It’s been a festive week for everyone here at HalfBeard’s HUD, as we celebrate both Canada Day and the 4th of July, but that won’t stop your weekly dose of eSports news. This week we look at the astonishing turn of events at the ESL ESEA Pro League Finals, we do our weekly LCS roundup, and much more in this week’s eSports Weekly!
CS:GO: Gfinity Masters Results, and ESL Finals Feature Surprise Knockouts
Last weekend in London, the results of the Gfinity Summer Masters tournament could hardly be referred to as ‘surprising’. The American team, Cloud 9, was sent home early after two quick losses, and Ninjas in Pyjamas played well until the grand finals, but the heavily favored EnVyUs defeated them in a dominating 3-0 to take first place.
But if Gfinity can be considered par for the course in the world of CS:GO, then the events of this weekend’s ESL/ESEA Pro League (EEPL) Finals are so far off the course that we can’t even see the country club. Following weeks of ESL and ESEA group play, four European teams and four North American teams advanced to the finals. For Europe, the three best teams not just in the region, but in the world: Fnatic, TSM, and EnVyUs, were joined by Virtus.Pro. The four American teams that advanced were Cloud 9, Counter Logic, Keyd Stars, and Luminosity. The first series of matches were all best-of-one’s, pitting NA teams against European teams. You win, you go to the winner’s bracket, where you’re guaranteed a spot in the quarterfinals, and potentially a semifinals spot. You lose this best-of-one, you go to an elimination game.
In the most topsy-turvy start I’ve ever seen in a CS:GO event, three of the NA teams defeated the three best teams in the world, to move onto the winner’s bracket. Cloud 9 defeated EnVy, CLG beat Fnatic, and Keyd Stars won against TSM. Ironically, many were expecting Luminosity to be the NA dark horse, but they were handily defeated by Virtus.Pro, and then knocked out by EnVy in the elimination game. The other elimination game was actually the most expected grand finals matchup: TSM vs Fnatic. Fnatic would win that game, and TSM, a team many consider to be the best in the world, was sent home after just two games.
It didn’t end there though, as Cloud 9 shocked the world again, defeating EnVy once more, in a best of three this time, in just two games. With that victory, Cloud 9 will face CLG in tomorrow’s semifinals (on America’s birthday), ensuring that an NA team will compete in the grand finals. Keyd Stars put up a hell of a fight against Fnatic in the second map, forcing OT on Train, but would fall to the Swedes in two games, setting up Fnatic vs Virtus.Pro in the other semis, ensuring an NA vs EU grand finals.
My prediction: CLG beats Cloud 9, Fnatic beats VP, and Fnatic wins the grand finals over CLG 3-1.
LCS: Fnatic Still Strong, Big Changes for TSM and Cloud 9
There will be a day when this historic run by Fnatic will finally halt. But it is not today. Fnatic survived a very, very close game against Giants, but held out in the end to win their 11th game of the split. It was back to business the next day, with an easy victory over Copenhagen Wolves to reach that impressive 12-0 record. Despite losing, Giants can still hold their heads up high after this week, as they gave Fnatic its best fight of the split, and then defeated SK Gaming on day two. Gambit came out strong after an 0-2 performance last week, winning both games this week against Copenhagen Wolves and ROCCAT. CW replaced YoungBuck and Unlimited after the two announced that they were leaving once their contracts are up, with Lenny and je suis kaas taking over the Top and Support roles. Unfortunately, CW would lose in both of their games this week.
This NA LCS split will be written in the LoL history books as one of the sport’s biggest surprise performances. No one expected Gravity to be gelling as well they have been and no one expected Dignitas, a team that was nearly relegated last split, to come out strong and be as high as they are right now. Both of these teams sit at 7-3, tied with CLG in the second place spot, right behind TSM. But the real shock of this split has been the fall from grace for Cloud 9. C9 has been in every grand finals since the 2013 summer split, but in this first split since Hai’s retirement from competitive play, the team is just trying to hold onto a playoff position. They currently sit tied for 7th, out of playoff contention, and in danger of having to fight to avoid relegation. They haven’t looked the same since Hai left, so the team is making a drastic move this week: Meteos is stepping down as Jungler, and will be replaced by none other than Hai himself. Due to the last-minute sub, C9 will lose two champion bans in their match against Liquid. A Hai-l Mary, if I’ve ever seen one. Cloud 9 aren’t the only premier team making changes this week though. Their grand finals counterparts and long time rivals TSM are going ahead and inserting Keith into their starting lineup after officially acquiring him from Liquid this week. Keith will replace WildTurtle at the AD Carry position.
- Dota 2: Earlier this week, the prize pool for the Dota 2 International Championships in Seattle hit another milestone: the $15 million mark. Compendium owners will receive an Immortal item for the Axe character, and access to a longform comic about Axe. If you do the math, an estimated 5,416,291 Compendiums have been purchased.
- LoL: Following more accusations of poaching and tampering from organizations such as TSM, Cloud 9, Impulse, Gravity, and Winterfox, co-owner of Renegades Chris Badawi is stepping down from his role as owner and passing all his responsibilities to co-owner MonteCristo. These further allegations come after Riot’s ruling against Badawi regarding tampering and poaching of players from the Liquid organization.
- SC2: Zerg player Shin “Hydra” Dong Won of ROOT Gaming took home first prize at last weekend’s WCS Season 2 Premier League finals, defeating French Protoss player Wilbow in the grand finals 4-2. With the win, Hydra moves up to the fifth spot in the global WCS rankings.
- Hearthstone: PC Gamer has received a tease from Blizzard that we can expect the next Hearthstone expansion to be announced on July 22nd.