Collegiate Rocket League

Collegiate Rocket League: Season one

On Wednesday, Psyonix announced the first season of Collegiate Rocket League. Following the Collegiate Rocket League Summer Series, Psyonix is teaming up with Tespa again to bring the fall 2017 season. For those who don’t know, Tespa gaming organization is focused on collegiate play.

The Collegiate Rocket League Summer Series was Psyonix’s first break into collegiate esports. With five weekly tournaments, students who were registered for classes in the upcoming fall 2017 semester competed for their share of $2,500 in Steam and PlayStation Network funds.

While Steam and PlayStation Network funds are certainly an adequate incentive, Psyonix and Tespa returned with a season one prize pool sure to incentivize students further: $50,000 in scholarships and official Collegiate Rocket League merchandise.

Eligibility

Season one of Collegiate Rocket League is open to full-time students enrolled in the United States and Canada. The season is open to universities and community colleges alike.

Collegiate Rocket League

Image courtesy of rocketleague.com

Along with being a full-time student, there are a few other requirements players must meet in order to remain eligible. These include:

  • maintaining a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.500
  • students must be legal residents or hold a valid visa for the country in which they attend school
  • players must be the legal adults or receive parental consent
  • teams must consist of three to five players, all attending the same school
  • players must be able to verify school enrollment

While all players of a team must attend the same school, there is no limit to how many teams can represent a single school.

Collegiate Rocket League is open to PC and PlayStation 4 players.

Format

Collegiate Rocket League

Image courtesy of rocketleague.com

The season will consist of four separate conferences: northern, southern, eastern and western. Each conference consists of four teams.

Teams can sign up for one of two qualifiers in their respective conference. Qualifiers are double elimination, with the top four teams advancing to the Conference Group Stage.

The season also has an Open Ladder. Teams that don’t qualify for their Conference Group Stage still have a chance to make it into Conference Playoffs as a wild card by competing in the Open Ladder. Playoffs will determine which teams from each conference will compete head-to-head at the Collegiate Rocket League National Championship.

Registration for qualifiers opened Wednesday and will continue through Sept. 15, 2017. Qualifiers begin the following day.

Prize Pool

The $50,000 scholarship prize pool will be divided among the top eight teams at the Collegiate Rocket League National Championship. Breakdown of the prize pool, per player, is as follows:

  • Fifth through eighth: $1,200
  • Fourth: $1,700
  • Third: $2,200
  • Second: $3,000
  • Champions: $5,000

Why it matters

Collegiate esports, as with esports in general, continue to grow in popularity. Tespa alone hosts several other popular collegiate esports leagues such as Heroes of the Dorm (Heroes of the Storm) and the Tespa Collegiate Series (Overwatch).

Format

In terms of format, it’s great to see Psyonix and Tespa turning Collegiate Rocket League into a full on season as opposed to a one-off tournament.

This format sets the stage for deeper competitive play. Losing a match doesn’t mean the end for a team, as reaching playoffs depends on a teams performance throughout the entire season. Not only that, but the season, playoff and national championship format set Rocket League up for future success in a collegiate environment.

Eligibility and prize pool

As Psyonix and Tespa look to put Rocket League on the collegiate map, there are several important factors to commend

Collegiate Rocket League

Image courtesy of rocketleague.com

them for in regards to eligibility and prize pool.

One important factor is the prize pool. Offering scholarship money, instead of cash, encourages students to continue their studies while still allowing them to experience what it’s like to compete in esports. A cash prize may have the potential to pull students away from their studies in order to focus on the game.

Secondly, the minimum cumulative GPA also encourages players to remain focused on their schoolwork. A 2.500 cumulative GPA is equivalent to the 80th percentile, or a B grade average. So, if players hope to continue competing, they need to keep their grades up.

This system treats collegiate esports similarly to traditional sports in a college setting. Education is expected to be the player or athlete’s number one priority, with the opportunity to compete considered a privilege. At the same time, the system still offers players incentives for competing.

It’s also important to note that matches will take place on weekends. However, this is common even for major professional esports tournaments.

So, if you’re hoping to bring home the Collegiate Rocket League championship title to your school, keep practicing and keep your grades up.


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Leffen Wins Second Consecutive Get on My Level Melee Title

Ice and Leffen. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/evenmatchupgaming

What is it about Canada that makes William “Leffen” Hjelte untouchable? Is it the Canadian crowd that’s passion boils over into the gameplay? Or possibly, Leffen just feels more comfortable north of the border. Whatever the case, Leffen now owns two Get On My Level trophies.

 

Coincidence or not, Leffen took care of business in back-to-back years with dominating performances. At GOML 2017, Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma was the victim of another strong winners bracket run from Leffen. It wasn’t a clean sweep, but every game Leffen came out victorious rather convincingly. He had three separate three-stock wins and two two-stock wins.

After achieving another doubles title with his European partner Mustafa “Ice” Akcakaya, Leffen’s play showed a singles championship run was possible. Edging out DaJuan “Shroomed”McDaniels and Zac “SFAT” Cordoni started the run on Saturday as the momentum carried over to Sunday. Leffen only dropped one game before his matchup with Hungrybox.

Luck is always a factor

Competition breeds story lines because of the passion in which one competes. In this, characters are developed and a plot is set in motion. The famous Mango losers bracket runs, or Mango reaching Armada in Genesis grand finals is an example of this. All these patterns that develop over-time feel as if they’re scripted. How or why does life work like that?

I’m not trying to get existential over Melee, but Leffen’s performance feels as if it’s another example of certain patterns that don’t seemingly make senses on the surface. As I tried to explain earlier, the reasoning for this is unknown. It seems to be a combination of many different factors with a hint of luck.

Does the absence of Armada, Mango, and Mew2King from GOML push destiny along? Absolutely. It’s a different tournament with those names in the bracket, but here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter. Leffen came to defend his title regardless of who’s registered. Luck is a factor, but he still had to go through players that have bested him in the past.

