Throughout the history of esports in the CIS, there have been several Dota 2 and Counter-Strike teams that can boast of successes on the world stage. It is not surprising, because these disciplines are most popular in the Russian-speaking region. But there was one roster in League of Legends, which represented Russia even when Riot Games did not even open a regional office in this country. And it performed under the tag of Moscow Five.
Top Russian team for the top organization.
By the end of 2011, the Moscow Five organization was already, without doubt, the strongest in Russia and one of the strongest in the CIS. The success of the teams in Counter-Strike and Dota 2 helped it to reach the world level. At the same time, the most popular esports discipline, League of Legends, was gaining momentum in the world, and the M5 management could not stay away from this trend and began to search for the roster.
However, the choice was poor - the only Russian roster that showed the result then belonged to Team Empire. In November 2011, it won the qualifiers for the Intel Extreme Masters VI Global Championships finals, which took place in Kyiv. After an offer from Moscow Five, which Empire could not physically block, the team with Alexei "AlexIch" Ichetovkin, Danil "Diamondprox" Reshetnikov, Eugene "Genja" Andryushin, Eduard "GoSu Pepper" (now Edward) Abraghyan and Eugene "Darien" Mazayev came under the banner of the “Moscow Five”.
In Kyiv, Moscow Five League of Legends roster was to play for the first time in its life at a major LAN-event and meet with the world's leading teams. Most fans did not expect instant success and simply believed that the team will show a beautiful game and climb as high as possible. But after the group stage, it became clear that the M5 are ready to smash everyone. In the struggle for first place in the group, the American Team Dignitas was defeated, for which the stars of that time played - Voyboy, Scarra, and imaqtpie. The leader of the Riot Circuit Season 2 - SK Gaming with the current owner of the G2 Esports organization Carlos Ocelote Rodriguez Santiago was out of the work in the semi-final, and in the final, America's best team of those times - Team SoloMid - was able to win only one card with M5.
Way to the top
After the first LAN tournament, under the new tag, Moscow Five entered the League of Legends world elite. At the same time, the team played in all tournaments that were available to it, including online. In February 2012, M5 finished third in the ESL Go4LoL, won the Legendary Gaming New Year's Cup and reached the Kings of Europe finals. The only relative failure was the defeat in the qualifiers for IPL 4 Las Vegas, but this did not upset the fans much, because after a week the line-up had to play at the Intel Extreme Masters Season VI world final in Hanover. The M5 got a ticket there thanks to the victory in Kyiv, and fans of the Russian team believed that there, too, success awaited him.
At IEM Season VI, M5 was assigned to the most difficult group, where its competitors were SK Gaming, Team Curse, Team SoloMid, EHOME, and Team Sypher. But they all turned out to be powerless before the strategies and execution of Moscow Five. In the playoffs, the unbeaten run of the Moscow Five continued - CLG Prime and Dignitas flew the same way without a chance. “Let’s all go-to salad,” Darien characterized the M5 performance in Hanover with just such a concise statement. And this was not an exaggeration or foppishness. Even fans of other teams admit that he was absolutely right. And the representative of Team Dignitas Scarra after the tournament admitted that all the participants were head and shoulders weaker than Moscow Five, and the strategies of the Russian team were two to three months ahead of time. This tournament also went down in history in that in the fight for the title with the strongest squads in the world, the M5 did not lose a single map.
After graduating from the IEM World Championships, Moscow Five became the undoubtedly best team in the world. And nobody worried that M5 periodically lost in online tournaments or did not take first places, because at that time the M5 had nothing to prove. All that interested the team was the World Cup, which was scheduled for the fall. And in order to perform there, it was necessary to win the European regional final. But in order to maintain form and playing practice, Moscow Five tried not to miss a single tournament, even if it played half the strength there.
