The best moments from MLG Anaheim
More than 5,000 miles of travel, 48 hours of grueling competition, five games to prove that they belong, and one round from defeating one of the most potent teams the game, pro Call of Duty team TCM took aim. With rifles in their digital hands and one purpose in mind, the bullets would fly, the players would fall, and one key, unforgettable moment would rock the world of competitive Call of Duty.
Major League Gaming’s Anaheim Call of Duty, Super Smash Bros., and Starcraft 2 tournaments are in the books, but the proceedings left spectators with some indelible memories of hard fought championships. Major League Gaming has finally finished uploading the melee championship bracket videos from the torunament, so we figured it was as good a time as ever to highlight all the best moments.
TCM’s miracle run in the Call of Duty tournament was eclipsed only by Evil Geniuses prowess when it mattered most. Joseph “Mango” Marquez would stumble early in Smash, but his poise and resilience would seal a truly memorable championship final in his favor.
And perhaps the biggest surprise of all, Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn would turn the Starcraft 2 tournament upside down when her decision to select the Protoss race instead of her conventional Zerg would land a win against a Korean powerhouse.
Call of Duty: Faze Black vs TCM
The UK unknowns, TCM Gaming, entered the Call of Duty International Playoffs under the radar, but multiple victories against traditional U.S. powerhouses would leave everyone wondering, “how far can they go?” Losing early in the double-elimination tournament to Faze Red would do little to dampen their spirits as they took down Denial and red-hot Team Kaliber in convincing fashion.
However, Faze Black would offer a new challenge. The highly potent roster of Renato “Saints” Forza, Ken “Dedo” Dedo, Douglas “Censor” Martin, and Matthew “Formal” Piper were expected to dispatch the U.K. squad before lining up a lower-bracket run of their own. However, game 5 of the best of 5 series would show that big moments call for big performances, and TCM would not go quietly.
Super Smash Bros. Melee: Mango vs Westballz
If you are unfamiliar with the world of competitive Super Smash Bros., then Joseph “Mango” Marquez can best be likened to Lebron James: talented, ambitious, and controversial. The recent signee of esports upstart Cloud9 was touted by many as a strong candidate to take home the MLG Anaheim championship, citing his talent, speed, and aggression as the makings of a player who would be hard to stop, even in a crowded field.
Despite these lofty expectations, however, the highly competitive world of Smash would offer more than its fair share of challengers over the weekend. One in particular, Weston “Westballz” Dennis, would catch the prolific Marquez napping, and put on a performance that would stun the crowd, the commentators, and the detractors in one fell swoop.
Starcraft 2: Scarlett vs DongRaeGu
Starcraft 2 is a game of perfection. Each player selects their “race”, each with its own unique soldiers, capabilities, and style, then perfects it over thousands of hours of grueling practice, adaptation, and refinement. Switching from one race to another requires a comprehensive understanding of the technology, style, and limitations of the new side; a challenge that few players are willing to face even when the stakes are modest.
Therefore, when Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn selected the Protoss race instead of her wheelhouse Zerg, even her opponent, Park “DongRaeGu” Soo Ho, assumed it was a mistake. “No. Play,” Hostyn confidently replied, and the most captivating match of MLG Anaheim would begin. Add to the moment that this game would mark the first time Hostyn had ever played Protoss in a competitive setting, and the drama is too much to miss.
Call of Duty: Optic Gaming vs Evil Geniuses
MLG Anaheim’s double-elimination format is simple: If you lose twice, you’re out of the tournament. And while this gives teams who stumble a second chance at the title, fighting back to a championship against a team that hasn’t lost is often a nigh impossible task.
However, when Optic clashed with Evil Geniuses in the grand final, the “Green Wall” would manage to climb their first of two mountains, beating the navy-clad dynasty in the first of two best-of-five series to decide the champion. The feat was notable, not only due to the 3-0 beating Evil Geniuses handed Optic earlier in the tournament, but due to the newly reinvigorated form of the “boys in blue” heading into the event.
Of course, a team whose track record includes only two second-place finishes in the last 12 months would not lay down so easily. Riding a wave of momentum, Optic would come out the gate guns blazing, putting Evil Geniuses on their heels early and setting everyone’s minds on the deciding final game. But Evil Geniuses, unwilling to let their opponents find any footing, would pull off a rare and incredible comeback, quieting the crowd and their critics in the process.
Super Smash Bros. Melee: Armada vs Mango
Smash tournaments are a unique animal; every matchup in the championship bracket is likely to be a meeting between legends. So storied and so capable is the competitive Smash community that MLG Anaheim’s field of veteran competitors was a highly anticipated affair for a reason.
That being said, a meeting between Joseph “Mango” Marquez and Adam “Armada” Lindgren was nothing short of a dream final for onlookers. The matchup between the potent Marquez and the mechanically sound, utterly unflappable Lindgren promised to be a contest to remember, and when Marquez began to make critical errors midway through the set, the ending promised to be explosive, unpredictable, and truly memorable.
Screengrab via MLGCOD/YouTube