Here is why Esports Arenas will be coming to a city near you

The world of esports is growing very quickly. Estimations show that it will be larger than a $1.5 Billion industry in the next couple years. We are seeing more major sponsors for leagues and teams. With this, esports are switching over to a franchising system. This can only mean more money coming into esports.

With franchising comes the need for arenas. For a long time, esports were not taken all that seriously because many worried that either a certain esport wouldn’t last long enough or that esports would be unable to be franchised because they wouldn’t make enough money. Well, Twitch and other streaming services changed that. This grew the audiences to very high levels. What it also did, however, was bring about a new worry.

Would people go to games or would they just prefer to watch it online? After spending time at TD Gardens in Boston, The Fillmore in Miami for NA LCS, talking with other journalists, and following both League and Overwatch League closely, I can tell you that people will absolutely go to these games weekly.

What about all the other events that have come before this?

Counter-Strike Global Offensive in Esports arena

Courtesy of: CS:GO Betting

This is a valid question. The answer is that most events or even leagues can be categorized into two different areas right now.

  1. Most of these events are only happening maybe once a month as tournaments or major events that happen a couple times a year. Examples of this are CS:GO and Dota 2. What these events prove is that if there is a major event, people will come. The problem is that it doesn’t show that there are enough people who would go on a weekly or multiple days a week basis.
  2. The second area is that most leagues as of now are based in Los Angeles or other centrally located cities. Both the OWL and League are based in LA and the NBA2k League is in New York City. This is great for the people who live there or who travel there as they can watch their teams play. Everyone else is sadly out of luck.

The Fans

Fan bases for esports as a whole are growing substantially. According to Statista.com, there will be almost 400 million viewers by the end of 2018. This number will only increase as games like Fortnite, which are sweeping the world right now, are spreading to casual and non-gamers.

With the swath of viewers, there will be many who attach to certain players or teams based on their viewing experiences and what games they like. While this is great, many people often never have an event close enough to them to see their favorite team or player perform in person. Thus, they watch online.

Courtesy of: SportsTechie

With the new franchising leagues, esports are following traditional sports. Many people forget that traditional sports did not start off with teams magically appearing in cities around the world all of a sudden. Instead, a relatively small amount of teams traveled and hosted events at venues where large numbers of people could gather. This mirrors how esports have been the last few years. Now, esports are moving onto the next stage of development with franchising.

With teams representing areas and cities, people will more likely gravitate towards them as their team. Again following the traditional sports model, this will help fan bases grow, allowing people to become more attached to their teams.

As more and more people watch esports, they will be enticed to at least look at their hometown teams which should, in turn, build fans in those areas.

Franchising

As one could probably tell when reading this, franchising is a game changer. Like the NFL, NBA, and MLB, esports like League of Legends, NBA2k, and Overwatch are following in their predecessors’ footsteps. They are paving the way for other esports to jump on franchising as it offers stability and money.

Stability and massive amounts of money have always been what has kept esports from being taken seriously. There were relegations at such an early start for esports like League of Legends. This kept people and groups from feeling comfortable in investing. With franchising eliminating relegations, we saw an instant interest to the tune of up to $20 million in investments for spots in these leagues.

This is a much cheaper price than trying to buy an NBA franchise. Getting in on the ground level of anything this big is always more exciting.

With the money and stability comes the desire to make more money. Building an arena can definitely help in this area. The investment towards the future will pay off as they will be able to grow the fan base even more due to people finally being able to watch their city’s team in person.

“If you build it, they will come.”

This quote from the movie Field of Dreams, while it is about the traditional sport of baseball, applies to esports quite well.

Between other events, the fan bases, and the stability brought about by franchising, the next logical step is to start building esports arenas in cities. While there are some newer ones, like in Las Vegas and Arlington, there are plenty of teams and companies working out ways to create even more.

With the leagues that are franchising, there are even some cities that will already have a need for new arenas to host the multiple teams that are in them. You can check them out here.

All of these leagues will continue to grow and more esports will be franchising. Call of Duty announced their intentions to franchise, but not much more has come out since. With that, more cities will get involved and the need for arenas will increase.

Keep an eye out, esports and their arenas will be coming to a city near you.

 

Featured image courtesy of: Populous.com

 

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Rise Nation CWL Seattle Champions

Rise Nation sweeps victory in CWL Seattle from long loser’s bracket run

After Rise Nation’s dominating victory in CWL Atlanta, they’ve been having a hard time finding the tempo in their games. In CWL Birmingham, they finished 3rd. In the finals of Stage 1, they finished 7th. It took two times for them to get shut out of first for the team to decide that a roster change was necessary. TJHaly, Gunless and Loony all decided to make the switch from Methodz to Team Envy’s SlasheR and it made all the difference.

Rise Nation’s tough start

In the pool play section of the tournament, Rise Nation was tenderized. They only managed to secure a win over Tainted Minds. This landed them in fourth place and would force them to make a run through the loser’s bracket.

Gunless: CWL Seattle MVP

Image courtesy of Dexerto

In the loser’s bracket run, Rise Nation was unstoppable. They took out Heretics, compLexity, Team Envy(SlasheR’s old team), Luminosity(CWL Birmingham champions), Ghost Gaming, Echo Fox and eUnited. This was an outstanding series of games to watch and it landed them a spot right in front of the unstoppable Evil Geniuses who had just beaten eUnited for their spot in the Grand Finals.

Rise Nation recently made the switch for SlasheR in favor of their old player Methodz. Many players on Twitter speculated that SlasheR was easily one of the best in the business at the moment, and Rise Nation decided to heed that call. Though the start of the series was tough to watch, it was fun, however, to see TJHaly and his squad start to heat up and find their momentum.

Evil Geniuses Vs. Rise Nation

Evil Geniuses started off the series with a lot of bite. They ripped into Rise Nation in the opening match of Hardpoint at Saint Marie Du Monte and won by over 100 points.

