Rocket League World Cup

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

Event

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

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

Rocket League World Cup

Image courtesy of amazon.co.u

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

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

Countries

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

Asia

  • Japan: ReaLize, Lime, Nemoto

EU

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

NA

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

OCE

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

SA

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

Theatrics

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

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

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

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

Future

Rocket League World Cup

Image courtesy of mashable.com

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

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

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


You can ‘Like The Game Haus Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for more esports and sports coverage. 

Amazon subsidiary Twitch and Blizzard make a deal: Twitch to host APEX and Premier Series, Prime users get free loot

On June 20, Twitch announced a deal with Blizzard, owner and creator of Overwatch. As part of this deal, Twitch will host two of the biggest Overwatch tournaments: the APEX League and Premier Series, along with other Blizzard esports tournaments. Further, Twitch Prime users will get a lot of free loot.

This is a great moment for Overwatch players and fans. But this deal was not just created for them. When you look behind the curtain, you’ll find Amazon’s marketing team hard at work.

Twitch is currently a subsidiary of Amazon.com, who has been increasingly expanding into the esports market over the last several years. In 2010, Amazon bought Reflexive Entertainment. Two years later, it developed Amazon Game Studios as a subsidiary specializing in game development. 2014 saw Amazon make a strong commitment toward the esports industry. In that year, it merged Reflexive Entertainment into Amazon Game Studios in 2014 and it purchased both Double Helix Games and Twitch as well.

Twitch began almost as an accident, but in less than a decade it has become the go-to streaming source for esports tournaments, streaming, and other content. Currently, it’s viewing services are free to anyone, while a Twitch Prime membership is available at an extra cost. This membership allows viewers to skip past all the ads and receive special in-game content in several games.

But there’s a catch.

The Deal

You can only get a Twitch Prime membership with an Amazon Prime membership. Now that doesn’t seem like a big deal. After all, Amazon Prime includes thousands of movies and TV shows, millions of ad-free songs, and unlimited free two-day shipping on all eligible purchases. Twitch Prime just seems like an added benefit. But Amazon now appears to be using this benefit as a marketing tool to draw esports fans to purchase its Prime service by offering a free Overwatch Gold Loot Box, which includes at least one legendary item to anyone who purchases by August 10.

As most players know, items in Overwatch rank as either Standard (White), Rare (Blue), Epic (Purple) or Legendary (Orange). Standard items are most common and Legendary are the least, appearing only 2.55% of the time. To be assured of a free legendary item is a big deal. Amazon/Twitch seem to be using this as a means of marketing to Overwatch fans. And the gifts/marketing don’t stop there.

Twitch Prime users will also receive 10 free Standard Loot Boxes over the coming months. These might not contain a legendary item, but it’s certainly another incentive to try out that free Amazon Prime membership they keep advertising. The current price of 11 loot boxes is $9.99, only $1 less than the $10.99 monthly membership of Amazon Prime. But giving away 10 loot boxes, or even more than that, won’t hurt Amazon in the long run. These are, after all, virtual products. No packaging. No shipping. No assembling. Just pure profit.

As the esports industry continues to expand, this deal between Twitch and Blizzard is not just meant to benefit long-time fans. It is a promotional opportunity for Amazon to market toward a growing demographic and give esports players and fans a reason to buy their monthly service.

And the deal goes even farther than Overwatch.

Blizzard is also the owner and creator of many other games which will be receiving the Twitch treatment. Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm players can also expect to receive free gifts and in-game content from their Twitch Prime accounts as well. And Twitch will be hosting 18 other esports tournaments including Heroes of the Storm Global Championship, StarCraft II World Championship Series, Hearthstone Championship Tour and Global Games, and World of Warcraft Arena Championship. These are some of the most watched esports tournaments every year.

Amazon has spent billions entering the esports industry, and they are going to do everything they can to make their investment pay off. Purchasing Twitch alone cost the company $970 million. The Blizzard-Twitch deal is just one of many avenues in which Amazon is slowing becoming a major player in this growing market.

By hosting their tournaments through Twitch and giving free virtual gifts to players of many different Blizzard esports, Amazon is poised to become a major player in the esports industry. With a large and growing influence over some of the biggest tournaments, Amazon will gain huge amounts of advertisement revenue during these tournaments with an increasing number of mediums. Even the longtime haters of Amazon may soon become avid devotees.


You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers.

Image: entrepreneur.com

Team USA annihilates Team Canada in E3’s Overwatch show-match, but was it a mistake?

On June 15, Team U.S.A. and Team Canada played against each other in a tournament hosted by E3, one of the largest gaming conventions in the world. An hour and 15 minutes later, Team U.S.A. had annihilated their opponent, sweeping all four games. But this victory was not without controversy.

While Team U.S.A. featured much greater overall teamplay, the organizers favored U.S.A. in subtle but important ways.

 

Teamplay: An Important Contribution to Team U.S.A.’s Victory

Matt “CoolMatt69” Iorio is interviewed after a crushing victory over Canada in game one. Courtesy of Twitch

Players chosen for international tournaments are the best of the best from each country. But being the best does not always mean you can play well with others. This was evident during yesterday’s tournament.

While Team U.S.A. worked as a cohesive whole, Team Canada did not. This was most evident when we look at how members of each team communicated with each other. Each player from U.S.A. displayed an immediate trust of one another committing themselves to objectives and targets that benefited the whole team.

