Red Reserve’s recent coming

Red Reserve initially started as a sub-group of the notorious FaZe Clan in order to satisfy fans of their roots in Call of Duty sniping as FaZe began to branch out. However, they made waves in the esports scene earlier this year after Swedish organization Orbit acquired all rights to the Red Reserve brand. It was a smart business move that utilized Red Reserve’s mass following in supporting their various esports teams.

Although the move was finalized many months ago, the organization has recently hit the spotlight following their Counter-Strike and Call of Duty teams results at events across the globe.

For you fans in need of a team to root for, I’m going to give you a couple of reasons as to why this organization is an exciting one to watch.

Counter-Strike and DreamHack Valencia

The team headed into DreamHack Valencia as an unknown – everyone knew they had acquired former major finalist Mikail ‘Maikelele’ Bill but were uncertain on the team’s level as they had not yet played on LAN or faced this type of opposition.

Their group matched the Swedes against fellow countrymen Ninjas in Pyjamas as well as two North American teams in CLG and NRG. My sole reason for tuning into the series was because I was an advocate of Maikelele when he played for the Ninjas and I wanted to see what he saw in this new squad. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

A fragging leader

Hampus had some of the best stats at Dreamhack. [Source: HLTV]

Leading Maikelele and crew was eighteen-year-old Hampus ‘hampus’ Poser. The teenager seemed to be something rarely found: a fragging in-game leader. He was fantastic against Heroic in the semifinal and almost single-handedly took the game to a third map. On the map in question, Overpass, Hampus anchored the B bomb site, earning an array of multi-kills and boasting an ADR of 103.9 and a KAST* of 83.3%. Even in their previous series against CLG, he was only out-fragged by the team’s main AWPer.

A note I made on the strategic side of Red Reserve was that they had a heavy focus on Molotov based executes. As opposed to saving the Molotov’s for post-plant they would use four or five to safely clear the site. This meant that they were taking less 50/50 aim duels. They also seemed to have flashbangs left on players late in the round, making it possible for them to clutch many 2vX situations.

A deadly duo

The man in charge of the AWP was one of Red Reserve’s twins, Joakim ‘Relaxa’ Gustafsson. Unlike most top level AWPers such as KennyS or Fallen, Relaxa isn’t flashy but consistent down range. A trait mostly overlooked nowadays, he never missed shots he was supposed to hit. Similarly to Hampus, Relaxa was also an anchor on their favorite map Mirage. The player was quintessential in their CT side setup playing from CT spawn. Not only did he lock down the A site but also sniped down the tunnel into mid with deadly effect. Below is a clip of him popping off a little bit.

Now everyone loves a set of twins and this time is no different. Tipped by analysts as the next big Swedish player, Relaxa’s brother Fredrik ‘FREDDyFROG’ Gustafsson is a strong well-rounded player who is particularly good in the clutch. Although his performance dropped off as they faced tougher opponents, he was influential in their series against the Americans. If he can start to bring some of those plays to the worlds’ best he’ll definitely catch the eye of the top Swedish teams.

Right-hand men

The final two players to discuss are Alfred ‘RuStY’ Karlsson and Maikelele. These two seemed to be Hampus’ right-hand men. Whatever he needed them to do, they would do. RuStY, in particular, was impressive because of his ability to dedicate himself to entrying when needed. All though it had varied success, I believe one of the hardest things to do in Counter-Strike is fully dedicate yourself to entrying. On the CT side, he would provide utility for his star players to garner opening frags.

Maikelele had a pretty quiet tournament overall. He ran the second AWP when needed, but other than that usually he’d get one kill before being traded out. However having Maikelele for the future is a huge bonus as he is a player that can come alive at any time. When he’s having one of his days with the AWP he is near unstoppable, which he proved back in his days on NiP. His best map was the one which took them to the grand final where he netted 33 kills, demonstrating his tendency to show up when it matters.

CS:GO conclusions

Although it could be argued that Red Reserve should have never made it past CLG after Koosta’s mishap. The team showed great resilience, playing twelve maps in total, especially after their embarrassing opener against the Ninjas in Pyjamas. It did, however, make them all the more exciting to watch because every time it came down to winning they did so. They even gave NiP a run for their money on Mirage in the grand final. I believe Red Reserve has a bright future with Hampus at the helm and the likes of Freddy and Relaxa leading the charge.

