Missing In Action (Team MiA) were a team who I personally thought would have a much easier time making it to the playoffs - but it goes to show that if you find yourself caught out on just one bad day then things can get very close. In the final week of the league they defeated The Dead Generation 4-0 to stay above Gravity in the standings and squeeze into the playoffs. Having talked to their manager throughout the Season (who was really awesome and kept the Group C Liquipedia page up to date!) I knew he would have been very disappointed if they had not made it into the Playoffs, even against the tough competition which awaited them in the Group.
They started 2014 with a bang, for a team who not many will recognize outside of their association with Starbuck, they went deep into the first ESL Euro Series of the year, falling to mouz 2-3 in the semi-finals and to Acer in the 3rd place match. They placed above many fan-favorite teams such as Fnatic and Dignitas and really managed to prove to the viewers that their line-up of players has the possibility to take on absolutely anybody.
As you will see in the interview with their manager they have an extremely confident attitude heading into the playoffs and this is going to do nothing but help them continue their strong performance from the EES, not only as a collective team but for all of their players who have performed so well in recent weeks. Though Starbuck is still the only member to have major tournament results for the Slovenian team, it is surely only a matter of time for the rest of their players bring their team league performances into individual leagues and begin making strong runs in individual league qualifiers.
As mentioned before we got to chat with Andraž ‘eLephaNt’ Klevže - the manager for Team MiA - to see what he had to say about the league so far and his teams performance so far this year.
Wardi : Congratulations on making it to the playoffs. It was a rough road to make it this far - were you expecting it to be this difficult?
eLephaNt : To be honest yes, we were expecting that it was going to be a bumpy road, but we were kind of positive, that we would make it into the playoffs.
Wardi : Which teams from the groups put on a better showing than you expected?
eLephaNt : For our group, I can surely say, that i am impressed about nB's play, and tbh, I didn’t expect them to be on top of the group besides us and ESC :P Also, I need to say, that Team Gravity put up a great fight, and nearly made it.
For other groups, tbh, I didn’t pay that much/serious attention, but I can say, that if Karnage doesn’t make it into the playoffs, that i`ll be disappointed/surprised. I also expected Core Gaming to advance from group D, and thats kind of it as far as it goes with my expectations.
Wardi : Now you are in the playoffs you arguably have the easier side of the brackets - are you confident of making it to the finals?
eLephaNt : Yes, of course we are! We’re always aiming/looking towards victory!
Wardi : Your first round opponents are Vega Squadron who have proven to be a scary team in the group stages - how confident are you going into this first match?
eLephaNt : To be honest, we’ve proven, that we can "fight" against every top EU team, such as Acer, mouz, Fnatic, Dignitas, etc... so, yea, we’re kind of confident. We are far from underestimating them, I just think, that we have a good chance, to turn this clan-war into our favor.
Wardi : You have already had an impressive start to the year with your 4th place finish in the ESL Euro Series - do you have any specific goals for 2014?
eLephaNt : Yes, thats true! And believe or not, with a little more luck, we would have played in the Finals (2-3 vs mouz in semi). But fourth place is also one hell of an achievement, to be frank.
Our most important "specific" goal for this year is, to visit a few premier/major LAN events, such as DreamHack, IEM, ...
Of course its important that we do well in various team-leagues as well, and we’ll do our best, that we keep up the good work, and keep the good team-spirit, with as many bootcamps/private LAN events as possible!
Wardi : Good luck in the playoffs - are there any shout outs or special mentions you wish to make?
eLephaNt : Thanks a lot!
Shout out to all Team MiA and Connecting Slovenia members!
A special thanks goes to all of our supporters and of course to all the fans and followers!!
Best regards, eLephaNt aKa A74c0r!
Coming into the top half of the bracket they will avoid many of the favorite teams until the finals - but it is important to remember what many teams have been saying : “This is the playoffs and these teams are here for a reason.” If MiA keep this in mind then their experiences should be able to take them a long way for the remainder of the league.
Missing In Action - Group C - Position : 3rd - Wins : 10 - Losses : 3 - Map Wins : 46 - Map Losses : 20 - All-kills : 6