The Game Haus’ TI Regional Roulette – EU

The International 2017 Regional Roulette – Europe

Day 2 of Regional Roulette is upon us! Europe is sending four teams to Seattle for The International. Three of which are established organizations that can threaten any team. The other is a rising team that was able to make it to TI7 from the open qualifiers. Here we go:

Europe Hopes to Continue Collecting Hardware

This past year has been dominated by some of the teams below. Consistently performing at major events throughout the year. European DOTA is surging right now and showing no signs of slowing down before The International.

OG – Direct Invite

OG, dota 2 , international

(Liquipedia)

Roster

Position 1 (Carry) – N0tail

Position 2 (Mid) – ana

Position 3 (Offlane) – s4

Position 4 (Support) – Jerax 

Position 5 (Support) – Fly

Coming in as a favorite is certainly something OG is used to. By now it is no secret that this team can really play DOTA. Aside from last year’s International, OG has finished 1st in 5 of their last 6 events. With

OG, heores, dota 2, international

(Dotabuff)

their victory at the Kiev Major, OG became the first team to win four Valve sponsored events. They have yet to claim the Aegis in Seattle.

One aspect of OG’s game that really stands out is their support play. Jerax is considered one of the best supports in DOTA. At the same time, many agree that his Earth Spirit is the best there is. Thus he is commonly targeted as a first-phase ban when playing against them due to Jerax’s high impact on the mid lane.

Prioritizing ana’s lane has become a priority as of late for OG, especially since he plays such a great Invoker. The hero is very gankable in the early game. Thankfully Jerax and Fly are always roaming the map in hopes to secure his start. Meanwhile N0tail is having the time of his life in the Safe Lane on his signature Visage. OG will look to dictate the pace of their games at the International. Anything besides a deep run in the tournament will be a surprise as they have dominated the recent meta.

Team Liquid – Direct Invite

liquid, dota 2, international

(Liquipedia)

Roster

Position 1 (Carry) – MATUMBAMAN

Position 2 (Mid) – Miracle-

Position 3 (Offlane) – MinD_ContRoL

Position 4 (Support) – GH

Position 5 (Support) – KuroKy

Look for Team Liquid to continue their winning ways coming off of a reverse-sweep at DreamLeague Season 7. They dropped the first two games of the Grand Final to Planet Odd before winning the next three. Liquid has been absolutely dominant, winning their last five events. Arguably the most complete “team” coming to the International when it comes to their movements around the map.

Beginning with their captain KuroKy, he has attended every International since 2011 and this May he became the first professional DOTA 2 player to reach 900 wins. Overall Liquid’s roster is extremely talented from top to bottom. Many of their core players’ favorite heroes perform at win rates over 50%, such as Miracle-‘s Invoker, MinD_ContRoL’s Dark Seer, and MATUMBAMAN’s Lone Druid. An already potent roster before adding Gh who has been one of the year’s breakout players.

After finishing in the top-ten at last year’s International Liquid looks poised for another strong performance.

Team Secret – Qualifier Record 8-1

 

secret, dota 2, international

(Liquipedia)

Roster

 

 

Position 1 (Carry) – MP

Position 2 (Mid) – MidOne

Position 3 (Offlane) – KheZu

Position 4 (Support) – YapzOr 

Position 5 (Support) – Puppey

Secret cruised to the automatic spot during the European Qualifiers. Dropping only one map in the group stage. Many believed Team Secret had fallen off from top-tier status when they had a rough start to the beginning of this year. But with the addition of YapzOr, Team Secret was reborn.

One reason this addition invigorated them was that it allowed Puppey to diversify their drafting. Watching Secret had become pretty predictable in the heroes and strategies they picked. This all changed with access to unique YapzOr supports like Rubick and Sand King. These playmaking supports have helped Secret adjust to the quicker pace of this meta.

Other heroes like Puppey’s Crytal Maiden and Khezu’s Bristleback have also been effective. The other addition to their roster was MP from MVP Phoenix. His aggressive playstyle on Troll Warlord and Weaver are great at split pushing the map and punishing the other team’s movements.

All of these changes make Team Secret a more diverse team. With these changes they are setting themselves up to be extremely competitive at The International.

Hellraisers (Formerly “Planet Dog”) – Qualifier Record 6-3

 

 Roster

Position 1 (Carry) – N0tail

Position 2 (Mid) – ana

Position 3 (Offlane) – s4

Position 4 (Support) – Jerax 

Position 5 (Support) – Fly

(Liquipedia)

 

Our final European team comes all the way from Open Qualifiers. Hell Raisers has a roster made up of some extremely talented players. Clearly exhibited throughout qualifiers with their dynamic teamwork in

(Dotabuff)

teamfights. Their captain, j4, is very fond of big ultimates. Seen while they were Planet Dog as one of only a few teams to run a viable Tidehunter. It’s just one of 33’s dynamic teamfighters. He also plays a strong Dark Seer and Batrider.

Another hero has become a problem for the opposition in the MiLAN Nightstalker. j4 has picked this hero for his fellow support 14 times. Winning 11 of those 14 games.

HellRaisers only earnings are from a minor tournament for $500. This was after TI7 qualifiers. Getting to the International is why this team was created. HellRaisers have already put themselves on the map by qualifying for this TI. They have nothing left to prove to the DOTA community and a team with nothing to lose can be a very dangerous opponent.

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What Mickey’s acquisition means to Team Liquid

Team Liquid made a huge announcement this week with the acquisition of former ROX tiger mid laner, Sun “Mickey” Yong-min. It’s no secret that Team Liquid has failed to meet expectations this whole year. They thought they could turn things around after acquiring star jungler Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin in the off season. That hasn’t been the case as the team has sat near the bottom of the standings for most of the year, barely avoiding relegation in Spring.

