Weekly Recall

StarCraft Weekly Recall

Welcome to my second ever Weekly Recall, a recap of the major events in StarCraft in the past week.

 

GSL Round of 16 – Group C

 

Players: Kim “herO” Joon Ho, Cho “Trap” Sung Ho, Kim “Ryung” Dong Won, Lee “Leenok” Dong Nyung

 

Advancing Players: herO, Ryung

 

herO

herO came into Group C looking to make a statement. With so much focus recently on the top Terrans, it’s easy to forget there are genuine threats from other races. And he made his point, tearing his way through the Group, making it too clear he’s still in the running for the trophy. HerO advanced in 1st place, 4-1, dropping a game only to Trap. It’s no secret that herO has been a dominant force in PvT, and he proved it here.

Especially with the top three Terrans currently playing tournament favorites. If herO can make it past his next round into the final stages of GSL, there is a very real possibility that this could be the season herO finally takes his first GSL title.

Ryung

If there’s one thing to say about Ryung, it’s that he’s resilient. He showcased some intriguing Mech builds against Leenok, taking a relatively clean series 2-1. After getting taken out by herO 0-2 in the Winner’s Match, he took a close series against Trap 2-1. Advancing in second place after a final game on Cactus Valley simply by surviving Trap’s repeated waves of Adept harassment and pushing the fight back to Trap’s side of the map at his most vulnerable point.

Trap

Trap’s ability to harass has to be among the best in the world right now. We saw his ability to dig himself out of a massive disadvantage with only a handful of Adepts against Armani. His Oracle micro against Solar was nothing short of inspirational. And again here against Ryung, taking a map of Ryung with repeated Adept harassment. Taking out as many as 30 workers in a single run to win Abyssal Reef.

Again, in the final game on Cactus Valley, Trap continuously traded out waves of Adepts, but dealing almost crippling economic damage in return. Unfortunately, Trap’s over-commitment to his harassment style ended up costing him the game. Ryung eventually took the fight right to Trap’s main army and Trap was simply unable to hold. He failed to tech up into any form of AoE Protoss needs to take a fight against a complex Terran army.

He ended a hard fought day 4-4.

Leenok

Leenok was, for the most part, just outmatched, ending the day 1-4. He took a single map off Ryung from a disadvantageous situation with some impressive Fungals and swift punishment of Ryung’s aggressive positioning.

 

Weekly Recall

I feel like this one moment is a metaphor for herO’s performance in PvT at the moment.

 

GSL Round of 16 – Group D

 

Players: Kim “sOs” Yoo Jin, Hwang “KeeN” Kyu Seok, Lee “Bunny” Jae Sun, Cho “Maru” Sung Ju

 

Advancing Players: Maru, sOs

 

Maru

A week ago, I said Jun “TY” Tae Yang looked like the best player in the World. Maru came out in Group D to make his case. After dismantling Bunny in his first match 2-0 through superior tactical positioning, he went on to crush KeeN in the winners match. In his first game, he punished a heavy over-extension by KeeN in TY’s base by making a doom drop right into KeeN’s army before he had a chance to replenish.

His second game against KeeN was hard to watch. Pushing into KeeN with a heavy Reaper harassment, taking him apart through nothing but Reaper micro. Closing out the game in less than four minutes and dropping a “manner-MULE” into KeeN’s base for his trouble.

Maru ended the day 4-0, advancing cleanly in first place.

sOs

Ever the wildcard, sOs ended up in the Elimination Match against Bunny after losing to KeeN 1-2 in the first match of the day. SOs would then proceed to win the next four games in a row, first 2-0 against Bunny, and then again against KeeN in the final match. Showcasing his unique take on PvT with mass Phoenix and Adept harassment. Reminding us that sOs’ greatest asset has always been his ability to know exactly what his opponent’s least expects.

SOs ended the day 5-2, advancing in second place.

SOs will face a rematch in the quarterfinals against herO, both of whom met previously in the last GSL, in the quarterfinals as well. SOs took that series 3-0. With herO looking near unstoppable in PvT at the moment, sOs is now looking to play upset, possibly being all that stands in the way of herO’s first GSL win.

KeeN

We really have to give some love to KeeN because he got nothing of the sort from the pair from Jin Air. He first got manner-MULE’d by Maru, then BM’d again from sOs as he closed out the Final Match. KeeN put on a strong show against sOs in the first match of the day. Game 3 of the first match on Abyssal Reef was perhaps the best game of the day. But for KeeN, the day went downhill from there. KeeN ended the day 2-5, losing 0-2 to Maru in the Winner’s Match, and then 0-2 again to sOs in the Final Match.

Bunny

It seems the theme of Week 2 of the Round of 16 to have one player that just failed to show up. For Group D, that player was Bunny. Though it’s unfair to compare Bunny’s performance to Leenok in Group C, Leenok for the most part looked like a fish out of water. Bunny put on a resilient show against Maru, but was just outclassed.

 

 

Weekly Recall

Maru vividly reminds me of one of those pre-teen school girls from those Japanese Horrors. He looks cute and harmless on the outside but there is nothing even remotely resembling a soul on the inside.

 

 

Call to Action: Test Map Updates

 

Terran

Widow Mine: +shield bonus damage on splash reduced from +40 to +25 (to be clear, damage on primary target will be unchanged from live, only the splash damage has been nerfed).

 

Zerg

(New) Corruptor: Movement speed changed from 4.1343 to 4.725. Acceleration speed changed from 3.675 to 4.2. Parasite Spore weapon damage point (ie. attack delay) changed from .1193 to .0446.

Hydralisk: Health increased from 80 to 90

 

 

 

Community Highlights

 

 

And since this is my first Community Highlight ever, I’m just going to cheat with two bonus entries from a couple weeks ago.

 

 

Featured images courtesy AfreecaTV and Blizzard Entertainment.

Follow me on Twitter: @Stefan_SC2

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Stefan!

