Inferno – the hallmark of grand finals

PGL Major Kraków was a topsy turvy tournament, to say the least. A Gambit side led by Danylo ‘Zeus’ Teslenko took the victory in a thrilling final map on the historic Inferno. We saw an incredible clutch from Abay ‘HObbit’ Khasenov and consistent fragging from Dauren ‘AdreN’ Kystaubayev whilst the AWPing of Vito ‘kNg’ Giuseppe and the leadership of Lucas ‘steel’ Lopes tried to keep them in the game.

The map in question, Inferno, has hosted a number of grand final deciders. Despite only being reintroduced into the map pool this year, it has remained a popular choice among top teams. It is favored as a neutral playing field because most teams know all the basic strategies but the tempo can be changed between fast and slow. Its design also allows for clutch plays whether that be as a CT from pit defending the A bomb or as a terrorist running down banana.

For these reasons, we’ve been gifted many memorable finals thanks to Inferno. This article will pick out some of the best that you may be interested in re-watching.

SL-iLeague Starseries Season 3 Finals

FaZe Clan had been on the rise since picking up Bosnian superstar Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovač. They had recently formed a rivalry with the Danes of Astralis, who bested them in the final of Counter-Strikes famed ESL One Katowice.

However, there was more than just the rivalry at stake for FaZe. The team was out to prove what international teams can achieve. Not only that, Finn ‘karrigan’ Andersen craved revenge against his former team while Fabien ‘kioShiMa’ Fiey wanted to prove he wasn’t ‘The Problem’. With the grand final one a piece, was there a better way to end than in overtime on Inferno?

ESL One Cologne 2014

Over three years ago now, back when it was still a major, the grand final of ESL One Cologne 2014 was decided by Inferno. The perfect stage for the still ripe El Classico between Fnatic and NiP. The aforementioned beat the Ninjas in CSGO’s first ever major championship while the legendary team was still missing one from their trophy cabinet.

Facing one of the most dominant Inferno teams in Fnatic, it seemed as if all the odds were pitched against them. After going down early, an unforgettable ace from Adam ‘friberg’ Friberg instilled confidence in the Ninjas who would go on to win their only major in CSGO.

ESL Pro League Season 3 Finals

For this match, we head over to London to witness an intense best of five final. Luminosity, now known as SK Gaming, was fresh off the back of a major win at ESL One Cologne 2016. While challengers G2 Esports had struggled with consistency. It was on the astounding duo of Richard ‘shox’ Papillon and Adil ‘ScreaM’ Benrlitom to prove French CS was still at large.

The first four maps were nail-biting with every map ending with both teams in double figures. The last map Inferno did the entire series justice. The game went into overtime boasting incredible plays from Shox and Marcelo ‘coldzera’ David. If you are a newer viewer it’s one I’d definitely recommend watching.

ESL One Katowice 2015

After looking into Cologne 2014, you’ll probably get a sense of Déjà vu here. We’re back, map three, Inferno, NiP versus Fnatic. This time Fnatic demonstrated that dominance through utterly crushing the Ninjas on their CT side. In spite of that, NiP would make the game entertaining through a second half resurgence.

This game is a great example of how to play the CT side of Inferno. NiP making great use of crossfires on the A bombsite, meanwhile, Fnatic perfected the art of banana control. If learning some new tricks is your thing, many of these can still be used in the newest iteration of the map.

 

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skill gap

NA closing the skill gap

It’s no secret that many consider Europe to be the dominant region when it comes to Rocket League esports. However, North America appears to be closing the skill gap.

Major LAN Events

Take a look at the top four teams from major Rocket League LAN events in the past. It’s easy to see EU’s domination over NA at the beginning.

RLCS World Finals

iBUYPOWER, a former NA team, won the first ever Rocket League Championship Series world finals. Regardless, EU was still dominant overall. Flipsid3 Tactics, Northern Gaming and The Flying Dutchmen, all EU teams, took second through fourth place respectively.

In fact, in all three seasons of the RLCS thus far only one team has represented NA in the top four of the world finals:

Season Two

  1. Flipsid3 Tactics (EU)
  2. Mock-It eSports (EU)
  3. Northern Gaming (EU)
  4. Take 3 (NA)

Season Three

  1. Northern Gaming (EU)
  2. Mock-It eSports (EU)
  3. NRG Esports (NA)
  4. The Leftovers (EU)

Since the season three finale of the RLCS, there are several tournaments one can look back to which suggest this skill gap is narrowing.

DreamHack / FACEIT

The RLCS features equal representation from EU and NA at the world finals. DreamHack Summer 2017, taking place in Sweden, only featured one team from NA. Of the 15 teams total who competed, the NA team, Rogue, placed in the number 3-4 spot.

skill gap

Image courtesy of steamcardexchange.net

The most recent major LAN event to take place was the FACEIT X Games Invitational. The tournament featured eight teams in total, four from NA and four from EU. The bracket was broken down into two groups, each consisting of two NA and two EU teams.

While EU looked strong as always, NA certainly showed up to play in this tournament. Out of nine matches that were played between an NA and EU team, NA came out on top five times. This includes the finals, in which NRG Esports beat Gale Force eSports four to three in a best of seven match.

