It’s not often that one team can be so strong in an esport. You think of Team Liquid’s dominance in the LCS, or Sonicfox’s run from Injustice through MK11. But every now and then you see a team that completely runs the table and feasts on their competition. Maryville University is such a team. They’ve won three of the last four CLOL championships and started this season with a win at the UCLA Invitational. So going into HUE 2020 Maryville weren’t just favorites, it would have been a tragedy if they DIDN’T win. And boy, did they ever.
No Losers Here
The HUE bracket for League was a bit different from Overwatch. Harrisburg and Maryville both fielded two teams, and the overall number of teams was significantly smaller. However, that didn’t stop some of the top teams from dominating the field. Eventually, in knockout rounds, the usual suspects were all present. Harrisburg Storm and Tempest, Maryville A & B, Columbia, and Illinois Wesleyan all counted themselves among the final teams remaining. And after some fairly straight forward quarterfinals, the semis ended up just as we expected with Harrisburg/Maryville on both sides of the bracket.
Even though they said that Columbia was better than HU, Maryville ended up facing them in the penultimate matches. Maryville A leaned on their jungler, Iconic, who can dominate games on Graves. The B team often played through their ADC, Evan RL. Its a shock that EvanRL is playing on the B team as he could easily be a starter on any other collegiate team. But when it was all said and done in the semis, it was Maryville v. Maryville.
The all-Maryville Grand Final was more competitive than one would think. In game 1, the mid-lane played shockingly well for Maryville B. Spirax played on Azir and took fights to Wolfe. With the B team winning the opener, the reigning college champions looked like their backs were against the wall. But Maryville A made some key adjustments for Game 2. They increased their mobility by picking Pyke and Hecarim in support and jungle. With those two champions, they were able to isolate Maryville B in the mid-game. Many fights for the B team started with them being short-handed, because of A’s ability to pick off stragglers. With the series tied, Maryville B made the awful mistake of letting Iconic back onto his favored Graves. The final game never looked comfortable for Maryville B, and thus the champions remained so.
The Best Program Ever?
If there was an argument that any other teams could touch Maryville University in League that’s been put to bed. They’ve not only started Fall 2020 with major wins, but they’ve also proved their secondary team is the SECOND best League squad. With that much depth, who can challenge Maryville? Unlike the pros, there’s a finite window on how long a team will stay together. Whether its graduation or transfer, the turnover of players in college is simply greater. For Maryville to maintain this level of form for nearly five years is shocking. And if they win another CLO title, it is hard not to call them the greatest college league program ever assembled.