Category: Features

Players To Watch: Top Premier League Draft Prospects

For Premier League the top 3 prospects are perhaps the most important to secure. These players are nearing or in the bubble scene for RLCS and can make your season if you are lucky enough to pick them up. Teams like the Bulls who have last season’s champion in Deluxe are not eager to let them go. While others will take their chances with a great draft pick. The Jets, Pirates, and Knights will have the first 3 picks respectively after retentions. Their picks will likely determine the direction of the rest of the draft. While we don’t know for certain who those picks will be, we have a few educated guesses. In no particular order, are our five picks for who will be chosen early. 

Braided Axe

The first of many top players to have lost their franchise due to rotations, It was all but sure that if the Shadow had an opportunity to hang on to Braided Axe they probably would have taken it. Braided ended last season with 46 assists in the regular season (2nd in the league) and a semifinal playoff appearance where they lost to the eventual champions, the Bulls. Not only is Braided Axe a great team player but they’re also a defensive force. Braided elevates any team they’re on and after falling short last season you know that they will be hungry for another shot at the title game. There’s no doubt that Braided is a top pick given their ability and experience.

xSauce

It’s always fun to see a new player on the PL scene. It’s even more fun when I get to make a pun about how xSauce could be the x-factor on a Premier League team this season. Though they don’t have MLE season experience their record in Premiere scrims speaks for itself. Quickly shooting up to a 20.5 salary with a 19-5 win-loss record in 2s, xSauce is looking to make a splash in season 12 and will likely be a first-round pick for a team that wants to take a chance to find a future PL MVP. We don’t know for sure how xSauce’s season will go but we’re eager to see them match up against the other top players on this list.  

Taki

I’d like to take this opportunity for a moment of silence for the Wolves franchise in season 12. Surely if the duo from season 11 had another shot at it they would be retained on the wolves and a shoo-in to go back to the finals together. But due to franchise rotations, Taki and LottyLettuce are now free agents and will likely be top draft picks as a result. Taki is out to prove that they’re making it back no matter what, lighting up preseason scrims with a 36-9 win-loss record. That’s a winning percentage of 80%. There’s no doubting the motivation of Taki this season and based on their history of smart adaptive player they’ll likely be an MVP of whatever team they get picked up for.

Lotty Lettuce

The other half of the Wolves duo is another player to watch. Lotty puts on a lot of shots (5.57 per game last season) and makes a lot of those shots as well.  Consistently dominant throughout season 11, Lotty is a player most franchises will be eyeing to lead their team this time around. While not as active as their former teammate in the preseason, Lotty is a known commodity in MLE and was likely on every team’s draft board before season 12 was even announced. Lotty and Taki won’t end up teaming once again because both will surely be first-round picks. But LottyLuttuce likely isn’t concerned because they have the talent and speed to do well with whoever they play with. I for one am excited for the inevitable series where the dynamic duo meet on opposing sides in the postseason. 

Comp

How do you not put the former champion on this list? After winning last season’s title with the Bulls, Comp has somehow ended up on the free agents list and teams with the top draft picks are all grinning ear to ear as a result. To even have the chance at picking up a player like Comp is basically a chance to pick up a title in the draft. Comp is just that skilled of a player. Fast, mechanical, and smart, Comp showed game after game in season 11 why they lead the pack in MLE. Perhaps the only worry for potential teams is that Comp is essentially a bubble scene player and his commitment to his other team may at times make playing for MLE complicated. But if Comp is able to make games, they will punch their team’s ticket to the postseason guaranteed.

 

With the removal of the salary cap for the top league, the Premier League has become a spectacular showcase of top-level talent. For the teams with early-round picks, they will be praying that the right player is available when their time comes. For teams at the bottom of the list, they aren’t holding their breath that these top picks will sneak by unpicked. Be sure to not miss all the drama when the Premier League draft happens this Saturday on MLE’s twitch channel.

Players to Watch: Top Master League Draft Prospects

If I was a Franchise or General Manager the job I would least like to have is to pick my draft board for this year’s Master League draft. The amount of talent at the top is so stacked and competitive that it’s hard to see who will come out on top in the long run. Sure there are front runners but to narrow those front runners down to just 5 players is a challenge. Even when I turned to the league for opinions I didn’t get much of a consensus. Three players that showed up repeatedly when talking to the community as standouts all ranked out on Monday, opening the field up even more for a wild first round of picks.   But luckily for you, I managed to wade through all the stats and opinions to pluck five stars out of the pack. These are the five players that you’ll likely see get picked up in the first round on Saturday.

Akina

Akina is a player that shows up on many lists but might sneak by as a steal in the bottom half of round one. Their scrim stats show a player that could be trying to lay low after their eligibility games or they simply haven’t had the time to grind in scrims the way some of their other peers have. But with a 10-2 winning record in standard they can’t hide how talented they are in this league. Akina saw playtime late in season 11 for the Shadow. Putting in two solid playoff performances with a 4.67 average MVPR, Akina showed they can perform well in the postseason. Now Akina has another shot to get back to the playoffs and take the next step towards a championship.

Uorodin

That last time we saw Uorodin play in MLE was in season 9 when there was no Master League. They managed to put up 30 shots and 35 saves in just 20 games with the Puffins. Now as Uorodin makes their return they are in a newly named league but are bringing the same top-level of talent. Putting in 4.24 shots per game and 1.9 saves per game in 2s Uorodin continues to show they’re a strong force on both sides of the pitch. From Uorodin’s preseason stats and 16.5 salary, this seems like a breakout season for them, and with the buzz from GMs and players, it seems like teams are counting on Uorodin to make a playoff appearance this season.

Roman

With the start of season 12, teams will be expected to look for more versatile players that can succeed at both 2s and 3s. Roman may be just such a player that can get wins for a franchise in either game mode. At 11-4 their win record in 2s stands out with just a few games played. Most of their buzz, however, is coming from tryouts where multiple GMs and players have talked about their speed and aerial mechanics in 3s. Once people start talking about your tryout performances word tends to spread pretty fast. Roman has gone from a relatively unknown newcomer to a potential top 5 pick in a short time. Now it’s up to them to deliver in the season and prove they can be a rookie MVP because that is what several franchises will be betting on this Saturday.

JangosGotaMango

While I was talking to the community for this article I started to get the impression that most players mentioned JangosGotAMango simply because they wanted to talk about how much they enjoyed playing with him. The number one thing that stood out to me was just how much people mentioned Jango’s personality as a reason they would go early in the draft. Being the kind of player that is fun to play with in a lobby counts for more than most people think. Chemistry is key to both 2s and 3s and when you’re struggling through a tough series you want a player on your team who can keep spirits high and help prevent your teammates from getting tilted. That’s not to say that the only thing JangosGotAMango brings to a team is a good attitude. With a 16.5 salary and a 3s preseason record of 20-13 Jango is sitting at the top of the pack in terms of ML talent. No doubt Jango will perform well on the pitch and be a great person to have in your franchise server as well.

Vital

Not to be confused with Vitali, the Premier League player who is also a potential top pick this Saturday, Vital is a new free agent who is making waves in preseason scrims. Posting an impressive record of 21-9 in 2s Vital has proven why they deserve to be a top salary in ML. Right now Vital is averaging 4.7 shots per game and posting an MVPR of 5.17. Their offensive skills have got them the attention of a few fellow players and at least one GM in the league that I spoke to. When it comes to putting together a winning team, recognizing new talent is key but only one franchise can claim Vital on their roster, so seizing the opportunity and picking them up early will be a priority for many FMs on Saturday.

It’s going to be a long season with many great players emerging and competing for the title. We may not know who the most valuable player is in the preseason but we know that there is no shortage of talent in the running. The only thing left to do is to see where everyone will go this Saturday during the Master League draft on MLE’s twitch channel.

Players to Watch: Top Champion League Draft Prospects

Champion League this season saw a record 70 retentions, which means most every CL team will be starting with some form of the roster to build on. We can’t say for sure how this will change the top of the draft board but we can tell you that there are a few standouts in this season’s draft. There are a number of players that are making impressions in preseason scrims but to truly find the top five draft picks we needed to look at unique players that teams and players are talking about. So here are the top five players in no particular order that stand out to us.

SCI_FRYE

CL teams looking for a good leader just might find one in Sci_Frye. With four seasons of experience and two playoff appearances, they are in a good position to take another team on a CL run. With a 5.01 MVPR in twos, this preseason Sci_frye has been performing well while not topping the leader boards. Their winning percentage at 67% is impressive. There are plenty of players that seem great on paper but franchises won’t know how well they mesh until the season starts. But Sci_Frye knows what it takes to win in the league which is always valuable.

ALTON

Entering the league in season 9, Alton has risen up consistently from the Foundation League through Academy, Champion and last season performed well in Master League. With the new elo system, they have been placed squarely at the top salary of the Champion League. This makes Alton a great candidate for a top 5 draft pick. Any team looking for an experienced player that can keep up with the speed of Master League players is going to be a big difference-maker in Champion League matchups.

WaffleKing

I kept having to run to my kitchen to grab a snack while researching these prospects. I think that was a bit of a Pavlovian response because I kept hearing about the name Waffleking everywhere and then thought about food. Waffleking is an MLE rookie but that hasn’t stopped them from being a part of most draft board conversations. While not having that many standard games under their belt, WaffleKing has an impressive 81% winning record in 2s. In a league like CL having a player that wants to dedicate their time to just one game mode could be very valuable, especially if they’re dominating that mode the way that Waffleking seems to be dominating scrims. While still being untested in the league the buzz around this player seems to be enough that franchises are more than willing to take a chance with this player for an early pick.

Fittz

Far from an unknown, the quality that Fittz brings to the table is MLE experience. Both as a player and a General Manager Fittz has helped out his team, the Flames, win games for four seasons. Now Fittz is once again a free agent and It’s safe to say an FA with a good amount of attention. Fittz sits at a 14 salary and while their stat lines don’t scream top 5 pick, they are player who is known to play smart and fast. Most importantly Fittz seems to be held in high regard by every player and FM that I spoke to. Not only is Fittz a solid player but a good leader. In a new season where the league is expanding captains may be more important than ever and that is where the potential value of a player like Fittz really shines.

Isaaac13003

Isaac13003 is another player that has been around the league for a few seasons but this may be the first season they find themselves in this position. Not seeing playtime in season 11 and only playing one series in season 12, in which they put up an impressive 16 goals in 5 games, they managed to fly largely under the radar in the league. But this season Isaac13003 finds themselves at a 14.5 salary sitting on a great record in scrims and suddenly their name is beginning to make its way around the early draft talk circles. Most of their preseason playtime has been spent in 3s where they have put up a 15-8 winning record. Posting 3.3 shots per game and 1.8 saves per game across both game modes Isaac13003 is a talented player on both sides of the pitch and has the potential to be the difference-maker in quite a few early season matches.

 

With the expansions to 3s and so many retentions the CL draft is sure to be unlike any other before it. Franchises will have a tough job navigating their own draft boards and making the right choices. We can’t wait to watch how it all unfolds this Saturday on the MLE twitch channel.

Players to Watch: Top Academy League Draft Prospects

This season Academy League features a few standout veterans as well as a handful of newcomers already gathering some decent buzz. With a 2s and 3s league, it will be more important than ever to find the right players to fill out the roster. So who is the real deal and who is the future AL MVP. Here are our top 5 picks in no particular order of who we think will be picked early in the draft.

Silen7 

Going into their third season in the MLE, Silen7 will be an impact player in Academy League for Season 12. This player has proven his value tenfold, posting 63 wins with only 28 losses in scrims for a 0.69 win %. In these wins, they have averaged 2.11 goals per game, as well as 1.51 saves per game, and an average MVPR of 5.11. Silen7 will be a dominant player for the early part of the season and will be able to set a good example of top-tier performance for the team that is lucky enough to draft them.

Mellow

This is a player that is worth more than his salary, and then a little bit more. Going into his first full season in the MLE, Mellow will blow the competition away with his quick and aggressive playstyle. Averaging 4.87 shots per game in scrims so far, this player will relentlessly pressure the most resilient of defenses. It would be a shock to see Mellow drop below the first 10 picks in the Academy League draft on Saturday and will be an early favorite for Season 12 Academy League MVP. 

Xtarasenko91x

Four seasons in the MLE is nothing to be taken lightly. Since joining the MLE in Season 9, Xtarasenko91x has climbed his way to become a 12 salary in Academy League and will look to fly through the competition with his stellar aerial mechanics and lightning speed. Posting an average of 1.52 saves per game in scrims, their combination of mechanics, speed, and smart play looks to be the perfect recipe for a spicy season. There are few players in Academy League that are as well-rounded as Xtarasenko91x, and anyone on the other side of the pitch will have a tough time facing off against them. 

Pander

There is no such thing as a dull 4mans session when Pander is around. With this player’s positive attitude and outgoing personality, paired with their natural rocket league ability, it is no wonder why they were the Double-A end-of-season Invitational Champion. Winning the 4mans invitational is no easy feat. Pander had to overcome three different soon-to-be Champion League rank outs in the invitational alone, and countless during the 4mans regular season in order to qualify. At an 11.5 salary, Pander will be an extremely valuable player to have on your roster for Season 12. 

MockHD

As a new face in the league, MockHD has wasted no time at all making a name for himself. As the current leader in total scrim wins, it would be a crime to dismiss a player as mechanically solid as them. In the 98 wins that they have accrued in scrims, MockHD has averaged a 4.62 MVPR, and boasts 323 total goals. Having nearly reached Champ 2 in 1’s, hitting Champ 1 Div 4, this player has the potential to be a top player in Academy League in the upcoming season. Another player that is constantly active in 4mans and scrims, MockHD will be a leader to build a solid foundation on. 

 

There are even more players that were in contention for this list and no doubt AL mock drafts will be hotly debated right up until Saturday. Be sure to tune into the MLE twitch channel and catch all the action as we find out where our stand-out players will land.

Players to Watch: Top Foundation League Draft Prospects

Foundation League is the wild west of the draft boards. Anything goes and anything can happen. Some top picks rank out days before or days after the draft. Some top picks will be 7s that turn into 10s. Some third-round picks will be MVPs. Some of the best picks of the season won’t happen until week 6 of the season when one lucky franchise will find a fresh new Foundation player to carry them to a late playoff run. It’s impossible to predict what will happen in the Foundation League. But there are a few players that are sure to help franchises pick up some early season wins and set them on the right path. In no particular order, here are our predictions for who you will see at the top of the board on Saturday. 

TheLouzer 

It’s rare to find an FL player whose record speaks for itself but Louzer’s record shouts from the mountains. One of very few players in the MLE who can call themselves a two-time Champion. TheLouzer spent last season in Academy before the new elo system change put him back into FL. But before that, he won back-to-back championships with the FL Tyrants. TheLouzer won FL titles by being a consistent player with a good first touch mentality. If a franchise wants to know what it takes to win a championship, Louzer is a good first pick and likely leader of yet another successful FL team.

Cris-twa 

It’s tough to pick from the pack of top-salary players when it comes to FL. It’s hard to know who will be the early rank outs and who will stick around long enough to win a few games for your franchise. Cris-twa has already gone through a rank out once and then elected to drop down again. They are yet another player who spent last season in Academy League and gained experience playing against AL level players. Now in starting in FL, they seem to be a dominant force that will score some early season wins for any franchise. Cris-twa is one of the faster players in FL who can make clutch shots and goal-line saves. They adapt well in scrims and will likely continue to improve and get exponentially better over the course of the season. There aren’t a lot of guarantees when it comes to the FL draft. But I’d say the safest bet I know right now is that Cris-twa goes early in round one. 

Clory 

There are certain players in MLE that tend to stay quiet for a season or two and then explode to the top of the league. This season my money is on Clory being that player. Season 11 saw Clory’s coming in at a mid to low salary and only playing in one series. But this season they have shown just how much they’ve been on the grind. Clory is now a 10 salary player with impressive scrim stats to back up their claim at a top draft pick. His mechanical ability and great stat lines across the board have most scouts putting him near the top of every draft board. It’s a position that I think is well earned as Clory has clearly put in the time in the offseason to greatly improve and will likely continue to move up throughout the season.

Meerkat!

Meerkat is going into his fourth season in MLE which marks him among the few FL veterans. At a 10 salary, this is likely their last shot at FL before the rank-out comes for them. Meerkat has had multiple playoff appearances including last season where he lost in the second round to the eventual champion Hive team. No doubt they will want to go out of FL with one more run at the title. Even if Meerkat ranks out midseason he is a smart pick-up for teams looking for a consistent FL player with experience winning in the league. Any team with Meerkat on the roster is a team I’d rank highly in power rankings this season.

Logicc

It’s hard to say Logicc is flying under the radar with a 15-6 record in their doubles scrims. When you ask around there might be a few other names that come up before Logicc’s. But I think Logicc’s stats are the kind that shows MVP potential. With one season of play under their belt Loggic posted a 4.54 average MVPR over just three series. They are yet another player that has been on the line between Academy League Foundation but at a 9.5 salary as of this week, they don’t seem to be in immediate danger of a rank out. Logicc leads FL in average shots per game with 5 in the preseason and converts a consistent 50% of those. All those numbers put Logicc in a perfect position to be not only a great steal but a star FL player for whoever takes them. 

There is still a laundry list of FL talent that could have warranted a spot on this list. Likely even now a new free agent is earning their eligibility who may be the true best pick in the draft. When the Foundation League draft kicks off Saturday it will be up to Franchise and General managers to navigate a field of up-and-coming talent. It’s not a position we envy but we can’t wait to see how it all shakes out.

Draft Me: A How To Guide To Getting On A Team

So you made it into the Minor League Esports server. You filled out your application, made it through your interview and your orientation and have accepted the invite to the server. You might even already have a “free agent” tag on your name. Congratulations! Welcome to the wonderful world of being an MLE free agent. But you’re only halfway to playing in the league.

Now that you’re eligible how do you get on a team? How do you get all those Franchise Managers(FMs) and General Managers(GMs) to notice you? There are so many players, how do you stand out from the pack and get picked? Luckily we’re here to help guide you through the process and make sure you’re on everyone’s draft list. Here’s our official guide to ending up on everyone’s draft board and more importantly not ending up on anyone’s “do not draft” list.

 

How The Draft Works

Before you can get on a team it’s important to understand how teams pick players. At the start of every new season, the league goes through an official draft. Every league and every team takes turns picking players during a streamed draft event. There will be three rounds of the draft which means three picks for every team. After the draft, teams can sign free agents to fill out the remaining spots on their rosters.

There are two factors to keep in mind when it comes to the draft. The first import factor is salary cap.  When you enter the league you’re given a salary. In each league there is a salary cap which determines what combination of players a team can pick up based on their salary. (the one exception being premier league which has no salary cap). This is important to know because based on how a GM or FM is planning their roster they may only be looking for a certain salary or salary range.

The second important factor when it comes to the draft is Retentions. At the end of each season GMs have the option of picking up a certain number of players from each league to keep on their roster for the following season. These are called retentions. During the draft you will see these retentions on the draft board as they represent picks already made for that team.

 

How a Team Is Structured

Part of the fun of tryouts is getting to know people throughout the league. Although this may seem intimidating, you’ll soon find that the staff of current teams are some of the most friendly people around. Each team is composed of a FM who is head of the team and will be responsible for making picks during the draft. They control the final draft list for their team. Next you have General Managers and Assistant General Managers(AGMs) that help out the FM and can be a great resource when it comes to scouting. Teams may also have team captains or scouts that run tryouts and scout for their team. When you come across any of these people remember that they’re the people that are going to speak for or against you when the FM or GM makes their draft list.

Each team and by extension their FM will have their own style and team environment. Although every team wants to win, some teams have certain things they look for in players. Some teams value players that are active and like to grind the game. Some teams value players that are more casual and focus on the social side of being on a team. If you want to know what team “vibes” with your style, the best thing to do is to simply talk to the scouts and team members about their team.

 

How Tryouts Work

Tryouts can be intimidating for a lot of players. Part of this is due to the different styles that teams have for scouting players and the different way players can make themselves known to GMs and Scouts.

Team Tryouts

Teams will hold individual tryouts in a variety of different forms. Some teams will host small private lobbies throughout the pre-season that you will sign up for. Other teams will host larger lobbies with a lot of players rotating in for one or two games. A few teams may even invite you to a private tryout to play with them and get to know you better. And you will even find that a few teams hold no tryouts. They do their scouting through other mysterious means. Regardless, you’ll want to join the MLE tryout server which you can find in the main server and keep an eye out for teams running public tryouts as this is the most direct way to get scouted.

The most important thing to remember about tryouts is that you don’t only have one chance to get onto a team. If you play bad in a tryout it is not the end of the world. Lots of teams will be holding a lot of tryouts and you will have multiple chances to show what you can do. It’s also important to consider that some scouts may not notice or particularly care about how many goals you scored or how many times you whiffed. Many scouts are paying closer attention to things like your personality in the voice chat and if you do well in communicating with your teammates. There are a ton of stories throughout MLE of players who got drafted to a team after they thought they bombed that particular tryout. So have fun, be yourself, and try to make friends.

Scrims

This season has introduced a scrim system to determine player’s salaries. This system is largely built to help determine what league players are supposed to be playing in along with ensuring they’ve played enough games to be eligible. Additionally, there will be some teams that look at scrim results and stats to fill out their draft board. If you are performing well in scrims there is a good chance teams will take notice. Scrims are a great way to meet other MLE players and get your name out there. You can find the scrim channels in the Discord section titled “Emilia’s Scrim Scram Jamboree.” There will also be an event called the MLE Combines that will allow scouts to enter scrims on April 2nd and 3rd. This is a great chance to play in front of scouts while getting your scrim points.

 

Dos and Don’ts of Trying out

Let’s start with the Don’ts because in some ways I think they’re more important. If you are active within MLE and you put yourself out there, odds are good that you will find a team eventually. But if you commit one of these don’ts then you may get a bad reputation in the community and it will be hard to recover. Something new players may not know is that FMs will share info and chat about players they’ve seen. This means that if you leave a bad impression on someone they won’t be afraid to tell other FMs that you’re bad news and wouldn’t be a good pick for their team.

Don’ts

Don’t be a Jerk!

It sounds simple but you would be surprised how many people either find it hard to get a team or flat out get kicked from MLE because of a bad attitude. MLE is a community formed around having a non-toxic place to play and it takes that mantra pretty seriously. If you are bad mouthing other players in a voice chat people will take notice. If you’re toxic to opponents or just toxic in general people will notice.

Don’t annoy FMs or GMs!

Franchise Managers, General Managers, and Assistant General Managers have a lot to do in the preseason. They are looking at a ton of players across multiple leagues. They also have lives outside of MLE and can’t spend every minute hosting tryouts for you. Be courteous of their time. Pinging the tryout server relentlessly asking “when are tryouts” is a good way to annoy a GM and have them not want to pick you even before they’ve seen you play. And when GMs do post tryouts try to follow instructions. If a GM says that a tryout is full and you show up in the voice chat anyway and ask if you can play, you are being disrespectful to both the GM and the players that followed instructions and you aren’t going to make any friends in that tryout.

Don’t Pitch yourself too hard!

This one isn’t as egregious as the last two but I’ve seen it burn a fair number of players before. Nobody likes the cocky person in the lobby. If you spend the whole tryout talking about how good you are you’ll likely end up with a lot of players who don’t want to play with you. Pitching yourself is generally good. You want to make it known that you’re a solid player and that you’ll do well on a team. But try to let your play do the talking. Remember that GMs are looking for players that will do well on a team and getting along with others is an important part of that team chemistry.

Don’t Get Discouraged if You Don’t Get Picked!

This season rosters have been expanded to a possible 8 starting spots. During the draft, teams will only pick their first 3 spots. That’s a potential 5 slots that will still be open on a team when the draft is over. That’s right, I did the math so you don’t have to. There will be plenty of opportunities to find a team after the draft is over. And throughout the season players will rank up or go from rostered spots to free agents which opens up new starting spots all the time. So if you continue to be active throughout the season opportunities to find a team will open up.

Dos

Do be Active!

MLE drafts go quickly and FMs often exhaust their list of potential picks before the final round. The difference between making a team and not making a team can sometimes be as simple as if a GM has chatted with you or seen you be active within the community. Active members quickly make friends not only in tryouts but in the general chat as well. And do you know who hangs out in General chat? Those really active members of MLE who often know everyone and are sometimes AGMs and Captains who have the ear of the FM. Being active within the community is the simplest way to make sure you end up on someone’s draft list.

Do show interest in a team!

If there is a team or teams that you really want to play for, don’t be afraid to approach that team yourself. Showing an active interest in a franchise is a great sign that you’ll be an active player. Join the team’s discord server, introduce yourself to the team, let them know you’re excited to try out. Just don’t copy-paste the same message to every team in the league. People will catch on and that will backfire.

Do try your best!

I’ve put a lot of emphasis on showing your personality and not worrying too much about your play. At the end of the day, however, most teams are looking to draft the best players in the league. Especially if you want to end up high on the draft board you’ll want to impress at your tryouts. Make sure you’re showing off what you can do best at each tryout. Do communicate with your teammate and focus on winning the game. Don’t try to steal all the goals or show off with only ceiling shots. But play the game the way you feel you would if you were trying your best to win. Your style will naturally come out, you don’t have to try to emphasize it.

HAVE FUN

MLE is a great community and joining a team is a great way to not only play Rocket League but to find friends with a common interest in the game. I truly hope that everyone who wants to gets to experience being a part of an MLE franchise. Remember that the MLE is only here as a resource for people to have fun playing the game we all love.

Behind the Numbers: Deciphering MLE’S Draft Lottery Odds

Don’t you love this time of the year? The anticipation is growing, tryouts are happening, and League Ops is way overworked. It’s the change from Season 11 to Season 12, and with it, new faces, storylines, and scrim bots will make their mark on MLE history. It can be argued that the beginning of every MLE season starts with the selection of franchise managers, or even when the rulebook is released, but I respectfully disagree. Each new season doesn’t feel like it has truly arrived until the MLE Draft Lottery. It’s the first stream of the season, it’s the first bit of hype, and most importantly, it’s the first time we get to hear Sleegi’s beautiful voice. This is where trades are born, dreams come to fruition, and hopes will die. It’s the first step of a new chapter in MLE’s illustrious history, and it’s one we should all be excited for. 

So what is the draft lottery?

A draft lottery is a randomized way to determine the draft order for each league. Each team that didn’t make the playoffs in a given league, and in FL and PL’s case new franchises, are put into a weighted lottery by their previous season’s record which determines the draft order. The weighted system is linear and pretty easy to follow. The worst team in AL, CL, and ML the season before gets 36 chances to win the lottery. The second-worst team gets 34 chances, the third-worst gets 32, and so on. The team with the best record that barely missed a spot in the postseason only gets 2 chances.

When you add it all up, that creates 342 total chances for teams to get picked. The format for the lottery is also simple. When a team gets picked, their remaining chances are discarded, and a new team is picked until all 18 teams are chosen and the draft order is set. For example, if the worst team the season prior was randomly chosen to get the first pick, their other chances are discarded, and we are left with 306 total chances to determine the second pick.

