Sweet taste of revenge: Fissure Style

What is the best way of letting your former team know that benching you was the wrong decision? Exactly; by stomping them ruthlessly. This is exactly what Overwatch tank player Chan-Hyung ‘fissure’ Baek had in mind last weekend. Spending stage one on the bench as part of London Spitfire, he got his revenge by taking the team from London on with his new team LA Gladiators and completely dominating his former teammates.

Feeling like a Gladiator, Chan-Hyung must have felt the lust for glory in the arena, throwing London into the sound. Who were the winners of OWL stage one. Ofcourse it was a team effort with LA DPS’er ‘Asher’ Choi harassing London without giving them a moment of peace and using Tracer to infiltrate their backline like a ninja. Disrupting London over and over again with well placed pulse bombs. The Gladiators made the performance from London on the first and second map, Lijang Tower, look almost childish in comparison.

No hard feelings

Though it has to be noticed that London was playing with a B squad, composed of members mainly from a dismantled Korean team called GC Busan. They played like London, but it looked like a London in slow-motion. On the third map, the Londoners intervened by switching to the regular team. Among which KongDoo Panthera; Fissure’s long lost friend. But it wasn’t enough to stop the Gladiators from LA on the third map, despite some awesome plays like a devastating Reinhardt/D.va ultimate combo. The third win was enough to convince the world that this wasn’t a fluke, but it was an outcome few on MasterMazuma saw coming. Even though London took the 4th map and regaining some of their glory.

LA Gladiators are at 4-2 this season, making them a surprisingly serious contender for the lead of the pack. Until now they were usually seen as the outsider. Things just seem to fall into place for the Gladiators. The recent addition of Fissure is just further proof of that. Though there was no hatred in this revenge; Fissure hugged his former teammates as soon as the match ended.

Team Vitality Gears up with Renault: Enter Renault Sport Team Vitality

After years of providing engines for Formula 1 and cars for rally racing, Renault strengthens its ties with sports once more. This time they set their eyes on eSports, and once they have their eye on something the teeth usually follow. This is no exception. The French eSports Team Vitality and the car brand team up on a new eSports team called Renault Sport Team. The three team members will compete in Rocket League, a car-based football game with over 25 million players worldwide.

  • Philip Paschmeyer – Paschy90
  • Victor Locquet – Fairy Peak!
  • Sandro Holzwarth – FreaKii

Based in France like Renault, Team Vitality seems to be the perfect partner for the manufacturer. Formed in 2013, Team Vitality has had success in tournaments of games like League of Legends, Call of Duty and FIFA, among others. Though starting with Rocket League, chances are that the team will compete in the eFormula 1 in the future as well.

It’s all about hard work

Venturing in eSports is a logical step for a company that has tight bonds with competitive sports. “The ties that exist between motorsport and gaming are obvious. Both call for mental strength and physical fitness in a highly competitive environment,” said Cyril Abiteboul, General Manager, Renault Sport Racing. “Last year’s exciting launch by FOM of the Formula 1 eSports Series has accelerated the convergence of these two worlds and created opportunities for collaboration. Our drivers, and especially those who form part of the Renault Sport Academy programme, and Vitality’s own champions will be able to trade best practices. In this area, as in F1, our objective is to build a team for the long term that is both respected and feared by its opponents!”

A whole new audience

The merge of Renault and Team Vitality opens up a whole new audience that could not be reached before this date. It gives eSporters a chance to practice in the famous Enstone Factory. With professionals who are accustomed to working in a high pressure environment. Hence giving them the skills to dominate whatever platform they choose. Though McLaren won’t be far behind, after a successful ‘World’s Fastest Gamer’ program.

Like eSports divisions of football teams like Ajax and Manchester City, this step of Renault is one in a series of development where sports en esports get more and more intertwined. Creating an audience that might have been primarily not been interested in eSports.

Fabien Devide, Team Vitality’s founder and chairman, sees the new cooperation as fertile ground for future ambitions: “Vitality’s DNA is to be seen as a French front-runner that is competitive in the international arena. Our partnership with Renault is a natural match, not only because we share the same values and colours but also because we all want to make it to the very top of the European and international scenes. At Vitality, we stand to learn a great deal from Renault Sport Racing and how it prepares for Formula 1 races. At the end of the day, many of its methods are the same as those we employ in eSports, namely data and performance tracking, physiotherapy, fitness training and mental training.”