Call of Duty and the Global Pro League

After finishing top eight at one of Call of Duty’s biggest events, MLG Anaheim, it seemed unfair that Red Reserve’s Call of Duty team was pitted against season one champions Splyce and a revitalized eUnited in the Global Pro League. Despite narrowly missing out on the playoffs on map count, they proved themselves to be a menacing team heading into the World Championships.

Europeans on the rise

European Call of Duty, in general, is trending at the moment, with Splyce winning the first season of the Global Pro League and Epsilon blossoming. There’s no better time than now to start getting behind another upcoming EU team.

The Red Reserve roster consists of Urban, Seany, Rated and Joe. Rated is the most recent addition to the squad, though he played with them earlier in the year. The change came as a surprise to many when his former team placed above Red Reserve last season but he still opted to make the move. The deciding factor was his chemistry with Joe, as the pair placed second at the World Championships last year and have played alongside each other for the majority of their careers.

Rated left Elevate to join Red Reserve. [Source: MLG]

Having a team you can rely on is essential in any sort of competition and it definitely showed in their play. In Crusher Search and Destroy versus eUnited, they made numerous plays that required full commitment from the team. In one round, instead of defending the bomb after it had been planted, they made a four man push into the base to catch the Americans off guard. And analysts were also full of praise for their judgment to go for straight defuses whilst there are still multiple players alive. This forces the hand of the opposition rather than allowing them to sit back and wait for the retake to come in.

A balanced roster

One aspect of Call of Duty that’s always been exciting is the trash talk and the hype some players bring to the table, and Rated is another one of those players. Over the years, players such as Aches, Clayster and Killa have gained recognition for their ability to throw opposing players off their game. Rated has had the same effect, it was only recently a Reddit thread with back and forth between himself and Zero of Splyce came to light. Not only does his fiery personality shine through on social media, it is replicated through his style in-game. The aggressive assault rifler does not let up on his enemies, pressuring them into making split second decisions.

His buddy Joe also has his own unique playstyle. The Brit likes to get behind enemy lines to kill multiple opponents from angles they don’t expect. He does so by anticipating their rotations and by picking the fastest routes to get there. Admittedly it’s harder to pull off against well-drilled opponents but it will easily upset some of the teams attending the World Championship.

Their NV4 player Seany has only recently popped up on my radar. Easily their best player over the course of their GPL weekend, Seany was earning killstreaks map after map with his laser like shot. These killstreaks mean that even if they are beat off of rotation they can be used to resecure the spawns for the upcoming hardpoint. If he can bring the same consistency to the World Championship, Red Reserve can rely on those streaks to break some of the more challenging Hardpoints against the most challenging opponents.

Finally, we have Urban. This guy has spent most of his professional career on Team Infused with MarkyB. They had many first place finishes at European LANs but were unable to replicate the same success overseas. During this time Urban has gained a wealth of experience and has started putting it to use on Red Reserve. For me, he can be the star player of this team if he can elevate his play ever so slightly. He’s a danger with any sort of weapon and can clutch up victories in any of the game types.

Call of Duty Conclusions

For you CoD fans this is an entertaining team to watch because of the variety of play styles on display that’s slowly being matched with strong calling. They are a team that goes against the curve and I think they’ll surprise many at CWL Championship. They may just become the giant killers and knock off teams we expect to place top eight.


You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles. You can find me on Twitter at @JackWrightIGL. Feature image courtesy of redreserve.gg

*ADR means average damage per round and KAST stands for Kill, Assist, Survive or Trade percentage.

 

NA

How Dreamhack highlighted the ever growing gulf between NA and EU

How we got here

The big story in competitive Smite throughout Season 4 has been competition. There have been two aspects in regard to competition. Firstly, competition has grown incredibly within the regions. Seed one through six are all capable of taking games off each other now in both regions. What is possibly the bigger story is that NA have fallen off a cliff competitively when it comes to LANs.

In every other season NA has been able to compete at the highest level. Admittedly NRG have been top dogs for the last two years, but between the rest of EU and NA there has not been much difference. However, at the very end of Season 3 things started to change. EU sent only two teams to SWC after not performing all that well at the preceding LAN. However, EU dominance started to show there as both EU teams went to the final. This was even more impressive as at the time Obey were not respected as the team they are now. The second team in EU was OrbitGG who didn’t go to SWC due to poor performances at the preceding LAN.