StarLadder I-League StarSeries Season 3 LAN Finals Preview

As we move further into the year, the tournaments are coming thick and fast. Next up is the StarLadder season 3 LAN finals held in the Shanghai International Gymnastics Center. StarLadder will take place February 23rd – 26th and will showcase some of the best teams in the world.

StarLadder Prize Pool

The prize pool is $300,000 USD, split as follows:

Place $ USD Team
1st $135,000 TBD
2nd $60,000 TBD
3rd $37,500 TBD
4th $22,500 TBD
place 5 to 8
5th-6th $15,000 TBD
TBD
7th-8th $7,500 TBD
TBD

Courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2/StarLadder/i-League_StarSeries/Season_3

StarLadder Format

The teams will be split into two groups, each containing four teams. The group stage will contain a double-elimination bracket with the top two teams advancing to bracket play. Bracket play will be a four team single-elimination bracket, with the semifinals being best of threes, and the final a best of five.

The Teams

Wings Gaming – Direct Invite

Wings StarLadder

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Shadow

Position 2 (Mid) – Blink

Position 3 (Offlane) – Faith_bian

Position 4 (Support) – y’

Position 5 (Support) – iceice

Wings have been missing from the competitive scene since ESL One Genting. After facing troubles with visas, they missed out on Dota Pit, meaning they have had very few games on the new patch. Since winning TI, Wings have not reached the heights that were expected by many fans.

Wings will be hoping to put in a good performance to try and secure an invite to Kiev. Considering the talent on show at StarLadder, Wings have a tough task ahead of them.

Prediction – 5th / 6th

Wings placement will rely heavily on the group that they are placed in. However, they have failed to impress since TI and will struggle to make it out of the group stages. They will be hoping to kick start their year with a decent performance to give them some momentum heading into the Kiev Major.

OG – Direct Invite

OG StarLadder

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Notail

Position 2 (Mid) – Ana

Position 3 (Offlane) – s4

Position 4 (Support) – JerAx

Position 5 (Support) – Fly

For some reason there seems to always be questions surrounding the ability of this OG team. Having proved at both Boston and DotaPit that they are one of the best, if not the best, team in the world, they will be hoping to impress at StarLadder. As winners of the Boston Major, they are guaranteed an invite to Kiev, so they hope to silence the critics once again with an emphatic display.

Predictions – 1st Place

OG have the pedigree and ability to win this tournament. Coming off the back of a second place finish at DotaPit, OG will be looking to step it up a level and finish first. Also, as EG are missing from the event, OG will feel confident with their chances.

Team Liquid – European Qualifier #1

Team Liquid StarLadder

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – MATUMBAMAN

Position 2 (Mid) – Miracle-

Position 3 (Offlane) – MinD_ContRoL

Position 4 (Support) – GH

Position 5 (Support) – KuroKy

StarLadder will be the LAN debut for the new Team Liquid and they hope to start it off with a victory. Liquid will be coming into the tournament on the back of an impressive 12 game win streak. They hope that an impressive performance at StarLadder can secure them a direct invite to the upcoming Kiev Major.

Prediction – 2nd Place

Liquid are on an upward trend, however they will eventually cross paths with OG. Taking the W against Fly and the rest of OG may be a step too far for Liquid, but it will be good for the team to get some LAN experience together.

Team Secret – European Qualifier #2

Secret StarLadder

Image courtesy of teamsecret.gg

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – MP

Position 2 (Mid) – MidOne

Position 3 (Offlane) – Khezu

Position 4 (Support) – Puppey

Position 5 (Support) – pieliedie

This is the second major tournament that the new look Secret have competed in as a team. The first, DotaPit, did not go as planned. Secret ended up finishing in a disappointing 5th / 6th. Having displayed good promise early in the tournament by beating DC, they eventually fell in the losers bracket. Secret hope to prove that they can still be one of the best teams in the world. StarLadder provides them with teams they should beat 70% of the time.

Prediction – 4th Place

With Wings and DC both looking fragile, Secret have a real chance at finishing strong in this event. However, with the likes of Liquid and OG also competing, a top three finish may be just out of reach. This will be the chance for Secret to gain some momentum heading into the Kiev Major qualifiers.

Team VG.J – China Qualifier #1

VG.J StarLadder

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Agressif

Position 2 (Mid) – Freeze

Position 3 (Offlane) – rOtk

Position 4 (Support) – fy

Position 5 (Support) – Fenrir

This will be VG.J’s first venture into international competition. The squad is stacked with some of the best players in China and will be expected to perform well on home soil. Mid player Liu “Freeze” Change is a relative unknown in the international scene and hopes to put his name on the map at StarLadder.

Prediction – 3rd

VG.J posses some of the best talent in Chinese Dota currently, and with Wings misfiring and Newbee not at the event, VG.J are China’s only hope. With four veterans of Dota, this team has the makings of a world beater. The only question is whether they can realize their potential or fall by the side.

iG Vitality – China Qualifier #2

iG.V StarLadder

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Paparazi

Position 2 (Mid) – Sakata

Position 3 (Offlane) – InJuly

Position 4 (Support) – Super

Position 5 (Support) – dogf1ghts

iG.V are a small fish surrounded by blood thirsty sharks. Similar to Elements Pro Gaming at Dota Pit, they are slightly out of place. As they have been playing together for nearly a year, they hope to possess an advantage over some of the newly formed teams. Having failed at Boston, they have been relatively quiet. This is also their first appearance on the international scene.

Prediction – 7th / 8th

Dota games are not played on paper. This is the thing iG.V will be relying on heading in to the tournament. They are on home soil and will be hoping that the crowd can push them to victory. However, they are against several strong teams and will be hard pressed to mount any serious challenge.

Digital Chaos – America Qualifier

DC StarLadder

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Resolution

Position 2 (Mid) – w33

Position 3 (Offlane) – MoonMeander

Position 4 (Support) – MiSeRy

Position 5 (Support) – Saksa

In the last six weeks we have seen the two sides of DC. To go from dominating the field at ESL One Genting to finishing last at DotaPit is not good enough. DC are coming into the event in a weird place. They managed to qualify for the event beating NP in a playoff. However, a few weeks later they failed to qualify for DAC, losing to NP in the finals. They hope to make a comeback and put in a solid performance at StarLadder to secure an invite to Kiev.