Community against ESL for Katowice schedule

Back against the wall. ESL Faces incomprehension from the community. Again.

..This time it’s the ESL One Katowice Major schedule to blame. And in good fashion, ESL has responded on reddit promising to look into some options to ease the frustrations of fans and improve the experience for fans attending.

So what is the story here? apparently the organization released details on the groups, matches and final planning. Few people seemed to either realize or bring up that the playoffs would be held only over a period of two days, including one quarter final match and the two semi finals happening on the first day and the grand finals taking place on the last day. As with previous events, the group stage would not be held on the main stage at Spodek Arena. The frustrating part is that fans already bought tickets before releasing this information, not knowing that the group matches would not be held on stage. Premium tickets selling at almost $120, you can imagine people thought they were not getting their money worth.

Katowice schedule

Social Media Protest!

Fans mounted their Social Media and Reddit to express their complaints. Loving the game but not quite willing to pay the cost to travel, accommodations and ticket prices for only two days worth of matches. It is the order of events that struck fans the most: tickets were released for sale on January 30th and as of five days ago 90% of the premium tickets were already sold.

As previously announced, all of ESL One’s Pro events would be following the same format with the same number of participating teams. ESL One Genting format was the same as ESL One Katowice, however it took place over the course of six days, with the playoffs being held from January 26-28 including one full day of quarter finals, one full day of semi finals and the grand finals being held on the last day. With one day less, ESL has condensed the playoff portion into only two days.

Regardless of the commotion, there will be over a million dollar prize money to distribute in the ‘weekend’ of February 20-25 and over 1500T18 qualifying points. Whatever the roster, ESL One Katowice Major promises to be a large tournament that can’t hardly dissapoint!

Japan Welcomes Esports and Pro Gaming

Why is the father country of gaming unsuccessful in esports and how are they planning to solve this?

Though further research on the subject might be neccessary, there are strong allegations against a decades-old law preventing the Japanese from participating in gambling, but indirectly targeting professional esports tournaments as well. Resulting in poor competitive players over the long run.

The “Act Against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations,” was passed in the early 1980’s, as a way to solve the issue of organized crime using gambling as a money maker. The infamous Yakuza made alot of profit from video poker during these days. Regulation the gambling business, prize money was capped under $1000 by parlement.

Though with esports making rise in popularity and a likely candidate make its debute as a Olympic sport in Paris 2024, government starts to realise their old law is doing the country more harm than good.

Captain Hindsight strikes again! But it’s not to late to prepare for a succesfull eSports Olympics. The law changed, prize pools are increasing and a start has been made last weekend in the Game Party Japan 2018 in Chiba. It was a great event, focussing on fighting games with Street Fighter V Arcade Edition, Tekken 7 and Monster Strike. The latter had the biggest bounty on it’s head with a prize of $73,000. It was just a portion of the total of $300,000 that could be won during the weekend. All provided by game publishers.

First step to something beautiful

“This is the first big step,” said the Japanese Esports association’s vice president. “What’s really important for the esports movement is whether our players can become stars. And I think that’s coming.”

Japanese has always been a center of gaming. Headquartering companies like Nintendo, Sega, Namco, Capcom, and Konami, among others, it is surprising Japan has next to no eSports culture. Despite championing gaming, Japan was a late bloomer in esports. Home audiences prefered solo console games, though the paradigm starts to shift.

And chances are coming about fast. A recent report revealed that Japan is the fastest growing esports market in the East Asian region, as more than 80 percent of the fans first encountered esports less than two years ago. Though being the fastest grower, usually means you are the one catching up. Hopefully changing the law is the beginning of a new era in a country with a rich gaming culture!

Female Players make Historic Week for Esports

Breaking male hegemony ; recent female success

eSports is booming, but it remains a male dominated realm. Though indications of change are out there, and this week they were hard to miss out on. Only last week Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon had been signed to an Overwatch League team. Starting off as rumors, ESPN was quick to confirm that Kim has been signed to the Shanghai Dragons. A team craving for success.

“Kim will be a critical figurehead for many female esports aspirants to look up to.”

Though Blizzard tries best to make Kim the center in numerous mainstream reports, there efforts not yet seem to have the desired results as the player pool is predominantly filled with male players. Though with her new role comes new visibility and Kim will be a ciritical figurehead for many female esports aspirants to look up to.

 

Luckily for Kim, it’s not all on her shoulders.