This off the back of an impressive 2-0 week where Team Liquid looked to be finally coming together. Team owner, Steve Arhancet, seems to be highly dissatisfied with the team’s results this year. With franchising coming to LCS soon he wants to start building for the future now. This move infers a lot of things with the team moving forwards.

Piglet’s Inevitable retirement

Mickey

Photo via Riot Esports

Star ADC Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin was brought onto the team two years ago to turn TL into Worlds contenders. That hasn’t come to fruition as the team has struggled mightily for most of his time on the roster. This may be a sign that both sides are ready to move on.

Piglet has put up decent stats throughout his NA LCS career, but the team has never been able to fully use that to their advantage. During his early stages, he would often get caught out farming a side wave and failing to group with his team. His communication and chemistry issues showed in game, and the results mirrored that.

Meanwhile Team Liquid has done everything in their power to make things better for Piglet. Last summer when the Dardoch drama was going on, he requested to play on Team Liquid Academy. Even after that, he’s shown in Breaking Point wanting to quit again. Team Liquid has constantly tried to build a team around him, despite it showing that it hasn’t worked for four splits now.

The signing of Mickey brings Team Liquid to the two import limit. This means either Reignover or Piglet can’t play with Mickey in the lineup. For now it seems that they’ll try to make things work with Inori at jungle. Looking forward, they may try to find a North American talent to replace Piglet. In interviews at the start of the split Piglet states that he’s leaning towards retirement if TL doesn’t win NA LCS.

Goldenglue’s Failed Return

Many were surprised when TL announced they’d be bringing back the exact same roster from last split that was nearly relegated before Doublelift came in. Most notably, the return of mid laner Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer to the starting lineup. Goldenglue spent some time bootcamping in Korea by himself while the team finished out the Spring Split without him. TL hoped that the Korean bootcamp had helped him improve enough to warrant the starting position. That wasn’t the case as the team as a whole seemed to struggle.

Goldenglue specifically hasn’t put up great stats this split. He is currently near the bottom for KDA and CS diff@10 among mids. He had some great performances last week during their 2-0 where he showed flashes of brilliance. But just like that, Mickey is being brought in to challenge him for his spot.

This all but spells his likely end with Team Liquid. It may also mean the end of his pro career as he’s more of a challenger series level mid laner at most. He’s great at helping qualify teams for LCS, but just hasn’t performed well enough on stage. It’ll be interesting to see what he does moving forward. He has definitely put in a lot of work trying to consistently stay in LCS these last few years.

Reignover a bust?

Mickey

Photo via Riot Games

One of the biggest questions coming into the split was how jungler Reignover would do without his long time duo Huni in the top lane. While Huni went onto do great things on SKT, Reignover has been a shadow of his former self. He has not been the MVP performer we were used to seeing last year.

The jungle talent does seem to have been elevated this split. With big name rookies all coming into the split and others getting better, Reignover hasn’t looked the same. Even in this meta where tanks are king, he doesn’t seem to have the same impact.

With Mickey coming onto the team, TL has reacquired Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett as the starter with Reignover waiting in the wings. Many will remember Dardoch as one of the most talented yet toxic members during his time on TL. Another high risk/high reward move that could work well or blow up the team to oblivion. This time around they don’t have the clash of Dardoch and Locodoco so maybe this move can work out. Dardoch seems to have a history of toxicity at this point on every team he’s been on. Even a winning CLG team.

Only time will tell if these moves can actually move TL into Worlds contention in the future.

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Cover photo by The Score Esports

DreamLeague Provides an Interesting Stage Pre-TI7

Eli Sherman

 

DOTA 2 fans everywhere have been caught up in the TI buzz that comes after qualifiers. The usual ritual looks something like this: pouring money into your compendium, praying to GabeN for a rare-drop, ogling over the now record prize pool, pub, and repeat! Qualifiers really delivered this year in both excitement and quality. TI7 looks to be another slugfest of DOTA 2. Complimented with a meta that feels extremely even. There is one more LAN before it: DreamLeague Season 7.

 

“There’s No Good DOTA 2 Before TI”

This is a complaint from fans during this perceived “lull” in the competitive action before Seattle. Luckily this statement is no longer true thanks to this weekend’s DreamLeague! Season 7 is no joke either with its 150,000 USD prize pool, including a grand prize of 80,000 USD. We should be seeing some really good DOTA 2 as well as a peek into the competitive meta on the edge of TI7. On the other hand, some would say the quality of games in this DreamLeague final weekend are meaningless and thus will not be taken seriously from teams with The International to worry about. But of the four teams taking place in the double elimination culmination of Season 7 only two are actually going to TI7 (Team Secret and Team Liquid).

Miracle- zoned in during Liquid’s DreamLeague championship run last year (CyBet.com)

Liquid was a direct invite while Secret won the EU Qualifier. We haven’t really seen much from Secret (qualifiers aside) since The Summit 7 a month ago. The same could be said of Team Liquid who last took home the hardware from Epicenter. Both teams looked quite strong in their respective LANs. Again, Secret dominated the EU qualifiers; while Liquid looked elite against a strong EG team at Epicenter. Now we will get to see how they have grown since then, right before the beginning of TI7.

Can Team Liquid Stay Dominant?

Team Liquid has stuck to their guns and continued to run heroes like Lasse “MATUMBAN” Urpalainen’s Lone Druid and Bristleback; Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Ivanov’s Dark Seer; and obviously Amer “Miracle-“ Al-Barkawi’s impeccable Invoker. They beat Evil Geniuses in four games in the Grand Final as well as Virtus.pro and LGD.FY leading up. Liquid looked in control during these series defeating teams that are all considered contenders for TI7 this year making a strong case for a Team Liquid run at the Aegis. In their match for DreamLeague Season 7 they’ll face off against Vega Squadron who would love nothing more than to take down a TI bound opponent while making some serious money to end their season. So they will definitely be bringing their A-game. With players like Bragen “G” Sergey and Shishkin “Afterlife” Visilii, Vega should not be taken lightly.

