the game in many ways can Medion. Medion stopped playing competitively in early 2002, only to come to a brief return with SK and a 3 CPL Winter 2002.
Had he played longer, then Medion will be much higher on the list of all time great players and had the potential to really put together a really stellar career. The reason that he could make this list is because what he accomplished in such a short space of time was shocking. In about two years of competitive play he won two American and three European CPLs. He had the respect of all his peers, who considered him a monster of a player, and he certainly could have played in big teams for a number of years following his retirement.
Medion is one of the rare players who walk away from CS when he really could have done much more, not constrained by lack of skills or diminished opportunities
Everyone expected EnVyUs to confidently win their way out of the group stages and they did exactly that, taking easy 2-0 victories over both Splyce and Team Liquid, allowing them to exit the group with the number one seed. The boys in blue almost faltered on Numbani, a map famous for upsets, against Liquid who appeared to be making an epic overtime comeback. But EnVyUs edged out the victory off the back of Taimou’s Roadhog.
Splyce, on the other hand, found nothing but defeat in Atlanta, falling 0-2 against both EnVyUs and NRG. However, it isn’t all bad news for the organization as they are a low ranked team and this event gave them valuable LAN experience.
But the biggest storyline of this group was the matchup between NRG and Team Liquid. They met each other in their first matches to a devastating Liquid 2-0 victory. It was looking like the much discussed NRG bootcamp had not payed off. Luckily for the NRG players, they still had the lower bracket to try and redeem themselves, and they leaped at the opportunity, easy sweeping Splyce in a 2-0. This placing them in a rematch with Liquid, who were recovering from their 2-0 beating by EnVyUs
Seagull kept Liquid guessing on every map and displayed his biggest strength as a player: his flexibility. Playing everything from Zarya, offensive Mei, and his famed Genji, he lead NRG against Liquid as they took their final matchup the full distance. The third map of Numani ended in a tie, meaning that the match went to a tie breaking best-of-three on Nepal to decide the victor. In the end, NRG won and fought their way out of groups with a number two seed.
As we saw, the groups nearly perfectly mirrored each other. Fnatic was the favorite of the group, the same as EnVyUs. In similar fashion, Fnatic swept their first matchup against Immortals to continue on in the upper bracket. Meanwhile, in the other initial matchup, Method faced a struggling Cloud9. Despite their current form, C9 was still the expected victor, but Method didn’t seem to get the memo.
Method turned around their performance from the qualifying rounds of the tournament and beat out Cloud9 in a huge upset 2-1 performance. But when faced with the stiffer competition of Fnatic, the Method squad fell to the powerhouse organization, defeated 1-2 and dropped into the lower bracket.
Cloud9 easily defeated Immortals in the lower bracket, making the Immortals storyline a mirror of Splyce’s as they exited the tournament on the first day. Once again, mirroring group A, we now had a rematch of the first round between the embarrassed Cloud9 and the rising Method.
Method won the first battle, but C9 was determined to win the war and swung back hard, taking the first map in Route 66. However, Method wasn’t ready to fall over and showed their prowess on Temple of Anubis, managing to take two extra point captures in the span of a minute. Then, when thrown onto defense, they held C9 to only a single point, despite having over five minutes of attack time left in order to take map two.
On the final map of Hollywood, Method completed the map with no time to spare, while Cloud9 managed to finish the map with three minutes left, giving them the chance to close out the series on their second offense. In that second offense, Reaver came up huge on Roadhog, sneaking around the backside of Method to hit critical hooks on Psychowaffle’s Lucio and Snow’s McCree in order to crush the remaining life out of the Method squad. With the series wrapped up, Cloud9 left groups in the second seed.
Coming into the North American semifinals, both matchups were the teams who swept the upper-brackets, EnVyUs and Fnatic, and the teams who fell into the lower bracket in the first round and fought through to win their spot in the playoffs, Cloud9 and NRG. However, neither Cinderella story would be completed.
Cloud9 had the misfortune of facing EnVyUs almost immediately after their match against Method. The first map was Numbani and C9 was unable to find any success. EnVyUs devastated C9, completing the map themselves and fully holding C9 on the first point on the back of Taimou’s Roadhog.
Hollywood was the showdown for map two and C9 faired much better, this time, preventing EnVyUs from completing the map. Surefour played an excellent Reaper on this map, picking off supports and closed out the win for C9 with a triple kill.
Wounded for the first time in the tournament, EnVyUs now had something to prove. On the final two maps of Watchpoint, Gibraltar and Route 66, they prevented Cloud9 from completing either map to convincingly close out the series in a 3-1 victory.
