This week we continue our coverage of the League of Legends World Championships, as well as take a look at some major roster changes from some premier teams, and recommend some big events to watch over the weekend. All this and more in this week’s eSports Weekly.
Worlds: NA Crumbles at the End of Group Stage, Quarterfinals Underway
When we last left off in our coverage of the League of Legends World Championships, the age of faith had come crashing down on the CLG faithful. Counter Logic Gaming, after a 2-1 start in week one of group stage play, went 0-3 in week two en route to a heartbreaking early exit from Worlds. After the first two groups had concluded, half of the quarterfinals participants had been determined: Flash Wolves and KOO Tigers from Group A; SK Telecom T1 and Edward Gaming from Group C.
On Saturday, we moved to Group D, where the standings were far from expected: Origen led with a 3-0 record, KT Rolster were 2-1, Team SoloMid were 1-2, and LGD were 0-3. In the first game of week two, Origen defeated TSM after a long 55 minute game, taking advantage of TSM’s unwillingness to teamfight, and securing a berth in the quarterfinals. KT Rolster had a monster week two of group play, going 3-0 against their opponents and securing the first seed out of Group D. Origen would lose its last two games, but with their win over TSM, still maintained the second seed. TSM would falter in their last two games, going 0-3 in week two and finishing 1-5. It was an emotional end to the day, as a visibly upset Dyrus thanked the fans for their years of support, and apologized through tears that he had let them down during the last phase of his career. But the only person in that building who had thought that Dyrus had let his fans down was Dyrus, as the fans showered the retiring toplaner with applause and gratitude. More on the future of the TSM roster further down.
On Sunday, the hopes of NA fans took one final breath before being dragged down to the depths of despair, as Cloud 9 squandered a 3-0 start after week one, losing all three of their games, and then losing the tiebreaker against ahq to end the group stage in third place, out of playoff contention. ahq picked up big wins over C9 and Invictus to force that tiebreaker, and with the second win over C9, secured the second seed out of Group C. Fnatic looked like the 18-0 Fnatic we saw in the summer split, going 3-0 on Sunday to claim the first seed. Their run included an insane late-game comeback against ahq, and now both EU LCS finals participants will go on to quarterfinals, while all three NA LCS teams will stay behind.
This past Thursday marked the first quarterfinals match-up: Origen vs Flash Wolves. Origen continued their magical run with a 3-1 series victory over the Flash Wolves to secure a spot in the semifinals. OG was led by their AD Carry Niels, the Outstanding Rookie from the last summer split. A semifinals appearance at Worlds isn’t too shabby for a team that was in the Challenger Series this past spring. In the Friday match-up, SK Telecom T1 had no trouble, sweeping ahq Gaming in three games, securing a semifinals spot against Origen.
Hit Reset: Two Premier Organizations Make Massive Changes to Their Rosters
Change is a precursor to progress. Some of the best teams in competitive gaming are the results of massive roster changes. When the current LoL roster of Fnatic was announced, no one expected them to break LCS records with their perfect, 18-0 summer split. Most of the Origen team that’s currently in the semifinals of Worlds consists of players who had made their names with other teams, (xPeke and soaz with Fnatic, Amazing with TSM). Every year after the Dota 2 International Championships, a team that forms in the roster shuffle emerges as a powerhouse. Last year it was Team Secret. Who will it be this year? The point I’m trying to make is that big changes yield big results, and this week there were big changes to two premier rosters.
In the case of Na’Vi, “big” might even be an understatement. The organization famed for its Dota 2 roster announced this morning that it was releasing its Dota 2 squad, led by Dendi and XBOCT, who had consistently started for the team since 2010. The winners of the very first International and grand finals participants in the following two Internationals, the Na’Vi logo is one of the most recognizable in the Dota 2 scene, but the team’s struggles in the past year or so have prompted numerous roster changes until today’s decision came that the team would disband. Even the most casual fan can see the struggles that Na’Vi have encountered. In the past two Internationals, Na’Vi had less than stellar results: finishing in 7th/8th in 2014, and failing to pick up a win and make it out of group stage in 2015. Their most recent setback in failing to qualify for the Frankfurt major was apparently the last straw. The Na’Vi organization said that a new roster could possibly be announced in the next week.
The wrecking ball doesn’t stop there. As the group stages of the League of Legends World Championships came to a close, many were bracing for the official announcement that TSM toplaner Dyrus was retiring. But we got a whole lot more. In a statement released this week, the TSM organization announced that both Dyrus and Lustboy were retiring from competitive play, and that Santorin and the organization had mutually parted ways. Many fans were surprised to see so many players leave, but given how poorly the team played in the summer split finals and during Worlds, it was clear that changes had to be made. Lustboy cited a shoulder injury and being tired of playing competitively as reasons for retiring, but will remain with the organization as an analyst, and will help determine the next phase of the TSM roster. Dyrus is retiring from competitive play, the last of the old guard of previous TSM rosters, with five Worlds appearances under his belt, a feat that only one other player, Yellowstar of Fnatic, has accomplished. He will continue to stream for TSM. Santorin says he will probably not be playing competitively anymore, but will pursue streaming while studying. Lastly, TSM are now accepting applications for their vacant toplaner, jungler, and support positions.
- CS:GO: Virtus.Pro receives a significant investment from USM Holdings, a multiglobal investing corporation run by Russia’s richest man Alisher Usmanov. VP is one of the most widely known organizations in the Russian eSports scene. The investment is designed “to launch new tournaments and various new gaming disciplines, as well to create media channels to cover the sport and to construct e-sports arenas.” The investment could potentially be worth $100 million, but it’s doubtful that the VP players will actually receive any of it.
- LoL: Gambit Gaming announced that FORG1VEN will be moved to the bench from the starting lineup, and that the organization is placing him as “available” to transfers with other teams. This comes after his four game suspension for in-game toxicity. In a statement on Facebook, FORG1VEN announced that he might take a split off, but doesn’t have any plans to retire.
- Overwatch: Blizzard announced that its class-based shooter Overwatch will enter closed beta on October 27th. Blizzard and their fans have high expectations for the 6v6 Team Fortress 2 variant.
Streams To Watch
- Quarterfinal match-ups for the League of Legends World Championships. Fnatic vs Edward Gaming on Saturday, KT Rolster vs KOO Tigers on Sunday. Both start at 9:00 EDT/6:00 PDT. Watch on Riot’s Twitch channel.
- MLG World Finals for Dota 2, Call of Duty, SMITE, and Super Smash Bros. Also MLG’s 100th event. Click here to watch on MLG.tv and view schedules and brackets.