Is it Finally Team Secret’s Year?

After some impressive work in the EU Qualifiers a lot of people are also excited for Team Secret’s prospects later this August. Secret only lost one map during the qualifiers and seemed very upset they did not

Team Secret’s Support, YapzOr, doing 18k damage in a match during the TI Qualifiers (Dotabuff)

receive a direct invite. They proved to be very versatile in the current meta flashing their new Support player Yazied “YapzOr” Zaradat who plays some unique heroes like the Bounty Hunter and Zeus. His presence can really be felt in the results Team Secret has had since the addition of YapzOr and Maurice “KheZu” Gutmann in the offlane. During the qualifiers Clement “Puppey” Ivanov was picking all sorts of heroes and strategies. With even an Pyo “MP” No-a Huskar making an appearance. This extremely strong showing from them at this stage in the year is a great sign moving into TI7.

They have shown the ability to play multiple strategies, as well as drafting in a way that allows them to role-swap heroes within the draft to confuse their opponents even more. For some reason Team Secret always finds a way to be relevant in the competitive teams this time of the year. Their opponent from DreamLeague is another team looking to make a statement.

Planet Odd is a team that has surprised many this year. After last year, this very similar roster finished second at TI6. The players then left their former organization who still remains invited to TI this year. Odd had a really strong run at the Galaxy LAN and beat TNC in a very impressive three game series. Though they did fall in the NA Qualifiers much earlier than they had hoped. They will also look to play spoiler at DreamLeague to round out their impressive season.

Overall, DreamLeague Season 7 should provide some top-notch competition. Hopefully we will get a glimpse at some of the favorites for TI7. Who knows what strategies teams might test out before the big tournament.

 

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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.

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Header image by Halo Waypoint

 

ESL One Cologne: The tournament for the Americas

ESL One Cologne throughout the years has seen a couple different American teams playing on the stages. Whether it be the stage at Gamescon in 2014 or the stage in the LANXESS Arena. Not only that, but the last two years have only seen American teams in the Grand Finals. An interesting statistic to say the least. Here, we’ll go through the teams who played on the main stages of Cologne. Explaining how they got there, and how far they went.

SK Gaming/Luminosity

2015 was the first year the Brazilian scene met the main stage of ESL One Cologne. Barely making the playoffs over FlipSid3 in 2015, Marcelo “coldzera” David found himself in his first international tournament. And oh boy, did he surprise everyone with how skilled he was.

2016 saw the Brazilians dominate under the the Luminosity banner, before moving over to SK for ESL One Cologne. Finding themselves in the group of death, SK scored wins over G2 and FaZe, moving to the quarters against FlipSid3. For a second year in a row, SK beat FlipSid3 in Cologne. Making their way to the Semis against Virtus.Pro, SK Gaming found themselves struggling to close the match, but ultimately doing so in one of the best matches of Major history. Meeting Liquid in the final, it wasn’t too surprising to see SK dominate the North American side and take their second major title.

ESL One Cologne

Photo by: hltv.org

So far in 2017, we’ve seen SK at their worst and at their best, and we’re only seven months in. Coming into Cologne, SK had won two tournaments beforehand. They were by far the favourites for the event. Struggling slightly in the swiss stage, SK made it out 3-2 and met OpTic in the quarters. On paper, a one sided match up but OpTic showed themselves to be strong and took Mirage, but ultimately lost the series. SK moved on to beat FaZe, arguably their rival, and dominated the European team. Going into the grand finals, it may have been a surprise to find Cloud9 there. SK didn’t let the surprise get to them though. SK controlled the entire match and took the match 3-0 and won Cologne for a second year in a row.

Cloud9

Cloud9’s first experience with Cologne was 2014, where they played their first tournament with Mike “shroud” Grzesiek. A situation very similar to Luminosity’s first tournament with coldzera at Cologne. In the group stage, Cloud9 won against Titan, and had their famous comeback against Dignitas on Mirage. Making the quarterfinals, Cloud9 met Ninjas in Pyjamas, a fan favourite. Though, Cloud9 were favoured in the match, they ended up losing due to a very important kill by Adam “friberg” Friberg. Without this one kill, Cloud9 could have definitely made the finals of ESL One Cologne 2014, but talking about what if’s is a bad thing.

ESL One Cologne

Photo by: hltv.org

Leading up to Cologne 2015, Cloud9 looked like a Top 4 team, favoured to make the playoffs. Unfortunately, Cloud9 left the tournament in the group stage due to yet another clutch play at 13-13 in a round Cloud9 should have won.

Unfortunately, Cloud9 for the first time were unable to qualify for a major, being ESL One Cologne 2016. In 2017 though, Cloud9 were directly invited as PGL took reigns for the second major of 2017 over ESL. Here, we saw Cloud9 struggle at the beginning but claw their way back to make the playoffs. In the first round of the playoffs Cloud9 met NiP, a rematch of 2014. But, this time Cloud9 took the win and advanced to face Na’Vi in the semifinals. Na’Vi, on arguably their two best maps, lost 2-0 to Cloud9 who went on to play the grand finals against SK Gaming. Unfortunately for Cloud9, SK Gaming were looking for revenge for EPL Season 4, and SK won Cologne over Cloud9.

Team Liquid

Team Liquid first met ESL One Cologne in 2016 as they were directly invited by making the playoffs of MLG Columbus. Using Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev as a stand-in for the event, it wasn’t far fetched to say that Liquid would make the playoffs. They did just that by beating mousesports 2-1 to advance to the playoffs to face Na’Vi in the quarters. After beating Na’Vi, Team Liquid made it to the semifinals to face one of the favourites for the tournament. Liquid decided they didn’t like that title for fnatic, so they took the series 2-0. This put them as the first North American team in the finals of a major. Unfortunately for them, they met SK Gaming and lost 2-0 convincingly against the Brazilians.

