By LastMan

With no shortage of upsets and surprising finishes, MLG Columbus might well have been our most exciting Event yet. Lets take some time to reflect on highlights of the mayhem that transpired during the past weekend.

First and foremost, the biggest surprise of the Event was quite possibly Instinct. Many members of the community felt that this lineup would perform at an extremely high level, if not win the entire Event. However, few thought that they would fly out of the gates with a seventeen-game unbeaten streak, and finish the tournament with only one dropped map. The new Champions swept the likes of Believe the Hype, Fnatic GMM, Final Boss, and Str8 Rippin—twice. The only game they lost was against Dynasty in the WB Semifinals. After such an impressive performance, it's safe to say that we’re all left wondering whether they can maintain that kind of frightening consistency through the remaining Events.

Interestingly, none of the Top 4 seeds placed in the Top 4, and only half of the Top 8 seeds placed in the Top 8. Despite winning MLG Dallas, Status Quo were unable to carry their momentum into Columbus. After struggling through Pool Play, suffering losses to both Capital Punishment and Dynasty, they stuttered to a 7th Place finish. 2nd seed Impact had a shock placing as well, falling all the way to 11th.  Despite only losing once in Pool Play (to Final Boss), they were unable to advance past their first LB round and were eliminated by Status Quo in LB6. Believe the Hype also had an extremely disappointing Event. Even though they finished 3rd at the previous Event, they were unable to find any kind of form last weekend. They lost two of their four Pool Play matches, and were eliminated by Warriors in their first LB match.

Speaking of Warriors, our last Top 4 seed at Columbus, a Top 12 finish is well below the standard they set for themselves at Dallas, where they placed 4th. They suffered a shocking three losses in Pool Play, being beaten by Soul, Victorious Secret and Open team Reality Check. Warriors managed a small recovery in LBR4 and LBR5, but were unable to trump Victorious Secret in a LBR6 continuation series and crashed out to a Top 12 finish. One is left to wonder why each of the Top 4 seeds performed so poorly. Can their performance be chalked up to a lack of practice? A poor attitude?  Were their Dallas finishes flukes? Did Pool Play hurt them? Any number of factors could have influenced their placings, and it will be interesting to see whether tournament results go through such drastic fluctuations in the remaining Events.

With the exclusion of (15) Severance and (11) Fnatic GMM, all of the 10th-16th seeded teams improved on their Dallas finishes. (14) Str8 Rippin and (16) Capital Punishment had the greatest improvement—both teams improved by 12 slots to 2nd and 4th respectively. This is a monumental feat in itself. Further down the standings, (10) Final Boss jumped up five spots to a 5th Place finish while (12) Victorious Secret leapfrogged four slots and finally broke into the Top 8. Last but not least, (13) vVv Active Rush improved by three spots and finished 10th. This is in stark contrast to (5) Soul who dropped one slot to 6th , (7) Swagger Like Us who fell to 2 slots to 9th, and (4) Warriors who slipped 8 spots down to 12th. The madness doesn’t stop there. (1) Status Quo slid all the way down to 7th Place, while (2) Impact plummeted to 11th and (3) Believe the Hype must have been in free fall because they dropped 10 slots to a 13th Place finish.

Last but not least, in what seems to be a continuing trend, two Open Bracket teams placed in the Top 16. (22) Shacked Out and (29) Heartbreakers clawed their way into the top half of the placings. Neither team went through the Open Bracket undefeated, but both squads put together a solid run in the LB. Shacked Out played through three rounds to secure their placing upsetting (18) Cloud 10 and (17) NBG Cyber Bullies on the way. Heartbreakers started their Championship Bracket journey from LBR1. They went on a four-match winning streak, upsetting (28) For Narnia, (21) Ambush, (20) Reality Check, and most shockingly sweeping (11) Fnatic GMM on their way to a Top 16 finish. Major congratulations to Shacked Out and Heartbreakers for showing that they can compete with the League’s best.

Be sure to keep an eye on for all our Reach coverage in the buildup to MLG Anaheim, which will touch down on July 29-31.