Five out of nine games is relatively even, which is exactly the point I’m trying to make. The skill gap is closing. On top of this, the ending placements were just as even. Gale Force eSports took second. After that, the 3rd-4th, 5th-6th and 7th-8th slots each had one NA and one EU team.

Mechanics

It’s difficult to lock down a group of players, let alone a single player, as the top mechanically. There are too many top tier players in NA and EU, not to mention from other regions of the world.

When it comes to mechanics, top players may have certain mechanics that they are known for executing frequently and nearly flawlessly.

skill gap

Image courtesy of steamtradingcards.wikia.com

David “Deevo” Morrow is well known for his double taps; Francesco “Kuxir97” Cinquemani is well known for his mechanical ability playing off the wall; Jacob “Jacob” McDowell is known for his unusual mechanics; Chris “Dappur” Mendoza and Kyle “Scrub Killa” Robertson are known for their one-on-one abilities, just to name a few.

That being said, you don’t make it the top without being proficient in all mechanical aspects. Pick the “worst” mechanical pro player you can think of, and they’re still miles ahead of the average player.

So, I’m confident in arguing that NA and EU have been relatively equal, in terms of mechanics, since the beginning of the professional Rocket League scene. Decision making, on the other hand, is a different story.

Decision Making

Perhaps the most important aspect of decision making in Rocket League is knowing when and when not to rotate back. For those who don’t know, rotation is when you decide not to pursue the ball, rather opting to fall back and allow a teammate to attack.

It only takes one poor decision regarding rotation before you quickly find your team getting scored on. Watch past seasons of the RLCS and you’ll see EU’s superiority when it comes to rotation. That’s starting to change.

skill gap

Jacob. Image courtesy of nrg.gg

NA teams are refining their rotations, making effective decisions. One team worth taking a look at, regarding rotation, is NRG.

Along with his unusual mechanics, Jacob is known for his sometimes unusual positioning. While that has been advantageous at times, making it difficult for the opposition to predict, it has also been the cause of breaks in NRG’s rotation.

However, as the skill gap tightens and NA teams make increasingly better decisions regarding rotation, Jacob’s unusual positioning makes NRG more dangerous than ever. Without impeccable decision making, unusual positioning is a recipe for breaking rotation and ceding goals. Add in proper decision making and it becomes a recipe for breaking the opponent’s rotation instead.

Conclusion

With the skill gap getting smaller and smaller, there has never been a better time to be a fan of NA Rocket League. Fans should psych themselves up.

A closing skill gap means tighter competition and, in turn, tighter matches. The best Rocket League matches are won by one game. The best Rocket League games are won by one point.

With DreamHack Atlanta beginning today and season four of the RLCS just on the horizon, it promises to be a great few coming months for Rocket League.

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Featured Image courtesy of amazon.com

Frostbite’s DreamHack Atlanta HCS Finals predictions

After seven weeks of competition and one full month of time to prepare for this moment, DreamHack Atlanta is here. Over the course of the next three days, we’ll see the best teams from North America and Europe go at it for their share of $200,000. Let’s take a look at some predictions for the top eight!

7th/8th: Ronin Esports

Roster: Visal “eL ToWn” Mohanan, Cory “Str8 SicK” Sloss, Tyler “Spartan” Ganza, Ayden “Suspector” Hill

Ronin, since the start of the season, has been constantly struggling. Their only win throughout this season was their first match against Str8 Rippin. Halfway through the season, Ronin looked to improve by swapping out Carlos “Cratos” Ayala for eL ToWn. This swap proved unfruitful, as Ronin didn’t win another match for the rest of the Pro League and ended their season by getting reverse-swept by EG.

Ronin’s scrim scores also don’t show a lot of promise due to their inconsistency. They have managed to defeat EG and Splyce, but the next week they were 13-0’d by both Splyce and OpTic Gaming. This will be a tough fight for them, but with their firepower, they should be able to survive relegation.

7th/8th: Luminosity Gaming

Roster: Joe “TriPPPeY” Taylor, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson, Bradley “APG” Laws

Luminosity, while not having to fight through relegations like Ronin, does not seem to be playing their best Halo leading up to DreamHack. They ended their season 3-4, tied with EG, but due to having a low map win percentage, they only made 6th place. During the roster swap period, LG acquired APG from Str8 in order to bolster their slaying power. DreamHack will decide if this was a good decision or not.

In scrims, LG has at least been performing slightly better than Ronin. However, they have the same issue: inconsistency. Either way, against top four teams, LG hasn’t even had any particularly close scrims. They can snag top six however, assuming EG and OS are not in top shape.

5th/6th: Evil Geniuses

Roster: Jason “Lunchbox” Brown, Justin “Roy” Brown, Josbe “Tapping Buttons” Valadez, Michael “Falcated” Garcia

DreamHack

The key to EG’s success. Image by Josbe Valadez.