FL and PL have the same format, just the weighted system is a bit different. There are only 4 teams that missed the playoffs that still have a team in those leagues (since every two seasons, franchises switch having FL and PL teams), so out of those 4 teams, the worst record among them will have 8 chances, second-worst has 6, third-worst has 4, and the team that had the best record of those 4 only has 2 chances. The 8 franchises that will debut this season in each league get 5 chances each, putting them right in the middle of the pack to ensure fairness, creating a total of 60 chances each for each of these 2 lotteries. 

 

What does this mean for the Draft?

The implications behind the draft lottery are huge, especially because MLE has reversed course from the snake draft they did last season. Having the first or third pick puts a franchise in a much better position than having the fourteenth or eighteenth pick would, and because it is a standard draft format, a team would have the added benefit of choosing early in the second and third rounds as well. A higher draft pick also means teams have more leverage in trades because the first overall pick has much more value than the sixteenth pick. Moving back or forward in the draft is very possible based on how the lottery goes.

For teams like the Hawks and the Elite, who had all leagues make playoffs they will have zero teams in the lottery. This means it’ll be very hard to get picks better than what they have. PL’s lottery is especially intriguing, because with no salary cap, the best PL players will go off the board first, and as we saw last season, that can really impact your chances of winning a title. Finally, for teams that have not locked in retentions yet, the draft lottery could be important in making those decisions. If a team wants to retain three players but gets the first pick in the draft, is it still worth retaining all three? Or do you decide not to retain a player so you get the first choice in the draft? The lottery has a chance to impact the league in ways like this and could go on to help or hurt a team later on based on their decision. 

 

So how do I predict this draft?

Now that we know how important the draft lottery is and how it works, I’m sure you are thinking about where certain teams might land. You may be asking yourself questions like what are the chances the Bulls get the first pick in ML? Luckily for you, I decided to do the math. A lot of math. Way, way, way too much math, just so you don’t have to. With help from DK, we answered a list of some of the lottery’s biggest questions: what are the odds a team wins the lottery in a certain league, what are the odds a franchise gets at least one number one pick, and where will my team probably be picking? I’m here to help, so sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

Chances to Win Each Lottery

So, what are the odds the Bulls win the first pick in ML? In order to calculate this, we take their placement in the league last season, figure out how many chances they have, and then divide it by the total number of chances for the league. This one was pretty easy to calculate, the harder math comes later on. So here are your odds for AL, CL, and ML.

There is a lot to dissect here in this graph. The first thing to notice is even the teams with the best chance to land the first pick only has a 10.53% of getting it, which means there is an 89.47% they don’t. A lot of the top teams will fall towards the middle of the draft because there is a relatively low chance they get picked early on (more on that later in this article). That being said, the first pick is always the one that has the most variance, as a lot of teams could make a claim to get it. Even the team with the tenth best odds still has over a 5% chance to get the first pick.

This is what makes the draft so exciting because there are so many ways the lottery could go. One scenario that seems very unlikely though is the bottom teams winning. At just a .58% chance, the Rhinos AL team, Knights CL team, or Puffins ML team winning the lottery has a 1 in 172 chance of happening. It’s a safe bet that it won’t happen this season, but nothing is impossible, stranger things have happened in MLE. Don’t worry FL and PL, I didn’t forget about you, your odds are below.

 

The first thing to point out with these odds is the fact that the bottom teams, Aviators FL and Tyrants PL, have a much higher chance to get the first pick than their counterparts in AL, CL, and ML, 5.7 times more likely to be exact. There’s a decent chance we see a bottom team jump a higher team in at least one of these drafts because of this fact. Speaking of the more likely teams, the team with the best odds may only have 8 chances to get the first pick, but because there are only 60 chances total, their odds of getting the first pick are actually better than those in the higher leagues. Eleven of the twelve teams in the lottery have above a 5% chance to get the first overall pick, so every team believes they have a decent shot. This will make for a ton of drama by the time the lottery comes.

Franchise Odds

If you are part of a franchise’s staff or even just a retention, I’m sure you have a stake in what happens during the lottery. Every franchise dreams of having at least one number one pick, so what are the chances that happens? To calculate this piece of nifty info, we took every team’s odds of getting the first pick league and flipped it, and we ended up with what the odds were that they don’t get the first pick for a given league. When you multiply those all together, subtract it from one, and change it to a percentage, you end up with the table below. 

This chart tells us what the odds are that a franchise wins at least one lottery. First, let’s have a moment of silence to commend the Hawks and the Elite. Both of these franchises got all of their teams to the playoffs last season and do not switch between FL and PL this season, so they come into the lottery with no teams in it, hence the 0% chance. They can kick back and watch every other franchise freak out over their picks. As for the other 30 teams, these are your odds.

There are six franchises with at least a one-in-four chance of going home with at least one number one pick, the highest being the Dodgers, who have all four teams in the lottery. They have a whopping 33.41% chance to get the first overall pick in at least one league. The Ducks come in with only three teams, but still, have a massive 29.26% chance of landing at least one first pick. The Jets, Sabres, and Sharks all had their AL, CL, and ML teams make the playoffs last season, and since they will have a team entering either FL or PL for the first time, they come in with the same odds.

The Puffins and Knights had two of their three AL, CL, and ML teams making the playoffs, and have a team entering FL or PL this season. However, their teams that missed the playoffs were about the same, with the Knights being the best team to miss the CL playoffs and the Puffins being the best team to miss the ML playoffs, so their odds are equal. Twenty teams have odds over 10%, so there may be a lot of wishful thinking come lottery time, you do not want to miss it so definitely tune in!

 

Average Draft Position

We have talked extensively now about the first pick in the draft, but there is so much more on the line than the first pick being selected. There are 18 picks determined by the lottery in AL, CL, and ML, and 12 picks in FL and PL. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could know where teams will pick for each league on average? Well, that’s what I set out to do.

I first googled to see if there was a website that could do it for me to no avail. I then decided that I would run 250 simulations of the draft by hand, type in the results, and share it with you all, but after seeing that 250 was not a big enough number to get accurate data, and me being bored of typing numbers, I knew something had to change.

So, I reached out to the best spreadsheet people I knew and asked them to help me on my journey. Enter DK, my savior and a man who knows his way around Google Sheets. He made a program that simulated a draft lottery 100,000 times and logged each and every one of them. This program assigned a number to each pick, one for the first pick, two for the second, etc. When the 100k simulations were done, he added them up, divided the total by 100k, and we had an average draft landing spot for each team in the lottery. 

That is a lot of data, and hats off to DK for being able to come up with this glorious finished product, but I’ll start combing through it. Let’s start towards the top of the chart where the Express, Dodgers, and Ducks have the most chances for their respective leagues. Even though they have the most chances, they still on average will pick around sixth. That’s a big drop for the teams that are supposed to have the best odds.

Most GMs or FMs watching may be disappointed if they drop to sixth when having the best odds, but that is still better than what they were calculated to finish at, which is why this table is so important. Comparing a team’s final position to this chart (and the one below for FL and PL) tells a team how fortunate or unlucky they were in the lottery. The average picks toward the top of this list are so close together, that there is virtually no difference, making the beginning of the lottery so tough to predict. As you go down, however, you’ll realize that the gap between teams starts getting bigger and bigger.

It’s hard for teams with fewer odds to jump up because they are constantly outnumbered, so there’s a better chance they stay towards the bottom. For example, let’s say the Pandas and the Rhinos are the last two teams left in AL. The Rhinos will only have 2 chances while the Pandas have 10, making it 5x more likely the Pandas get selected. In over half of the simulations I did by hand, the team with the least amount of chances picked last. So while the teams at the top of the chart may fall a lot of picks, it’s very unlikely the teams at the bottom will rise much. Let’s take a look at FL and PL quickly.

One problem with running a simulation as many times as we did is that numbers may not be 100% accurate. Look at the middle eight teams in the chart, even though they have the same amount of chances, and therefore the same odds, the average draft pick positions are different (just by a tad). The more simulations you run, the more likely the odds even out, but apparently 100k simulations were not enough to accomplish this. In reality, each of these teams has an average draft position of 6.39. I wanted to keep the data set so you can see how we did it, but that aspect of the data is not completely accurate, however, it is very close.

When we look at the data, the teams at the bottom are much more likely to move up than their AL, CL, and ML counterparts. This is because the total number of changes in these lotteries is so much lower than the others, 60 compared to 372. That means the 2 chances for the Aviators and Tyrants are way more significant, however, they still will probably get a low pick. The Ducks and Lightning, who are at the top, will have an average pick position of about fifth. Going from the highest odds to mid-draft on average isn’t ideal, but it’s still not bad.

 

That was a lot of information, but now you know pretty much everything you’ll need to know for the MLE Draft Lottery. The start of the season is officially around the corner and this is just the beginning, so you won’t want to miss it! The Draft Lottery will stream live Sunday, March 21s at 5 PM EST on https://www.twitch.tv/leachylive

Season 11 Championship Preview

After a long season with more games than any previous, we’ve reached championship weekend for season eleven of MLE. This season we expanded to five leagues which means five champions will be crowned and a lot of history will be made. Seven franchises have a shot at winning their first ever championship. Both the Elite and Tyrants have a chance to be the first team to hold four titles, while the Outlaws are looking to be the fourth team to enter the three title club. There’s going to be a lot to play for so be sure to tune in to catch all the action on the MLE Twitch Channel.

 

foundation League Final

By Kickpuncher

#3 Demolition vs. #3 Hive @5PM EST on MLESPORTSGG

The Demolition and Hive are two teams that have yet to win a championship. After the Foundation League finals, one of them will take home their first. And what better way to do it than with a pair of players fresh to the franchise as well as the league. These rookies are only beginning to learn the history of their teams and will now be shaping it. Whether this brings more pressure or less only they can say. 

On every Foundation League team, there is a fair amount of turnover. That’s the simple fact of having a low-level league, players are going to improve and move up. But the Hive has seemed to be a revolving door of players this season. Yet despite that, they have each time found new players that are able to maintain the level of competitive play to keep them on top.  Perhaps it is the brilliance of the Hive franchise that they have ended the season with two of the best players in the Foundation League this season.  Woah and Sir Lunix looked confident in their first series of the playoffs. In their second series, they looked superb. Combining for 19 goals on 41 shots in a 4-0 sweep is what I would define as a dominating Foundation League offense.

Both are beginning to show the mechanical ability that not only makes them a good bet for their playoff match but should also have some Academy League scouts paying attention for next season’s draft. Watching them grow in their comfort level in the air and on the walls from their first match to their second match was incredible. It was as if the Jets had been given one week to prepare while the Hive had been given a month of grinding in between the first and second round of playoffs.  If they continue on this trajectory of building chemistry and confidence in their play it may be all double touches and redirects in the finals.

The Demo conquered two playoff favorite teams in the league to get to where they are. They stunned both the Outlaws and the Spectre with solid defense and great counter attacks. What has impressed me the most about the team’s wins is just how they’ve been able to break down their opponents with team plays. In the conference finals, Sobe and UhSpicey combined for 11 assists on 19 goals. Everything that the Demo did seemed to be to help their teammates make the play. This pair looked in sync for the majority of their 4-0 sweep and not just on the offensive side. Facing off against the number one dribbler in the League the Demo pushed up and challenge Lavar Ball early, dominating the midfield and giving the Spectre no space to make a play. They face off against talented mechanical players in the final but if their chemistry and team play holds strong they’ll end up controlling the possession and the series.

Both teams look primed to have a great final but only one can take the championship. In a best of seven series look for these players to push the limits of what people have seen from the Foundation League. You’ll see aerial solo plays, team passing plays, and aggressive bump plays. And at the end of it all, we’ll have two brand new champions who are sure to cement themselves as future MLE stars.

 

Academy League Finals

By Kickpuncher

#7 Tyrants vs. #2 Puffins @6:30PM EST on MLESPORTSGG

No matter who wins the Academy League Finals on Saturday it will be another history-making moment for MLE. If the Tyrants take the victory they will be the first 7 seed to win a championship. If the Puffins win it will be the first title in the franchise’s history. Each of these teams wants this win for their franchise as well as for themselves but only one team can walk away the victor. Who will finish off an amazing Academy League playoffs with a win?

What seems to be the strength of the Tyrants throughout their playoff run is the consistency of both Cheeto and DDia on offense and defense. Both players appear composed on both sides of the pitch. They know their rotations and know when to boost steal, which happens swiftly and often. The story of this Tyrants team has been an underdog tale but perhaps one that most people never saw as unexpected. DDia and Cheeto have put up stellar performances throughout the season and their record didn’t quite reflect the talent at the top of this roster.

But they proved their worth in facing off against the 2nd and 1st seeds in their first two rounds. They managed to stun high powered offenses and staunch defenses. The pair has been faster than all their opponents beating teams to the challenge and never hesitating to watch a play develop. The other stand out has been their dominance on the 50/50. Even during close games plays seem to pinch in their favor with a consistency that speaks to how strong these two players are at the challenge game. This is a team that has been forged in fire and won’t be thrown off by any attack. If the Puffins don’t have an answer for their viper like strikes they may just shock yet another high seed and snatch the title for themselves.

The combination of Bango and AubreyE has been a duo with chemistry and momentum that most in the Academy League knew could make a playoff run. Within the Puffins franchise, however, that feeling of being the underdog has never gone away. Having put together a number of potential teams that fell short, the franchise is still searching for its first franchise title. If ever there was a team to push them to victory it’s Bango and AubreyE.

Bango is the flashier of the two and is the most likely candidate for highlight plays of any person left in the final. Their comfort in the air and shot placement is what helped them take down the first seeded Hawks in the conference finals. But the silent backbone of the team has been the defense and playmaking of AubreyE. AubreyE has put in a slew of great goal-line saves throughout the playoffs and has been feeding backboard passes to Bango throughout the series. It’s a team with very specific roles but they play them both very well. When the Puffins are allowed to play their brand of Rocket League they can control the game and take on any opponent. It may be just a formula that wins them a championship.

This matchup is a clash of two different seeds and two different speeds and two different styles. But despite that I expect this to be a back and forth series. Both these teams have a lot of determination and they won’t be giving up easily. There will be many close series this weekend but If only one goes the distance I expect it to be this one.

 

Champion League finals

By iAndray

#1 Elite vs #7 Hawks @8PM EST on MLESPORTSGg

This is truly a match to behold. If any of you reading this are also hockey fans it might remind you of the St. Louis Blues vs. Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Final last year. It sure does for me. The Elite has been in the upper echelon of the Champion League for the whole season while the Hawks squeak in as a low seed and have done all but win the season 11 trophy for the mantle. Only one final challenge remains for the Hawks and it is a doozy. 

The Elite play Champion League Car Soccer like no other team I’ve seen. Usually, players will haphazardly fall into rolls for a game or two but it seems to me that Pandamazing and Wubby had a plan from the get-go to make Wubby the playmaker and Panda the striker. The synergy I saw from them last weekend was a whole new level from what I’ve come to expect; full-field lobs into redirects, cross-seam grounders into steamers directed at a shell shocked keeper, and reads off of clears from their teammate that proved their spot at the top to be completely legitimate.

My only gripes with this team are simply that they played too well to accumulate that crunch-time experience that the Hawks have. Possibly they won’t need that experience if their play continues on how it has but rarely does a final come and pass without a clutch play or two. The last thing I’ll say regarding the Elite is their lack of motivation to play to their full ability when a team is sluggish and not playing very well. In the series against the Tyrants, a massive win in the first game should have bolstered them on to take this series in a dominant fashion. And while they did sweep the Tyrants, it could have very well gone the other way due mainly to the Elite letting off the pedal as the series went on, resulting in three one-goal games, the final going 2-1 to the Elite.

Oh Hawks, what a franchise you’ve built, 4 championship finals in your history, and now a very good chance at taking home a title. Winning a series in 7 games is exciting, exhilarating, and will surely push these players to give their all for that trophy win. I’ve been having a hard time keeping my eyes off of Orange Monkey, his play reminds me so much of Flakes. Not only do they both choose the oddest cars to take onto the field no matter how big the task ahead is, they both see the field in a similar manner. I noticed early on in watching Orange Monkey play that he avoids 50-50s at all cost and takes as much time as is given to him. Not to mention his pre-disposition to flicks and dribbles, a connoisseur of the art even.

KillingHabits is such a gifted player as well. I only hope that we can see a bit more consistency coming out of his play come game time. I love watching him do twirls in the air and make flip reset attempts just for the pure joy it gives me in holding onto hope of seeing it land and a “This is Rocket League!!!!!” moment. But, in being an impartial observer I am always hoping for the closest, most tightly contested game possible. That means returning to base mechanics and outplaying his opponents as easily as I know he can.

 

Master League Finals

by Rolo

#6 Outlaws vs. #3 Jets @9:30PM EST on MLESPORTSGG

The Outlaws were able to clinch the Orange Conference Title with a 4-1 series win over the Spectre. The series was much closer than what the scoreline would suggest, with games three and four going down to the wire. Games one and two were back and forth contests, with the Outlaws taking the first game in convincing fashion and the Spectre returning the favor in game two. Spectre came out incredibly shaky in the first game and responded well in the following contest. They took that momentum into game three, dominating the field, putting up immense pressure, and forcing the Outlaws into seven saves. The Outlaws were able to squeeze out a tying goal when tragedy struck for the Spectre and a runner the other way from the Outlaws gave them the game-winning goal with under 5 seconds left.

Game four was wilder still, believe it or not. The Outlaws were up 3-1 with under 20 seconds remaining and the Spectre were able to tie up the contest, with Blackwatch hitting a sublime redirect to force overtime. Both teams looked off and disorganized in the overtime contest, with the game, unfortunately, being decided by a heartbreaking own goal by Blackwatch. Game five went as game one did for the Outlaws as they were able to secure the victory in a convincing last period.

The Jets booked their ticket into the Championship Final with a 4-0 series sweep against the Hive. As was the case with the Orange Conference Final, the series scoreline is not entirely indicative of how the series went. Both games two and four went into overtime, with game three being a 1-0 bout. In the overtime periods, both teams buckled down on defense, with a lot of back and forth in the midfield. The Hive could have taken either of those games but committed one too many defensive errors and the Jets capitalized. The only more lopsided game was game 1, in which the Jets went up 2-0 quickly, never relinquishing their lead, on route to a 5-3 win.

Going into Championship Saturday, the Outlaws must be ready for the sheer offensive pressure that the Jets will bring.  In their 3-1 series win against the Hurricanes, they put up 47 shots. Against the Hive, they put up 47 shots as well. Averaging nearly 12 shots a game, the Jets look to keep their opponents disorganized and imbalanced. What is of concern for the Outlaws, is that Ripperr is starting to put up bigger numbers, and the offense is not nearly all on Bond Brother. Ripperr finished the Hive series with a 5.35 MVPR and 7 goals, both highs in the lobby.

If any team can neutralize this pressure, it is the Outlaws. In the Spectre series, their defense bent but did not break, and came up huge when needed. Blackwatch and Light finished with 5 and 8 goals, respectively. However, 3 of Blackwatch’s goals came in game four, and 4 of Light’s goals came in game two. The Outlaws were able to mitigate the damage and not allow the Spectre to put up multiple games of high offensive output. The Outlaws will also be looking to balance out their own offensive output and not have Llama being the sole teammate putting up high numbers. KyleSpanx finished with a 4.27 MVPR against the Pandas, but only finished with a 3.57 MVPR against the Spectre, the lowest in the lobby. Look to them wanting a bounce back series against the high flying Jets.

 

Premier League finals

by Kickpuncher

#1 Bulls vs. #1 Wolves @11PM EST on MLESPORTSGG

With the MLE expansion to five leagues, the Premier League isn’t new in name but it feels as if this title is a new level of prestige for the inevitable champions. The addition of a league with no salary cap has brought top talent into the fold. Now we’ve seen these players compete for a full season and throughout the playoffs, two teams have emerged as a rung above the rest. The Bulls and the Wolves have breezed through the first two rounds going 7-1 and 7-0 respectively. Now we see the face-off that we’ve waited all season to see.

I’m struggling to think of what I can say about the Bulls that I haven’t said already. The Bulls are good. It’s that simple. They execute plays with consistency and speed. The greatest example I saw of the Bulls play came in game four against the shadow. Canadiyan and Braided Axe were charging on offense when Canadiyan went ahead for the bump while Braided Axe attempted to flick for the score. Not only did the Bulls manage to make the save, they turned around on the counter-attack and executed that exact play the Shadow just attempted but Comp buzzed the net, cutting off Canadiyan and Deluxe banged a flick top corner. They stole the playbook from the Shadow and showed them how it was supposed to be done. Comp has been unstoppable in the playoffs posting a 7.094 and a 6.040 MVPR over two series. He is as clutch on the goal line as he is air dribbling from the wall to the air.

The Wolves are the team that seemed to be the perfect match for the Bulls. In watching every game from the Wolves two playoffs series I can’t recall a single play where the Wolves looked panicked. During game two of their series against the Eclipse, Lotty Lettuce was forced to dodge a demo and was unable to prevent a ball from rolling across the goal line. Without a jump or a dodge, Taki simply swooped in and drove the ball cleanly into the corner then drove it all the way back down and passed it out of the opponent’s corner to Lotty Lettuce who was waiting to bang in a shot. At times it has looked as if the was team practicing without opponents. The Wolves look cool and calculated at all times. There are no double commits or wild dives present in their game, just solid smart play. Lotty Lettuce is expected to carry the weight of the team with their 20 Salary but at an 18 salary, Taki has been a huge factor in this team’s ability to play an evenly spaced out attack. In this playoffs, they’ve put up 10 goals, 9 assists, and 17 saves. That’s enough to draw attention to them and away from the mechanical play of Lotty Lettuce.

The composed team attack from the Wolves may be the answer to the Bulls’ flashy offense. But the Wolves may be tested with a level of team they haven’t encountered before. There will be a lot of pressure on both teams to bring home the title but it’s a pressure that these players are used to. All four made a playoff appearance last season. But only Comp has held the title of Premier League Champion when they won season 10, beating out none other than Lotty Lettuce in the finals. Will history repeat itself and give Comp another championship or will Lotty Lettuce get their revenge?

Playoffs Preview: Premier League Conference Finals

The first round fo the new Premier League has finished and the Conference finals is about to begin. Four teams remain and the Talent level of each player on the field is higher than we have ever seen in MLE. Who will rise above the other and prove to be the best? Let’s talk through the contenders as we cover the Conference Finals of the Premier League playoffs.

Orange Conference- Saturday, Dec. 12th

#1 Bulls vs. #3 Shadow @ 10PM EST on MLESPORTSGG

The showdown in the Tropic Division was a great match to watch last weekend. As promised TrashVan and BraidedAxe had their fill of highlight plays. Danger and Trashvan took to the air in game one. The Shadow had to win in overtime with a very defensive style of game. In the second game, the Sharks kept coming and managed to shut out the shadow and tie the series. In game three, it was perhaps the Shadow that smelled blood in the water. Both players seemed to make a conscious effort to speed up the pace of play and a back and forth game commenced. Every time the Shadow came down with a stellar play the Sharks would have a miraculous save right at the point of the shot and answer with their own attack. Both teams raced back and forth for just shy of eight minutes before the Shadow got the OT series winner.  What we expected in this series was for Braided Axe to be the playmaker for his team but what has perhaps been the storyline of last week was just how well Canadiyan is playing under pressure. If both players can keep up the level of play they showed in shutting down the Sharks they have a decent shot at an upset this week.

On the other side, the Bulls seemed to have an easy time with the Elite. In a dominant 3-0 sweep, there was never a doubt that this was the Bulls series to lose. Comp and Deluxe mechanical abilities seemed to be a great fit. The pair combined for 15 goals in just three games. Often times it was Deluxe making a play to set up Comp or just beating both defenders and allowing Comp to clean up. But it seemed on both offense and defense the duo outclassed the talents of the Elite. With Comp coming back to the league late in the season and Deluxe putting up top numbers throughout the season it seems we are only now beginning to see the top level of what the Bulls are capable of. That’s a scary thought when you see the numbers the team was putting up without this top lineup. It’s hard to bet against the Bulls at this point with just how good they look. But each match will be a new test and Each of the three teams left is hoping they have an answer to the style of play that these two players bring to the table. 

The Shadow stepped up big in their match against the Sharks, but now they perhaps face the toughest test of the tournament. Both players will need to bring their best game against the Bulls. I’m not saying that the Shadow can’t overcome this dominant Bulls duo. But if you’re looking for a long shot in your pick’ems this is the one.

 

Blue Conference – Sunday, Dec. 13th

#1 Wolves vs. #3 Eclipse @ 10PM EST on MLESPORTSGG

First, we should perhaps address the orange and green elephant in the room. The Eclipse moved through to the conference finals by way of the Hurricanes not making the match and handing their opponents an NCP. This was unfortunate for the fans and for the Hurricanes Franchise. There is not much more to say about the Eclipse after last week’s preview. The team is fast, accurate, and was surely capable of taking the series had they gotten to play their match. They will no doubt be scrimming and continuing to keep their eyes on the prize of taking home the first PL Championship. Expect them to come into this weekend’s match looking to prove that they would have won their first round no matter what. 

For the Wolves, they did have to play a match last weekend however it looked to be business as usual rather than the trial that was expected. A comfortable 3-0 sweep for Taki and Lotty Lettuce, that seemed to go exactly how they drew it up.  The Wolves took the series thanks to rotational play, defensive awareness, and accurate shooting. It was a series largely won in the midfield with both teams not making a lot of mistakes nor committing to too much offensive pressure. But when the Puffins did present threats against the Wolves net it was Taki who came in clutch with 11 saves over three games. Lotty Lettuce was of course an expected offensive force with 8 goals on 14 shots. Nothing about the Wolves’ win seemed overly flashy and they didn’t lean toward any specific style of play but it appeared that they didn’t have to. They played with the composure of two players in a casual lobby just doing what they do best and mixing up their approach from time to time.

This Conference final might have people guessing because I believe both teams haven’t shown their full hand just yet. Look for this match to go to the team that comes out hot and sets the bar higher than these players have had to play so far these playoffs.

 

Everything is on the line for the final four. A chance at being the Conference Champion and more importantly, a shot at the ever so elusive MLE Championship Title. Find out this weekend who will prevail over on the MLE Network.

Playoffs Preview: Master League Conference Finals

Wow, what an incredible weekend of Minor League Esports playoff action last week. Out of the four Semi-Final match-ups for the Master League, three of them went to a deciding game 5. With the Conference Finals, however, five games may not be enough, for we are now in the best of seven territory. Seeing how close and competitive the Conference Semi-Finals were, the Conference Finals look poised to go all seven games as well. So buckle up, strap yourself in, and get ready for the absolute barn burners that will be the Conference Finals.

