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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.