Hello everyone! Today we will tell the story of the Moscow Five League of Legends team. A story about this team will help you understand: "Why didn't League of Legends become popular in the CIS?" Let's begin!
From the start to the stars
In 2011, esports was no longer something new, but it was still not widespread. Moscow Five was rightfully considered, if not the most famous and strong organization, then they were among those: the Dota 2 and Counter Strike rosters won trophies one after another and participated in the largest championships of that time.
Finances made it possible to open another roster and the choice fell on League of Legends. Moscow Five bought out the entire roster of Team Empire.
Moscow Five roster:
- Alex Ich
- Gosu pepper
At that time, the roster had a slot at IEM Season VI Kiev and they went to it together with another team from the CIS - White Lotus.
The tournament itself was very successful: M5 managed to smash their group to pieces, while defeating Team Dignitas in the battle for first place, for which Voyboy, Scarra and imaqtpie played at that time. SK Gaming were defeated in the semifinals, and TSM fell in the title match. It was a very fast track to the top of the competitive League of Legends.
With this victory, the Moscow Five guaranteed themselves an invitation to the IEM Season VI World Championship in Hannover. The composition of the participants in this championship was more serious than in Kiev, but this did not bother the heroes of today's story. M5 became the champions of the 6th season of IEM without losing a single map during the tournament.
Moscow Five - champions of the IEM Season VI World Championship
Immediately after the end of the championship, Moscow Five unconditionally became the best team in the world. The burden of responsibility did not put pressure on the guys and, although they were losing in small online tournaments, the World Championship remained the main goal for them.
The pause in LAN performances forced the management to take a bold step and M5 tried to register in American tournaments, but the rules of Riot Games did not allow this.
The next tournament in which Moscow Five was able to take part was DreamHack Summer 2012. Already in the group stage, the European CLG roster was able to upset our guys, nevertheless, M5 managed to reach the playoffs. In the semifinals, they defeated Team Curse Europe without any problems, but again lost to CLG Europe in the final, finishing in second place.
The popularity of the game grew, as did the competition. Every month, new teams appeared stronger than the previous ones. This defeat gave Moscow Five food for thought.
The next stage on the way to the dream was the European selection for the World Championship. Having finished the regular season well, the M5 guaranteed themselves a pass to the playoff stage. In the quarterfinals, they easily outplayed the Polish EloHell squad and gave only one map to Fnatic in the 1/2 finals. Moscow Five already got a slot at the World Cup, but it was important to restore confidence in their abilities and they succeeded: SK Gaming fell in the grand final and took second place, and M5 go to America as the main contenders for the title.
Moscow Five - winners of European Regionals 2012
In Los Angeles, our guys managed to play only two games and this is not because of poor results, but quite the opposite: the winners of the regional qualifiers were immediately given a slot in the quarterfinals of the tournament without having to go through the group stage. Moscow Five calmly defeated Invictus Gaming and entered Taipei Assassins.
After the first map, many thought that the fate of the slot in the final had already been decided, but the team from Taiwan was not going to give up just like that: they managed to quickly equalize the score, and then won in a bitter struggle in the 1/2 finals. Moscow Five took 3-4 place, earning $150,000 in prize money.
After the Worlds, M5 could not collect their thoughts and took 4th place at IGN Pro League Season 5. For many teams, this would have been a good result, but at that time the CIS squad had too many ambitions. Added to the negative factors in the team was the fact that Dmitry Smilyanets, known in esports circles as "Dima the Brave", was detained back in June 2012 on suspicion of the largest hacker attack.
It was because of this photo that the FBI managed to get on the trail of Dmitry and detain him in Amsterdam.
The team was left without a leader and the results naturally crept down. Dmitry offered to buy out the roster to his close friend Groove, but he simply changed the team tag and so the Gambit Esports organization was born.
Under the wing of the new organization, the roster managed to win at IEM Season VII - Katowice, but they had no more success and the team dispersed.
The organization has occasionally attempted to recruit a new League of Legends roster, but has never been successful.
It is likely that League of Legends could have won the battle for the title of the most popular MOBA in the CIS region if the Moscow Five continued to dominate the competitive scene, but DotA 2 took its toll.
Dmitry regretted what he had done: he was one of those people who developed esports in our region, but foolishly could not help his brainchild when it was most needed.
It was the sad story of the Moscow Five team. Next time we will tell you about the current world champions - DAMWON KIA.
See you at the Rift!