EStar Gaming missed both the Masters Gaming Arena and Heroes World Championship, the latter of which MVP Black narrowly missed out on qualifying, meaning that 2015 world champions Cloud9 have never had the chance to face either of the two teams in international competitions.
Similarly the new kings of Europe, Team Dignitas, have only played two non-European opponents: Team YL, and Cloud9.
MVP Black and eStar have met before on four occasions, most recently in the World Cyber Arena final. MVP Black currently leads that rivalry with two wins to one.
Dignitas, Cloud9, MVP Black and eStar Gaming will all be in Korea for the Spring Global Championships, with byes to the second group stage. EStar and Cloud9 will be in Group A, with Dignitas and MVP Black in Group B.
Before that stage, eight other teams will compete in the first set of groups—and only one of those teams has competed on the international stage before.
That team is Taiwanese side GIA, who represented their region in the 2015 World Championship in losing efforts against Cloud9 and Dignitas.
The big favorites in this group stage will be newcomers from Europe and North America—mYinsanity and Naventic. MYi were very much a part of the major roster reshuffle that occurred in Europe at the beginning of this year, acquiring Dennis “HasuObs” Schneider from ROCCAT and former Na`Vi player Lyubomir “Splendour” Kozlovski. With the new lineup barely in place, the team shocked Na`Vi and Virtus Pro to make the European Regional final.
Naventic have been the big story in North American Heroes this year. Bringing together former Tempo Storm, Cloud9 and compLexity players to create something of a super team, they went undefeated for the first few months of their existence before winning the Heroes Rising event—beating Cloud9 in the final. The two sides have appeared very evenly matched in their three meetings.
EDward Gaming of China will also be a strong contender, beating eStar Gaming on two occasions. Joining them in the first group stage will be Big Gods of Latin America, South Korean side Team No Limit, Renevatio of Southeast Asia, and Australia and New Zealand representatives Negative Synergy.
The games get underway tomorrow—or if you’re in the U.S., late tonight.