Prediction – 5th / 6th

DC look out of sorts since ESL One Genting. The nature of the victory may have lead them to slack a bit heading into DotaPit. However, it is nearly time for the direct invites to Kiev to be announced. DC hope that they can reignite the fire of ESL One and put in a solid performance for the tournament.

TNC Pro Team

TNC StarLadder

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Roster:

Position 1 (Carry) – Raven

Position 2 (Mid) – Kuku

Position 3 (Offlane) – Sam_H

Position 4 (Support) – Tims

Position 5 (Support) – ryOyr

TNC are used to being the underdogs, so this time around will be no different. They are the second best team in SEA, after Faceless, so this will be a tough challenge for TNC. With Faceless likely to receive a direct invite to Kiev, TNC will be able to use the tournament as a warm-up for the Kiev Qualifiers. TNC hope to catch a few teams off-guard using their unpredictable play style.

Prediction – 7th / 8th

TNC are a difficult team to predict, considering the unpredictable nature of their play. They will be hoping to use this to their advantage and upset a few teams and achieve a decent finish.

StarLadder Final Thoughts

Team Liquid makes their return to international competition at StarLadder, and hope to return with a bang. Standing in their way is OG, the silent assassins that know how to win and win often. OG look to be the favorites for the event, but Liquid have the potential to win. Looking through the rest of the teams, VG.J and Secret have the potential to challenge in the later stages of the tournament. TNC and iG Vitality look to be the weakest of the teams, and will be hoping that they can cause a few upsets and end up with a decent position.

Overall Predictions:

1st Place – OG

2nd Place – Team Liquid

3rd Place – Team VG.J

4th Place – Team Secret

5th / 6th Place – Digital Chaos / Wings Gaming

7th / 8th Place – iG Vitality / TNC Pro Team

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Joe!

You can follow Joe here – https://twitter.com/TrenchCommander

ONOG’s Pokémon Invitational Is Monumental for the Growth of VGC

“To celebrate the recent resurgence of Pokémon, ONOG, in collaboration with GEICO Gaming, would like to invite you to witness a tournament between the best and most storied Pokémon video game players of this generation.”

One Nation of Gamers presents a Pokémon Invitational tournament with prize money on the line. Eight of the best players from around the world will duke it out. The tournament will take place over two days (February 25th-26th) and will be multi-stage, double elimination format. Insurance company turned esports organization GEICO Gaming will be sponsoring and fully supporting the tournament.

Who Ya Got?

Courtesy of ONOG

The eight players that will be competing include the past three World Champions: Wolfe “Wolfey” Glick, Shoma “SHADEviera” Honami, and Sejun Park. It also includes players and popular YouTubers: Markus “13Yoshi37” Stadter, Enosh “Human” Shachar, Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng, Alex Ogloza, and Dan “aDrive” Clap.

The cast of players featured ensures that the level of competition will be high. It seems that every single match will be a feature. With this many well-known players going up against each other, the viewership is sure to be on par with official tournament streams.

What’s On the Line?

There are no Championship Points or trips to Worlds up for grabs. Rather, a $1000 prize pool will be distributed among the top four.

Not Your Traditional Format

The tournament will be structured in two stages: A group stage that is double elimination where players will play best-of-three matches, and a playoff stage that will be single elimination with best-of-five matches. This new approach to the traditional VGC tournament structure is sure to shake things up. It may further mitigate chances of a set coming down to RNG too.

Where Can I Watch the Tournament?

Each match from the tournament will be live on ONOG’s Twitch and YouTube channels. Justin Carris, a newer yet polished commentator, will be leading the match commentary with competitors coming on to assist him.

Why This is a Huge Deal

This is the first independent Pokémon VGC tournament with this big of a sponsor since APEX in 2014. Esports organizations like ONOG and GEICO Gaming bring promise for others to set their eyes on Pokémon as a game that has potential to rise to the level of other major esports. The prize pool, as well as the caliber of players, legitimizes a high level of competitive play that spectators will be excited to watch. The potential viewership numbers makes this tournament sure to attract a ton of attention to the game. Hopefully more of these tournaments are on the way, as this one is sure to set a stellar example.

Final Words

This tournament has a ton of well deserved hype surrounding it. The matches will be exciting, the tournament will be well covered, and the potential growth for VGC is almost certain. In partnership with Trainer Tower, profiles for each player will be posted throughout the week. For more details about the tournament, visit the official site at: http://pokemon.onog.gg/, and get hyped for February 25th!

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers like Eric!

Are the European Halo Teams Up to Par?

The Halo World Championships are just that – the World championships, with teams from across the globe competing. That said, North America dominates competitive Halo. This has now started to change with Epsilon eSports’ performance last year, showing that European Halo is no joke.

Epsilon at the time consisted of James “Jimbossity” Bradbrook (also known as Jimbo), Alex “BUK20” Buck, Will “BUK57” Buck, and Mike “Snipedrone” Juchau. They performed above and beyond what was expected of any non-NA team during last year’s Halo World Championships. This squad was first able to take down fan-favorite Renegades at the 2016 Winter X-Games in only four games. During the HWC 2016 Finals, Epsilon was the only non-NA team to progress outside of the group stage. While the team went home with a 5th-8th finish, they managed to take a game from the near invincible Counter Logic Gaming. They were the only team to do so aside from the Denial roster. But that was last year. What is European Halo looking like now?

 

Head and Shoulders Above the Rest

Currently, European Halo is far and away being led by FAB eSports, with a roster of Jimbo, Brandon “Respectful” Stones,

FAB winning the Summer Finals. Courtesy of Millenium.org

Perry “TuFoxy” Kenyon, and Luciano “Mose” Calvanico. This team has led both EU Pro Leagues, as well as winning the Finals, and is looking to continue their dominance. They have only lost four total scrims in 2017, and recent scrims have shown FAB returning to dominance. These include a 13-0 victory, as well as several others that were won by five or more games. FAB are performing similarly to how OpTic Gaming (Then-CLG) were performing during the Fall Season, as they did not drop a single game at the Fall Finals.

