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Jun 06 2015

eSports Weekly (Week of 6/1-6/7 2015)

eSports Weekly returns a day late due to some site server issues, but we’ve got your weekly fill of eSports news. CS:GO makes its return to the Intel Extreme Masters, Valve announces their first CS:GO major, we recap/preview the second week of LCS action, and much more in this week’s eSports Weekly.

CS:GO Returns to IEM, Valve Supports ESL Cologne as First Major

Lots of new developments for ESL’s Counter-Strike division were unveiled this week. First was the announcement that Counter-Strike is making its long awaited return to the Intel Extreme Masters series, as CS:GO will be a part of the upcoming 10th anniversary season of IEM. Counter-Strike was last part of IEM in season six, which took place across 2011 and 2012, and featured Counter-Strike 1.6. In the grand finals, ESC Gaming took home the championship. The upcoming season 10 will be the first time Counter-Strike Global Offensive will be featured at an IEM event. The first stop for IEM will be IEM Shenzhen, China from July 16th to July 20th, during the Cartoon and Animation Festival. This season will feature two different events in Cologne, one in August at gamescom, and another in December, before the world championships take place in Katowice in March of 2016.

Aside from being included in IEM this year, CS:GO will also have its biggest tournament of the year become an official Valve major. ESL One Cologne, which will take place August 20-23rd, is the first official CS:GO major to be fully sponsored by Valve. With the Valve sponsorship and additional community funding, ESL will organize an additional stream to ensure that all group stage and playoff matches will be broadcast, and that there will be “a whole host of special features leading up to and during the event to be made possible by Valve’s support.” ESL One Cologne will feature 16 of the world’s best teams, including the top eight from ESL One Katowice, and eight teams from around the world that will be determined via qualifiers in July and early August. Aside from watching in person or on Twitch, you can also potentially watch the event in movie theaters thanks to the eSports in Cinemas project.

LCS: EU Week 2 Roundup, NA Week 2 Preview, and Other Announcements

eu lcs week 1On the eastern side of the Atlantic, Fnatic and Origen sit at the top of the mountain that is the EU LCS two weeks into the split. On day one of week two, Fnatic won a close fight against ROCCAT while Origen absolutely dropped the hammer on SK Gaming. Fnatic were outpaced by ROCCAT in terms of kills, but still picked up the win despite Huni struggling to play Ryze on the top lane. Origen had no struggles what-so-ever, dismantling SK Gaming across 39 minutes, ending with a 37 to 8 lead in kills and a 19k lead in gold. Mithy continues to be one of the best supports in the game, picking up an astonishing 31 assists against SK. FORG1VEN and Gambit continue to struggle, now at 0-4 after two weeks, and so do FORG1VEN’s old team SK Gaming, who also sit at 0-4.

Over in North America, Team Liquid and Counter Logic sit on top of the standings after 2-0 starts last week. Liquid picked up wins over Dragon Knights and Team 8, led by their top laner Quas, who picked up the weekly MVP award. CLG defeated Dignitas and Impulse in the first week, with strong performance from all their players, including new midlaner Pobelter, but we’ve seen strong starts by CLG fizzle out by the end of the split. Not to take anything away from them, CLG are a great team, but we’ll have to see how they perform when it counts. Like this week, when they face TSM on day two. Despite a strong opening win against TSM, Cloud 9 were defeated last week on day two, and quite handily by Dignitas, who just barely avoided relegation to stay in the LCS. Dignitas will play Liquid’s week one opponents: Dragon Knights and Team 8 this week, and seek to build momentum after their huge win over C9. Finally, we’ll see the two Challenger teams meet in the LCS for the first time, as Enemy eSports and Dragon Knights face off on day two.

There were a number of announcements from Riot regarding the LCS this week, some exciting and some troubling. First, Riot announced the locations of the NA and EU LCS summer playoffs. The NA finals will take place at historic Madison Square Garden in New York City. This means MSG will host major LoL and Dota 2 events during 2015. The EU finals will take place in Stockholm, Sweden this year. Riot also announced a couple of competitive rulings regarding a CLG player, and surprisingly, an EU caster. On Thursday, Riot announced that Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes, who had been called up to CLG from the CLG Black challenger team, had received a two-week ban because of a high level of toxicity on his alternate account. Earlier in the week, Riot revealed the results of its investigation of EU caster Deficio. The original accusation was that he had leaked some of SK Gaming’s strategy to opponents Copenhagen Wolves. While insufficient evidence was found regarding this allegation, Riot did discover that Deficio had been offered a management position with CW, and had been speaking with active LCS players about playing with CW in the future, which under the Riot rulebook, is considered tampering. Deficio will be suspended from casting until week four, he will not cast any CW games in the near future, and is restricted from joining an LCS team in any capacity through the 2016 season. Deficio issued an apology after the ruling was announced.

Dota 2: Na’Vi wins EU International Qualifier, TI5 Prize Pool Sets Record

TI5The first winners of the Dota 2 International Championships have made their way back to the biggest Dota 2 event of the year. The famed Ukrainian squad Natus Vincere defeated Vega in the grand finals of the EU qualifiers to earn the very last spot in the main event of this year’s International. Vega earned a spot at TI5 as well, but must travel through the wild card bracket to get to the main event. The EU qualifiers featured a lot of dangerous teams, including NiP, 4 Anchors, former TI champions Alliance, and much more, but Dendi and his Na’Vi squad scratched and clawed to make it to Seattle after a rough start to the year, including getting bounced early in the Dota 2 Asia Championships in January. With Alliance’s elimination, this marks the first International without all the previous winners (Newbee, Alliance, Invictus, and Na’Vi) in the main event.

Additionally, this year’s International is another one for the record books, as its prize pool has surpassed the $11 million mark, and thus, surpassed the record for largest prize pool in an eSports competition, overtaking the $10.9 million mark set last year. The pool now sits at $11.7 million, with the desert terrain unlocked for purchasers, and the next reward being a music pack if and when the pool hits $12 million.

Radar Blips

  • Good news for fans of Fnatic, and it’s not just their 4-0 start in the LCS. After it was announced that devilwalk was stepping down from the CS:GO coaching position to return to competitive play, the team announced that analyst vuggo will take the head coaching role. Additionally, the team will go ahead and compete with olofmeister at the Fragbite Masters Season 4 finals, after his recovery from ear surgery. Finally, the Fnatic organization picked up International-bound Dota 2 squad Team Malaysia this week, marking Fnatic’s return to Dota 2 since the former roster disintegrated following last year’s International.
  • Heroes: With the official release of Heroes of the Storm earlier this week came details surrounding the Heroes World Championships that will be held at BlizzCon in August. Three North American open qualifiers will take place across the summer, one in each month. The top five from these qualifiers will go to the Americas Championship to face off against teams from Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Australia/New Zealand. Two teams from the Americas Championship will compete at Worlds. More info, including dates and how to sign up for the open can be found here.

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