Tapping Buttons seems to be just what this squad needed. EG has been struggling since the start of 2016 and this is the best form we’ve seen the squad since since X-Games 2016. They started the Pro League with Brett “Naded” Leonard, but after Daytona, Naded departed and left EG scrambling. With the help of the greatest of all time, Tom “OGRE2” Ryan, the squad got Tapping Buttons. Since then, EG’s season has gone surprisingly well, despite having a 3-4 record. With the exception of getting swept by OpTic, EG’s other losses to Team EnVyUs, Team Liquid and Splyce were all in close five game series.

Scrims, as usual with EG, paint a different picture. This roster has always struggled online, but close games to amateur teams as well as a narrow loss to Str8 Rippin can leave even the most stalwart of fans worried. However, the Brown Twins have a reputation for being LAN gods for a reason and many expect them to remind competitive Halo fans why that is this weekend at DreamHack.

 

4th: Team Liquid

Roster: Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher, Zane “SubZero” Hearon, Aaron “Ace Elam, Kevin “Eco” Smith

DreamHack

Image by Halo Esports Wiki

Liquid had a surprisingly slow start to their Summer Season. They suffered losses to both Luminosity and Splyce, neither of which were close matches. During the mid-season roster transfer period, they surprised the community again by dropping Timothy “Rayne” Tinkler for Str8 Rippin’s Ace. Many questioned the decision, as SubZero had stated previously that he planned to always remain a duo with Rayne, and that this change could imbalance the team’s chemistry. In fact, it had the opposite effect. Liquid returned in the 3rd week to defeat Team EnVyUs 3-1 and were the only team to defeat OpTic all season. They ended their season with a 5-2 record.

Recent scrims show that Liquid’s only losses so far have been to Splyce and OpTic Gaming.

3rd: Splyce

Roster: Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller, Ryan “Shooter” Sondhi, Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro

If you told someone to put together a squad based solely on slaying ability that wasn’t nV, this is the squad you’d probably get. Even bubu dubu, the most objective-oriented player on this roster, has shown that he has talent in slaying. This squad took most teams by storm during the season and ended 6-1 with their only loss being to OpTic. This squad only narrowly lost to Liquid at Daytona and they’ve only gotten better since then.

Scrims look good for Splyce, with dominating wins over not only Ronin and Luminosity, but also nV. If Splyce and nV meet in the bracket, it could be a toss up, but nV’s experience as a team could be what propels them over Splyce.

2nd: Team EnVyUs

Roster: Justin “iGotUrPistola” Deese, Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, Cuyler “Huke” Garland

The HCS Daytona champions ended their season a bit shy of where they probably would have liked to have been. Their season ended 4-3, with losses to Liquid, Splyce and a reverse-sweep at the hands of a vengeful OpTic Gaming. However, this squad has remained consistent and it takes more than online victories to prove that Splyce or Liquid can take down nV. DreamHack will decide if this team is still OpTic’s biggest contender, or if they’ve fallen by the wayside.

Scrims for nV look relatively normal. Close losses to OpTic, one loss and victory over Splyce and dominant performances over most other teams. However, Snip3down has been having some hand issues, so if he hasn’t properly healed, it could affect the squad’s performance.

1st: OpTic Gaming

Roster: Tony “LethuL” Campbell, Jr, Paul “SnakeBite” Duarte, Mathew “Royal2” Fiorante, Bradley “Frosty” Bergstrom

DreamHack

Image by Turtle Beach.

Is anyone really surprised that OpTic Gaming are the favorites to win? Since forming, they’ve only lost three events, all of which were in long, close series. Liquid may have beaten them online, but have only come remotely close to defeating these juggernauts once. EnVyUs has defeated them on LAN, but they have been inconsistent with their performances against OpTic and have also been blown out of the water several times by this squad.

Scrims are like usual for OpTic. Clean victories nearly across the board, with only a couple close defeats here and there. Make no mistake, OpTic are coming to win DreamHack and add to their already long list of victorious events, and they’re looking to be in perfect shape to do it.

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 @DS_Frostbite!

Header image by Halo Waypoint

 

Takeaways from day one of DreamHack

Europe is better than North America

Ok yes, we already knew European teams dominate, but they’re all pro players. You have to give them the benefit of the doubt coming into the LAN that they’ll at least be able to compete. Well, maybe from now on we won’t be doing that. Apart from Trifecta, who lost a heartbreaking game two versus NRG (I think. RIP stream) none of the other two North American squads even put up a fight.

Games one and two between Trifecta and NRG were exactly what fans of the SPL were hoping for. Trifecta put on a show in the first game and was able to take it from the defending world champs. Then NRG showed why they’re so good, and climbed back from a 15k gold deficit to win game two and force a third game. This is where Europe began to steamroll the North American squads.

In seven total games played between the regions, NA won one time. Spacestation Gaming, the team that most people pegged as the saviors for NA, dropped their first two games relatively easily against the 7th seeded Team Rival. Not exactly what you would expect out of the top NA team. Then Luminosity gaming followed up with a disappointing performance of their own, although they were playing Obey, so any team could lose 2-0 here and we wouldn’t be terribly surprised.

