Thoughts on the New EG

Earlier this week, Evil Geniuses announced a flurry of team changes. Brett “Naded” Leonard and coach Ryan “Towey” Towey both retired. The Greatest of All Time, Tom “OGRE 2″ Ryan became the new coach. However, EG still needed a player to replace Naded. They turned to Josbe “Tapping Buttons” Valadez.

Evil Geniuses’ Revamp

Many questioned EG’s decision to take Tapping Buttons over other, more well-known NA free agents. However, the young,

Courtesy of Josbe Valdez.

Mexican phenom has already made some large strides and big impressions. OGRE 2 has often personally praised Tapping Buttons and even teamed with him during the 2017 Halo World Championships. He has become notorious in the Latin American scene for having near-perfect accuracy, with some players and fans poking fun at it and suggesting that he uses a keyboard instead of a controller. Josbe has also proven that he deserves the praise he receives as well.

Tapping reached the international stage during the 2017 HWC season. His squad attended the Gfinity Mexico City event without participating in the preceding online qualifiers. Once there, Josbe’s squad, Shock the World, upset all of the top seeded teams at the event despite forming soon before. In the Grand Finals, Shock the World defeated Synergy Gaming 4-2 to secure their place at the HWC 2017 Finals, despite being the 18th seed. Unfortunately, due to visa issues, Tapping Buttons was unable to attend and was replaced by Gilbert “MuNoZ” Muñoz for the end of the season.

The Solution?

The God Squad. Image by Ryan Towey.

It’s no secret that EG has been struggling since Tony “LethuL” Campbell left to join the OpTic Gaming roster. The twins Jason “Lunchbox” and Justin “Roy” Brown have been through several team iterations in an attempt to regain their spot at the top of the HCS, but to no success. Michael “Falcated” Garcia, despite having a bad event at Daytona has shown potential on this squad. However, with the loss of Naded, EG has lost both slaying power as well as some objective aggression.

Tapping Buttons has shown that he is more than capable of making up for the lost slaying power, perhaps even surpassing Naded’s contribution in this field. However, more pressure will be put on Lunchbox for objective modes and another player may have to step up in order to make up for this.

Despite being just a coach, Towey carried a large impact for the Brown twins, being their coach consistently since 2010. This built-up chemistry is not easily replaced. Despite this, OGRE 2 may be the perfect alternative, as he teamed with the twins previously and has a good relationship with them.

Their difference in coaching styles may serve to benefit EG even more. Towey was often very active as a coach, making frequent play calls and call-outs for the team. While this worked in slower games like Halo 3 and Halo: Reach, Halo 5’s faster pace caused problems. Towey’s enthusiasm and activity crowded up the communications, leading to disarray. OGRE 2 takes a different approach. He only calls out spawn timers and critical game calls. This leads to communication being less crowded, with OGRE 2 often driving his team to make smart, crucial game decisions as in where to push and when. Through the last few nights of scrims, the team also seems to react much better to Tom’s coaching then Towey’s.

Looking Forward

Speaking of scrims, EG has done surprisingly well since picking up Tapping Buttons. Their first scrim was against

Tapping Buttons during an interview. Image by Gamelta.

Luminosity Gaming, and it ended with an 8-5 LG victory. Despite this, several of EG’s losses were close while some of their wins were dominant. Their second scrim was against the Daytona Champions, Team EnVyUs. The scrim ended with an 11-2 nV victory.

Despite the ending score, it should be taken with a grain of salt. Five of EG’s losses are what is referred to as “coin-toss” situations. These are instances in which the outcome of an encounter is 50/50. It just so happens that many of these situations fell in the favor of nV. As OGRE 2 stated at the end of the scrim, EG also choked a couple of games. This squad has can perform and if they put in the time, they can improve to likely hovering just outside of the top four.

What do you think of EG’s new squad? Will they be able to keep their spot, improve or will they be relegated at DreamHack Atlanta? Let me know!

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 @RattPackFrosty!

I’d like to personally thank both Naded and Towey and wish them the best. Naded is a community legend and very obviously is still an able competitor. Towey was a huge part of the reason I began competing myself, as the Instinct squad he coached were what finally pushed me to attend an event. I hope you both accomplish any and all goals you have outside of Halo!

Header image by Record.com

Plup Takes Home Largest Career Win at Runback 2017

 

Justin “Plup” McGrath fought his way to a victory at Runback in Mesa, Arizona. The win over Weston “Westballz” Dennis in Grand Finals secured Plup’s largest career tournament win.

In fact, it’s his first win at a tournament with over 200 entrants and Runback featured four of the top 10 players, so it was no cakewalk. He ended the day with two set wins over Westballz and a 3-0 to James “Duck” Ma in winners semi’s

For Plup, it’s been a strong year with consistent 5th place finishes, but he’s still looking to get over the hump. A win at Runback, even with none of the top five in attendance, instilled confidence that he’s a level above the players eyeing his spot in the rankings. If he can figure out players like Juan “Hungrybox” DeBiedma, he has the potential to win majors.

On a day where the raucous Arizona crowd was going off, Plup was calm and composed. It doesn’t matter who he’s playing or the stage he’s on, his demeanor is always the same. Even when Westballz had Plup against the ropes on game five, his approach didn’t change and he ends up winning the tournament on a ridiculous combo.

Westballz vs SFAT. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/SAKGamingTV

The return of Westbawz

The other main story out of Runback was the return of the cocky Westballz. After a lackluster start to 2017, Westballz seemed to get his mojo back this weekend with the second place finish. It was good to see the defense first, punish heavy Westballz this weekend.

Also, the fact that Westballz beat Zac “SFAT” Cordoni in two separate sets on Sunday sparked some flames. As one of the most heated Smash rivalries in Melee, Westballz has historically had SFAT’s number (9-4 lifetime) and Runback was no different. He ends the two game losing streak with an emphatic victory at Runback.

In the end, he gave Plup a run in grand finals but got edged out in last stock scenarios. It’s his highest finish in 2017 and could be a confidence booster heading into the summer.

Top 8

1. Panda Global Plup (Sheik)

2. G2 Westballz (Falco)

3. CLG SFAT (Fox)

4. Phoenixl1 | Duck (Samus)

5. MedZ (Marth, Fox, Falco)

5. Tempo Storm Axe (Pikachu)

7. Bladewise (Peach)

7. EngGameTV Syrox (Fox)

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HCS Last Chance Qualifier Preview

With HCS Daytona wrapped up and OpTic losing for the first time since Fall Finals, the Halo community is now looking forward to the Pro League. However, one spot still remains in the league and there’s more than a few teams in the running to snatch it. Let’s take a look at the three most notable contenders that will be competing this weekend in the Last Chance Qualifier.

 

ERA Eternity

Roster: Hamza “Commonly” Abbaali, Ezekiel “Prototype” Martinez, Hunter “BabyJ” Schline, Dillon “Randa” Randa

BabyJ celebrating a victory. Image by Halo Esports Wiki.

