ICONIC Esports Moments: The Comeback

In the history of esports, we’ve witnessed iconic moments in the form of unlikely comebacks. (Casting) But in League of Legends, the word comeback has become synonymous with one game in particular: CLG EU vs. Moscow5 at DreamHack Summer 2012. An occasion when, 5 years ago this week, two European titans stood toe-to-toe putting on a show that fans will never forget. By June of 2012, Moscow 5 were an unstoppable freight train.

After exploding onto the international scene at the start of the year, their hyper-aggressive, highly-innovative style had already earned them back-to-back IEM titles. The trail of destruction they left behind them was littered with celebrated opposition, building Moscow5 a reputation as one of the most feared teams in the world. (Casting) The other main contender in Europe at the time was the fan-favorite Counter Logic Gaming EU.

Spearheaded by their talented mid lander, Froggen, CLG EU had built notoriety for a late-game style at Malaysian live casino which relied upon defensive play and calculated teamfight executions. Previous clashes between CLG EU and Moscow5 in online tournaments highlighted just how different their styles were. M5’s near-reckless aggression and kill-heavy early game focus strongly contrasted CLG.EU’s patient, cerebral approach. Out of all the teams M5 faced, CLG EU appeared to have the strategy that gave them the most trouble. The rivalry was quickly growing into one League’s most intriguing as fans eagerly anticipated each and every encounter between two of the best teams in the world. Entering their group deciding matchup at DreamHack Summer 2012, both team had 2-0 records and the winner would secure the first seed heading into the event’s playoffs.

The draft was classic CLG EU and Moscow5. Caster: “Obviously we’ve got Froggen on the bird of prey, Anivia. We’ve got Lee Sin on Diamondprox. We’ve got AlexIch on Karthus.

So we’ve got all the usual suspects.” Surprisingly, the early game went CLG EU’s way. (Casting) But Moscow5 turned things around with some trademark tower dives and well executed skirmishes heading into the mid game. (Casting) Approaching the 30-minute mark, the CIS powerhouse led in kills and objectives taken Caster: “This is what we say so many times.

When Moscow5 smell an advantage they absolutely nail you.” And their advantage was highlighted by an enormous gold lead. Things were looking grim for CLG EU, but they stalled M5’s advantage by compactly defending under their inhibitor towers and abusing Anivia’s wave clear. (Casting) As time went on, M5 continued to easily secure dragons and Barons, stretching their gold lead in excess of 20,000. (Casting) For almost half-an-hour, CLG EU held off M5’s advances into their base.

Even though the match appeared to be getting away from them, CLG EU’s defense was unflinching. And as the game dragged out longer and longer, their economic disadvantage became less and less relevant. (Casting) With frustration building and their patience wearing thin, M5 went all-in on an aggressive base push in the bottom lane. But they walked right into a trap. (Casting) The tables had turned. M5 had failed to break CLG EU’s resistance before their late-game prowess came into relevance, and they were about to pay for it.

CLG EU had overcome seeming insurmountable odds while staying true to their identity. Snatching victory from the jaws of certain defeat. While the two sides would meet again throughout the rest of 2012, none of the matches would capture what defined that rivalry as well as this one. CLG EU and Moscow5 at DreamHack Summer 2012 is a landmark moment in the rivalry between two of the most dominant teams in League’s early days. And is one of the most classic comebacks in esports history. The game still stands as a shining example that, even at the highest level no lead is too great and no match is unsalvageable as long as you stick to the plan.

Caster: “What in the hell just happened in front of my eyes.”