 

The Grand finals

Hungrybox is 4-1 against Leffen in 2017. Even with some success against Hungrybox in the past, it’s still a mighty difficult task for Leffen to beat a player who has much more experience playing with the stakes as high as Grand Finals. The largest advantage for Leffen being his understanding of the Jigglypuff matchup.

Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/evenmatchupgaming

 

Facing Hungrybox is unlike any other Puff main. Yes, Leffen plays the correct way to beat the character, but it’s an entirely different thing to try and outsmart, and outperform Hungrybox. That’s what makes this performance even more special. From the start of game one, it was clear who had the advantage. Leffen built large leads and stayed committed to his solid game plan.

A year after running the gauntlet at GOML 2016, Leffen comes back off a 2017 filled with plenty of struggles and wins his first event of the year. Ironically, his last win came against Hungrybox at Don’t Park on the Grass at the backend of 2016. It’s a performance to get him back on track after failing to make Evo top 8.

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Featured image courtesy of YouTube.com/evenmatchupgaming

Rocket League World Cup

Rocket League’s first ever World Cup is set to take place summer 2017. The event is destined to be a huge new milestone for the competitive Rocket League scene, despite anyone’s personal grievances.

Event

The Rocket League World Cup will feature 16 teams, 48 players, each competing for their home countries. Along with featuring countries from the regions included in the Rocket League Championship Series, North America, Europe and Oceania, the tournament will showcase teams from Asia and South America.

League of Rockets is presenting the event and John “JohnnyBoi_i” MacDonald is producing it. In addition to being

Rocket League World Cup

Image courtesy of amazon.co.u

streamed on the League of Rockets’ Twitch channel, videos of every broadcast will be available at badpanda.gg.

Organizers haven’t revealed details about the bracket or tournament style yet. There is a $5000 prize pool, which will be divided among the top three teams. The prize pool pales in comparison to the RLCS and only the top three teams will get their hands on any of that money. That being said, the RLCS is a different beast entirely and the prize pool is formidable compared to other Rocket League tournaments. Along with the glory of winning in the name of your country, the prize pool distribution provides all the more reason for teams to put everything into every game.

Countries

Of the 16 countries invited to take part in the first Rocket League World Cup, 11 are from EU, two from NA, one from OCE, one from Asia and one from SA. The countries and teams are as follows:

Asia

  • Japan: ReaLize, Lime, Nemoto

EU

  • Denmark: Nicolai “Maestro” Bang, Nicolai “Snaski” Vistesen Andersen, Kasper “Pwndx” Nielsen
  • England: David “Deevo” Morrow, Ryan “Doomsee” Graham, Dan “Bluey” Bluett
  • Finland: Joni “JHZER” Humaloja, Joonas “Mognus” Salo, Otto “Metsanauris” Kaipiainen
  • France: Courant “Kaydop” Alexandre, Victor “Fairy Peak” Locquet, Alexandre “Mout” Moutarde
  • Germany: Philip “paschy90” Paschmeyer, Sandro “FreaKii” Holzwarth, Alexander “Sikii” Karelin
  • Italy: Francesco “Kuxir97” Cinquemani, Mx22, darkpier96
  • Netherlands: Remco “Remkoe” den Boer, Jos “ViolentPanda” van Meurs, Niels “Nielskoek” Kok
  • Norway: Marius “gReazymeister” Ranheim, Martin “Sniper” Wulsrød, Tormod “Reganam” Lien
  • Scotland: Mark “Markydooda” Exton, Kyle “Scrub Killa” Robertson, David “Miztik” Lawrie
  • Sweden: Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver, Linus “al0t” Mӧllergren, Jesper “Flarke” Johannson
  • Switzerland: Nico “Stocki” Stockenberger, Kevin “Skyline” Carvalho, Oliver “Continuum” Meier

NA

  • Canada: Jacob “JKnaps” Knapman, Mariano “SquishyMuffinz” Arruda, Timi “Timi” Falodun
  • United States: Cameron “Kronovi” Bills, Garrett “GarrettG” Gordon, Jayson “Fireburner” Nunez

OCE

  • Australia: Phillip “Dumbo” Donachie, Michael “Bango” Eason, Jonathan “Express” Slade

SA

  • Brazil: Caio “Caio TG1” Vinicius, FirefoxD, Haberkamper

Theatrics

Anyone who has seen them knows videos in the League of Rockets series are filled with theatrics. And I don’t mean to imply any negative connotation when I say ‘theatrics.’

Rocket League World CupWhoever narrates the League of Rockets videos’ videos, going by the name of Sal, uses a voice changer, giving off a movie sounding tone. Add in high quality montages and well-timed background music and noises, and the League of Rockets videos are sure to leave you with goosebumps.

For example, take the Twelve Titans tournament. Rather than broadcasting the tournament live, League of Rockets released a video of the event the next day. Callum “Mega Shogun” Keir and JohnnyBoi_i casted the event, as any Rocket League tournament would be. But there was more to the video than that. It included cutscenes narrated by Sal introducing maps, players and rivalry history. Another noticeable feature was slow motion goal replays, really giving viewers a better look at the play that just previously took place.

While fans can stream the Rocket League World Cup on Twitch, videos of the broadcasts will be available on badpanda.gg post air. According to the site, “There will be additional exclusive content only on Bad Panda” as well. If the exclusive content is more of the League of Rockets theatrics, it may even be worth waiting for the video rather than watching the live stream.

Future

Rocket League World Cup

Image courtesy of mashable.com

Head over to Twitter and it isn’t difficult to find some less-than-pleased fans, agitated that their home countries won’t be represented in the first ever Rocket League World Cup. Although it’s easy to understand that sentiment, I implore those fans to look to the future.

This is the first of, hopefully, many Rocket League World Cups to come. So, your country isn’t represented in the first one, then that’s even more reason to support the event. Success of this event may be the catalyst for not only seeing a second World Cup, but an expanded version including more countries.

So, please, put your personal grievances aside and support the first Rocket League World Cup. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want it to be the last.