Just a day after the announcement of Kims carreer move, Sasha Scarlett Hostyn became the first female StarCarft 2 player to win a championship. She did so at IEM Pyeongchang. Not only is she the first female player, but also the second non-korean player to ever win a championship in Korea. A country that considered SC2 as a national sport at one point.

“In her six-year career, Hostyn has been an active and successful player that has won over many fans.”

A bright future?

The IEM Pyenongchang could be a forecast on what’s about to happen in Paris 2024 when eSports might make its debute as an olympic sport. Sasha sure made her statement as one of the contenders for the future gold. Defeating 4 pro players, among which 2 World Champions. Making her instantly the record holder for best earning female esports player.

Kim and Sasha are the ambassadeurs for a future of esports in which female players may play a much larger role than they do today. Many factors contribute to the lack of female players in the current competitive scene, we can only hope gradually the balance gets better as these women prove to be very skilled, by no means less than their male counterparts.

OpTic Gaming international CS:GO roster

OpTic Gaming has signed a new CS:GO roster, which features players from both North America and Europe.

Gear up with k0nfig, Nicklas Gade and cajunb, the Danish crew that will accompany the Americans ShahZaM and Stanislaw on the Optic Gaming new CS:GO roster.

Being benched last November,  Stanislaw has been absent for most of the last couple of months. The talented youngster had came back from his nine month position on Team Liquid, after being the in-game-leader of OpTic Gaming for over a year. As such, he won three events, among which the $1.1 million ELEAGUE Season Two. At the time, the success was not enough to convince Stanislaw to stay.

Stanislaw wasn’t the only one that experienced some benching. Both K0nifg and Cajunb had to give up their seats after their team failed to win a single match during the ELEAGUE Major Boston. ShahZaM got his seat at OpTic in 2016, after being transferred form a poor performing Misfits in the 24-team major. Last but not least, Gade is the most inexperienced player and has yet to prove himself.

The lineup followed shortly after (one day!) the announcement of releasing Mixwell and transferring Magisk to Astralis. This drain left Adam Friberg, Allu and HS left as the only team members representing, with the ESL Pro League roster lock approaching quickly. The fresh blood was more than welcome, although question remains who will be the ones taking the seat during the EPL.

We are gonna see OpTic’s new roster in action for the first time during the NA region of the ESL Pro League Season Seven starting February 13.

CS:GO creator arrested for alleged sex offenses

Counter-Strike co-creator allegedly solicited sex from minor, and recorded sex acts without consent.

The Seattle Police Department arrested Counter-Strike co-creator Jess Cliffe on Thursday, following a nine-month investigation for alleged sexual exploitation of a minor.

In a period from april to june 2017, Cliffe had at least three sexual encouters with a (then) 16 year old girl. This has been confirmed by the police authorities. Furthermore, Cliffe allegedly recorded their last encounter with his mobile phone without her consent. Supposedly they met online on a dating website that had an age restriction with a minimum of 18 years old. Therefore Cliffe was unaware of the girl’s age, according to his attorney in court.

After an anonymous tip regarding sexual exploitation of minors, the Seattle Police Department opened up investigation. After interviewing the girl, warrants were served on information from the online dating site and Cliffe’s phone provider. Which led to further investigation of the messages between Cliffe and the girl.

The CS creator was arrested at the Southwest Precinct of the Seattle Police Department and was brought to the King County Jail the day after. His bail has been set at $150,000 and been paid for the same day. Though he is yet to hear formal charges, Cliffe will be expected in court before the end of the month.

Cliffe’s current employer, Valve Corporation, suspended Cliffe from his job. They issued a statement on the case to multiple news organizations:

“We are still learning details of what actually happened,” a Valve representative said in a statement. “Reports suggest he has been arrested for a felony offense. As such we have suspended his employment until we know more.”

Cliffe has no criminal record, though he has been arrested for assault in 2013. though that case never made it to court.

100 Thieves are here to stay

‘Teams need more preparation time’ and ‘experienced players have a hard time putting their egos aside’. There were low expectations about the quality of team 100 Thieves going into the NA LCS. Not surprising, as the team got permission to enter the tournament last November and only got its final lineup in December. Furthermore, midlaner Ryu just returned to the scene from a 6 month break. Clichés like those mentioned above were about the only attention the press gave 100 Thieves. However, backed by the NBA team Cleveland Cavaliers, the team became star-studded. Former Counter Logic Gaming player Aphromoo features as the biggest name and team captain.

