By Suit and Tie
The third stop on MLG's 2011 Pro Circuit, MLG Anaheim, is just days away. Today we take a look at the final Pool, Pool D, which consists of (4) Dynasty, (5) Warriors, (12) Severance and (13) Fnatic Classic.
(4) Dynasty (Heinz, Snipedown, Destin, Tizoxic)
After dispatching our Dallas Champions Status Quo in a heartbreaking Game 5, Dynasty looked to be the second-best team in the venue during Columbus. That is, until they met up with Str8 Rippin in the Losers Bracket Finals. Even though Dynasty went down quite convincingly to Str8, those two squads and eventual Champions Instinct clearly separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Lucky for Dynasty, the Str8 Rippin roster that gave them fits in Columbus promptly broke up and is back at square one.
As one of only three teams to keep the same lineup during the interim (Instinct and Status Quo being the other two), Dynasty will have chemistry and familiarity on their side coming into Anaheim. And with the Str8 that beat them in Columbus out of the picture, they can focus all of their attention on bringing down Instinct. Dynasty will also be one of the most well-prepared teams, as they will have faced some of the toughest LAN competition available. Instinct, Evil, Final Boss and Believe the Hype all shared TheLanNetwork's Gaming House with Dynasty in the days leading up to Anaheim; we'll see if that practice can get them over the hump and into the Finals this time around.
(5) Warriors (StrongSide, Snake Bite, Twylight, Dersky)
Warriors came out of Dallas with a somewhat surprising 4th Place finish, then promptly followed that up with a disappointing 12th in Columbus. With that kind of inconsistency, and Elamite and Robbie B not playing up to the level of StrongSide and Snake Bite at this point in the Season, Warriors opted to search for replacements. They looked at the same place most teams needing to fill holes were looking: the two duos left from the 4th Place-finishing Capital Punishment.
The Crimsix/Twin Savior and Twylight/Dersky duos were hot commodities immediately following Columbus, and Warriors had the chance to test the waters with both pairs. Ultimately StrongSide and Snake Bite chose to add veterans Twylight and Dersky over their up-and-coming counterparts. Time will tell if they got the better half of the now-defunct Capital Punishment, but they'll need to figure it out pretty soon, as Pool D favorites Dynasty stand in their way.
(12) Severance (Monix, Keke, Gabriel, Shaffer)
Severance entered Columbus with a Top 16 Seed, but failed to finish there as they left with 18th Place. In hopes of bettering their odds this time around, Monix and crew replaced P Tizype with Shaffer, who finished Columbus in 20th as a part of NBG Cyber Bullies (Decliner, Bulletz, Prawn).
If Severance is planning on doing any damage this Event, they'll be glad they were placed in Pool D, as it is arguably the easiest in the field. To do so though, they will have to go through a slew of League veterans—which is obviously no easy feat. Having no household names on their side, Severance may not have the fan support competition has. But with a team comprised of hard-working fringe players, popularity alone will not be enough to bring this squad down. The rest of Pool D would be well advised to not overlook Severance. As we've seen happen countless times in the past, David can indeed slay Goliath.
(13) Fnatic Classic (Chig, Str8 Sick, Russo, P Tizype)
Like Severance, Fnatic Classic are extremely fortunate to retain a Top 16 Seed after placing 19th in Columbus (as Fnatic GMM). With Elitest retiring from professional Halo and Mikwen joining forces with Walshy and friends, Chig and Str8 Sick recruited Russo and P Tizype from the underachieving Ambush and Severance squads, respectively. In making this move, Classic now feature two BIC® Flex 4® FFA winners: Str8 Sick and P Tizype.
While FFA skill doesn't always translate to 4v4 skill, we've seen it happen before. And for a team looking to improve, you can never have enough individual firepower. The challenge for Classic comes in figuring out how to fully utilize the immense individual talent available to them. The player that has been there and done that before, Chig, will have his hands full trying to mold these raw talents into effective team players. It's unclear what we should expect out of Classic, but don't forget what ShocKWav3 and Gandhi were able to do with Karma half a decade ago.
Fourth-Seeded Undefeated Open Bracket Team
The fifth team competing in Pool D will be determined in Anaheim by the results of the Open Bracket competition. Of the four teams who emerge undefeated from the Open Bracket, the fourth-highest seeded team will be placed in Pool D. Check out the community's Anaheim Open Bracket Discussion Thread for more info on some of the best teams outside of the Top 16.
Most people seem to expect that Pool D will be but a small stepping stone for Dynasty in their path back to the Top 3. With their biggest competition being a recently retooled Warriors squad, Dynasty may be looking ahead to a rematch with Instinct. Should they be so overzealous, the veteran Warriors and unpredictable Severance could catch them napping and turn the most predictable Pool upside down.