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3-on-3 Olympic Basketball

3-on-3 Olympic Basketball

The Olympics are always one of the most captivating sporting events in the world. World-class athletes compete for their name, honor, eternal glory and country. One of the reasons the Olympics are so special is because they take place every four years. There are a large majority people who think many of the events are old and outdated. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has taken a major step in adapting the summer Olympics to grasp the attention of younger fans. The IOC has officially added 3-on-3 Olympic basketball as an event starting in 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. There are many questions as to how this will work and how players will be selected to participate. First, let’s take a look at the rules of this new event.

Rules

3-on-3 Olympic Basketball

(Photo Credit:http://sportsnewsireland.com)

All official rules for the event can be found here but these rules are the most notable.

First, the court will be 15 meters wide and 11 meters long but a traditional basketball court may be used as well.

Each team will consist of four players, three who play on the court and one available substitute.

The first possession of the game will be determined by a coin flip. Scoring will consist of traditional “playground” rules meaning anything inside the arc will count as one point and all “three pointers” will count as two points.

Teams can also score points from the free throw line. A team will enter the penalty after six team fouls and a player can not foul out.

The game will last 10 minutes unless a team reaches 21 points before time runs out. If the court has a shot clock then the team will have 12 seconds to shoot the ball.

Most of these rules are pretty common to anyone who has played pickup basketball games at a park or recreation center.

USA Selection

It is going to be challenging to predict how the USA Basketball Federation will select its players. Some speculate they will select college players but fans want to see the United State’s best basketball players playing in this event. NBA players have created massive buzz by playing pick up games during the NBA offseason and they have dominated them with spectacular plays.

Who wouldn’t want to see players like Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry, John Wall, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo and others play basketball with so much space?

Selecting the traditional basketball team is already difficult. There are so many great players in the NBA who don’t make the roster. The 3-on-3 roster will be made up of players who are capable of dominating with their iso skills. The team should consist of a dominant ball handler, an exception wing and a rebounding beast although there may be other strategies to assembling this team.

Possible USA Teams in 2020

Here are three possible combinations that could dominate for team USA in 2020.

Team 1:

3-on-3 Olympic Basketball

(Photo Credit: http://ftw.usatoday.com)

Kyrie Irving, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie will be 28 years old in 2020 and just entering his prime. This 3-on-3 competition is perfect for a player like Kyrie. He is one of the greatest ball handlers of all time and it is near impossible for anybody in the NBA to guard him one on one. In this competition, Kyrie would have so much space to cross up anybody the world can throw at him. Kyrie also can make the most insane layups through traffic so doing it with all this open space should be a piece of cake.

Kevin Durant, SF, Golden State Warriors: Age is important to look at for these events and Durant will be 31 at the time of the 2020 Olympics. He will still be one of the best scorers in the world. Pairing Durant with Kyrie would create nightmares for the rest of the world. Without adding the third player this team is already the best in the world. At 6-foot-10, Durant can shoot over anyone they put in front of him. He is a great ball-handler as well. If Kyrie can’t get to the rim during a game, Durant sure can but either way both of these players would be unstoppable.

Anthony Davis, PF, New Orleans Pelicans: Durant will be the old man compared to Anthony Davis. During the 2020 Olympics, Davis will be the ripe young age of 27. The Brow, as Davis is known, is already considered to be the next big superstar of the NBA. In his first five seasons, Davis has career averages of 22.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Davis is capable of doing anything on the court but in this competition, all he will need to do is defend and rebound.

Reserve

Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Antonio Spurs: Kawhi would be the clap god of this competition. His defense would shut down almost everyone in the world. In 2020, he will just begin to enter his prime at the age of 28. Kawhi has developed into a world-class player and if he continues to develop further, he may even become the best player in the world. It would be fun to see what other skills Leonard would display in this competition

Team 2:

3-on-3 Olympic Basketball

(Photo Credit: https://www.tumblr.com)

Steph Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors: The baby-faced assassin would be 32 at the time of the 2020 Olympics but shooting is the last thing to go for basketball players. Curry is one of the best dribblers in the world and with all the space in 3-on-3, he could pull jumpers from anywhere. If Kyrie didn’t want to play, Steph would be the next best option.

Jimmy Butler, SG, Chicago Bulls: Jimmy Buckets is one of the best two-way players in the NBA. His ability to defend one-on-one is top notch. Butler is known as a hard worker who does the right things. 3-on-3 would allow  Butler to showcase skills that most people don’t know he has. Jimmy Buckets would be a great option for the 3-on-3 Olympics.

Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves: Towns will be only 24 years old in 2020 for the Tokyo Olympics. There is a chance by that time Towns is a top three player in the world. This is why it will be hard for the committee to narrow it down to just four players. Towns was recently showing off impressive handles in a 3-on-3 tournament in Denmark. He is on his way to becoming a dominant player and would be awesome in this competition.

Reserve

Draymond Green, PF, Golden State Warriors: Draymond Green is passionate and emotional. His trash talk alone may destroy some of the competition. Draymond does it all on the court, he can pass, shoot, rebound and defend. Other basketball players seem to love playing with Draymond and this competition would be no different.

Team 3:

3-on-3 Olympic Basketball

(Photo Credit: http://fadeawayworld.com)

Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA: A 6-foot-6 point guard who is on his way to superstardom. It is almost impossible to go a day without hearing about Lonzo Ball, his father or the rest of the Ball family. Ball is going to be a top three pick and a franchise centerpiece. His passing ability is phenomenal and he was a game changer for UCLA. In 2020, Ball is going to be just 22 years old and possibly one of the best point guards in the world. He would be a possible option when it is time to make this selection.

Gordon Hayward, SF, Utah Jazz: Gordon Hayward is one of the most underrated players in the NBA and was named to his first All-Star Game this season. Hayward averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists this season. He is a very skilled forward and would shine in this event.

DeMarcus Cousins, C, New Orleans Pelicans: Cousins is considered the best center in the NBA. He is able to handle the ball and shoot from anywhere on the court. Not many players in the world can defend him and defense becomes harder with more space. Cousins will be in contention for selection, but his bad reputation may be his Achilles heel.

