As we already saw three (and a half) stages played, I think it is time for a little summary of this amazing Event.
ECL started with a 1v1 tournament at the Europe East stage followed by a 4v4 tournament
ECL Europe East 1v1
The huge favourite going into the 1v1 tournament was TheViper winning NAC, KotD and MoA5, the three biggest previous 1v1 tournaments.
It was expected for Liereyy, the runner up in KotD and NAC to face him once again in the final.
In the first round almost all favourites won their games with the exception of Hearttt, who lost to Mattheus from team Heresy (former Coachers) in a close set of games with 1-2.
While favourites like Liereyy, DauT, Yo and Vivi had clear 2-0 wins TheViper struggeled in his match against ACCM from VNA, where he lost on Scandinavia.
In the end he overcame ACCM on Arena in a deciding third Game.
In an exciting match vivi won 2-1 after losing the first game.
With the semifinals up next we had the ultimate clash of Europes two best 1v1 players with Chinas best 1v1 players.
In a thrilling set Vivi was able to beat Liereyy 3-2. After being down 0-2 in the beginning he was able to comeback.
This was Vivis first major success in an international tournament, especially after going out early in previous tournament decpite having a really high ELO.
It was a dominat performance by TheViper, sweeping Yo 3-0, once again showing his strenght.
In the final TheViper, once again dominated and swept Vivi 3-0, but as we learned from Zak before the games were casted, Vivi was ill for a couple of days before he was playing TheViper and therefore wasn't plaing under perfect conditions.
In the general standings Secret took the lead over Frantic and SY in 2nd and 3rd place.
The biggest surprise of the tournament was Mattheus beating aMs Hearttt, while Hearttt also was the biggest upset, closely followed by Liereyy losing in the semifinals to Vivi.
The most exciting series were dogao vs TheMax in the first round, Vivi vs dogao in the second round and vivi vs Liereyy in the semifinals.
ECL Europe East 4v4
The second stage of ECL Europe East was a 4v4 tournament.
Going into the tournament many thought that Secret or aM were favourites to win this tournament. As they were facing eachother in the first round, this matchup was considered as an early finale.
In the first round we had four really close matchups all ending 2-1.
While BzK (former LoS) overcame Heresy, the second casted set was aM facing Secret.
With the potentially two best teams facing this early we were ready for a hughe fight and both teams delivered.
The first game was an exciting matchup on Acropolis where both teams nearly mirrored their civs, except for TheViper and Mbl. TheViper chose Mongols, while Mbl chose Slavs.
This was the deciding factor, as TheViper with Mongols in the post imperial fight, with less and less wood on the map, had a much better civ compared to Mbls Slavs who were mainly producing wood costly units like halbs and SO.
After a long fight with thousands of units dying on the battelfield Secret was finally able to break the bombardtower defence in the middle and pushed the trade on the left side.
The second game on Budapest saw players very close to each other.
Nicov, under pressure by TheViper, decided to sling Liereyy, who was able to crush both DauT and Jordan on the other side of the map, to equalize the score for aM.
The deciding third match on Cross saw TaToH slinging the Goth player Jordan, who didn't really advance on his side, but on the other flank TheViper with Celt siege was able to heavily pressure Mbls castles and with the help of his team, was able to crush his flank, forcing the gg and therefore the victory for Secret.
The semifinals saw Secret facing BzK and the Brazilians nearly won the game, but lost 2-3 to Secret in the end.
After 3 games the score was 2-1 for BzK, but once again Secret could rely on TheViper to play a decicive part in their victory.
In the fourth game on Baltic, he went FC longboats as Vikings to win water and ultimately the game.
Game five once again saw TheViper playing with Celt siege on Cross to secure the victory.
In the other semifinal SY convincingly swept VNA 3-0 and advanced to the finals against Secret.
Despite having a tough time in the previous rounds against BzK and aM, Secret was able to sweep SY in the finals 3-0.
After being down 2-0 SY seemed broken and played the final game without their starplayer Yo, while for Secret Slam made his first appearance in the Tournament.
The biggest upset was once again aM, even though they lost to Secret, they for sure didn't plan to lose in the first round.
The biggest Surprise was VNA beating Frantic to secure a spot in the semifinals.
The most exciting Series to watch were aM vs Secret in the first round and Secret vs BzK in the semifinals.
With Europe east finished, Secret was convincingly leading the overall score, followed by a surprisingly strong SY.
Suomi and Heresy were in last place and while Heresy was expected to struggle, Suomi was expected to have a chance for a top4 finish and therefore were the disappointment of Europe East.
aM, the expected rival of Secret also found themself in position outside of the top4 but considering that they faced Secret in the first round, it wasn't that bad of a performance.