Canada, however, featured a wide array of miscommunication. Instead of following through on clear objectives together, the players failed to communicate efficiently. For example, D.Va and Winston could not get on the same page, often leading to one of their deaths. Targets were not marked efficiently, and there was an obvious lack of commitment to the match and to each 

other.

 

Canada in the Shadows

Lack of communication was not the only reason for Canada’s loss. Hosted by American cell phone carrier T-Mobile, there seemed an obvious bias in favor of U.S.A. throughout the match.

And this was evident before the game even began.

When both teams were being introduced, much more time and attention was paid to U.S.A. while Canada was forced to sit in the shadows. This is not necessarily unusual. After all, the host country is often favored in international showings.

But the events that followed proved that there was much more going on than a little hometown taunting. For example, U.S.A.’s players were set up in a nice shady spot while Canada’s team was forced to sit in the hot sun. This left the Canadian player to deal with two disadvantages: the discomfort of the heat and the glare of the sun. As a result, U.S.A. had a significant and unfair advantage during the entire course of the tournament.

This could have just been chalked up to poor planning by T-Mobile and other organizers, but the list of advantages given to U.S.A. stretches even longer.

 

To Pause or Not to Pause?

During the pause, Mangachu expresses his thoughts.
Courtesy of Twitch

On Lijang Tower: Control Center, the last map in the match, Team U.S.A. requested a pause for Jay “Sinatraa” Won, who was experiencing some technical difficulties. This was normal enough as teams typically receive pauses to correct for such problems.

What was abnormal was that the pause revealed in-game chat in which Canadian player Mangachu was complaining about how U.S.A. received a pause while his country did not. While Mangachu may have been stretching the truth in some way, information that came in after the game suggests otherwise.

 

 

Can Canada Get a Break?

Roolf and Agilities swap roles on Dorado, much to the confusion of the casters

Team Canada’s disorganization may at first sight seem to be the result of poor decisions like switching Brady “Agilities” Girardi to healer while giving their star healer Randal “Roolf” Stark the spot of DPS. But this poor mistake makes much more sense given Lane “Surefour” Robert’s after-game comments when he revealed that Team Canada’s PCs were under-performing.

He stated that Agilities’ computer had severe FPS lag and that he could not play DPS at a pro-level. As a result, he gave the role to Roolf who had a playable framerate. Surefour claimed that each computer was running over 100 FPS less than the optimal amount.

With such a low framerate and a refusal by T-Mobile and E3 to grant a pause to correct the mistake, Team U.S.A.’s various advantages appear to be more than coincidence.

 

Conclusion

While the USA deserves credit for their victory over Canada, the advantages given to them by T-Mobile and E3 cannot be overlooked.

The Casters, Ster and Jason Kaplan, discuss what’s wrong with Canada.
Courtesy of Twitch

Still, it would be unfair to say that these organizers purposefully placed U.S.A. at an advantage. Nonetheless, these mistakes could have been easily avoided or remedied, and the failure to do so shows a lack of competence by organizers.

While we look forward to the upcoming Overwatch World Cup, we must be wary of such organizational mistakes. If esports are ever to receive the same respect traditional sports receive, our tournaments must be better organized. Perhaps as fans and players of Overwatch, we need to demand that Blizzard creates a set of rules or guidelines for future tournaments in order to maintain fairness throughout gameplay.


You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers.

Three takeaways from the HCS Summer League thus far

The third week of the HCS Summer League has ended, and the top three picture is starting to become clearer. These are three observations of the Summer Season before we enter the final week of competition.

 

Semantics Really Matter, Apparently

Fans who had tuned into the second day of Pro League week three play were met with an extended delay early-on. The match countdown timer had ended and instead replaced by a “We’ll be back” graphic. The series was set to feature teams Luminosity Gaming and OpTic Gaming, and likely would have drawn in a larger crowd. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins of Luminosity is a popular streamer on Twitch, and OpTic is the undisputed best team in Halo 5. Fans were eager to see how the new addition to Luminosity, Ryan “RyaNoob” Gettes, would perform in his second Pro League outing.

When the casters finally returned, some-30 minutes later, they explained to the audience that Luminosity would be forfeiting the match. The reason for the forfeit being that Luminosity had only requested a substitute player for one match, not two. The team is using the term “substitute” for RyaNoob, as he has yet to officially sign with Luminosity.

Ninja clarified his intentions on Twitter, which seem perfectly logical.

It’s disappointing, but surprising to see a match with the potential to bring in viewers be dealt with in such a way. OpTic probably would have won the series anyways, but that is beside the point. ESL have seen their fair share of criticism from the Halo community. Situations like this certainly do not help.

 

EnVyUs Should Avoid Game 5 Like the Plague

Team EnVyUs could be having a drastically different season right now. Currently at 2-3, EnVy is in a tough spot. They find themselves among two other capable teams in the throes of uncertain Pro League placement. It’s no question that EnVy is a better team than Evil Geniuses or Luminosity. But to an outsider, they may just seem like another average team taking up a middling spot in the top eight.

So just what happened, exactly?

In week one of Pro League play, EnVy squared off against OpTic gaming. EnVy had just embarrassed OG at HCS Atlanta, and was riding high. After jumping out to a 2-0 series lead, the series looked all but over for OpTic. Except it wasn’t.