However, Rise Nation was not to be sat down so easily. The next series of games was all Rise Nation. On London Docks, playing Search and Destroy, EG started out strong, pulling an early 5-2 lead. Rise Nation shut that down quickly, clutching the win out at 6-5. Flak Tower Capture the Flag was another game that was just barely in favor of Rise Nation. They only managed to secure the win by one point. With the newfound momentum, Rise overtook EG on Valkyrie Hardpoint 250-176, which reset the bracket and forced the second best-of-five series.

The rest of the series was a shut out in favor of Rise. They won the first Hardpoint on Ardennes Forest by 85 points. The next S&D on Valkyrie was an absolutely dominating victory for Rise-EG only won a single round. And to finish off the series, Rise Nation obliterated EG on Flak Tower CTF with a commanding victory of 7-0; this was on the map that, not an hour before, Rise had barely won by just one point. Now, they were walking out with an obvious victory.

Peirce “Gunless” Hillman named ASTRO Gaming MVP

This isn’t the first time that Gunless has walked away from a CWL tournament having been named MVP. In 2017 in CWL Atlanta, he was named MVP when he played with eUnited and defeated OpTic Gaming in the Grand Finals.

This is the second Victory for Rise Nation in the course of two months. With one of the most dominating and successful rosters in the league, it’s exciting to see what they will accomplish next. Stage 2 will, hopefully, turn out more successful than their ending in Stage 1.

 

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Featured Image Courtesy of @CODWorldLeague Twitter

Japan CWL

Japan gets a CoD Tournament like the CWL Pro League

Japan is set to get their very own version of a CWL Pro League. Six of Japan’s best teams have been invited to participate in a series of matches that will take place between April and September. These matches will culminate with a playoff series at the end.

The teams will compete for a whopping ¥10,000,000 (~$93,500). Each and every match will be streamed on YouTube and Twitch with the Grand Finals taking place at the Tokyo Game Show 2018 from September 20th-23rd.

The Six Japanese Teams

  • Rush Gaming
  • CYCLOPS Athlete Gaming
  • Detonatio N Gaming
  • Libalent Vertex
  • SCARZ
  • SunSister

These are six of the best Call of Duty teams in Japan right now. For good reason, Rush Gaming are the favorites going into this tournament. They’ve consistently been one of the top performers in Japan and will even be participating in CWL Anaheim after their win at the Tokaigi 2018 tournament. Rush is planning to do a two week bootcamp in South Carolina before their appearance in Anaheim.

The Matches

Each match will be recorded and will be re-watchable on Twitch via VODS or on YouTube following the performances. There will be monthly video recaps and articles released involving the teams participating. This will make it possible for Competitive Call of Duty fans to keep up to date, even in western countries. The dates the matches will take place are as follows:

  • Round One: April 21st, 2018
  • Two: May 19th, 2018
  • Three: June 23rd, 2018
  • Four: July 21st, 2018
  • Five: August 18th, 2018
  • Grand Finals: September 20th-23rd, 2018

Future of Competitive Call of Duty

This is one of the most major additions to the world of Call of Duty. Now, the Esport is making a break into Eastern countries. With countries like Japan and Korea being some of the biggest countries in Esports gaming in the world, it’s super critical to get their addition to the world of Call of Duty. This was one of the downfalls to professional CoD. There were only major tournaments taking place in NA/EU and the vast audiences that exists in Asia weren’t ever allowed to participate. This will, hopefully, begin the full inclusion of Asia and its large number of Esports fans.

Just imagine the crowds that will show up for a Call of Duty World Tournament. One that actually involves all the countries in the world instead of just those that exist in the current Call of Duty World League.

Japan CoD Tournament

Image Courtesy of Rush Gaming

One of Japan’s best teams is making the journey to Anaheim to participate and it’s one of the most major steps forward for the game and its Esport. Avid CWL watchers are expressing vast amounts of interest in the progression of this Esport and what the addition of Japanese crowds could mean for the popularity of Call of Duty on tournament stages. It would mean more places to scrimmage for current pro players which could advance the current series of tactics that we know and even set up possible new metas. Hopefully, this begins the inclusion of teams in Korea and even in China or Russia as well.

Well Deserved

This is one of the most exciting announcements for Call of Duty as an Esport for a while and viewers can’t wait to see what this means for its future. Hopefully more viewers, because the game deserves it. There are some of the best gamers in the business in this Esport and they deserve the attention for their hard work. The inclusion of other countries should only bolster the crowd and bring in a wider world audience.

 

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Featured Image Courtesy of WinRed Twitter

Team Kaliber web banner

Team Kaliber makes major changes during Rostermania

After the conclusion of Stage One Finals, Roster Mania ignites within the world of competitive Call of Duty. Every team is in a scramble to make the necessary changes to their roster in an attempt to get ready for Stage 2 and for the next major events. One of the teams surrounding itself in the most drama is Team Kaliber.

They were unable to drop away from the limelight in the recent series of changes because they knocked away two of their most well-known players, Dylan “Theory” McGee and Martin “Chino” Chino.

After Team Kaliber’s astounding success at the CWL New Orleans Open and the Dallas open, they seemed to fall into a bit of a pit where they couldn’t seem to find a rhythm. The team work wasn’t working out for each other, and it seemed none of the players were able to coalesce into something that could help carry them back to the top. They finished 8th in the CWL Atlanta open and then 10th at CWL Birmingham. After these finishes, they decided it was time something happened that could make a difference, whether for better or for worse.

Kosdff

Image courtesy of Dexerto

On Justin “Kosdff” Chandler’s YouTube channel, he released a video explaining most of the recent changes, and why they were made. Following the conclusion of Stage One finals, the team approached the owner and said that they were no longer wanting play as a team. Dylan didn’t want to play with the guys in TK anymore, and the guys in TK weren’t wanting to play with him anymore.

