DFH Stadium erupted into a frenzy of cheering, and preparedness as the ceremonial torch was set ablaze for the 8th time in history.
Eight brand new bases have been scouted out and settled. The Express headed toward the trainyard, couping up in a few slightly rundown passenger trains. The Eclipse started toward the tallest peak, forever ready to honor the celestial event at any time. Most of the Hive decided it best to use some funds, and buy a few apiaries to aid in the current bee crisis. Sabres were the quickest to leave, darting toward the jungle- Elite’s jungle. The towering Tyrants began to roam the plains, the marshes, and the tundras without a care in the world to be brought along with. The Spectre waited for every squad to depart, and began to recite short incantations, as they slowly descended below the Earth. Shadow and Outlaw– well no one is quite sure where they ended up.
What remained were the 24 returning rosters. All went about their normal season routines, heading off in many directions, some the same. The mightiest of the Elite abruptly chased after a few Sabres fleeting off into their territory. While the violent Blizzard surrounded the Bears, covering their already frosty forest with a much thicker blanket.
As the groups left, the storm came, rapidly transforming the placid, flowery field that surrounds DFH Stadium into a musty swamp. The storm lasted weeks.. long enough to flow into the start of Week 1, where we saw a wide assortment of playstyles, players, and creativity.
Champion League, now eclipsed by the highest of the high, Premier League, arguably saw the most colorful range of groundbreaking starts to a season. Undoubtedly the most assertive of these was the Puffins 5-0 carnage brought down onto the Lightning. The two newcomers, Trent and BazedN, knew exactly what they wanted to do– and boy did they ever do it perfectly. Beating the Lightning roster of robin and Magnus is by no means simple. Especially when robin had set a new league-wide record of 22 saves in a series. Robin’s absurd defensive prowess will be sadly relegated to a reserve spot, although his efforts were not in vain. They showed the Puffins can indeed be slowed down, quite a bit. Whether or not another team wants to try that is a question of both sanity and courage.
Also dipping their toes into the domination section, are two of our newest additions. The sly Shadow and the chugging Express excellently handled themselves in getting convincing sweeps.
The Express vs Hawks match on Saturday showed the untapped potential kept in Manatee for far, far too long. He and newly found recruit Flog Pops rammed head-on into the unready GM Shackelz and T3nshuN. The Hawks have a propensity for starting season shaky and ending strong. Whether or not that strategy continues to work out will be a matter of if they can analyze precisely where they went wrong, and fix it. The best tool for any losing team is to remain calm, and learn. It is up to the Hawks to flex their wings, and the Express to keep things oiled properly, otherwise, you might find them in an uncomfortable position at the end of the season.
The Shadow, the 3rd and final team to end the premier week in style, did so in a lobby chock-full of MLE veterans. GM Euronate led, former Blizzard, Thunder through a winding path of being hidden in plain sight. Icey6, GM for the Blizzard, and Jroja, Academy League Foxes alumni were quite taken aback at the sheer ability to be on defense at the absolute perfect times. This 0-5 loss is by far the most misleading we have seen yet. The Blizzard actually outshot the Shadow 45 to 41. Their offense was most surely there. However, the only problem was that pesky defensive rotation. 23 saves came on the Shadow’s defensive end. Saving over half of the opponent’s shots in a 5 game set is ridiculously difficult. This week, the Shadow singlehandedly proved that you do not have to be the most offensive to be the most dominant, a feature of their play we would all like to see more of. The Blizzard had bad luck. They are the guinea pigs to see how overpowered the Shadow’s strengths are when they have been hidden. Unless they can be well studied, we might be seeing the best contender for a #1 league spot.
The only match being mentioned that was not a sweep is one of the most interesting reverse sweeps the league has seen in quite some time. Sabres and Outlaws on Saturday night. This match, to most people, was probably a toss-up. Their results back that up. 3-2 in favor of the Sabres. K3vbeast and Big Boi Johnny donned the gray, and Saucey and notmike the red. K3v and notmike had ranked up from Academy League the season prior, and both were joined by a fresh, high ranking recruit. The Outlaws to start went all out. 5-1 and 3-2. 17 total shots. Johnny and K3v were at 10 saves combined at that time. Something had to change before it got more out of hand. And then, they saw their chance. Overconfidence. A great player’s biggest weakness. They caught notmike and Saucey off guard, blowing them away with a 5-2 domination, 10 shots to 6. K3v takes it a step further in the 4th game, duking it out with Saucey. K3v, shooting 4 for 5, Saucey 3 for 3. All tied up. They both knew what could happen. Either you kill their dreams, or
they destroy yours first. At that thought, it had to come down to a bloodbath. A margin of one goal was all it took for the Sabres to walk out of DFH exhausted but victorious.
Starting the season comes with a statement. It defines what the onlookers expect from you. If you’ve started strong, they expect you to stay strong. If you start weak, they expect you to stay weak. However, sudden shifts have become quite commonplace. The trio of 5-0s this week could very easily be followed by a trio of 0-5s. MLE is dynamic, every appearance influences how other teams play against you and try to beat you. Great teams are not going to be the strongest offensively, defensively, or rotationally. They are going to be the ones that can throw the other off guard the best, and be able to react to the other effectively. Week 1 has called, and now we’re waiting on Week 2’s response. Only time will tell us what it is.