Maverick LOL Team Competes in First Varsity Tryouts

Daniel McElroy ® Staff Writer |

Minnesota State University, Mankato’s League of Legends club team from the MavLoL RSO had their first tryout for the Varsity Esports team this weekend at the Drury Esports Invitational. The players trying out are being evaluated on how well they work with each other and how they communicate, rather than overall performance.  

The online tournament, hosted by Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, invited fourteen schools who are all members of the National Association of Collegiate Esports. Teams from Western Kentucky University, St. Clair University, and Indiana Tech are just a few of the participants to take part in the two-day long event.  

The Mavericks were placed into one of two groups with six other teams in a single round robin. The top four teams from each group advance to the knockout stage where teams will play in several best of three series’ in an attempt to advance to the finals.  

MNSU had a very slow start by dropping their first three games of the tournament.  

“Even if we lost, it was still genuinely fun to play professionally with the team,” said Danny ‘Bamboo’ Le, a sophomore majoring in computer science. “I took it more as a team bonding experience than anything.”

Marian University put on a great team-fighting performance after a close early game with the Mavericks. The Sabres were led to victory by challenger ranked attack damage carry, ‘Khappaccino,’ on his outstanding 11/1/10 Jhin play. 

The Mavericks were met in game two with a strong Indiana Tech team who were able to maintain an early game lead to an ultimate victory. Indiana Tech took advantage of several individual and team mistakes. 

MNSU’s top laner, Xavier ‘Playmaker2000’ Vang, made an attempt to save the game on a great display of his Volibear, but the gold difference was just too big across the map to make a comeback.  

MNSU thought they would have an easier time against a struggling University of Montana team, but in the end fell to their own demise. An unfortunate early solo kill for University of Monatana’s mid laner would snowball the game as the Mavericks tried to drag out the game a little longer to hit their power-spikes, but could not survive long enough and started the first half of their day with an 0-3 record. 

Starting jungler and graduate student in sport management, Noah ‘Peekaboo’ Micke, was only looking forward and trying to figure out how to pull out a win. “I wanted to be on a stronger jungler [character],” Micke said. “I felt like it was on me to turn the day around for us.” 

After a long break and mental reset for the Mavericks, they were able to pull out their first win of the day against St. Ambrose University Fighting Bees. The players were able to put together their best teamwork performance after a massively winning draft from the help of their coach Ali “Gegabyte” Abulizz. They would use this momentum going into possibly the toughest opponents they would play so far in Illinois College.  

Illinois College came into this matchup 4-1 on the day with their only loss being to Blinn College. Illinois College went into this game with a questionable, very short-ranged draft, while the Mavericks had a massive, front line, hard-engage, and plenty of damage. 

MNSU showed just how well they can work together through their communication and individual skill. The Mavericks would pull out the win in an eventful 31 minute game. 

The final game of the day would be against the Blinn College Buccaneers, who went into this match with a 5-1 record. Blinn College picked a late game scaling composition with the likes of Kassadin in the mid lane and Gangplank in the top lane, while the Mavericks relied on their hard-engage from Hecarim, Sivir, and Lulu.

Mechanical misplays would be the ultimate downfall of the Mavericks in this matchup, as they would lose early skirmishes to put themselves behind in gold before they could get to the point of teamfighting.  

The Mavericks showed a valiant effort in their tryout but fell short of making it out of the group stage with a final record of 2-4 on the day. Although that doesn’t mean that the entire day was a total waste. 

The second day of the tournament proved to be just as exciting as the first with Illinois College and St. Clair University battling it out in the finals. St. Clair University would come out on top with a 2-1 victory over Illinois College.  

Tryouts for Minnesota State University, Mankato will be wrapping throughout the week with the hopes to have the team finalized by this Friday, Oct. 30.

Header photo courtesy of Sam Tran.

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