OpTic caught fire, and stunned EnVy with three back-to-back wins, taking the series. EnVy had every opportunity to close the series, but couldn’t. The loss put EnVy in a hole early, and set the tone for OpTic to win four more consecutive Pro League series.

EnVy’s face-off against Splyce in week three painted a similar picture, just without the demoralizing reverse-sweep. The series went back-and-forth, with neither team claiming too much momentum. The two squads eventually arrived at game five, where Splyce would narrowly emerge victorious.

If EnVy were able to take each series, they’d be at a comfortable 4-1, and likely tied for the top spot. A placement that provides a much clearer demonstration of their true ability. Although this isn’t the case, there’s no reason why it can’t be. EnVy plays both Ronin Esports and Str8 Rippin next week, who are the 7th and 8th seeded teams. Two wins against these vulnerable squads may elevate EnVy into the top three.

 

The OpTic vs. Splyce Showdown is Going to Be Epic

OpTic Gaming is a team that needs no introduction. They’re the back-to-back World Champs and the most dominant force in Halo 5. The roster monopolizes the “Top 5 Players” discussion, and they belong to one of the biggest orgs in esports.

Bubu dubu of Splyce. Image by FantasyHCS.

 

Splyce, on the other hand, is a different story. After having their Pro League spot essentially stolen, Jesse “bubu dubu” Moeller and crew made a grueling trek through the amateur Halo scene, wiping the floor with nearly every AM team as they went. Splyce went on to place top six at the Halo World Championship and secured their place in the big leagues.

Splyce only got better with the acquisition of power slayer Jonathan “Renegade” Willette, who helped them secure a top four finish at HCS Daytona. Since qualifying for the Summer Pro League, they have all but demolished the competition. Both a hyper-aggressive playstyle and slaying prowess have carried Splyce to five straight victories in the Pro League.

When these two teams meet up next week, it will surely be the most exciting Pro League series thus far. While it’s nearly impossible to predict an outcome for the series, Halo fans can be assured that it will be far from boring.

 

Featured Image by TeamBeyond.net

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 Garrett! Get in touch with Garrett personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @gbSTATUS!

MSI Semifinals 2017: Team WE v. G2 Esports

MSI: Team WE vs. G2 Esports Preview

Saturday May 20, 2017, the second semifinals match of MSI will be underway. Team WE will face off against G2 Esports for a spot in the finals. Both teams have exhibited their fair share of stellar and underwhelming performances throughout the tournament. They will be doing their best to shore up the weak spots and study their opponents in order to reach peak performance. This best-of-five series will be all or nothing.

Team WE

The LPL representatives have made it through MSI with a 7-3 record, just below SKT. They dropped games to TSM, SKT, and GAM. Every player has had standout performances throughout the tournament. Team WE will be favored to win in this match-up, since they defeated G2 in both of their Group Stage bouts.

How They Win

WE outclasses G2 in almost every statistic. Gold difference at 15 minutes (+1,047/-342), first three turrets (80 percent/10 percent), dragon control (47 percent/30 percent) and baron control (54 percent/38 percent) all heavily favor the Chinese team.

In both of their victories against G2, WE drafted Ashe for Jin “Mystic” Sung-jun and Malzahar for Nam “Ben” Dong-hyun. WE’s jungler, Xiang “Condi” Ren-Jie, massacred Kim “Trick” Gang-Yun in the early game. Su “Xiye” Han-Wei played AP diver-assassins LeBlanc and Kassadin. And Ke “957” Changyu has been most impactful on tanky disruptors, particularly Kled.

All of these pieces come together to form a bursty pick composition. Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen was most often caught out by Enchanted Crystal Arrow, Nether Grasp, Explosive Cask, or Chaaaaaaaarge!!! and deleted before he was able to output enough damage. Team WE should maintain this draft strategy and playstyle, because G2 does not seem to have an answer at the moment.

Both wins were secured between 28 and 31 minutes. Team WE took first turret in both matches, which led to the first three turrets in just under 20 minutes. They then proceeded to take baron between 21 and 25 minutes, which allowed WE to break G2’s base and win. In their first game, G2 secured one tower and one dragon. In the follow-up match, WE did not allow them to take any towers or dragons.

How They Lose

Karma and Nami are champion picks that stick out in Team WE’s losses. Xiye lost both games when taking Karma to the mid lane, and Ben lost both games when playing Nami support. 957 looked weak on top lane Jayce, as well. The individuals cannot be fully to blame, but it seems like a good idea to keep these picks on the bench for now.

All of WE’s losses came off the back of sub-30-minute barons secured by their opponent. Against TSM, the gold difference never rose to more than 2,000 until they took a baron. From there, TSM closed out the game, taking a second baron and only ceding 4 kills. Team WE was leading SKT by 2,100 gold at 22 minutes, but Han “Peanut” Wang-ho landed a baron steal. SKT broke their base, took a second baron and won. Team WE’s loss to GAM was mostly due to Đỗ “Levi” Duy Khánh’s Kha’Zix getting fed a triple kill around 10 minutes.