Commonly was a player that most of the community assumed would end up on a team with a Pro seed. Instead, he ended up teaming with Prototype, BabyJ and Randa. Prototype has been an excellent main slayer since the days of Halo: Reach and continues to lay down consistent damage. BabyJ, on the other hand, has risen through the ranks since the release of Halo 5. These two players together challenged multiple pro teams such as EG and Splyce as Team Cryptik last season. This season, they’re joined by Commonly. Commonly is often seen as one of the best objective players in the league and continues his role on this squad. He always aggressively pushes flags and strongholds, forcing enemies to return to their base in order to force Commonly out.

At Daytona, ERa finished 9th-12th. Meeting EG in the first round of the Champ Bracket, ERa fell 3-1. This is reason for worry, as EG are likely only a top 8 team. Dropping to the loser’s bracket, ERa was knocked out by Str8 with a crushing 3-0 defeat. Again, Str8 is only a top 6 team, so ERa’s chances against the other two squads on this list are not particularly good. They’ll have to pull together and have a miracle run to take the Last Chance Qualifier.

 

Oxygen Supremacy

Nemassist played extremely well at Daytona. Can he keep it up? Image by Kyle Kubina.

Roster:  Ryan “RyaNoob” Geddes, Troy “DasTroyed” Dusman, Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski, Kyle “Nemassist” Kubina

Yet again, RyaNoob returns to cause chaos among pro and amateur teams alike. With DasTroyed, Nemassist and ContrA going huge in the slaying department, RyaNoob is left to make his crazy objective-oriented plays. The other most notable player on this squad is ContrA. Formerly of EG, ContrA also gave up a guaranteed Pro League spot in order to compete with this squad.

OS also competed at Daytona and after fighting through the open bracket was still able to go home with a top 6 finish. The first round in the Champ Bracket saw OS go head-to-head with Luminosity Gaming. In a move that shocked many, Luminosity lost 3-0 and was swept into the loser’s bracket. Meanwhile, OS went on to challenge Str8. Str8 also fell to the lower bracket with a 3-1 loss and later finished 5th/6th. Oxygen Supremacy went on to face Team EnVyUs, the squad that ended up winning Daytona. In a thrilling series, OS was defeated 2-3.

For being a squad for such a short amount of time, this was a huge accomplishment. Once in the loser’s bracket, OS seemed to run out of gas and fell 0-3 to Splyce. If Oxygen Supremacy can work on their endurance, they are the only likely squad that can challenge the next roster on the list for the final Pro League spot.

 

Splyce

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

Renegade may have been the key to this squad finally pushing into the top 4. Image by Splyce.

Castro

To nobody’s surprise, Splyce is the most likely candidate to win the Last Chance Qualifier. Renegade and Shotzzy have proven themselves as two of the deadliest snipers in Halo 5. The slaying numbers that they can put up if they both have good games is jaw-dropping. Both bubu dubu and Shooter have also shown that they are no slouches in the slaying department either. However, both also are consistently making smart support and objective plays, despite Shooter specifically making some questionable decisions every now and then.

At Daytona, Splyce proved that picking up Renegade was the right call. Their overwhelming slaying ability and individual play led them to a top 4 finish. Splyce fell to the loser’s bracket early with a 2-3 loss at the hands of Liquid, although the series was very close. Splyce had managed to beat Liquid in the groups stage, however. Once in the loser’s bracket, Splyce managed to send both Luminosity and Oxygen Supremacy home with decisive victories. In the LB semi-final, Splyce was within inches of defeated Liquid and making it into the top 3, but fell short in the end. They lost the series in game 7, 3-4. With Renegade still a new member of the squad, more time together will only benefit them. They are the most likely to take the Last Chance Qualifier, with their only apparent challenge coming from Oxygen Supremacy.

Who do you think will take the final Pro League spot? Is there another team outside of these three that are realistically in the running? Let me know!

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 @RattPackFrosty!

Header image by Splyce.

WaWa’s Bootcamp: How two friends created Overwatch’s greatest coaching resource

I had the pleasure to sit down with the two founding members of WaWa’s Bootcamp, the fast growing free coaching center on Discord, and get inside their thoughts on the success of their coaching methods and Overwatch’s esports scene in general. We talked about how WaWa’s Bootcamp started, their goals for the community, and some pretty exciting details about Wawa’s Boot Camp Amateur Rising Tournament.

WaWa’s Bootcamp: the Story so Far

I remember how I first came across WaWa’s Bootcamp. My friend sent me a message late at night, which I got in the morning, saying he was super excited because he got invited to a coaching community on Discord. I was immediately intrigued.

I wouldn’t say I’m the most competitive player out there, but self improvement is always my goal. I joined and saw the community completely explode over the span of a few weeks. I wasn’t surprised, to say the least. Free coaching, done through an intuitive model like Discord, with some amazing coaches? It was the perfect storm.

WaWa, founder of WaWa’s Bootcamp, practicing for his second big idea: WaWa’s Doggy Overwatch Bootcamp.

So what brought about WaWa’s Bootcamp? WaWa said it all started among a group of friends. WaWa said he’s naturally a competitive gamer, and when he and CreamPuff (his partner at WaWa’s Bootcamp) started Overwatch, WaWa said, “As we were playing I said, ‘Hey, I really want to get really good at this game. I want to get better.'” From this grew a small, phone based community app of close friends and others they met in Overwatch who wanted to improve themselves too. By working together with others and taking constructive criticism, they rose through the ranks. Wawa’s Bootcamp was officially born.

“By using that structure… let’s give back to the community by helping those who aren’t able to access the resources or don’t know exactly what it takes to get to the level we’re at [Grand Master],” WaWa said.

Most big projects begin with a strong belief in something. For WaWa and Creampuff, it was, “That everyone has the potential to reach at least GMs, all it takes is the appropriate game knowledge, education and sort of someone to mold your path out for you.”

It was with that in mind that WaWa’s Bootcamp began, hoping to connect potential players looking to improve themselves with the right resources to improve their play. From posting VODs of your own play, getting coaches to review those VODs, or just finding yourself a team to play with, WaWa’s has created the atmosphere and environment for players to better themselves. It also gave regular Joes access to some of the best coaches in the scene.

Behind the Scenes

But what is it that WaWa and Creampuff do at WaWa’s Bootcamp, exactly? Well, their roles, like many early projects, are not clear cut. As I was interviewing the two WaWa noted that they had just hit their 1600th member, estimating that when I had joined a month ago they were at 700 members. To hold down such a growing community, the two stick (largely) to two kinds of roles: WaWa manages relations with coaches and pros, the kind of communication with outside members to draw them in. Creampuff, on the other hand, handles much of the ‘internal workings’ of the server.

 

Creampuff, co-founder of WaWa’s Bootcamp, is definitely the professional of the duo.

“We have a system where we work together to handle the internal and external part of the community,” Creampuff said.