However, other teams have begun nipping at FAB’s heels. Supremacy, London Conspiracy, as well as Team Infused have been able to defeat FAB in scrims on occasion. All three will have a chance to dethrone FAB this weekend at the HWC 2017 EU Qualifiers while also trying to snag one of three EU spots for the 2017 Finals.

Despite FAB’s impressive record so far, it is very well known that the competition level of North American Halo is well above that of European competition, and this trend does not look to be slowing down anytime soon.

 

HCS Las Vegas

During the Fall Season, FAB did cross the pond to attend HCS Las Vegas. During this event, FAB dominated most of the

Jimbo, one of the most popular EU players. Courtesy of James Bradbrook.

amateur NA teams. They were able to sweep Pnda Gaming, as well as 6S, a team that later went on to challenge Enigma6 and Team Allegiance at Relegations. Unfortunately, Team Liquid sent FAB to the losers bracket and later went on to not only knock Team EnvyUs into the losers bracket, but also took them through 14 games in the grand finals before losing.

In the losers bracket, Str8 Rippin sent FAB packing with a 3-1 victory.

While FAB is far better than the old Epsilon roster ever was, the competition in North America has skyrocketed throughout the Fall Season. Any of the top five teams in NA can contend with OpTic Gaming, making the desired placings for FAB that much harder.

 

Looking Forward

FAB may be the only team that has a chance at contending with the top North American teams going into the 2017 Halo World Championship. They are the only European team to play against North Americans since HWC 2016, and will have the best tools of any European Halo team to counteract the hyper-aggressive North American play-style. This squad has the talent and firepower to defeat the bottom three NA teams, but only time will tell if they can contend with the likes of OpTic. However, they have to fight through Infused, Supremacy, and several other very hungry Europeans to get there.

Be sure to tune in to the GFINITY HWC 2017 London Qualifiers, live February 17th-19th here!

Do you think the Europeans have a chance at taking home the title of “Halo World Champions?” Sound off on Twitter or the official Halo stream this weekend!

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Devin! Get in touch with Devin personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @Frostbite_XV2!

QR Rental Teams – A New Way to Play Competitive Pokémon

A New Challenger Approaches

Capturing, Breeding, Training, there has always been a lot of monotony to preparing for a competitive Pokémon match. Trainers spend countless hours picking Pokémon for their team, and working on training the perfect specimen. Each time a trainer chooses to replace even a single member, they must go through the process again. Not anymore with QR Rental Teams.

QR Rental Team scan prompt in game

TPCI has added the option to bypass breeding and training with the introduction of QR Rental Teams. QR Rental Teams allow trainers to register teams they train and share them with other trainers. Has TPCI finally removed the need for breeding and training in competitive Pokémon altogether?

QR Provides First Steps Towards Convenience 

QR codes now grant trainers easy access to battle with teams they put no work into. Simply access teams of Pokémon on the Pokémon Global Link website and generate a QR code for the team. Then scan the generated QR code when prompted in Pokémon Sun and Moon and BOOM, you are battling with a team bred and trained by another trainer.

It has never been easier to practice and battle with some excellent Pokémon teams. QR Rental Teams are not without their restrictions, however. Here is a list of battles in which you trainers can use QR Rental Teams:

List of battles that allow QR Rental Teams

Furthermore, QR Rental Teams are not permitted at all for official tournaments. So the hopes of moving away from breeding and training for trainers interested in VGC competition is still not entirely possible.

Helpful But Not Entirely Convenient

As with many things TPCI does, QR Rental Teams are a fantastic idea with implementation that leaves much to be desired. In order for a trainer to share their teams, they must register it to their Battle Box. Then the trainer must log into their account on the Pokémon Global Link website. From there they can access the Pokémon teams in their Battle Box and register them as a QR Rental Team.

Example Pokémon QR Rental Team from Pokemon Global Link website

At this point the team is ready to be used by trainers around the world. While you would think in order to use a rental team, you would simply scan a QR code that is shared with you. Sadly it is not that easy. A trainer has to access the Pokémon Global Link website, and locate the team or trainer who owns the team. Once they locate the team they wish to rent, they can generate a personal QR code to be scanned with their Pokémon Sun and Moon game. Not exactly the epitome of convenience.

The other area that needs improvement is the user interface. Rental Teams are separated into only two different formats, Single and Double. This makes hunting down teams for specific things, like VGC format, difficult and time consuming. On top of that, there are very few options for filtering through teams outside of specifying specific Pokémon.

A Hope For the Future and a Word of Caution

Overall, Rental Teams are a fantastic move for TPCI to make. Allowing easier access to trainers to try out the more competitive aspect of Pokémon is certainly a step in the right direction. Hopefully they are able to iron out some of the kinks with the current system and provide more and more convenience to their fans and prospecting competitive trainers.

One word of caution however, there are rumors going around that currently QR codes contain Pokémon trainer ID info that can be maliciously accessed. This data can then be used to get the trainer account attached to the Rental Team banned from the Pokémon Global Link. Please use this new service with caution until more info comes out!

All images courtesy of Game Freak

Follow me on Twitter: @aeroashwind

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Drew!

Week 5 Preview: Fnatic mid lane, Caps

EU LCS Week 5: FNC v. SPY Preview

One of the key match-ups coming into Week five will be Fnatic versus Splyce. Both of these squads sit in the middle of their respective groups, third place. Fnatic are 3-2 and Splyce are 2-3. Fnatic has lost to G2. Splyce has lost to H2K and Unicorns of Love (UOL). Misfits have defeated both teams.

This Week five series will be an important one for gaging the strength difference between Group A and Group B of the EU LCS. We will also see G2 taking on UOL, which will further settle the score. But the match-up between FNC and SPY will be just as important for understanding the interplay of these teams. If FNC win in a dominant fashion, then we can conclude that Group A is stronger than Group B, and if SPY win convincingly, then Group B must be more substantial.