If WE gives over baron, their chances of losing are high. When viewing statistics for the four semifinal teams, their win rates align with their first baron rates. This objective is pivotal to their playstyle. Properly pressuring around baron was a main catalyst for drawing in G2 and picking off key carries. However, if WE is sloppy in clearing vision or shot-calling around Smite, then it could spell disaster.

Player To Watch

Team WE’s top laner, 957

Team WE’s victory will rely heavily on 957 in the top lane. They have won every game that he has drafted Kled, and he has maintained a 27.0 KDA with the champion. On the other hand, his single Jayce game fed TSM their first 5 kills. G2’s Ki “Expect” Dae-Han is not necessarily the same carry threat that SKT or TSM have. WE will rely on 957 to repeat the masterful disruption he exhibited against G2 in their prior match-ups.

G2 Esports

Making it into semifinals by the skin of its teeth is G2 Esports. The EU LCS representatives finished the Group Stage with a 4-6 record, only picking up wins against Flash Wolves (2), GIGABYTE Marines (1), and TSM (1). Seeing as they lost both matches against Team WE, they are the underdog in this best-of-five series.

How They Win

G2’s victories varied drastically from each other. Three of the four wins were secured 42 minutes or later, and allowed the enemy team to secure at least one baron. Two of those three late-game wins involved G2 falling behind 8,000-9,000 gold at some point. The only champions drafted in multiple wins were Caitlyn, Nunu, and Orianna.

In all of their wins, Zven had two or fewer deaths and had a gold lead on the enemy AD Carry. It is obvious that he is their primary carry threat. G2 lost both games that he drafted Ashe. Zven only has wins on Caitlyn, Twitch, and Kog’Maw thus, G2’s draft will need to revolve around these champions. Ivern, Lulu, Karma, and Orianna have at least 50 percent win rates for G2 thus far. Combining multiple enchanters into the draft may allow Zven to break even through the early game and fully carry in the mid-late game.

Luka “Perkz” Perković has also been a consistent source of damage throughout MSI. Mid lane is arguably the most stacked position at the tournament, and Perkz has been going toe-to-toe with some of the best in the world. He has been averaging 28.8 percent of G2’s damage, the highest among all mid laners (second highest overall behind Zven). Putting Perkz on a champion that can control side waves, particularly Fizz, could be a good back-up if Orianna is banned.

How They Lose

There are several situations that G2 should avoid. Keep Trick off of Lee Sin, he failed horribly twice on the champion. Also, they should not draft Ashe for Zven or Zyra for Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez. Zven needs to be able to output immense damage, and Mithy plays much better on protective champions. Even Tahm Kench or Braum are preferable to Zyra if Lulu or Karma are unavailable.

If Trick continues to have poor early games, then this will most surely be G2’s defeat. Trick has the second lowest KDA and the second highest death share of all players at the tournament. He also has the lowest average damage of all junglers at the event.

While their best strategy generally results in early deficits, G2 will need to play intelligently between 15 and 30 minutes. Team WE’s average game time is over 5 minutes shorter than G2’s, which means if they cede 4,000-6,000 gold leads, then it will be highly unlikely for G2 to win.

Player To Watch

G2 Esport’s top laner, Expect

Expect has been putting up some big games this tournament. He has maintained a 3.7 KDA while only contributing 11.9 percent of G2’s deaths. The top laner has secured wins on Jayce, Gragas, Shen, and Nautilus. G2 also released a video of the final shot-calling from their win over TSM, showing the team’s faith in Expect.

The flip side is that Expect has some of the lowest damage of the top laners at the tournament, and his kill participation is low compared to 957. G2 will need him to be more involved as a proactive member of the team, matching 957’s map movements. Perkz and Zven can pump out the damage. Mithy can shield and provide vision. And Trick is under-performing. Expect may be the biggest factor that could turn this match-up on its head.

Prediction

Unless the stars align, and G2 are able to draft a true “protect the ADC” composition, then Team WE will skunk them 3-0. Trick got steamrolled by Condi in both of their Group Stage games. Mystic and Ben have been performing well enough to keep up with Zven and Mithy. Expect and 957 will most likely be trying to execute similar strategies, but 957 has proven to be more successful up to this point. Perkz matches up against Xiye pretty well, but the synergy among the entire team is heavily in WE’s favor.


Player/Champion Statistics: Oracle’s Elixir

All Images: LoL Esports Photos

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 Thomas

The Evil Geniuses – Lost and Found

The most shocking result of the inaugural CWL Global Pro League has to be Evil Geniuses topping their group last weekend. The squad consisting of Jeremy “StuDyy” Astacio, Anthony “NAMELESS” Wheeler, Jared “Nagafen” Harrell and Colt “Havok” McLendon not only surprised the majority of the community and analysts by qualifying for the playoffs but also in the fashion that they did it. Despite being the last team to secure their spot in the Pro League, alongside starting their weekend with a 0-6 map count, they would turn the tide in their favor with a string or remarkable results.

However, since this Evil Geniuses line up was conceived, the team has finish eighth at best on LAN, leaving newer viewers wondering where this new form came from. Even though these players have only just regained the limelight, Evil Geniuses consists of a few of our most storied Call of Duty professionals. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the history of these players.

