The Boston Red Sox had to wait 85 seasons, the Arizona Cardinals are heading into the 67th season waiting for the next, and the Chicago Cubs are still waiting on the first. We’re talking about championships. In the history of sports, championship droughts are dramatic, tragic, or met with malice, while in young eSports, they are not so common. Most of the time a team that struggles to put together wins disbands, but it’s a different case for Neolution eSports.MRR. The proud Thai franchise waited patiently for almost two years until they once again reigned supreme this past weekend.

The team with anchor Chitawan`X went through ups and downs, horrible seasons and nail-biting losses in the Grand Finals, only to finally bring one home. The history of this long drought is told very quickly. When the Thai scene opened up towards the NA/EU tournaments and HoN developed more and more into an international game, Team MRR was the hottest team. As a result they traveled to DreamHack Winter 2012, only losing a single Bo2 series against Tt eSports. The rest of the results were either ties against big teams like QsQ or Trademark eSports, in addition to a hard victory over Brazilians vTi.Dynasty.

After that performance, their struggle in Thailand began with two other teams marching into the title picture. First it was Made in Thailand.s2y, then it was Turtle Master. Both teams stole the spotlight and prevented Neolution eSports.MRR from scoring the gold - although they were always in it. For the past two years no cycle passed in which MRR wasn’t in the playoffs, no tournament in Thailand ended without Neo.MRR in the title mix. That resulted in three Grand Finals losses in SEA HoN Tour, a Grand Finals loss in the SEA HoN Tour playoffs and bad dream at the HoN Tour World Finals.

Adding insult to injury was the first cycle of Thai HoN Tour, in which Neo.MRR went straight to the finals one more time, but were shut down by their nemesis - Hybrid Gaming. A total of five blown chances were the depressing resume of Neolution eSports since SEA HoN Tour opened. Still, key players like Chitawan and duiqu stuck with the team, they never stopped believing, finally putting an end to the streak this weekend.

They even did it in convincing fashion. First they entered the playoffs as the first overall seed with an undefeated record and only 6 points shy of the maximum point total. 45 points was a state only Orange eSports had ever reached in the SEA HoN Tour before, while Thai HoN Tour usually showed more competitive spirits throughout. Regardless of that, Neo.MRR played out of their minds in the regular season and were relentless in the playoffs. Every misstep by Turtle Master was punished, every team fight was coordinated well, and ganks went according to plan. The stereotype of a well-oiled machine was fitting for the display Neo.MRR put on.

Turtle Master could only fight off the MRR train one time, in the second game. The rest of the games was not necessarily one-sided like the Neo.Dominatrix girls earlier in the weekend, but they were still decisive. The first match was a laning win for MRR that TurS never recovered from, only to turn the tables in Game 2. Then it was Turtle Master to come out ahead in the early game, demonstrating their great ability in that phase. In typical TurS fashion they didn’t surrender anything after being ahead, tying the series and making it a contest. The nerves of MRR held up, the fear of the streak didn’t factor in and the third one went in their favor once more. This time it wasn’t really an early game edge, but more midgame pressure they applied. While the kill count was as close to equal as you could get, the gold and experience chart saw Neo.MRR well ahead. A push onto high ground in the bottom lane sealed the deal and put MRR within striking distance of a title.

A title that they clinched only a short while later, after the closest of close games. Around the 30 minute mark the gold and experience gap was only 2000 each. Both teams gave nothing for free, slugging it out and responding to every advancement with the perfect counter. It was clear from that point on, the first one to make the tiniest mistake would end up losing. Unfortunately for the Turtles, they were the one that blinked first and surrendered a kill, which turned into an uncontrollable avalanche. The bottom lane fell as a result of that and Neo.MRR was able to push even further and take out the shrine.

The relief was visible afterwards, when the Garena Thai cameras caught the team celebrating. The curse was broken, the dry spell over and the drought gone. The team with famous Thai carry duqui and long-reigning MRR captain Chitawan stuck with the program and have now a title and a showcase of loyalty to show for it. Turtle Master on the other hand is now in the position MRR was in, as their drought starts. Even before the team with long-time member HookyHook was prone to lose their cool in crunch time, failing to punch the DreamHack ticket at two separate occasions. Will they now be the new team to go a long time without a title or can they bounce back next cycle?

Time will answer that question. Now all the teams need to use the offseason as efficiently as possible. TurS still has to get better with the new lineup, Hybrid Gaming needs to rethink their approach after the crushing playoff exit by TurS, and Neo.MRR can’t take it easy now. All teams will now gun for them, as well as Shooter eSports’ stars Tianza and Esc` looking to finally make it into the playoffs. Thailand is going wild once more - in only 2 weeks.

About The Author: Fantasy


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