Takeaways

Photo by www.smitefire.com

Resurgence of Odin

Odin hasn’t been a top pick in current meta. Osiris, one of the most popular gods, has a passive that completely counters Odin’s ult. That didn’t stop Ismael “KikiSoCheeky” Torres from locking in the Odin directly against the Osiris. And then he proceeded to be the biggest pain in the neck to the squad of NRG. Kiki was on the Odin in both games one and two, where he posted a slash line of 5/0/16 and 5/2/14 respectively. This led to NRG banning the Odin away in game three.

Team Rival then banned Odin away from Spacestation Gaming in game one of their set before their jungler, Aleksandar “IceIceBaby” Zahariev, pulled it out in game two. He completely controlled the jungle, dominating on the warrior for a 7/2/4 slash line, leading his team to a round one victory. The next we saw of the Odin jungle was the very next game, where Benjamin “CaptainTwig” Knight, of Obey Alliance, showed his prowess on the God, putting up a 5/1/13 score, prompting Luminosity to ban it away in the second game.

Odin brings a lot of early game aggression to the table, and that momentum can be carried late into the game in this meta. That coupled with his ultimate, which forces the enemy team to get the Phantom Veil Relic in place of something else, really shows why Odin can be a force. We also saw his ultimate used as a disengage both offensively and defensively, both for escapes and protecting objectives on the map.


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Feature Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

 

DreamHack preview: Luminosity Gaming

Luminosity Gaming has long been among the North American favorites. Here are a few reasons why they have a shot to return to glory at DreamHack.

Experience

Luminosity is a team that is very familiar to the setting of a LAN. Each player on the squad has an abundance of experience over the course of the last year, including a trip to the Smite World Championship. This may not seem like much, but it’s a big deal when it comes to nerves and being able to perform under pressure.

John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter and Rosario “Jeff Hindla” Vilardi both have a SWC title under their belt and have played together for years. This type of experience isn’t rivaled by many players throughout the league, and can’t be replaced. Throw in their mid lane player Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim, long time solo laner and former Cloud9 teammate, and you’ve got easy chemistry. This is a squad that led the entire SPL in kills with 228, an average of 16.29 per game.

Objective Control

In recent splits, the European teams have become known for their objective control, especially when playing against the North American squads. Perhaps recognizing this, Luminosity Gaming has taken strides at improving their objective control, finishing the Summer Split with 32 Gold Fury kills. That number is good for second in the SPL. They also secured the Gold Fury first 11 different times, for a 78.57% rate, good for first in the SPL. As we saw this split, teams securing the first Gold Fury were winning at an absurd rate.

They also had the lead when it came to the big objective, the Fire Giant. The secured the second highest FG total in the SPL at 15, and finished first with 12 first Fire Giants at a rate of 85.71%. Being able to secure the first Fire Giant in the current meta is enormous. It’s enough for a team to go for the jugular on a team far behind, or it can be a big enough boon to even the score up after a slow start to a set.

Luminosity Gaming

Photo by www.shazoo.ru

The “Sextank”

BaRRaCCuDDa and Jeff Hindla. Those names alone give Luminosity a shot at winning in Valencia. Jeff Hindla is one of, if not the most selfless support in the SPL right now. He’ll walk into DreamHack with the fewest kills among North American supports, but the second most assists, and third in the entire SPL, at 146. On top of that, Jeff in known to ditch his old friend Barra in the duo lane early, so Barra can farm up and be prepared for the late game.

You’ll hear it from time to time that BaRRaCCuDDa has plot armor. He always seems to come out ok, no matter the situation. That’s all well and good, but it’s been a while since Luminosity has actually won anything. That’s where this guy comes in. He doesn’t have the best stats in the league, averaging just over 3 kills per game and 6.5 assists. That means nothing when it comes to Barra however, he’s the type of player that can turn it on when his team needs him. The level of consistency that he plays with is unparalleled in the SPL, and no matter the lead, no matter what part of the game, teams better be on the lookout for BaRRaCCuDDa.


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Feature Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

DreamHack preview: Spacestation Gaming

North America’s best hope, the newly named Spacestation Gaming aims to take Valencia by storm. Here are some reasons they have a shot to make something happen.

Consistency

Spacestation started off this split extremely strong, tied with Luminosity and Team Allegiance at the top of the standings. Following a 2-0 loss to Luminosity, fans and analysts started saying that SSG was in the middle of the pack, and would be fighting for a spot in DreamHack. That was wrong, and SSG remained at the top of the standings for the rest of the split, continually putting down teams when they were playing “must win” games.

This consistency carried into the matches themselves. They were never too high and never too low throughout their sets. This can be seen in their set during Week 4 against ALG. This set had serious implications for DreamHack, and both teams desperately wanted the 2-0 victory.

Game 1 began with SSG in the lead, but ALG brought the game back. Often times in this situation you’ll see teams fold under the pressure, and collapse. SSG were able to stay focused and retake control of the game and pull it out. In game 2 ALG began by dominating Spacestation. Slowly but surely however, SSG clawed their way back into it, and thanks to  Andrew “andinster” Woodward, were able to snatch game 2 and get the 2-0 victory.

Statistics

Spacestation put up stats this split. Each player on the roster finished in the top two in North America in KDA in their respective roles. This includes Connor “Jigz” Echols, andinster and Alexander “Homiefe” D’Souza, who finished first in their roles. They also had the highest team KDA in North America.