ESL One Cologne

Photo by: hltv.org

2017 saw Liquid qualifying for the tournament online. Watching the swiss stage of the tournament though, you would have thought they were invited. Going 3-0 in the group stage facing Na’Vi, Immortals and OpTic Gaming, Team Liquid showed the world that the major qualifier was not who they truly were and made their way to the LANXESS Arena. Sadly, Liquid met FaZe in the quarters and were dismantled easily by the European team.

OpTic Gaming

ESL One Cologne 2016 was the first time any player on OpTic made a major. With their inexperience on the major level, OpTic lost to both NiP and FlipSid3 in the group stage, going 0-2 and dropping out of the tournament.

ESL One Cologne

Photo by: hltv.org

2017 was a different story for OpTic, who showed up to Cologne with zero eyes on them, and as little pressure as possible. At this point, every player on OpTic has played at the top level. Even though they went 0-3 at the major qualifier just a week before, OpTic showed up to Cologne on fire, taking down North, Space Soldiers and most notably FaZe. Only losing to Liquid in the swiss stage. Going into the playoffs they were matched against SK Gaming. Being the most one sided matches of the playoffs on paper, OpTic showed up with a little bit of fight in them. OpTic took the first map in the series off of SK pretty convincingly. But alas, SK Gaming are far more experienced in these situations and left OpTic in the dust in the next two maps.

ESL One Cologne 2017

 

ESL One Cologne

Photo by: Helena K @ ESL Gaming

 

This year, Cologne showed that the Americas, not just South America, has a place on the big stage. Admittedly, Astralis weren’t present at the tournament, but it isn’t too far fetched to say that they could have taken a playoff spot over Na’Vi or NiP rather than the North American teams.

Throughout the years though, Cologne has shown to be a nice tournament for the Americas, having an American team on stage every year. Not only just one, but half the spots were taken by the Americans this year. That shows some heavy improvement from the region, and maybe some extra confidence in the city of Cologne.

Featured image via ESL Gaming

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ESL One Cologne 2017 predictions

One of the biggest upcoming tournaments other than the PGL major is ESL One Cologne 2017. While it is sad that Cologne is not a major this year, as it holds legendary status within Global Offensive, that doesn’t mean this tournament won’t be incredible. Astralis have chosen to opt out of Cologne, leaving the pool of teams slightly weakened; however, this tournament will decide a lot in terms of world rankings still. Today I’ll be giving some predictions as to roughly how the tournament will play out. To keep from getting too deep and convoluted, I’ll keep it simple by just giving predictions for Round 1 of the group stage, who I think will make the playoffs and who I think will win the tournament.

Mousesports vs Fnatic

via http://wiki.teamliquid.net

This is an interesting matchup, one that I think will produce a great game. In terms of what map we’ll most likely see, it’s a bit unclear, as both teams make some odd choices in terms of pick/ban. Mouz will permaban Overpass, as they always do. Fnatic will probably remove Cobble, as they have taken to banning it a lot recently. Mousesports will then remove Mirage, as they aren’t huge fans of it and Fnatic are great on the map. Fnatic will rebuttal with a Cache ban; although there is a scenario in which Fnatic let Cache through and ban Nuke instead. If Fnatic does end up banning Cache, Mousesports will most likely ban Nuke themselves. For the final ban, whether it be Cache or Train leftover with Inferno, I predict Fnatic will let Inferno through. This matchup will likely be close, barring any throwback performance from Fnatic where they just stomp Mouz. Mousesports 13-16 Fnatic.

FaZe vs Heroic

This one is much less interesting, as FaZe will likely stomp Heroic on whatever map they end up on. FaZe will remove Cobble, no questions asked. Heroic will likely remove Cache. From there FaZe ban Mirage, due to Heroic’s decent history on the map; Heroic ban Train. The final ban rotation is completely up to what FaZe want, as they could beat Heroic on Overpass, Nuke or Inferno. My best bet would be FaZe ban Nuke, as the Heroic squad has been respectable on the map in the past, and Heroic ban Overpass, as FaZe is on a tear on the map recently. Whatever map it ends up being, I’m certain FaZe will win this. FaZe 16-6 Heroic.

Immortals vs Virtus.Pro

via http://www.gosugamers.net/

I’m just going to leave this matchup as a ‘quite literally anything can happen’ kind of matchup. This matchup could bring anything to the table in terms of map pool. Immortals will certainly remove Nuke and Virtus.Pro will remove Cache. From there, anything could happen due to Virtus.Pro famously being poor in the early stages of tournaments, even those that they win. I’ll take Immortals winning this one. Immortals 16-10 Virtus.Pro

SK vs SpaceSoldiers

Similar to the FaZe vs Heroic matchup, it doesn’t matter what map this ends on, the Soldiers will find it hard to even find rounds in this matchup. The pick ban will have SK removing Nuke followed by SS banning Inferno. SK will remove Cache, as it is the Soldiers’ favorite map at the moment. SS will remove Train here most likely, followed by a removal of Overpass. Whatever SK chooses to ban before the removal of Overpass, will decide the map. I’ll predict the Brazilians remove Mirage leaving us with a matchup on Cobblestone. SK 16-3 SpaceSoldiers

NiP vs Cloud9 

via http://mashable.com

This one is almost as difficult to predict as the IMT vs VP matchup. Based on history, NiP will almost always remove Overpass and Mirage, and we know Cloud9 doesn’t play Nuke and don’t like to play Inferno if they don’t have to. Of the three maps remaining, it’s most likely we see Cobblestone, as I don’t think the Ninjas will want to play Train, and C9 have sort of driven away from Cache in the past. NiP will likely be held back by the freshness of their roster, and all the NiP magic seems to have been exhausted. NiP 7-16 Cloud9