 

Of course, in a busy start-up community roles often bleed into each other. Both WaWa and Creampuff have filled in for each other multiple times.

“It’s more like we help each other out, there’s no specific exact roles that we do. It’s just a matter of making sure we keep this community active and engaging with the students.”

As the project grew, so did the staff. In the early stages of WaWa’s Bootcamp, the two were running off two hours of sleep a night. By the second week, they had upgraded to five hours of sleep at most.

While running and maintaining a Discord server may sound easy enough, WaWa’s Bootcamp was more than just a Discord server, but a whole structured community in the making for coaches and students. More staff, they noted, were needed to make it “more sustainable.”

The Community Itself

What are the hopes of WaWa and Creampuff for WaWa’s Bootcamp? ”

“We sort of want to become the central hub for people to access information on how to get better in a free manner,” they explained

While pros and pro coaches are not necessarily always available, the duo believes that the fundamentals should be available to everyone.

“Sort of like how school is free at an elementary level, we believe that the basics of Overwatch and the foundation should be free to the public.”

Given Overwatch’s complexity and depth, it makes sense that some of the fundamentals aren’t self-evident.

The way going forward though? A central website. While a Discord server has its obvious benefits, like easy access to voice communications and a chat for almost any subject related to WaWa’s Bootcamp activities or Overwatch in general, it has its drawbacks. Finding content, like instructional videos and guides, can be difficult to maintain.

“Overall our next step is to work on a website, and from that point on we wanna to see how much we can grow and think more of what we can expand on to make ourselves accessible to pretty much everyone in the Overwatch Community.”

Anyone in the server will notice the long list (92 and counting as I write this article) of pro players on the server, from teams like CLG to Immortals, EnVyUs to Evil Geniuses. I asked the two what the response has been like from professionals within the scene?

In short? Great, but in an indirect way. The two noted that, before fans got too excited, the majority of the pros on the server felt they could not commit enough time to their students with their current busy schedules. WaWa wagered that roughly 20% of the pros he’s contacted were able to coach students, while the remainder found themselves too preoccupied currently with their pro player lives. But, while, “The rest are too busy at the moment… they want to stay so when they have more free time they can actively help more.”

The pros also expressed their interest in taking part in future tournaments and events with WaWa’s Bootcamp, another reason to lurk around the server. The pros that were interested in offering coaching also felt that their students warranted strong dedication and for them to be offering their best to their students, a key reason for some to decline to offer their coaching for now. They felt it would be unfair to their students to not give them a certain amount of hours (some even listing an exact number.) ” I’m really glad that that was the response for why they weren’t able to take part in the tournament. Because it’s just considerate towards the students, and I’m really glad that they had the students in mind above anyone else.”

 

Wawa’s Boot Camp Amateur Rising Tournament: Showcasing the Talent of the Coaches

With the central focus of the community being on coaching and improving players, it’s no surprise that the first tournament from WaWa’s Bootcamp was focused on showcasing the coaching muscle of some of their star coaches.

Creampuff brought up that the inspiration behind the tournament came from the fact that in the scene “right now coaches are brought onto teams as their 7th player to ring, or to kind of hold their place, instead of going in as actual coaches for specifically coaching”. To change that, and show just how much coaches can improve players, they decided to start the Wawa’s Boot Camp Amateur Rising Tournament.

For WaWa, coaches play a very important role “because ultimately I do believe the education aspect of gaming plays a huge part in the improvement of players. Ultimately getting the pros better than they are currently”.

An example of Danny “Atomicgoofball” Nguyen work for Niles Paul of the Washington Redskins. Imagine this, but with Reinhardt charging, or crisp Pharah blue and gold…

Eight coaches were selected, and each given a team of players ranging between Platinum and Diamond to coach over a three week period. After the three week period the tournament begins in earnest, and the teams are pitted against each other to see which coach was able to mold their team into champions.

“You can think of this like the ultimate fighter challenge of Overwatch.”

For those interested in the process of coaching, there’ll be an extra bit of a treat: “We’ll be recording through the videos and their voice channels of what they do and the methods they take to help improve the performance of their students.”

The grand prize for the winning coach? Nothing less than a custom pair of shoes from renowned sneaker artist Danny “Atomicgoofball” Nguyen, an artist who’s current clients include M. Night Shyamalan among many other high fliers, featuring their favourite hero or the hero they main, whichever they’d prefer.

 

The Overwatch Esports Scene

Overwatch as an esport has been all the buzz since its release, coupled with its constant status at the top of PC Bars in Korea many have signaled a bright future for the title. I asked the duo their thoughts on Overwatch’s competitive scene as it is and their hopes and hesitations with the Overwatch League.

WaWa thinks that the scene isn’t done justice currently in either department of the attention and coverage it garners.

“One thing’s for sure, my personal belief is that Overwatch competitive scene doesn’t have the attention that it deserves. Compared to other games like CSGO and League of Legends, I would like the pro scene to have a little more attention from the public,” he said.

Not just public attention, but WaWa also noted the slow start for some bigger organization to dip their toes into the scene. The mystery of Overwatch League’s exact details, mixed with the ups and downs of an esports early stages, the hectic nature of Overwatch have been aspects contributing to the relatively slow growth of the investment side of the scene.

For Creampuff, he sang a more optimistic tune about the state of the scene. Drawing likeness to CS:GO’s explosion, Creampuff is hoping that Overwatch League will help the scene explode too.

“It’s relatively small but it is growing. What I’m hoping for is for it to take off like CSGO. CS was always kind of big, but a lot of companies weren’t really invested, but now it’s growing like crazy, with bigger companies going in,” he explained.

While CS was always a force within esports, CS:GO brought the FPS into the limelight of esports and easily a top contender for viewership at any tournament. While Overwatch doesn’t have the history that CS had behind it, it does have the hype around a bold new approach to esports leagues, one that hopefully will become more concrete in coming months.

The two also felt that recent ventures by non-endemic groups into the scene is a sign the times are changing for the better. Creampuff noted recent expressed interest in Overwatch League by the New England Patriots.

For WaWa, “I think it’s awesome that sports teams are taking an active role in the esports scene because it’s starting to mean people are taking esports a little more seirously.”

While traditional sports and non-endemic sponsorships have been on the rise in recent months within the esports sphere, esports has also seen increased public awareness.

WaWa brought up his first experience seeing esports on TV. “When I first went to Buffalo Wild Wings and started seeing esports games on TV, it was like [a] mind blown moment.”

Overwatch League: The Ups and Down for the Scene

If you hadn’t heard enough speculations, commentary, or opinions from pundits on the upcoming, mysterious Overwatch League, well… I don’t know what rock you’ve been hiding under. From rumours of prices to bid into the franchised league, to teams dropping their rosters in fears they can’t match these prices, it’s been a buzz in the esports media field in the past few weeks. So I decided to ask the two their thoughts on the Overwatch League that’s already made ripples thoroughout the esports scene before even really… concretely… being much.