It was at the Gauntlet though and Smite Masters where we really learned just how big the gap had grown between the two regions. It was dominant from EU just putting NA to the sword. Nothing epitomised this more than the way in which Rival handled Soar (now SpaceStationGaming).

Where we are at now

na

Image courtesy of neogaf.com

EU was known to be stronger than NA; however there was hope that the gap would shrink. Day one of Dreamhack Valencia put such vain hopes to rest. In the three sets between NA and EU only one game went to NA. What was more telling was the way in which EU won. It was brutal, NA were made to look like one of the minor regions. 4th seed in EU, Team Rival, absolutely took SSG, the first seed from NA, to pieces. The way in which that happened makes me confident that Eanix, EU’s 5th seed, has a better chance of winning SWC than any team in NA.

Why?

NA have little success in Moba’s. In pretty much all Moba’s NA are significantly behind the rest of the competition. A few theories are banded around but I don’t put a huge amount of stock in any of them.

Firstly, you hear that ego hinders NA teams; they think they are all better than they are, don’t play for the team and big egos clash. This doesn’t make any sense to me for so many reasons. I mean is John ‘Barracuda’ Salter’s ego getting in the way of LG competing internationally? I think not. You occasionally hear that NA doesn’t take competitive gaming seriously and conventional sports are much more popular. EU is no different, conventional sports are far and away dominant over esports. Most people don’t really know about competitive gaming as a thing. I honestly couldn’t give you the reason, but it is a trend which is hard to ignore.

How?

More focused on Smite I can’t tell you the core problem, but I do have some ideas as to symptoms of the issue. The big thing here that everyone notices is how much more objective focused EU are than NA. I think one of the best ways in which we have been shown at Dreamhack so far is through mid lanes and supports.

The first time this is apparent is in the Rival vs SSG set. Game 2 was won through objective control. The Ra pick by rival was huge. Firstly, it takes away one of Andrew ‘Andinster’ Woodward’s favourite picks. Secondly, it gives you a great ultimate for objective secure. Then SSG backed themselves into a corner with the Hades pick. They had zero objective secure. Up to 20 minutes the game was close but Rival were behind in kills, but had three Gold Furies.

Take away those Gold Furies and SSG are in a dominant position in the game instead of slightly behind. Their objective play was just sloppy as a whole that game though. When they lost a Gold Fury because five people backed at the same time, it was infuriating. This is something that has been known since the game was in open beta. I mean this is not EU playing amazingly but NA playing pretty poorly. Rival were also taking Gold Furies in the face of SSG. This is because of their dominant objective secure.

Look at game number one in the NRG vs Dignitas set. Dig have a Sol in the mid lane and NRG had a Vulcan. While Sol’s objective secure is not bad it just can’t compete with a Vulcan. Dignitas recognise this though, so Jeppe ‘Trixtank’ Gylling starts with a HOG.

NA

Image courtesy of smitepedia.com

This allows them to really compete and contest at Gold Furies. It shows the thought that EU are putting into making sure that they don’t fall behind in the objective game. Something NA clearly are not doing at the moment. Notice how he didn’t go HOG when NRG had a Morrigan in the mid lane, showing that this is a thought process based around big mage ults.

NA also seems to be one step behind when it comes to Meta. One way in which this has risen to prominence is how little they value the Sobek. Sobek has been dominant this LAN. Objective wise he is one of the best supports. If you are baiting a Gold Fury he is great as anybody who comes near has to fear the pluck into your entire team. Same goes for anybody trying to contest. You could be one second away from being flung into the entire opposing team.

On top of that he probably has the best ult for securing objectives, with Lurking in the Waters, slowing anybody who comes in, doing huge amounts of damage to players and objectives. For example, when Trix went HOG on Sobek he alone could probably burst the Gold Fury from 30 percent down in a second or so. If you look at the only NA team to win a game, it was when Sinjin ‘Eonic’ Thorpe was playing the Sobek. NRG noticed this though and started banning out the Sobek vs Trix.