 

Orange Conference – Saturday, Dec. 12th

#1 Spectre v. #6 Outlaws @ 9pm EST on MLESPORTSGG

The Spectre defeated the Shadow in their Semi-Final matchup, in arguably the most exciting series so far this MLE postseason. The Spectre went up 2-1 in the series, with a game three overtime win. In game three, the Spectre were down 3-1 with under a minute left and were able to force the overtime period. The Shadow were then able to respond with a 3-1 win in game four. Game five came down to the wire, with another overtime period. The would Spectre take that game 4 to 3. Being able to clutch multiple overtimes will service the Spectre well in their playoff run, knowing they will not buckle under the pressure. The Semi-Final defeat definitely stings for the Shadow, knowing those overtime periods easily could have gone the other way. They can rest their hat on their brilliant performance, however. Akina was sublime in the air, posing a threat every time they took the ball off the sidewall. They also posted a staggering 5.67 MVPR, the highest in the lobby. Nyyankeesrd was no slouch either, assisting 7 of Akina’s 11 goals while showcasing their own mechanical prowess. In the end, however, it was not enough for the Shadow. Blackwatch and Light were just too effective in limiting the damage. Moreover, they both produced strong, nearly identical, offensive numbers. Light finished with a 5.12 MVPR, 8 goals, 6 assists, 8 saves, and 25 shots, while Blackwatch posted a 4.61 MVPR, with 7 goals, 4 assists, 9 saves, and 23 shots. The Spectre looks scary going into the Conference Finals. They are resilient, defensively sound, and offensively balanced. All of which will be troublesome for the Outlaws.

The Outlaws, without the need for super-sub Stovvadz, were able to squeak out a close 3-2 win over the “pan // das”. The Pandas and Outlaws traded blows in games one and two, with the Outlaws taking the first contest convincingly, and the Pandas taking game two in a convincing manner. The Pandas were able to win game three in overtime and looked strong throughout the whole series. The Outlaws had different plans, however, taking game four 4-2 and game five 1-0. Llama and KyleSpanx came up huge in the game four and game five wins. KyleSpanx in game four put up three of the Outlaws’ four goals, while Llama posted the game-winner in game five with four saves to boot. Llama being the offensive catalyst for the Outlaws this entire season, we knew they would produce in crunch time. KyleSpanx showed up in a massive way for the Outlaws, which makes them a duel threat against the Spectre. KylesSpanx finished the Pandas series with a 4.28 MVPR and 25 shots. Credit is due to the Pandas though, who gave a valiant effort. They gave themselves multiple chances to close out the series but were unable to do so this time around.

With just how close the Conference Semi-Finals were for both the Spectre and the Outlaws, this series looks to go the full seven games. Both teams have shown the ability to come back from a deficit, so do not count out either team if one of them goes down by two to start the series. The Spectre and the Outlaws field similar teams, with both pairings bringing a balanced offensive approach. The Spectre will need to keep an eye out for KyleSpanx on the dribble, for they like to take the ball onto the hood of their car and beat the first defender out with a quick flick. The Outlaws will need to play deep or reduce that open space in the midfield to shutdown KyleSpanx offensively. For the Outlaws, they need to focus on Light and their mesmerizing ability in the air. They have the ability to have complete control of the ball while in flight, which creates major issues for defenses.

 

Blue Conference – Sunday, Dec. 13th

#1 Hive vs. #3 Jets @ 9pm EST on MLESPORTSGG

The number one seeded Hive were able to punch their ticket into the Conference Finals with an impressive 3-2 series win over the formidable Knights. The Knights were up two games to one after a game three overtime win. The Hive were able to adapt and rebound effectively, taking game four 3-2, and taking the series winner in a convincing 6-2 fashion. Besides game five, in which the Knights gave up two very unfortunate goals, each game was decided by a one or two goal margin. The Hive found success in putting the Knights under immense pressure, outshooting them 34-24 across the entire series. This is even more impressive, considering the Knights were able to put up an astounding 41 shots against the Sabres in their Wildcard matchup. Easyp and Uh Steve were able to snuff out the Knight’s offense while putting up similar numbers on the offensive side. Both finished with an MVPR around 3.70 and both finishing with nearly identical shot totals (18 for Uh Steve, 16 for Easyp). The Hive will need to continue this collective offensive pressure and defensive crackdown against the Jets if they hope to be playing for an MLE title in over a week’s time.

The Jets were the lone team able to win their series in under five games, defeating the Hurricanes 3-1 in an incredibly close contest. Game one ended in a 6-5 overtime win for the Jets, in which both sides traded blows. Game three was the lone blowout, with games two and four being decided by two goals each. As expected, Bond Brother carried the Jets’ offense with a crushing 6.86 MVPR with 11 goals on 30 shots. Ripperr took the place of Indy, who played for the Jets in their wildcard series. They performed admirably, posting a 5.11 MVPR and assisting 8 of Bond Brother’s 11 goals. What may be of concern for the Jets’ is Ripperr’s offensive consistency, for out of the 17 shots they posted, 10 came in a high scoring game one, while they averaged a little over two shots per game for the rest of the series. Part of this may be attributed to the solid play of Nerr97 and Privileged Pear for the Hurricanes. Nerr97 looked threatening every time they were in the air and both players posted MVPRs around 5.0 against the juggernaut Jets.

The Hive will undoubtedly be the Jets’ most difficult opponent so far during this postseason. They come in as the first seed and showed immense resiliency against the Knights with the comeback win. We know the Hive will remain cool and collected during pressure situations, but we cannot say the same thing for the Jets. They have yet to be down in a playoff series, so we will see if the Jets possess the same ability to respond if they go down at any point. The key for the Hive will be able to neutralize and/or mitigate Bond Brother’s offensive footprint, forcing Ripperr to put up big numbers. Inversely, the Jets are not looking to reinvent the wheel, and hope to continue with their blueprint; a high octane offense that showcases the team’s ability to solo play, as well as finding the open player infield.   

 

Everything is on the line for the final four. A chance at being the Conference Champion and more importantly, a shot at the ever so elusive MLE Championship Title. Find out this weekend who will prevail over on the MLE Network.

Playoffs Preview: Champion League Conference Final

There are upsets galore as the competition in the Champion League playoffs heats up. The Conference Finals promises more high-level plays and even more tightly contested matchups. Can one of the underdog teams take this Cinderella run all the way to the league title or will the top seed take the day and prove why they were the number one from the beginning? Lets take a look at what’s in store for this round of the Champion League playoffs.

 

Orange Conference – Saturday, Dec. 12th

#1 Elite vs. #5 Tyrants @ 8pm ESt on MLESPORTSGG

There’s one top seed left in the Champion League bracket but as we get further into the playoffs it seems the underdogs have all the momentum. Will the Tyrants continue the streak of upsets or will the Elite prove to be just that, Elite in the Champion League?

When the Elite are on form, it seems like nothing can get in their way. Their offensive playmaking and shooting ability are at the top of the Champion League. Mushu and PANDAmazing combined for 20 goals on 34 shots in the back and forth series. The Demolition seemed to give the number one seed a tough challenge, however. The Demo took two games off the Elite and appeared in game four to have their number. The Demo met every challenge from the Elite and simply gave them no space to set up a play. When the game came down to defensive play and winning challenges it seemed to go to the Demo. In game five the Elite were able to find space again and get the 4-3 overtime winner. Give the Elite the opportunities and they will make the play every time, but if they want to win the championship this season it seems that the Elite will have to work hard to make the space themselves. No team left in this bracket is going to give it to them. 

The Tyrants hit their stride against the Comets in the Orange Conference Semi-Final. We knew that this team would be aggressive and push up for the challenge. What the Comets were perhaps not ready for was the speed of this Tyrants team. The Tyrants constantly caught the Comets upfield and punished on a counter-attack against the one shadowing defender. The way TSR and Trusolja were able to transition offense to defense proved lethal in this four-game series. They stumbled a bit in game two when the Comets brought on shot after shot to keep the Tyrants on the back foot. But the Tyrants are a team not to be shaken. They continued to play solid both offensively and defensively and capitalized on their opportunities. Trusolja was the MVP of the series with 8 goals and 11 saves on the series but what makes the Tyrants so lethal is that both players have the potential to pop off in a series.

 

Blue Conference – Sunday, Dec. 13th

#6 Sabres vs. #7 Hawks @ 8pm ESt on MLESPORTSGG

This season’s playoffs has proven to be the most unexpected in MLE’s history. Not one but two Conference Finals has a 6th seed matching up against a 7th seed for the first time. But when you break down the Sabres and The Hawks you can see why these two teams have talent that far outweighs their low seed.

The Sabres have the mechanical ability that can burn you individually. But What I like about the Sabres is their team chemistry and awareness on the field. Every time the Sabres have the ball they seemed to slow the pace down and assess where their space was while other teams would be tempted to race into the defense and take the 50/50. Both players not afraid to take to the air with the ball but often sought to work the backboard and trust their teammate for the cleanup. Lil Lettuce has been a key offensive player throughout the season but accuracy plagued them throughout the season. But Solrak came in clutch and was able to finish off enough of the plays that lingered in the offense. The Sabres dropped games two and three due to missed opportunities but were able to put enough home to secure the win. If the Sabres want to make the final they will need to execute more of the same but with better shooting accuracy.

There are two things I know about Orange Monkey, they play their MLE matches in a Merc and their dribbling and flicks are some of the most lethal in their League. It was those very flicks that won them an AL championship title for the Hurricanes in Season 10. You can see that the Hawks have embraced Orange Monkey’s style. Most of the series versus the Puffins was a back and forth battle of two teams trading dribbling plays at a supersonic pace. But after two seasons of this style, it seemed for a moment the Puffins had caught on to their opponent’s tactics. As many times as Orange Monkey’s flick burned the defense, they also got challenged early and had to rush back to the defensive. The most lethal attacks from both sides came from aerial plays which burned the boost of these two great defenses. KillingHabbits proved to be the X-factor in this department as they often elevated the ball to keep the Puffins on the back foot.  But it seemed to take the Hawks till game four when they changed their pace and let the Puffins take the offensive that they took control of the series. They focused on winning defensive challenges and striking from the counter-attack which produced results immediately. They finished out game five in a dominant fashion. This team has a polished offense but can turn to their defense when they need to. That could make all the difference as they face off against the high powered offenses to come.

 

Everything is on the line for the final four. A chance at being the Conference Champion and more importantly, a shot at the ever so elusive MLE Championship Title. Find out this weekend who will prevail over on the MLE Network.

 

Playoffs Preview: Academy League Conference Final

The Academy League Conference finals have two top seeds battle it out in the Blue Conference while the 6th seed faces off against the 7th seed in the Orange Conference. Regardless of their seeds, all final four teams have proven they have the ability to dominate play and win games. Only one team can take the championship and each of these four will continue to prove this weekend why they deserve the title. Let’s take a look at the final four teams in the Academy League Playoffs.

 

Orange Conference – Satruday, Dec. 12th

#6 Outlaws vs. #7 Tyrants @ 7pm ESt on MLESPORTSGG

I try not to show my personal opinions too much when writing but there’s one thing I think should be made clear. I love underdogs. No matter my personal views, these two teams should give everyone a reason to be excited. The 6th and 7th seeds may seem like they have a slim shot at the final. But if you watch their play from last week you’ll see two teams that are ready to take home the trophy for their franchise.

Full disclosure as a Bears player that bleeds blue the Tyrants vs Bears match still hurts to think about. To say the Tyrants stunned the Bears seems like an understatement. They took on the best offense in the conference and held them to just seven goals in four games. DDia and Cheeto came out of the gate in game one like they were the top team and the Bears were the Monstars from Space Jam, but before they transformed and they were just goofy cartoons that couldn’t dribble. At no point in the first two games was any respect given to the considerable mechanical ability of Bacon and Nty. The speed of play from both DDia and Cheeto was not at all what the Bears were comfortable with and any attempt to slow the play down was met with an immediate challenge. And those challenges were dominated all series long by the Tyrants. In Game three, the Tyrants let off the gas slightly and the Bears seemed to find the space they needed to show why they have dominated the league. But after one overtime win for the Bears, the Tyrants simply answered back with their own impressive shooting and composed counter attacks.

The Outlaws have yet to lose in the first two rounds of the Academy League playoffs since they joined the league in season 8. So if nothing else, I think this should be the beginning of the #NerfStovvads movement because clearly, he is somehow OP as a General Manager. When the Wizards and Outlaws both won in game five overtimes I predicted that this series would be a close five-game matchup as well. And boy, did this series not disappoint. This time it was the Wizards with the confidence out of the gate. They quickly put the ball on the Outlaws backboard and made sure to keep it there until Mario_RL could go up to find the back of the net. After the Wizards went up two games, the Outlaws knew they had a tough task ahead of them. But in game three we saw the power shift that can happen with the simple act of controlling the kickoff. The Outlaws took the offense to the Wizards first and the speed of FlaMEz and Daywalker immediately changed. The Outlaws began attacking the play and taking the ball up the boards.  On the defensive side, Daywalker became a solid wall, putting up 14 saves including a few in game five to send them to overtime.

These two teams aren’t affected by the play of their opponents. If anything they’re elevated by the level of play they face. The Tyrants will come into the conference finals with a salary advantage. But the history of both these franchises proves that you’d be a fool to count either of them out before the game is over. 

 

Blue Conference – Sunday, Dec. 13th

#1 Hawks vs. #2 Puffins @ 7pm ESt on MLESPORTSGG

The finals of the Blue conference will be a clash between styles and mentalities. While both teams have proven why they’re the league’s top teams they both showed flaws in their game with the Hawks dropping two games to the Ducks while the Puffins dropped a game to the Sabres. Now as these two teams face off, who will be able to expose their opponent’s mistakes and who will be able to adapt and overcome to make it to the Championship Finals

The Hawks came out hot in their series against the Ducks. After winning the first two games 8-2 and 8-5 it looked like the match was going to be the Hawks show. More specifically it looked like it was going to be the Lawrence show. Lawrence spent the first two games glued to the ball. Any time a Ducks car even got close to a possession, Lawrence was right there to put in a challenge. ITSLAPPY was perfectly content to sit back and watch his partner pressure the opponents, effectively cleaning up any free ball that pinched into the open. It seemed like a perfect strategy until the Ducks adjusted their pace in game three and were able to find quick touches around the pressure defense of Lawrence. Once ITSLAPPY began to get stuck with a few 1v2s it was clear that the Hawks gameplan changed quickly and not for the better. Once the number one team fell behind, the double commits came out, the trust left the team and Lawrence went from ball possession to ball chasing. But all credit to the Hawks who must have had a pow-wow in between games 4 and 5 because they were able to regroup in a game five decider, spread out their positioning to give them both space to make mechanical plays and shut out the Ducks to take the series.

The Puffins duo didn’t come out with quite the same statement game of the Hawks. But it did look as though Bango and AurbeyE came out with a clear game plan and were able to execute it successfully for the first two games. Once this Puffins team had the ball they continually worked the offensive corner rotation and their opponent’s backboard until the Sabres defense crumbled under the pressure and the lack of boost. It’s a classic strategy but it’s time tested and the Puffins seem to do it better than anyone. It helps of course to have a player like Bango who seemed to be automatic in putting away any ball coming off the Sabres backboard. However, just as the Ducks did to the Hawks, The Sabres seemed to find answers in game three to combat the Puffin’s strategy. Long clears and long shots burned the Puffins time and time again. As game three began to slip from their grasp they seem to only double down on their offensive pressure and would often get caught with the last man diving for a ball at midfield rather than shadowing the play.  It only took the Puffins one game to regroup and find their rhythm, with the help of some incredible saves form both players they held off the Sabres and got back to their relentless offensive rotation for long enough to pull ahead in game four.

The Hawks have individual mechanical plays and a weapon like Lawrence who will dive bomb a wall to air dribble in an instant. The Puffins have a relentless team attack and a weapon like Bango who takes shots off the backboard with pinpoint accuracy. These teams are some of the best Academy League has seen, yet neither is invincible. What will be the difference maker is which team will be able to do what they did last week and adapt to their opponents when they face adversity. The first team to do that will be the team that punches their ticket to the final.

 

Everything is on the line for the final four. A chance at being the Conference Champion and more importantly, a shot at the ever so elusive MLE Championship Title. Find out this weekend who will prevail over on the MLE Network.

Playoffs Preview: Foundation League Conference Final

MLE has the bragging rights of helping many lower-ranked players shoot up from Gold and Platinum to Champion ranks in record time. The Foundation League Playoffs are often where you see these players who have been learning new skills and grinding the game transform into mechanically gifted players who are soon on their way to the top ranks. This season is no different as we have seen in the first round. The skill level of these players is at a higher bar than ever before and the longer we go into playoffs the more competitive it will get. Let’s take a look at what action lies in store for the Conference Finals.

 

Orange Conference – Saturday, Dec. 12th

#3 Demolition vs. #4 Spectre @ 6pm est on MLEsportsgg

In the Foundation League, the landscape of the competition can change rapidly. Come playoff time it doesn’t matter who has dominated the during the season, it matters who are the best players on the field in that round. In the first round of this season’s FL playoffs, the Demolition and the Spectre unseated two teams who had been clear favorites the majority of the season. They did so with individual performances and smart team play. Now they will have to see whose late-season strategy is more effective.

Defense wins championships seems to be the mentality on this Demolition squad. Sobes and UhSpicey held the Outlaws to just five goals in four games, including a game four 1-0 shutout in overtime. It seemed the answer to the offense of the Outlaws was a composed rotational defense and solid shadow plays. The Demo executed several key challenges at the point of the shot and limited any double commits on their side of the field. That kind of diligence and team chemistry earned them the majority of possession. The Demo of course had their fair share of offense to complement their defensive performance. Sobes often looking for UhSpicey in space and UhSpicey making several key goals including a mind game chip shot around a goaltender and a couple of great flicks.

The other side of the orange bracket was perhaps a battle of MVPs and what a showdown it was. BeanMachine and Lavar Ball have been regular fixtures on the player of the week from week one. If there was going to be a difference-maker in the series it was going to come from one of these two players and it was Lavar Ball who answered the call in game two and put on a true playoff performance. Lavar Ball showed a combination of physical play and first touch ability that began to dominate the midfield during the series. Meanwhile, his teammate in Idjo proved why they were perhaps the most underrated player this season, getting booming clears over the attacking Rhinos and setting up backboard plays for easy put aways by Lavar. This team has the potential to control any game with their playstyle, keeping the ball close and never giving away possession. In a Foundation League where games just as often decided by the mistakes you make rather than the plays you make, the Spectre won’t be making the mistake of giving their opponents possession of the ball.

 

Blue Conference – Sunday, Dec. 13th

#1 Jets vs. #3 Hive @ 6pm est on MLESPORTSGG

Someone should tell the Jets that their players are under salaried for their matchups because clearly, this team is playing like they don’t know or care how good their opponents are. The number one seed played two 9 salary players against the two 10 salaries of the Hawks and made their opponents look inferior. Meerkat and IguanaParty held ItsGogurts, who was 9th overall in goals scored, to zero goals for the entire series. The defense of this team has led the league all season and still, teams are struggling to find the answer to how to get by them. Couple that with their individual offensive abilities and these two players have a formula for stunning teams. After some back and forth play in the first game in which both teams were feeling out the pace of play the Jets came to life in a 6-2 win and from that point on seemed to be playing their style for the remainder of the series.

The Hive had a slightly different path to a four game victory. After coming out hot with a 6-1 win, both teams settled into a close battle with three one-goal games. Starters Woah and Sir Lunix are still new enough to the team that they are feeling out how to perform together in league matches but you wouldn’t know it by how they played on stream in round one. Both players were spacing out well and always rotating back to be there for the clean save. They showed great patience to simply push one player up and keep one waiting on the clear ball until they saw an opportunity where the Knights were out of position. This clean play gave them full use of the field and allowed them to frustrate the Knights offense who didn’t get many opportunities on over commits or counter attacks.

These two styles will clash in the Conference Finals and it’s hard to say which will prevail in the Foundation League but you can be guaranteed that neither team will go down without a hard-fought series.

 

Everything is on the line for the final four. A chance at being the Conference Champion and more importantly, a shot at the ever so elusive MLE Championship Title. Find out this weekend who will prevail over on the MLE Network.

 

Playoffs Preview: Foundation League Conference Semi-Finals

Foundation League may be the lowest league in MLE, but make no mistake, the passion, heart, and will to win is still there. Eight teams remain after a tumultuous season whittled the field in half, and every team finds themselves alive with a chance to take home the title. Which player will step up, which upset will inevitably occur, and who will take home the glory? Let’s talk about the teams and matchups to help answer this question. 

 

Blue Conference – Saturday, Dec. 5th

#1 JETS vs. #4 HAWKS @ 5pm on MLESPORTSGG2

The Forge Division winning Jets come into this game the favorite, but the Hawks are no slouches, going over .500 this season. Unfortunately for them, they run into a 37-13 Jets team who haven’t lost a series since week one. The key for both teams will be dealing with late-season roster changes, something that is a common occurrence in the Foundation League.

The Hawks come in a balanced team, with not stats that really jump out at you, but they do have one thing the Jets do not: a 10 salary player. Actually, they have two. GAMBro and ItGogurts will both look to set the pace for this talented squad. ItsGogurts is 2nd in the league with saves, having a very impressive 58 on the season. GAMBro is newer to the league and will be the biggest mystery. If he pops off, the Hawks have a real chance to seal an upset.

That will be very tough to do though, as the Jets defense is one of the best in the league. They only gave up 115 goals, second-best in FL. Meerkat! and KaptainKillazz also are tied for 3rd in the league in OMVPR. This defense is very solid and will look to hold the Hawks at bay. In addition, these two players have chemistry as they have been on the team all season long, this will no doubt be an advantage, but will it be enough to overpower the 10 salaries they’ll have to play against? Tune in tonight to find out!

 

#2 Knights VS. #3 HIVE @ 6m on MLESPORTSGG

This might be the best matchup of the first round, as both these teams have exceeded expectations for this season. The Hive won the Sky Division, but their reward is facing a Knights team who actually had a better record than them, coming in at 34-16. The Hive have dealt with adversity all season, dealing with lots of rank outs and roster changes as the season went on, but they still found a way to gather win after win, and come into this series with a boatload of confidence. They hold the 3rd highest number of goals scored this season, and the 4th lowest team OMVPR. Woah will be the player to look out for. He only played in two series but scored an impressive 2.3 goals per game in his limited action.

Unfortunately for him, he will have to go up against the best defense in the league in the Knights, who gave up only 110 goals this season, the least in the league. During the FL draft, I made a comment on stream about how I believed SovietShark was the best 8.5 salary (now a 9.5) in the league. Not only was I right, but he exceeded even my wildest expectations with his amazing stats. His 78 goals this season were the most in the Blue Conference, and he has one of the most dangerous dribble/flick combos the league has ever seen. Combined with Hawkeye, who scored 33 goals and made 27 saves in 4 series played, and you may have the most dangerous lineup in the league. If they play this lineup, the Hive better watch out. It should be a great battle between two teams who have everything to play for, so be sure to fire up Twitch and watch!

 

Orange Conference

#1 Rhinos VS. #4 SPECTRE @ 5pm on MLESPORTSGG2

The Rhinos may be the number one seed, but a late-season rank out to team leader Bukkets may be what decides this game. His 78 goals will be missed, but the Rhinos still have a very good duo without him. The Spectre on the other hand have a (not so) secret weapon that led them to the playoffs, but I’ll get into that more in a minute.

The Rhinos deservingly got the number one seed, posting the best record in FL with a remarkable 38-12 mark, and winning 8 of their 10 series. Also as I mentioned, the team still has two players who can pop off at any moment. BeanMachine is a 10 salary who will look to come in and make his mark. His 63 goals (T6th) and 32 assists (4th) are both in the top 10 for the league. In addition, CrazyCow did one better, with 33 assists, 3rd in the league. He is no slouch either, putting up 50 goals of his own. The chemistry this team has is unbelievable, and should not be underestimated going into this series.

On the other side, Idjo led the league in assists with 45 and will be a great second man for this side. In addition, the Spectre boasts arguably the biggest steal of the draft, and the best player in FL this season. Lavar Ball made his mark by scoring an unbelievable 105 goals this season, by far the most in the league (2nd place was 25 goals behind him). He controls the game as well because his constant offensive pressure limits the pressure of the other team, demonstrated by his 3.44 OMVPR, which is 10th in the league. Lavar Ball is someone other teams should be scared of, and he’ll look to punish the Rhinos Sunday afternoon, but will he? Watch to find out!

 

#2 Outlaws VS. #3 DEMOLITION @ 6m on MLESPORTSGG

The Outlaws were just behind the Rhinos in the standings, and for good reason. This team plays really well together and has had very little roster turnover all season, leading to increased chemistry and good teamwork. The Demolition will look to make their own mark though, with a very good top lineup and are a team the Outlaws can not underestimate.

For the Demo, Sobe has 54 goals this season, which leads his team. UhhSpicy was a midseason pickup who has made a great influence though, as his MVPR (9th) and OMVPR (7th) both rank in the top 10. In only 20 games played, this new Demo star has shown he is capable of a lot. As a lineup, this team has the chemistry to really make an impact.

For the Outlaws, a fantastic all-around lineup has led them to the promised land. Manic is the lone 10 salary and has great all-around stats, including having 34 assists, 2nd best in the league. Flipps may also be a player to look out for though, as his 5.42 MVPR was 4th in the league. One thing for sure is team captain Jacobjtl has done a great job putting this roster together and deserves a lot of credit. This should be a dogfight, with two great teams put up against each other, who will win? You’ll have to tune in to find out. 

 

You can watch all these matches and matches from each league at MLESPORTSGG and MLESPORTSGG2. Support your favorite teams and MLE by watching the stream. And good luck to all the playoff teams.

Playoffs Preview: Academy League Conference Semi-Finals

The first week of Academy League playoffs showed us exciting game five overtimes, a big upset, and several highlight plays. This week the number one seeds enter the bracket and it’s sure to only get more competitive from here.

Blue Conference – Saturday, Dec. 5th

#1 Hawks vs. #6 Ducks @ 6pm on MLESPORTSGG2

The battle for the Sky Division is shaping up to be a must-watch match this weekend.  As playoffs often do, the first week has shown just how tough it will be for any team to win handily in the postseason.

The Hawks weapons strangely mirror their orange conference counterparts for the number one seed. They finished 2nd in goals scored, just behind the Elite and in front of the Bears(by 3 goals). In goals allowed they also finished 2nd, just behind the Bears by 6 goals). Perhaps the biggest difference between the two top seeds is the most exciting one to note. The Hawks finished the regular season with a perfect 14-0 series record. The Hawks achieved this by having four top players on the starting line up. With no player sitting below a 12 salary, ITSLAPPY, Lawrence, Vecinzz, and Anarchy make up a roster that could be virtually interchangeable and still make a deep playoff run. The notable offensive leader is Vecinzz who was 3rd in MVPR this season with an average of 5.33. But with 4 stars on a team, I hesitate to have any expectations beyond a dominant team.