This trend continued when it came to deaths per game. Each player finished in the top five in the league, with Homiefe, Alec “fineokay” Fonzo and Conor “Vetium” Roberts tied for 5th. Jigz led the way with only 1.2 deaths per game, which is incredible in a role that is expected to protect its team, even at the expense of their own life.

Spacestation gaming

Photo by www.smitecentral.com

Homiefe

For anyone who watched this split, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Homiefe was the best jungler in North America this split without any competition. He finished with a KDA of 5.02, second only to his Mid Lane andinster. That KDA was good for the best in the Jungle role by more than two, as he topped Brooks “Cynosure” Mattey’s 3.01.

Homi also finished second in kills per game at 4.5, as well as 5th in deaths per game with a measly 1.6. He also participated in a total of 78.2% of his teams kills, which was good for 4th in the league. Homi also had an insane first blood rate, at 42.86%, good for six total first bloods.

It wasn’t just about stats for Homi however. His play this split is what helped put Spacestation over the edge. Again, looking back to the all important game against ALG, Homi was incredibly disruptive on the back line. His pressure not only prevented ALG from fighting as a team, but it allowed his team to win team fights before ALG could react. DreamHack is just over a week away, and Spacestation is looking prime to make a deep run on the back of Homiefe.


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Feature Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

Three things the Summer Split taught us about the SPL

The early game meta is here to stay

It looks like Season 4 of Smite will be defined by the early game meta. It has persisted through the first two Splits of the season and with only one more split to go it is not likely to change. However, this should be qualified, by the fact that it is not quite as pronounced as it was in the Spring Split. Games in the SPL are going much longer, something Mike ‘PolarBearMike’ Heiss pointed out in a recent tweet.

There are two reasons it is here to stay. Firstly, the map, it caters itself to this early game aggression. PBM has a great video on his YouTube explaining this from the perspective of an SPL player.

One of the reasons PBM gives for this is that, the core of the map has been around for a very long time. As such, the players have gotten much better at exploiting the map as they have gotten better and due to playing on the same core for so long.

This leads to the other reason why the early game meta is dominating at the moment. Players and teams improved, becoming better at holding onto leads. As such playing compositions which give you a lead early on are more powerful as SPL teams capitalise on leads much better than before. It is far harder to hold out for 40 minutes and have Kali win you the game like a famous game from Thomas ‘Repikas’ Skallebaek. Obviously the easiest way for Hi-Rez to counteract this is still through map changes.

NRG are still not the force they once were

This is one that a lot of people may be confused about, as NRG were not the dominating team seen in previous seasons last Split. NRG’s history of dominance in not just Europe but the entirety of the Smite scene means one split is not enough to say their era of dominance is over, more data is needed.

Last Split Craig ‘iRaffer’ Rathbone spoke about how at least at the start of the season, NRG were taking things a bit easier to avoid burning out. This was often suggested as a reason why NRG were not performing to their usual standards. This is not to say NRG are performing badly or aren’t still a great team. It is just NRG used to be head and shoulders above the rest of the competitive Smite scene, setting records we are unlikely to see matched. This is the visual representation of NRG’s performance in Season 3.

View post on imgur.com

People suggested that taking their foot off the pedal meant they were slow to catch up to meta or maybe even just a bit rusty. Those excuses are no longer viable. This is unless perhaps burn out has occurred within the ranks of NRG, or some players just aren’t enjoying the game right now. This is something iRaffer admitted too, in what has become an infamous Reddit post about Sunder. Maybe with all the success and the recent complaints about the Smite meta, it has been harder to get as motivated. Something which could very much change going into the Fall Split, as that is the Split leading into SWC. If getting the three-peat and another chance for cash doesn’t motivate them, I’d be very surprised.

Another factor is that the competition is far better this year. It is not as if NRG are playing badly but the new-look Obey is an incredibly strong team, while Dignitas is looking stronger than the old Orbit team. Throughout the league, especially in Europe there are a lot of really high quality teams.

However, saying all this, there is still a not so small part of me that expects iRaffer to lift the golden hammer again this year. I don’t know if it’s because my mind now sees it as routine, or i’m just too nostalgic for my own good, but I have a sneaking suspicion the three-peat is on.

The competition is real!

This is something that has featured in other parts of this article, but deserves its own segment. The competition levels in the SPL have just risen and risen throughout Season 4. While at the end of the Spring Split the gulf between NA and Europe was exposed, there is hope that over this Split that gap will shrink. I think it is still likely that Europe are going to dominate, though hopefully not as much.

Within the regions though the competition is fierce. I think one thing that illustrates this point quite nicely is when you look at 6th place in both regions. Team Allegiance and Elevate are not bad teams, in fact they are good teams who are getting better. This season is the only season in Smite where we would have teams of that caliber so far down the standings.

Look at the top of NA as well, last split Luminosity looked definitively like the best team in the region. This split they just squeezed into the final LAN spot, one point ahead of eUnited in 4th and only two points ahead of Noble in 5th. Noble was a team everyone was writing off at the beginning of the split.