The other semifinal had NRG faced with the burden of defeating Fnatic. Seagull had some incredible Mei play on the first map of Eichenwalde, controlling corridors and blocking off Nano Boosted players. But he was no match for the dps duo of Iddqd and Buds, who with constant multikills, carried Fnatic to a 1-0 lead; a lead from which they never looked back.
Map two took place on Dorado and was a closer fight. Both teams completed the map on their initial offense, with Fnatic taking less time than NRG. This extra time afforded Fnatic extra room to play with and the victory, jumping to a 2-0 lead in series. NRG now had to pull a reverse sweep, and they chose to throw their bets on Hanamura.
In the closing game of the series, Iddqd gave us one of the most impressive individual performances ever in Overwatch, and certainly of the tournament so far. His McCree almost single-handedly held point B, shutting down Seagull’s famous Genji time and time again with well timed flashbangs. He even forsook the normal backline home of McCree players, took the Nano Boost, and charged into the fray, shredding tanks with Fan the Hammer, even picking up the comical melee kill.
Fnatic emerged unscathed from the semifinals with a clean 3-0 victory and moved on to face EnVyUs in the North American finals.
The crown of best team in North America, an extra $8,000 with a shot at $100,000, and a spot to play on live TV; these were the stakes for the final match of the North American side of the Overwatch Open. The two finalists, Fnatic and EnVyUs, have a storied history, a history notably devoid of Fnatic victories.
The series began on Kings Row, where Fnatic put their foot down. They held against the onslaught of EnVyUs, never allowing them to capture the first point. Looking to do the same in order to not fall so easily on map one, EnVyUs forsook the tank meta and went for something unusual. InternetHulk went back to his Symmetra, Talespin took up Junkrat, and oddly Harryhook picked up Roadhog. This meant Chipshajen was left to solo heal on Ana of all supports.
The gambit didn’t work out. Iddqd managed to find and destroy the first teleporter Hulk erected, ruining the point of Symmetra. While Harry manged to hit some critical hooks, the lack of healing for EnVyUs meant that Cocco on Reinhardt was unable to properly block for his team, and as such, they were wiped out, allowing Fnatic to take the series lead 1-0.
Wounded for the second time in the tournament, EnVyUs was determined to bring back the series on Lijiang Tower. On Night Market, Fnatic initially looked in control of the point, but EnVyUs brought it to overtime, narrowly taking the first point. Carrying their momentum, EnVyUs won Garden without allowing Fnatic to even capture the point.
On the map closer of Control Center, Fnatic took the lead confidently, holding the point until it was 75 percent captured. It required a triple kill from Talespin’s Tracer to break their hold. After Fnatic recaptured the point, it was the EnVyUs duo of Harryhook and Talespin, who fought nearly the entire enemy team to stop the victory, buying time for EnVyUs to return and close out the map, tying the series 1-1.
The third map of the series took place on Dorado, and was a textbook game from EnVyUs. Completing the map themselves with minutes to spare, they prevented Fnatic from pushing the payload to the second point. The dominating game left EnVyUs with a 2-1 lead, and sitting on match point.
EnVyUs was looking for the killing blow, and they found it on Nepal. Fnatic showed once again they are the weaker King of the Hill team. Fnatic almost took the first point of Sanctum, but the teamwork of Harryhook and Internethulk held off for the rest of their team to join them and take the first point.
When the teams met on Village, EnVyUs showed no mercy, dominating the initial fight. They did lose control of the point but brought it back through better ultimate coordination, allowing the Nano Boosted Reinhardt of Cocco to batter Fnatic into submission, leaving Fnatic only one map away from total defeat.
Going onto the final round on Shrine, Fnatic was visably desperate. They fell onto comfort picks, even ones that don’t fit the meta properly. They didn’t bring a Winston to the first engagement and handedly lost the fight without the AOE shielding and damage he provides. And the because Custa decided to not play Ana, Fnatic was missing the threat of Nano Boost, leaving them at a massive disadvantage. As such, EnVyUs cleanly won the final point, never letting Fnatic capture it, and winning the series 3-1.
What This Means
In the end, EnVyUs moves onto the grand finals in unsurprising fashion. They were the favorites to win and they reminded any doubters why. They will play the winner of the EU bracket live on TBS on Friday, Sept. 30 for a shot at $100,000.
Join us again on Sept. 29 for our recap of the EU side of the Overwatch Open bracket.
