This team has shown us time and time again that they have the capability to easily beat the best teams at any LAN Event. They narrowly lost to Loaded Black in the Finals at MLG Columbus back in June, and they will be looking for payback. Sporting four players who can each play a variety of classes, this team’s versatility is one of its biggest strengths.
MLD is probably one of this team’s strongest compositions, especially due to the current rise of Spellcleaves within the competitive community. A variant of this that they can play is MLP with Sodah on Priest, as it helps greatly against other wizard cleaves. RLD is a comp that is very strong against RLS, which soft-counters both of their Wizardcleave variants.
Last, but certainly not least, they have RMP. While RMP might not be the best ladder composition, it’s extremely strong when you know what you’re going up against (especially other RMPs). With this much variety in comps, it seems very probably that this team will grab a spot in the Top 3.
Complexity Black dominated most of 2009, placing Top 3 at almost every single MLG Event. After MLG Orlando, they seemed to go into a steady decline, mainly due to their initial comp, Beastcleave. They have been known to play a variety of classes besides their own, but have been extremely reluctant to try this in a tournament setting.
Many believe that the reason they were able to stay competitive after losing to SK at MLG Columbus was their ability to play the strongest composition available: Beastcleave. Now that Beastcleave seems to have lost some of its strength, they yet to use a good counter against Spellcleaves at a LAN. To reclaim the throne that they held for so long, they will have to adapt and either perform much better as a Beastcleave than they currently are, or pick a stronger secondary comp that can provide better results against Wizard cleaves.
TSG is a setup/team that peaked at the beginning of WotLK and is one of the few to stay competitive for so long. That being said, their obvious weakness against Caster cleaves is worse than even that of Complexity Black. They went to great lengths at the recent US Regionals to come out on top of Arena Pwnage, but came out with a very disappointing loss. How they will be able to survive at MLG Raleigh with a total of five Caster cleave teams attending is a question that only they can answer.
Results aside, their flexibility in terms of classes is not something to be overlooked. Both Veev and Valrath have extensive multi-classing in Warlock and Mage/Rogue/Priest, respectively. Zilea is also considered one of the top Paladins in the world. He is part of a dying breed, as he is one of only two Holy Paladins attending the tournament; that speaks volumes about his dedication and ability to stick with one class and still be very competitive.
This team needs almost no introduction, as they are easily the most entertaining to watch at almost every LAN they attend because of the amazing teamwork they have achieved through their years of experience. They are one of three teams who will be running RMP at this Event, a comp that is widely known as one of the most synergistic and versatile ever to grace the Arena scene. All three players also have surprisingly good individual skills, as they have competed in GOMTV tournaments which required 1v1 matches to gain a win against an opponent.
RMP as a comp has so many more options compared to almost any other currently in play. If they foresee mana problems, they can use short cooldowns and constantly reset. If they need more damage, all three players can pump Amazing Burst into one target. Armor is almost a nonfactor, as the Rogue can go Mutilate/Envenom and still do competitive damage against Protection Warriors. With all this in-game versatility, combined with the experience and natural chemistry these three players have, one can easily see this team within the Top 3.
While many think playing with a warrior in a Spellcleave-heavy environment might not be the smartest idea, this team shocks the crowd by playing amazingly with their somewhat dated comp. Europeans frequently prefer to play a Paladin instead of a Druid, but Velsus has shown time and again that he can overcome people’s expectations and have amazing positioning and perception that exceeds the limits of the Druid class. Nadagast complements this playstyle very well with his amazing consistency and great synergy with the team warrior: Hoodrch. Hoodrch, easily one of the most “old school” WoW players, brings a wide variety of strategy and experience to the table.
The WLD comp is very prone to extremely aggressive Spellcleaves, as well as double melee cleaves like TSG. That being said, this team has proven that they can surpass these in-game limitations and do very well against very bad odds. The team’s tournament results don’t really reflect this, but they have run into some unlucky bracket placement in the past.
As one of the few teams still playing RLS competitively, one can see them having great chances against the Spellcleave-heavy rosters that are attending Raleigh. Realz is known to many as Dr. Realz, mainly because of his vast knowledge of game mechanics and ability to adapt to a variety of situations. The breadth of strategies this team implements is unparalleled among other RLS comps, and has been known to even beat counter-comps in some instances.