In Europe, the region that got an extra spot to Dreamhack, we had 2nd-4th being fought over up until the last day of competition. Things are really heating up heading into World’s next split. I genuinely think in Europe that the top five teams will all be going into next split thinking they have a realistic chance at being SWC champs.

Image courtesy of tentonhammer.com

 

Top Image courtesy of esports.smitegame.com

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Top gods in each role heading into DreamHack

Solo Lane

Photo by http://smite.gamepedia.com

This split has been all about Osiris and Bellona in the Solo Lane, but when it comes down to it, Bell is the way to go. Her clear is insanity from the get go. Bludgeon allows her to clear the wave quickly at level 1, and deal a ton of damage to any god caught by the hammer. It works especially well when being ganked by multiple gods, and puts in work against them. Scourge, her 3, gives her a crazy amount of sustain when paired up with Death’s Toll, which keeps her in lane longer than most Solo laners. It also has a disarm that works well in this meta against gods like Osirs, Cernunnos, Sol, and Rama. These gods have been played a lot, and the 2.25 second disarm at max level from Scourge can create a hole for a team to attack.

She passes Osiris here because of her mobility. Shield Bash blocks incoming damage, as well as gives her a small escape, which can be enough to allow a player to turn a fight. Her Ultimate is another big factor. Eagle’s Rally can be used as an escape multiple different ways, and it’s incredible the amount of plays that can be made off of it. A leap that gives a boost in protections, as well as a stun and physical power can be absolutely lethal in late game team fights.

Jungle

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After seeing some time off, Susano has made his climb back to the top of the Jungle meta and for good reason. His mobility is the best in the game, with a possible exception to Serquet. His Storm Kata is a great way for noobs to be annoying. But when in the hands of a pro, can be used in many different ways. Allowing free poke, and then an escape from the one ability, and being able to chain it together with his other abilities and auto attacks make for a good start.

Wind Siphon has the ability to create displacement in team fights. One perfectly executed Wind Siphon could end a team fight as it begins by separating a team, especially the squishies. Pair those two abilities with Jet Stream, and not only is Susano tough to lock down, but he’s tough to get away from. And just when you think you’re out, in comes Typhoon to knock you up preventing what you thought was an escape.

Mid Lane

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The Mid Lane doesn’t really have a pick that just screams at you to ban it like Bellona, Osiris, and Susano. Not right now at least. With that being said, Thoth is the god most likely going to be cherished in the Mid Lane come DreamHack. Due to his third ability, Glyph of Pain, Thoth has insane clear potential from afar. It may take him a bit to get online, but once he does, he can start clearing the wave and poking the enemy team without being able to hit him back. He’s also very safe with Evade and Punish, which is a solid escape dash though the Glyph of Pain but then can be used as a stun.

What Thoth is really known for is Final Judgement. It is an ult not unlike others, packed with a high amount of damage for things like objective secure. What Final Judgement brings differently, however, is the charge up, and ability to cancel mid charge. It can be used as a fake out or distraction, opening a window, or creating separation from the enemy team. It can also be fired fairly quickly to do things like steal objectives or pick off an enemy god trying to escape.

Support

Photo by http://smite.gamepedia.com

The support role has turned into a place for hybrid gods. Guardians who can play both offensively and defensively. No god is better at that then Fafnir. He has great early wave clear that can also punish an enemy god standing too close to a wave with Cursed Strength. His stun can be used to both set up kills and prevent them. He also has one of the strongest abilities in the game with Coerce. This ability buffs the damage and attack speed of the player it’s used on, allowing hunters to shred towers late game.

This is enhanced with his Ultimate, Dragonic Corruption. When used, it can separate an enemy team in the middle of a team fight, and allow your team to lock down players caught in the wrong position. It adds a stun to his leap, Underhanded Tactics, as well as making his Coerce into an AoE ability, allowing him to buff the whole team. He’s also one of the few support gods that can secure kills on its own.

ADC Role

Photo by http://smite.gamepedia.com

Most hunters can be played currently and are considered viable. Rama, however, stands out from the pack. His damage late game is disgusting, and is boosted by his two steroid abilities, Astral Strike and Pick Me Up. He has insane tower shred and an annoying escape in Rolling Assault, that can be turned into an offensive opportunity if played correctly.

What Rama is truly known for is his Ultimate, Astral Barrage. Rama gains complete immunity while being allowed to snipe players from a good distance away dealing a large amount of damage. SPL players don’t typically struggle with these shots and can play it perfectly as either a finishing move, objective stealer, or even initiator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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SPL Summer Split: North American All Star team

With DreamHack around the corner, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the Summer Split, and the players who deserve to be part of an All Star team.

Solo Lane All Star

This one is tough to choose. We saw strong play out of the Solo lane this split, but the All Star selection comes down to two players. The Short Lane veteran Jarod “CycloneSpin” Nguyen, and the newcomer Alec “fineokay” Fonzo.

Cyclone returned to form this split, posting the highest KDA out of the Solo lane at 3.88, as well as posting the 4th fewest deaths per game out of every player at 1.5. He was a rock for Team Allegiance, and always looked good, even in their losses. If Cyclone can continue this play, ALG will have a good shot at making Worlds.