The Hawks will face a tougher test than they perhaps expected in the form of a soaring Ducks team. Schwartzy and Aflamingtruck surprised a good amount of the league with a 3-0 sweep over a favored Jets team. Not only did the Jets enter with a superior record, but the Ducks also entered a starting line-up that was a full one salary point lower than their opponents, which is frankly pretty rare in a postseason dominated by 12.5 salary players. The Ducks achieved the win thanks to team chemistry and lethal counter-attacks. Both Ducks struck long-shot goals from their own half in game three to take the wind from the wings of the Jets and leave them sputtering.

The Undefeated Hawks took both series in the regular season but looking at the matchups closer, they were hard-fought series. The Ducks went 2-3 in both matchups and the total scoring differential across both series was +3 to the Hawks. If the Hawks hope to continue their undefeated season to a championship finish, their division rival may be their toughest hurdle.

 

#2 Puffins vs. #5 Sabres @ 7pm on MLESPORTSGG

On the other side of the Blue conference is yet another division rival that promises explosive plays and a tough fight to the finish. The Sabres weathered the storm of a high-powered Hurricanes offense in the first week of playoffs. Sammy and The Big C combined for 25 saves in a back and forth series. The goal-line defense held off a shooting heavy attack from the Hurricanes. Despite the Hurricanes outshooting the Sabers 46 to 31, it was the Sabres who were able to capitalize on more chances. The set up plays fromThe Big C to Sammy made sure that each counter-attack was a lethal one.

When it comes to the Puffins, Bango is the name-o. While the Puffins have put together a stand-out team performance to return to the academy league playoffs this season, their deep run looks to be coming from the highlighted potential of their star player Bango who put up seven goals in a confident 3-0 sweep against a tough Knights team. To take nothing away from team captain AubreyE who has been a long-time staple of this Puffins team and appears to be putting together the best season of his Puffins career. The two players managed to control the pace of play and possession for the majority of the series, holding the Knights to just six goals. Though the game appeared to be back and forth at times, the match always seemed to be the Puffins’ to lose.

With this game being a division rivalry there will be a lot on the line. In the two regular-season matches the Puffins took both series 4-1 and 3-2. With both teams seemingly gaining confidence in their first-round matchups, this series is sure to be anything but chilly for these Arctic division teams.

 

Orange Conference – Sunday, Dec. 6th

1# Bears vs. #7 Tyrants @ 6pm on MLESPORTSGG2

The top seed of the Orange conference vs the seventh seed may seem like the most cut and dry of the second round. But there’s plenty to watch here and will be an interesting test for what is shaping up to be the first test for the conference favorites.

The Bears really know how to bear down on their opponents. That’s really all I wanted to write for this preview. And when you see the Bears pinning their opponents into their own half in the playoffs you will know what I mean. The Bears allowed the least goals in the league this regular season, averaging just 2.1 goals per game. Despite the impressive defensive stat, there are zero Bears players on the top 10 in saves. This means that the Bears’ defense starts at the midfield and they are very successful at shutting down opponents’ offense before it starts. The Bears team took a blow with a late-season rank out of Ex but Nty, Bacon, and team captain Brokarian have all put up impressive numbers over the season that are perhaps too many to mention.

The Bears’ first test will come from a Tyrants team that is coming off a big upset and is now looking to turn that first round into a Cinderella story run. The pair of Cheeto and Glyphss started out shaky and a bit inconsistent but as the series went on they visibly grew in confidence and closed out a five-game series with a 4-2 and 4-0 win. The defensive performance from Cheeto was a big reason for the Tyrants taking a crucial game two overtime victory and staying alive in the series. Last season’s FL champion, Cheeto brings in a good amount of playoff experience and his 9 saves and 6 assists helped the Tyrants overcome an Elite team that was number one in scoring during the regular season. Now the Tyrants face off against the defensive leaders in the league and it will take a whole new strategy to overcome this next obstacle and prove they can be the ultimate underdogs.

 

#4 Wizards vs. #6 Outlaws @ 7pm on MLESPORTSGG

Though I want to break down the Outlaws and Wizards matches from round one, I will start by saying that these were series that you should really just watch for yourselves. Both teams won close game fives. Both had three overtime games and won two of them. Both series would probably make a list of 10 all-time best MLE playoff games purely for their level of close competitive play throughout the series. I can’t stress enough that these matches are the reason MLE streams every playoff series.

The Wizards kicked off the mainstream action for the weekend and it looked as if the series was going to be a disappointing one for the franchise. Losing the first two games close to a solid Bulls team. Mario_RL was patient and shooting well throughout all five games but it wasn’t until game three that his teammate in NinjaTurry seemed to come alive and spark an incredible reverse sweep. NinjaTurry began to hit shots with power, find his positioning in crucial goal-line stands, and feed Mario_RL the ball for what continued to be inspired offensive finishes. Mario_RL finished off a game 3 overtime with a clutch mind game on the defenders that seemed to shake the Bulls so bad that they never quite recovered to the level of their first two games.

The Outlaws series shook out a bit differently. The Sharks took the first game 2-0 and the Outlaws responded with a 3-1 win of their own. The next 3 games were hard-fought overtime games, finishing off with an OT lasting almost four minutes. Flamez’s clutch defensive plays kept the Sharks’ chances to a minimum while Daywalker’s consistent flicks burned the Sharks’ defenders time and time again. Ultimately it was the midfield play and the team chemistry that gave the Outlaws the edge. Even though both teams fought hard for their week one wins, one team must go home in week two. It’s hard to say who has the edge in this fight but I can promise you neither side will relinquish the series easily.

 

You can watch all these matches and matches from each league at MLESPORTSGG and MLESPORTSGG2. Support your favorite teams and MLE by watching the stream. And good luck to all the playoff teams.

 

Playoffs Preview: Champion League Conference Semi-Finals

The Champion League promises more high flying, high scoring action in it’s second week of playoffs. The Number one seeds enter the draw and we get to see just how well the rest of the field can stack up against our top contenders.

Blue Conference – Saturday, Dec. 5th

#1 Puffins vs. #7 Hawks @ 7pm on MLESPORTSGG2

In their first match, the Hawks took the 2nd place Jets by force, sweeping the series and showing tremendous amounts of skill in the solo play scenarios; whether that was dribbles, aerials, or any sort of outplay, leading to a 2v1. This Hawks team proved their capability in facing down the Jets in a dominant fashion. Now they have had the chance to get their stream nerves out of the way (not that they showed any at all) and take on a team with only one more win than their past triumph.

A place where I believe the Puffins may actually have the edge over their contemporary is putting the ball away, a stat that favors the Puffins by 26 goals in total this season. This is a faction of gameplay that the Puffins will need to use to their advantage, especially when the league leader in saves, Orange Monkey, stands guard in the Hawks net. The Hawks are no slouch in the Offensive end either and boast a 43.9% shooting percentage throughout the regular season, they showed their sniping prowess vs. the Jets as they took seemingly every opportunity they found, converting far more than their opponents.

Finally, the question of preparedness comes to mind, the Hawks played a, while short, hard-fought series and the Puffins got a by into this second round. That being said, I have been seeing 5dollarvodka ask around for scrims at all hours, seemingly every day. If they were successful in finding scrims then their preparation may be enough to handle the feisty Hawks in this series.

 

#4 Lightning vs. #6 Sabres @ 8pm on MLESPORTSGG

This is one of my most anticipated series of the weekend. We will get a chance to see if Lil Lettuce’s 4 goals per game performance continues after the two-week break. We also get the chance to see the winners of one of the closest, most tense games of the past weekend set in action again. I have no doubt in my mind that Lil Lettuce continued to put in the work, grind those ranked games, and hopefully, get some scrims (if potential challengers weren’t scared to play him, that is).

However impressive, and admittedly frustrating, it was to watch Lil Lettuce perform aerial acrobatics over my head and score as much as is humanly possible, I could see the Lightning taking the Sabres off-guard. The Lightning play the game with speed and tenacity unknown to many at the Champion level and while this leads to over commits once in a while, I believe that the Lightning will put pressure on the Sabres in a way that the Hive just couldn’t do. This will either be shoot out after shoot out or one of the most tightly contested, low-scoring series of all time. And if it is, indeed, a long series that goes the distance, then we know the Lightning have that second wind needed to take the win at the end of it all.

 

Orange Conference – Sunday, Dec. 6th

#1 Elite vs. #6 Demolition @ 7pm on MLESPORTSGG2

I talked before about the Puffins being active in the scrims chat, looking to keep themselves warm and ready for the threat the Hawks pose. The Elite, as far as I’ve seen, are not as active. Scrims are not the be-all and end-all of maintaining consistency and preparing oneself for a match, but they help a ton.

The Demolition seemed to get away with murder in their first series. Don’t get me wrong, they played well but the Pandas were unable to convert on a lot of sloppy defense from their opponents. Perhaps we were seeing stream nerves because nearing the end the act cleaned up and they really began capitalizing on chances. A big part of their success in switching momentum was demo plays. After a regular season that saw this team be very low in the demo category, we finally see them living up to their team name. In game four alone, while they did lose it, the Demolition scored twice on demo plays to cut the Panda lead to a single goal.

Some weak points for the Demolition that could help them with facing such a daunting task would be; communicating ball touches, taking time when it is given, and forcing the issue in midfield rather than letting the ball carrier gain control. For the Elite I can’t give much advice besides using your teammates. These guys seem to have a knack for team plays and could catch the iffy Demolition defense off-guard by putting the ball to a teammate instead of shooting right away. Pretty much, don’t underestimate the Demolition, I see huge potential in this team.

 

#2 Comets vs. #5 Tyrants @ 8pm on MLESPORTSGG

The similarities between these two teams baffle me. Both base their game on solid touches, clean-cut plays, good rotations, and it worked really well for them in the first round as they both swept their respective series’. They also share some league favoritism as well. Comets’ PeytonEli was one of the Champion League All-Stars this season and the Tyrants received an enormous 90.7% of votes to win it all in the bracket challenge.

When it came to their opponents though, these two teams did differ in the level of difficulty. What I saw was a very tough series for the Comets, that included a tough overtime finisher. Some sloppy defensive play was the main deciding factor for the Comets not sweeping their series versus the Sharks. Luckily, ThunderBug was a rock in the back end and that led to PeytonEli dominating from then on out. For the Tyrants, there was more of a team mentality involved when they were on the field. The combination of Trusolja and TSR was a force to be reckoned with, they played with the utmost calm, collected, composed plays I have seen so far these playoffs.

One of the notes I made while watching this series was: “Tyrants play is solid, solid, solid” and that really seemed to be their game plan. A plethora of open-net goals meant that the Pirates, their first-round opponents, would get a small opening and over-commit on it because of the frustration built up through having to play such a consistent duo. I’m looking forward to how the Comets can improve and if the Tyrants can continue the performance they showed us in round one.

 

You can watch all these matches and matches from each league at MLESPORTSGG and MLESPORTSGG2. Support your favorite teams and MLE by watching the stream. And good luck to all the playoff teams.

Playoffs Preview: Master League Conference Semi-Finals

Wildcard Weekend was everything fans of Minor League Esports wanted and then some. Across all three leagues, there were 18 match-ups total and half of them went to game fives. The Conference Semi-Finals are poised to be even more competitive, as more is on the line: a trip to the Conference Finals. Let us take a deep dive into the two matchups within each conference and see how each contest may unfold.

 

Blue Conference – Saturday, Dec. 5th

#1 Hive v. #7 Knights @ 8pm on MLESPORTSGG2

The Hive received a first-round bye, finishing the regular season with an astounding 53-17 record. They were nearly perfect against losing squads, going 29-1, while simultaneously having a winning record against above 500 teams, going 24-16. This resounding success can be largely attributed to Noah, who ranked out into the Premier League towards the latter half of the season. Even after their departure, they led the team in goals, assists, saves, shots, and demos, while posting a 6.32 MVPR, good for fourth in the league. When a team’s star player ranks out, there are always concerns and questions on who can fill the void and be that offensive catalyst moving forward. The Hive found their player in easyp, who was acquired via trade from the Bears. Easyp started the season as a Knights reserve (interestingly enough) and they spent no time in showing why the Hive traded for them. In their two regular-season matchups with the Hive, they went 9-1 posting an average MVPR of 7.28. Alongside uh steve, who is a 16.5 salary player, the Hive will be a formidable opponent.

If there is a team that can match the Hive step for step, it is the Knights. Arguably the strongest seventh seed in recent memory, the Knights were able to reverse sweep the number two seeded Sabres, in a thrilling five-game set. Going down 0-2, and with game 3 going into overtime, the Knights were able to clutch out a necessary game 3 win and ride that momentum into an exciting series win. As was expected, the Knights pairing came out as a two-headed monster, with both Prosperity2K and MikeisMyIke putting up MVPR’s around 5.50 against two Sabre players who finished in the top 10 of OVMPR during the regular season. The Knights showed incredible resiliency and poise, while also putting up solid numbers against the defensively staunch Sabres.

The Sabres against the Knights was a complete toss-up and the Knights against the Hive in round 2 is a subsequent toss-up. All four players have a salary of 16.5, with explosive offenses, and the ability to suppress their opponent. What we can expect is a close contest, looking to go the distance.

 

#3 Jets v. #4 Hurricanes @ 9pm on MLESPORTSGG

The Jets and the Hurricanes were able to secure wildcard wins, with a 3-1 win and a 3-0 win, respectively. The Jets fielded the impressive duo of Bond Brother and Indy, who between the both of them, they averaged 11 shots per game. Despite this offensive pressure and the series scoreline, the Aviators made it a tight contest. All three Jets’ wins were by a one or two-goal margin, with the Aviators close to snatching a win in game 2. They were up 1 with under 40 seconds remaining in the game, but the Jets were able to scrap back and take it in regulation. The Aviators played more compact on defense and hit their opponent effectively on the counter. They unfortunately overextended on their challenges at times and when they did, the Jets were able to punish them every time. The Jets’ ability to constantly switch up their playstyle, between looking for the infield passes and taking turns on the solo offensive opportunities, kept the Aviators imbalanced. The Jets’ will be looking to copy that adaptive playstyle, with either Indy joining Bond Bother once again, or Ripperr taking to the pitch instead for their post-season debut.

The Hurricanes had a far easier time in their wildcard matchup against the Hawks, sweeping them in convincing fashion, and limiting them to three goals across three games. We all knew going into the series that the Canes’ offense goes through Privileged Pear, their offensive juggernaut during the regular season. What is wonderful news to Canes’ fans is that nerr97 stepped up huge against the Hawks, leading the pair in goals (6) and MVPR (5.39). The Canes’ will be more well rounded going into the Conference Semi-Finals, which will bring problems for the Jets, knowing they cannot simply focus on a single player to shut the Hurricanes down.

However, questions still surround this Canes’ lineup. In their last regular-season series against the Lightning’s ace pairing (Bob and Maseface26, both of 16.5 salary) the Hurricanes lost the series 3-2 and would have lost the best of 5 series 3-1. Privileged Pear and nerr97 both posted MVPRs under 4.0 to a pairing that is arguable stronger than what they faced in the first round. Moreover, the Canes’ have a 40% win percentage against winning teams during the regular season. It is yet to be seen if the Hurricanes can turn that trend against an utterly dominant squad in the Jets and secure their ticket to the Conference Finals.

 

Orange Conference – Sunday, Dec. 6th

#1 Spectre v. #7 Shadow @ 8pm on MLESPORTSGG2

The Spectre were able to clinch the first seed in the Orange Conference with a 49-21 record. Part of their successful regular season was due to the valiant efforts of their top pairing of Blackwatch and Light. Light was brought on early in the season when the Spectre’s playing General Manager, Kunics, ranked out into the Premier League. Since then, Blackwatch and Light have gone a collective 13-2 across three contests, posting impressive defensive numbers. They averaged 5.13 saves/game as a unit, while both averaged an OMVPR around 4.2 for the entire season. The Spectre were just as solid on the offensive side of the ball too. Blackwatch led the way with 75 goals, but Light came in at the 92% percentile, in terms of their offensive involvement. We can expect that on Sunday that both Blackwatch and Light will carry their own weight and hope to beat the Shadow by committee.

The seventh-seeded Shadow came out of the wildcard round with a massive 3-1 upset win against the second-seeded Elite. The unknown pairing of Akina and Nyyankeesrd, who played their first series together as a team, produced a dazzling performance and very much made their presence known within the Master League. In their three wins, they were able to limit the Elite to just 4 goals and keep Hotwiredbug and Elegance to an MVPR around 3.0, respectively. Akina showed instances of mechanical brilliance in the air, while Nyyankeesrd led the pair with a 3.98 MVPR.

The Spectre cannot go into this matchup taking the Shadow for granted. Like the Elite, the Spectre finished the regular season with a record barely above 500 against winning squads, going 16-14. Moreover, the Spectre and the Elite are both well-rounded teams, that do not overly rely upon offensive output to win games. Knowing this, the Shadow match up nicely, if they can stifle the Spectre’s offense while producing enough offensive pressure themselves.

 

#4 Pandas v. #6 Outlaws @ 9pm on MLESPORTSGG

In the first round the pan // das were able to avoid the reverse sweep at the hands of the Demolition, winning game five after losing games 3 and 4. Going into that contest, it was well known that dan720 would be the man for the Pandas, and if they faltered at any point, so would the team. However, dan720 stepped up huge, and more importantly for the Pandas, so did Unforgiven. They led the pair in MVPR with a 5.14 and set up dan720 consistently, potting 7 assists. They were down two goals in game one with under a minute left but were able to battle back a squeeze out a crucial 5-4 overtime win. A balanced offense and relentless determination will serve the Pandas well going into the Conference Semi-Finals.

Super sub Turbopolsa, I mean Stovvadz, came up clutch against the Rhinos for the Outlaws. KyleSpanx was unable to take to the pitch last minute and the General Manager for the Outlaws did not disappoint. Alongside Llama they were able to squeak out a 3-2 series win against a tough Rhinos lineup. What is most impressive is that for the Outlaws’ three wins, they limited the Rhinos to zero goals. The Rhinos were unable to sustain any amount of pressure for those three losses. The Outlaws were beyond proficient in their ability to absorb the Rhinos’ initial offensive strike and quickly transition back downfield, forcing the Rhinos back onto defense. If the Outlaws can continue that quick transition play with KyleSpanx, the Pandas will have their hands full.

This series will come down to individual matchups. We all know Llama and dan720 will come out and produce a strong performance. Questions arise around Unforgiven and if they will be able to have a repeat performance under a higher-pressure situation and if KyleSpanx can slot into the lineup with limited hiccups after not playing two weeks ago. Of note, the Pandas will have to watch out for the Outlaws deceptive kickoff game, in which they frequently engage in a hard cheat kickoff, which netted them several key goals in the Rhinos series.

 

The playoffs are a marathon, not a sprint. For the Hive and the Spectre, they are just starting their first leg, while the others are 10km deep, looking to reach the halfway mark on a strong note. All the Conference Semi-Final matchups are looking to be incredibly tight, with any team being able to defeat the other. Will the seventh seeds from both conferences continue their quests towards playoff glory? Will we have more theatrics with compelling game 5 nail-biters? You can watch all these matches and matches from each league at MLESPORTSGG and MLESPORTSGG2. Support your favorite teams and MLE by watching the stream. And good luck to all the playoff teams.

Playoffs Preview: Premier League Conference Semi-Finals

The Premier League is the pinnacle of talent for MLE and the first round of the PL playoffs promises some of the best competition MLE has ever seen. From favorites to underdogs to the dark-horse contenders, let’s break down everything you’ll see from these top teams.

Blue Conference – Saturday, Dec. 5th

#1 Wolves vs. #4 puffins @ 9PM on MLESPORTSGG2

The Premier League Blue Conference is a battle of two rivalries and the rivalry between the Wolves and the Puffins is a matchup you can’t miss this weekend. And though the Wolves come in as a league favorite, their last regular-season loss was a 1-4 series against non-other than this tenacious Puffins squad. 

The Wolves have a lot of superlatives both for the individual players as well as the team. The team brags the league’s best offense, averaging 4.1 goals per game. On the defensive side of the pitch, the Wolves finished 2nd in goals allowed, one goal behind the number one defense of the Bulls. Lotty Lettuce is the first starter on the team and will likely be a constant throughout the playoff run. They finished 6th in the league for goals scored and 1st overall in assists. To say that the team is all on Lotty’s shoulders would be a mistake. Taki, LottyLettuce, and MattRochie amounted for 5th, 6th, and 7th place respectively on the top MVPR list. The Wolves have a record and stat sheet that speaks for itself. This is a team that can produce goals and win games. To top it all off each of these players has had their names pop up in last season’s Premier league playoffs.

The Puffins know that their opponents are favored to make a deep run this season but they also know that they have the players and the talent to steal this matchup from them. They’ll likely do that by shutting down the offense of the Wolves and winning low scoring games. The puffins finished 3rd in the least goals allowed. They did that with the help of a great late season effort by their star player Perma. Perma finished the season 1st in OMVPR and although they didn’t chart any other superlatives. It’s most likely owed to Perma only making the team on the back half of the season schedule. Perma’s likely partner, Moloka finished 10th in saves with 72 and was a big part of the reason the pair won their second to last game of the season, against the Wolves. These two players have a tough road to repeat their regular season result. But from the Wolves’ perspective, their biggest hurdle on the road to a championship may just come from their first-round match.

 

#2 Hurricanes vs. #3 Eclipse @ 10PM on MLESPORTSGG

The second rivalry game in the Blue Conference is another that has been debated among power rankings throughout the season. These division team also split their matchups with the eclipse taking the first series 3-2 and the hurricanes flipping the script in the second matchup by winning 3-2. Both games were close and hard-fought and the third matchup promises to be no different.

The Hurricanes have been heavily favored to take the championship from the day after the draft. Simply put TestGravity and Chimpanjay are some of the best players in MLE and the Hurricanes made a lot of smart moves in the pre-season to get them. The pair, along with their third Smrf, has combined for the second-best team in both shooting and scoring. Chimpanjay’s spot as 6th overall in assets means that many of Testgravity’s 82 regular season goals have come from great setups by his teammate. But if the team was a shoe in for the championship in week one, they’ve come a little short of expectations throughout the season. The team finished third overall but with a 9-11 game record against winning teams, it seems the Hurricanes have had one or two stumbles during a tough regular-season schedule.

The Eclipse are a team built to be giant killers. The team doesn’t make a splash on team statistics but this roster has impressed many people with individual performances and clutch wins against key teams, including an all-important week 3 win against the Hurricanes. Vitali is the team captain and top salaried player on the team. With a top-three MVPR finish it’s clear that their leadership has been crucial to their success. But counting out either of Vitali’s teammates as a threat would be a fatal error. Lazarus is an all-around star and great passer with 40 assists on the season and Atokad finished 3rd overall in shooting percentage with 48.6%. Vitali and Atokad both have past playoff Experience but I would not be surprised to see MLE rookie Lazarus in a starting line-up. The eclipse have a 3-1 series record against winning teams. That’s something that they’ll want to keep in mind as they start their playoff run against a Hurricanes team that is eager to prove why they were the early season favorites.

 

Orange Conference – Sunday, Dec. 6th

#1 Bulls vs. #4 Elite @ 9PM on MLESPORTSGG2

How do you assess a matchup between a team that is heating up and a team that is known for shutting opponents down? A glance at these two teams might lead you to predict a sweep for the number one seeded Bulls but counting out the Elite here just might leave your bracket busted in the first round.

The Bulls finished one game behind the Wolves to secure the number one seed in their conference. They got the majority of their wins by only allowing a league-best 2.56 goals per game. They managed the league’s best defense while recording fewer saves than other league leaders like the Puffins or Hurricanes. This means that the Bulls shut down offensive plays before they even have a chance to streak across their net. Deluxe has led the team this season with many superlative to their name, including 77 goals on the season(2nd overall in the league).  And though Scapegoatrl has proved to be a great potential partner for Deluxe in the postseason, it’s the late-season acquisition of Comp that has everyone talking about the Bulls. In just three series Comp has put up an MVPR of 6.40. Together Deluxe and Comp make a duo that could be lethal to any team.

The Elite are the underdogs on paper in this match up. In a league dominated by 20+ salary players, the Elite do not have a player above a 19 salary. They finished with a 26-24 record and aren’t in the top 5 on any major team leaderboard. That’s the bad news. The good news is the Elite are a team that is heating up at the right time. They enter the playoffs on a five series win streak, the longest in the league right now. The even better news is that the win streak includes a recent 3-2 win over the Bulls. Gumbachi and Pops are the two likely starters for the series and as they were the paring that beat the Bulls a week ago they will no doubt be trying to replicate their strategy for the playoffs. Could this team be the Achilles heel of the number one seeded Bulls or will the Bulls prove they were the best all along and win the series that matters?

 

#2 Sharks vs. #3 Shadow @ 10PM on MLESPORTSGG

The Sharks and Shadows are two teams that the real reason the Playoffs are played. The teams sit a 6th and 7th place in the league With no major team stats to tout. But make no mistake that these two teams have the potential to make a run in the playoffs. It only takes a few good performances at the right time and a team can get an upset win. So let’s break down what these two dark horses have going for them.

The Sharks finished with two series wins to secure their playoff spot. That may not look like much of a streak but for the sharks faithful it signals a turnaround for the team at just the right time. New starter Danger came onto the roster from the Dodgers to help the Sharks finish out the season and has been as phenomenal for them as he was on his previous team. Danger is 4-1 on series this season across both teams with a 5.52 MVPR. This new addition could be the key the Sharks need to aid their seasoned starter, Trashvan. TrashVan will be making their second playoff appearance for the Sharks after season 10 ended with an early exit. Judging by the numbers, TrashVan has been doing everything they can to get back to the postseason. With a 5.15 MVPR and 99 saves on the season, this player will be a big x-factor come game time this postseason.

The Shadow finished with a 4-6 series record and a goal differential of exactly zero. Of their 10 series this season, only three did not end in either a 3-2 win or a 2-3 loss. They have a 17-13 game record against winning teams and a 10-10 record against losing teams. No matter who they are playing, the best PL team or the worst PL team, the Shadow will somehow play a close series. But if the Shadow can hang with any team in the League then maybe all they need to push them over the edge is a solid performance from a stand-out player. That player for the Shadow is Braided Axe. Braided Axe finished 5th in the league in OMVPR and had an impressive 46 assists on the season. In what is sure to be a close series, look for Braided Axe to be the playmaker that could make all the difference.

The Sharks and the Shadow played each other to open and close the season. Both matchups went 3-2 to the Sharks. In both series, Trashvan was a key ingredient in holding the Shadow to 2.2 and 2.4 goals per game. But have either of these teams put together their best lineup for this playoff match before? Is a Sharks win a foregone conclusion or are the Shadow lurking in the uhh . . . Shadows? The only way to find out is to tune in to the stream and watch all the action unfold. 

 

You can watch all these matches and matches from each league at MLESPORTSGG and MLESPORTSGG2. Support your favorite teams and MLE by watching the stream. And good luck to all the playoff teams.