100 Thieves team roster

NA LCS

Entering the NA LCS as an outsider with no rivalries, 100 Thieves had nothing to lose and a show to steal. And they did. In their first game against OpTic Gaming, they went toe-to-toe in a close game that got closed out thanks to some premier leadership by Aphromoo. The support faced his former employee Counter Logic Gaming the next game, but the Thieves didn’t have a hard time beating them. Team Liquid was the next victim of the young team that started to gain more confidence. In the fourth match though Echo Fox got the Thieves’ heads out of the clouds and feet back on the ground with a 3-1 shutdown. The tournament isn’t over yet, but it’s clear some eyebrows were raised. This weekend will be the moment of truth featuring matches against Clutch Gaming on Saturday and especially TSM on Sunday.

Master Mazuma will keep a close eye on this new kid on the block. 100 Thieves will be a serious contender for the prizes once they really start playing as a team. Looking for a team with good odds and great chances of surprising? 100 Thieves might just be the recipe you were looking for!

100 Thieves LCS

A $100,000 cryptocprize tournament is on the way

Watch out for February 25th; one lucky Counter-Strike team will ‘swim’ in cryptocurrency.

Scrooge McDuck wouldn’t be interested, but the rest of the world wouldn’t mind a $ 100,000 first place reward paid in cryptocurrency. Play2Live aint cheap when it comes to showing financial respect to CS: GO teams that put their money where their mouth is. They’re offering up a $100,000 first place reward, distributed through their own monetization model, LUC (Level Up Coin).

Eight Counter-Strike teams get a shot in playing the tournament that will be held live in the Falcon Club in Minsk, Belarus. The tournament is a great way to promote LUC, which can be easily converted into other cryptocurrencies. In addition, viewers on stream have their own chance to earn tokens by watching ads or sharing their bandwidth and participating in challenges assigned by the very streamers they watch. It’s all in the philosophy of Play2Live, a live-streaming company that looks to interact with viewers and advertisers alike.

“We encourage all gamers and esport fans to become P2L early adopters to test the new ecosystem and high Internet speed delivered by peer-to-peer CDN technology,” these are the words of Alexey Burdyko, CEO and founder off P2L in a press conference. “We are even more excited to host the world’s first ever esport tournament with crypto prize: an event, that will become a milestone in further integration of the blockchain technology into gaming industry.

Cash out or take a chance?

eSports matches are now a rather passive experience for the viewers on stream. P2L is looking to change that. They come up with the cool feature to place live bets with Level Up Coins during an esports match. This includes prop bets (which team is going to take the first tower etc), which opens up a wide variety of betting possibilities.

It will be interesting to find out what the winning team does with their new crypto-fortune. Do they cash out for dollars? Or will they see the LUC as a valuable investment, which might turn out to be worth alot more than the $100,000 it is today? What would you do? We are all about to find out at the end of the month!

 

Champion Street Fighter crowned in inaugural Evo Japan

MMA? Caption this

For Wii U, among several other games. A prize of ¥ 1 million ($9,200) was doled out for each of the seven main games except Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and Arms, which did not have a prize pool.

Street Fighter V

EVO Japan

Some cool comeback stories going on at the classic fighting game where Grapht’s “Infiltration” came back from the losers bracket to take the tournament from John Takeuchi.

His slow start was by no means a surprise. Infiltration took much of 2017 off from competitive play in order to recalibrate. The Evo 2016 champion started the tournament low on practice, but finally got his mojo back in time with Juri. Which was far from an obvious choice, considering Juri is seen far from the best character in game. In taking time off, it seemed Infiltration had  come up with some sort of plan, finding new approaches to slip up his opponents.

Eager to win, Takeuchi played aggressively with Rashid from the start. But Infiltration kept his ground, standing back, blocking and waiting for an opening to exploit. That opening came.

After the bracket reset, Infiltration continued to counter Takeuchi’s aggression with defense and mixups. As if he knew exactly what Takeuchi was going to do, and countered everything he threw at him. It was a painfully dominant set from the Infiltrator.

Third and Fourth

Evo Japan 2018 was also quite lucrative for Twitch, Red Bull, HyperX, and Cygames’ Daigo Umehara, who took bronze. The Guile player seems to master his character to perfection after two contentious years in Street Fighter V.

Fourth place was given to the winner of last year; Evo 2017 champion, Echo Fox’s Tokido.