Team Kaliber at Conclusion of Stage One

There just wasn’t great performance. After their blunders at Birmingham and Atlanta, it’s real easy to see why TK might be looking to up their staff, or rearm their players. They needed something to change, and getting fourth at the end of Stage One just wasn’t going to be enough to keep the brand name where they wanted it to be. They decided that some changes needed to happen. The only appropriate changes they could think of was going to be the removal of a couple key players. Or so they hope.

Dropping Dylan “Theory” McGee

This really should not have a come as a surprise, though it sort of did. Theory had some of the worst stats on the team following the conclusion of CWL Birmingham and Stage One finals. As a result of this, Kosdff and Kenny “Kenny” Williams made the decision to drop him in favor of getting a new sub player that could match Kenny’s intensity in the game.

This isn’t to say, however, that the choice was easily done. Kosdff says that he attempted to make a trade with some other teams for three other players in an effort to form a new Team Kaliber around Theory,

Dylan "Theory" McGee

Image courtesy Dexerto gaming

in order to keep him on board. The only problem being that Kosdff believes Theory to be more of a leader. This meaning that Theory is someone you build a team around, not someone you build into a team. Since TK hasn’t been doing so successful at recent events, he decided the only logical thing to do was to remove leadership and fill the roll with someone more adaptable.

This didn’t seem to be enough, however. Kenny and Kosdff decided that the team needed and even bigger change to make it’s success more prominent. Removing Chino was the next best course of action.

Dropping Martin “Chino” Chino

Many regarded Chino as one of the best players on the team, and even one of the better Flex players in Call of Duty. Unfortunately, for these fans of Team Kaliber, Chino was dropped from the team. He wasn’t someone who removed themselves, like Theory. But, rather, he was dropped in an effort to help the team coalesce into something closer to what the brand wants to be. Kenny decided that he and Theory didn’t compliment each other’s play style very well. The team decided that Chino didn’t compliment them well, either. The next step was to drop Chino and try to find two replacements for him and Theory.

Chino tK

Image courtesy of Dexerto

Methodz and FERO

Fortunately, during Rostermania, Rise Nation just decided to ditch Anthony “Methodz” Zinni for Austin “SlasheR” Liddicoat. This left him on the Free Agents list, ready to be picked up by the guys in Team Kaliber. This is a huge pickup for Team Kaliber, since Methodz is one of the top AR players right now. He recently received the MVP award at CWL Atlanta in March. Methodz was not a single grab, however. He came with his own recommendations to replace Chino, and that was Maurice “Fero” Henriquez.

Kenny believes that this new addition of Fero will be a great compliment to his more aggressive play style. The goal was to also add a little bit of knowledge to the teams lack of understanding when it comes to Search and Destroy. They were hoping to learn something along with these trades. Which is what makes them one of the most adaptive, and competitive teams in the CWL Pro League.

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Featured image courtesy of Scuf Gaming

Luminosity: CWL Birmingham champions

Splyce upset as Luminosity takes title in CWL Birmingham

Luminosity took home their first title of the CWL WWII season this last weekend. Splyce was unable to hold Luminosity in the two series Grand Final, resulting in an ending of 3-1 in favor of Luminosity.

It was a real battle, though. Luminosity fought hard, but some would say that Splyce fought better. Splyce won their first matchup against Luminosity, during pool play, in a 3-2 win. It seemed the crowd was there to back them up, but Luminosity wasn’t done with them yet.

Losers Bracket

Splyce lost a deafening 0-3 defeat to Rise Nation in the Semi-Finals of the Winners bracket, which knocked them down into the losers bracket. After tearing a 3-0 hole into Reckless, Splyce was back into the finals.

From here, it seemed that Splyce was unstoppable. They rocked their way through the “Scump” backed Optic Gaming roster and finally got their chance at revenge against Rise Nation. The crowd was wildly in favor of their boys in Splyce. They were screaming behind every single play or double kill that Thomas “Tommey” trewren and the others would get. Ultimately, leading Splyce to net a 3-1 taste of victory over the team that would send them on a longer run then should’ve been necessary. Rise Nation.

Just a taste of what this Splyce crowd was like.

Winners Bracket

This isn’t a fan favorite, but I’m going to come out and say it. Luminosity had an easier bracket up until their last couple of matches. They were shut out by Splyce at the beginning and were lucky that that wasn’t the match that would’ve sent them into the losers bracket. Fortunately for them, Optic wasn’t having a great tournament. Luminosity managed to knock them aside and proceed towards the power house in Rise and their finals against old foes in Splyce.

The most surprising/impressive moment of Luminosity’s climb to the top was the toppling of the previous champions. They managed a 2-3 victory over Rise Nation and this is no minor feat. Luminosity’s JKap was quoted as saying that Rise Nation is, “the best in the game right now.”

All that was left to do now was battle, again, with Splyce.

Splyce

This team really showed up to play. Not only did they manage to defeat Rise Nation in their second time around, but they also beat Luminosity. Twice. First in pool play, and then again, later, during the first series of the Grand Finals.

If I had my pick, I would’ve given the MVP to either Tommy or Ben “Bance” Bance. Both of these two players were exceptional in every way and showed up to play one of the most impressive games of Hard point in the opening match-up of the Grand finals against Luminosity that there has ever been in Call of Duty history.

Splyce just won gunfights. That’s it. There was only a couple of times where they teetered under the pressure of Luminosity, but this team had fuel. Their crowd kept them going and they were able to pull two wins out from underneath Luminosity. Even though they couldn’t secure the final series, they ended the whole event with a 2-1 record over the Grand Champions.

Luminosity

Though they might’ve only narrowly secured their victory, they are one of the best teams in Call of Duty right now. This became especially evident when they were able to shut the previous CWL Atlanta champions, Rise Nation, out of the Grand Finals spot. Not only that, but they had some of the more impressive team plays.