G2 vs TyLoo

Another lopsided one, G2 will take this one every day of the week. G2 will ban Mirage, followed by Inferno. TyLoo will remove Nuke and Train. G2 from here have the pick of the litter, and the map this ends up on could really be anything. The only map that TyLoo even has an outside chance on is Cache, and even that is a huge stretch. No matter which of the three it ends up being, Cache, Cobble, or Overpass, G2 will have this one in hand. G2 16-3 TyLoo

Liquid vs Na’Vi

via http://wiki.teamliquid.net

By far the best matchup of Round 1, this one could really go either way. Liquid will likely ban Overpass, followed by a signature Na’Vi ban of Cache. Na’Vi will then ban Nuke, and be forced to remove Cobble, as Liquid will remove Mirage and likely Train due to the beating Na’Vi gave them on the maps at pro league. An interesting matchup on Inferno, as neither team is very good on the map at all, but I’ll take Liquid to win this one in very narrow fashion. Liquid 19-16 Na’Vi

North vs OpTiC

I predict to see the same exact pick ban we saw at Pro League, as I don’t see why either team would change their strategy. North ban Train, Cache and Inferno; whereas, OpTiC remove Overpass, Cobble and Nuke. There is definitely a chance OpTiC ban out Mirage instead of Cobble, leaving us on Cobble or Inferno; although, this seems a bit unlikely to me. North is always super solid in group stages, so they should have this one in hand. North 16-8 OpTiC

Playoff Predictions

The eight teams that I think will get through are SK, G2, FaZe, North, Liquid, Cloud9, Immortals and Fnatic. This one is definitely not said and done though, as basically every team in this tournament besides TyLoo has a scenario where they end up making the playoffs. The winner of the tournament will likely be SK, but G2 will have their chances, and if Virtus.Plow shows up, who knows what could happen.

ESL One Cologne 2017, despite not having Astralis and not being a CS ‘Major’, should make some great Counter-Strike, and will be great fun to watch.

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Featured image via HLTV.org

Beyond the Sticks: Return of the Gauntlet

Earlier last week, Millennial Esports announced the return of a time-honored Halo tradition. Beyond the Sticks will allow Team EnVyUs and Oxygen Supremacy to have a pre-tournament boot camp, almost like in the legendary days of the LAN Network. Both teams will descend upon Las Vegas to compete in four, 13 game series to prepare for Dreamhack Atlanta. Let’s take a look at how Beyond the Sticks will play out.

Overview

Beyond the Sticks will start on July 1st with two, 13 game scrimmages. The next two matches will be on July 2nd. The full schedule can be found here. The event will be commentated by Tom “TSquared” Taylor and Ryan “Towey” Towey. With one of Halo’s most dominant players and one of it’s best coaches, these two will be able to provide valuable insight on what each of the teams is focusing on in each game. Speaking of the teams…

The Match-Up

Mikwen has easily been nV’s MVP lately, Image by Halo Esports Wikis.

Team EnVyUs is one of the most talented teams in Halo at the moment. Consisting of Justin “iGotUrPistola” Deese, Austin “Mikwen” McCleary, Eric “Snip3down” Wrona, Cuyler “Huke” Garland, this squad took the title at UMG Daytona. With a mix of veterans as well as young blood, this squad has been one of the only teams that could contend with OpTic Gaming. They will absolutely be a threat going into the Summer Finals, as OpTic only narrowly defeated them when they met during the Pro League. Despite ending the league at 4-3, nV has shown that when it comes to LAN, they always show up.

Oxygen Supremacy is a team nobody saw coming. Ryan “RyaNoob” Geddes, Troy

Ryan and his legendary hair. Image by Halo Esports Wikis.

“DasTroyed” Dusman, Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski and Kyle “Nemassist” Kubina have stunned even some of the pro teams. At Daytona, this squad ended up in the top six after dominating teams like Luminosity Gaming and Str8 Rippin. They also came within one game of send EnVyUs home in the loser’s bracket finals, despite forming just before the event. Ryanoob once again has put together a squad that can contend with the “pros” and yet is not in the Pro League. OS has taken first in three out of four online qualifiers so far and it hasn’t been particularly close.

Scrims between these two teams tell a different story. The first scrim ended 5-8 in favor of nV, with 3-4 games being close toss-ups. The second scrim, however, was a blowout. Victory again went to nV, with a crushing 13-0 defeat of OS and all but one game were not even close. Events change circumstances, however. This will be a live event, so it’s reasonable to assume 343 will provide a closed server, which feels very close to LAN. In this environment, OS has shown that they’re more than capable of defeating the Daytona champs.

What’s the Big Deal?

These boot camps are pulled straight out of Halo’s history. These gauntlets allowed teams to put in the grueling hours of practice needed to perform well at events. They also allowed newer players to show their capabilities prior to events. Beyond the Sticks is hopefully the start of this kind of thing returning. It can be the start to grassroots, community-run LANs being a mainstay for competitive Halo once again.

Be sure to check out all 52 games of carnage at twitch.tv/millennialesports

 

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 Millennial Esports.

Dear Team Liquid, it’s time to change the narrative: An open letter about why we love competitive League of Legends

As a fan of competitive League of Legends since the birth of the NA LCS, what keeps me coming back season after season is the humanity of the team-based esport. When I think of my favorite moments in professional League of Legends, I do not think of the highlight plays, the flash predicting hooks nor the beautiful kiting mechanics of a skilled AD. It’s true these moments are fantastic. They are a form of high-brow art to a League of Legends fan, but even the skill of Zed v Zed play pales in emotional power to the stories these plays create.

Take a step back from the individual plays of the game, and ask yourself why you are a fan of whatever team you just bought a summoner icon for. Why do you love TSM or CLG? Why are you willing to argue with anonymous individuals online for hours over Dignitas or Cloud 9? Where do these arguments go?

It’s all about the story

CLG owner, HotshotGG, gets a henna tattoo after losing a bet to TSM owner, Reginald. Courtesy of lolesports.