Anthony “NAMELESS” Wheeler

NAMELESS is the captain of this team, and rightly so. The man is a veteran player with his competitive history starting further back than Modern Warfare 3. Known for his aggressive assault rifle play, he has attained a championship in nearly every single iteration of Call of Duty. His most successful year was with Team EnVyUs during Call of Duty: Ghosts, where he had two first place finishes alongside second at the Call of Duty World Championship. Back in Ghosts, on maps such as Freight, he was able to apply pressure across the map using the Remington R5, the strongest assault rifle, so it’s no surprise that when he picked up the KBAR this past weekend the team started to gain more success. The weapon enabled him to play still play outside the hill but also in and around it where he can, as the leader, more easily affect the flow of the game.

NAMELESS built this roster for Evil Geniuses’ return to Call of Duty. [Source: Evil Geniuses]

Experience is a must have for any leader to succeed and it was on show in the Global Pro League. There’s no way a team comes back from such a defeating first day without a leader capable of calming his players’ emotions. It is clear that NAMELESS was a huge determining factor in his team’s comeback the following day.

Jeremy “StuDyy” Astacio

StuDyy first broke out in Call of Duty: Ghosts and quickly became a highly sought after player. This landed him a spot on Team EnVyUs where he would first join forces with NAMELESS. The then star player was a contributing factor in nV’s second place finish at the World Championship, only falling to the demigod compLexity roster. During the same season, he would take his only first place finish at UMG Dallas with a Denial squad packed with youngsters. The man has been gunning for a championship ever since.

Originally being a star player, StuDyy has become an inconsistent player who could reach incredible highs or simply not do enough. However, now that he has Havok on his team, he can take on a more consistent role. This means that he does not feel as if he has to be a playmaker and can play as a second star who will turn up when needed.

One of StuDyy’s all-time peaks was at MLG Anaheim in Black Ops 3 where he almost single headedly took down FaZe Clan in a shock result. It was a true display of skill and I hope that in Infinite Warfare he can give us more moments like these.

Jared “Nagafen” Harrell

A piece of the near Cinderella story at the Call of Duty Championship 2015, Nagafen seems to have been unlucky in love with his lineups since the humongous feat. Team Revenge broke up after being unable to qualify for the MLG Pro League and Nagafen has not been on a stable roster until now. He has had notable placings, but the championships still elude him. The exceptionally strong Search and Destroy player is well aware of his ability to outplay his opponents.

Within the Evil Geniuses team, as long as he performs in the SnD, Nagafen should be able to play a kind of support off-role in the respawns to attain his team the victory. This type of player needs time within a team to find his footing, and maybe that time is now.

Nagafen competing with Prophecy at Gfinity Masters where he placed second. [Source: Gfinity]

Colt “Havok” McLendon

The last puzzle piece is one of Call of Duty’s only premier Twitch streamers. Havok has come under flak before due to showcasing his talents on stream and not being able to translate it onto the stage. However, this is something that takes time and, similarly to Nagafen, is more likely to build up on a stable roster. Havok is a player that can do it all – Search and Destroy, Hardpoint and Uplink – he is so skilled that just his ability to out-aim can carry him through matches.

After winning smaller LANs with iSolation eSports in Advanced Warfare, Havok earned his big shot on Cloud9 in Black Ops 3, only for the team to continuously fight in relegation. Hopefully, by being in Evil Geniuses since the start of Infinite Warfare eventually, he can be a consistent player that can be relied on in big moments.

Havok was ecstatic to make it into the Pro League. Watch Evil Geniuses’ video below about their crucial qualifying match.

Conclusion

This Evil Genius team has always had potential. They have tier one players, it’s just that they were left out of the roster shuffle at the start of the season. It’s quite obvious that the likes of StuDyy and NAMELESS have never played with the style of Nagafen or Havok, and so it has taken them a lengthy amount of time to band together. After such a long time, and due to earning the first seed, it’s likely we’ll see a strong playoff run from this squad. These guys are never far from the top and there might even be a championship for them just around the corner.


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

ELEAGUE Being Nominated for an Emmy and What It Means for Esports

OpTic Gaming at the ELEAGUE Road to Vegas Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Championship, courtesy of Interantional Business Times

The Nomination

Counter-Strike may have the oldest competitive esports scene. It dates all the way back to 2001 with Counter-Strike 1.6. The Professional circuit has taken many forms over the years. The most typical being online tournaments and offline LAN’s. Among the most popular online gaming tournaments is ELEAGUE.

VP’s PashaBiceps, courtesy of Gfinity.com

If you were keeping a close eye on professional Counter-Strike, you will remember that earlier last year, Counter-Strike made huge leaps for esports. ELEAGUE made a deal with TBS, where TBS agreed to broadcast ELEAGUE matches.

It raised a lot of eye-brows when CS:GO finally made its way to television. In the beginning, many network executives were speculative of the interest and profitability in esports, and they saw taking this chance as an easy, low-risk way to text out the model.

I’m sure none of the executives would have expected in their wildest dreams to have the show nominated for an Emmy. The title they are being nominated for is: Outstanding Studio Design/Art Direction. Not necessarily for anything of huge importance, but the recognition alone is huge.

 

What It Means for Esports

Ever since competitive gaming has come around, it has seen small amounts of discrimination from typical forms of entertainment. Almost as if gaming was frowned upon as a “lower” form of entertainment associated with basement dwellers. What is amazing about this nomination is that it shows that people are ready to change and see esports in a better light.

nV’s KennyS, courtesy of wiki.teamliquid.net

Not only will people begin to respect it more, but it encourages more esports television deals. ELEAGUE’s deal with TBS was mutually successful. This can be an example to look back on for future networks signing deals. More networks will begin to see the profitability in esports, signing more deals to get more games on the air.