At the same time, the roster did not want to limit themselves to online matches only. In March, he tried to register for American tournaments, but the Riot system did not allow this. M5 leader Dmitry "ddd1ms" Smilyanets took this as a reluctance of developers to watch how American teams lose to Russians and wrote a blog about it on the club’s website. Later, representatives of Riot Games contacted him and noted that League of Legends tournaments have regional restrictions, and, unfortunately, it does not allow the M5 to participate in competitions in America. Dmitry was forced to accept this answer but still did not give up his words about the Americans' fear of the Russian collective.
Domination in Europe and the assassins from Taipei
The nearest LAN-tournament, where the M5 could play without restrictions, was DreamHack Summer 2012, which also attracted all the strongest teams in Europe. There Moscow Five was no longer as incomparable as it was several months ago in Hanover. At first, the team lost to CLG EU in the group stage, but still reached the playoffs from second place. Then, after defeating Curse, the EU reached the final, where he again lost to CLG EU. But few people perceived this defeat as a failure. Just CLG was well prepared for the Moscow Five. For the Russian team, this loss was an important lesson before the World Cup - no matter how strong you are on paper, any opponent can give you a fight if you give at least a moment of weakness. Considering how the popularity of League of Legends grew in the esports world, such outcomes became more and more real, because the competition grew literally every month.
Before the next LAN tournament, Moscow Five won eight small competitions online and approached the European Challenger Circuit: Poland in their best form. In the group stage, the CLG EU again punished the M5, but the first priority - to reach the playoffs - was completed. In the elimination stage, the M5 again showed its true level. First, M5 destroyed Curse EU in the semifinals, and then took revenge from CLG EU, although before the match only Russian fans were ready to bet on them.
At the really important LAN-tournament, Moscow Five managed to regain the crown of the best team in Europe, and before the start of the World Cup, it was M5 who was considered the main favorite. But before traveling to the USA, the M5 had to prove this status at the European regional final. The task was 100% completed - the only map the Russians lost in the semifinals against Fnatic, but the series remained with them - 2: 1. And in the final, SK Gaming was once again out of work. Thus, the M5 once again confirmed that it simply has no rivals in its region.
Several defeats in online tournaments before the 2012 World Cup did not matter - everyone understood that the team was then set exclusively for the world championship, which took place in Los Angeles from October 4 to 13. As the winner of the European regional finals, Moscow Five was immediately identified in the playoffs without the need to play the group stage. In the quarterfinals, the Russians defeated the champion of the Chinese regional final Invictus Gaming and then got to the strongest team from Taiwan - Taipei Assassins.
After winning the first map, M5 fans believed that reaching the final was only a matter of time. But the Taiwanese prepared a surprise for Moscow Five - they had a couple of strategies in stock that nullified the aggressive style of the Russians. As a result, the second and third cards ended in the defeat of the Moscow Five. For fans of League of Legends around the world, this was a real shock. And Taipei Assassins, after defeating the M5 in the final, defeated the Koreans Azubu Frost and won the world title.
Despite the failure in Los Angeles, the team decided to continue playing with the same roster. In addition, ahead of the M5 was waiting for the final of the fifth season of the IPL, the qualifications for which the Russians won back in July. But it went very badly - the first place in the group Moscow Five lost to Taipei Assassins. In the top bracket of the playoffs, the Russian team immediately lost to future champions - the Chinese from World Elite. Further, the M5 went down the net to the small finals but again stumbled about Taipei Assassins. Total - fourth place. In general, this was a worthy result, but given past successes, it was unlikely to satisfy the ambitions of the players.
At the end of 2012, the management of Moscow Five announced the freezing of the project. Due to financial problems after the departure of Dmitry Smilyanets, a few months ago, M5 released the lineups for Dota 2 and Counter-Strike, but the roster for League of Legends remained in the club until the last. Soon it joined the organization Gambit Gaming, with which it performed in the European LCS, but it was under the M5 banners that the team completed its most important mission - it showed esports fans from the CIS what League of Legends is. Yes, this discipline has not gained popularity in the Russian-speaking community, despite the fact that it has become a major game in other parts of the world. But even those few who love LoL in our region, speaking about the successes of our teams, will definitely remember Moscow Five as the most successful CIS team in the history of the discipline.
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