Reserve

John Wall, PG, Washington Wizards: Everybody do the John Wall. Wall was so big at Kentucky he got his own song and is finally entering his prime in the NBA. He is one of the fastest point guards on the planet. Wall plays both sides of the ball extremely well and many NBA fans would love to see what he could do in this competition.

World’s Best Teams

Spain:

3-on-3 Olympic Basketball

(Photo Credit: http://www.nbapicshow.com)

Ricky Rubio, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves: Ricky Rubio is a talented passer who would be the pick for the Spanish national team. Rubio has experience in the NBA against the world’s best players and in this 3-on-3 tournament, he could hold his own.

Nikola Mirotic, PF, Chicago Bulls: In the 2014-2015 season, Nikola Mirotic finished second for rookie of the year behind Andrew Wiggins. Mirotic has a career average of 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Just like Rubio, Mirotic has much needed NBA experience to compete at a high level and in 2020 will be in his prime.

Serge Ibaka, PF, Toronto Raptors: Serge Ibaka would be the rebounder and rim defender for the Spanish 3-on-3 national team. He has played Olympic basketball and plenty of other important NBA games in his career. The stage would not be too bright for him and he could help anchor Spain as one of the best teams in the world.

Greece:

Tyler Dorsey, PG, Oregon: Not many people know that Tyler Dorsey has played for the Greek national team. This past season he helped lead Oregon to the Final Four while averaging 14.6 points per game and shot 42.3 percent from the three-point line. Dorsey is going to be the best guard option for Greece.

Alex Antetokounmpo, F, Dominican High School: Alex Antentokounmpo is the youngest of all the Antentokounmpo brothers. He is just 15 years old but Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antentokounmpo says he is the best of all the Greek Freaks. Alex will be 18 years old in 2020 and if Giannis is right then he has to be one of the players chosen for the 3-on-3 team.

Giannis Antentokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks: The original Greek Freak is going to win a league MVP one day. His historic season put him on a list by himself of players who finished in the top 20 in the NBA with points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. Greece will have one of the best 3-on-3 teams solely because of Giannis. Greece will be exciting to watch in the 2020 Olympics.

Australia:

3-on-3 Olympic Basketball

(Photo Credit: https://clutchpoints.com)

Patty Mills, PG, San Antonio Spurs: Patty Mills is a backup point guard in the NBA but the best option for the Australian national team. Mills would provide tons of experience and leadership to the team along with solid outside shooting.

Dante Exum, PG, Utah Jazz: Dante Exum hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations he had when he was drafted fifth overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. That is mostly due to injury but as he gets older and healthier Exum should become a much better player. At 6-foot-6 Exum has excellent size as a guard and would be a superb option for the Austrailian national team.

Joe Ingles, SF, Utah Jazz: Ingles is a solid rotation player for the Jazz. He averaged 7.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game last season. Ingles shot 44.1 percent from the arc this year as well. Australia wouldn’t have much size but lots of NBA experience to be competitive.

France:

Frank Ntilikina, PG, SIG Strasbourg: Frank Ntilikina is going to be a lottery pick in this year’s draft due to his amazing potential. At just 18 years old, he has been named the French League Best Young Player twice. Ntilikina is a pass first point guard with a high I.Q. He is going to be an exciting player and huge French star.

Nicolas Batum, SF, Charlotte Hornets: Batum is one of the best players from France. He is a good defender and like many international players has a lot of NBA experience. If France had to pick it’s best 3-on-3 Olympic team then Batum would be an easy pick.

Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz: Rudy Gobert had somewhat of a breakout season. He is one of the best rim defenders in the world and a great rebounder as well. Gobert is the best French basketball player and for the 3-on-3 tournament, he would be a lock.

Canada:

3-on-3 Olympic Basketball

(Photo Credit: Sam Forencich/Getty Images)

Jamal Murray, PG, Denver Nuggets: Jamal Murray is a young, exciting Canadian player in the NBA. The Nuggets rookie was selected seventh overall in the 2016 NBA Draft. Murray started 10 games and averaged 9.9 points and 2.1 assists this season.

Andrew Wiggins, SF, Minnesota Timberwolves: Andrew Wiggins is expected to become the best Canadian basketball player ever. He would have to become better than Steve Nash to do so but the potential is there. Wiggins is super athletic and in a 3-on-3 tournament he could put on an exciting show. Andrew Wiggins would only be 25 years old in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and still on the cusp of entering his prime.

Tristian Thompson, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers: Tristian Thompson is an NBA champion and one of the best offensive rebounders in the world. Canada would pick Thompson to be the big man on their 3-on-3 roster. He already has a role in which he isn’t expected to score so this would be a familiar and comfortable role on this team.

Conclusion

The 3-on-3 Olympic Basketball event could become one of the most popular Olympic events. Traditional basketball is already one of the most popular but the 3-on-3 format opens up the court and allows players to truly display some exceptional skills. The United States will have dozens of possibilities when forming the roster and no matter who they decide to select will be the favorites to win the gold. Countries like Canada, Spain, France and others will be extremely talented as well and could challenge the United States for 3-on-3 supremacy.

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Cloud9’s Playoff Profile: The Quest to Body Their Way Back to the Top

Cloud9 finished the season as the second best team to TeamSoloMid, again. Most expected this split to be Cloud9’s with TSM’s starting ADC Yiiang “Doublelift” Peng taking a break from the team. Although Cloud9 surged to a phenomenal 8-0 record, they’ve still struggled to solve their early game issues while other teams have improved. If they want to reclaim the NALCS title, they’ll need to show the ability to make plays in the early game.

Strengths

Courtesy: Riot Esports

Cloud9 has three extremely strong lanes. Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen has had an MVP-like split, ending second in KDA and CSD@10 among mids.

The top lane Korean duo of Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong and Jeon “Ray” Ji-won gives them a diverse range of champions. Ray looked iffy in the beginning of the split, but has shown steady improvement towards the end. It will be interesting to see how C9 utilize each of them in a best of five format.

Cloud9 excels in mid game team fighting and shot calling. They’re great at knowing each other’s power spikes and knowing how to capitalize on their enemy’s mistakes. You give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.

