Banner image: Ubisoft / Kirill B.
It’s been a year since MNM Gaming defeated Team Vitality, Team Secret, and cowana Gaming – now Heroic – in what was one of the most memorable successful lower bracket runs in Siege history.
Coming straight from the Challenger League depths, the marshmallows have established themselves in the top-flight by qualifying for two Six Majors and securing a second consecutive Six Invitational appearance.
In an interview with Leon “neLo” Pesic a week before the Six Jönköping Major, the Croat mentioned a change in the team’s goals, which went from “qualifying” to “winning”.
In pursuit of those goals, MNM have had a year full of small victories after adding two Six Major appearances to their initial Six Invitational appearance. However, though they qualified for the Six Berlin Major, they were sent home early.
“We are a team that need momentum, that need the mood to perform,” explained MNM Gaming’s coach Loïc “Eden” Sennepin. The Berlin Major was also his first international event as a top-flight coach, as he had been MNM Gaming’s analyst since late 2020.
Despite the team’s early exit, the Director and Manager of the team Kalvin “KalKal” Chung was one of the stars of the event after his engagement proposal.
“No players were in the secret, it was a big surprise for everyone!” shared Eden. “I knew it, neLo eventually, people from production, maybe Milosh as well,” he added.
Three months later, MNM also qualified for the Six Jönköping Major following victories over Heroic and eventual Six Major champions Team BDS. Despite a great start in Sweden with wins over Soniqs and CYCLOPS athlete gaming, the marshmallows were once again eliminated in the group stage.
“First day, the mood was still good, but starting the second day we got a bit surprised … and we started doubting ourselves,” Eden explained. “After the second day, the mood was even more down, it was a disaster.”
MNM Gaming’s performance in Sweden raised many questions and doubts within the team, which later on would lead to Callum “Neo” Humphreys being moved to the substitute bench.
“After Jönköping, I think everyone separately was questioning themselves, what can we do, what can we improve,” Eden revealed. He also shared that the team had to eventually steel itself to make tough decisions, even against longtime players that “made it together”, as the desire to win had to come before the desire to protect a friend.
“After a lot of thinking we come to the conclusion that probably Neo was a bit behind and we wanted a bit more of fast-paced play style,” said Eden on why the team decided on Neo as the player to make way.
Former MNM and Natus Vincere player Nathan “Nathan” Sharp was signed as the team’s new fifth man in an attempt to improve the team’s upcoming performances.
“The first goal was qualifying, obviously, but the second was to win,” said Eden of MNM’s overarching ideals throughout 2022. And now, after a year where the marshmallows proved they had enough to qualify, they must now prove they have what it takes to win it.
While they were eliminated in both Majors they attended in the group stages, MNM were still close to a first piece of top-flight silverware in Siege in 2022. In the EUL Finals, the marshmallows finished in second place after falling to Jönköping Major champions Team BDS.
“I was feeling really happy after the game (vs. Wolves Esports), I was thinking that we could win, but it was going to be another game, last map OT, something like that,” he lamented.
Now, MNM must hope they start strong -- and stay strong. Momentum has been what they have been lacking, according to their own analysis, and they will be keen to get it going come the start of the Six Invitational 2023 on Feb. 7.
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