For me, and for what I imagine to be the majority of the community, these arguments always end up with the discussion of the individual players. Not just that, this line of discourse tends to transcend how each player performs in game, and stretch into the personal lives of each player. Part of this is fueled by the amazing documentary crew Riot has on staff, with the production of the Drive series and Legends Rising. The ability to peer into the life of a professional esports athlete, a job most of us have fantasized about at one point, fuels the vicarious desire for our team and our favorite player to achieve victory against all odds.

It’s the story that brings us here. And it’s the constantly changing narrative that keeps us here. Think about the community’s favorite matchup, CLG v TSM. Regardless of the current standings of both of these teams, everyone knows this is the most viewed match of the season. Despite both of these teams being consistently high ranked, what brings fans to the CLG v TSM stream, is the narrative behind it. Fueled by zany characters like Reginald, paired with comic relief such as ludicrous bets, and topped off by the traditional interview trash talk; how can you not be entertained?

It’s like the scripted drama before a wrestling match, except it’s not scripted (entirely) and as a gamer, it is entirely relatable. Aphromoo, Doublelift, Bjergsen, Xmithie, Froggen, the list goes on. It’s not the silhouette of a horse nor the imagery of a minimalist helmet, that makes me a fan of Team Liquid or Immortals respectively. It’s the player who I may have been following on twitter or reading about consistently for almost five years.

Dyrus cries and we grow up

Dyrus announces his retirement in an emotional interview. Courtesy of lolesports

Take Delta Fox, North American Challenger Series Team. No one expected them to be a dominant force in the NACS, but they are without a doubt the most beloved team in NA. Why’s that? Because of their stories. One of my most memorable League of Legends moments was Dyrus’ retirement. For me, this single moment had more impact than any baron steal. Dyrus, someone who rarely shows emotion, was overcome by the changes. He felt as though his time in the professional League of Legends scene had come to an end, maybe this was due to his perceived relative skill, or some other issue entirely. The reason itself does not matter, so much as the visible distress he was under during the interview. In the face of a changing world, Dyrus undoubtedly felt lost, and chose to step down from competitive play. This was hard to watch. It was a reality check for the entire community.

The world was changing, and esports with it. What started as a group of friends creating a team in a game they all loved to play began to change. The gritty side of esports, the working gears of the revenue grinding industry has reared its ugly face. International success, domestic gains, investor returns, branding, advertising, sponsorships. These fuel the esports industry, and without them, we could never have a competitive League of Legends scene; so at the end of the day, we must be thankful, but it’s still hard to see. Perhaps this is why the community is so riveted by Delta Fox. Delta Fox marks a return of not just Dyrus, but those players we grew to know so intimately. I mean, I know the name of Imaqtpie’s cat, but I couldn’t tell you the name of my best friend’s cat to save my life. Delta Fox is a nostalgic trip into the the ‘good ol’ days’ of League of Legends when an ‘Insec’ was not a play that any Diamond player could pull off. But at the same time, Delta Fox is also a marketing campaign, which begs my next question.

Maybe the professional esports scene never changed? Maybe I just grew up. I mean, a lot has happened over these past couple of years. I’ve seen my parents grow old and distant, my hometown go from green to brown in a drought that I can no longer pinpoint the start of. I’ve seen my first love find someone else. And I’ve seen Dyrus cry.

These things have all shaped me, they’ve shaped who I am.

Every moment has the power to mold one’s identity, whether it is something as large as the death of a grandparent or as seemingly distant as a short documentary on a professional gamer. These stories become intertwined with our own; they bind together to shape our identity, influencing our interactions with others, in turn shaping them.

TL Matt and Piglet embrace optimistically for a photo. Courtesy of lolesports Flickr

Team Liquid and the underdog archetype

When Riot Games released an episode of Drive on TL Matt, I became a fan. TL Matt is the classic underdog story. Going from challenger series to LCS in three days, TL Matt’s underdog narrative explodes out of the handicaps that plagued his pre-pro days. High ping, low frames, constant crashing and obstructive parents all weighed against him. But despite the odds, the underdog support player made it to LA and is still competing for Team Liquid.

Team Liquid is devastated after another defeat. Courtesy of lolesports flickr.

It was this story that originally led me to follow TL more closely. TL Matt was a new face to the scene and he reincarnated the narratives that had originally led me to become a competitive League of Legends fan. Matt was a nobody who surged onto the stage, not through an elaborate exchange of contracts, but instead through a search for fresh talent and a bright outlook on the future. This is a story I want to follow, and I am happy that it is still going despite its ups and downs revealed in TL’s “Breaking Point”, and several substitutions made in the support role. Those substitutions bring me to the next Team Liquid narrative.

Team Liquid and the madman archetype

We have all heard the story of the man who tries to become the most powerful individual in the world. Maybe we have seen Breaking Bad (Walter White), Code Geass (Lelouch), Death Note (Light Yagami) or even Star Wars (Anakin Skywalker), we are all familiar with the archetypal protagonist who stops at nothing to accomplish everything. In doing so, this protagonist loses their humanity and their reason. They may even accomplish their goals, but at what cost.

Enter Team Liquid’s Co-founder, Steve Arhancet. Steve Arhancet has been with Team Liquid since their ignition in 2015. We know him most recently from the “Paid by Steve” meme, a meme that comments upon Steve’s tendency to substitute his players and constantly “buy” up the latest and greatest for each role. With 27 roster changes in less than two years, Team Liquid’s Steve Arhancet lusts after fame and fortune. This is nothing new, I mean who can forget this.

Steve is the only true person TL fans can call consistent, yet we know little to nothing about him aside from his drive to develop the best NALCS team at any cost. What costs has he created? Well for one, the fan base of TL is relatively low compared to other Vanguard teams. Just last week we witnessed the one TL fan in the crowd waving a “Paid by Steve” sign and cheering TL on. As the only consistent image of TL, it is Steve who must take the reigns on his own public narrative.