Photo: Overwatchleague.com

For WaWa, there’s only two ways the Overwatch League will go: “I think it’s either going to be a huge hit that changes and revolutionizes esports across all games, or it’s just going to be really painful. I can’t see an in between.”

With the steep rumored price tag of slots in the league and the relative radio silence on some key details, WaWa also feels this points to the reason for many orgs to drop their current Overwatch rosters. Staple names like compLexity and Splyce recently dropped rosters, with Denial esports and just this week the announcement that Dignitas also dropped their roster.

Another possible reason for the recent exodus of medium sized esports organizations leaving the scene? Real sports teams investing into the esports scene.

“I think that’s probably why smaller tier gaming organizations are starting to feel a little threatened and wanting to back out while they can. In a war of attrition there’s no way they could win, they don’t have the backings or the finances in order to keep up.” While many look to traditional sports teams investing into the scene as only a positive, WaWa noted the kind of bittersweet nature of the move, saying, “I think it’s sad because you see organizations like compLexity all the time in different games, but they’re leaving one of the more rising popular games.”

Closing Statements

As our interview came to a close, I asked the duo for any final comments. WaWa highlighted how amazing it has been for himself watching the coach/student interactions.

“Everyone involved has knowledge that we spent hours and days and days of trying to retain so that we can reach the ranks that we are now, in terms of our coaches and pros. If feels good, it’s as much fun for the coaches as it is the students. You finally have somewhere to dump it all, it’s not just in your head, you can pass it on. I think it’s really nice seeing how our students look up to the pros and coaches and how the coaches enjoy communicating with the students, it’s just really nice to witness and students,” WaWa explained.

For Creampuff, it’s been the shear growth that WaWa’s Bootcamp has seen.

“It’s been a very interesting growth period for us. It’s crazy seeing all the students come in, and then the coaches, and then the pros, and then all the coaches fanboying over the pros coming in. The pros have been really good about it too, interacting, keeping in touch with us. It’s really crazy right now. Our main goal is to provide free coaching to anyone willing to learn. It’s crazy how that small idea became what it is right now. I’m very happy for where we’re at right now,” he said.


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Changing the Integrity of Competitive Call of Duty

Popular Counter-Strike content creator and analyst Mohan “Launders” Govindasamy recently stated that having a dominant team speaks to the integrity of the game. This set my cogs in motion and I began to wonder if this theory can be applied to the various titles in Call of Duty and how it can be used to improve our upcoming game, WWII.

Apply

Starting with everybody’s favorite: Black Ops 2. The title is hailed as the most balanced and competitive in Call of Duty history. Throughout its reign, we saw two dominant teams, which were Impact and compLexity. The former was undoubtedly the best team in the beginning of the game. They won the first five tournaments they attended, including the prestigious World Championship. The roster consisting of Christopher “Parasite” Durate, Adam “Killa” Sloss, Marcus “MiRx” Carter and Damon “Karma” Barlow were an innovative team who utilized much of the available weaponry to effectively play the map pool. This factor, combined with Parasite’s rotational knowledge and ability to anchor, guided them to many championship wins.

However, the art would later be perfected by compLexity. They built on that rotational knowledge and abused it with brutal aggression, suffocating whoever happened to be the opposition. Any one of Patrick “ACHES” Price, Ian “Crimsix” Porter, James “Clayster” Eubanks or Tyler “TeePee” Polchow could take over when needed, which was the key to their success. Following the World Championship, this team would go on to win seven LAN events with one second place finish.

Fariko Impact won the Call of Duty World Championship in 2013. [Source: Gamespot]

Compare

In Black Ops 2 there were four teams that won premier LAN events. In Ghosts, there were eight. This speaks volumes about the differences between the games and their competitiveness as a whole. While Black Ops 2 played host to Hardpoint, Search and Capture the Flag, Ghosts fielded Domination, Search and Blitz.

Hardpoint and CTF allow for more rotational play, spawn manipulation and synergy to effectively pull of these plays is much higher. My issue with Ghosts is that both Domination and Blitz required little to no rotational play. Teams could be punished too hard through losing the initial trades which resulted in one team being spawn trapped. The beauty of Hardpoint is that it gives the better team a chance to reset.

The weaponry was another difference. Black Ops 2 gave players the most diverse weapon choices we’ve seen with multiple assault rifles and sub-machine guns having their uses in particular instances. During the Ghosts era, the leading weapons were either the MTAR-X or Vector as they could be used effectively at any range. This is similar to one of the issues in CS:GO. Launders, is concerned that one of the weapons is lightweight and deadly at all ranges, leading to its abuse in competitive play.

There were eight premier LAN winners in CoD Ghosts. Team EnvyUs netted a win at the Copperbox Arena in London [Source: Redbull]

Contrast

Comparing past games to our current title, Infinite Warfare, we have had three different team winners in four premier events: Rise Nation, eUnited and OpTic Gaming (who have won two). Our current game modes are Hardpoint, Search and Uplink. Hardpoint, making its comeback after Ghosts, was obviously a big bonus with the following titles supporting the game mode well, up until Infinite Warfare, where the maps let the game mode down drastically.

The number of wall runs add a random element to certain gunfights and hill control. Scorch and Breakout spring to mind, some of the hills are in questionable places on these maps. In spite of that, I have to say that generally, the better team wins on Hardpoint, even taking those elements into consideration.

The other game mode, Uplink, is the biggest problem for me. Although it is popular with the fans due to its ability to produce entertaining games, it has become a brute force game type. One team scores points when they kill the entirety of the enemy team with very little tactical play. The passing element is a way that this could be improved. By reducing the movement speed of the drone carrier it would force players to have to pass the drone. It would make the game even more enjoyable to watch and would add tactical depth as teams could develop ways to effectively deliver the drone around the map.

The map pool in Infinite Warfare is lackluster in comparison to previous titles.

Weaponry in Infinite Warfare is also a problem, despite the recent increased usage of the ERAD, initially, players were restricted to either the KBAR or the NV4. The high fire rate and accuracy of the KBAR made it worthless to even attempt to use a sub-machine gun. Furthermore, the majority of maps in the map pool have very few close quarter gun fights, making the assault rifle the weapon of choice.

And when talking about integrity, we must also consider payloads. Active Camo, in particular, has no exploitable weaknesses. If one team can earn two camos in a game they are likely to win it. In this regard, we should just be glad that we don’t have multiple payloads with this type of game-changing ability.

Conclusion

For WWII to be the most competitive game in the Call of Duty series, I would like the game modes to be Hardpoint, Search and Capture the Flag. Until something better is released, these are definitely the best three available. Boots on the ground is also a better platform for these game modes, in that Hardpoint rotations take longer, therefore, making more decisive rotations important.

If there is a chance that some form of Uplink is added to the game due to its popularity, I could see this working in boots on the ground by throwing the drone into the portal, but it is a bit farfetched considering the era the game is set in.