There are areas of game-play where these teams overlap, but there are also several where they diverge. Their overall win conditions leading into Thursday are fairly different. Here is an outline of a few factors to keep in mind.

First Blood

Fnatic have taken First Blood in 50% of their games. Oftentimes, it is a result of Rasmus “Caps” Winther roaming from mid lane to assist his jungler or diving a side lane. You can see some examples in the highlights below.

Splyce, on the other hand, have only secured First Blood in 18% of their games, the lowest in the league. Chres “Sencux” Laursen will need to clearly communicate anytime Caps leaves mid in the early game. Jonas “Trashy” Andersen and the rest of his team will need to ward and path to effectively track Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen throughout the map.

First 3 Turrets

Fnatic also consistently take the first three turrets in a game. Their movement across the map in the early game allows them to take advantageous teamfights and then effectively translate trades into towers. So far, they have succeeded in doing this in 79% of games, second highest in the league.

You can see in the highlights below, Fnatic cleanly win a teamfight against Vitality at 20 minutes. They rotate into the river and start Baron. When Vitality contest, Fnatic go aggressive, earning a few more kills and securing the Baron. Notice both teams have knocked down one turret each. After recalling, Fnatic take a turret in bot lane, a turret in mid lane, and a turret in top lane. They almost get a fourth turret top, but Vitality hold them back.

In their game against Giants, neither team had a turret taken in 12 minutes. Fast forward to 16 minutes, and you can see that Fnatic has taken three turrets with none traded to Giants.

Splyce have only accomplished this in 36% of their games. While they have similar first Dragon rates, first turret rates, and kill:death ratios, Splyce are less likely to push those advantages into multiple towers across the map. Their early-mid game rotations are a bit slower than Fnatic’s.

First Baron

The other area where Splyce struggle is in taking first Baron. They are last in the league here, as well, with only 18% of games. Their team has allowed several unfortunate Baron steals, and they usually are slow to check if Baron is being taken by the enemy.

While Fnatic are middle-of-the-pack taking first Baron, their 50% of games is vastly superior. Even in games where Splyce is ahead, or significantly better at teamfighting, opponents can sneak Barons. Fnatic should be sure to take advantage of this blind spot.

Elder Control

While they are unlikely to take first Baron, Splyce are highly likely to take an Elder Dragon. They have 100% Elder control rates thus far. As you can see in the highlights below, even when they get pushed off of a Baron play, Splyce are willing to take a fight in the bot river and secure Elder before moving to Baron. It is how they took a game off of Unicorns of Love It is a bit risky, though. Elder Dragon takes much longer to kill. However, once it is secured, it allows your team to do tremendous amounts of damage, especially if other Elemental Drakes have been secured. From here it is easy to rotate up to Baron, recall, and then push down the enemy’s base.

Fnatic only have 50% Elder Dragon control. Although it is half as high as Splyce, this is still a decent rate considering how few teams actually take Elder Dragon in a game. Nonetheless, Fnatic will need to be sure to ward top and bot rivers to ensure they can react to Splyce’s gameplay.

Overall, Fnatic have the advantage in this series. They will need to play around Caps in the early game, then roam and find skirmishes in the mid game. Once they win a big teamfight, they can take Drakes, or even Baron. Their primary focus should continue to be turrets, though. If they can open up the map quicker than Splyce, then it will make a win much easier.

Splyce will need to do their best to match Fnatic’s dynamic gameplay. They also need to remember that Fnatic are likely to overextend a push at times. If Splyce are unable to keep up in the early game, then they need to do their best to absorb the pressure until they can get openings to make calculated plays. Vision control will be extremely important in this Week five series.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Thomas!

Recall

StarCraft Weekly Recall

Welcome to my first ever Weekly Recall. A recap of the major events in StarCraft in the past week.

GSL Round of 16 – Group A

 

Players: Jun “TY” Tae Yang, Kim “Stats” Dae Yeob, Han “Byul” Ji Won, Han “Alive” Li Seok

 

Advancing Players: TY, Stats

 

TY: Fresh off his first premier tournament victory at WESG, TY continues to make a strong case for why he’s a tournament favorite. Advancing 4-1, TY cruised his way through Group A. While he did drop a game to Stats in the Winner’s Match, the games he did win were stomps. TY is as close to his peak form as he’s ever been. And based on performances across the board last week, he could be the best player in the world at the moment.

Stats: Stats’ games against Byul were as close to a Code-S level guidebook on defending early Zerg aggression as we’re ever going to get; he made short work of Byuls repeated attempts at early rushes with increasing effectiveness throughout the day. The few games that went into the late-game never showed Stats threatened in any real way. All-round, Stats’ PvZ at the moment is currently near pristine.

Against TY however, Stats looked simply outmatched. If Stats hopes to make it to the semi-finals he’ll need to step up his PvT to at least the level he showed against Byun and Ryung in the Round of 32. The good news for Stats is, if he can make it past his next round, he will have essentially booked his spot in the finals.

Byul vs. Alive: While Byul and Alive would fail to advance, their head-to-head would deliver the most climatic game of the week. Byul vs. Alive on Newkirk Precinct was a 35 minute deadlock. While Byul expanded more aggressively early, Alive’s MULEs would compensate hard. This was especially relevant as ultimately the deadlock would only be broken as Alive’s economy bled out just that much faster.

Recall

The kinds of games that remind you of why you watch StarCraft

GSL Round of 16 – Group B

 

Players: Lee “Innovation” Shin Hyung, Park “Dark” Ryung Woo, Eo “SoO” Yoon Soo, Kim “Classic” Doh Woo

 

Advancing Players: Innovation, SoO

 

Innovation: Innovation would advance 4-1 following a hard fought series against Classic in the Winner’s Match. Inno’s TvZ looked as clean as one would expect from the favorite coming into GSL, moving past SoO 2-0. Classic however was able to reveal cracks in his armor. His TvP was no longer looking as flawless as it did against Stats in IEM Gyeonggi. With a rematch against Stats coming up in the quarter-finals, Stats is without question going to be looking for revenge for Gyeonggi.