Currently, Steve occupies the Mad Genius Archetype. He is desperately trying to string together a top tier team while leaving a trail of destruction and burnout in his path. But this cannot be true. As one of the last remaining TL fans, we just don’t have anything else to believe. So who are you Steve? What drives you to the point of creating an almost two-hour movie called “Breaking Point” that highlighted the destruction of your own team. It can’t just be money. It can’t just be fame. the story is important. It’s what made things like “Breaking Point” and Delta Fox so intriguing, and it is what will bring TL fans back. 

So you acquired Inori, and lost Link. Tell me why I should care. Tell me you will stop replacing your team members faster than tires on a Bugatti Veyron because I’m tired of the short stories your roster creates. It’s time for a novel.

 

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Featured image courtesy of teamliquidpro.com

 

Week 4 Day 1 HCS Pro League Predictions

As the Summer Season of the HCS Pro League enters its final stretch, Week 4 begins Wednesday night. This week has several make-or-break matches, the most important of which will likely decide the top dog going into DreamHack Atlanta: OpTic Gaming vs Splyce.

Str8 Rippin vs Luminosity Gaming

Saiyan has been the spine of LG thus far. Image by Tommy Wilson.

LG (Assumed): Bradley “APG” Laws, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Joe “TriPPPeY” Taylor, Tommy “Saiyan” Wilson

Str8 (Assumed): Tim “Rayne” Tinkler, Hamza “Commonly” Abbaali, Richie “Heinz” Heinz, Dan “Danoxide” Terlizzi

LG has done well to improve their standings recently with victories over Ronin and Liquid. Unfortunately, the team was disqualified due to a roster miscommunication last week against OpTic, but that was likely to be a 3-0 anyways. Going into Week 4, LG has a good chance to further improve their standings and tie their win/loss ratio at 3-3. Str8 Rippin has been struggling and the past roster changes may have only weakened them further.

Meanwhile, this is a must-win for Str8. They’re already nearly guaranteed to be at the bottom of the bracket going into Atlanta and they will need to put the pieces together fast to avoid relegation. Str8 currently sits at 0-5. They will need to beat both LG and EnVy in order to even have a chance at improving their standing. It doesn’t look good for them.

Prediction: Luminosity Gaming 3-1 Str8 Rippin

Fantasy Picks (Fantasy HCS): Saiyan, TriPPPey, APG

 

Team EnVyUs vs Ronin Esports

Mikwen has been leading his team through the season and is looking to close out strong. Image by Halo Esports Wiki.

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

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

For nV, the Pro League thus far has contained a few unexpected defeats. That said, they’re looking to rebound against Ronin in Week 4 and have a decent chance of doing so. Despite sitting at 2-3, tied with EG and LG, nV still sits in a good spot due to their win at Daytona. On top of that, their scrim results have been improving, with impressive victories not only over Team Liquid but OpTic Gaming as well.

Ronin, on the other hand, is in a bad spot. Despite picking up eL ToWn, they haven’t been looking particularly great. Being that they’re sitting at 1-4 in the league, that’s not a great sign. While scrims have shown a little promise, this squad has continued to get dominated. Along with Str8, they’re looking like an easy team to relegate.

Prediction: Team EnVyUs 3-0 Ronin Esports

Fantasy Picks (Fantasy HCS): Mikwen, Snip3down, Huke

 

Team Liquid vs Evil Geniuses

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

Justin “Roy” Brown. Image by Halo Esports Wiki.

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

Since trading Rayne for Ace, Liquid has seen some improvement. The team went 2-0 last week and improved their overall standing to 3-2. They currently are sitting in third, behind Splyce and OpTic. Scrims have shown a tie between Liquid and Oxygen Supremacy but the squad was dominated 2-9 by EnVy.

EG, on the other hand, is running into their usual problem: lack of practice. With nail-biting, game five losses to both Splyce and Team EnVyUs, the potential of this squad is apparent. This is the best EG has looked since X-Games 2016. Over the past week, they have shown a bit more consistency in scrims, despite both of their match-ups being losses. If the EG that nearly took down Splyce shows up, we could have a great series on our hands.

Prediction: Evil Geniuses 3-2 Team Liquid

Fantasy Picks (Fantasy HCS): StelluR, Eco, Tapping Buttons

 

Splyce vs OpTic Gaming

Shotzzy and Renegade have been the tip of the spear for Splyce. Image by Halo Waypoint.

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

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

This match is big. Both of these teams are tied for 1st place in the league with a 5-0 record. This match will likely decide which team takes the first seed into Atlanta.

Splyce has had a few close calls. They only narrowly beat out EnVy and EG but have shown that their firepower is not to be trifled with. However, Splyce hasn’t even scrimmaged over the past week. That lack of practice may not allow this series to be as close as many want.

OpTic continues to avenge their Daytona loss through the league. They have appeared unstoppable, with only nV coming close to beating them. In fact, their only scrim loss was to nV and that can be chalked up to just a bad day.

However, if Splyce shows up and plays well, this series gets a lot closer, possibly even becoming a coin-toss.

Prediction: OpTic Gaming 3-1 Splyce

Fantasy Picks (Fantasy HCS): Anyone from OpTic. Maybe Renegade or Shotzzy.

Week 4 is huge for everyone, as seeds will begin to be set in stone. Do you disagree with any of the predictions? What matches do you think will be close and be the best to watch? Be sure to participate in the discussion!

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 ESL Halo.

 

 

Peacemaker: A misfit among coaches

Luis “peacemaker” Tadeu has been a coach for many teams, but in such a short amount of time. This has caused controversy, but on the other side of the coin has caused many to respect him. Today, I’m going to detail his journey as a coach and how he got to where he is today.

Tempo Storm/Games Academy

Peacemaker started his journey as a coach in Games Academy. Although, not really given any recognition until later into his time with Tempo Storm, he had been the in-game-leader of the team since being added.