Big companies are already beginning to see the profitability of esports and video gaming in general. Amazon recently purchased Twitch.tv (a popular video game streaming website) and have already begun monetizing the viewership with a new subscription service.

As time moves on, more and more organizations will begin to pick up on this source of income and will want to get in on it before it’s too late. These steps are huge for esports and can help cultivate a better community by helping it grow.

 

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 Bryan!

Halo World Championship Finals Regional Preview: Australia and Latin America

The Halo World Championship Finals begin in just two short days. So far, this regional preview series has covered the best North American and best European teams. Because both Australia and Latin America are sending one team each, this final installment will merge both regions. At the 2016 Halo World Championship, both regions failed to crack the top 8. Both teams have spent the better part of a year practicing for their chance to win big. Is 2017 the year an Australian or Latin American team will raise the HWC trophy, or will these regions fall short yet again?

 

Australia: Team Immunity

Roster: Aaron “Benno” Bennett, Teddy “Junior” Joe Jr., Daniel “Seduce” Franken, Matthew “Voltage” Barker

Led by Australian Halo veteran Benno, Team Immunity will attend the HWC Finals with a roster identical to their 2016 showing. The team faced a crisis last year, with an injury sidelining former player Matt “Heff” Hefren. Just days before the biggest Halo tournament in history, Team Immunity was scrambling for a fourth player. The Australian squad hoped for the best, quickly acquiring rookie player Junior, but it unfortunately wasn’t enough.

Benno and Team Immunity. Courtesy of RespawnNinja

In the group stage, Immunity were swept by two red-hot North American teams, eLevate and Denial eSports. They failed to make bracket play, with their only win being a sweep over European team FAB Games eSports. Although disheartening given the circumstance, this shock lit a fire under Immunity for the 2017 HWC Finals. They were better than their placing, and they knew it.

Team Immunity’s road to the 2017 HWC Finals began in early 2017, with a series of online tournaments, concluding with an Online Regional Qualifier in Februrary. The eight-team qualifier featured the best Australian Halo teams, all fighting for one trip to the 2017 HWC Finals. With last years’ shortcomings on their minds, Immunity demolished all obstacles in their path.

The team swept their way into the Grand Final for a face-off with Gryffindor, but were not slowing down any time soon. A flawless 4-0 victory in the Grand Finals awarded Team Immunity with a ticket to the 2017 HWC Finals, and a massive weight off the shoulders of Benno and crew.

This weekend, Immunity seeks to build on their successes at home, and face the strongest competition in the world. Placed in Group C with North American titans Team EnVyUs, and LCQ Champs Splyce, it seems that they’ve got their work cut out for them. Look for Benno and the rest of Immunity to try catching these teams off-guard, as they battle for a spot in the Championship Bracket.

 

Latin America: SoaR Gaming

Roster: Irving “Drift” Ramírez, Atzin “Atzo” Pulido, Carlos “Bullet” Marlasca, Gilbert “MuNoZ” Muñoz

Munoz hopes to lead SoaR to victory. Courtesy of Twitter @elevateMunoz

SoaR Gaming, formerly Shock the World, has had an interesting week. First, the team acquired Halo veteran MuNoZ after losing Josbe “Tapping Buttons” Valadez to visa issues. Then, the Shock the World roster was acquired by esports organization SoaR Gaming for the HWC Finals. Although MuNoZ brings leadership and experience to the team, can they adjust in enough time to perform well this weekend?

SoaR Gaming began their journey to the HWC Finals by competing at the Mexico City HWC 2017 Qualifier. After barely edging out MuNoZ former team, Aztek Gaming, in Winners Bracket Round 3, SoaR cruised into the Grand Final. A charged-up Synergy Gaming roster proved no match for SoaR, as they defeated the fellow Latin American squad 4-2.

The victory in Mexico City punched SoaR Gaming’s tickets to California, but has left more questions than answers. Will MuNoZ HWC experience be enough to keep team composure? Can SoaR overcome European powerhouse FAB Games, or NA veterans Str8 Rippin in Group D? Can the squad adjust without teammate, Tapping Buttons?

Chosen Squad, the 2016 HWC Latin American team, won only a single game in pool play. On the other hand, the 2017 Latin American team is an entirely new roster. SoaR gaming is well-aware that they are the underdogs heading into the 2017 HWC Finals. Look for the team to unite under MuNoZ as they try to make a miracle run this weekend.

 

Conclusion

This concludes the regional preview series for the 2017 Halo World Championship Finals!  As we approach the beginning of the action, the teams are making their final preparations. Which teams will fall short of expectations, and which will rise to the occasion? Be sure to watch the action unfold this weekend at twitch.tv/halo.

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 Garrett! Get in touch with Garrett personally to talk more HCS and see more articles by following him on Twitter @gbSTATUS!

Pokémon VGC Content Creator Spotlight – Who You Should Watch

The amount of Pokémon VGC YouTube and streaming content has exploded in the last few years. Players and other popular Pokémon content creators have started showcasing VGC content, which has helped the format gain a ton of exposure. In this piece, I’ll be directing you to some Pokémon YouTubers and streamers to start watching if you’re looking not only to improve but also be entertained!