Playoffs Preview: Master League, Round One

The season 11 playoffs of Minor League Esports officially get kicks off this Saturday, with the Conference Quarterfinals in Academy League, Champion League, and Master League. Each Quarterfinal matchup will be a best of five, unlike a series of five during the regular season. Knowing how close the regular season is across all leagues, no favorite should be considered right from the outset. So let us do a deep dive into Master League, looking at each matchup in the Blue and Orange Conference and making a claim as to which team may make it through the first round.

Orange Conference

#2 Elite vs #7 Shadow: Saturday 8 pm EST on mlesportsgg2

The Elite clinched a second seed with an impressive 46-24 regular-season record. Their three-headed monster of Swellz, Elegance, and Hotwiredbug secured them a 10-4 series record while going 5-1 through divisional play. Elegance led the way with a 30-10 game record while being in the top 10 of OMVPR with a 3.85. Swellz and Hotwiredbug also threw up some impressive numbers. Hotwiredbug leading the team in goals saves, shots, and MVPR (5.15) with Swellz not far behind (4.52 MVPR). Elegance will most certainly be taking to the pitch come this weekend and whoever has the hotter hand between Swellz and Hotwirdbug may be joining them.

The Shadow comes into the playoffs as a #7 seed, with a 39-31 regular season. Their top player for most of the season, M0rg, ranked into the Premier League before week 10. Before their rank out, M0rg was their offensive catalyst, who sat with a 22-8 overall game record, with a 5.95 MVPR and 3.95 OMVPR. Even after their departure, they lead the Shadow in goals and shots at the end of the season. More importantly, they finished with a 17-23 record after M0rg’s rank out, with Akina stepping into some pretty big shoes. Based on salary, their top pairing would be Akina and Nyyankeesrd at a 16.0 each, with Nyyankeesrd coming off the reserve bench mid-way through the season. However, based upon their sub 500 record since M0rg’s rank out, the Shadow may just play the pairing with the greatest synergy, which may be Euronate and Fruity, both being on the main roster since the beginning of the season.

Whichever pairing the Shadow end up going with, they have a tall task ahead of them. The Elite are 2-2 against winning teams, but with those two losses coming from their lower pairings. Knowing they will be sending out a dynamite roster to the pitch, and the Shadow’s struggles to end the season, the Elite look poised to take this one.

 

#3 Rhinos vs #6 Outlaws: Saturday 9 pm EST on mlesportsgg

The Rhinos were able to grab the third seed, with a 43-27 record. They are a bit of an enigma, going 28-12 against winning teams while going 15-15 against losing squads. We will have to wait and see which Rhinos team takes to the field, but we do know this, their star player RED will not be taking to the pitch. Similar to M0rg, RED ranked out of Master League and into Premier League after week 10. RED left the Master League with a very impressive 6.53 MVPR, averaging over 700 points per game, while not losing a single series. Filling into the top pairing for the Rhinos, alongside Reverse Fridge, will be Xequter001. The pairing of Reverse Fridge and Xequter001 went a modest 7-8 during the regular season. However, they took a close 3-2 series win over the Outlaws’ top pairing only a couple of weeks ago.

The sixth seed Outlaws, with their top pairing of KyleSpanx and Llama, look for a sweet case of revenge against the Rhinos to take the first-round win. The Outlaws finished with a 41-29 record, going 10-4 in series overall. Of some concern is their winning percentage against winning teams, clipping in under par at 45%. This being said, a major bright spot for the Outlaws has been the play of Llama. Coming in at a 16.0 salary, Llama currently sits fourth in the Master League for MVPR at 5.89. Finishing with a 7-1 series record, the Outlaws will continue to look for Llama to carry the offensive workload. He finished the regular season in the 95th percentile, in terms of his involvement in the Outlaw’s offense for the entire season.

With their last series being a close contest and both squads finishing with nearly identical records, this series aims to be incredibly tight. In the previous 3-2 Rhinos’ win over the Outlaws, four out of the five games were decided by a single goal. To come out on top this time around, the Outlaws will need to watch out for Reverse Fridge’s speed. He led the Master League in time spent supersonic at over 3000 seconds. The Outlaws will need to match that speed or look to neutralize it, by not overextending and giving Reverse Fridge space to attack. If Reverse Fridge and Llama can go toe-to-toe and both put up solid numbers, this series may be decided on how Xequter and KyleSpanx perform in crunch time.

 

#4 Pandas vs #5 Demolition: Saturday 10 pm EST on mlesportsgg

The “pan // das’’ come into the season 11 playoffs sporting a 39-31 record, with dan720 looking to carry them on a deep playoff run. Dan is the man, leading the Pandas in every meaningful offensive category including shots, goals, assists, and MVPR.  Who will join dan720 this weekend is uncertain. Both Unforgiven and Zona finished with nearly comparable numbers. Unforgiven with a 4.26 MVPR while Zona finished with a 4.28 MVPR. Zona finished with an overall game record slightly above 500 and Unforgiven was slightly below 500. Knowing this, along with Zona’s lower OMVPR, Zona may be the one to start alongside dan720. This is good news for Panda fans, as the pair went 9-1 across two series this season.

The fifth-seeded Demolition, alongside the Rhinos and Shadow, also had their star player rank into the Premier League. GoldenLuigii, who was drafted first overall this past Master League draft, posted impeccable numbers. Posting a 28-12 game record, with a 5.89 MVPR and smothering their opponents with a 3.75 OMVPR. GoldenLuigii was also a massive aerial threat, leading the Master League with time spent high in the air, at over 700 seconds. Losing a player of GoldenLuigii’s caliber is a tough loss for the Demolition, but they hope to fill that void by bringing in Dye, a previous reserve for the Bears. Dye is an unknown, not having played in a single series all season, nor is there any relevant 4mans stats that can be gleaned off of. Joining Dye will be Miko, who ended the regular season with a strong 4.71 MVPR.

Many unknowns surround this series. Who will be joining dan720 and will they be able to contribute offensively? How will Dye fair in their first MLE series? Will Miko and Dye be able to develop the chemistry quickly enough, to the levels that Miko and GoldenLuigii exhibited? The answers to these questions will be made known come Saturday.

Blue Conference

#2 Sabres vs #7 Knights: Sunday 8 PM EST on mlesportsgg2

The Sabres come into playoffs as the #2 seed in the Blue Conference, securing a 44-26 record. A welcomed but surprising bright spot for the Sabres this season has been the play of Godkitty. Godkitty started the season on the bench but got onto the starting roster a little over halfway through the season, after the departure of their previous star player, JSMR. Since then, they have been on an absolute tear, going 18-2 with a 5.90 MVPR. Joining Godkitty will be Phoenix, a prior starter on the Bears who was released after week 6, and subsequently picked up by the Sabres on waivers. The pair of Godkitty and Phoenix have done well in two series, finishing with a 9-1 record. Just as impressive, both players finished top 10 in the league in shooting percentage.

The Knights were declared the number one team in the Master League, by the Power Rankings Committee, at the start of the reason. Such high favor, before any games were played, was given out for good reason. The Knights sported a highly balanced team filled with incredible talent. Therefore, coming into the playoffs as the seventh seed may not have been the regular season results they were hoping for. Regardless, they qualified with a 41-29 record and are poised to make some noise. Their offensive juggernaut, Prosperity2K, will look to lead the way. They finished top 5 in goals, top 10 in shots, and posted a solid 5.73 MVPR. Now who will be joining Prosperity2K is more uncertain, simply based on the strength of their collective roster. Anyone of Galaxy, Barry Allen, or MikeisMyIke, could step in and put up stellar numbers. Galaxy led the team with a 3.81 OMVPR, which means the Knights could look towards Galaxy shutting down the Sabres’ offense while Prosperity2K keeps the offense moving forward. However, Galaxy also posted the lowest average opponent salary on the team, with a 15.79 average opponent salary. MikeisMyIke has a 16.5 salary, like Prosperity2K, so sporting their highest salary pairing may be the play. There is also Barry Allen, who finished with a 4.40 MVPR, with his average opponent salary coming in at 15.96.     

Whoever the Knights end up fielding this weekend, the Sabres have a difficult task ahead of them. The Sabres can hold faith in the fact that the Knights this season finished with a sub-par record against winning teams, only going 14-21. Compound that fact with Godkitty’s lights-out performance down the stretch, this one looks to be an incredibly close contest.

 

#3 Jets vs #6 Aviators: Sunday 9 PM EST on mlesportsgg

The Jets go into these playoffs wielding a three-headed monster of Bond Brother, Ripperr, and Indy. All three of them put up impeccable numbers. Bond Brother and Ripperr both finished top 10 in MVPR, with a 6.52 and a 5.82 MVPR, respectively. Indy finished not too far off with a 5.31 MVPR and a 18-7 game record. The Jets were second in the league in total goals and third in winning percentage against winning squads. The Jets were flying high most of the season and look to continue their ways with any pairing they decide to field.

The Aviators clinched the sixth seed with a 42-28 record. Like the Jets, their offensive output was executed by committee, with Mario, Jdubbz, and Craymin all playing key roles. Mario led the team in goals, Jdubbz led in assists, saves, and MVPR, while Craymin led in shots, demos, and OMVPR. Their well-balanced attack resulted in 252 goals, which was good enough for fifth in the league. They may go with the more winning pair, considering their team balance, meaning Craymin and Jdubbz would suit up on Sunday. Both players finished with a commanding 5-2 series record. However, is that both losses for both players came from the hands of playoff-bound teams.   

The Aviators and Jets both have well-rounded squads, which is key to achieving regular-season success. Come playoff time, that necessity becomes less meaningful, with teams looking to field their ace line ups each series. What makes the Jets scary is they can legitimately claim two “ace” line ups, which puts the Aviators in a tough spot. Craymin will need to continue to his defensive stance for this Aviators squad and try to neutralize the Jets’ offensive chances. The key to this series is Jdubbz, who had the second-lowest opponent average salary (among starters) at 15.57. If the speed of the higher salaried Jets’ catch them off guard, with it being something they are not used to, the Aviators’ hopes at a deep playoff run may be short-lived.

 

#4 Hurricanes vs #5 Hawks: Sunday 10 PM EST on mlesportsgg

The Hurricanes were able to clinch the fourth seed, with an overall record of 40-30, while going 9-5 in series played. They had a sub 500 record against winning teams but were able to make the playoffs with their divisional play, going 20-10 against their divisional opponents. Everything the Hurricanes do goes through Privileged Pear. Coming in at a 16.5 salary, they finished top 10 in the league in goals, saves, and shots. A very impressive campaign for Privileged Pear, who looks to cap off a successful regular season with a dominating playoff run. To make that a reality, their 16.5 counterpart, Nerr97, will need to match Privileged Pear’s play. Nerr97 looks poised to do so, leading the team in assists at 37 and demos with 39, going 5-2 across all series played.

As we have seen with other playoff-bound Master League teams, the Hawks had their star-studded player rank out during the regular season. Pletheros led the league with an astonishing 6.82 MVPR, going 6-0 in series played while scoring 2.5 goals per game. To replace Pletheros, the Hawks grabbed Plumato from waivers after the Wizards moved them to reserves. Plumato has had a more disappointing season, going 5-15 with the Wizards and 2-8 with the Hawks in games played. This does not paint a full picture, necessarily, for Plumato went 2-3 against the Aviators, a series that went to three overtimes, and a sweep at the hands of the top pairing from the number one seeded Hive. Plumato will look to have a strong playoff start alongside Bandi, who finished with a 5.17 MVPR.

The #4/#5 matchups in both conferences are surrounded by unknowns. Will Plumato be able to step up and be that offensive catalyst the Hawks need them to be? Will the Hurricanes be able to perform at a higher level against a winning team? Both Plumato and Bandi finished with an OMVPR over 5.0, so will they be able to neutralize the pressure Privileged Pear will bring? This series aims to be an absolute barn burner, with the Conference Quarterfinals wrapping up Sunday night.

 

No matter who you’re rooting for, you can catch all the playoff action on both twitch channels MLESPORTSGG and MLESPORTSGG2. Support your favorite teams and MLE by watching the stream. And good luck to all the playoff teams.

Playoffs Preview: Champion League, Round One

With the start of the playoffs comes one of the most exciting weekends of the season. Six matches will be played across each league. Wild card contenders will fall to favorites or start their cinderella runs. Four seeds will face five seeds in close knock down drag out best of fives. We’ll see highlight goals and overtimes. We’ll see upsets and blowouts. The only thing we can expect is that it will be unpredictable. But to give you a preview of what you might see this weekend we’re here to breakdown each matchup of the opening round of the Champion League playoffs.

Orange Conference

#2 Comets vs #7 Sharks: Saturday 7 PM EST on MLESPORTSGG2

Starting with a classic; David vs. Goliath, 2nd seed vs 7th. This series, despite what it says through the standings and final placement could turn out to be a very close one, indeed. To start, the Sharks are a team that plays well against winning teams despite their overall record. They have a respectable 28-22 record there with a goal differential (GD) of 24. If they are to succeed in such an underdog scenario they’ll need to play their star player Hobo1104. Hobo has been a huge reason for the team squeaking into a playoff spot. Hobo leads the categories of goals, saves, shots, and demos for his team. The rank out of Mushypancakez does raise some questions for the sharks but with Kkube and Thepope870 both sitting at 14.5 salaries they have two solid options come playoff time. 

The Comets seem to have an even easier recipe for success; putting Occam on the field. Occam tops his team in all stats except for goals and OMVPR. His 69 goals and 55 saves on the season show that he can produce on both sides of the pitch. with a 4.78 MVPR and a playoff appearance in season 10, it’s likely that GM Thunderbug will make up the other half of this playoff pairing. But I also wouldn’t count out seeing Peytoneli who put up 73 goals this season and finished with a 45.9 shooting percentage.

The main distinguishing factor I can see between these two sets of players is that the Sharks have a defensive poignancy that the Comets are missing. If it is indeed a matchup between Occam and Hobo1104 then the Sharks should fair much better in dealing with pressure in their own third. I expect excitement in this deceivingly lopsided series.

 

#3 Pandas vs #6 Demolition: Saturday 7 PM EST on MLESPORTSGG

Here is a series that looks, from the standings of both teams, like it could be close. But one big figure jumps out at me as very telling of where the Demolition could take advantage. The Demos have placed 3rd in shooting percentage and are 3% higher than the league average of 40.5%, a huge stat to consider. They don’t only shine as snipers, though, because they are ahead of the league average by a considerable amount in most stats except for, ironically, demolitions. Shay leads the team in assists but It’s PalmBreeze and Climax that will likely be the starters of their team. Climax had 76 goals and 74 on the season while PlamBreeze finished the season with 78 goals and an impressive 5.44 MVPR. 

The Pandas are not hopeless here though, they excel in the Goals Against (GA) department being a whole 23 GA below the league average while the Demolition are a measly 3 GA below the average. Considering that both teams have a very average amount of saves I’d give the Pandas a great advantage in the defensive end. When it comes to clearing the ball they have great skill but lack the ability to capitalize with a shot conversion rate of 38.9%. Both BroskiJazz and Purpplehippo are MLE rookies this season so the team may rely on the experience of Gualbertos who had a playoff showing last season.

Despite the 3 and 6 matchup I can see the Demo taking the edge in the series. Look for the Demolition to put on a lot of shots against the tough defense of the Pandas. If the defense holds the series belongs to the Pandas but if the Demo are shooting well they may be able to stun their opponents and start running away with enough games to take the series. 

 

#4 Pirates vs. #5 Tyrants: Saturday 8 PM EST on MLESPORTSGG

Despite the large gap in League Standings, these two teams are 4th (Pirates) and 5th (Tyrants) in their own conference. To save myself sounding like a broken record I’ll simply say that the GD stats between these two teams are astronomical; The Pirates finished with a GD of 0 and the Tyrants producing an incredible 59. 59! With a stat like that under their belts, it’s no wonder why they’re in the playoffs this season. 

The Tyrants have another impressive figure to their name, a 75% series win percentage vs. the Orange conference. They should have no problem with the comfortability of playing a team in that same category. Tyrants GM TSR has had a standout season with 63 saves and a 5.37 MVPR. The rest of the team has held up their end as well and any one of them could see playtime in the playoffs. Gogurt has had 65 goals on the season and sports a 5.14 MVPR. Trusolja scored 69 goals and leads the team with 33 assists. Gamestrike only played in three series this season but averaged an OMVPR of 3.31. 

The only chance I can see the Pirates having in this series is if their one-horse team of NoKompass can pull off the series of a lifetime. He leads the Pirates in every category except OMVPR. Both teams have player stats that trend toward the middle of the road but a keen eye might see the weakness the Tyrants possess in the demo category and try to exploit that in the coming series (ahem, Pirates, ahem). But in all fairness, the Pirates are still under the league average here and could benefit greatly from playing a couple of rounds of demo derby to hone their skills and take the Tyrants by surprise.

 

Blue Conference

#2 Jets vs #7 Hawks: Sunday 7 PM EST on MLESPORTSGG2

The battle over the skies will take place in the first round of the playoffs as the high flying Hawks take on the cloud soaring Jets. Despite the 2 vs 7 matchup, this series has the potential to be a tricky first round for the Jets and has all the makings of a classic series.

The Hawks come in as a clear underdog at the 7th seed. Despite a solid 10-4 series record they only have a goal differential of +14 and have dropped a good number of games within each of those series to scrape by with the last spot in the blue conference. The team is led by an all-star player in Orange Monkey. Orange Monkey finished the regular season 1st in goals and saves with 89 and 114 respectively. They are also 2nd overall in MVPR at a 5.94 which means they flat out produce results against any and every opponent. They’re exactly the kind of player that makes a difference in the playoffs. Just ask the Hurricanes who took the AL title last year thanks to none other than Orange Monkey. The rest of the team, while all solid players have no superlatives to speak of. Look for KillingHabbits, JordanMG, or Rtbick to mostly be facilitating their partner.

If there is a team that won’t be flinching against the leading scorer in Champion League, it’s this Jets team. The league leaders in Defense, the Jets have put together one of the more impressive shutdown seasons in MLE. They finished 1st in the least goals allowed (157) and OMVPR (3.50). To put that into perspective, the league average is 217 goals allowed and a 4.40 OMVPR. The team would no doubt be a heavy favorite for the finals if it weren’t for the late-season rank out of one of their defensive leaders, Silence. Fellow starter Mople and now PL reserve Silence finished 1st and 2nd in OMVPR respectively. The jets picked up Britzue to replace Silence but it’s ShuTingYu that may be Mople’s partner for a playoff run. ShuTingYu finished 6th in the league for shooting percentage with exactly 50%. This makes them a fitting complement to the defensive Mople. While the Jets will try to prove that they’re as good as their seeding, the Hawks will be looking to begin an upset run in the first round.

 

#3 Hive vs #6 Sabres: Sunday 7 PM EST on MLESPORTSGG

As a member of the MLE content team, I feel torn about this matchup. There is a potential that two fellow writers in iAndray and RoyalGrace may be matching up against one another. And I don’t want to pick sides less I make things awkward in the discord. But instead, here are a few reasons both teams could come out on top.

The Hive doesn’t have any individual players on the major leaderboards this season. But with an average team MVPR of 4.71 the Hive is a team stacked top to bottom that knows how to dominate offensively and keep the ball in their opponent’s side. They are 1st in shots and 4th in total Goals. Their shooting percentage is low but that seems to be mostly due to the style of play which involves shooting the ball at every chance. Both team captain Black and GM DLEW19 have a proven chemistry that took them to an AL final in season 10 against the Hurricanes. Playoff experience is valuable but the Hive may very well turn to their two higher salary players in Beninem and iAndray to surprise opponents.

As a team, the Sabres fall outside the top ten in almost all major stats. The notable exception here is one stat that may matter more than any other come playoff time, series win percentage. At 9-5 the Sabres have made their way into the playoffs by edging out close games and competitive series. And in a best of 5 matchup that gives the Sabres the edge. Add to that the potential for a player like Solrak to have a stand out performance and you have the makings of a dark horse. Solrak put up 80 goals this season (4th in the league) with an impressive 46.2 shooting percentage. With a 3.79 OMVPR, Solrak is a player that can make a difference on both sides of the pitch. 35th and Lil Lettuce could both make an appearance as Solrak’s teammate but my money is on RoyalGrace who has finished 2nd in Demolitions this season with 59 and could prove to be a thorn in the sides of opponents. 

 

#4 LIGHTNING vs #5 Foxes Sunday 8 PM EST on MLESPORTSGG

The Foxes are another team that has a deep roster of talent. With an average MVPR of 4.70 there is no combination of players that would give opponents an easy matchup. The Foxes are one of the best teams in the league at converting their scoring chances. They finished 2nd in shooting percentage and 4th in goals. Their offensive productivity is partially due to the playmaking ability of Lack who came in first overall in assists with 44 and 7th in Demos with 43. The Foxes seem to have chemistry with any pairing but with Zeta finishing 8th in shooting percentage with 49.6% there is a good chance the team will turn to them to clutch out a competitive series.

During the CL Lightning’s last game on stream in week 11, caster GrantCFO was at a loss to describe the Lightning’s play during their match against the Eclipse, at one point calling it “unconventional.”  This might be due to the Lightning’s pressure in the midfield which leads to as many mistakes as goals. DomRM14 is their star player with a 4.76 MVPR and 80 saves on the season. The team has three well-rounded players in Arunos, DudTheBomb, and Seanwilllaugh that could all make an appearance alongside DomRM14. The Lightning are a team that plays fast and offensively but across the board, their shooting could be the thing holding them back. The team averages a 37.1 shooting percentage, tied for 3rd worst in the league. Seeing as they are the only winning team with a shooting percentage in the bottom 5, it seems that if the Lightning can start capitalizing on their opportunities this team has the makings of a great underdog and a fun team to watch.

The stats may lean in favor of the Foxes in this four vs five matchup but anything can happen in the playoffs. The unpredictable nature of the Lightning and their ability to apply pressure on offense could easily throw off the Foxes.

 

 

No matter who you’re rooting for, you can catch all the playoff action on both twitch channels MLESPORTSGG and MLESPORTSGG2. Support your favorite teams and MLE by watching the stream. And good luck to all the playoff teams.

 

Playoffs Preview: Academy League, Round One

On August 8th, players across two and a half leagues figured out what teams they would be going to with the Season 11 MLE draft. One of those leagues was Academy League (AL), and in the 105 days between the draft and the start of the playoffs, a lot has changed. Every team came in with the hope that this was their season, but now, the picture is a lot more clear. 18 teams are eliminated and only 14 remain, we have the favorites and the sleepers, and most importantly, the playoff puns are back! Who will be the Cinderella story, which giant will fall early, and who will come out on top? Let’s take a quick look at the matchups to help answer those questions. 

 

Orange Conference: 

#7 Tyrants vs #2 Elite: Saturday 6 pm EST on mlesportsgg2

Expect this series to erupt, and not just in an offensive way. These two teams are both in the Volcanic Division and have already played twice this season. The Elite took both series on 3-2 wins, including their matchup last week. Neither team used both of their two highest salary players though, so it will be interesting to see the lineups they come out with. The Elite are the favorites coming in, at 48-22 (11-3 series record), they boast the 3rd best overall record in AL. In addition, they scored a whopping 274 goals, 24 more than the next highest team, which helped them achieve a +89 goal differential, the most out of any AL team playing this weekend. They also led in demos with 139 so watch out for the physical play.

Elite will be relying on their high scoring offense to push them past this Tyrants team, and they definitely have it. Gidders (46), NoVa Matty (38), RWB (34), and Achilles (46) all have put up a good number of goals. Since Achilles is a 10.5 salary, I don’t believe we’ll see him play this weekend, but no matter who they choose, the Elite have to feel like they will get great offensive production. The biggest concern is they will need to be able to move past the late rank out of ex-teammate Froggy, who scored over 80 goals, to really get over the hump, but as they proved last weekend, they can definitely do it.

For the Tyrants, the key will be slowing the Elite down. This is definitely possible with DDia’s defense, as he made 64 saves this season which was just outside of the top 10. He also scored 74 goals this season, which tied for 8th. The Elite hasn’t gone up against him since week 1, so the addition of DDia may throw them a curveball. The rest of the team is really balanced, consisting of 11.5 and 12 salaries, so it’s tough to say who will play, but Cheeto is a good guess, as he racked up 76 saves on the season and 52 goals, second for the team. This game should be great, and it will be a battle until the clock hits 0. Definitely tune into this one. 

 

#6 Outlaws vs #3 Sharks: Saturday 5 pm EST on mlesportsgg2

The first of two odd matchups in this conference, the #3 seeded Sharks are the team with the worse record and got their high seed due to winning their division. At 35-35, the Sharks are no slouches, but it’s not what you would normally expect from a highly seeded team. These two teams did play in match 14, and the Outlaws came up victorious, but like our matchup above, it was a close 3-2 series. And much like the above series, the possible matchups are up in the air because each team is filled with high caliber, high salary players.

Let’s start this in-depth look with the Outlaws, who had a great season at 44-26 overall (10-4 series record). If you like team play, this is the team to watch, because they led the league with 120 assists. FLaMEz led the team in this category with 38, 3rd in AL. Daywalker gathered up 32 of his own, but he is more well known for his other stats. His 79 goals ranked 6th in AL, and his 3.33 OMVPR was good enough for 5th. Expect to see him play this weekend, as he was a part of the maximum 8 series for this Outlaws team.

As for the Sharks, they had a rough go, as their schedule was one of the hardest, yet still finished with a .500 record both overall and in series. Overall most of their team stats are in the average range, although they do have a -19 goal differential. The stat that jumps out to me though is the 37.7% shooting percentage, which was the worst in the league. With Daywalker’s low OMVPR for the Outlaws, the Sharks may find themselves in a tougher than normal position to score, so the key in this series will be to convert the shots they get, as they can’t continue to shoot at the low clip they are. As for the players they have, Kjintroverted and Peech are their two main scorers, each scoring over 50 goals a pop. If they want to win, they’ll have to come together and step up to the challenge. It should be a good series, but will the Sharks be able to pull the upset? Tune in to find out. 

 

#5 Bulls vs #4 Wizards: Saturday 6 pm EST on mlesportsgg

If you thought the Sharks were a little lucky winning their division with a .500 record, wait until I show you the Wizards, who grabbed the Mystic division crown after going 32-38. This is a team though that can’t be overlooked, as they won 8 of their 14 series. Bad losses and close wins made this possible, but it means they know how to win, and that should mean this is an interesting series against a strong Bulls squad. 

The Bulls come into this series at 47-23, tied for the 4th best record in all of AL. Unfortunately, they finished a game behind Elite, and are stuck with the 5 seed. When you think of a bull, you think of an aggressive animal, and these Bulls are definitely aggressive, with 110 demos to their name. They are also aggressive on offense, tallying 245 goals, 4th in the league. The great thing about this team is that they don’t rely on any one person to carry them, they have a great all-around team. Chxppa is probably their best player and is also their highest salary at 12. With 51 goals and 60 saves, expect him to be the go-to guy for this team. ItsKai should also make an appearance in this game, as he has 58 goals himself, and should figure to be an offensive power.

