And we are back again with another edition of eSports Weekly. This week we discuss the grand finals of the Dota 2 International Championships, we take a look at the LCS playoff action, and make some predictions involving the recently announced ESL One Cologne group stages. All while I’m glued to Fallout Shelter, now FINALLY out for Android. This and more in this week’s eSports Weekly!
Dota 2: Evil Geniuses Win The International; First North American Team to Win
Down 2-1 in the grand finals, and trailing 29 minutes into game four, the cinderella team of CDEC Gaming was moving closer towards midnight. With their backs against the wall, in an elimination game in the grand finals against a red-hot Evil Geniuses team who had the crowd behind them, the Chinese wild card team made a desperate play to acquire the Aegis of the Immortal from Roshan. And as only TobiWan would call it: it was a disaster. Now known as the $6 Million Echo Slam, the play by UNiVeRsE and the rest of EG helped secure themselves the Aegis of the Immortals, and eventually the Aegis of Champions, as CDEC would call “gg” ten minutes later.
With the tournament ended, the Seattle crowd went into a frenzy, excited to see an American team finally lift the trophy at the end of the International. After nine years of professional Dota play, and four International’s, old man Fear was finally able to lift the Aegis of Champions, and it’s hard to think of any player more deserving. On the opposite end of the age spectrum, 16 year old prodigy SumaiL became eSports’ youngest millionaire, neck pillow and all. Not bad for his first year in the professional Dota 2 scene. Congrats to these two, as well as UNiVeRsE, Aui_2000, and ppd, as well as the Evil Geniuses organization, on winning the largest prize in eSports history.
Despite the second place finish, nothing can be negatively said about the performance of CDEC Gaming throughout the tournament. It’s not too often that a team from the wild card play-in bracket makes it all the way to grand finals, and places better than favorites like LGD and Team Secret. And a $2.8 million consolation prize isn’t too shabby either.
LCS Playoffs: Quarterfinals Results, Semifinals Preview
Only four teams remain in each of the two LCS leagues. It’s not just bragging rights and a Summer Split trophy on the line. First place gets a direct invitation to the World Championships, and for the teams that don’t finish first, they want to place as high as possible to earn enough championship points to also an earn an invite.
In Europe, the undefeated Fnatic team will face their opponents from the Spring Split playoff grand finals: the Unicorns of Love. The Unicorns are no strangers to overcoming adversity. UoL knocked off number one seed SK Gaming in the semifinals of last split’s playoffs, the only team to accomplish that feat in LCS history. They then put up a great fight against Fnatic, taking the series to five games before eventually falling, winning second place. This split has not been kinder to the Unicorns, as midseason struggles and roster shuffles have rocked UoL’s momentum. Many slept on the Unicorns, believing they wouldn’t make it past the quarterfinals against ROCCAT. But in typical Unicorn fashion, they took it to five games and won despite debuting a new jungler H0R0. Now they face their biggest challenge, the team that beat them in the grand finals, that looks even stronger than before: Fnatic. While these two fight it out, Origen will face a scorching hot H2k team that just swept Giants Gaming.
Meanwhile, across the pond, the hottest teams in the NA LCS do battle for that spot in the grand finals. Team SoloMid comes off an impressive 3-1 defeat of Gravity Gaming, as TSM impressively changed directions, building a team comp around Dyrus, who was the star of the series in the top lane. Now TSM will face off against Team Liquid, with many fans expecting the winner of this series to go on and win the grand finals. Despite missing their midlaner XiaoWeiXiao for four games after admitting to elo boosting, Team Impulse still rolled over Team Dignitas in the quarterfinals 3-0. However, they now face a tougher challenge in Counter Logic, and Xiao will not return after the first game, as evidence of more elo boosting and attempted unlocked account selling has furthered his suspension until February of 2016.
CS:GO: ESL One Cologne Groups Announced (Plus Preview/Predictions)
We are just a week away from one of, if not the biggest Counter-Strike tournament of the year at ESL One Cologne in the LANXESS Arena. Given how close we are to the event, ESL has finally announced the four groups from the eight Legends teams (top eight from ESL One Katowice) and eight Challengers teams (EU, NA, and Asian/Oceanic qualifier teams). Each group will feature two from each category. Some good teams got lucky, and some teams got a poor draw, but we’re going to look at each of the four groups and take a guess at which will advance from each group. Because of the double group stage format, we’ll just predict who advances to the playoffs from the first group stage, since it’s hard to predict how the rest of the teams will be reshuffled into new groups for stage two.
We’ll start with Group A: Team SoloMid, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Renegades, and Counter Logic Gaming. As mentioned last week, it’s not been a great month for TSM, who’ve had some poor performances and some drama regarding ESL’s global rankings. But TSM always shows up on the big stage, and I don’t predict they’ll be upset by Renegades in their first game. NiP should beat CLG in their first match, but CLG has proven that they’re the second best American team in the world, and aren’t to be slept on. Official prediction: TSM over Renegades, NiP beats CLG, TSM defeats NiP to move on to playoffs.
Next, Group B: EnVyUs, Kinguin, Luminosity, and FlipSid3. While anything is possible in a best-of-one, I don’t see any of these teams beating EnVyUs. The French squad has looked red hot since the roster shuffle, with the new additions kennyS and apEX shining brighter than ever. The battle for the second spot in the second group stage should be interesting, but this is EnVyUs’s group to take. Official prediction: EnVy over FlipSid3, Kinguin over LG, EnVy beats Kinguin to move on.
Group C: Fnatic, Na’Vi, Titan, and eBettle. This is Fnatic and Na’Vi’s group to fight over. eBettle had an impressive qualifier run, including a win over the new Titan team, but their first match is against Fnatic and they’re not beating the world’s best. Na’Vi should handle Titan, but Fnatic will come out on top over Na’Vi at the end. Na’Vi should have little trouble in stage two though, and eventually make it to the playoffs. Official prediction: Fnatic destroys eBettle, Na’Vi defeats Titan, Fnatic edges Na’Vi to move on.
Group D: Virtus.Pro, mousesports, Cloud 9, Immunity. With the exception of Immunity, this one’s honestly a toss-up for me. VP are near-unstoppable when they’re hot, but they’ve had lots of consistency issues. mousesports has also been on-and-off. Cloud 9 has been very successful recently, but will they get nerves on the biggest stage? Official prediction: Virtus.Pro defeats Immunity, Cloud 9 beats mousesports, VP beats C9 to move on.
These look spot on? Disagree? Let me know down below in the comments.
- Dota 2: The post-TI5 shuffle has already begun. Cloud 9 owner Jack Etienne confirmed on Twitter that C9 is staying in Dota 2, but will be moving forward with an entirely new squad. Cloud 9 finished 9-12th at this year’s International despite placing in the upper bracket after group stages, falling in back-to-back series losses to CDEC and the to Vici Gaming.
- CS:GO: A major shuffle storm is on the horizon in the North American CS:GO world. Tempo Storm and Team Elevate both just dropped their roster in the last couple days, with a collection of those players forming their own squad, known currently as Team Sponsorless. Meanwhile, rumors swirl that Hiko is officially joining Team Liquid after he competed with the team in some exhibitions, and in games against Sponsorless. Liquid has yet to make an official announcement regarding their current tryouts.
- Smite: Xbox and MLG are hosting the Xbox One Smite Circuit starting on August 22nd. The series of qualifiers and regional finals all lead up to the Smite World Championships in January.