Weaknesses

It’s no secret Cloud9’s weakness this whole split has been their lackluster early game. They’re not ones to make big plays in the early game despite having some of the most talented players. Jensen is often criticized for his lack of roaming and his selfishness to only gain an advantage in his lane.

Rookie jungler Juan “Contractz” Garcia is often used as a tracker for the enemy jungler. It’s worrisome that they usually opt to farm it out till mid game to make plays. Against more aggressive playmaking teams such as TSM, we’ve seen that C9 can be punished for it. Despite Cloud9 being the second best team in the league, they are a mediocre 7th in GD@15.

If C9 want to reclaim the North American throne, they’ll need to show that they can make plays in the early game.

Player to Watch: Contractz

Courtesy: Riot Esports

Contractz is a huge X-Factor for this team. As a rookie playing in his first playoffs series, he’ll need to step up big time.

Contractz has shown glimpses of stardom, but he’s also had his share of rookie blunders. Furthermore, when he’s confident and being a nuisance to the enemy jungler, he looks his best. If he gets caught out during crucial objectives and doesn’t have an early game impact, we could see an early upset. With how dominant Phoenix1 looked against Dignitas, it will be a close series.

 

Prediction

While Phoenix1 will give Cloud9 a run for their money, I believe C9 will reach the NALCS finals again to face off in a close series against TSM.

Cloud9 3-2 over Phoenix1 in the semifinals

TSM 3-2 over Cloud9 in the Finals

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World Baseball Classic Preview: Pool C

After examining eight of the 16 teams in the World Baseball Classic, we move on to the most talented pool in the tournament: Pool C. The teams included in this pool are full of major league talent, and are some of the deepest in the WBC. If you missed Pool A or Pool B, you can find them below.

World Baseball Classic Preview: Pool A

World Baseball Classic Preview: Pool B

World Baseball Classic

Ryan Dempster will provide leadership as well as pitching for team Canada (Elise Amendola/AP).

Canada

For the boys north of the border, they will rely on some big name players who have made their hay in the USA. Longtime team Canada manager Erin Whitt has a bevy of major league talent to draw upon.

On the mound team Canada will be lead by 16 year major league veteran Ryan Dempster. While Dempster hasn’t played in the majors since 2013, the 39 year old should still be a top contributor for skipper Erin Whitt. He will also be joined on the mound by current major leaguers John Axford and Jim Henderson. Axford and Henderson are quality relievers, and will be great weapons for team Canada.

While there is plenty of pitching to rely on, the true stars are found off the mound. At first base NL All-Star Freddie Freeman will provide the thump for team Canada. The 27 year old Brave hit 34 bombs in 2016, and put up an impressive 157 OPS+. Former AL MVP and current free agent Justin Morneau will also suit up, giving Whitt plenty of options at first base. Many will also recognize current Blue Jay Dalton Pompey, who will patrol the outfield.

In any other pool, Canada would be one of the top teams, if not the favorite. But playing in Pool C does not bode well for them, as it will be a struggle to get to the second round of tournament play.

Colombia

World Baseball Classic

Jose Quintana will bring a strong presence to team Colombia (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America).

Making their World Baseball Classic debut, Colombia has a good level of talent to rely on. Colombia advanced from the Qualifier 3 round in 2016 to become eligible for the WBC. Pitching will be their strong suit, as they have multiple major league players to toe the rubber.

Chicago White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana became the staff ace after the trade of Chris Sale, but to many he was already a top pitcher in the game. His career 3.41 ERA has been supported by his 7.4 SO/9 innings. The lefty will be the ace for Colombia, and will be joined by NL All-Star Julio Teheran. Teheran has bee the ace of the Atlanta Braves for years, and will be a nice compliment to Quintana.

Catching for team Colombia will be Phillies prospect Jorge Alfaro. After being traded from Texas to Philly, Alfaro made his major league debut in 2016. While his numbers weren’t impressive in limited at-bats, he is seen as the catcher of the future in Philadelphia. He will be joined in the infield by former top prospect Dilson Herrera. In parts of two major league seasons in Flushing, Herrera was less than impressive. But he still has plenty of tools to be a difference maker for Colombia.

Colombia has a good mix of pitching and position player talent. They will need to utilize it to the fullest if they hope to cause an upset and make it out of Pool C.

World Baseball Classic

Robinson Cano led the Dominican Republic to the championship in 2013 (Al Bello/Getty Images).

Dominican Republic

After going undefeated on their way to winning the 2013 WBC, the Dominican Republic is one of the favorites to take home the championship again in 2017. And its easy to see why. The Dominican Republic has one of the most stacked rosters in this years tournament.

With a roster that would rival even the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs in talent, manager Moises Alou will have plenty of players to rely on. On the mound, established veteran starters like Johnny Cueto, Bartolo Colon and Edinson Volquez will be joined by young studs Carlos Martinez and Luis Severino. The bullpen will be anchored by all-stars Dellin Betances, Jeurys Familia and Fernando Rodney.

With all of that talent on the mound, you might over look the position players for the Dominican Republic. Just kidding. With players like Adrian Beltre, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Jose Bautista, Manny Machado, Starlin Marte and many others, that is almost impossible. With an ample supply of power, speed and defense, skipper Moises Alou has a manager’s dream on his hands: too much talent.

The Dominican Republic boasts one of the most stacked squads in WBC history. With stars all over the field, the Dominican Republic is set to make another deep run in the WBC.

United States

World Baseball Classic

Andrew Miller is set to continue his post season dominance in the WBC (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images).

One of the few teams in all of the WBC that can rival the DR in talent is team USA. But in the WBC’s history, the US has yet to win the championship. Will that change in 2017? Manager Jim Leyland sure hopes so.

Leyland will have a treasure trove of talent to utilize, both on the mound and in the field. He will be handing the ball to starting pitchers like Chris Archer, Sonny Gray and Michael Fulmer. The bullpen will be bolstered by some of the game’s best. Cleveland Indians’ playoff hero Andrew Miller will be joined by Sam Dyson and Luke Gregerson to form a shut-down pen. But the cup runneth over in terms of talent, from the mound to the field.