For the Wizards, they have a good all-around team as well. Mario_RL is the main man. At a 12 salary, he balled out with 74 goals and 58 saves, and did I mention he is 7th in MVPR? NinjaTurry will probably be his number 2 with 55 goals and 47 saves of his own. These two have played together for a while now, so expect the chemistry to be high. The problem with this lineup though is they don’t have a high shooting percentage, but considering how many goals they have, expect them to throw a lot of shots on target and test the Bulls defense. Even though they don’t have a great record, I believe the Wizards match up well in this series and it should be a classic, so be sure to tune in!

 

Blue Conference

#7 Knights vs #2 Puffins: Sunday 6 pm EST on mlesportsgg2

As the last team in, the Knights won’t go into the night without a fight (sorry I really wanted to rhyme). They squeezed into the playoffs with a 36-34 record with two teams just behind them at 35-35, including the Foxes who held the tiebreaker over them. That being said, the tiebreaker wasn’t needed, and the Knights earned themselves a date with the #2 seeded Puffins, a fan-favorite franchise. The Puffins did win this regular season matchup 4-1 but expect a better lineup from the Knights as they did play their lowest salary player in that matchup.

The Knights come into this match with nothing to lose as they know they are the underdog. At 240 saves, this team led AL in that category, so expect them to play good defense, and find their chances on the counter-attack. With three players at a 12.5 salary, the Knights have choices to make with their lineup but expect Gristly to make an impact in this one. He has 75 goals (7th in AL) and 60 saves on the season. He also makes an impact by trying to blow up his opponent’s rotations, as he is 5th in demos and leads the league in shots with 187. Tez and Gabronies are the other two players who may appear, and you can’t go wrong with either one, but I’m placing my bet on Tez to play this game. He is a save machine, with 67 on the season, which is the 8th highest in the league.

The Puffins come in at 47-23, and have proven to be a force this season. Their whole lineup is 12 salary or higher, and they have made their mark on every series they have played. Get out a glass, because there will be shots pouring from all directions. The Puffins had more shots than any team playing this weekend, which is a perfect complement to the Knights’ strong save numbers. Bango led the team in shots, with 182 (3rd in AL) of them this season, and while he only scored 64 of them, the offensive pressure he created might be enough to lead this team to victory. AubreyE would be a perfect pairing, as he has also scored a lot this season with 61 goals, but his save total at 56 is what really separates him. With two of the top three shot leaders, and the team leading in saves facing the second-place team in shots, you shouldn’t miss this battle. 

 

#6 Ducks vs #3 Jets: Sunday 5 pm EST on mlesportsgg2

The quack attack is back in the playoffs and will go up against the Forge Division winner, the Jets. The Ducks come in with a respectable 39-31 record, winning 8 of their 14 series. The Jets on the other hand come in at 45-25, and won 10 series. They didn’t play each other during the season, so that should add some intrigue to this match.

The Jets shoot the ball very well and have the 2nd highest shooting percentage of any team in the postseason. This is in part due to BurnWanSahn being 4th in the leaderboards in that category, hitting a 51.9% clip. He will probably play alongside Grand Master Papi, who is 2nd in the league in assists with 38, and had 59 goals. This combo can potentially be very dangerous. Watch out for Grand Master Papi setting up BurnWanSahn for some shots.

The Ducks don’t have an elite finisher like the Jets, but they do have someone that loves to shoot. Schwartzy was 5th in goals this season with 81, and 4th in shots with 181. He will be an important piece if the Ducks want to pull off the upset. Expect Shnozz to start alongside him, as he scored 57 goals and had 63 saves. It is possible we see FlyinHi or Aflamingtruck too, as they are both very good players who helped the Ducks get to this point, but my bet would be on the first two I mentioned. As a team, the Ducks were 3rd in total shots (565), so expect them to try to take the offensive in this series. All in all, each team has a very good lineup and should make for a series that you’ll need to see to believe.

 

#5 Sabres vs #4 Hurricanes: Sunday 6 pm EST on mlesportsgg

The last game for our overview features the defending AL champions: the Hurricanes. They start their journey for back to back titles against a Sabres team which will be a tough out. The Hurricanes finished 41-29, and the Sabres 42-28, but the Hurricanes won the regular-season meeting between these teams 3-2. This might end up being one of the closest series of the first round.

As a team, the Hurricanes come in with the 8th lowest OMVPR, which will be very helpful when it comes to shutting the Sabres down. They have three very capable players who may play in this game. Frogfor20 is tied for 6th in saves with 68, and had 64 goals to go along with that. Hellfire joined the team late in the season, but made a big impact during his two series, going 7-3 overall. We may see a possible third option in Blitz who had 57 goals on the season. Any combination of these players will leave the Hurricanes in good hands going forward.

The Sabres finished the season 6th in goals, so they tend to score a lot. This is due to their two key players, The Big C and Sammy. The Big C is an all-around leader, scoring 63 goals, 31 assists (just outside the top 10 in AL), and 69 saves (tied for 4th). Sammy is their goalscorer, scoring a league-best 87 times, and added 29 assists and 68 saves (tied for 6th). This duo is a well-oiled machine, and has the talent to possibly go all the way, but will the Hurricanes’ stout defense slow them down? Only time will tell, so don’t miss this clash!

 

No matter who you’re rooting for, you can catch all the playoff action on both twitch channels MLESPORTSGG and MLESPORTSGG2. Support your favorite teams and MLE by watching the stream. And good luck to all the playoff teams.

Rocket Dreams: A Look Into Some of Premier League’s Professional Prospects

For some people, playing Rocket League daily is an obsession, for others a casual pastime, but for a select few, it is a budding career opportunity. In the MLE, we host a wide range of ranks, with most falling into the Foundation League to Master League area of skill rating (from Bronze I to Grand Champion III). And while most players could only dream of playing professionally, we have among us some individuals, playing in the Premier League, who are near that dream. Some like to call these players “Bubble Scene Players” because they are on the precipice of Rocket League stardom but have not quite made their mark yet. I’d like to introduce a few players in the MLE who could be within reach of that sweet goal: playing video-games professionally.

 

Vitali

We’ll start with a charming man who goes by the alias “Vitali”. Vitali was the first of my interviews and what a great way to begin.  He gave me the impression of a very knowledgeable guy who knew a lot about the path he hopes to take, that of being a professional Rocket League player. He was also very aware of the large steps he still needed to take to get to that level.

We talked a bit about his aspirations and he barely mentioned the RLCS despite having a very impressive finish in season 7 and season 9, going top 48 and 64, respectively. His team, consisting of Maconex (for 4 seasons, producing the best results) and adding in Cira for season 9. Currently, his motivation is more focused on the present and taking smaller steps before deciding to pursue a spot among the greatest. Vitali is a student at Durham College just outside of Toronto. At Durham, he is in the process of getting a degree in Computer Programming. Beyond his current educational pursuit, he achieved a Sports Administration degree in St. Clair where he also was able to have a lot of success in his Rocket League career.

In St. Clair, Vitali was able to produce a top 16 finish in qualifying for a CRL spot while teaming with the well known former RLCS world champion, Lachinio. His success there has spurred him on to try and re-create another qualifying finish at Durham. When we spoke, he talked of having an opportunity to achieve the goal and play on the Rocket League official broadcast over on twitch. Vitali also has a stream of his own and hopes to gain a following for himself there.

Being a player who excels in, and prefers the 3v3 playlist, Vitali told me that MLE holds a near and dear place in his heart. It serves as a fun-loving organization of people where he can still play the game he loves but can let go of the pretext of trying to be at peak performance constantly. So with establishing MLE as an occupation on the side, I asked him if there were any coincidental advantages to playing in a 2v2 league. He mentioned that the MLE has given him a great opportunity to build lasting friendships with people such as Atokad and MapleSurrup, both of whom he had played an earlier RLCS Qualifier with and, though they were all around the Champion 2-3 level, they had nearly made it to the play-in rounds. Another, more competitively pertinent advantage was his ability to test himself against players like Comp and Test Gravity who have made splashes in the RLCS scene. Vitali has come out with wins versus both of those highly rated players during MLE matches, a sign of great things to come, I’m sure. 

To finish up our conversation I wanted to get his all-time favorite highlight of his personal MLE experience. So he filled me in on his first stream match, the nerves, the anticipation, and the excitement he had all bundled up in a series win and also a performance to remember as he was awarded the Play of the Week (POTW) for a goal he had scored in that, his first stream experience.

 

BraidedAxe

BraidedAxe is a very passionate player who holds strong to his values and knows exactly what he wants out of Rocket League. When we talked, the heart was palpable in his words. BraidedAxe and I hopped into some 2s games and just had a casual chat about his aspirations, how far he’s come, his MLE experience, and a few highlights of his Rocket League career. As we were playing a couple of games in the casual 2s playlist I could sense his urgency even to win there, he is a fierce competitor and would be a force to have on any team.

His main aspiration as a Rocket League player is to make it to the upper echelon. His words were, “I want Rocket League to be my main form of income.” And I do agree that he has the skills to make his dreams come true and make it as a pro. I will also say that I believe he has the personality and well-to-do sort of manner that could make him successful in the Rocket League scene.

In his professional endeavors he’s achieved a lofty peak MMR rating of 2138 in the 3v3 playlist and for the beginning month of season 13 was in the top 100 players for that playlist. He has also tried his hand at the RLCS Qualifiers with his team of Gumbachi (another member of the Premier League) and Volt Destroyer. Under the name of ‘Frost Esports’, the trio was able to achieve a lofty round 3 exit, only losing to team RBG – currently managed by the aforementioned Maple Surrup – who would go on to make the RLRS. From what I gathered, BraidedAxe took this game 5 series defeat as an indicator of where he needs to be and I personally cannot wait to witness his progression. Besides Frost Esports’ proximity to the big leagues in that regard, they’ve also had their fair share of full-team queues in ranked, meeting organizations such as Team Envy and coming out with victories.

While some Premier League players are mainly patrons of the 3v3 playlist and MLE is a league in which they can enjoy a competition that does not reflect their progression in the professional scene, BraidedAxe does not subscribe to this mindset. His passion for Rocket League does not stop with this game and, from what he said, his determination extends to any situation he is put in.

 

Zack

Zack and I’s conversation was one that made me hopeful for his future. He has a great deal of skill on the Rocket League pitch and is a humble guy with a demeanor that made me feel very comfortable while talking with him. Zack’s past endeavors in RLCS Qualifiers have me believing in and looking forward to what’s to come for him. Since hitting Grand Champion for the first time in season 7 he has placed top 48 twice. The odd thing about these monumental achievements though, is that his teams have been a collection of odds and ends, friends, and friends of friends. With that in mind, it makes these finishes in the achievements all the more impressive. I can see him making a push into the professional Rocket League scene very quickly if he can find a team he enjoys playing with and that might provide him with sufficient support.

Right now Zack is working full time and so he only puts in a minimal amount of time to Rocket League each week.  We talked about his perspective and views of MLE, given the low amount of time he has to put into the game each day. He sees MLE mainly as a community hub but has gained significant improvement since joining MLE in season 8. Moving up the MMR ladder from 1700 to 2000 in that time. The main difference he sees in his play from when he joined is learning the importance of ball possession, dribbling, and outplays in general. Besides that, Zack believes that he has gained a considerable amount of consistency since joining the league, a key aspect of a budding professional player.

Another contributing factor to his love of the league is the opportunities he’s had to play players who are just above him in skill and so this motivates him to try and contend with those highly skilled players.

Finally, I wanted to hear about Zack’s favorite moments in MLE. He enthralled me with the tale of his playoff experience that happened during his tenure with the Wolves franchise. He had been lucky enough to experience a playoff series that went down to the wire in a game 5 over-time. It was a game to be remembered for all the close calls and anxious moments. Eventually, he and MattRochie were able to come out with the win after heroics from Zack. Though they lost in the round following, it remains an untainted memory in his mind.

 

Glax

Glax’s view on Rocket League for a player with the skill rating he has is as unique as they come. He is in full realization of his inability to fully commit to Rocket League, given his commitments to his career in I.T. and the lack of “brain-speed”, as he comedically put it, to keep up with the younger generation of individuals in the professional scene.

Despite not being one to strive for the stardom of Rocket League profession, Glax is by far the most connected to the scene of those I talked with. Currently, he plays with Sotus, queueing almost every day for competitive games and tournaments. He also attempted an RLCS qualifier with PhantomAce in season 4. He’s had a major history with former RLCS players such as Pluto – who he is still in contact with – and Amoney. He also mentioned playing a consistent amount of ranked games with Kronovi back when he was the top player in the world. Taking all of these names in and processing the amount of connectedness Glax has accrued in his 5 years of playing made my head spin.

Glax attributes his major ties to the content creators and current/former RLCS players towards his immediate skill in Rocket League. He has been a Grand Champion level player since competitive season 2 and has been lucky enough to keep in contact with all these staple names in Rocket League. 

While Glax is not wanting to pursue a career in RLCS or content creation, he is still enjoying his time playing the game and sees MLE as an opportunity to gain some ability in the realm of 2v2. For the past 5 years, 3v3 has been his main focus but recently he got the urge to become a better player in the, arguably, more popular playlist of Rocket League.

While his skill in Rocket League was immediate, Glax does not believe his 2v2 play is up to par with the amount of experience he has in the game. Reaching 1800 MMR in 2v2 last season, Glax decided that it was time to step it up and chose to join the “best 2v2 league out there” as he so graciously put it. Playing in the MLE has forced him to practice some more in-depth mechanics and develop a better sense of ball control. His excitement to be in the league was on display when we talked and I personally am very excited to have such an affluent contemporary of the pro-scene among our ranks.

 

Lotty Lettuce

Talking with Lotty Lettuce, I was so impressed with his plan of action, his activity in numerous leagues, and his high skill level despite his relatively young age. At his local college, he has been a trailblazer for the path of CRL success. While there is not currently a scene for CRL there, his skill and drive have been seen by another very skilled player who goes by the name HockE who will be attending Lotty’s current school come next year. If the two of them can find a third I could see a push for CRL contention coming their way very soon. 

Though Lotty is very excited about the prospects of HockE, his head is not lost in the clouds. He has made a very strong connection with Elco and some other current CRL players at Rowan University. He made it seem like the team’s presence was very welcoming and open to him when, only briefly, he met them all at a LAN event. I was very impressed with his knowledge of multiple paths towards his main goal of becoming a CRL player.

Our chat turned to the MLE, eventually, and that of some great friendships he’s made through the seasons along with some very memorable moments. He filled me in on one of his favorite memories during his time in the league; a rare championship game. The scene was of him and MattRochie, they were in a bad slump going into the conference finals but some herculean efforts and strong will got them the win against a very formidable Pirates team, one that had been undefeated coming into the match. With excitement and momentum, they pressed on to the finals but were unfortunately not able to garner a championship for his Outlaws franchise. The memory remains very vibrant and he maintains it to be his all-time favorite moment of his Rocket League career.

Lastly, Lotty told me that joining the MLE was “one of the best decisions he had ever made for his Rocket League career”. During the summer of 2019, he had been losing motivation to play the game and was close to hanging up the controller for good when he was introduced to MLE and found the invigorating, unique league to be enough for him to get back the drive that was so obvious while talking to him. Lotty has joined 4 different leagues including the MLE in the time span since his melancholic thoughts over Rocket League began and he told me one of his biggest aspirations was to win a championship in all of them, especially getting another crack at the MLE trophy.

 

Final Thoughts

My appreciation for these players and their ability to either be so naturally talented or to maintain a strict regimen of practice has grown exorbitantly to the point where I find myself rooting them on and checking in on their progress myself.  When I first picked up the pen to write out this story I had an idea of talking to a group of like-minded Premier League players, people who all had the vision of becoming an RLCS contemporary or doing their best to get there. It turns out that an eclectic mix of aspirations litters the highest-ranking league in MLE; everything from the expected RLCS dreams to simply maintaining friendships gained within the discord server we all call home. 

 

Behind the Scenes of the Franchise Cup: An Interview with Kilt and GoldenTornado17

The Franchise Cup is now a few weeks old and is quickly becoming a mainstay in MLE. If you’re not familiar with the concept, here is an excerpt from the initial announcement about the Cup:

 Introducing a whole new way to earn glory for your franchise and for yourself… The very first Franchise Cup begins this season! All 32 franchises will compete in the most epic and massive event in MLE history. Teams earn Franchise Points in a variety of ways including winning MLE matches, competing in events, end of season awards, and more! Every goal matters in this format. Never take your foot off the gas if you want to claim the ultimate achievement in taking home the Franchise Cup! Teams win points based on the margin of victory for each game, the number of goals conceded, and underdogs can score massive points for a big upset. But that’s not the only way to get your franchise to the top…”

I wanted to get the inside scoop behind the Franchise Cup, so I went to the Events Team Lead himself, KILT. While talking to KILT, he directed me to the mastermind behind the Franchise Cup, GoldenTornado17. I got to talk with both players about their role in the Franchise Cup, as well as their thoughts on the progress so far and potential future events.

 

Royal: What sparked the idea for the Franchise Cup? 

KILT: The Franchise Cup was thought up by Goldentornado. Something that has always plagued events in the past has been a lack of interest and overall structure, which is something I’ve been aiming to rectify since taking over as Events Team Lead. Thankfully the timing coincided with Golden pitching the idea to Sleegi so the potential was immediately evident.

GoldenTornado: I was actually attempting to create a new rating system that could work across all 5 leagues when I kinda stumbled into the idea of creating a “points” system that rewards teams for how they win individual games and more accurately reflects how dominant a team is in its league. 

 

Royal: What went into the creation and setup of the Cup?

GT: First I needed to make sure that the scoring system and behind-the-scenes stuff would work. I created several google sheets that track stats from the replay bot and instantly update the point totals. I also had the idea of creating events (called Majors) that the events team could run to gain exposure for the Franchise Cup and to give the events team a more scheduled and organized format.

KILT: A lot of the backend was settled before I even saw the project; Golden already had points and how to calculate them in a fairly comprehensive form. The setting up of the Major events was split between the Events Team and headed by myself; a lot of it has been trial-and-error and learning from any mistakes. Thankfully there haven’t been any large scale issues so far, so depending on how the rest of the season goes, I could see the overall event structures evolving for the next season.

 

Royal: What impact do you see the Cup having on the league as a whole?

KILT: The Franchise Cup for me solves two issues; it incentivizes participation in events, which helps the community come together and make new friends within the fun framework of an event. It also brings the franchise together; rather than 5 different leagues just being under the umbrella of a franchise, it provides an overall goal for the entire franchise to aim for. I hope this can bring people who might otherwise never truly interact with each other together and can help the franchise [become] stronger for it.

GT: I think that the Cup will create more team unity across leagues, so people on the Master League team are more invested in the performance of their Academy League teammates since the Franchise Cup requires that every team on a franchise performs well to win. The events side of it is going much better than I had ever hoped and I think that it is giving the MLE a competitive outlet outside of MLE matches that are still important.

 

Royal: How do you see the longevity of the Franchise Cup, and how do you plan on keeping the community engaged?  What events do you have planned for the future? 

GT: I think this has the potential to be an MLE tradition for many seasons to come! I genuinely hope the community will continue to show interest in it and, as they understand how it works better, I hope that more people will follow the standings. The winner of the Franchise Cup is truly the best franchise in the MLE regular season. As far as events go, we are discussing a ton of great ideas for future Majors and even working on some “Minors” which could be game modes like rumble or drop-shot. There is even talk of expanding the events outside of Rocket League if the community showed enough interest. 

KILT: The Franchise Cup is currently every season and that’s what we’re aiming for. I’d like to see it stay as a staple of MLE but it’s something we’ll have to review at the end of this season. For this season, we have 3 Majors planned, with one already concluded and another currently underway. The next Major is a 3v3 double-elimination tournament, which should be very exciting. As for what we have planned, we’re hoping to have some smaller weekend tournaments, as well as tournaments that aren’t just playing the game; such as our current DECORATE THE DESKTOP event, to have people make MLE desktop wallpapers or other events such as a freestyle tournament or even a fashion show.

 

Royal: Are there any off-the-walls ideas? Rocket Labs maps, chaos mixer, anything crazy? 

GT:  Oh we are considering anything! The idea that I most liked so far was a Minecraft event where the franchise with the best design after a week of work wins. 

 

Royal: Do you think it will change the way GMs draft or think about their teams? 

KILT: I don’t personally think it will change the draft strategies of General Managers but if it does, that would be very exciting. There are some General Managers who currently focus on one or two of their teams doing well, even drafting away high draft picks in other leagues to benefit in those one or two, so if this means they value the overall strength of their franchise, then I’d consider that a success.

 

Royal: Who are the front runners that are emerging in the cup so far?

KILT: Our current frontrunners are the Hawks, Bulls, and Knights, with the Hawks and Knights getting a big boost in points from their event placings. The Bulls have had a fairly successful run so far in all of their teams, though the top 10 teams are fairly close in the standings currently.

GT: Right now the Bulls are off to a blistering start thanks to a strong showing in every league, but they have not performed well in tournaments so it has left the door open for teams like the Spectre, Knights, and Hawks to close the gap. The Sabres are also very close to the top few teams but need to step it up in the tournaments 😉 

(Golden later amended his final answer to say that the Hawks are currently killing everyone after week two)

 

I can’t thank KILT and GoldenTornado enough for giving their insight on the Franchise Cup and I think their excitement about it will match the league’s excitement for the cup going forward. I, for one, am looking forward to the Sabres rise to the top.

Inside MLE: April Monthly Insight

Welcome to the latest instalment of MLE Monthly Insight; an in-depth look behind the scenes at the different areas of MLE. In these articles we will look to give you, the community a peep behind the scenes, to see what’s happening and potentially what’s coming. With playoffs literally just around the corner it’s been a busy time behind the scenes so what’s been going on? Let’s find out…

Community

With franchise logo reveals now well underway, there were two community surveys published to gauge community reaction to 10 of the revealed logos. We received a decent number of responses to both surveys, though the more feedback we get the better perspective we have of community opinion. Generally the consensus on the logos revealed so far has been positive, with a few caveats, which we will touch upon.

So how were the last 10 logos revealed received?

From the infographic there’s clearly one “anomaly” in comparison to the rest of the logos. The Spectre, Spartans and Bulls logos were all well received, with strong positive like to dislike ratios. In particular the Spartans, which no one ranked below 3. The only main criticism of the Spartans logo was the “mane”, which some people felt went too far around the helmet. The Bulls logo received a fair amount of praise for its shading and use of colours but there was some uncertainty regarding the “white circle backdrop”. The Spectre logo was commended for its design and use of colours though there were some who felt a different design would have suited the franchise more.

The one “anomaly” in the pack was the Flames logo. Before the logo was revealed we had a hunch that the logo may divide opinion due to it’s relatively minimalistic nature. It appears from the feedback that the simplicity of the logo was the main criticism, with lack of shading and detail cited. It’s clear the logo didn’t meet a number of people’s expectations and we are reviewing the possibility of changes.

The Eclipse, Hawks, Hive and Wizards also had their logos revealed this past month, let’s see what the community had to say about them?

As with the previous four logos the reception was generally positive. The Hawks logo was complimented for its design and detail with people stating the Hawk looked fierce and aggressive. One of the main points of contention raised was the general size/proportion of the logo due to its width. The Wizards logo, with a like to dislike ratio of 7.6 to 1, was praised for its general design and its “relatability” to the franchise. A few people felt the secondary colour of the franchise, yellow, could have been incorporated more into the logo. The Hive divided opinion somewhat, with the design being the focal point for divide in opinion. A number of people liked the angular design and sharp edges but there was some criticism of the use of red in the logo. Lastly the Eclipse is one that has split opinion right down the middle with a 1-1 like to dislike ratio. Majority of people felt the colour scheme gave the logo a clean and bold look. The main issue a number of people had was with association and relatability. A portion of people felt the logo didn’t symbolise what they expect when thinking of Eclipse.

Lastly the Sabres and Express also received new logos…

The Express received the honour of joining the Spartans in receiving no “dislikes” (i.e. a rating of 1 or 2). The main compliments of the logo were the level detail of the use of colours. There was a proportion of people who felt the steam wasn’t necessary or could be reduced but there were no common complaints regarding the logo. The Sabres was also generally well received, with people liking the general design however there was a common theme regarding certain changes such as incorporating white fur to increase association with Sabretooth tigers. The nose was also a contentious point of the design, with a proportion of people feeling it didn’t look right.

Overall the feedback to logos has been generally positive so far. We will discuss the design of each logo a little bit more in-depth in the media section. As many in the community will be aware after recent discussions and a community poll, we have decided to change tact in terms of revealing logos. We had been revealing a few each week on stream. However with playoffs starting next week (9th May) there was a desire, especially from a Broadcast perspective, to have all the franchise logos ready to use come the start of the playoffs. With this in mind we will be broadcasting a special reveal stream this Friday (time tbc) on the MLE Network.

Of course the Community the team has been busy elsewhere. Admissions continue to run smoothly and the team are gearing up for the inevitable increase in applications that come with the playoffs. Below are admissions stats for the month of April. Big GGs to the admissions team for bringing in fresh meat to the community!

Recently, the Events team has still been attempting to rebuild and improve event player numbers. The team are planning on utilizing the off-season survey to hear community suggestions on the future of MLE Events. Two events are currently being planned for the playoffs. The first is another Crew Battles event and we hope to put on a Call of Duty Warzone competition event. More info on these will be released soon. The team are confident that with the feedback from the community on this seasons off-season survey that they can bring enjoyable events for everyone.

The Power Rankings Committee, with the assistance of  a couple of community members, are working on a community feature to be run during the playoffs. The feature is hoped to bring an extra level of interest and engagement into every playoff series. More details will be released this week once the idea has been finalised.

LEAGUE OPERATIONS

It’s been largely business as usual for League Operations this past month, ensuring things run smoothly and rules around league play are enforced appropriately. Focus obviously has now turned to playoffs and ensuring everything is set from a League Operations perspective. The League Ops team have compiled a Playoff document that will provide useful information for players and teams. This will be released within the next day.

BROADCAST

It’s been exciting times in the Broadcast department. As the team start to get pumped up for the playoffs, there have been several improvements to Broadcast operations and output. Behind the scenes we have recently invested in VMIX. VMIX allows for greater flexibility and efficiency when it comes to running broadcasts and will allow us to take our broadcasts to new heights. This investment wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our great community!

On screen you will hopefully have been seeing some of the improvements the team have been working on. One in particular we are very happy with is the implementation of player stats during series. See the clip below from the Blizzard vs Hurricanes Foundation League series to see it in action!

The Broadcast team are continually working to implement extra features that improve the quality and presentation of streams. There’s lots more in-store for broadcasts for the future! The team feel there have great strides made this season and there are some “massive projects” in the works for next season.

In the nearer future Broadcast are working with Media team to ensure all franchise logos are incorporated into assets for the playoffs. Don’t forget we will have a special stream this Friday showing off the remaining logos yet to be revealed!