What this means for competitive Smite

Nothing good comes from this ever growing divide. Smite competitively is hamstrung in one major regard. We have no serious Asian scene. In particular, Korea does not recognise Smite as a competitive game. Having Korea as a region in a game is beneficial for so many reasons. Korea takes esports more seriously than any other region in the world. For those of you who do not follow any other esports, the best way to describe this is to mention Kespa. That is the government body specifically designed to deal with esports, who even go as far as hosting their own ‘Kespa Cups.’ Korea drag every other region up as they are so professional and take esports so seriously that to keep up everyone must try to emulate. Korea is very invested in their esports scene.

Missing those benefits hurts competitive Smite, but now not having Korea becomes even more of an issue. Only having one region who is competitive will get boring very quickly. If it stays this way, there will be no inter-region competition at LAN’s. Inter-region competition is the most exciting part about big LAN’s. When that disappears, interest in major events falls rapidly.

At the end of the day if NA doesn’t up their game soon everyone suffers.

Top Image courtesy of twitter.com/SmitePro

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us, as well as Jonathan Walmsley on Twitter for more sports and esports articles.

SPL game of the week: Obey Alliance vs Team Dignitas

Context

Obey Alliance vs Team Dignitas was the last set of the Spring Split. Both teams fought their way through Smite Masters and proved themselves to be the best two teams in Smite for the Spring Split. So, it seems rather fitting that they will end the online stage of the Summer Split for EU. It is also great to have the EU online portion end with such a great set, as well as being the game of the week

Image courtesy of https://twitter.com/obeyysmite

Things have changed though since the Smite Masters Grand Finals; it seems as if these teams have switched fortunes. The Spring Split was the Obey Alliance show, no doubt. They dominated the online stages and carried that form through to the offline stage. However, this Split their results have been a bit disappointing. I want to stress that they have only been disappointing when compared to the incredibly high bar they set last Split. Also I think it is hard to say that Obey are still not playing great Smite, but maybe the other teams have taken a step forward.

NRG are performing closer to the standard we have come to expect. Let’s not forget either that Dignitas now has a Split under their belt and will obviously have improved as a team. Everyone in Europe has improved though, seeds one through five are probably expected to split with each other now. As well as this Split some dead-weight from the EU has been shed and the new blood of The Papis and Burrito Esports have shown they are more than capable of an upset.

Dignitas have taken Obey’s spot on top of the perch. They are starting to show that for once, the tag ‘Super-team’ is not a curse, nor irrelevant. They are currently 5/1/0 in the standings, setting themselves apart from the pack, four points in front of their nearest contenders. This guarantees them first seed going into DreamHack Valencia, something which must feel great. Especially for the European players, it will be the first time in a long time they will be competing on home soil at a LAN. However, don’t expect them to take it easy on Obey because of this, they will want to maintain not having lost a set this split. As well as the fact that beating what is going to be one of your biggest rivals at DreamHack is a huge momentum boost.

Obey will be fighting tooth and nail for the set victory this weekend. The momentum boost of taking down one of your biggest rivals is huge. What is more important though is that they are still in a scrap for seeding. By the end of this weekend, Obey could end up anywhere from second to fourth. Do not underestimate the value of seeding, as any Esports fan can tell you many tournaments have been won through favourable brackets. For more information on all the permutations of the EU standings, look no further, TGH has you covered http://thegamehaus.com/2017/06/20/going-dreamhack-valencia-eu-standings-end/

Predictions and contested picks

The mid lane is going to be hotly contested for picks. For Dignitas, Joakim ‘Zyrhoes’ Verngren Sol is a very important pick. Sol has taken the mid lane by storm and become an important pick in any draft, but Zyrhoes was one of the people who pioneered the Sol pick. If this gets through the banning phase, look for Dignitas to pick it up at the first opportunity. However, I would not expect to get through the banning phase. If this happens, things get more interesting for the mid lane.

 

Image courtesy of pcgamesn.com

They get more interesting because all of a sudden The Morrigan comes into focus. This has been a fall back for Zyrhoes in recent times, something Dig prioritises highly. To show how much they prioritise it, in their last set against Burrito Esports when the Sol got banned, they first picked The Morrigan. Emil ‘PrettyPrime’ Edstrom also prioritises it, as their last set he played The Morrigan both games, as well as numerous times before this Split.

Ne Zha has come back into the meta, with a lot of SPL junglers picking him up. Benjamin ‘CaptainTwig’ Knight has always played the Ne Zha and has taken full advantage of his return to the meta. He does not just play the Ne Zha a lot, he plays it very well. Obey Alliance as a whole play around the Ne Zha well though, as he is one of those picks that requires coordination with your teammates. He also recently picked up Sun Wu Kong in the jungle, so that is a possible pick out of left field.