SoO: SoO put on an interesting show in Group B, seeming to get better as the day progressed. While he lost 2-0 against Innovation in the second match of the day, he won a clean 2-0 against Dark in the Loser’s Match. SoO would drop a game against Classic in the Final Match, but for the most part, SoO was never in any real danger of losing the series. The last game in particular saw the Protoss struggling to respond to SoO’s aggression, closing out the series against Classic far more cleanly than Innovation.

Classic: It says everything about Group B that Classic, one of the most decorated Protoss in StarCraft II, came in as the underdog. Yet in a Group stacked with monsters, it was Classic that turned out as the unexpected entertainer of the day. Opening Group B with an unusual early Immortal, Classic came out the gate putting on a show. After 2-0ing Dark, Classic went on to put on a spectacular display against Innovation. At the conclusion to a close 2-1, Classic at one point looked as if he were minutes away from punching his ticket into the quarterfinals. However, Classic overextended an advantageous situation, losing his main army as a result, and was wiped out in the counter-attack.

At the very least, Classic got his revenge on Dark for picking him into the group of death. A rare feat as any in Legacy of the Void.

Dark: Dark, the unrivaled King of WCS Korea in 2016. Dark came into the Round of 16 looking in top form, advancing 4-0 from his group. One round later, he exits GSL 0-4. While it would be easy to write Dark off based on this performance, StarCraft II isn’t that type of game. In StarCraft II, anyone can show up having a bad day. It actually says more about the competition at the highest level of StarCraft that even the best Zerg in the world will get destroyed on a bad day. In StarCraft, Gods will inevitably bleed.

But make no mistake, Dark is still a God. And his performance here will be remembered as nothing but an outlier in a legacy of greatness. If remembered at all.

Now I’m not going to pretend to know what Classic was thinking here but I’d imagine “F*** your extractor” is a reasonable guess.

Balance Team Community Feedback

 

Widow Mine
Reaction to the Widow Mine nerf has been positive. However, the balance team will be paying attention to concerns that, coupled with the Liberator nerf, may prove that it was an over-correction. The changes discussed are listed below for reference.

Widow Mine: Splash damage +shield bonus reduced from +40 to +25 (Currently Testing)

Liberator: Concord Cannon damage changed from 85 to 75 (Live)

 

Carrier
The balance team will be exploring buffs to the Corruptor rather than nerfs to the Carrier, based on feedback that the proposed changes have been ineffectual.

Carrier: Interceptor cost increased from 10 to 15

 

Hydralisk
Hydralisk buff will remain in testing due to lack of feedback. Hardly surprising and most likely as a result of community concerns being heavily fixated on the proposed Widow Mine buff.

Hydralisk: Health increased from 80 to 90.

 

 

Balance Team Community Feedback post.

Featured images courtesy AfreecaTV and Blizzard Entertainment.

Follow me on Twitter: @Stefan_SC2

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Stefan!

 

Dark Templar Blink: Might be Good After All

Ever since lead balance designer David Kim announced at 2016’s Blizzcon that Dark Templars, Starcraft’s invisible psi-blade wielding saboteurs, would be getting the ability to “blink” or teleport short-range in the next patch, reactions have ranged from anger and fear to apathetic eye rolls.

On the one side, the Dark Templar (or DT) is already one of the more rage inducing units in the game – more so at lower levels of play, but still lethal at the very top. Watching one’s army or economy disappear in seconds to a faint blur without any way of seeing or attacking said blur can be incredibly maddening, and now you want to give them teleportation?!? David please!!!

On the opposite side of the spectrum were people, myself included, who thought DT blink was a useless gimmick that would never see the light of pro play. The two reasons for this are 1. That the quick and six-ranged-pickup warp prisms already fill the roll of evacuating DTs after they’ve been spotted, and 2. That unlike their more combat suited brethren the Stalkers, who have been using blink to jump damaged units behind fresh ones to increase army survivability since the Beta of Starcraft 2, DTs do not have the health points or range to pull this off. I watched GSL, IEM, and a bevy of Protoss streams, and not a once did I see someone even research DT blink (aka “Shadowstride”).

I assumed, along with the majority of the more experienced Protoss players in the community, that DT blink would never exist past Gold league, and we should just keep experimenting with the other balance changes we received.

That is, until I watched game 2 of Nightmare vs Gumiho.

After repelling some drops and harassing with a few Dark Templar, the appropriately named Jang “Nightmare” Wook completely demolished Koh “Guhimo” Byung Jae’s defense of three siege tanks and a healthy ball of marines with only seven blink DTs and eight charge zealots. He charged the Terran’s natural expansion with his small group of melee units, blinked his Dark Templar BEHIND Guhimo’s tanks, and in a matter of seconds Guhimo’s entire army was nothing but blood and scrap metal.

Nearly all of Nightmare’s units remained standing to finish the game. The crowd went wild, caster legends Tasteless and Artosis started shouting in excitement – even exclaiming “This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen” and “I didn’t think you can use them like that”.

This is the reason I love Starcraft 2. With enough time and creativity, anything is possible. As someone who is always looking for new and outside-the-box ways of tearing my opponent to shreds, it always blows me away when a player creates something truly new. It happened when Ke “Has” Yu Feng showed the world that mass oracle can work against Zerg, it happened when “Byun” Hyun Woo taught us how to force a surrender with just a pair of full medivacs, and now we have Nightmare, a fairly unknown Protoss player from Korea, bravely carrying the Protoss torch into the darkness.

Inspired as ever, I took to the ladder with one goal: Go DT blink every game. After that ladder session I can say quite confidently that it can work consistently at higher levels of play.

Blink Dark Templar are incredibly useful for breaking Siege Tank lines – send in about three Blink DTs per tank and they will often get the kill before a scan is even dropped to reveal them – meanwhile the rest of your army can be already closing in.

