Hi eSports fans! Missed me? Oh of course you did. But we’re back with a jam-packed version of eSports Weekly. This week, we run through the incredible amount of news and developments in the LCS, preview the CS:GO tournament at DreamHack winter, and much more!
LCS: Semifinal Preview, Challenger Series Results
A lot of news happened in the past two weeks with a profound effect on current and future LCS splits. Beginning with the current split, the quarterfinals of the NA LCS playoffs saw Counter Logic Gaming get 3-0’d by Team Liquid, sending CLG home early. Unfortunately for CLG, Piglet has finally hit his stride with Liquid, as he played better and better as the series against CLG progressed. Liquid is now in a position to give TSM a run for their money when they meet in a best-of-five on Saturday. Team Impulse defeated Gravity in the other quarterfinals series, by a score of 3-1. On average, it took Impulse 27 minutes to win their games, while Gravity’s one victory came after 42 minutes. Impulse will face Cloud 9 in the semifinals on Sunday.
In Europe, the quarterfinal scores were similar. H2k Gaming 3-0’d the Copenhagen Wolves, and the Unicorns of Love beat Gambit by a score of 3-1. H2k will face Fnatic on Saturday, and the Unicorns square off against SK Gaming.
While we await the eventual grand finals of this split’s playoffs, we can already start looking at the teams that will compose the summer split. We already know that the top seven teams from this spring split will be participants. Despite not making this split’s playoffs, the 7th place teams from the NA and EU splits, Team 8 and Elements, remain in the LCS, and will compete in the summer. With the Challenger Series tournament wrapped up, we know which teams will make their LCS debuts. In the NA LCS, eNemy eSports will play in the summer, and over in Europe, unsurprisingly, the super team known as Origen will play in the EU LCS.
We also know the participants of the summer promotion tournaments, where the 2nd and 3rd place Challenger teams face the 8th and 9th place LCS teams for the final two spots in the summer split. In North America, the Challengers are Team Dragon Knights and Team Fusion, and they will face Winterfox and Dignitas, As the 8th place team, Winterfox gets their choice of opponent (although they can’t pick Dignitas, it has to be one of the Challenger teams.) In Europe, Copenhagen Wolves Academy and Reason will challenge ROCCAT and Giants for the two final spots in the summer split. As the 8th place team, ROCCAT gets their choice of opponents.
CS:GO: DreamHack Bucharest Main Event Determined
Earlier this week was the Last Chance Qualifier tournament for the CS:GO Championship Series main event at DreamHack Bucharest later this month. The Last Chance Qualifier came after the winners of each of the two group stages were determined weeks ago, and the remaining teams fought for the final two spots in the four team main event. Weeks ago, EnVyUs won the Red group stage despite losing their first series against Virtus.Pro. EnVyUs took the hard way to the finals of the group stage through the loser’s bracket, defeating PENTA Sports, redeeming themselves against VP, and defeating Ninjas in Pyjamas 2-0 to earn the first spot at DreamHack. In the Blue group, Team SoloMid shocked everyone with their dominant play, defeating Na’Vi in the first round, then beating Fnatic to earn a spot in the group stage finals, and then beating Fnatic again (including a win on Fnatic’s map, Inferno) in the group stage finals to earn the second DreamHack spot. As the second place finishers, NiP and Fnatic met in the best-of-five winner’s finals of the Last Chance Qualifiers, and NiP won their third map on Mirage, (the mirage à trois), to earn the third spot. Fnatic had one last chance to make it to DreamHack in the loser’s finals of the Last Chance Qualifier, where they faced a surprisingly hot FlipSid3 Tactics team that had just beaten Virtus.Pro and Na’Vi back-to-back. Unfortunately for FlipSid3, Fnatic ended the Ukrainian magic there, winning 3-0, and taking each map by a wider margin. DreamHack Bucharest will feature EnVyUs, TSM, NiP, and Fnatic, and takes place April 24-26.
More LCS: Worlds Venue, Rookies of the Year, and Suspension Reviews
There was so much news in the League of Legends scene over the past two weeks that we couldn’t fit it all into just one section. First, we start with the rulings from last week’s Mid-Year Long-Term Suspension Reviews. Up for review were four players who were permabanned for toxicity, and the former players of Challenger team Cloud 9 Tempest, who got in trouble for using a player not on their official roster. With no behavioral issues since the incident, the players were all allowed back to compete in LCS or Challenger play starting May 11th. The good news doesn’t stop there for Cloud 9 fans, as the one player permabanned for toxicity who passed his review, Nicolaj “Incarnati0n” Jensen, will allegedly sign with Cloud 9 after the spring split, and apparently will replace Hai. Two of the other players up for review, Shizoli and Flaxxish, have made an attempt to correct their behavior, but still fall short of Riot’s standards, and will be re-evaluated prior to the 2016 spring split. DarkwinJax has made little to no effort to correct his behavior, and his suspension was actually upgraded to indefinite, meaning he won’t be up for re-evaluation until after the 2017 spring split.
If Cloud 9 continues to play well in the playoffs and in the next split, we may see Incarnati0n make his first appearance at Worlds, and now we know where that will be. This past week, Riot announced the venues for the 2015 World Championships: the group stages will take place in Paris. Then we go across the channel to London for the quarterfinals. Then it’s over to Brussels in Belgium for the semifinals. And lastly, the grand finals will take place in Berlin at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. It’s Eurotrip: League of Legends edition!
Lastly, congratulations are in order to Santorin of TSM and Huni of Fnatic who are the 2015 spring split rookies of the year in their respective divisions. If you have a few minutes, you have to watch Huni’s reaction.
- Hearthstone: Players are up in arms over a new card added in the Blackrock Mountain expansion. Emperor Thaurissan is a six-mana-cost creature with 5 life and 5 toughness, and every turn he survives on the field, he reduces the mana cost of all the cards in the player’s hands. A plethora of pro’s have expressed their displeasure, and hope the card is banned from competitive play.
- CoD: One of the biggest players in Call of Duty scene is leaving one of the biggest teams. That’s right, Matt “NaDeSHoT” Haag is leaving OpTic Gaming’s roster after the team’s rather disappointing finish at the CoD World Championships. Haag is still a part-owner of the organization, and made it clear in his YouTube video that this is just a “leave of absence,” not retirement from CoD.
While putting together this week’s column, I noticed a couple of interesting stories developing in the CS:GO scene. The first was the signing of major CS:GO talent by Twitch. Fifflaren and Hiko are both joining Twitch as “ambassadors to the CS:GO community” according to HLTV, and Twitch also signed renowned commentators Anders Blume and Auguste “Semmler” Massonnat. The other interesting story is that ESL is allegedly meeting with Twitch, betting site Vulcun, and some of the top CS:GO teams regarding a potential, massive exclusivity deal. I have some interesting thoughts on this, so expect a full article about it on Monday. Have a happy weekend, everyone!