The maps are one of the most crucial aspects since they also affect the effectiveness of the weaponry. Sticking to the three lane formula is a good start. Since Black Ops 2 our best maps have been built on this. For example, Standoff, Raid, Sovereign, Fringe and Detroit, to name a few.

I’m not sure what we could expect if payloads were to be added but I believe the best way to produce useful, competitive payloads is to make each one counter another, therefore meaning they all have value. I am hopeful about the next Call of Duty and maybe it is time for Activision’s redemption with competitive fans.


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The hardships of being a Counter-Strike professional

For the average viewer, it might be difficult to comprehend the struggles being a professional gamer might bring. After all, in their eyes, they make hundreds of thousands of dollars playing their favorite video game, but there’s more to it than that.

Time is Money

In traditional sports, such as football, at the amateur level teams may train once or twice a week for an hour. Players only begin dedicating huge hours to their craft after they have already begun earning a stable income. It is estimated that English winger Raheem Sterling now of Manchester City was earning around £30,000 a year as a seventeen year old. Now obviously this is a player who showed and has now displayed his great potential. However, even young players playing in the 2nd and 3rd tiers of English football will be living comfortably from their wage packets.

This is a far cry from the amount of time spent by even budding esports players. Looking at the masters league in Faceit’s pick-up game service, two tiers below the professional level, the top three players had committed 114.1, 107.3 and 89.6 hours in the past two weeks on Steam. A heck of a lot more than any semi-pro football teams will be playing. This is a large chunk of time to commit without reaping any immediately justifiable reward.

The fact that any player wanting to reach professional status has to dedicate this sort of time speaks volumes about the exclusivity of such a career. More often than not, players have to give up trying quite early because there comes a time where people have to think about the future and creating a comfortable life. Jarosław “pashaBiceps” Jarząbkowski is a player who in the past has been open about his struggles in the beginning of Global Offensive. Watching his player profile below gives some insight into his life and how it all started for him.

Variations of Practice

Another strain on professional players is that to stay at the top level they not only have to spend time practicing with their team but also play alone to hone their basic in-game mechanics. It is true that after playing for many years the various weapon sprays, crosshair placement and movements become muscle memory but it only takes a few days of not playing for it to significantly drop off. While the start of the spray might still be deadly, your muscles will begin to less effectively execute the last ten bullets or so. You will get fewer headshots since your wrist hasn’t been actively making the flick movement for days.

On top of that, many leaders and coaches will expect their players to leave practice and do their revision. That might be to practice smoke grenades or study their own demos to perfect play. Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz at the ELEAGUE Major talked about studying his own heat maps so as to not become predictable to opposing teams.

Studying heat maps is going the extra mile of course, but players still spend anywhere between around 2-6 hours a day perfecting their in-game mechanics and most likely a further 6 hours practicing team strategy with the possibility of official matches after that. These players can spend up to sixteen hours a day playing Counter-Strike. If everyone else is going the extra mile, it’s something a top competitor can’t afford not to do.

Device was vocal about studying his own heat maps at the ELEAGUE Major. [Source: Dreamhack]

Home or Away

Time leads onto another aspect of professional Counter-Strike which is the traveling. One of the beautiful yet challenging elements is that tournaments are conducted all over the world. From Sydney to Stockholm to Dubai and back again. Currently, we have the most over saturated pro circuit within esports with our players traveling to approximately three LAN tournaments a month.

This is one of the reasons why I rate Counter-Strike players more highly than many other esports players. In League of Legends, all five players live in the same house and can articulate a consistent schedule as the matches are in the same place at the same time every week. Spending so much time on the road can only add to the mental fatigue Counter-Strike players experience through repeated high-level competition, the amount of time practicing amongst missing home.

A huge talking point this year is the conflicting schedule between ESL One Cologne and the PGL Major. [Source: ESL]

Witch Hunts

Being a professional sportsman undoubtedly makes you susceptible to much hate from opposing fans or your own if the team is underperforming. In football, this may be in the newspapers or on Twitter. However, the difference between footballers and esports players is that most footballers are not consistently active on Twitter. Therefore, don’t have enough time to read all of the messages or are busy traveling to read the newspaper. The difference in esports is that they work over the internet so all mediums used to criticize or hate on players is in a place where they are going to see it. Whether that be on Twitter, Reddit or in-game.

A recent story that came to light is that of Mikail “Maikelele” Bill, who was once playing in a major final to now failing to qualify for tier two LAN events. Of course, Maikelele himself will likely admit that his own form has declined in that time. Although, it wasn’t entirely his fault, for example, losing his spot on the Ninjas in Pyjamas despite playing consistently well.

Many esports communities are too ready to unjustifiably disrespect pro players. These people without proof or little insight take to forums to insult people who they were the biggest fan of yesterday. It must be a hard pill to swallow when these players who are driven by competition and winning for the fans, can’t garner their respect when they go through a rough period.

To conclude, next time your team is going through a rough patch consider some of these factors and take it easy, they’ll come back.

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Frostbite’s HCS Daytona Predictions

The Summer Season Opener, HCS Daytona, starts today! This open event will see the best teams in North America compete for their share of $75,000. We’ve already taken a look at some of the roster changes during the off-season, now let’s take a look at some predictions for this weekend!

 

Outside of the Top 8: Evil geniuses and Ronin Esports

Evil Geniuses Roster: Jason “Lunchbox” Brown, Justin “Roy” Brown, Brett “Naded” Leonard, Michael “Falcated” Garcia

Ronin Esports Roster: Carlos “Cratos” Ayala, Cory “Str8 SicK” Sloss, Tyler “Spartan” Ganza and Ayden “Suspector” Hill

EG has not been able to find their groove since HWC 2016. After not making HWC 2017, many expected a team change. They were met with Naded and Falcated joining the Brown twins. Both provide a nice boost to the squad’s slaying power. This squad will likely be more successful over the season than their previous roster, but this squad has apparently not been practicing recently. They have been scrimmaging inconsistently over the past few weeks and appear to be one of the most un-practiced squads going into Daytona. This roster has the potential to make top 6 and do well over the course of the season, especially with the new settings, but their lack of practice will hurt them this weekend.

Ronin Esports, formerly Crowd Pleasers, have not necessarily improved or worsened. They have gained any slaying power that was lost during the roster changes. However, their issue remains; several of the players are too emotional. One loss could knock down the confidence of the roster and send them in a downward spiral. Spartan is a prime example of this. However, if this squad can keep their composure and not tilt too easily, they can break into the top 8. However, their chances of reaching top 6 are doubtful.

 

7th – 8th: Oxygen Supremacy

Roster: Ryan “RyaNoob” Geddes, Troy “DasTroyed” Dusman, Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski and Kyle “Nemassist” Kubina

RyaNoob during his time on ALG. Image by Halo Esports Wiki

Oxygen Supremacy is one of several new organizations that have joined the HCS over the off-season. Their new roster has a few players who are yet to reach top 8, and Daytona will be their best opportunity yet. RyaNoob brings proven leadership and intelligence to this squad, much like he did with Cryptik last season. ContrA will be doing the same job he did on EG last season. Relentless damage output and slaying power. DasTroyed is a more aggressive player and will constantly be leaving players one-shot for ContrA and Nemassist to pick up. Speaking of Nemassist, he’ll likely be playing more similarly to RyaNoob, filling in wherever he’s needed.