In every bout of S&D we would see clumps of three players usually rush one bombsite while their fourth would play sentry on the other side of the map. This was such a consistent and perfect tactic, that allowed them to walk away from almost every game of S&D with a win.

The team just worked really well together, once they got the momentum going. It’s hard to really say who the best player was, but the CWL League seems to think that it’s Johnathon “John” Perez. With so many muscle clenching plays coming out of JKap, Octane and SLACKED, it’s hard to really say that there should only be one MVP.

Regardless, here are your battle hardened CWL Birmingham champions: JKap, Slacked, Octane and the MVP John.

Luminosity: CWL Birmingham Champions

Image courtesy of DoT Esports

 

 

 

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Featured Image courtesy of Powerup! Gaming

CWL Birmingham: Predicting the top five

With CWL Birmingham coming up this weekend, it’s time to take a look at the top contending teams and make early predictions as to who we think will be in the top five. This wasn’t an easy list to make, since some teams aren’t consistently taking wins where you’d expect them to. But I think it’s pretty solid. Taking a look at the performances of each team in their respective Divisions during CWL Pro League play and how they performed at CWL Atlanta, here are my predictions for who I think will take home the top five spots in the CWL Birmingham open on March 30-April 1.

 

5. Optic Gaming

Optic Gaming is holding second place in Division A, just one win over the guys in Red Reserve. This team is an obvious fan favorite, but there’s a lot missing from the roster that they must have if they want to perform better at CWL Birmingham. Right now, they rely on Seth “Scump” Abner a lot. Don’t get me wrong, the other players are good, but they don’t hold up their end as strongly as Scump does.

I think that he will be the saving grace of any high placements that Optic Gaming is able to secure. If they want to see themselves rise higher up on the leaderboard, however, then we will need to see some better plays out of some of the other players.

If Optic can turn out some of their tactics that they’ve pulled out when they play Rise Nation in CWL Division A matchups, then I think we will see some solid results. They’re the only team that’s able to say they don’t have an astoundingly negative record against the guys in Rise, and hopefully they can turn it around. I know the fans of Optic will be hoping for an upset against both Rise and Red Reserve. But until someone else besides Scump decides to show up and play some real COD, then I don’t think we will see them rise up much higher then this.

4. LUMINOSITY GAMING

I originally thought the final battle for CWL Atlanta was going to be between the guys in Luminosity and Rise Nation. These guys are sitting at the #2 spot in terms of Pro Points and but I think they’ll land in the #4 spot at the next CWL open in Birmingham. Luminosity can deliver a lot of high octane performances, but it’s the consistency that will draw them back from winning. They roll out so many great plays, like when Johnathan “John” Perez was able to run a flag all the way back against a full Team Epsilon and score, all without his teammates there to support him. But, they also drop the ball a lot.

At CWL Atlanta we saw Luminosity get 3-0’d in their match up against Red Reserve. In the latest series of Division B matches, they took a 3-0 win over FaZe Clan, which happens to be one of the top teams, but take 2-3 dunking from Evil Geniuses. On top of this, we saw this 6-1 team Luminosity barely take the 3-2 win over the 0-8 Epsilon. Epsilon held on strongly and knocked the boys in Luminosity into a 5th game during their bout of S&D.

That’s not to say, however, that Luminosity doesn’t still win games. They do. You just might be holding on to your seat and begging a higher power that they don’t slip up. I’m hesitant to put them into the number 4 spot, to be perfectly honest, but they show up sometimes. So, if they come ready to win, then here they will be. If not, then they might be a little lower.

3. FaZe Clan

Faze Clan is good. Really good. Visibly the best in Division B. The only thing shutting them out of taking a higher position at the CWL Atlanta open was the unstoppable force existing in Rise Nation’s roster. That, and the 1-3 shutout that came from Red Reserve later the next day. Faze clan is one of the few teams, and the only team in Division B, that’s able to go 2-0 against Luminosity. There’s a lot of talent here, and it comes through. The only thing holding them back is their inability to overcome the color Red.

I don’t particularly think it’s the teamwork that pulls Faze Clan forward, though there is a good bit of it. I think it’s the success of each individual player. The players on Faze are phenomenal and can hold themselves to a ridiculous standard, like Dillon “Attach” Price winning a 1v3 playing S&D against the guys in Splyce. If this kind of consistency from each player keeps up, but we see them mesh a little bit better, to take down the strats of teams like Rise or Red Reserve, then we can see Faze become one of the top two, and not just in Division B.

 

2. RED RESERVE

This probably isn’t a fan favorite, and maybe one that others would choose against. I think that Red Reserve is going to take the number #2 spot. Again. Red Reserve knocked Optic Gaming out of the running for the #2 spot at CWL Atlanta by a decisive 3-0 victory. I would say that they deserve the #3 spot, but they showed up to play some serious video games in their last match against Faze Clan and beat them 3-1. Red Reserve can dominate, there’s no doubt, since they did come in second in the CWL Atlanta open, but Red Reserve faces the same issue many other teams face: consistency.

In the CWL Pro League Division A, Red Reserve is sitting in the #3 spot with a record of 9-5. That’s below the #2 Optic at 10-4, but Red Reserve proved at CWL Atlanta that Optic wasn’t a problem. Red Reserve sports an impressive roster with their best player being, arguably, Trei “Zer0” Morris. Zer0 will be, in my opinion, what gives Red Reserve the presence they need to overcome most challenges in their games at CWL Birmingham.

If Zer0 can show up to play, then I’d be willing to bet that the team holds a steady hand against the likes of Optic Gaming again. If not, then we will just have to wait and see where they go. Team Kaliber was their only other real battle in Division A, besides the obvious Rise Nation, but Reserve proved that they could overcome that challenge by taking a 3-1 win over TK on the final day of the CWL Atlanta open.