The outfield will be manned by sluggers Giancarlo Stanton, Adam Jones and Andrew McCutchen. The will also be joined by Stanton’s teammate Christian Yelich to form a star studded outfield. The infield will be led by Jonathan Lucroy and Buster Posey behind the dish, as well as all-around talent Paul Goldschmidt. Spectacular veterans Ian Kinsler, Brandon Crawford and Daniel Murphy will be joined by the young stud Alex Bregman.

Even with not every team USA player listed, this roster is one of the best in the WBC. With depth at every position, manager Jim Leyland will be able to put multiple solid lineups out on the field.

Verdict

One of the deepest pools in all of the WBC, each team has multiple major league players on their respective rosters. In any other pool, Colombia and Canada would be competitive if not the favorites to advance. But in Pool C, there is really only two teams with a chance to move on to the second round.

The Dominican Republic and the USA are some of the most stacked rosters in the WBC’s history. Both are composed of all-star level talent, making choosing a favorite difficult. But after reviewing both team’s entire rosters, team USA has a slight advantage. With a deeper roster than the Dominican Republic, team USA should be able to get out of Pool C victorious.

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

EMG N0ne: The Fan Favorite Captain Falcon Main in 2016

It wasn’t long ago that the world didn’t know much about Edgar “EMG N0ne” Sheleby, who has been a hidden boss within the Ontario, Canada Smash scene since he moved from Nicaragua in August 2014. Now after a number of breakout performances in 2016, two decisive tournament wins at Smash Factor 5 and SoCal Colosseum 2, he’s become a household name for Melee fans.

“I show up 19th there so that’s not bad,” N0ne talking about the recently released Glick rankings, “I think I can still step it up a bit, but it all depends on my luck in these future tournaments. As long as I don’t have like bad seeding, I can make it far.”

The list of names taken out by N0ne in the last few weeks alone prove that he’s made a huge jump from his 58th place ranking on the 2015 Melee It On Me top 100. He’s taken out Khasir “Liquid Chillindude” Khasar (54 MIOM ranking), Mike Haze (40), Javier “Smash Factor Javi” Ruiz (26), and double-eliminated S2J who finished fifth at Evo 2016. That’s not even mentioning his wins over CLG’s Kevin “PPU” Toy, and Echo Fox’s Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman in the past year (all of whom rank in the top 15). He’s starting to make a strong case to make into the top-20 for 2016.

“I think I played like an eight out of ten,” said N0ne on his performance these last two weeks, “I personally think I can be better.”

N0ne is saying this after winning back-to-back semi-major tournaments for this first time in his long Melee career showing that he’s not done improving. Even after his strong showing this Summer, he’s still not completely content with his play.

“All these tournaments I had tough brackets [EVO, CEO, GOML], but I’ve been doing alright,” said N0ne. “I’ve been beating the people I’m supposed to beat and if I lose usually it’s not an upset. But probably next year when I get a better seeding or, I’m sorry, a better MIOM [Melee It On Me] ranking it will help out my seeding so we’ll see.”

 

N0ne on the changing Captain Falcon meta-game

In the rotating carousel that is the rankings for best Captain Falcon main, N0ne has made it clear that he’s a top three Falcon and that Falcon is a viable character in today’s Fox-heavy meta-game. “You got Wizzrobe doing good, you got Johnny doing good as always,” said N0ne,” Between the three of us, and the other Falcons, people are starting to pull out new tech. Like tech I only used to back at home with my homies, nobody used to do it here.”

I noticed after my Mew2King set, everyone is crouching cancelling now. That’s like a personal thing I’ve noticed. The meta will always keep switching around. I even noticed stuff I used to do back in like 2006 got to a point where it didn’t work anymore and nowadays it works again. It’s like options people forget about. It’s like everything is going in a circle. You just have to find the right calls on what to use,” said N0ne.

N0ne went on to explain why Captain Falcon mains have been making it further it brackets recently, “I guess just all the Falcons complement each other. I guess we just work together in unison and that overall helps the meta for Falcon and that’s why he’s making it pretty far lately

In terms of fan favorites, N0ne has quickly risen to the top of a lot of peoples list. His play style with Captain Falcon is not only conducive to bringing out the hype in crowds, he also shows that he’s capable with low-tier characters like Ganondorf, who he pulled out Sunday at Smash Factor 5 against Hugs.

“Sometimes that’s just the way it is. Like if you saw the sets, he was messing up my Falcon,” said N0ne, I couldn’t get anything off…and I don’t know, I’ve used Ganon against him before and I felt it worked.”

N0ne lost 3-0 in Winners Finals to Hugs with Falcon, so a character switch to Ganondorf in Grand Finals was needed. Alright, let’s see what happens. I don’t know what it is, if it’s a completely different play style or what his match up experience is, but it definitely paid off,” said N0ne talking about his gusty switch to Ganon.

(Courtesy of youtube.com/VGBootcamp)

N0ne reset the bracket in the first set of Grand Finals 3-2, barely edging out Hugs on Fountain of Dreams on game before switching back to Falcon on the second set and taking that losers bracket momentum to beat Hugs 3-1 in the second set.

“Against Hugs, I actually like his Samus a lot but it’s frustrating as hell. It was a long set, it was interesting to see how we were exchanging hits. It was like power shields all over, lots of defense on his side and lots of aggro on my side,” said N0ne.

N0ne has had to come from losers in both of his tournaments to bring home the win. I don’t’ know, whenever I get sent to losers I get that focus,” said N0ne. He talked about how the set he lost to S2J in Grand Finals really woke him up and forced him to play better. N0ne also commented on the edge guarding during that set…

“The ledge was free.”