I found that in the later stages of a Protoss vs Zerg, a pack of seven or eight DTs can often slip into the main base of a zerg (with a minor distraction), snipe the Hive and maybe even more tech, and depending on the map, blink safely to the low ground. When I tried rushing to DT blink against Zerg I found it significantly easier to pounce on lone spore crawlers and quickly eliminate detection, giving me enough time to kill drones or even the hatchery before making my escape.

I still haven’t found a game-changing use for DT blink in the Protoss vs Protoss matchup that normal DTs can’t fulfill, but considering Shadow Stride costs 100/100 and one Dark Templar costs 125/125, the upgrade has paid for itself with just one saved DT.

It makes me very excited for the future of the game when I am wrong about first impressions such as this. Whether DT blink becomes a consistent late game tool, an occasional tank-busting all-in weapon, or whether it just fades away as the cool trick we saw Nightmare use that one time – only time will tell. What we do know, however, is that whether you’re a first day Bronzie or GSL Blizzcon Champion Byun, none of us understand this game completely, and hopefully we never will.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with Mac!

 

Image courtesy of hearthstone.gamepedia.com and Blizzard entertainment

Back from the dead; 4 post-nerf decks to watch

Turn one Spirit Claws into turn two Wrath of Air Totem will soon be a thing of the past (thankfully)

Once again, changes are afoot in the world of Hearthstone. In a post on the Hearthstone subreddit and Blizzard Forums, Team 5 announced two incoming balance changes. In addition to the introduction of “floors” that prevent falling below certain ladder milestones, Small-Time Buccaneer and Spirit Claws are in for a rebalance. This has profound implications on what decks and strategies are likely to be dominant in tomorrow’s meta.

 

Small-Time Buccaneer is to have its health reduced to one from two, making it far more susceptible to pings and low-cost AOE. Ironically, it also renders it vulnerable to Patches the Pirate. Meanwhile, arguably the most powerful weapon in the game is no longer the apex of terrifying efficiency. Moving it from one mana to two renders it far less potent at shutting down early-game minions. In particular, it can no longer be followed up with a Bloodmage Thalnos or Wrath of Air totem.

So what does this mean for the meta? Well, for a start, the overwhelming monopoly Pirate decks have on the aggressive early game is likely to be loosened. Meanwhile, Shaman will be far less effective at early-game board control. It’s time to look back at some passed over decks that fight for the board early and push for aggression later one that were otherwise crowded out by Shaman and pirates. While these changes might seem small at first, the fact that more than half the decks on ladder run two copies of one or both of these cards makes this a huge opportunities for new decks to arise.

 

Tempo Mage

A Tempo Mage wants two things; board control, then burn

Tempo mage has been around ever since someone had the bright idea to stick Mana Wyrm, Fireball, Frostbolt and Arcane Intellect in the same deck. An aggressive, midrangey deck, it seeks to grab board control with explosive starts built around high-tempo spell combos, using ample card draw to reload and finishing the game with flexible burn. After a golden age propelled by the power of cards like Flamewaker, Tempo Mage has been suffocated by the power of aggressive pirate decks. With no answer to Small-time Bucccaneer in particular, it was overtaken by its more reactive Reno cousin.

But with Buccaneer and Spirit Claws altered, those pressures no longer keep it in line. Now that Arcane Missiles, Mana Wyrm and Flamewaker pings all deal nicely with those annoying sea-raiders, it looks set to make a spectacular comeback. Tempo mage can also punish the greedier Jade lists that might pop up in the power vacuum left by aggressive Shaman and Warrior decks becoming weaker. Meanwhile, it can be tinkered with to become heavy enough to blast through Reno opponents with consistent burn damage and constant minion pressure. Perhaps it’s for the best that Flamewaker is rotating out soon?

Midrange Druid

Is it time to fear Savage Roar again?

Druid is currently relegated purely to the anti-control Jade Druid build, as its other builds have been hampered by aggression on the low-curving end and greed on the high. Druid can take a lot of forms; from pure board flood token archetypes, to Beast-focused tribal decks, to the more exotic Menagerie versions with Finja and the Curator. But all of them have the same weakness to being out-tempo’d early on, making them inconsistent at best in today’s meta.

However, the old order will soon no longer apply. Druid will be able to compete with the explosive openers of pirates more readily, and its own unique flavour of board-focused aggressive midrange style will soon become a genuine threat on ladder. As an flexible class, its aggression can be focused on hunter-style curving out with minions, or on spreading wide and pushing with Savage Roar or Soul of the Forest. Whatever happens, it’s likely that seeing a druid will no longer mean auto-mulliganning to beat Jade.

Zoolock

When caster, streamer and Blizzcon Champion James “Firebat” Kostesich published this video on the enduring strength of Zoolock, he can’t have imagined the dark days to come for the archetype. While playing low-cost minions backed up by lifetap has been strong for almost all of Hearthstone’s history. The release of Maelstrom Portal and Spirit Claws, and the ensuing Shaman dominance after One Night in Karazahn forced the deck into a corner. Relying on explosive discard synergies, it was unable to adapt to the incredible early pressure of pirates.

Now with both Spirit Claws and Small-time Buccaneer no longer the counters they were, Zoo looks set to return to the limelight. It will likely take a while for the meta to settle enough for there to be a suitable population of midrange or AOE-lacking decks for it to prey on. But when that day comes, Zoo may yet make an impressive return to form.

 

Midrange Hunter

Expect to see this a lot as Hunter currently; but not for long?

Few classes have fallen from favour so precipitously as Hunter. From the dizzying heights of near tier-one status, Hunter has become the least-played and least-successful class in the game. As a class whose survival depends on seizing early board control, it has been utterly obliterated by the power of pirates (and Small-time Buccaneer in particular). Despite numerous strong cards, its early game is simply too weak to compete. Spirit claws is also a powerful hinderance, as almost all of its early game minions are exceptionally vulnerable to it.

With Small-time Buccaneer less of a problem, expect the class to re-emerge as the premier foe of Jade and greedy Reno decks. Hunter’s ability to apply constant and consistent minion pressure is unmatched; and when it can no longer be out-tempo’d by hordes of more aggressive foes, it may yet find a niche. Don’t expect too much though; it remains hampered by the general failure of the Grimy Goons’ handbuff mechanic to provide any powerful new strategies.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Alex!

