Welcome back to your favorite weekly injection of all thing eSports: eSports Weekly! This week we take a look at the problems that plagued the most recent CS:GO tournaments, recap the LCS Regional Qualifiers and Promotion Tournaments from two weeks ago, and much more. Yeah, we missed you too.
CS:GO: Gaming Paradise Becomes Gaming Hell Days Before ESL Dubai
The voyage across the world to the ESL Dubai Invitational has not been the smoothest of sailing. The very first announcement for the event was marked by controversy when the CS:GO community expressed disbelief and even outrage that TSM were ranked as low as #6 on the new ESL global rankings, and thus initially did not receive an invite. ESL would extend invites to two additional teams, TSM and Titan, but this would mean that the group stages would be best-of-one, a format not traditionally liked by players, fans, and analysts. Earlier this week, C9’s n0thing tweeted that he and other players had worked with ESL to change the group stage decider match to a Bo3, but because it was last minute, and because ESL hadn’t originally accounted for eight teams, it would be played off the main stage.
Fans were considerably concerned, as it looked like ESL were sacrificing proper tournament structure just to host a tournament in the venue they wanted. Analyst Thooorin makes some sound points about ESL’s poor decision-making in his Thorin’s Thoughts video on the topic. But luckily for ESL, the Gaming Paradise event that took place days before Dubai in Slovenia takes the cake for most atrociously run tournament of the year. A relatively unknown tournament until it was over, CS:GO fans sat back in awe looking at their screens, trying to comprehend what casters like TobiWan were tweeting about. This event featured snafus such as missing equipment, 13 hour delays, player hospitalization, police withholding of passports, and much more. Thankfully the teams and players were able to work with the organizers to speed along the finals, split up the prize pool accordingly, finish the tournament, and crown an eventual winner in Team Kinguin. Finally, we could leave the Slovenian nightmare and move onto to sunny Dubai.
Dubai got off to a shaky start, as early pictures of the stage revealed that it was outdoors. In Dubai. Where it’s 100°F even at night. But assumedly some super-powered AC is being utilized, as there’s been no complaints from players or organizations.
But enough of the issues and the criticisms, let’s finally talk Counter-Strike. In Group A, Virtus.pro notched two wins against NiP and EnVy in the Bo1s to earn one of the four playoff spots. NiP recovered in extraordinary fashion, looking like the NiP of old, defeating Cloud 9 in OT on Dust II, and winning a Bo3 decider series against EnVy in just two games (Dust II and Inferno) to advance as well. EnVy and C9 went home (rather, went to explore Dubai as tourists). In Group B, TSM handed Na’Vi a defeat before beating familiar rivals Fnatic in overtime to advance to the playoffs. Fnatic unsurprisingly recovered, defeating Na’Vi themselves before winning 2-0 over Titan to advance as the fourth team. NiP looked strong against TSM in the first game, destroying the Danes on Dust II. But TSM fought back in the next two games, winning convincingly on Mirage and Inferno to advance to the finals. Virtus.Pro and Fnatic faced off in the other semi for the right to face TSM. They split the first two games, forcing a pivotal game three on Cache. VP went all out in the last map of the day, crushing Fnatic 16-4. TSM and VP will face each other tomorrow in the grand finals.
LCS: C9 Runs the Gauntlet, New LCS Participants Determined, and More
After missing the LCS playoffs for the first time as an organization, the Cloud 9 team was looking at potentially missing out on an appearance at Worlds for the first time as an organization. To return to the grandest stage, they would have to run through the entire gauntlet of Gravity, Team Impulse, and Team Liquid. In their very first series against Gravity, Cloud 9 was down 2-0, and it looked like the dream would end early. But Cloud 9 would rally on the stellar play of their new midlaner Incarnati0n and their returning captain Hai in the jungle, and C9 would reverse Gravity and claim the first series 3-2. In the next series, C9 found themselves in a similar hole, trailing 2-0 to Impulse. This time, it was AD Carry Sneaky’s turn to come up big, putting together three straight huge games to pull off the second straight reverse sweep. Fans were unsure if this was the key to success for Cloud 9, or if they were just trolling the LCS community. The near-impossible triple reverse sweep dream would not come to fruition, unfortunately, but C9 would complete their gauntlet run with a 3-1 victory over Team Liquid to earn a trip to Worlds as the #3 NA seed. It was another day at work for Cloud 9, compiling a 9-5 record during the gauntlet, and playing nearly an entire split’s work of games. In the EU, Origen emerged victorious from the gauntlet, although they traveled down a much easier road than Cloud 9. They entered in round two, defeating Team ROCCAT in a close 3-2 series, before sweeping the Unicorns of Love in the finals to earn their spot at Worlds.
Just a week after the LCS Worlds participants were set in stone, the bottom LCS teams and the top Challenger squads faced off for two spots in each league. Team Coast, now under the coaching direction of Saintvicious, swept Enemy eSports to return to the LCS after their disastrous 2014 Spring Split, in which they finished 10th place with a 1-17 record. Team 8, who coincidentally finished in eighth place, held on to their LCS standing with a 3-1 victory over 3rd place Challenger team, Team Imagine. Over in the EU, Gambit retained their LCS standing convincingly with a 3-0 over mousesports. Gamers2 earned a spot in the LCS, knocking out SK Gaming via a close 3-2 victory.
- LoL: CLG announced a major roster change prior to the World Championships. Huhi will step in for Xmithie due to visa issues. Huhi was brought in along with Pobelter to play at the midlane position, and now CLG will have to face an uphill battle as he transitions to jungler. Speaking of roster announcements, Riot also announced their on-air personality lineup for Worlds.
- Dota 2: The American qualifiers for the ESL One New York event start tomorrow. One of the teams to watch is the new Cloud 9 roster, featuring the former Dark Horse roster that is captained by 1437. The one NA qualifier winner will join invitees Team Secret, Virtus.pro, CDEC Gaming, and Evil Geniuses, as well as Vega Squadron and Fnatic from the respective European and Southeast Asian qualifiers. A single team from the Chinese qualifier will also join. C9 kicks off the qualifier against paiN Gaming on Sept. 12th at 16:00 Eastern time, 13:00 Pacific.
Something we miss? It’s hard to get everything, but let us know in the comments.