1. Rise Nation

Rise Nation is easily in the top spot for this upcoming competition. Ending their last week of CWL Pro League play at 13-1 and taking home the title at CWL Atlanta, they sport one of the most impressive track records in the league right now. Though it’s easy to see why. TJHaly, Looney, Methodz and Gunless coalesce to make one of the tightest squadrons in the league. No matter the situation, each player can be relied upon to carry themselves through it.

 

There isn’t a lot that needs to be said, as each player holds one of the best K/D records in the league. Methodz, featured in the clip above, obtained the record of MVP at the tournament. He was one the teams top performers right next to TJHaly who consistently put up positive numbers. Rise Nation has also gone 2-0 against every other team in Division A except for Optic Gaming where they are tied at a 1-1 record. We could see Rise Nation take the top spot in the league, in terms of Pro Points, from the leaders of yesteryear in Team Kaliber.

 

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Featured image courtesy of Major League Gaming

CWL Pro League

Power Rankings: CWL Pro League Week 6, Rise Nation rises to the top

After the conclusion of Week 6 of the CWL Pro League, Rise Nation is setting themselves up as a front runner for CWL Atlanta. CWL Atlanta will start March 9th and will conclude on March 11th.

CWL Pro League

Credit: https://www.inverse.com

1. Rise Nation

CWL Pro League Record: 13-1

After coming together just ten days before CWL New Orleans, Rise Nation has been nothing short of magnificent. They have been one of few teams that have improving each and every time we see them play and there is no end in sight. Rise has solidified their place on the top of the power rankings due to their 7-0 record in the second set of matches of Division A.  Their continued strong performances have been of the backs of Gunless and TJHaly. Gunless has been filing the FLEX role arguably stronger than any other player in the game and when he is paired with a strong up incoming “SnD star” in TJHaly, they are a near unstoppable duo.

CWL Pro League

Credit: thescoreesports.com

2. Luminosity Gaming

CWL Pro League Record: 6-1

Luminosity Gaming is coming into Atlanta with a chip on their shoulder after the heart-breaking loss to Team Kaliber at CWL New Orleans. Since the loss they have dominated Division B with a 6-1 record. With the return of the STG/BAR meta expect for Octane and JKap to take control of series to come.

CWL Pro League

Credit: thescoreesports.com

3. Team Envy

CWL Pro League Record: 6-1

Team Envy came into the start of the Pro League as a wild card, with untapped potential that could either flourish or fail. But, they came out strong as Huke finally looked comfortable after his transition from Halo. Along with the strong AR presence of Slasher, they have led their team to a strong 6-1 start with their only loss coming to Luminosity.

CWL Pro League

Credit: @OpTicGaming

4. Optic Gaming

CWL Pro League Record: 10-4

Optic Gaming has been a staple in Call of Duty E-sports for over five years and the core roster of Scump, Formal, Karma, and Crimsix have been together for nearly three years. At CWL New Orleans, Optic had their worst performance at a LAN event since this roster has been formed, placing Top 12. But as the Pro League started they showed strength beating the two-time champions Team Kaliber twice and being the only team to beat Rise Nation.

CWL Pro League

Credit: @RedReserve

5. Red Reserve

CWL Pro League Record: 9-5

Red Reserve has taken over as Europe’s leading force after some of the struggles with Splyce’s performance and Red’s incredible run through the loser’s bracket by eliminating Faze, Optic, and eUnited at CWL New Orleans. They were able to get a fourth place there and continued the momentum into the Pro League. In their first set of matches, they exploited Optic’s weakness on St. Marie du Monte Hardpoint and beat them 3-1 for the second time in a row. The trend of strong FLEX players is continuing to have a strong impact with both Zer0 and Joshh.

CWL Pro League

Credit: steamcommunity.com

6. Faze Clan

CWL Pro League Record: 5-2

Faze has stepped up this season after disappointing online performances leading up to CWL Dallas, which put them in the open bracket to start the season. But, through this they got into their stride and placed fourth, which is the highest placing out of any open bracket team ever. At the Pro League they showed off their star power when they were the only team able to beat Luminosity. Throughout the season they have shown dominance on Capture the Flag, due to strong leadership and shot calling from Replays.

CWL Pro League

Credit: splyce.gg

7. Splyce

CWL Pro League Record: 3-4

Splyce has went from having a continent on their back in the finals at CWL Dallas, to struggling at CWL New Orleans. They had a little trouble in the beginning of the Pro League, because Jurd had a visa issue that it stopped him from getting to Columbus for the first week. The team ended up getting another fast-paced Sub Slayer in Felo from Complexity to fill in. They managed to stay in a good standing, finishing 2-2. When they were reunited they seemed to have their timings off, but later in the week they were showing signs of improvement that should continue going into Atlanta.

CWL Pro League

Caption: nerdwide.com

8. Echo Fox

CWL Pro League Record: 6-8

Echo Fox has been a team that has had a roller coaster ride during the Pro League. They finished the first half of Pro League with a 2-5 record and a 1-12 map count during the second week. Once they came back, they were in a position where they needed to take down some top teams to avoid relegation. Over the second half of Pro League they were able to takedown both Team Kaliber and Optic. They ended up playing themselves into a position where their final match against Mindfreak would say who would advance to Stage 2 and who would get relegated. They came out strong on Docks Hardpoint which Mindfreak had been very strong on. Echo Fox was led by strong performances from Assault and Saints. These performances would continue for the rest of the series where they would win 3-1.

CWL Pro League

Credit: teambeyond.net

9. Team Kaliber

CWL Pro League Record: 8-6

Team Kaliber was at the top of everyone’s rankings for the majority of the season but they have been many signs of weakness since the start of Pro League. The two-time defending champions have continued to struggle on Forest Capture the Flag, where they have only a 29 percent win rate this season. The recent removal of the FG42 from the meta,  has resulted in a negative impact on both Chino and Accuracy. This has put them in a positon where one of them now needs to run the third Sub which is an uncomfortable role for each of them. Also, with the addition of Valkyrie to the map set, the fast-paced layout of the map has resulted in many teams using three or even four Subs. This has led to them losing the map each of the three times that they have played it.

