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HUNTER COOKE: Looking for a rooting interest at SI? Choose MNM, the feel-good story of the tournament

Looking for a rooting interest? Look no more.

Image via Ubisoft

For about a month, MNM were counted out by citizens from nearly every single country minus the UK. 

This is a profoundly young team, one that just made the EUL. No one expected them to do much – some expected them to not win a single series. 

However, win they did, in a relatively dominating 2-0 over SANDBOX Gaming, a team that just beat the reigning Invitational champs Ninjas In Pyjamas. 

It’s early in the tournament, and anything can happen. But some would say that MNM have already punched above their weight. 

Teams like MNM are the future of competitive Siege. Their young players have room to grow amongst a budding organization, and will assuredly get better as the tournament goes on. That doesn’t mean that they’ll win another game, nothing is guaranteed. 

However, no matter your nationality, you should find a soft spot in your hardened heart for MNM. There were no expectations for this team: they’ve been playing with house money this entire time. They’re the decided underdogs – for four of their five players, this is their first LAN. They’re doing this completely green, coming in with an “onliner” reputation that they’d love nothing more than to completely and totally buck. 

Then, there’s Leon “neLo” Pesić to consider. The only veteran playing for MNM in this tournament won a Pro League Finals with NAVI – but left Sept. 2020. Since then, he hasn’t sniffed tier one competition, 2021 was decidedly neLo-less. The Croatian is searching for redemption, and potentially for some SI glory that evaded NAVI in 2020 – old NAVI only won one series and were eliminated in the group stage. Through precisely one SI 2022 match, neLo has won as many matches as the Pro League Finals NAVI roster won in 2020. 

However, he’s back with a vengeance with MNM. As the only veteran on this young roster, he has a big load on his shoulders. 

Teams like MNM are the future of Siege, and extremely easy to root for. Only Elevate has more players that have never been to a LAN – but Elevate has at least had tier-one experience in APAC. MNM is mostly green.

If they don’t win another round, they’re worthy of your praise. If they don’t net another kill, they’re worthy of your cheers. 

Tomorrow morning, MNM will ride their wave of momentum into a matchup with reigning SI champions NiP. Unless you’re Brazilian, the “who to pull for” question should be easily answered. Long live the underdogs, and the biggest underdog of them all is MNM.