Back in Business
The Mars TV Dota 2 League 2016 LAN finals (MDL) will be the first Dota 2 LAN since the Sept. 18 roster locks, marking the beginning of the Fall season. Taking place in Shanghai, the LAN will give attending teams the opening remarks as they try to make a case for an invite to this year’s Fall Major.
Evil Geniuses: Third Time’s A Charm?
On Sept. 15, Evil Geniuses announced that Clinton “Fear” Loomis would retire from active play for the Dota 2 roster, moving to a coaching position for the team. The real surprise came the following day, when EG announced their new roster. Evil Geniuses is now:
- Artour “Arteezy” Babev
- Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan
- Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora
- Ludwig “zai” Wåhlberg
- Andreas Franck “Cr1t-“ Nielsen (Captain)
On Sept. 16, EG also announced that the captain of the former stack, Peter “PPD” Dager, would move to an administrative role within the organization, adding to the shock of seeing Arteezy return for his third tenure under the EG banner.
Ultimately, what’s at stake for EG is proving that they can keep up the level of excellence maintained under PPD. Ensuring that both Arteezy and Sumail both have sufficient resouces through the early and midgame may be a major factor to capturing the first tournament of the season.
OG: A Green Dream Team?
The International 6 was not the best tournament for European teams across the board, but it ended particularly poorly for OG, who suffered a major upset at the hands of TNC Gaming. Consequently, major changes were to be made, with Amer “Miracle-“ Al-Barkawi, David “MoonMeander” Tan, and Andreas Franck “Cr1t-“ Nielsen all leaving to seek opportunitites on other teams. OG post-shuffle is:
- Johan “N0tail” Sundstein
- Anathan “ana” Pham
- Gustav “s4” Magnusson
- Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka
- Tal “Fly” Aizik (Captain)
This iteraition of OG Dota 2 is an interesting one, not only because of the addition of JerAx from Team Liquid, but also because of the addition of Ana. Ana made his professional Dota 2 career debut with Invictus Gaming in March of this year as a sub for Ferrari_430, with two finals appearances at two Chinese LANs. What’s more interesting about the Australian is the fact that he’s playing mid on a team with S4 on the roster. I’m curious to see how he does with some international competition.
Team Secret: SEAcret
Secret was another team that was essentially humiliated at The International 6. Secret, the historical “all-star” team in the Dota 2 scene, has seen two straight disappointing TI finishes with two squads that were strong on paper. Perhaps this is the flaw in the concept of a team like Team Secret; the team (both with W33/Misery and Arteezy/EternaLEnVy/BuLba) play like five extremely talented individuals working towards a common goal, instead of a unit working towards such a goal. As has been tradition for the team with Puppey at the helm, a full restructuring of the roster was in order after TI6. The new stack is:
- Pyo “MP” No-a
- Zheng “MidOne” Yeik Nai
- Lee “Forev” Sang-don
- Clement “Puppey” Ivanov
- Johan “pieliedie” Åström
Upon recovering form the surprise of seeing three players from South East Asia under the Secret banner, the first question that comes to mind, naturally, is communication. Will this team be a continuation of the five player approach to professional Dota, or can the team avoid the issues that have plagued the banner for two years?
China: Homegrown Hopefuls
Being a Chinese LAN, it’s expected that MDL will have more teams than any other region. Here’s a quick rundown of them:
LGD.Forever Young: The legendary Xiao8 seeks to start fresh with a fresh stack of CN vets, including Super and Yao.
iG Vitality: A rather untested team internationally, comprised of players from Chinese secondary teams.
Vici Gaming: fy and DDC will remain under the Vici banner and work with new talent to see if they can match the performances of Vici.Reborn. It should be noted that they are a replacement team for the LGD gaming main squad, who withdrew from the event.
Newbee: With only Kaka and Kpii remain from the fearsome stack that attended TI6, as Newbee seeks glory without Hao.
Last, but not least: MVP Phoenix
With MP and Forev leaving for Secret, and another disapointing result against Fnatic at The International 2016, MVP rebuilt thier squad in September:
- Kim “QO” Seon-yeop
- Kim “Febby” Yong-min
- Kim “Velo” Tae-sung
- Lee “Reisen” Jun-yeong
- Kim “DuBu” Doo-young (Captain)
Another team adds an Austrailian to their roster. Across all eight teams, there are three playing under three different banners. Velo has the least experience, with only one LAN attended, the MPGL Southeast Asian Championship, which occured just two weeks ago.