SY being able to beat most teams on the other hand, was surprising for some. After this stage they were now a favourite besides aM and Secret to make a top2 finish and go to the LAN event.
ECL Africa 2v2
ECL Africa started with a 2v2 Tournament.
aM was expected to perform well this time, as they played with their potentially strongest linup consisting of Liereyy and Hearttt.
In the first round we saw a lot of surprising results, starting with aM losing to Frantic.
Liereyy and Hearttt, the duo that has the most experience playing together in aM, lost to Tim and CL.
In the deciding third match we saw a strong FC from CL and Liereyy, who usually is considered the best micro player of AoE2, lost most of his crossbows to mangonelshots from CL.
After the strong performance in the first tournament by Vivi, Frantic had another good tournament ahead.
In the third matchup we had the two leading Teams SY and Secret face each other.
SY swept Secret 2-0. Yo and Lyx dominated the Secret team consiting of TheViper and Slam on Gorge and on Islands.
It was the first loss of TheViper in ECL.
The last game was a 2-1 victory of Suomi over Heresy.
In the game of the two teams in last position, Suomi was victorious and finally secured themselfs their first semifinal in ECl.
In the semifinals we saw Frantic beating VNA in a very close match 3-2.
Being down 2-1 Frantic managed to come back and they beat VNA in a final game on Serengeti. Chosing strong civiliazations with Berbers and Indians they were able to dominate in castle age and won the game with this advantage.
SY won 3-1 in the end, losing the first game on Sahara, but winning the next three games.
The all chinese final with SY vs Frantic saw a rather short and dominat victory of SY, they swept Frantic 3-0 resulting in SY taking the overall lead over Secret in ECL.
Frantic follows on third place, while we see Heresy at the bottom of the scorboard and on 7th place aM.
The most disappointing results were Secret and aM losing to SY and Frantic, while aM had a close matchup Secret underperformed heavily losing both matches without a chance of winning.
Frantic was the biggest surprise of this tournament, reaching the Finals without their starplayer Vivi against players like Liereyy and BacT.
Especially the third match between Frantic and aM is worth watching, the fast castle age from CL is very "out of the box" and risky, but worked perfectly, while I personally enjoyed the series between VNA and Bzk in the first round. (MembTV on super HYPE mode casting is a pleasure).
At last I want to summarise the whole event so far.
Secret and SY are the most successful teams until now, while Secret won the first two tournaments, SY was able to strike back and knocked out Secret in the first round of Africa 2v2.
They are the well deserved leaders of the current scoreboard.
Frantic is showing a strong performance, and while they didn't convince in the 4v4 tournament, they reached two finals in the other tournaments.
Suomi and BzK still have to find better results, only 1 semifinal each is not enough for their potential, but there are still 11 tournaments to find success.
aM is the big disappointment so far.
Losing to Secret in the 4v4 was expected by many, but their results in the other tournaments were pretty underwhelming, it seems like they need to focus more on mbl, who recently had strong performances, especially in T90s Hiddencup.
They also "signed" Hera from Heresy to strengthen their roster, a good move considering, that they were the only team with 4 players in ECL.
While Heresy had a good start with Mattheus beating Hearttt in the first Tournament, they are still struggeling.
They did look quite good in the 4v4 and the 2v2 tournament but didn't mangage to win a series.
Losing Hera, their arguably best player, might force them to look for another strong 6th player. On the other hand their preparation looked good until now and Mattheus and Laaa(?aaaaa?)n are promising talents.
VNA is performing as many would have expected.
They reached two semifianals after they were the only team to lose both 1v1 games in the first tournament, coming back from last place to fourth in the overall standing.
Africa 3v3 recently started with the first round already streamed.
We will see exciting matchups in the semifinals, but I won't go into to much detail for now as I am planning to release a full summary once the tournament finished.
At very last some personal words
I hope whoever reads this enjoyed it. I am not a native english speaker and I don't know how good my written english is (it's 7 years since I left scool so ... )
I want to take this opportunity to thank all people involved, the casters for amazing entertainment, the admins for making the games possible and last the players for amazing series, heartbreaking losses and all in all great AoE2 gameplay.
Thank you all!
I want to get some feedback and please don't hold back, I can take criticism :D
If you think I should add some more casters VODs, just write me the link, I only included those I subscribed to on youtube.
I watched almost all games but don't remeber every single one. I focused on those games I remember really good as I think those are most likely the games who were the most exciting to watch, you might have a different opinion and feel free to voice yours (civilized please 11).
Also I would like to learn how to add flags in front of playernames, as I am a total noob 11.