Another potentially interesting pick when these two teams meet comes from the Hunter role. Jing Wei is creeping back into meta and is a God that both Kenny ‘Arkkyl’ Kuska and Nate ‘Ataraxia’ Mark have been picking occasionally. This is not going to be as contested as The Morrigan in mid as both these hunters have played a lot of God’s recently and there are probably more top tier ADC’s at the moment. It is something we could potentially see though.

These are two incredibly evenly matched teams, with a ton of skill and experience on both sides. If I were to call it, I’d say it’s probably a split with perhaps Dignitas on recent form just edging it out.

Top image courtesy of http://team-dignitas.net

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us, as well as Jonathan Walmsley on Twitter for more sports and esports articles.

 

Who is going to DreamHack Valencia?: How the EU standings could end up

Going into the final week there are numerous permutations the EU side of the league can go through. The two major points of contention are going to be fourth spot and second spot in the EU standings. With first spot already wrapped up for Team Dignitas, it is the other spots which will be grabbing most of our attention.

The Battle for Fourth

Fourth place in EU will be hotly contested this weekend. It will be the last spot sending teams to Valencia. The difference between fourth and fifth spot is the difference between a failed Split and a possibly great Split for these teams.

The two teams desperately trying not to be fifth are Eanix and Team Rival. Team Rival have some slight advantages over Eanix towards this end. The biggest advantage is that they are one point ahead in the standings. This point advantage is compounded by the fact that they also took the set against Eanix 2-0. This means that even if they end up on the same amount of points, Eanix are not going to DreamHack Valencia. What this means is that Eanix need to get a 2-0 this weekend while hoping Rival lose both games in their set.

This brings us to the second advantage, the teams they have to face this weekend. Rival are facing sixth seed Elevate this weekend. They have only managed to secure one set victory this entire split. Sitting at sixth in the standings only ahead of two brand new teams to the SPL, this is a team that Rival should beat.

Image courtesy of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2GcC1FKkXY

Team Eanix have much sterner opposition in the current World Champions, NRG. Having to 2-0 the current World Champions going into the final week of the Split rather speaks for itself. They would have to be the first team all Split to pull off this difficult challenge. When we consider as well that Eanix only secured 2-0’s against The Papis and Burrito Esports, the two SPL newcomers, the chances look even worse. There is also the fact that against the top two teams their results have not been overly impressive. They got 2-0’d by Rival and Dignitas, and unfortunately last week they couldn’t put away Elevate, severely hurting their DreamHack chances. Do not expect NRG to take it easy on them either as this week is important for them too, with many permutations in the standings still possible.

The Battle for Second

NRG or Obey could  end up in a tie-breaker for fourth, but both of them will be focusing on how they can get second. Currently NRG and Obey are on 12 points with a 3-3-0 record. If Rival win and either or both these teams get shutout in their sets, we will be in a tie-breaker position for second place. If these three teams all split against each other, a tiebreaker will have to be played, meaning we could end up in a three way tournament for seeding.

Both these teams have the ability to guarantee top three for themselves. Having only to secure a Split to guarantee third or better in the Summer Split. Of course though there is still the possibility of a tie breaker between these teams for the coveted second position. As I mentioned earlier, they are on the same amount of points and went 1-1 in their set this Split.

They are equal in all regards other than the challenges they have ahead this week. NRG are facing Eanix this weekend, a team who I expect to come fifth. Compare that to Obey who are facing Dignitas, the top ranked team in the league this Split. To put into context how great Dignitas has been, they have only lost one game all Split. It took until the last week in the Summer Split for them to drop a game against NRG.

Predictions

Luckily for me, first place is all wrapped up for Dignitas, but this is where I believe the EU standings will finish.

Dignitas 5-2-0 17

NRG  4-3-0   15

Obey 3-4-0  13

Rival 3-3-1  12

Eanix 2-2-3  8

What I believe is most likely to change is that NRG and Eanix will split, resulting in a playoff for second place between NRG and Obey.

Top Image courtesy of esports.smitegame.com

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us, as well as Jonathan Walmsley on Twitter for more sports and esports articles.