Courtesy of the Official Pokemon YouTube Channel

Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng

“Hey guys. Aaron ‘Cybertron’ Zheng here!” is a familiar phrase to most in the VGC community; as it’s the intro used for all of Aaron’s videos. Aaron “Cybertron” Zheng is a 19 year-old college student who has been in the competitive Pokémon scene ever since it began back in 2008.

One of the most decorated players in Pokémon VGC history with six World Championship appearances, two National Championships, multiple Worlds and National Top Cuts, and a bunch of Regional wins; Aaron has solidified himself among the best.

Aaron started his YouTube channel back in 2014, and now currently has over 71,000 subscribers. He pretty much invented the “Road to Ranked” format that countless others have emulated, where he showcases different teams as he climbs the Rated Battle Spot Ladder. While this is the majority of what he uploads, he occasionally posts team reports, guides, and various discussion videos to add some variety. Being a full-time student does require a lot of time though, so Road to Ranked is mostly what you’re going to see.

Aside from being a competitor, Aaron actually forfeited playing at the 2016 National and World Championships to work as a commentator for the official Pokémon stream. In fact, Aaron sort of became a meme after performing a segment in front of a monitor where he analyzed a previous match; almost looking like a weatherman. For the fans, he introduced himself with “Hey guys, Aaron ‘Weatherman’ Zheng here!” to the crowd’s immediate delight.

“Hey Guys! Aaron ‘Weatherman’ Zheng here!” Courtesy of twitch.tv/Pokemon

Being one of the pioneers of Pokémon VGC content creation, Aaron’s channel is definitely one you should be subscribed to. His knowledge of the game, as well as his relatable and fun personality, provides a great mixture of education and entertainment.

Here’s where you can find Aaron!

YouTube: youtube.com/cybertronproductions

Twitch: twitch.tv/cybertronvgc

Twitter: twitter.com/CybertronVGC

Courtesy of SaffronCityPost

Wolfe “Wolfey” Glick

Your current World Champion does indeed have a channel of his own, and it’s quite a good one. Wolfe Glick is a player who needs no introduction. 2016 World Champion, National Champion, multiple Regional Champion, are just a few of his many accomplishments.

From starting out small, Wolfe now has over 55,000 subscribers and looks to be on pace to catch up to his good buddy Aaron Zheng. Wolfe’s content is pretty diverse, including a plethora of guides, battle videos, and even a series where he plays through the “Battle Factory” modes on Pokémon Platinum and Emerald Versions. Wolfe’s formula is nothing close to formal, but he does showcase a deep knowledge and understanding of the game and its various mechanics.

In addition to the top-level analysis, you’ll often watch Wolfe hilariously outline why a particular situation is bad for him, or give you all of the reasons why Exeggutor is a good Pokémon. Wolfe’s videos are a ton of fun and give new players another great way to learn the game; this time, through the current best player in the world.

Here’s where you can find Wolfe!

YouTube: youtube.com/wolfeyvgc

Twitch: twitch.tv/wolfeyvgc

Twitter: twitter.com/WolfeyGlick

 

Courtesy of Nintendo Enthusiast

Alex Ogloza

Okay, I know what most of you who know Alex are thinking: “He doesn’t post VGC videos on his channel anymore.”

Unfortunately, Alex doesn’t post VGC videos to his YouTube channel, but he does amazing work for those who support him on Patreon. He provides VGC videos, teams, guides, and even one-on-one help to his Patrons who donate a certain amount every month. If you can’t afford it, or just don’t feel like shelling out the monthly amount, Alex does do a fair amount of VGC content streaming on his Twitch channel for all to see.

Regardless of what battle format you enjoy, Alex is probably one of the most entertaining of the bunch. Not only that, but he’s a National Champion, so he’s pretty good at the game too. Even though it’s not VGC, I highly recommend his Fight For First: Singles series on his YouTube channel just because of how entertaining I find him. If you like his stuff, consider supporting him on Patreon to get access to all of his great VGC material!

Here’s where you can find Alex!

YouTube: youtube.com/alexogloza

Twitch: twitch.tv/alexogloza

Twitter: youtube.com/alexogloza

Patreon: patreon.com/AlexOgloza

 

Courtesy of Alchetron

Ray Rizzo

Arguably THE greatest player of all time: three-time World Champion Ray Rizzo. Ray runs a bit of a smaller channel compared to those listed above, but still has 7,500+ subscribers. Despite announcing a possible come back to the game, he has been mainly doing work as a commentator for official Pokémon streams. Ray’s channel primarily features his own take on the “Road to Ranked” formula with his series Rayce to the Top. Ray has done tutorials and guides from time to time, so he does have a bit of variety too. Ray’s style is more formal, with him giving analysis and talking through his decisions as he plays battles. Ray looks like he’ll be uploading a ton now, so make sure to subscribe to him to support his content!

Here’s where you can find Ray!