What We Learned From the DAC Regional Qualifiers

The Dota 2 Asia Champsionship (DAC) 2017 qualifiers are in the books. The qualifiers for SEA, Europe, CIS, and Americas took place February 3rd – 13th and saw some of the best teams fight it out for one qualification spot per region. The competition was fierce, the games were amazing, so lets take a look at what we learned from the DAC regional qualifiers.

DAC Regional Winners

South East Asia – Faceless rise to the top

DAC Faceless

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Team Faceless have managed to secure themselves a spot at DAC after conquering the SEA region. Having failed to qualify for StarLadder, the team will have been heavily focused on securing a spot at DAC. Finshing with a record of 5-1, Faceless only dropped two games throughout the qualifiers in a 2-1 loss to WarriorsGaming.Unity. The stats speak for themselves as Faceless finished 11-2 in terms of map count.

Faceless will be looking to build on both Dota Pit, where they finished third, and the DAC qualifiers. After losing to WG.Unity, Faceless are without a loss in their last six games, and with a month to DAC, they hope to continue their undefeated run.

Faceless may finally be reaching the potential that they showed when originally forming as a team. With Kiev on the horizon, Faceless hopes that their performances can secure them a direct invite to the next major.

Americas – Team NP advance with No Problems

DAC NP

Image courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/dota2

Similar to Faceless, NP had fallen just short in the recent StarLadder qualifiers. They have been keen on writing their wrongs, and progressing to DAC. NP will be able to look back at the DAC qualifiers and see that they managed to progress from one of the most difficult Americas qualifying stages in recent history. Team NP finished with a 5-1 record, losing only to DC in the semi-finals. However, they did not let this loss dissuade them, and would eventually sweep aside DC 2-0 in the finals.

NP seem to be a team that perfectly sums up “so close, but yet so far”. They are a team that is constantly fighting against the enigma that is Jacky “EternalEnvy” Mao. EE is probably the most exciting player to watch, simply because you never know if he will make an amazing play, or fail. Having the ability to wipe a team and also die solo to Roshan means that his teammates are sometimes fighting an uphill battle. But with all this in mind, NP are still among the best in the world and will hope to show that at DAC.

Whilst a direct invite looks difficult due to being in the same region as EG and DC, NP hope their recent strength will carry them to a decent placing at DAC, and eventually Kiev.

CIS – The start of a new Empire ?

DAC Empire

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

When the Dota Gods give you lemons, you need to make that sweet Dota lemonade. That is exactly what Empire have done in securing their place at DAC. With VP experiencing connection issues (we will come to this later), CIS was open for the taking. Cometh the hour, cometh the Empire. Rated by many as the second best team in CIS, Empire did not disappoint. Winning all of their games and finishing 10-4 in map count will give Empire confidence for the future. The squad benefits from possessing one of the best Meepo players in the world, meaning that a ban is almost a must. This was evident in the qualifiers, as Meepo was banned in 12 of the 14 games, and picked up by Empire in the other two.

Empire have also displayed strong mental toughness as they nearly fell at the last hurdle in a close final series against Effect. Being down one map and at a 6k networth disadvantage, things looked bleak. However, Empire was able to turn it up a gear and take control of game two to tie the series at 1-1. Game three was an easy enough game for Empire as they controlled from the early stages, and eventually closed the game out after 31 minutes.

Empire have been missing from the international scene and hope that DAC will provide the launchpad they need.

Europe – Are Liquid back ?

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

Now here is a name fans haven’t heard in a while. Prior to the StarLadder qualifiers earlier in the month, Liquid had been missing from the pro scene for two months. Whatever they were up to in that break has obviously worked wonders for the team as a whole. Liquid have yet to lose a game since their return, that’s 12 games without a loss. Teams will have to start taking note as Liquid look to be in terrifying form. Adding Maroun “GH” Merhej seems to have tied the team together, and they are displaying impressive form heading into an important couple of months.

Liquid hope that with a few more impressive performances, they may be able to secure themselves a direct invite to the Kiev Major and avoid the difficult qualification process. Currently, Liquid are looking like one of the best teams in the world. They have several competitive games in the new patch under their belts, and look to translate that success to the major stage.

DAC a Perfect World ?

With the winners covered, let’s take a look at some of the other notable things that happened during the DAC Regional Qualifiers.

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

VP not connecting anymore

One of the most notable events of the qualifiers was that VP have not qualified for DAC. All bad puns aside, this was completely out of their control. The team suffered connection issues in both of their games, leading to them being disqualified after some long delays.

Another casualty of the DDosS attack was their Dota 2 Manager, Andrey Kvasnevsky, who took the blame for the bootcamp choices made for the tournament.

Having not competed in the StarLadder qualifiers and missing out on DAC, VP will likely have to qualify for the Kiev Major. Hopefully they can reconnect as a team and mount a series challenge for a spot at Kiev.

A worldwide crush

Slardar DAC

Image courtesy of dotawc3.com

Often is the case in Dota that different regions develop slight nuances in the meta. Currently, however, there is one mainstay in every region. Slardar was the most contested hero in the whole qualifiers, being picked or banned in 200 games. In comparison, the next highest is Ember with 150 picks or bans. Slardar also has a very strong 56% win-rate. Expect to see more and more Slardar in top level games.

 

 

B)ears DAC

Image courtesy of teamliquid.net

B)ears start with a roar

DAC was the first showing for new team, B)ears. The qualifiers were a baptism of fire, and B)ears rose from the fires of war to finish in a respectable second place. Possessing some of the best talent in the world, including talented position four Yazied “YapzOr” Jaradat, B)ears hope to build on DAC. Heading into Kiev, B)ears will likely be a favorite to qualify from what is expected to be a tough qualification region.

 

 

 

 

If you missed any of the qualifiers, check out some of the best plays from the qualifiers below.

You can ‘like The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers.

You can follow Joe here – https://twitter.com/TrenchCommander

Page 1 of 3912345...102030...Last »