The Most Iconic Esports Moments: The Comeback — Moscow 5 vs. CLG EU

It was one of the largest gold deficits ever accumulated in professional League of Legends, and it was an even larger comeback. Some games of League of Legends don’t even have 26K gold for one team, but for CLG.EU, they had to overcome that deficit in order to secure a victory.

The Dreamhack Summer 2012 group stage game started out very peculiarly, as CLG.EU got off to an uncharacteristic early lead through roams from Henrik “Froggen” Hansen. As the match went on, Moscow5 used their patented aggression and mechanical proficiency to outplay their opponents on dangerous tower dives. Champions such as Karthus and Corki helped secure those kills.

In Season 2, Dragon gave gold for being killed, so constant control over that objective allowed Moscow5 to accumulate a substantial gold lead. Baron was also not the pushing presence it is today, instead giving gold and combat stats. In the end, it was up to players to use those resources to outscale and outfight their opponents.

And that’s where Moscow5 went wrong.

Though the team had the skill and champions to decimate CLG in teamfights, they struggled to get anything going thanks to their poor sieging attempts. As they rotated from mid lane to a side lane attempting to bulldoze their way through a tower for upwards of 20 minutes, CLG and Froggen in particular were there to completely clear the creep wave and make it that much more difficult to dive into the base and destroy the towers.

If this were any other season later into the game’s existence, this stall may not have been possible. As Korea’s CJ Blaze introduced the concept of wave management in games, teams were better able to plan these inhibitor sieges in advance and push into the base as another large wave was coming to greet the defending team in another lane. If that happened, Froggen would be stretched too thin to protect both lanes at once.

Instead, Moscow5 struggled to break the base and fell right into the trap that was set 55 minutes prior. Using their own aggression against them, Froggen walled in the diving force of Moscow5 and sealed their fate. Moscow5 didn’t back down, even as Guardian Angels triggered and the sustain of CLG.EU proved too hard to break down. With the ice wall melting, Moscow5’s lead followed suit.

As one of the greatest comebacks in League of Legends history, Moscow5 versus CLG.EU stands tall as an iconic moment and the quintessential match between two legendary European teams and their conflicting styles.

Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a news editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.

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