Russian League of Legends team Moscow 5 won the European Challenger Circuit in Poland last weekend at the famous Zlote Tarasy mall, taking home $15,000 with a win over rivals Counter Logic Gaming Europe. The win puts Moscow 5 back in the driver's seat for the next major event, the upcoming League of Legends European Championships at GamesCom in Cologne, Germany. The team is keeping the win in perspective, however.
"We didn’t consolidate the No. 1 spot by beating CLG Europe in Poland," Moscow 5 Captain Alexey "Alex_ich" Ichetovkin told GameSpot. "If we beat them, for example, at three LAN tournaments in a row, we can say, 'Moscow 5 is better than CLG.' But at the moment it's just 1:1. They are really one of the best teams and we can't underestimate such a strong opponent."
Just a few weeks ago at DreamHack Summer in Sweden, CLG Europe got the better of Moscow 5, sweeping them in both the finals and the group stage. The loss lit a fire under Moscow 5 to try some different things this time around.
"The teams are still incredibly close and it was very small changes that tipped the balance," said League of Legends broadcaster Leigh "Deman" Smith. "It started with the first game with Nocturne as jungler instead of Nautalus, which they used at DreamHack. According to Alex_ich, that was the main difference of why it worked in his Kassadin versus Karthus mid-match as opposed to at DreamHack. Nocturne is able to gank from much greater distances with his ultimate, so they were able to 4-5 man gank bottom lane as they were a very mobile team."
While in-game decisions affected this weekend’s outcome, constant travel and lack of practice time may have also come into play. CLG Europe just came back from South Korea's OnGameNet and "The Champions" summer event, as well as the MLG Anaheim Spring Championships just a few weeks prior.
"The big difference is Moscow 5 are sitting in Russia practicing, where CLG are traveling back and forth from Korea and changing patches each time they travel," Deman said. "So they were playing a month-old patch in Korea, then Jayce patch at Poland, then again to a newer patch back in Korea and most likely changing again for GamesCom. It's going to be tough."
Moscow 5 will enter GamesCom as the first seed, followed by CLG Europe, FnaticRC, SK Gaming, and Curse Europe. The event will start the first day of GamesCom on August 16, and can be watched live all weekend on the League of Legends website.