CWL Pro League

Credit: thetab.com

10. Unilad

CWL Pro League Record: 3-4

Unilad had a slow start to the World War 2 season. Once the pro league started they came in as a wild card team to see if they would avoid relegation. Currently, they are sitting in the final position to avoid being relegated with the completion of Division B following Atlanta. Unilad continued that slow start that they have been having during the first week of the Pro League with a 0-3 record. However, they came to a team decision to take Skrapz out of the second AR role and switch him with Moose to a full time Sub play. This was due to their lack of aggression that is more need while playing North American teams compared to their fellow European teams. Following this change Unilad was able to get a 3-1 record during week, only falling to Evil Geniuses in a heart-breaking Game 5 Round 11 finish. One of these wins was against a strong looking Faze roster, where Skrapz was able to gain a lot of map control for his team due to his strong slaying presence.

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The secret to Team Kalibers Success

The secret to Team Kaliber’s success

TK All Day

Team Kaliber is defying every metric we have found necessary in the past three years. Yet, they are still making history and it doesn’t seem to be stopping. After CWL Nola, Team Kaliber has joined an illustrious group of teams that have won back to back events, such as OpTic, coL and Impact.

Although Team Kaliber has joined the ranks of the Call of Duty elite, the way they have started this run can’t be compared to any other team. Team Kaliber ended CWL Nola with an overall team K/D of 0.96. Dylan “Theory” McGee finished the event with a 0.78, which is the lowest K/D by a player on a winning team in Call of Duty History. Yet, it gets weirder. Martin “Chino” Chino finished with a 1.05, Kenny “Kenny” Williams finished with a 1.04 and Lamar “Accuracy” Abedi with a 0.99.

The Secrets to Team Kalibers Success

Photo: Dot Esports

Stats Do Lie?

No player on Team Kaliber lit up the stat sheet, but for anyone who watched, they passed the eye test with flying colors. Watching Team Kaliber, and looking at a stat sheet after the event makes you question the overall stats they finished the weekend with. The truth lies in what has been over looked in the jet pack era.

Much of Team Kaliber’s success can be attributed to their roles being very clear for each individual player. In the jet pack era, roles were nearly nonexistent, with players being responsible for a little bit of everything. Call of Duty WWII finds itself going back to set roles for players, not exactly the same, but similar to the golden era of Black Ops 2. What needs clarification is that although roles are back, the specifics of roles are very different from days of old, and this may be where Team Kaliber has the upper hand over the competition.

The Secrets to Team Kalibers Success

Photo: Dexerto

Roles are Back

The terms Slayer and Objective player are still here, but how the roles are played are very different for the boys on Team Kaliber.

One notable change is that the main Objective player for Team Kaliber in Hardpoint is Accuracy, their main AR. What this lets the squad do is push out the hills farther and allow a bigger margin for error. With an AR sitting in hill it allows the SMG players to push farther out for cuts. This forces opposing teams to battle for the hill much farther up the map. Team Kaliber doesn’t allow teams to get from spawn to hill without contest. Slayers’ roles are transformed from roamers to essentially the first players pushed up on lanes.

Due to this you will see K/D’s fall. However, by being so pushed up and in front of the hill, it allows them to spawn back at the hill as the next team is arriving. It’s something very common to what we saw last year in Frost Uplink. Team Kaliber forces two sets of kills before gaining access to the hill.

A notable reason why many other teams don’t seem to use this same tactic is that the gunfights you are taking further up the map are less suitable than one closer to hill. However, the ability for Team Kaliber to have essentially two chances to defend their hill makes the loss of potential gunfights farther up the hill a benefit. If they are forced to defend the hill a second time, they are now in the more advantageous positions. Team Kaliber forces teams to essentially break the hill twice before getting time. Against one of the talented teams in the game so far, just one break would be considered a success.

 

The Champions Mold

Every championship roster in Call of Duty has had a roster that fits into this mold, but does Team Kaliber fit the bill? The mold consists of four specific types of players, no matter the game.

Firstly, you need your team based around top tier AR and SMG Slayers. Although they are easy to find, they tend to be harder to get. This is what causes big organizations in Call of Duty to maintain their success year after year, always keeping the cream of the crop AR and SMG Slayers in house.

The next position you need to fill is your flex, objective role. The guy who may take a backseat from headlines to do what needs to be done (the Kevin Love role). The final player needed is your SnD player. Not only a player who can make plays, but someone who is always consistent, strong under pressure and can be relied on in Call of Duty’s most inconsistent game mode.

 

Top tier AR – Chino, Top tier SMG – Kenny

This is the backbone of the squad. A duo that should be considered the best in the game. There is not one player in either role that you can point to that has performed better than either of these players all year.

Kevin Love – Theory

Theory has had an absolute 180 in his career this year. He sits in what is a very laid back, nice guy squad as the perfect leader. Not the flashiest player, not the best slayer, maybe not even the best leader. But there is no doubt he is the best leader for Team Kaliber. It is easy to say anyone in his position would flourish, and maybe they would. However, it’s hard to imagine the same consistency Team Kaliber brings without having Theory on the squad. He is surrounded by some of the best players in the world currently, but he is the guy who takes the sacrifice for the greater success of the team, and that’s much easier said than done.

The Secrets to Team Kalibers Success

Photo: Dexerto

SnD Star – Accuracy

This term has attracted some heat in recent years, but this is not the same type of SnD Star. We are not talking about the 14 year old with a keyboard and 1000 up/down for internet. We are talking about a player who plays the game one step ahead, and can be relied on for results in the most unexpected situations.