Even with how well Cyclone played, the rookie fineokay deserves the All Star nod. Joining Spacestation Gaming (SoaR at the time) in the middle of the Spring Split, fineokay has shown he’s not to be treated like a rookie. He finished second in KDA behind Cyclone in the Solo Lane, and just behind him at 1.6 deaths per game. Yes, Cyclone had the better stats, but what doesn’t lie is the record. fineokay helped to propel his new team to a first place finish in North America.

Jungle All Star

The Jungler of choice for the SPL All Star squad is much easier than the Solo Lane. Alexander “Homiefe” D’Souza of Spacestation Gaming was an absolute monster this split. There were discussions whether Suharab “Mask” Askarzada or Homiefe were the top Jungler in the world. That was answered this split, and it’s Homiefe.

Homi boasted a KDA of 5.2, which was a whole 2 points higher than Brooks “Cynosure” Mattey of Trifecta. On top of that, Homiefe finished 2nd in NA with 4.5 kills per game, and 5th with just 1.6 deaths per game. He also participated in 78.2% of Spacestation Gaming’s kills, good for 4th highest in North America.

Photo by Hi-Rez Studios

Mid Lane All Star

Just one split off of his first pro split spent in a new role, who would have thought the best player out of the Mid Lane would have been Andrew “andinster” Woodward? We saw flashes out of the Spring Split whenever Andi would play Ra, but he turned it up during the Summer Split, and showed why he was once considered the best player in the world.

Andi was a Jungler when he was known for being the best, but he has shown that it was more about his skill at Smite then his ability in the Jungle. Andi had the highest KDA in the North American SPL this split at a whopping 5.36 as he carried Spacestation to the top. He also finished second in the league in deaths per game at just 1.3.

Support All Star

The closest race when it comes to All Star in a specific role has to be out of the Supports. Between Connor “Jigz” Echols and Sinjin “Eonic” Thorpe, we had some impressive guardian play.

Jigz captained his newly named Spacestation gaming to first place in North America while posting the highest KDA in his role at 4.62. He led his team by example when it came to deaths per game by leading the league with 1.2. Everyone on Spacestation gaming finished top 5 in that category, and everyone died fewer than 1.7 times per game.

Eonic led the resurgent Trifecta to a strong 10-4 record, good enough for second in North America. He was right behind Jigz in KDA posting a 4.28 stat line. He finished first in the SPL in assists per game with an insane 10.5, as well as third in deaths per game at 1.4. Eonic also participated in 77.2% of his teams kills, good for 6th in the SPL.

ADC All Star

This split saw Steven “Zapman” Zapas step away from the Smite scene. The stage was set for someone to fill his shoes, and Evan “Snoopy” Jones stepped up in a big way. For reference, he played Vulcan ADC and dominated with it, so there’s that.

Snoopy posted a solid 4.76 KDA in the Carry role, as well as leading the league in kills per game at 4.9. He also fell into the group of players that died just 1.6 times per game. Snoopy stepped up for SPL fans in the absence of Zapman, and now he’s got a shot to step up for North America come DreamHack.


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Possible EU season four rosters

We’re back with more potential Rocket League rosters you may see showing up to compete in season four of the Rocket League Championship Series. This time we’ll be focusing on Europe.

There are certainly many potential teams we may see coming up in season four. That being said, this guide is focused on potential teams containing players who competed in season three.

If you missed it, you can check out the predictions for NA rosters here.

RLCS season three contenders

Season four will be the first time Rocket League fans will see auto-qualified teams competing in league play. Where North America has two auto-qualified teams, three teams from Europe earned auto-qualification. Although that means one fewer league play slot for EU, there are some stipulations. One team has already lost their auto-qualification, opening up that slot back up.

Along with the auto-qualified RLCS veterans, there will surely be other teams with season three veterans showing up as well.

Auto-qualification was granted to the top two teams in NA and EU during the regional championships of season three. A fifth auto-qualification spot was up for grabs by the team crowned world champions, assuming they weren’t already auto-qualified.

Since the season three world champions, Northern Gaming, didn’t place in the top two during the regional championships, three teams from EU auto-qualified for season four: Northern Gaming, Flipsid3 Tactics and Mock-It eSports EU.

Northern Gaming/Team EnVyUs

This is another team that has competed in all three seasons of the RLCS. Under the name We Dem Girlz, the initial roster consisted of Remco “Remkoe” den Boer, Nicolai “Maestro” Bang and Marius “gReazymeister” Ranheim. This squad was acquired by Northern Gaming during the first season. They came in third at the season one world championships.

Image courtesy of teamenvyus.com

 

Between season one and two, gReazymeister left Northern Gaming and David “Miztik” Lawrie joined the team. Again, Northern gaming placed third at the season two World Championships.

By season three, David “Deevo” Morrow replaced Miztik as Northern Gaming’s third roster member. Maestro was unable to attend the season three World Championships, and Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver subbed in. The team was finally able to break past third place, becoming the season three World Champions.

Since the end of season three, Remkoe, Maestro and Deevo left Northern Gaming and joined Team EnVyUs. This suggests that there are no plans to change rosters.