The life of a Melee Pro

N0ne becoming a well-known player and traveling all across North America has taken a toll on him, “It’s nice at the beginning man, because who doesn’t like traveling,” said N0ne. “It’s something I’ve dreamed about back when I was living in Nicaragua, looking at everyone, but right now I haven’t slept much and I’m kind of wrecked”

He continued on explaining the little amount of time to himself before each trip, “I basically come back, do laundry and fly out to Columbia,” said N0ne, but he still has an appreciation. Overall it’s nice, you meet new people, new cities, new cultures. It’s stuff you haven’t seen before so it’s all exciting”

It’s been an insane ride for N0ne, who comes from a Nicaraguan scene that has 15 players at most at their locals. He transitioned from a Smash scene that didn’t take tournaments and placings as seriously and focused more on the game and having fun. His upbringing definitely shines through his play style, where he plays the high risk-reward game which translate to a more fun game for both N0ne and the crowd cheering him on.

What’s next for N0ne?

“I’m going through a bit of, uh, I was like a month out of my house, and now that I’m home I’m getting into real life problems right now, real life situations,” said N0ne. “I might have to take a step away from Smash for a little bit, but in the mean time I’ll be at Heir 3, Dreamhack Montreal and The Big House 6.”

As the summer of Smash comes to a close, most players will have to get back to reality like N0ne, but as he pointed out to me he’ll be back for most of the major events. Unfortunately, N0ne will not be able to make Super Smash Con, but will be attending other major events in September and October.

Follow N0ne on twitter at @n0ned and look for one of the most explosive Melee players right now at Heir to the Throne 3 at the end of this month.

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ them on Twitter. We also have our own subreddit. Be sure to check out TGH’s newly revamped forums if you want to discuss with Blake or any of the other writers!

 

Johnson and List Hold First, Canadian du Toit Close Behind

Dustin Johnson (Courtesy of Getty Images/ via Golfweek.com)

Dustin Johnson (Courtesy of Getty Images/ via Golfweek.com)

As the PGA Tour heads to the weekend, Dustin Johnson finds himself once again at the top of the leaderboard. Both Johnson and Luke List currently sit at seven-under-par for the weekend after shooting identical scores on both days one and two.

 

Johnson set himself up to run away with the trophy before the weekend even started by shooting a three-under-par on the front but ran into some trouble on the back nine. Over the course of holes 11 to 13, Johnson shot four-over par, killing every bit of his momentum. Johnson remained undeterred despite the brief collapse and played to his strengths by notching birdies on the last two par-five holes to put him at one-under on the day. List also happened to find himself in a jam from holes 11-14, bogeying them all short of the par-three 12th.

Jared du Toit (Courtesy of the Canadian Press & Nathan Denette/ via Northumberlandtoday.com)

Jared du Toit (Courtesy of the Canadian Press & Nathan Denette/ via Northumberlandtoday.com)

Canadian amateur and former Arizona State Sun Devil, Jared du Toit has found himself in the mix, just one back of the leaders, List and Johnson. Du Toit started the day on a very rough note after triple-bogeying the par-five second hole but stood strong in the face of the Golf Gods and climbed his way back out of the hole he dug himself into to shoot a one-under-par 71. If du Toit can manage to upend the current leaders and snag the trophy, he will be the first Canadian to win the Canadian Open in 59 years.

 

Unfortunately for Canada, du Toit seems to be their only hope, given he’s one of the four Canadians that made the two-over-par cut and the only one within four strokes of the lead.

Another former Sun Devil, Jon Rahm has also found a nice spot near the top of the leaderboard in a three-way tie with his former teammate, du Toit and Kelly Kraft, at six-under-par.

Play resumes tomorrow at Glen Abbey Golf Club at 7:05 a.m. EST with Ernie Els and Scott Pinckney, with television coverage from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on the golf channel and 3 to 6 p.m. on CBS.

What Canada Has to Look Forward to Next Season

With only a few days left in the NHL season all seven Canadian teams have been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoff race. You know it almost doesn’t feel right? This has only happened one other time in the history of the NHL during the 1969-70 season. I’m not here to talk about why the Maple Leafs are bad, or talk about another dreadful season in Edmonton, but to show the upside to these Canadian teams for next season.

Toronto Maple Leafs (28-40-11) 67 Pts.

Nazem Kadri the leading point scorer for the Leafs, is a good starting point when talking about the future for Toronto. As first line center, Kadri looks to improve on a dismal season, currently ranked last in the Eastern Conference. Helping Kadri bring the winning ways back to Toronto is offensive defenseman Morgan Rielly. Rielly, only 22 years old, is one the top defense prospects in the league. Another upside for the 2017 season is the return of one of the better coaches in the NHL Mike Babcock. Lastly, the Maple Leafs affiliate team in the AHL the Toronto Marlies have the best record in the league and are ready to bring some young talent to the NHL. Look for some of these prospects to make an impact in the years to come.
Ottawa Senators (36-34-9) 81 Pts.

On the back of Defenseman Erik Karlsson, the Senators have the best record of the seven Canadian teams. Karlsson is currently ranked first in assists (64) in the NHL. With youth like Mark Stone, 23, Mika Zibanejad, 22, and Cody Ceci, 22, the future looks bright in Ottawa.
Montreal Canadiens (36-37-6) 78 Pts.

Sean Monahan (23) and Johnny Gaudreau (13) celebrate after a goal. (www.cbc.ca)

Ill keep it short because of my recent article on the Canadiens. Nevertheless, with Carey Price in net and good core such as Brendan Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk, P.K. Subban, and Max Pacioretty, don’t be surprised when Montreal is in the playoffs next year.
Calgary Flames (33-40-6) 72 Pts.

With Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau leading the way the Flames look like a young Blackhawks team with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. This is their team to take control of, they control the future of this franchise. Both under the age of 22, and the number one and two point leaders for the Flames, I cannot wait to watch these two grow through the next couple years.
Winnipeg Jets (32-39-8) 72 Pts.

The future of the Jets is questionable after losing Captain Andrew Ladd. What is certain, is Blake Wheeler being a big contributor. Four of the past five years Wheeler has scored at least 60 points. Mark Sceifele, who has come on strong at the end of this season, looks to produce in a big way next year. Nikolaj Ehlers, out of Denmark, is only 20 years old and is already playing well and should be a good goal scorer for next year. There is some young talent on the Jets but I’m not sure if they are quite there yet.
Vancouver Canucks (30-36-13) 73 Pts.