Photo by: hltv.org

Having a huge impact in the North American scene as well as their entrance onto the international stage, peacemaker led the Brazilian team to the top of the rankings in NA. Before this, the only time we heard of them was when they took a map off of Cloud9 at the RGN Pro Series LAN back in November of 2015. The next time we heard of them was when Luminosity took Lincoln “fnx” Lau and Epitácio “TACO” de Melo from Games Academy, leaving them with Ricardo “boltz” Prass who later became their star player.

After qualifying for the MLG Major Qualifier over Winterfox, GA were picked up by Tempo Storm, taking peacemaker with them. From this point, Tempo Storm was able to make the quarterfinals of IEM Katowice 2016. They then won the CEVO Gfinity Pro-League Season 9 Finals later on against the Danish SK Gaming. 

A week after winning the CEVO LAN, Tempo Storm dropped peacemaker from their lineup. Most people thought that we wouldn’t be seeing much of peacemaker on a non Brazilian team.

Team Liquid

Six days after being dropped by Tempo Storm, Liquid picked up peacemaker as their new coach. Mind you, this isn’t during the time they had their lineup with Oleksandr “simple” Kostyliev and Josh “jdm64” Marzano. This was Liquid’s lineup with a dysfunctional Kenneth “Koosta” Suen and misplaced Eric “adreN” Hoag.

Joining Liquid, peacemaker had a tough task in front of him. A week after his addition, his team had to play ELEAGUE Season One. In their group was LG/SK, Cloud9, and Renegades. They left Atlanta that week with zero maps won. Coming close on some maps, but otherwise being blown out of the water. This is where peacemaker learned how much work he had to do. ELEAGUE was the only LAN he coached while Koosta and adreN were on the squad.

Two weeks before the ECS Season One finals, Liquid announced that they would be playing with jdm and s1mple at ECS and ESL One Cologne 2016. They also announced that s1mple is only standing in, and that they are picking up a rifler for after Cologne. This player was later revealed to be Jacob “Pimp” Winneche. With this lineup, peacemaker had the best North American AWPer, one one of the best players in the world and one of the best in North America.

Photo by: hltv.org

Coming out of ECS, Liquid had flashes of brilliance, but there were still issues that needed to be worked on. Leading into Cologne, Liquid had a bootcamp where peacemaker was able to work with the team. Contrast to only having less than two weeks to prepare for ECS, peacemaker had more time on top of that for Cologne. Their result speaks for itself. The time and effort put into the bootcamp was used well, giving them the strategies and power to make the finals of a Major.

After the Major and when they finally had Pimp on their lineup, Valve banned coaches from talking during a round. This was not only a huge blow to the whole scene, this was a massive step back for Liquid. They lost their only in-game-leader, and leader in general. This shone brightly from the time of the announcement to the end of peacemaker’s time in Liquid.

Liquid would only attend one more LAN until peacemaker left; while they had a decent placing at ESL One New York, everything else around the team was a pile of crap. They failed to qualify for ELEAGUE Season Two, losing a Bo3 to Echo Fox. Along with that they played pretty bad in EPL’s 4th season, only qualifying due to the fact that Renegades couldn’t attend the finals. Shortly after EPL ended, peacemaker had left the team on his own terms.

OpTic Gaming

When Spencer “Hiko” Martin was announced to be playing for OpTic as a stand-in, the same was the case for peacemaker in the coaching position. Almost immediately, OpTic played Dreamhack Masters Las Vegas. While they did have a decent start to the tournament, upsetting North, they faltered and ended up losing out in the group stage. While many, myself included, gave the team the benefit of the doubt as they didn’t have long to prepare, they didn’t show much anywhere else even a while after the event.

Photo by: hltv.org

OpTic’s second LAN under peacemaker was IEM Katowice 2017, an event where peacemaker saw his first success a year prior. This year, it was the complete opposite. OpTic ended the tournament 0-5, not winning a single map in the group stage.

Almost two weeks after Katowice, peacemaker was cut from OpTic. It was announced that the players just didn’t like the style that peacemaker used.

Misfits

Four days after the entrance of their French duo, peacemaker joined the team as their Head Coach. His first long term team with a proper leader, Sean “sgares” Gares. While in the online season of EPL, peacemaker wasn’t able to make much impact as the season was almost over. But, Misfits were able to participate in qualifiers for some LANs.

They were able to qualify for Dreamhack Tours and the Americas Minor. But, they fell trying to qualify for Dreamhack Summer and ESL One Cologne. Qualifying for Tours was definitely a good thing for them though, as François “AmeNEk” Delauney and David “devoduvek” Dobrosavljevic were able to play on home soil.

Photo by: hltv.org

Coming in to Dreamhack Tours, Misfits fell in their first match to Natus Vincere. But on the second day, Misfits came back swinging. Upsetting both Heroic and Na’Vi in Bo3s to make the semifinals against Hellraisers, who they fell against. At this event, whether it was a joint effort from peacemaker and Sean, or just the sheer firepower from Shahzeb “Shahzam” Khan, this lineup was working for peacemaker.

The weeks leading into the Americas Minor was rough for Misfits. Not only was Sean unable to attend due to his wedding, Misfits benched Shahzam the weekend before the event. This was an issue, a big one. Misfits already lost their in-game-leader for the event, and now their best player has been benched. Immediately the community came to blame peacemaker for the decision. While the public only knows that Shahzam was benched due to no commitment to a bootcamp. Speaking to peacemaker himself, I was also told there were other internal issues surrounding Shahzam.

Immediately the community came to hate and blame peacemaker for the decision to bench Shahzam. Him saying that it wasn’t only his decision fueled the fire even more. Since then, the situation has been solved.

Originally I had said that peacemaker had lost his position as Head Coach, which is wrong. Peacemaker has corrected me and told me that he is still the Head Coach of the team. Making note that tweet from Misfit’s owner was badly worded.

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