In scrims, this squad has already proved their competency, trouncing both Ronin and EG, and even leading a partial scrim with Splyce. However, it remains to be seen how they hold up against top 6 teams at live events, as they have also been picked apart in scrims by Team EnVyUs and Splyce.

 

7th – 8th: eRa Eternity

Ezekiel Martinez. Image by Halo Esports Wikis.

Roster: Hamza “Commonly” Abbaali, Ezekiel “Prototype” Martinez, Hunter “BabyJ” Schline and Dillon “Randa” Randa

ERa is another new org to join the HCS, and they picked a good roster to start with. Prototype and BabyJ were on Cryptik last season, and not only took down EG at Las Vegas, but also took two games off of NV. Both of these players are very dangerous slayers and teams would be wise to keep snipers out of their reach. Commonly, in the meantime, still does what he does best: aggressively pursue objectives better than most players in the league. Randa, on the other hand, plays very fluidly in Halo 5 and can fit in anywhere he’s needed.

 

While this squad hasn’t played many scrims, they have constantly contended with both OS and Splyce in the online qualifiers.

 

5th -6th: Str8 Rippin

Roster: Aaron “Ace” Elam, Bradley “APG” Laws, Richie “Heinz” Heinz, Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi

As detailed previously, Str8 was the team that “lost” during the off-season. Despite picking up Danoxide, this squad is much less likely to retain their top 4 spot, as the firepower that Splyce now has can likely outmatch Str8’s. However, this squad could get an easy bracket and once again break into the top 4.

In scrims, Str8 has been struggling. Their only two wins were an 11-2 over EG and a 7-6 over Luminosity. Other than that, they have not been able to take more than three games off of teams like OpTic, NV, and Liquid.

 

5th – 6th: Luminosity Gaming

Roster: Joe “TriPPPeY” Taylor, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson, Cameron “Victory X” Thorlakson

Saiyan during HWC 2017. Image by Halo Esports Wikis.

Immediately after their roster was finalized, LG showed improvement. Now with Ninja, TriPPPeY, and Saiyan providing consistent slaying power, this squad has become very potent. Both Ninja and Victory X have shown their prowess with the new settings, despite Victory X always focusing on objective play. Saiyan, quite simply, just does not miss. He wins the majority of his 1v1 battles and is constantly laying down damage. TriPPPeY has also shown that he is a capable player, but still remains somewhat unproven in comparison. The last time TriPPPeY was with LG, they were swept by EG. Even on Allegiance, his performances were not particularly spectacular.

In scrims, LG has shown that they are capable of contending with top teams. They have had decent scrims with Liquid, NV, and OpTic that had swing games that could have gone in their favor.

 

4th: Splyce

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

Splyce made a huge move by grabbing Renegade. While he didn’t necessarily carry Str8, all of Str8 played around his abilities. Even if Falcated filled a similar role, this decision could push Splyce into the top 4; not because it necessarily made Splyce much stronger (which it did, somewhat), but because it potentially made Str8 much weaker, providing Splyce an easier road to taking their place in the top 4. However, despite their immense firepower and talent, they may not yet have the experience and teamwork to challenge the top 3.

In scrims, Splyce has done well against teams outside of the top 4, including decisive victories over LG, Ronin, and EG. Simultaneously, they have also struggled against OpTic and NV.

 

3rd: Team Liquid

Penguin needed a nap. Image by Zane Hearon.

Roster: Braedon “StelluR” Boettcher, Zane “Penguin” Hearon, Timothy “Rayne” Tinkler, Kevin “Eco” Smith

Liquid came together last season to make a run for OpTic. They took down Str8, NV, and came close to defeating OpTic at different points in the season. While they were never able to do it, as many predicted they would, they retained their roster in order to try again over the Summer Season. Liquid are a near perfect storm of slaying power, aggressive movement, and map control. However, I don’t think NV will be content with Liquid being in the Grand Finals instead of them.

In scrims, Liquid is doing business as usual. Despite their scrim scores, this team has always been dominant at events in comparison. They’ve had very close scrims with OpTic especially, but have lost to NV on multiple occasions.

 

2nd: Team EnVyUs

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

Discussing NV right now is more a question of if they had a mental block against Liquid, and if they have passed it. NV

Mikwen was absolutely NV’s MVP at HWC 2017. Image by Halo Esports Wiki

was unable to defeat Liquid all throughout the HWC 2017 season until they beat Liquid in the Loser’s Finals to make it to the Grand Finals. Some hypothesized that NV had developed a mental block against Liquid at live events, and evidence exists to corroborate this. However, NV have now beaten them. Due to this, if they had a mental block previously, they’ve surpassed it now. If Mikwen is able to reproduce his monstrous performance at HWC 2017, this squad may even have the potential to win Daytona. At the HWC Grand Finals, NV were also significantly leading initially in all games against OpTic, despite being swept.

Outside of all this, NV may have benefited more than any other team from the new settings. All of these players are notorious for their accuracy, and the removal of automatic weapons will only showcase this more. More so, players such as Snip3down and Pistola are renowned for their sneakiness, to the point where teams in older Halo titles would specifically target these players for their capabilities. Pistola is known to be one of the hardest players to kill in Halo history. This coupled with the weakened radar means that other teams will quickly re-learn why he earned the nickname “The Wizard.”

NV’s strength under the new settings has been well showcased in scrims. In fact, they’ve only lost to one team: OpTic Gaming.

 

1st: OpTic Gaming

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

Two-time Halo World Champions. Image by Xbox Wire.

As usual in these prediction pieces, there’s not much that needs to be said about OpTic Gaming. They are absolutely dominant, to the point where many in the community view them as the greatest dynasty in competitive Halo, with the exception of the legendary Final Boss squad of Halo 2. This is for good reason. Since forming, they’ve only lost two events out of nine. Most of their wins were not even particularly close. This squad has dominated Halo since early 2016 and are very likely to continue doing so, at least through the rest of 2017 as well.

This squad has only lost one scrim since HWC 2017, and it was by one game to Team Liquid. They have seen no failure and will likely continue to not see any this weekend.

 

How do you think Daytona will play out? Be sure to let me know and tune in to HCS Daytona all weekend long on Twitch!

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 @RattPackFrosty!

 

Header image by Halo Waypoint. Scrimmage results by Halo Data Hive.

MomoCon’s Smash 4 Event To Feature ZeRo, Nairo, MKLeo, Fatality, and Abadango

MomoCon 2017 is slated to be another can’t miss Smash 4 event. In attendance will be top players, like Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios, Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada, Griffin “Fatality” Miller, Leonardo “MKLeo” Lopez Perez, and Yuta “Abadango” Kawamura.