With the Sedin brothers late in their careers retirement is right around the corner and they are the Canucks’ best players. One bright side to this season is the emergence of Bo Horvat. Only 21, Bo is fourth in points on the team and looks to be a key player in a much needed rebuild in Vancouver.

Edmonton Oilers (30-43-7) 67 Pts.

Rookie Connor McDavid (weliveforhockey.com)

With all the talent on the ice for the Oilers you would think they would be better right? Possibly poor defense, below-average goaltending, it’s tough to say what is to blame. In the past six years the Oilers have had four number one picks. All of the talent is there, but the wins aren’t there. With the first pick last year the Oilers took 19 year-old phenom Connor McDavid. In only 43 games McDavid has 45 points but it hasn’t been enough. As the Oilers sit dead last in the Western Conference they have the chance at another 1st overall pick. I would like to see the Oilers return to their winning ways, so all the young talent can be brought to the national light.

 

What to watch for: 4/5

Islanders vs. Capitals -Eastern Conference playoff teams square off.

Lightning vs. Rangers -Another match-up of Eastern Conference playoff teams.

Avalanche vs. Predators -It’s a stretch for the Avalanche to get into the playoffs but can happen.

Sharks vs. Wild -Wild looking to lock up a playoff spot.

Should Riot have been more ambitious selecting venues?

Riot was in charge of the process of selecting the venues for Worlds and I am sure they selected a group of people that their sole objective was to organize the S6 World Championships. That being said, one of the most important aspects was to select the locations that the matches would take place in. This team from Riot had access to a lot more information that I  do, therefore, will be omitting information because quite frankly, I do not have access to it. Nonetheless, I will offer a critique as an outsider as whether or not Riot chose the best locations that were available. Riot probably looked at dozens of locations and venues, and the venues they chose had a lot of thinking and logical reasoning that I am ignorant of, our job is to evaluate why Riot chose the venues it did, and whether they could have done a better job at it.
Even though Riot has no doubt chosen good venues for Worlds, it leaves a feeling of disappointment that the venues exclude an extensive part of the NA population. The southestern, the central portion of the US, and Canada were all left out without the chance of attending our favorite event of the year. Once again Riot probably took this into account, and for one reason or another decided that those were not ideal locations. However, one still wishes that the world championships would have hit areas that have never had access to competitive League.

legends
I was highly disappointment to find out that the venues are small, and that two of the venues have already been used before. The finals will be a the Staple Center and the semifinals will be at Madison Square Garden. The disappointment comes from the fact that it seems that Riot is unwilling to try new venues and new places for this World Championships, there is an added mystery and excitement to having the Worlds championships at a new place. In the case of selecting the venues it is useful to draw insight from traditional sports. When the FIFA soccer World Cup was held in South Korea and South Africa, those were much more exciting venues than Germany and Brazil because they had already held a World Cup, even though it was more than 30 years ago.
S3 Finals were in the Staple Center and S5 Na LCS spring finals were in Madison Square Garden, these venues have recently been used for competitive League, and it seems that S6 Worlds should have been in different locations. There are hundreds of great venues in the U.S that are of equal or better quality for such event. The only time that I think a venue is exciting when it holds an event of this magnitude more than once is when it is an anniversary. The Olympics originated in Olympia, Therefore commemorating Greece with the 100th anniversary of the Olympic games could be exciting for spectators. The Soccer World Cup was first played in Uruguay in 1930, there has been talks about having the final in the same stadium in 2030 to commemorate such occasion. Even though Uruguay is not developed enough to organize a FIFA world Cup, it would be great if the final was played in the same stadium it was played a 100 years ago.
League of Legends is a young game, it probably will not last 100 years, but it is still a young game. I do not think there is any added excitement to having the finals played in the same stadium that it was played 3 years ago. That being said, there is added excitement to having the Finals venue located in a city that has not had access to League like Austin or Boston. Therefore, it was disappointing to find out that Riot did not get out of its comfort zone and chose venues that have recently been used.

olympia
I particularly love big stadiums. When I was a kid, managing a big stadium, or perhaps owning one was my dream. Riot has stated that they like smaller and closed venues because the atmosphere of the venue can be better transferred to the online stream. After S4 worlds finals were held in a stadium with a capacity for forty thousand people in South Korea, Riot realized that even though the atmosphere was good, it was hard to transfer that energy to the stream. Therefore, ever since then, Riot have chosen smaller and closed venues. I completely understand and agree with their observations, however, my criticism would be that a big venue that is closed, could transfer the energy just as well as a smaller one. I can be biased here, but it seems one of the factors that influenced S4 worlds being so low in energy was the crowd. We have learned that Westerners are much louder when it comes to fanaticism for traditional sports and Esports than their Korean counterparts. There are too may great options in America that would make for a great live and online experience. Even though the Cowboys stadium is a little ambitious, I am sure League could fill that stadium and provide for an awesome online experience.

wiki2

 

The Chicago Theater only has capacity for four thousand people and it was chosen as the venue for the quarterfinals. I am having a hard time compromising so much capacity for the idea of a great online stream. The NA LCS holds about four hundred people and even though is in a studio setting, it just does not provide the energy one wishes it did because it just does not have enough people. I know for a fact that if I was in charge of selecting the venues I would have rejected anything that had less a capacity of ten thousand people, even for group stages. I just do not think that as great as a venue can be, if it does not have people in it, it just cannot have a great atmosphere.
The fact that worlds will be held in the West is a positive because I think NA and EU have shown that they are better live audiences than the Korean ones. I am even happier it will be held in NA and that the finals are on a Saturday because that means that you will see me at the Staples Center on October 29th.
I wish Riot would have been more ambitious with the capacity of the venues they chose. I wish Riot would have been more willing to explore different options in different locations, and I really wish NA wins Worlds this year.

Facts and photos courtesy of riotgames.com, tripadvisor.com and chicagolakefrontcarnivalmuscfestival.com