We hope these improvements will create greater engagement with streams and in tandem, increase viewing figures. There was a small increase in viewing figures during April compared to previous months. We hit a new peak for maximum viewers for the season and the average number of viewers for the month was up on the seasonal average.

Broadcast viewing and revenue stats for April & Season 10. Viewing figures do not take into account draft shows, revenue stats taken from 1st January.

Those figures don’t take into account the week 10 viewing figures, which saw a strong increase in viewing figures, with a new peak viewership achieved of 225 and an average viewing figures of well above 100 for the weekend. These figures also don’t take into account those who tuned into mlesportsgg2 over the weekend. Broadcast hope to utilise mlesportsgg2 much more frequently next season. We would like to take this moment to thank everyone for their support by tuning into streams, the support has been amazing!

Lastly here’s a look at some of the scheduling distribution stats. These stats include week 10 streams. All franchises were broadcasted at least once, with 27 out of the 32 franchises broadcast at least 3 times during the season. In total, 70.31% of teams were broadcast this season. We are relatively happy with the spread over the course of the season but realise there are a few gaps. We are looking to make significant changes to scheduling and series distribution for next season to allow for a more “even spread”.

Broadcast scheduling distribution for season 10.

And lastly, while Broadcast is focused on providing the best experience possible during the playoffs, the wheels are already in motion for Season 11. The team are always on the look out for new talent and support. If you fancy our hand at casting or broadcasting or perhaps supporting the team behind the scenes, feel free to reach out to one of the Broadcast “heads” about getting involved. The team are committed to supporting and developing talent, so don’t worry if you haven’t had much experience.

MEDIA

With the regular season drawing to conclusion the media team have been concentrating majority of their effort on playoff assets. We are looking to make this Seasons playoffs the “best looking” yet and a number of assets are currently in production that will be revealed on streams, website, social media, etc. over the course of the playoffs. To wet your appetites and provide a sneak peek, check the tab below here for a preview of “Road to Champion Series” graphic. These graphics will show each team in the playoffs “route” to the playoffs… and maybe Championship Series!

Road to Championship Series graphic

As promised, let’s take a deeper dive into the recently revealed franchise logos mentioned earlier. Our objective with the franchise logos was for a relatively clean style that erred more to a relative simplistic but focused look. One that would give each franchise a clear and unique image but one that fit in with the overall presentation of MLE.

In last months insight we went into some detail regards Spectre and Flames logo. Our own opinions and thoughts regarding Spectre logo have not changed and the feedback from the survey cemented those thoughts. The Flames however has seen a fair amount of discussion since the release and reception of the feedback from surveys. While we generally don’t want to make any drastic changes to many if any of the logos revealed we are not wholly opposed to changes if we feel necessary. Based on the feedback of the Flames logo we are looking into possible changes, however at this moment there is nothing concrete to announce.

The Spartans logo was pretty much an instantaneous hit upon first reveal. The design we felt while immediately obvious, was strong and bold. The logo did undergo one small alteration before being finalised to the logo that was revealed to the community. In the first draft of the logo the mane had a white “tip” that curved around part of top of the main. We felt this detail wasn’t necessary and also the extra colour didn’t fit with the overall design of the logo.

The Bulls logo was one logo that actually underwent a major redesign. The first draft of the logo was a “head on shot” of a Bulls head. While the logo wasn’t bad it was generally perceived to be not in keeping with our design and presentation objectives and requirements. One of the main criticisms was it felt a bit generic and aped a “Texan” aesthetic. The designer went back to the drawing board and came up with the current design, which met our expectations. One aspect we really like and think is key a component of the new logo is the sense of motion/charging, making it more dynamic than the previous design.

Bulls logo change

The Hawks logo underwent a few changes from its first draft. Those changes being the inclusion of white (the white eyes in the first draft are actually transparent) and the double outline. We felt the outline and the inclusion of white gave the logo more pop, helping to define its features such as the feathers and talons. These changes we felt improved the logo considerably. There were some concerns on the size, particularly the width of the logo however we feel it can be incorporated into MLE. This logo is one that has grown on TheGamingBear (President of MLE) considerably over time, “fun fact” for you there!

Hawks logo changes

Despite the Eclipse logo receiving mixed feedback, upon being revealed by the designer it was well received. We particularly liked the themes and feel of an Eclipse were present in the logo without being too obvious. While we know the design has split opinion in the community we feel over time a number of people will become more accustomed to it. We expect this to happen with a few of the logos. As they start to be incorporated into the league people will start to associate and relate them to the franchises over time.

The Wizards logo didn’t undergo much change from first draft to final design, with the only change being made in the beard department. The first draft had more “curly” elements to it, which was something we felt didn’t quite look right and the beard was made much smoother and fuller.

Wizards logo changes

The Hive logo made an instant impression on us when first shown by the designer. We felt the design was bold and striking. One element we particularly liked about the Hive logo was the somewhat “honeycomb” inspired outline. There wasn’t really anything we felt needed changing with the Hive logo so the design that was revealed was in fact the first iteration of the design shown to us.

The Sabres logo didn’t undergo any revisions from its first draft. There were some concerns regarding the nose however we felt it gave a “snarling”, fierce look to the logo.

The Express logo did undergo a few changes from its first draft. We felt the first draft provided a good foundation to develop the logo a bit further. We felt the inclusion of steam gave the logo more depth and identity, whilst changing the outline colour gave the logo more definition. Lastly we felt the train element of the logo was a bit too “wide and short” and the shape was adjusted to it’s final design.

Express logo changes

MARKETING

In the Marketing department, work has been ongoing to improve promotion on Social Media. It’s likely we will be looking for additional support in this area over the playoffs. Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement.

We will be looking to reinvest some of the revenue generated from different streams (merch, Twitch, etc.) into advertising and promotion going forward, as we feel it will help increase the exposure of MLE.

With the upcoming reveal of the remaining franchise logos, preparation is well underway to incorporate all the franchise logos on the store. All being well products will be available soon after the reveals. We know there has been a continuous interest in jerseys and this is something we are continuing to explore. It’s important we find the right supplier and distributor for such a product therefore it will likely take sometime before we come to a decision, most likely at least a few months. We can’t give any definitive time frames but we are committed to making it happen.

SPONSORSHIP

Not too much to report from a Sponsorship perspective, the team are settling under new guidance from Mobgaz. Emphasis right now is on reaching out to potential sponsors whilst maintaining existing sponsorship relationships. Don’t forget you can get free shipping on any order of BAWLS Guarana by using the promo code “MLE”. Perfect for some refreshment during the playoffs!

We had 3 community PowerA giveaways last month! Each lucky winner the recipient of a Spectra Enhanced Wired controller courtesy of our friends at PowerA. Check out the stats from each giveaway below!

PowerA controller giveaway community winners for April
WEBSITE

Over the past month the development team has been working closely with our broadcasting team to brighten up the scoreboard. By using the endpoints available from the website, we can pull in franchise and player data directly into the broadcast. SimpleAOB has been working on a robust control-board application for our casters. The team has also been working on a “Playoffs landing page”. Stay tuned for an announcement later this week. Looking further down the road, the team plan to add player’s salary, rank and other data to each profile.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

April saw a large amount of investment into MLE, most notably the final payments for franchise logos as well as a sizeable investment for broadcast. We are committed to ensuring revenue generated through Twitch, Patreon and merch is reinvested back into the league that improves the quality of our output and also benefits the community as a whole. Now that franchise logos are complete we can focus on other areas such as broadcast, where we can reinvest revenue. The infographic below shows the distribution of revenue reinvested for the season so far.


And that concludes the Monthly Insight for April! It’s been a busy month behind the scenes. We hope you have enjoyed this insight behind the scenes. We strive to make them as informative and interesting as possible. If there is anything you would like to see or hear about please feel free to send your suggestions via the usual formats.

As we enter the Playoffs and concluding weeks of the Season, the excitement grows and we can’t wait to finish the season with a bang! There’s lots in store and we wish all those competing in the playoffs the best of luck. And to those teams and players that didn’t make it we hope you enjoyed the season regardless and are itching for Season 11 to come around. So folks, fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride! It’s destination Season 10 Playoffs!

Thanks for reading,
from everyone at Minor League Esports

Inside MLE: March Monthly Insight

Welcome to the latest instalment of MLE Monthly Insight; an in-depth look behind the scenes at the different areas of MLE. In these articles we will look to give you, the community a peep behind the scenes, to see what’s happening and potentially what’s coming. So let’s get to it…

Community

There’s been a fair bit going down on in Community Town this past month. No doubt many of you will have seen some of the surveys going out including the “sentiment survey” and the recent logo survey. Thank you to all those people that have responded to either or both of the surveys. The feedback provided has been very insightful and is helping to structure some of our plans and and shaping our internal discussions.

The sentiment survey has given us some very useful feedback and highlighted areas where we can make improvements. The survey did highlight some concerns, criticisms of the communication regarding logos, which we believe was largely based on communication early on in the process (Season 8 and fair portion of Season 9). We agree communication could have been better during that period but since then we have made continual improvements, especially since the release of the “logo limbo” insight article posted August, 2019.

Segueing into the logo survey, we received a good level response. We will be looking to publish survey for each “batch” of logos revealed. This gives the community a better chance to digest each logo and provide clearer feedback for us. We will “talk” a bit more about the design elements of logos later on in this article under the media section but we wanted to take this opportunity to share general consensus so far.

The general consensus based on the feedback has been generally positive with some great feedback been provided on not only our communication and the logos process but on the logos themselves. We’ve seen a fair amount of conflicting opinions this past week since 6 of the franchise logos were revealed. The infographic below gives an overall summary of general consensus on the first 4 logos revealed, which formed the bulk of the survey.

Ratings for each logo from the survey so far. Like-dislike ratio based on ratings of 1 & 2 being dislike and 4 & 5 being like. Ratings of 3rd April.

Looking into the feedback at more detail for each logo revealed some common themes. For the Aviators logo, the community generally liked the simplicity of the logo in particular the clean lines & “wings” element of the logo. A proportion of people were unsure of the A/chevron and a few people were hoping the logo would incorporate a plane or pilot in some form.

The Blizzard logo was the most divisive. People generally liked the level of detail and the colours of logo but the biggest area of contention was with the use of a Yeti for the logo, with a noticeable proportion of people saying they didn’t really associate the image of a Yeti with the franchise.

The Comets logo has received a positive reception with most people liking the simplicity and bright colours of the logo. One notable criticism made was the use of the letter c being used to represent a comet itself.

Lastly the Demolition was the best received out of the 4. People generally agreed the style and design suited the franchise, stating the logo gave the franchise character. The main criticism of the logo is the colour scheme itself.

So that’s a summary of the voting so far. A big thank you to everyone who provided feedback. But what does this feedback mean going forward? Well it’s unlikely to have any immediate and direct changes. While we know there have been contrasting opinions on the logos, some more than others, the general consensus appears to be positive, which we are happy to report. Of course this doesn’t mean these logos can’t or won’t change over time but for the immediate future we want to give them, and those still to be released, time to embed into MLE. As we saw during the MLD era logos did develop and evolve over time and we are always committed to improving where possible. For now though we hope people are enjoying the reveals and we look forward to revealing more over the coming weeks.

Of course Community isn’t just about surveys. One area of MLE that some people may not think about is the admissions process. Our admissions team have been working consistently throughout the season to ensure a steady stream of new faces join the community, so a big welcome to all those that have joined us this past few month. We thought we would use this opportunity to provide some statistics and a brief overview of the process that give an insight into how involved the admissions team are.

The admissions process is essentially split into 3 phases:

  • Application: where a person applies to join MLE. Their form is then reviewed & processed by admin team. During this phase the admin team will be looking through all relevant information provided on the form, such as RL tracker, Twitter, Steam account, etc. A decision on whether to approve an application will then be made.
  • Interview: after an applicant has been approved and joins the admission server they are then interviewed by a member of MLE admissions team to see if they are a good fit for the community.
  • Orientation: after being interviewed, should an applicant be deemed as a good fit they are then invited to an orientation session. Here a member of the admissions team provides important and relevant information to support and help applicants before they join the MLE server.

Hopefully those stats give an indication of the work load of the admissions team as well as the amount of people “coming through the doors”. A big thank you to our admissions team for all their work in keeping a steady stream of new, excitable faces into our community.

LEAGUE OPERATIONS

Not too much from League Operations perspective to report this month. It’s all relatively business as usual as focus is on day-to-day operations such as scheduling, transactions (roster changes, rank ups, etc.) and resolving any issues that arise from competitive action.

There are two points worth noting though. The first being the new ineligibility system, which required rebuilding the database and spreadsheet structure entirely to be able to account for salary on a daily basis. Huge shout out to Peytoneli for his work on this. The second point is the Statistics Team bringing on kcscrag to help with data entry, and Squanchy to rebuild his excellent standings sheet in MLE-form. Expect that to be released in the coming days.

Focus will soon start to turn to playoffs and ensuring everything is in place to ensure as smooth operation as possible. This will include coordinating with broadcast team to determine scheduling responsibilities and ensuring General Managers are aware of the structure and any relevant information they need to know and pass onto their players.

BROADCAST

On a broadcast front improvements are continually being made and we have some exciting things in the works we are looking to bring in the near future that we think will increase the level of production.

This past month we put out a broadcast survey to gauge community opinion on broadcasts. A big thank you to everyone who replied so far, we had over 30 responses to date. For those who put their Twitch ID on the forms the free 100 reward points have been added to your accounts. Here are some of the key figures/results from the survey.

Results for following questions: “how often do you watch MLE streams?” (top-left), “on a scale of 1 to 5, how much do you enjoy MLE streams?” (top-right), “How would you rate the promotion of broadcasts?” (bottom-left), “Overall how would you rate the quality of casting?” (bottom-right)

Those are just some of the “key” results from the survey, there’s obviously a fair amount of feedback and ratings provided that we will detail. But a general summary from the survey can be that the results are positive with a few areas of improvement.  Obviously the results are from a small sample of the community but they provide a general indication of thoughts. We know not all 1400 community members watch streams, though we always hope they might :). 30 responses essentially reflects about 30-50% of viewers based on average and peak viewing figures. What’s great to see is nearly 75% of those who completed the survey said they watch 3 or more streams a month. This gives some validity to the results, as the majority of feedback is being provided by those who have more exposure to streams and therefore likely to be able to form stronger opinions.

Stream enjoyment is definitely something we are interested with. We want to make sure people enjoy watching the streams. Simply put, if people do they will likely tune in more. It’s clear though there is a proportion of people who feel we could be doing more to make streams more exciting and we are continually looking at ways to do just that.

Steam promotion is one area, which based on feedback could do with some improvement with the main points being about consistent promotion as well as ensuring broadcast schedule is posted well ahead of time. Ideally we want to have the broadcast schedule out by Friday of each week although there have been a couple of instances where perhaps we have not delivered to this timeframe. Something we will aim to rectify going forward.

Although not shown on the graphic, the survey included a number of questions regarding the presentation of broadcasts. The ratings were positive across the board, “good” counts as a rating of 4/5:
82% rated the quality of graphics at least good or better
87% rated the scoreboard at least good or better
91% rated the scoreboard at least good or better
90% rated the image quality of streams at least good or better
90% rated the smoothness and stability of the action at least good or better

Great results across the board and a true testament to the fantastic work behind the scenes to make our broadcasts look awesome! But we won’t rest on our laurels here, you can be sure we will continually be making improvements over time.

In terms of casting, the response was generally positive as well however a few issues were brought up, which the broadcast team will be looking to address. Primarily there will be even more focus on caster training and development, ensuring budding casters aren’t “thrown into the deep” end too soon. That being said the availability and levels of resource when it comes to broadcasting talent can sometimes be limited. It means we have to give those with perhaps as not much experience a chance. That concludes our look at the broadcast survey, please don’t be afraid to submit more feedback or fill out a form if you haven’t already done so.

Moving on from the survey. We know the broadcast schedule can create some debate and discussion in the community. The majority of franchises and subsequently the teams and players that represent them all hope to feature on stream. From an organisational perspective we try to balance giving each franchise exposure, each of the four leagues coverage and also try to put the best match ups on stream. Before we go into this in more detail let’s look at some stats surrounding broadcast scheduling for the season up till the end of March.

At the end of last month, 75% of franchises (24 out of 32) had featured on stream at least once. During March, 7 of those franchises featured on stream at least once, meaning 96.8% (31 out of 32) franchises have been streamed. The Sabres, the only franchise to have not been streamed, were streamed this weekend (April 4th) so that figure now sits at 100%, which is great, with still 3 weeks of regular season broadcasts left. It’s difficult to ensure an even spread amongst franchises due to the flexibility of our scheduling system, which allows series to be scheduled any time within a set period, Thursday-Saturday, not including “double header series”. The only way to ensure an almost even spread would be to implement hard-scheduling however this would restrict players to only be allowed play at certain times.

We are continually looking at our scheduling system and seeing where improvements can be made. It’s definitely something that will be reviewed in the off-season to see if any improvements can be made that benefit and balance things from an organisational, franchise and player perspective.

Lastly over to viewing figures for March. They were slightly down compared to the rest of the season however we are not too concerned and are confident viewer numbers will pick up going into the business end of league play. Big thank you to anyone who choses to tune into the MLE Network at any point. We appreciate the support and hope you enjoy the content.

MEDIA

Naturally there is a lot of focus on the franchise logos currently as they start to be revealed. So far 6 logos have been revealed: Aviators, Blizzard, Comets, Demolition, Flames & Spectre. Hopefully these logos have given everyone an idea of the general style we have tried to implement. Our vision and objective with the franchise logos was to have clean, relatively simplistic logos that gave each franchise an identity, whilst still feeling part of MLE. We wanted to stray away from the “generic” esports style logos that seem common place, as we felt they don’t really fit in with the identity of MLE. We thought we would take this moment to give a brief insight behind each logo revealed so far. The people involved in MLE hierarchy with the logo process were all Leadership and Council members, including advisors, as well as Goofy (Media coordinator) and Sleegi (Broadcast & Marketing coordinator).

The Aviators logo was the first logo created. This was done back in September 2019. We felt the simplicity of the design was one of the main positives. Not encumbered with too much detail but something straight, clear and bold. The “wing” element and the stylised chevron give the logo that identity and relatability to the Aviators without being directly obvious.

The Blizzard logo took many of us by surprise at first as like many, we didn’t naturally think of a Yeti. That being said it immediately became obvious to us and we could see the relevance. It soon felt like a unique twist, avoiding the trappings of the old snowsept mountain logo. It has divided opinion in the community however we are confident with time it will grow on people.

The Comets logo was one that pretty much was universally liked upon the first design being shown. The bold, bright colours mixed in with the imagery felt a natural fit for the franchise. The logo did undergo a small revision however as the “trail” was much longer and we envisioned this may be problematic for merch, graphics, etc. and so the designer reduced the length of to it’s now current state. For a bit of fun, we have popped the original logo below (behind a spoiler, what teases!)

reveal logo
original Comets logo

The Demolition logo was also well received upon being shown to us by the designer. We felt the mischievous look of the logo felt in keeping with the Demolition franchise, one that is associated with a bit of craziness and mayhem.

The Spectre logo, revealed this past weekend, dubbed “lil’ spooky boi”, was also generally well received. We all felt the logo had personality and seemed to fit the identity of the franchise; spooky but with a hint of playfulness that avoided the logo being too “dark” and out of touch with the overall presentational style.

Spectre logo
Spectre logo

The Flames logo, revealed on last night’s stream, was one of the more divisive logos amongst those of us involved in the process. Some of us really liked the simplicity and the fact the flames were stylised to look like an F, while others felt perhaps it needed more detail. We decided to keep the logo as it was for the time being. Throughout the process we have been conscious about time and we wanted to ensure time wasn’t being wasted “perfecting” a logo, when that time could have been used to start/develop others. Of course this doesn’t mean we said yes to every 1st draft going, the Flames was one of the logos which did undergo a slight tweak, which saw the Flames being made thicker.

Flames logo
Flames logo

After revealing these logos we have had many questions, enquiries, etc. around the whole logo design process, especially from the survey. If you have not seen it already a new channel, #logo-faq, has been created in the Discord server to answer some of the common questions asked. Hopefully this provides more clarity to the process and giving an extra level of detail to it. Don’t forget all logo reveals can be viewed on YouTube too!

Lastly we have seen some misinformation stated regarding the cost of logos. Previously we have held back discussing this however now that logos are starting to be revealed we know feel it’s the right time to offer some insight to this. Both designers we are working with offered very attractive and fair rates, which worked out at $62.50 per logo. Simple maths $62.50 x 32 is $2000. We are very happy with the quality of output in relation to the cost of production, especially considering some quotes we received while researching were 2-3 times higher than this. We would like to take this moment to thank both designers for their efforts and are looking forward to giving them the acknowledgement and respect once all 32 are revealed.

On the subject of revealing the logos we are currently revealing two a week, one at the end of every stream. We are hoping to increase this rate with a view to having all 32 released by the Championship series, though this is dependant on time and resource available. Regardless of if we can make that target, all 32 logos will be ready to go (barring any unforeseen circumstances) for Season 11.

Of course Media isn’t all about logos. The team have been working as always to ensure weekly tasks are completed and focus is now starting to shift towards playoffs. Behind the scenes Goofy is in coordination with Broadcast to bring some exciting things to stream, which we hope to bring to you in the near future. There is also a focus to automate some assets to allow for more efficient processes and working. This last week the Conference standings graphics you see on screen can now be automatically filled with the relevant stats, saving time and resource that can be spent improving elements. Big thanks to AOB for his work on making that happen.

MARKETING

It’s relatively quiet in terms of Marketing the team are currently looking towards playoffs and beyond in terms of plans. We are also reviewing our Social media interactivity and processes around it. The aim is to create a more streamlined and productive way of working, which will help us be more consistent in our promotion and activity on Social Media.

On the merch side of things the store saw a very quiet month with only 1 sale. This was to be predicted somewhat as new logos start to roll into town, there’s no doubt people will be waiting for these to be released before purchasing merch. We are hoping to add some new designs in the meantime however so keep your eyes peeled for further news on that. Unfortunately due to current coronavirus pandemic, Spreadshirt has stopped promotions (i.e. sale periods) for the foreseeable future. This is to ensure they can meet demand while also ensuring safe-working. More information can be found here.

Latest merch info. Please note there was an error with total no. of sales shown on Februarys graphic that didn’t account for 11 sales.
SPONSORSHIP

There has been a change in the Sponsorship team. Therealmobagz (yup not that fake one) has recently come on board as the new Sponsorship Coordinator taking over from Scoobert. We would like to take this moment to say thank you to Scoobert for all his work and effort during his time as Sponsorship Coordinator. Mobagz has been on the team for a while and we have full confidence he will help lead and direct the Sponsorship team.

Things have been inevitably quiet for Sponsorship whilst the change took place. The main priority for the team during this time is to maintain existing relationships and ensure any agreements are suitably met and delivered.

There was just one PowerA giveaway last month due to the bye week. VoidRL was the lucky community member who won themselves an awesome Spectra Enhanced Wired Xbox One controller. Due to the changes in the Sponsorship team there was a delay on sending out the controllers but they will soon start to be sent out to winners. We still have more PowerA giveaways coming, with 4 more Spectra controllers to give away over the course of the regular season! Congratulations to Atokad, who won this weekends giveaway!

WEBSITE

Our website is a key component of league for many reasons and there is always something happening behind the scenes when it comes to the development of it. This past month TeaBoneJones joined the website development team and he will be working on an exciting feature. Each player’s salary and rank will be available on their profile and be updated frequently so the information does not become outdated. This is something we know a number of people have requested.

We are also considering getting the content train back up and running again. If you have a passion or interest in journalism/writing and feel you could produce regular, engaging content on behalf of MLE for the website then please reach out TheGamingBear.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

As our community has grown there has been increasing interest in how things work behind the scenes and specifically where the revenue generated from Twitch, Patreon and merchandise is used. As stated frequently, revenue has mainly been used for the creation and development for logos for our 32 franchises. But we thought we would give a bit more insight into where the revenue is used and how it is essentially split. The information provided in the graphic below doesn’t account for all revenue, but more the distribution of the revenue that has been used this season.

Not all revenue that has been generated has been used. We essentially have managed revenue for future investments and projects. We are conscious of using any revenue wisely, ensuring any use of the revenue is beneficial and worthwhile. As you can see from the infographic revenue so far this season has only been used for a small number of aspects. As we near the completion of logos we can now start to look at other projects and potential investments.

In last month’s insight you may remember a brief mention regarding Patreon and a purpose to breath new life into it. As you know the world has somewhat changed this past month and we felt it best to hold off any changes for the time being. We didn’t feel it quite right promoting Patreon during this period of uncertainty. Of course we know Patreon is completely voluntary but at the same time we want to ensure people focus on what’s really important.

For those current Patreons we appreciate your continued support and we aren’t forgetting about you we can assure you. Your support has directly helped MLE, helping us fund such projects as franchise logos and ensuring we can keep services such as the website running. And while we but plans to refresh Patreon on a small hiatus you can be rest assured it gives more time to improve those changes.

So lastly we wanted to take this moment to reflect a bit on the state of things and how it effects MLE. Obviously as an online Esports organisation our operations aren’t really affected. However we know the situation is affecting many of our community members. While MLE can’t solve everyones’ problems we do want to encourage people in community to come together and support one and another through it. We have a great community built on respect and strong values, and in such testing times the strength and value of the community can be a great source of support for the people in it. So remember be kind, be respectful. Have fun and most importantly right now stay safe.

Thanks for reading,
from everyone at Minor League Esports

Inside MLE: February Monthly Insight

Welcome to the latest instalment of MLE Monthly Insight; an in-depth look behind the scenes at the different areas of MLE. In these articles we will look to give you, the community a peep behind the scenes, to see what’s happening and potentially what’s coming. So let’s get to it…

Community

Since the last insight Stovvadz has been installed as Community Director. The primary reasons behind this was to give Stovvadz more responsibility within MLE and to bolster Community operations. We are placing more than ever a greater focus on the Community, working on improving engagement and interaction. Part of those improvements have seen the Community team discuss potential surveys, which saw the release of a community survey regarding the Discord server. From this survey we have made a few changes such as merging two training channels into one, removing the redundant coaching role and looking to breath new life into the Hall of Fame amongst other things.

A new Community survey is planned to be released within the coming days. This survey will allow the Community to provide feedback on topics such as transparency, staff interactions with the community, and various other important topics. We appreciate any feedback we get and the more people that provide it the better we can act upon it and look to make improvements from it.

The Community team is also hard at work looking at how to improve how suggestions are handled. We were looking into using EMILIO (Riz’s lovechildbot) to create a new suggestion system. This has proved trickier than first thought and would be difficult to implement all the functionality we would require. Instead of implementing a bot system some upgrades have been made to the current suggestions tracker based on feedback & suggestions.

We are delighted with the response and attendance to the Council Q&As. We hope the Community have enjoyed them so far. Going forward we will look to try hold these at least bi-weekly if not more often, with at least a couple of Council members in attendance at each Q&A. Some of you maybe wondering if this signals the death of the Town Hall? Well after reviewing our operations we have decided to focus Town Halls for the off-season, when there is usually a greater influx of new members to MLE, as well as a number of organisational changes (i.e. rules, structure, etc.).