The main event for the esports side of one of the fastest growing conventions in America will be the Smash 4 tournament. Each year, Smash has a strong showing at MomoCon, and this year will be no exception. It will all be commentated by the community’s own D’Ron “D1” Maingrette and Phil “EE” Visu.

Aside from Smash, MomoCon 2017 will host 34 other events with $15,000 worth of prizes. The games range from an Overwatch tournament all the way to BlazeBlue. Pokken was also provided a $1k pot bonus as one of the ten sponsored events by Evo. It has something for everyone and I haven’t even talked about the anime side of the convention…

Now back to Smash, MomoCon is clearly putting an emphasis on the Smash scene this year. With all the top players making the trip, it’s become a premier tournament. Winning this tournament will be a difficult task. Taking out the talented southern region players will be tough, but going through the gauntlet of elite skilled players feels impossible.

MomoCon’s competitive gaming side is starting to take off, and it’s become beneficial for so many developing esports scenes. Throwing 34 individual events shows MomoCon’s dedication to providing a quality event for the competitive video game fans in attendance.

Who takes the MomoCon 2017 trophy?

It’s tough to say, considering five players are capable of taking this tournament. The favorite will be Zero, as always, but MKLeo should be looked at as a legitimate threat. Abadango has also stayed consistently in the top five and continues to have strong results in Japan.

Find out more about MomoCon 2017 on their website and get tickets before the event happens on May 25th through the 28th in Atlanta, Georgia

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 Blake!

How science is making esports athletes better

LeBron James isn’t the best player in the NBA because he shoots hoops all day. LeBron James is the best player in the NBA because he has a well-rounded routine that includes a variety of different fitness exercises and healthy eating, on top of being extremely talented and practicing with his team. Esports stars could learn a lot from him.

It’s no secret that being in peak physical condition is beneficial to athletes. The ancient Greeks were among the first to study sports science and to plan training regimens for competitors in the Olympic games. But in the mid-20th century, the field of sports science really took off. Research facilities were created specifically to study athletes, and sports nutrition began to receive more attention. One research team eventually developed a simple drink that is still around to this day: Gatorade. Since then, the sports nutrition business has been booming. In fact, it has created an entire industry.

Sports Training for Esports Athletes

The marriage between sports physiology and proper nutrition has spawned a new type of super-athlete, like LeBron James. Athletes are stronger, faster and more mentally flexible than ever before. It is clear that esports athletes can benefit from a proper training and nutrition regimen as well.

In May 2016, compLexity’s Call of Duty team participated in a training boot camp at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. IMG Academy “is the world’s foremost authority in athletic, academic and personal development,” according to its Twitter. They are commonly visited by professional sports teams such as Tottenham Hotspur, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the United States soccer team.

At IMG Academy, compLexity players did more than just lift weights.

“Esports is a growing phenomenon in the world of athletics. What we’re doing in esports is designing specialist training in areas such as physical conditioning, nutrition, on mental conditioning, on leadership,” told David Hesse, Director of Athletic and Personal Development at IMG Academy, to Call of Duty in July.

Other esports teams, such as FaZe Clan, have also utilized IMG’s facilities to improve their performance in the virtual world. Now some organizations like Dignitas are taking training to a whole new level.

Thanks to the acquisition of Team Dignitas and Team Apex by the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, an abundance of resources are available to aid their esports stars, such as nutritionists, sleep experts, and even sports psychologists.

“In the past, we have not had access to anything like that,” Michael “OD” O’Dell, President of Team Dignitas, told FOXBusiness.com. “Sports psychology and nutrition, that’s only really starting to happen. This is a big reason for me wanting to partner with the Sixers, having access to their ability and their knowledge in that respect is really important to me.”

Are Esports Sports?

With esports players being treated like athletes, it leads us to one of the oldest questions in the esports’ history books: Are esports real sports?

Many people have tried to answer that question from a traditional sense. No, gamers are not running up and down a field after a ball, their in-game characters are. No, gamers are not burning ridiculous amounts of calories. But gamers must have a high level of dexterity and are certainly putting in long, grueling hours and become mentally, if not physically, exhausted.

When asked if they consider themselves athletes, most professional gamers will respond “yes”.

During my college days, I wrote multiple articles on why I believe esport athletes should be considered sport athletes,” Matthew “Burns” Potthoff told The Game Haus.

Potthoff is a former professional Call of Duty player who is now General Manager of eUnited, a professional esports team with rosters in a number of esports. When teams go to events, Potthoff is there to manage schedules and to coach during matches.

“A lot of different factors play in, but I would highly agree that there are many similarities [between] traditional sports and esports athletes, due to the fact that we stress our mental game every single day. We are also competing at the highest level and traveling the world to do so,” he said.

Even people from the traditional sports world see the potential, and the athleticism, in esports. Rick Fox, former NBA star, owns Echo Fox and has been educating people on esports for years. Mark Cuban, an investor and Dallas Mavericks owner, told a League of Legends crowd in 2015, “This is a real sport, and people are going to figure it out really, really quick.”

High-Stress Environment

Though he supports the scene, Cuban hasn’t invested in an esports team because of one important reason: player burnout. He is worried esports athletes spend too much time perfecting their craft, to the point where they shorten their careers from fatigue.

Esports athletes often play eight hours a day. Image: RazeOne

 

Players practice with their team for eight hours a day, six days a week, according to Potthoff. When it comes time for them to perform at LAN events, they spend 12+ hours a day playing in high-stress matches, sometimes with no break in between. Under these circumstances, it is more crucial than ever for players to be both physically and mentally healthy.

It is hard to maintain a proper diet while gaming full time. I highly encourage players to eat as healthy as possible. Not only do you feel great when playing but it can affect the smallest things from your attitude and how alert you are through the day,” Potthoff explained. “When I coach and manage players at events, I suggest bananas or oatmeal in the morning. I do my best to make sure everyone is eating small snacks and staying hydrated for long days at tournaments.”

Nutrition

Eating properly is something that is seldom talked about in esports, but it is crucial for athletes’ performance. Gamers, and some esports athletes, are stereotyped as junk-food addicts, and sometimes rightfully so. But bad eating habits can be detrimental to their well-being and this is something researchers in sports science have been well aware of for a long time.

“How you’re fueling both your body and your brain is going to allow you to perform at a high level,” explained Taryn Morgan,  Assistant Director of Athletic and Personal Development at IMG Academy.

For this reason, teams like eUnited make sure players are in prime condition to compete. Some companies in the space have even capitalized on the need for players to be on high alert, but the nutritional value of their products is debatable.

In the past, gamers were notorious for their love of sugary drinks. Products like Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper were heavily involved in the gaming scene and the early days of esports. However, endemic brands began to appear and pushed the soda companies out of the way.

Enter G FUEL. Created with the help of former professional gamer, G FUEL is self-branded as “the official energy drink of esports”. There is no debating that it’s true, with companies in the industry and teams sponsored by the drink company.