Let me be the first to say, I never would have thought this player could be Accuracy, even after Dallas I was doubtful. After CWL Nola, I bit the bullet, Accuracy is here to stay. He plays with a confidence, a trust in his teammates that you would expect in a previous champ. The thing with Accuracy is he has been a scapegoat for as long as I can remember his name in the scene. Always the player who would be the first dropped or the last to be picked up.

It very well may be that all he needed to make the jump to an elite level player was the support of his teammates. Accuracy walked away from CWL Nola with a 1.43 SnD K/D, the highest on his team. As much as many still doubt him, you can look to Accuracy to be the player grabbing victory out of the jaws of defeat for Team Kaliber all year long.

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Featured Image courtesy of VentureBeat.

Stats courtesy of CodCompStats.

Mixing up the Counter-Strike calendar

We all look forward to the ESL Ones and the Dreamhack Masters of the year. They provide us with some of the most competitive and intense Counter-Strike. With the number of events from the likes of ESL, Dreamhack and ELEAGUE still on the rise, it’s important that the fans get something different from time to time.

Enter Blast Pro Series, ESG Tour and World Electronic Sports Games. Their various changes to the format and innovative ways of producing Counter-Strike inject some excitement into the scene for long-time fans. This article will take a look at these upcoming tournaments and suggest why you should tune in.

Blast Pro Series

Despite this tournament aiming to switch up the scene, it’s still one of Denmark’s first big LAN events in CS:GO. The venue for the Blast Pro Series will be the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, capable of housing 16,000 people at max capacity.

The Royal Arena will host the Blast Pro Series. [Source: magasinetkbh.dk]

The announcement on HLTV tells us that three matches will be played simultaneously and will all be shown on screens around the arena. Fans will be able to choose the sound of the match they want to follow using headsets.

This type of stage setup was used at the most recent Call of Duty World Championship where they had the Bravo stream setup below the main stage, and they dipped into the Bravo stream during breaks on the main stage to fill time. It was an interesting concept which fans liked, for the most part. However, it was said that there wasn’t really any way of fully engaging with the Bravo stream even if the game was better or closer than the one on the main stage. This looks to be something Blast has already covered with fans being able to choose the sound of the match they want.

The Call of Duty World Championship had four teams on stage at once. [Source: Reddit u/theesportstv]

My interest is how Blast will be able to translate the thrill of watching three matches at once in the stadium to those watching at home. Will it just be a simple three stream setup? I’m hoping there’s something a bit more exciting. There’s the potential to have something like the Final Score football show, where we have live feedback from all the games going on and show all the best plays from each game as they happen.

Unfortunately, the $250,000 tournament isn’t until November 24th so we’ll have to wait until then to find out.

ESG Tour Mykonos

A new series of tournaments called the Electronic Sports Global Tour starts on September 7th on the Greek island of Mykonos.

The beautiful island of Mykonos. [Source: The Telegraph]

One of Greece’s many party destinations may seem like an odd place for a Counter-Strike tournament. However, Stamos Venios stated in their press release that “ESG Tour | Mykonos 2017 will not just be another ordinary event. The stunning view, relaxing atmosphere and great service will make it special and memorable for the players, who are the ones making esports what it is today: fascinating, enjoyable and fun.”

From the information, I’ve seen the tournament seems akin to cs_summit of early last year. That tournament was very popular with fans, with their favorite professionals casting the games and comedic content to fill breaks. Summit replaced the intensity of competitive Counter-Strike and replaced it with entertainment all while still delivering what we crave most, top level CS. I believe fans have been waiting for another tournament like that for a while. If you missed cs_summit, below is one of the highlights.

It will be up to ESG Tour to try to match, or even better, out do the unforgettable cs_summit. With a Greek island and the stunning Destiny Villa at their disposal, it’s definitely possible. We’ll be able to find out soon as popular teams such as SK Gaming, Virtus.pro and Team Liquid will touchdown in Mykonos at the beginning of September.

World Electronic Sports Games

This tournament is essentially a normal tournament, much like an ESL or Dreamhack one, with a single exception: anyone can sign up for the $1.5 million dollar tournament.

Everyone loves a good upset from time to time and there’s no better time than at a tournament of such caliber. It’s always a pleasure to watch new talent rise up. Hopefully some players will set themselves apart from the rest of the pack. There are qualifiers all across the world, so grab a few friends and you never know what could happen. Even if you get deep in the qualifier and end up losing to one of the top teams such as Cloud9 or Virtus.pro, who’ve already signed up, that in itself is an experience.

Last year Team EnVyUs hoisted the WESG trophy. [Source: HLTV.org]

The main event isn’t until March 2018 but the qualifiers are already underway so get yourself a team as soon as you can and see what you can make happen.


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Call of Duty Ghosts for dummies: Part two

This is a follow-up to my first article in which I had started discussing some simple setups for Search and Destroy. In this post, I’ll be covering Sovereign and Warhawk and then moving onto some perk choices. If you enjoy the article or think it could be improved please comment.

Sovereign

This map is a different beast in comparison to the two I’ve already covered. Unlike Freight and Octane, there’s no easy way of knowing when the enemy has bomb control.

Sovereign incorporates a three lane system, similar to most Counter-Strike maps. This usually means that the defense is spread thinner to cover all the lanes. However, with the setup I’m going to suggest for beginners, it should make locking it down much easier.

Defence

My strategy focuses on stacking the B bombsite. This is because it is much harder to retake since Remington’s can hold the flank from way back in spawn while the Vector players lock down the control room. Your Remington players have next to no chance of retaking B as they lose gunfights inside the map room 99% of the time. That leaves the round on your sub-machine gunners to win a series of head-on gunfights. It also gives you enough information on where players are if they do take the A bombsite, making the likelihood of you retaking much greater.

Players one and two have the job of holding the actual bomb site. Player one will play in the bomb room killing anyone attempting to plant. Player two will play on the stairs just outside watching B domination. If P1 gets pushed on bomb, it’s on P2 to get a quick trade kill. If the attackers try to grenade him out, P2 should counter-nade. It’s a strong setup because even player one dying can be good since they won’t expect another player so quickly and might hastily try to plant meaning you drop the bomb on spot.

