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MSI preview: Counter Logic Gaming, champions of North America

Fresh off a five-game series win over Team SoloMid in Las Vegas, CLG heads to Shanghai.

Riot Games

Part II of a series quickly previewing each team at MSI. The schedule can be found here.

Who they are: Counter Logic Gaming, North American League Championship Series champions.

What they did this season: Second place in the NA LCS Spring Split, with a 13-5 regular season record. Only team to beat first-place 17-1 Immortals in the regular season. First place in the NA LCS Spring Playoffs after beating No. 4 seed Team Liquid (3-2) and No. 6 Team SoloMid (3-2).

Their history: Formed in April 2010, CLG is the oldest active League team. CLG won the 2010 WCG Grand Finals, and placed fifth in the Season 1 Championship (the predecessor of Worlds). CLG won IEM Cologne and MLG Raleigh in 2011, and then went on a tournament drought.

After finishing in 9th/10th at the Season 2 Championship, CLG did not qualify for Worlds until last year, when it won the 2015 NA LCS Summer Split (its first championship since Raleigh). CLG repeated as NA LCS winners in the 2016 Spring Split with a new, younger roster, beating bitter rivals TSM in the finals for the second straight season.

CLG's roster has a mix of veterans and younger players. Darshan, Xmithie and Aphromoo have all been around since the beginning of the NA LCS, while Stixxay and Huhi are younger players that came up through CLG's farm system.

Their roster:

Position Player Most played champions (career) Previously played with
Top Darshan Jax, Rumble, Riven, Shyvana Team Coast, Team Dignitas
Jungler Xmithie Lee Sin, Jarvan IV, Elise, Gragas XDG Gaming
Mid Huhi LeBlanc, Zed, Lulu, Corki Quvic (KR), CLG Black
ADC Stixxay Tristana, Lucian, Kalista, Ezreal Denial eSports, CLG Black
Support Aphromoo Thresh, Alistar, Morgana, Braum

Why to watch their games: Rooting for the underdog is fun, and CLG will surely be the underdog in every game that isn't against SuperMassive eSports. Plus, Darshan and Aphromoo are two of the best players at their position in the region, now going up against significantly tougher competition.

Why they could win: CLG's younger players really started to come into their own in the playoffs, and the team seems to gel very well.

Why they won't: They are not SKT.