Kollektiv has been regarded by many as the best Shaman in the world, because of his amazing performance at a variety of tournaments. He and Realz are now teamed up with Glickz, who has won multiple MLG Events in the past; this is a formidable team no matter what composition they are playing against. RLS itself has been known to counter Spellcleaves quite easily, mainly because of the amount of interrupts that they have in their arsenal. This, combined with the fact that this team is very prepared against many non-RLS teams such as Beastcleave and RMP, means that Nerdstompers blue have great potential to make it into the playoffs in Raleigh.
Dignitas are easily one of the most volatile teams on the scene. Their results are surprisingly odd for a top-tier team, as they sometimes do extremely well and place 1st or 2nd, but as soon as they get to the next Event, they place disappointingly low. Hopefully, luck will be on their side at this Event, as they fared poorly at the European Regionals in Cologne.
As an RMP, their playstyle has been amazingly adaptive compared to others, but they frequently get into trouble early on in tournaments, or make it all the way only to collapse in the Finals. That being said, they have apparently been attending boot camp at one of the teammates’ houses, and hopefully the audience in Raleigh will be treated to the fruits of their labors. If they manage to not go down early on, there is a good chance that we will see this team in the Top 4.
A relatively unknown team on the LAN scene, Skill Capped is attending Raleigh with an MLS setup with a twist. The twist is that Abni, the Mage, is a top Arcane Mage currently playing on the Stormstrike battlegroup. It remains unclear as to how this team will perform against the more balanced comps such as RLS or RMP, but it will be interesting to see the results. Little is known about the Shaman, Nayro, while Filovirus is a previous member of Skill Capped Central.
The comp itself is an almost cookie-cutter Spellcleave comp with obvious Destruction Lock/Mage Synergy combined with bloodlust and great interrupts from the Shaman. They have a clear weakness against MLP and RLS; this might lead to problems against certain teams in the tournament. It will be interesting to see if they have any tricks up their sleeves to surprise the more experienced teams.
Team Chris Thormann
Coming out of the US Regionals with a 4th Place finish, this team was almost an unknown but managed to easily beat Nerdstompers 3-1 in an unstreamed series, as well as beating Arenapwnage 3-1 before losing to them later in the tournament. They also showed their comp versatility when Uck played a Prot/Ret Paladin against Beastcleave, although this was unfortunately countered very easily by Complexity Black’s secondary comp, ATC (Protwar/Hunter/Pal).
Hunter Lock Druid has certain strong points as a composition, but after their performance it feels like it has some limitations. For one, the lack of defensive Hunter cooldowns seems to be a very big weakness, especially against Spellcleaves. Also, their lack of trash buffs makes Druid HOTs very easy to dispel. However, Uck has shown great versatility as a Warlock, playing all three specs in videos that he has released; we might even see some Demonology happen, as it is quite effective against Beastcleave.
Quite easily one of the most unorthodox teams, this composition consisting of three hybrids is easily one of the most unbreakable teams out there. Unless every single one of them is caught in a cc/silence, they will always have an off-healer to fall back on. Combine this with the fact that both Shadow Priests and Elemental Shamans have great synergy, and you end up with a very dominant Spellcleave team. On top of that, their ability to adapt and improve during tournaments has given them the extra edge they need to beat counter-comps.
The whole point of a hybrid DPS class is to support full-time DPS classes like Mages/Warlocks, while providing competitive damage themselves. In this case, you get two hybrid classes whose support for each other overcomes the lack of Mortal Strike and the extra utility that standard DPS classes bring. Additionally, their healer, Diziet—who is a druid—is easily one of most passive and mana-conserving Druids out there, which greatly benefits a team that already has group mana regen abilities. If they play their cards right, Arenapwnage can do terrible, terrible, damage to a majority of the teams attending the tournament and can adapt to teams that they have trouble against to clinch the top spot.
Team Evil Geniuses
Woundman has officially joined Team Evil Geniuses to make them one of the most competitive teams currently out there. It will be interesting to see how they perform in Raleigh. Check out their full spotlight here.
Not much is known about this team, apart from Inflame. Their LSD comp seems to have done extremely well at European Regionals, where Inflame placed 2nd with an LSD. This LSD is, however, not the same as the one that qualified for Blizzcon, so it is questionable whether they will have a similar playstyle in Raleigh.
Inflame is known around the world as a top-notch Warlock; Orangemarmalade went as far as to say he is the best lock he has ever encountered. As for the other two members, Gaara is well-known among the European community as a wildly competitive Shaman who has even held his own against Dignitas players.