YouTube: youtube.com/rayrizzovgc

Twitch: twitch.tv/rayrizzopkmn

Twitter: twitter.com/RayRizzoVGC

 

Courtesy of SaffronCityPost

Barry “Baz” Anderson

Barry Anderson might not be as well-known as the players I’ve listed, but I hardly consider that a reason to discredit his content. He’s a pretty accomplished European player, with him recently making it to the Top 8 stage of the 2016 World Championships. On his channel, Barry mainly uploads Battle Spot and Showdown content where he frequently teams up with friends to use some fun strategies. Other than battle videos, he sometimes uploads team reports and other discussion-type videos. It’s a fun channel with a ton of unique battle content that definitely deserves a subscription.

Here’s where you can find Barry!

YouTube: youtube.com/user/bazandersonvgc

Twitter:  twitter.com/bazandersonvgc

 

Courtesy of RedBull.com

Markus “13Yoshi37” Stadter

A two-time European National Champion, Regional Champion, and now a World’s Semi-Finalist, Markus Stadter’s content is deserving of viewership.

His posts on YouTube are mainly battles with his Mark Us Back On Top series. He has definitely branched out to include discussion videos, team reports, and some great collaboration content too. Markus’ on-camera personality has definitely improved as a result of working as a commentator, as he effectively combines great analysis with the occasional funny or witty remark.

I personally recommend his collab videos with Wolfe since they’re pretty much best friends and their chemistry is on point. Markus recently has been regularly streaming on his Twitch channel, so do yourself a favor and follow him!

Here’s where you can find Markus!

YouTube: www.youtube.com/13yoshi37

Twitch: twitch.tv/13yoshi37

Twitter: twitter.com/13Yoshi37

Courtesy of the Official Pokemon YouTube Channel

The Official Pokémon Channel(s)

Despite not having regular competitive Pokémon content, the various official Pokémon YouTube and Twitch channels upload and stream from select large tournaments each season. On YouTube, you can find footage from the Top Cut stages of big tournaments that were previously live streamed. It’s a good source for viewing VOD’s from bigger tournaments, while also catching streams of those events live.

Here’s the list of Pokémon’s Official Channels!

YouTube: youtube.com/pokemon

Twitch:

  • twitch.tv/pokemonvgc
  • twitch.tv/pokemonvgc_eu
  • twitch.tv/pokemon

Stream Website: pokemonchampionships.com

Twitter: twitter.com/Pokemon

 

 

Finally, Support Your Smaller Channels!

In addition to all of the great channels I’ve talked about in this piece, there are a ton of other, lesser-known content creators out there! If ever you come across a small YouTube channel with only a few hundred subscribers or a Twitch streamer with only a handful of views, show them your support! The growth of the Pokémon VGC community starts with more exposure, and the more popular content creators we have the better! Go give these people your view, subscription, and a follow! Thanks for reading!

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 Eric!

 

Amateur Coach Diaries: Practice Habits Part 3

Courtesy of, Seth Varner and Pintrest

Courtesy of, Seth Varner and Pintrest

When I was about 12 years old, I wanted to be a pitcher for my little league team. My dad was one of the coaches of this team. We had one of those pitch-back net devices in the backyard, so he made a 18in by 18in square in the netting with a rope and then put a stick 50 feet away from the net. He told me I had to hit the square 25 times in a row before he would let me pitch. He told me how my grandfather did the same thing with my uncle and I would have to do the same. I can’t remember if I got it or not, to be honest I only remember that I took a pitch to the head while at bat during fall ball that year. Anyways, the morale of the story is that Baseball takes 10 players on the field to play the game. 9 people in the field, and 1 at bat. But when I was practicing that one aspect of the game, just myself and the net, it only took 1 person and a practice device. This is exactly the same as having players practice in a custom game. Custom games can be useful in many different ways: jungle clears, lvl 1’s, CSing, warming up, and lane swaps.

One of the first practices I had with my team was a lane swapping practice. We pulled up LCS vods of lane swaps and grinded out the timing. I’m not going to go into the logistics, but basically we spent that night,  practicing lane swaps. I could tell through vod reviews of even the best amateur teams, we had the best lane swap timing in all the amateur scene. We were getting 30-second tempo swings off the first turret and sometimes it would lead into a sub 15-minute inhib turret. The thing that confused me was that teams we played our lane swap against, still had a slow lane swap a week after we played them. logo v3

In a meta that relies on tempo and getting the turret down the fastest, you’d think teams would want to figure out how to replicate it. It comes down to players not wanting to go into custom game after custom game. So instead, the team just scrims with the same slow lane swap they ran the week before. Obviously there is more to do in customs then lane swaps, but that is a great way to use them. The other night, one of our junglers and I were working on a new jungle pick. We played maybe 20-30 custom games of the jungle pick with different runes/masteries/skill orders/ camp orders. You can also practice timing for a level 1 invade. Sometimes what you draw on rift kit won’t translate on to the game field when the pressure is on. Customs are also a great way to try out new match-ups or train a player in a certain match-up. Maybe they need to work on their Ahri into Zed or their Cass into Ryze.

There are so many uses for customs, and a lot of amateur teams just refuse to use them. Well, surprise, this is the closest we are getting to sandbox mode for now. “Why would we go into customs when we could have a scrim block?” Because if you want to make something game ready, you need to practice it before the scrim for it to be effective. I mean, I’m not saying make your team practice a lane swap to their point where they can get sub 3:30 times 25 times in a row. But hell, you do you, coach. You do you. The next article will be about spamming the restart button. See you then!

Page 1 of 212