Player three should hold snake and the cupboard. This player doesn’t need to be aggressive at all, he is there to ensure that no one gets on our side of the map through B. With the Remington, he should be able to pick up some free kills if they are daring enough to peek either of the positions.

Click to enlarge.

The linchpin of the setup is player four, who guards the underground and the push into range. This is from a sneaky spot just below blue catwalk. Should the enemy team plant A, this player can kill anyone who tries to cross from A bomb into range. If no one does, it makes the pinch onto the bomb site much easier since you don’t have to worry about that side of the map. Player two should also quickly be able to tell whether they have a player holding B domination or not. With that information, it means that their entire team is likely trapped between servers and zig making it easy pickings for your team.

Attacking

As with most maps you can go for the standard smoke Incog rush plants. On Sovereign, I recommend letting another player smoke the bomb and for the bomber to take Trophy System since grenading the bomb is so easy on this map.

As I mentioned in the defensive setup, it’s easy for defenders to see when attackers cross over to their side of the map. A way you can catch them off guard is to leave a player in snake while the rest of the team goes A. This means that the snake player can flank the catwalk player after he moves towards the A site.

For going B, I like to have one player climb up the ladder and hold the flank into the bomb room. Then I’d have a player on yellow stairs watching over the bomber. This can be the player with the smoke if you go for an Incog rush plant. Finally, have a guy on back catwalk initially watching a snake push so that ladder cannot get flanked then switching to holding the caution and full flank from the stairs opposite ladder.

Warhawk

Defence

Warhawk also uses the three lane system. On this map, it is fairly easy for the attackers to get control of both bomb sites. There are a number of spots that the defenders can use to their advantage to net free kills.

My default setup would be to have player one on the tank just outside the diner. This guy can see if anyone rushes mid or blue tarp. They can also see if any players come from A into the Z connector. This player can also quickly rotate to help back truck or water tower if enemies are spotted.

Player two is the truck player spotting the A push. His primary job is to get information of them pushing the bomb and focus on staying alive as opposed to making kills. Since the attackers can get to this site so quickly, it’s often the brunt of three or four-man pushes. The player can peek the fences from the barrel near veranda (I’ve never heard it called that but hey-ho) with thermal and call how many players he sees. He could also play more passive from the tree and wait for someone to peek back American, or garage as this site calls it.

Player three has the role of locking down the B site. This can be done from either the water tower or tin. I recommend using the thermal scope to spot players pushing into the back building or jumping on the bomb. One sneaky spot that can earn you kills is under the blue tarp at the tower. When the attackers try to plant bomb an assault rifle will often peek from loading bay giving you a free kill. Similarly to player two, the main job is getting the information that enemies are B. Once the enemies are called out you can ask for player two to come and help from tin.

Click to enlarge.

Last but not least we have player four. This guy is free to roam as the rounds develop. If the attackers are seemingly favoring the A bomb site he can sit in American and kill enemies that are trying to kill your truck player. Alternatively, he can rush post office on B and hit the flank fast. This allows for your tower player to quickly rotate to A. There are a number of options he has such as peeking mid more aggressively with a sniper or rushing blue tarp. I would say his role is actively trying to get first blood.

Attacking

Attacking on Warhawk usually ends up being four-man pushing either A or B. The smoke Incog pushes are particularly effective on this map since the thermal hybrid sight is a popular choice due to its long lanes. On Warhawk, I recommend the bomber using Trophy System again since it is easy to get good grenades onto the bomb sites.

The most effective strategy would be to have two people rush into American pre-firing the back door. If there’s a player there then he will either die or get traded by the second player. If no one is there the bomber can rush plant with his trophy system since the truck player will have no chance of killing him. This is effective since it puts pressure on the defense straight from the off since it only leaves them with forty seconds to retake.

When planting B, I think it’s best to wait for first blood before trying to plant. If the defenders spot no one A, they often get restless and flank early, which you can have a guy watching from the blitz portal or antiques. There is a little corner just below water tower where attackers can sit to get easy kills, I recommend trying to get a player there before planting.

Perk Choices

Before rounding out the article I wanted to make a little section on perk choices. This is because recently I’ve seen many players waste slots on unneeded perks. Firstly, you should always have Dead Silence and Focus. The latter is important as it reduces the flinch you get when hit and Dead Silence since almost all players will be using headsets and will be able to pick up on the smallest sounds.

A prime example of wasting slots I’ve encountered multiple times was quickdraw on the Vector. This shouldn’t even need explaining but the sub-machine guns aim down sights fast enough in this game and the difference isn’t great enough to warrant using up three create-a-class slots. You could have two grenades or Incog over that which is much more valuable.

List of all the perks and their cost in Ghosts. [Source: u/plokijuh1229]

Another is Sleight of Hand. In Search and Destroy there is no reason to use this perk, the MTAR and Vector have large enough magazines to confidently pick up three kills. If you’re using the Remington you’re most likely going to be far enough away that you have time to reload anyway. Obviously, it’s a nice perk to have and gives you peace of mind knowing you have a full clip but I’d take it as your first specialist bonus rather than two of your create-a-class points.

My final point will be that you don’t have to take Quickdraw on the Remington either. Although the increase in ADS speed is substantial on the assault rifles if you pre-aim the right places you should be able to get the kills regardless. Take playing truck on Warhawk for example, they can only push you from back American or from the open bomb site. Not having it definitely means you suffer on the retakes but it’s just something to consider. Perhaps you might take both Agility, Marathon and a pistol to fast peek the cross on Freight. It’s your choice.


You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles. You can find me on Twitter at @JackWrightIGL. Feature image courtesy of callofdutyghosts2.net, map layouts sourced from unofficialcallofduty.com

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