Flipsid3 Tactics

 

Flisid3 Tactics left to right: Kuxir97, gReazymeister, Markydooda. Photo courtesy of rocketleague.com

Another veteran team of the RLCS, Flipsid3 Tactics has had only one roster change since season one.

 

The initial Flipsid3 Tactics roster consisted of Mark “Markydooda” Exton, Francesco “Kuxir97” Cinquemani and Michael “M1k3Rules” Costello. After season one, M1k3Rules left Flipsid3 Tactics to take a break from competitive Rocket League and gReazymeister joined the roster, making up the current roster.

This roster was crowned season two world champions and placed in the fifth-sixth during the season three world champions.

Since season three of the RLCS, Flipsid3 Tactics took first place at DreamHack Summer 2017 in Sweden and doesn’t appear to be planning any roster changes.

Mock-It EU

While the Mock-It organization has been a part of all three seasons of the RLCS, they have had drastically different rosters each season. Season three’s roster consisted of all new players from the previous seasons, including Miztik, Courant “Kaydop” Aledandre and Victor “Fairy Peak” Locquet.

Despite placing first in the season three regional championships and second at the season three World Championships, it appears that Mock-It will be the only team to lose their auto-qualification for season four. Kaydop left Mock-It to join Gale Force eSports, alongside Turbopolsa and Jos “ViolentPanda” van Meurs.

While it is uncertain what team Miztik will be playing for, if any, he is no longer a part of the Mock-It roster. The new roster consists of Fairy Peak, Philip “paschy90” Paschmeyer and Sandro “FreaKii” Holzwarth.

Xedec Nation/Cow Nose

Originally qualifying under the organization Xedec Nation, this team quickly left to reform their Cow Nose. In a Twitlonger, the Xedec Nation manager of the team explained the reason for their departure.

The roster consisted of Niels “Nielskoek” Kok, Hampus “Zensuz” Öberg and Danny “DanzhizzLe” Smol. As of now, it appears that Nielskoek and Zensuz will remain on team Cow Nose. DanzhizzLe, on the other hand, announced his departure from Cow Nose with a Twitlonger shortly after the run at season three of the RLCS came to an end.

The Cow Nose Twitter account lists the team members as “@NielskoekRL, @ZensuzRL and …” suggesting they haven’t locked down a third roster member. As for DanzhizzLe, it seems he has not made any announcements about a future team.

Pocket Aces/Gale Force eSports

Pocket Aces showed up to season three of the RLCS with a strong roster. The team consisted of paschy90, ViolentPanda and Thibault “Chausette45” Grzesiak. During the season they were acquired by Gale Force.

As mentioned above, Mock-It and Gale Force have done a bit of player shuffling since the end of season three. Kaydop left Mock-It, despite having auto-qualification to team up with ViolentPanda on Gale Force. Gale Force later announced the addition of Turbopolsa as their third. On the other hand, paschy90 moved from Gale Force to Mock-It to team up with Fairy Peak and FreaKii. Chausette45’s Twitter name is currently “Chausette45 LFT,” or looking for team.

The Leftovers

The Leftovers left to right: Sikii, Ferra, Snaski. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv

As their name implies, The Leftovers teamed up at the last minute because they weren’t on teams already. Despite that fact, they went on to take third in regionals and fourth at the world championships.

The Leftovers main roster consists of Nicolai “Snaski” Vistesen Andersen, Alexander “Sikii” Karelin and Victor “Ferra” Francal. So far, it does not appear that The Leftovers will be making roster changes.

PENTA Sports

Although PENTA placed 10 in qualifiers, falling short of league play by two slots, they made it to league play on a technicality. The team consisted of FreaKii, Kasper “Pwndx” Nielsen and Danilo “Killerno7”  Silletta.

Initially, ZentoX secured eighth league play slot, however they were disqualified due to Amine “Itachi” Benayachi’s ineligibility. PENTA went on to win a round-robin tournament in order to secure that spot.

After FreaKii made the move to Mock-It, Killerno7 and Pwndx decided to disband. Both Pwndx and Killerno7‘s Twitter accounts list them as looking for a team.

Secrecy/Resonant Esports

Beginning as Secrecy, they were picked up by Resonant during season three. The roster consists of Otto “Metsanauris” Kaipiainen, Joonas “Mognus” Salo and Linus “al0t” Möllegren.

While the roster hasn’t changed, the team name has. After season three they left Resonant and created Element. Shortly after, Element was acquired by Method.

Moving forward

There seems to be some more certainty with potential EU rosters compared to NA ones. There are some players who are LFT, such as Killerno7, Pwndx and Chausette45. That being said, there quite a few rosters which seem to be locked down already.

What other teams do you expect to see in season four of the RLCS? Drop a comment below and let us know.

Tentative/Potential season four teams (with season three contenders)

  • EnVyUs: Remkoe, Maestro, Deevo
  • Flipsid3 Tactics: Kuxir97, Markydooda, gReazymeister
  • Gale Force: ViolentPanda, Kaydop, Turbopolsa
  • The Leftovers: Snaski, Sikii, Ferra
  • Method: Metsanauris, Mognus, al0t
  • Mock-It: Fairy Peak, paschy90, FreaKii

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