G FUEL, sold by Gamma Labs, was created specifically for professional gamers, and those aspiring to be. 

G FUEL is the “energy drink of esports”. Image: Blazy Designs

Milliseconds mean the difference between life and death, winning and losing, failure and success,” their website states.

The formula has even made its way into sports like MMA and weight lifting.

While energy drinks like Redbull and Monster are still prevalent in the esports space, G FUEL’s lack of sugar sets it apart. However, sugar isn’t the only unhealthy ingredient in energy drinks.

In 2015, New York Times published an article on the dangers of adolescents consuming energy drinks containing high levels of caffeine.

The American Academy of Pediatrics that recommended that children and adolescents should never consume energy drinks because of caffeine’s potential to disturb sleeping patterns, increase heart rates and slow brain development,” the article stated.

The good news is, the vast majority of esports pros are over the age of 18, and for adults, the Mayo Clinic recommends not to exceed 400 mg of caffeine per day. A serving of G FUEL contains 150 mg of caffeine, among other energy stimulants. However, while a boost of energy is great, no drink will leave you more hydrated than water. Ask any doctor.

More companies with products like G FUEL have sprung up in recent years. One company, Runtime, was created specifically with esports fans and players in mind.

“We saw that there was a huge opportunity when it comes to complete nutrition in esports,” Runtime’s CEO Aleksandrs Zavoloks told The Game Haus. “Our goal is to create comprehensive nutrition products specifically focused on esports players and fans, not just slap an esports label on an existing product and market it to a new audience.”

Runtime is interested in high-quality nutrition. They currently sell two nutrition products: a low sugar “Performance Drink” and a nutrient-packed food supplement they call “Buff Food”.

“We are not an energy drink company; we focus on performance nutrition,” Zavoloks reiterated.

Research in Esports Science

Companies like G FUEL and Runtime benefited from years of sports science research, but now they are forging their own path.

“Our goal is to educate our audience on proper nutrition and the benefits, not just to push our product in their face,” Zavoloks explained. “Nutrition products are just the first step. In the future we plan to create supplements that solve other esports issues. For instance, we are working on a solution to lessen the stress that is being caused to a player’s eyes when he or she sits in front of PC for too long.”

With help from researchers like Dr. Lutz Graumann, a sports medicine and nutrition expert, Runtime wants to create products that specifically benefit esports players. To do this, they are involved in actual laboratory testing and analysis, because as Zavoloks told The Game Haus, the importance of nutrition in esports has been neglected for too long.

“There are certain qualities required for performing well (endurance, reaction time, concentration, wakefulness, stability). You cannot achieve either of those with sugary carbonated drinks or pizza,” he said. “We’ve noticed that some pro teams have started paying attention to this, hired nutrition experts, diet professionals – these are all steps in the right direction. We will see more of that in the future, and Runtime plans to be part of this revolution.” 

Besides those focused on nutrition, other types of tests have been performed on esports athletes.

At the German Sports University in Cologne, Professor Ingo Froböse has worked with esports athletes in multiple games and notes the high physical and mental demands imposed on them. In one experiment, Froböse tested players’ stress levels by measuring the release of a hormone called cortisol.

“The amount of cortisol produced is about the same level as that of a race-car driver,” Froböse told Deutsche Welle. “This is combined with a high pulse, sometimes as high as 160 to 180 beats per minute.”

Though they experience highly stressful situations daily, Froböse stated that the esports athletes he worked with were not in better physical shape than the average person. He believes there is a lot they can do fitness and nutrition-wise to improve. Otherwise, we may never escape the days of esports athletes retiring in their 20s, after only a few years competing professionally.

The good news is that more teams and esports athletes are paying attention to their health and well-being. Esports have become a lucrative career path for many young players, and the only way to make the most out of it is to stay healthy, just as in traditional sports. With the combination of research in esports nutrition and physiology, esports athletes may be able to extend their career to their late 20s and beyond.


Image: KQED Science

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

Josh Billy can be contacted at joshuatbilly@gmail.com or you can follow him on Twitter.

HCS Summer Roster Changes

The summer roster lock has come and gone, and the groups for HCS Daytona have been decided.

The top eight teams that have made roster changes are Evil Geniuses, Str8 Rippin, Splyce, Ronin Esports, and Luminosity Gaming. That said, let’s take a look at the results of rostermania!

Evil Geniuses

The Evil Geniuses have now acquired Brett “Naded” Leonard and Micheal “Falcated” Garcia. Alongside Jason and Justin

The Brown twins and coach Towey Image by Ryan “Towey” Towey.

Brown, or “Lunchbox” and “Roy” respectively, this squad is looking to put EG back into the top four conversation.

Naded can bring more aggressive objective play, similar to Lunchbox. Having both of these players fly at you and your flag could be a very terrifying experience. Meanwhile, Roy will continue to be an aggressive damage dealer, while Falcated will be a more passive slayer in order to pick up kills. Overall, EG has come out of the HWC season looking somewhat better with their new roster. While dropping Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski could come back to bite the Brown twins, Falcated is definitely capable of filling his shoes.

 

Str8 Rippin and Splyce

Str8 has lost their star player. Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, affectionately labeled “Renegod” departed the team to join Splyce. Since then, Str8 has acquired Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi as a replacement. This was one of the earliest changes to occur after the conclusion of HWC 2017. To get more thoughts and details on this swap, check it out here.

 

Ronin Esports

Suspector during his time on Allegiance. Image by Josh Billy.

Formerly the TMMT Crowd Pleasers, Ronin has made a few changes. The two players who will be joining Carlos “Cratos” Ayala and Cory “Str8 SicK” Sloss going forward will be Tyler “Spartan” Ganza and Ayden “Suspector” Hill. These two additions just work to further stack Ronin’s slaying power.

Suspector is viewed to be on par with Danoxide, while Spartan is seen as a better slayer then Naded, but lacking the objective presence. However, Spartan is similar to Naded in that both players are very emotional. If the squad is doing well, both players will get loud and only begin to improve. However, the opposite is also true. If the roster starts to tilt, their chances of success will only slip further.

 

Luminosity Gaming

Luminosity will now be Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Cameron “Victory X” Thorlakson, Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson and Joe

Saiyan during HWC 2017. Image by Halo Esports Wikis.

TriPPPeY” Taylor. Ninja and Victory have already proven to be a capable duo, with one providing high amounts of kills while the other does whatever objective work needs to be done. With Saiyan and TriPPPeY joining the squad, Ninja’s slaying ability and his inconsistencies will be balanced out for. While he can usually top the scoreboard in kills, sometimes he would end up having the most deaths in the game. Saiyan and TriPPPeY can help combat this while Victory X continues to be one of the best objective players in the league.

 

What do you think of the new pro rosters? How do you think it will all play out at Daytona? Be sure to leave your opinion and remember to check back here on Friday to see HCS Daytona Predictions!


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Header image by Halo Waypoint.

 

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