Elsewhere in the Community team, the events team has not had much success with events so far this season, with low sign-up numbers a problem. The team are committed to providing engaging and entertaining events for the community and are looking at ways to make events more attractive.

Admissions has been running smoothly, with a steady flow of new people joining the community. As always we welcome those joining and hope you enjoy being part of MLE.

Play of the Week activity has been slightly disappointing in terms of voting this season, with approximately 20 valid votes each week. We are looking at ways to improve visibility of Play of the Week and make the process more straight forward. Don’t forget You can see all the Plays of the Week winners from this Season and previous ones on YouTube.

LEAGUE OPERATIONS

Now the Season is well under way, the primary “grind” for League Ops has started. The bulk of League Ops daily work is transactions and ranks, ensuring these are dealt with efficiently and processed correctly. The start of the season always provides a few unique challenges. One of the main ones this season is a result of the change of uploading replays instead of result screenshots. There’s been a few struggles acclimating to this change but things have improved over the past few weeks and the process has become almost routine for all involved. This is only possible thanks to the efforts of the statistics team and General Managers, so thank you to all involved for their work & co-operation.

League Ops is always looking at General Managers responsibilities and how they can be simplified/made easier. With this in mind the team implemented new GM support roles including Captains & Public Relations support. These additions appear to be well received and the League Ops team is very pleased with the results fo far.

One issue the team encountered in Week 1 was with regards the server reset rules. The team addressed these by rewriting the “Once Underway” section of the rule book to better explain the process following a reset request. To our knowledge, no issues akin to what happened in Week 1 have occurred since.

Looking forward, League Ops current goals for the coming weeks include upping support for the developers team, in an effort to begin displaying on our website the work stats team has done assembling MLE’s historical data in a readable and usable fashion. This process is likely to take quite some time, but it is a daily effort from the developer team and stats team alike. They are also working on a way to open up the replays we’re collecting for community use. And finally, EMILIO is an ongoing project that League Ops intend to, one day, appoint as Supreme Ruler of League Operations.

BROADCAST

The Broadcast team has had a good start to the Season, and despite a few minor issues, have set a good foundation going forward. Very recently our Broadcast operations received a big boost thanks to Simple_Aob who has developed a system, which essentially automates key parts of our broadcast such as transitions. This system will mean, in theory, we have a greater pool of broadcasters to call upon. It also will help deliver a more consistent quality of broadcasts. So a big “nice one!” goes to Aob for implementing this for us. We have also implemented a new system for updating our scoreboard, which also simplifies the process for Broadcasters. These improvements have given us a strong platform to build upon and we are now looking at ways how we can improve our output.

Viewer numbers for the Season so far have been decent however we would like streams to consistently achieve an average of 100 viewers. We are always looking at ways to increase the attraction of broadcasts and are open to suggestions. We would like to encourage more people, especially franchise accounts, to retweet the official broadcast schedule posted on Twitter each week. This will help provide more exposure, especially in the Rocket League community. The infographic below shows viewing figures for past month and Season 10 as a whole up to now, as well as revenue generated (please note this does not take into account any commission Twitch receives).

Broadcast viewer and revenue figures. Seasonal viewing figures do not take into account draft streams but revenue figures taken from 1st January. Figures correct as of 6th March.

The Affiliate program has had a good start to the season as well, with Riyo doing an excellent job leading that side of Broadcast. We currently have a good number of people in the program close to becoming verified, which will mean more Affiliate Broadcasts! We are looking into ways we can improve the exposure of verified broadcasts. Part of the “problem” is Affiliate Broadcasts don’t follow a set schedule as do Official Broadcasts. This means we are not always sure how many Affiliate Broadcasts there will be each week and when they will be. This makes promotion a little less straight forward but not impossible. Two ways we will promote such streams are through announcements, as well as posting Affiliate Broadcasts for that week in the broadcast-schedule channel.

One element of Broadcast operations that has been discussed in the community recently is that of Broadcast series scheduling/allocation. We understand there’s a desire for teams to get a fair share of screen time and we will endeavour to achieve this were possible. Due to the manner of how series are scheduled it is not straight forward to ensure an equal spread of series amongst teams. Bearing in mind there are only 6 “stream slots” each week, which means a total of 12 teams can be streamed each week. With 10 weekends of broadcast action, which essentially means there are 60 stream slots, so there are 120 opportunities for a team to be selected. There are 112 teams in MLE (split amongst the 32 franchises), which means in theory each team could be streamed once, but for that to happen would there would need to be “perfect scheduling” (i.e. teams scheduling in broadcast times every week). Therefore it’s somewhat an impossible task so we have to strike a balance between fairness as well as ensuring the best matches are shown. The infographic below gives some detail on the broadcast spread so far this season.

Broadcast series scheduling information for the season so far.
MEDIA

Our media team has been mainly focused on cranking out the weekly assets, such as Stars of the Week, Play of the Week, etc. We have also implemented Conference standings graphics for each league, which those who tuned into the Week 3 Broadcasts will have seen (see example below). We are looking to implement more stats/info based graphics as the season progresses.

Academy League Standings going into week 2.

The team has undergone a small restructure with the addition of Wheezy to the team, whilst Porkchop and TeaBoneJones stepped down. We would like to take this moment to thank them both for their support. Wheezy brings years of expertise and knowledge that we hope will help improve our visual output.

We know everyone is eager to know more logo progress. We currently sit at 16 of the 32 logos complete, halfway there! We are really happy with the quality of the logos produced so far and look forward to seeing the remaining 16 completed. We know progress has perhaps been slower than people hoped/expected and in full honesty we would have liked the progress to be a bit quicker but we didn’t want to compromise on quality & style. With that being said we are looking into speeding up the development, with an eye to ensure all logos are complete by the end of the Season and ready to roll out for Season 11, if not earlier.

MARKETING

The Marketing department has had a somewhat slow start to the season but plans are in place to increase productivity and output. The merch store will see some new designs coming in the near future. We had planned to release them in good time for RLCS, to give anyone who was attending an opportunity to rep MLE and their favourite franchise. Sadly with the cancellation of RLCS has somewhat hampered our plans but we still plan on releasing these designs soon. We are quite happy with the results of the merch store in terms of sales since its “doors opened”.  We would like to thank all those that have support MLE via buying merch, your support has directly been invested into MLE. You can see some interesting merch data in the infographic below as well as upcoming offers. While we are generally happy with the merch store we are exploring the possibility of changing our store front as we recognise some of the limitations our current store has.

Revenue as of March 6th, 2020

In terms of Social Media, we are looking at increasing our output across all forms: Twitter, Instagram & Facebook with a view to becoming active on others. Hellyaman is currently revising the workflow in terms of Social Media output to ensure there is a consistent quality and frequency of content. In a recent meeting, franchise activity on Twitter was discussed. We are generally pleased with the levels of activity shown by franchises on Twitter and hope this continues through the season. We realise that Tweetdeck isn’t the most functional platform to post content on Twitter and are looking at how we can improve this interactivity those tweeting on franchise accounts have.

The Marketing team are also already looking ahead to the off-season and Season 11 with a view to generating more interest in and exposure for MLE, utilising visual media, such as hype videos, where possible.

SPONSORSHIP

There’s not too much happening with Sponsorship team at the moment now the Season has started. Focus is on ensuring the agreements and relationships between MLE and our sponsors are maintained. The team had hoped to acquire another sponsor for this season but ultimately a deal fell through. However we are very happy to continue to work with BAWLS & PowerA.

The community PowerA giveaway seems to be going well, with decent number of entries for both draws. There will be 6 more community draws during the regular season as well as 4 draws during the playoffs, which will be open to those outside the community. Check out some interesting stats behind the 2 giveaways. Just goes to show anyone in the community can win, regardless of how many tickets you acquire.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

We are currently in process of refreshing our Patreon with a view to offering more incentives and rewards. So far, the majority of revenue generated so far from Patroen, Twitch and merch has gone towards logos. We are now starting to focusing on ways we can invest future revenue and have a number of ideas/plans. We believe Patreon can be a great way to generate such revenue providing the community a level of transparency in terms of goals and rewarding them for their support. The finer details of this “refresh” are being ironed out with an announcement expected to happen in the very near future.

We are continually looking at ways to improve our website and have a few plans in place, such as a Community section. However priority right now is to sort out a few minor issues on the website, most notably the player “team issue” i.e. where players are assigned to the wrong teams.

And lastly back to the franchise logos. Our plan was to announce/show all 32 in a big, exciting event once they were all complete. However we have decided to change our tack and over the course of this season will be showing off a few at time. And what better time than now to show off one of the first logos that was created… the Aviators! We will let the logo do the talking first…

REVEAL LOGO


So there you have it; the first revealed franchise logo. This logo incorporates the presentational style we wanted; clean, relatively minimalistic but bold. We feel the presentational style applied to all logos allows for each franchise to emphasise their identity whilst feeling part of the MLE brand as a whole. We hope you like it and are looking forward to seeing more logos down the line. Please note while we will be releasing these logos they won’t be incorporated into MLE (I.e. Twitter pfps, on website, in graphics, etc.) until all 32 have been revealed. Thanks once again for your patience and most importantly your support during the logo creation process. The end is in sight and we can’t wait to see all the new logos in “action”.

So there you have it folks. We hope you enjoyed this insight, we took no board feedback from the last insight as well as analysing areas we could make it more informative and insightful. Till next month, have fun out there!

Inside MLE: January Monthly Insight

Welcome to the first MLE Monthly Insight; an in-depth look behind the scenes at the different areas of MLE. In these articles we will look to give you, the community a peep behind the scenes, to see what’s happening and potentially what’s coming. So let’s get to it…

Community

On the back of recent discussions in the community, we have been reviewing how we interact with the community and how we can improve such interactions. One way we communicate with the community is via Town Halls and when these have been run they have generally been quite successful. That being said there have only been a few Town Halls since their introduction and it has become apparent that perhaps the format of Town Halls isn’t quite as productive as it could be. We are currently revising Town Halls and looking at ways we can improve them.

As you will have seen we are introducing weekly Council Q&A’s. These will be smaller, less “all encompassing” meetings than Town Halls held by council members on a weekly basis. These Q&A’s will allow for community members to ask questions directly to the council. The first Council Q&A will be held by TyTy tonight at 7pm ET.

This doesn’t mean Town Halls will disappear completely but the introduction of the Q&A’s will allow for more focused opportunities for the community to interact with MLE. There are plans to improve how suggestions submitted via submission form are handled, with a view to implementing status updates on suggestions. Lastly we will be looking at having more concentrated community surveys throughout the season to really gauge community opinions.

On the events front, the team have taken this off-season to review operations, hence why there haven’t been any events since “12 Days of Christmas”. Captains Clash will return this season but will now happen on Wednesday evenings. The events team are also looking to run a pre-season event for each league as we build up to the start of the season. There are plans to try do some events based on different Rocket Leagues modes however these can only happen with enough community interest & participation. Hopefully we can increase the levels of participation this season and the introduction of an “opt-in” Events role should provide more direct attention to events. If you are interested in taking part in MLE events type the following command into the #command-center channel: !rank Events.

Lastly, Fittz is working on the return of the MLE Fantasy League and will have an announcement within the coming days.

LEAGUE OPERATIONS

With the draft now done & dusted, League Operations will now start to shift their focus to day-to-day operations; player trades, roster, changes, etc. The League Ops team still have a few things to implement and announce. One major new addition to Season 10 will be a Scheduling Server for GMs. The aim of the server is to provide an environment that centralizes communications between franchises for match scheduling.

The MLE Multi-Tool, a spreadsheet that acts as a quick reference for season fixture schedule, match times and dates, and pairing uses/reserve uses is close to being completed. The League Ops team are also close to finishing work on the MLE Scheduler, a tool for GMs to use to help coordinate their players’ schedules within the franchise.

Lastly League Ops are exploring additional support for GMs. As MLE has grown the demand, responsibilities and expectations on GMs has also increased. We want to ensure we do our best to help those who are passionate about MLE and the franchise GM’s definitely fit this criteria. We will provide more info when the exact details of the additional support have been finalised.

BROADCAST

The Broadcast team has slowly been taking shape in this off season and a new organisational structure has been put in place to ensure Broadcast Operations run smoothly. Sleegi & Theevilisback have come on board as Broadcast Coordinators, whilst Riyo will be overseeing Affiliates and InanimateJ has come back into the fold in an advisory role.

The main objective for Broadcast this season is to ensure a consistent quality of broadcasts throughout the season, which will help to provide a platform for Production for which to develop on. On top of this we want to help nurture broadcast talent, providing a pathway for talented and enthusiastic individuals to become involved with Official Broadcasts. We are hoping the application form posted in community announcements this week will help attract such individuals. We will be reviewing the applications received so far this week, thank you to all those that have applied.

There are unlikely to many drastic changes to Broadcasts this season, at least in the short term, bar a few aesthetic changes here and as of writing Broadcasts will follow same structure as last season; 3 series Saturday & Sunday evenings starting from 8pm ET.

MEDIA

Whilst we patiently wait the creation of the new team logos, the Media team has been focused on reviewing and updating assets as well as looking to implement a few new things on the way. Whenever assets are updated or created the aim is to always ensure the presentational style is consistent. No doubt you will start to see some of these improvements as we near the start of the season. We will have an update on franchise logos very soon.

MARKETING

With the recent addition of Gogurt as Marketing Coordinator, the Marketing team are currently discussing and devising plans for the season ahead and beyond. While there is not much to report as of this moment we can assure you there will be a much better focus on marketing efforts. It is important for the growth and future of MLE to ensure we are always attracting new people to the community and increasing the interest in MLE as a whole.

SPONSORSHIP

We are hoping to retain BAWLS and PowerA as sponsors for Season 10 and discussions are on going at present. Both BAWLS & PowerA have become synonymous with MLE these past few seasons and hopefully this will continue going forward. Negotiations with both sponsors are close to being finalised, with BAWLS expected to continue sponsoring Play of the Week. The sponsorship team are also looking at possibility of bringing in a few other sponsors as well but as of this moment there is nothing definitive to announce.

FINAL WORD

That wraps up the first MLE Monthly Insight, we hope you enjoyed the content & insight into MLE operations. We will look to produce these on a monthly basis to keep you, the MLE Community, updated on what’s going on behind the scenes. Obviously some months some areas might have as much to report but where possible we will keep you as informed as much as we can. Going forward we will try incorporate a bit more media when possible to make these articles more engaging.

Thank you for reading, we hope you found the information interesting. Please feel free to provide any feedback/suggestions on these Monthly Insights. Your opinions will help to shape the content, structure, etc. Until next time… have fun!

 

Inside MLE: Logo Limbo

Hey there curious wanderer! Welcome to “Inside MLE”; a new feature where we offer you, the lucky reader, an insight into the workings of MLE. We thought it might be fun, as well as interesting, to offer our community a perspective into aspects of Minor League Esports, from reasons behind decisions made to the operations of MLE.

For the first instalment of Inside MLE we will be looking at a hop topic in the community; franchise logos! Oh yes that tasty little subject, so without delay let’s get into it.

A Blast to the Past

Before we dive head first into the current situation, let’s take a trip to the past using our imaginary time machine. More specifically end of Season 7. As many of you know Minor League Esports was previously known as Minor League Doubles. This was the case going into the off-season and the future was looking promising. 6 new franchises were ready to be fully-unveiled with new logos (Goblins, Hive, Sabres, Shellbacks, Spectre, Tyrants – the Goblins and Shellbacks were subsequently changed to Express & Shadow post rebrand). Plans were in place to make Season 8 the best yet.

Alas best made plans and all that. As many people reading this will be aware, MLD underwent an unexpected rebrand during that off-season, which is how Minor League Esports was born. This isn’t 100% true as there were plans to rebrand MLD to MLE but the events that unfolded fast-tracked that. We are not here to talk about those events however but more what that meant for franchise logos and the current state of play. 

An unfortunate result of the events and the necessary rebrand we lost the rights to use the franchise and league logos. This was a huge blow, which caused the off-season to last much longer than initially planned. As we scrambled to organise and prepare for Season 8, franchise logos took a back seat. When you run a league and have an active community priority must always go to ensuring the competitive element; league play, is delivered. It is the main reason why people sign-up at the end of the day.

Despite franchise logos taking a back seat discussions were happening and research was taking place. A number of different options were considered and after much deliberation and we decided to reach out to a shortlist of designers. The plan was to have a few designers working on a set number of logos each, working towards common objectives and requirements. Unfortunately we did not get past this stage of negotiations as focus was abruptly shifted to league operations & community aspects. Again this was a case of prioritising the fundamental elements of the league. This was in part due to an unwelcome coincidence where several members of the council personal situations suddenly changed. Long story short; the availability of those in important administrative positions drastically changed and it caused potential operational problems that needed to be resolved.

The rebrand before Season 8 also saw a whole host of changes such as reducing the length of the regular season in half, the implementation of coordinators and the introduction of the Affiliate program. Arguably perhaps we tried to do too much at once and this obviously had a knock-on effect on the commissioning and production of franchise logos but during and after the rebrand we had a renewed sense of purpose and excitement. We didn’t want MLE just to be MLD, we wanted it to be better!

You said “Hey… What’s Going On?”

So that’s the brief history lesson out of the way. Now fast forward to the start of this season. Going into Season 9 we know many in the community are eager and somewhat expectant to see logos this season. Often questions arise in our community regarding franchise logos, with members “thirsty” for any updates or news. Franchise logos are an important aspect for community members, especially for those who saw the development and improvement of franchise logos in the “MLD era”. We are sure those that do remember agree that the logos were unique and of high quality. They gave MLD a real sense of identity, one that helped make it stand out from the competition.

With franchise logos being fundamentally important it’s crucial we get them right. This is one of the main reasons time is being taken. We want to ensure the logos are to the standard we expect, that fit with the overall presentation of MLE & give each franchise a unique look. Referring back to the community’s desire to see updates and progress, it’s no surprise that many have started to offer ideas and even dream up a few ideas of their own. This is fantastic. We love to see our community passionately invested in MLE and the franchises that represent it. Some will even point to designs and say “Hey, this is good. We should use this!”. We are never ones to discourage feedback or suggestions but it’s worth reiterating our intentions and desires in terms of franchise logos.

For our 32 franchise logos we want them to be unique. We want them to authentically and seamlessly fit the overall style and presentation of MLE. We want to ensure they look good, so good that players associate & relate to their franchise even more and want to buy the sweet merchandise that will come once they have been completed. This generally means we are looking at getting them professionally sourced i.e. graphic designers. While the designs and ideas provided by some of our community members have been great they are not quite up to the standard or style we are looking for and those using templates have limitations. Therefore the only realistic route we foresee is getting them professionally sourced.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

We know many people will just want an answer to a simple question? “When can we expect franchise logos?” Not to be party poopers but the answer is not for a while. It’s very unlikely franchise logos will be completed and released before the season is out. We know that news won’t be met with much excitement but we have to be realistic and to make false guarantees would not be fair to our fantastic community.

What we can announce is that discussions and negotiations are well under way. We have approached a designer we have previously interacted with with a view to getting a small selection of the logos produced. We felt that rather than try and overload a designer with numerous logos to start with, that, it would be more beneficial to commission them to produce a small sample. The benefits of this approach are that it offers a greater focus on each franchise logo. We don’t want to end up with any inconsistencies when it comes to logos so having a more focused approach will help us meet such an objective. By starting “small” it gives us greater scope to make adjustments over the course of the design & production process.

There is no set amount of time it takes a designer to create one logo. During our research and investigations we were generally quoted approximately a week per logo but obviously this varies. To give further context, the MLE logo took a few weeks from conception through to release. Now some of you reading this will think it will be the middle of next year by the time we see all 32 franchise logos however our intentions are to deliver them in a reasonable amount of time. Not sacrificing any quality or consistency along the way. Again we can’t give guarantees but we are committed to ensuring the new franchise logos will be worth the wait.

Cost is also something that gets mentioned in the franchise logo discussion. We know a good portion of our community has stated they would fully help support and invest in any fundraising if necessary. We are forever grateful for such statements and support. Our community has already shown incredible levels of support through Twitch subscriptions, donations via Patreon as well as bits on Twitch and much more. Suffice to say the revenue we have acquired since the end of Season 7 has been saved for investment, such as the commissioning of franchise logos.

We do have a decent size pool of funds from that revenue ready to invest into the production of franchise logos. While we do not wish to reveal the actual amount or discuss costs of commission we can safely say we have accrued a decent portion of the likely total costs. We do not expect anyone to personally fund such a venture or feel obliged to donate/financially support us, to those that do we offer our most heartfelt gratitude. If, for whatever reason, we feel we need to do fundraising for any venture/project, the details of which will be fully transparent to our community. Of course if we decide to go down that route we will endeavour to let our community know.

A Final Word… or Two

Well we think thats enough talk for one day. Hopefully you have enjoyed this insight into MLE and one of the hottest topics inside the community. If you have any suggestions of content you would like to see in these features please let us know. And if you have any feedback regarding this article we would greatly appreciate it. The plan is to try deliver such features at least once a month, not including the regular news updates. So if you enjoyed this feature and want to see more let us know! All comments, opinions & ideas are welcome. We will keep our community updated whenever there are any significant updates regards franchise logos you can be sure of that. Until next time, have fun out there!


If there is a topic or part of MLE you would like to be explored in a future “Inside MLE” feature please use this form to submit your suggestion. You can also use the form to provide feedback on the feature too!

Power Rankings Returns for Season 9!

Just on the surface alone, this season is probably going to be the most well-fought for in the history of Minor League Esports. So many strong and capable teams are ready to take the field this weekend. But since there are just so many rosters, and so many styles being utilized, which one stacks up the best among the rest? Let me tell you.

First off, the Power Rankings Committee has grown quite a lot since last season, so all decisions are from a larger group than you’re probably used to. At the moment, we have 4 Foundation Power Rankers, 6 for Academy, and 8 for Champion and Premier. Decisions are based more on what the collective thinks rather than one or two people having incredibly disproportionate rankings. Now let’s get into the good stuff.

Who have climbed their way to the top?

Starting with Foundation League, the Foxes received a large amount of consensus as a top tier team, never getting ranked below 3rd. zFLaME, Superflame, Avo, and Darkfire on paper seem like a dastardly squad that can dominate whenever they choose to. Let’s hope they do that to start off Week 1.

Foundation League Power Rankings

Next with Academy League, it’s quite a close race for the top spot between the Shadow and the Puffins. It was a half and half split between our 6 rankers for placing these teams at the top spot, which goes to show just how close they appear to be. For their respective conferences, they’re miles ahead of the rest of the competition. Jordak, Faker, M0rg, Shual, and Carl for the Shadow, and Aubrey, Tuxedo, MouseRat, Obsidian_Bear, and The Street Pharmacist for the Puffins. Both have incredibly experienced players on their team that can hopefully lead the rookies to glory, if they truly are the best conference teams.

Academy League Power Rankings

Something that struck me as very odd with Champion League, is that everyone agreed on a selection. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much consensus on one team before. That team being the Knights, as 1st overall. When you know the Knights’ roster consists of MikeIsMyIke, Lil Q, Primed, Taels, and tehblister, that makes it even more apparent. Blue Conference teams beware, because this is the team to beat if you want any hope of a championship title in a few months.

Champion League Power Rankings

Finishing it off with Premier League, it ended up being the polar opposite of Champion League. Very little consensus on many teams, and the top team was only voted as such by 2/8 rankers. Before you ask, no I don’t rank Premier League, so don’t say I’m biased while the Bears are the team to beat. The Bears do have quite the roster of players that have been quite notable throughout many seasons of play. KILT, Atokad, Koalemos, and Mage. Whether it stands up to scrutiny is all down to these first few weeks. I sure hope it does…

Premier League Power Rankings

What players are looking strong?

There’s a new section of Power Rankings now. The spiritual successor to Fantasy League, the PRC are now able to rank individual players in the same way we do teams. Now, do be aware that since this is preliminary rankings, individual player rankings are going to likely be way more inaccurate than team rankings. This is just to introduce the concept, and to let people know just who looks like they’re pumped, and ready to kick some butt.

Foundation and Academy league have abstained from ranking players until Week 1 in order to wait for more important data. Champion and Premier League both have done rankings to varying degrees.

For Champion League, unsurprisingly the top player also happens to come from the top team, Lil Q has definitely proved themselves to be the most valuable player taken during the draft. Very close behind are other incredibly valuable picks, such as Keiko for the Sabres, Phyrexius on the Wizards, Thunderballs on the Outlaws, and GreatGodZeus for the Sharks to round out the top 5. These 5 have proven to be quite hte opponents during the offseason, some of them on the verge of ranking up into Grand Champion, even moreso proving their worth. They’re quite clearly the star players for their respective teams and hopefully we see them put to good use. To finish out the top 10, 6th goes to Water on the Bears, 7th to Bones on the Flames, 8th taken by the Knights GM Mike, 9th to Ezra on the Foxes, and ending off 10th with a three-way tie between Soul, Vandy, and Rushy.

I did lie somewhat about Premier League before, as instead of having a consensus on a best team, they decided to do it for best player, which they gave to 2nd overall pick to the Hawks, TestGravity. Having ranked up to an 18 salary, he’s no doubt going to be the player that brings the Hawks’ game to a whole other level. The only player that’s vaguely in Test’s ballpark is Zack, the Wolves’ star 17 salary. From their the top 5 rounds out quite nicely with the Puffin’s Bolio, the Hive’s Satsz, and the Comets’ Erayne. Had the Comets stayed in the Blue Conference, all top 5 players at the start of the season would have come from there. Thankfully the rest of the top 10 is rounded out by mostly Orange Conference players. Bits and Smurf taking up 6th and 7th, Maple being the lone Blue Man in 8th, and 9th and 10th finishing us off with Red Line and Lotty Lettuce.

Final Words

Since we’ve got nothing else to go on other than our own thoughts and ideas, I guess we have to wait and see if we’re right. There are many ways you can achieve that this season. The main way is to follow and keep up with the streams on the MLE twitch accounts, and yes that’s plural accounts. https://www.twitch.tv/mlesportsgg for all of your Champion League and Premier League content, and https://www.twitch.tv/mlesportsgg2 for your Foundation League and Academy League content.

However, if you want even more than that, there’s going to be two ‘MLE Monday’ or ‘Behind the Goal’ style shows for you to watch during the intermission between weeks. Scoobert and sgtmc50cal will be streaming their Sgt. Scooby Show on Monday evenings, the first having gone live at 7:30pm Eastern. They explained everything they had planned for the future in their first instalment, so go check that out here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/463102347

The other option will be my own stream every Tuesday at 8pm Eastern where I’ll be going over primarily Champion League action, and a lot of statistics, so if you’re into that kind of stuff, here you go: https://www.twitch.tv/zytabyte

Check in next week to see how the Power Rankings have changed after the first week of action!