Uzi placed second in the 2013 World Championships with Royal Club

Uzi’s professional history from 2013 to now – Part One – A Taste of Glory

Among the most-mentioned individuals on the “all-time best League of Legends players” list, Uzi has had a glaring issue. He has not really won anything since 2013. That year with Royal Club, Uzi won China’s Regional Finals to qualify for Worlds, where the team finished in second place. From then to now, Uzi has been involved in a five-year string of second place or lower finishes.

LPL Spring and Summer 2014

In 2014, Royal Club rebranded to Star Horn Royal Club for LPL Summer Split

Image from Wikipedia

Going into the 2014 LPL Spring Split, Royal Club had a tumultuous roster. Uzi was the only remaining member of the second-in-the-world group from 2013. GodLike, Lucky, Wh1t3zZ, and Tabe left, while Nct, Kmi, Ley and Rui joined. Uzi role-swapped to mid, as well. This amalgamation only lasted one game, with XJJ subbing in for Rui for weeks two through five.

Starting in week five, Royal Club switched the entire roster again. Uzi moved back to ADC, Nct moved to mid, and Bao and Yao joined as support and top. This updated roster was not able to gain more wins, though. Royal Club ended the regular season in sixth out of eight with a 3-3-8 record (32 percent game win rate).

Moving into summer, Royal Club revitalized. They re-branded to Star Horn Royal Club, bringing in a new suite of players around Uzi: Cola, inSec, corn and Zero. This roster finished the regular season third out of eight in a high-parity league, then went on to place third in playoffs. Star Horn Royal Club was a favorite to represent China at Worlds alongside Oh My God, the squad that beat SHRC in the summer semifinals.

Since Edward Gaming won the Spring and Summer Split playoffs, they automatically qualified for Worlds, while SHRC needed to defeat OMG, Invictus Gaming, and LGD in the Regional Qualifiers. And they did just that. Royal Club beat LGD once and OMG twice to reach EDG for a fight for the first seed. EDG took them down 2-1, but Uzi put on impressive performances to qualify to Worlds as the second seed from China.

Worlds 2014

Uzi and Star Horn Royal Club finished second at the 2014 World Championship

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

SHRC entered the 2014 World Championship rated as a top 10 team, with Uzi ranking fifth on Riot’s pre-Worlds top 20 players list. Crucially placed in Group B, alongside Team SoloMid, SK Gaming, and Taipei Assassins, Star Horn Royal Club breezed through the competition. While Korean teams topped groups A, C and D, Star Horn Royal finished the group stage with a 5-1 record. Uzi put on several carry performances using Tristana, Caitlyn, and his signature Lucian.

Moving into the bracket stage, SHRC was paired with Chinese rivals Edward Gaming for quarterfinals. Two of the most touted AD carries faced off in a five-game series, with Star Horn Royal coming out on top. Uzi and crew moved into semifinals to match up with the other remaining LPL team, OMG, where another legendary series ensued. Royal Club’s late-game fighting held out over OMG’s early game dominance, as they won in a back-and-forth 3-2. Uzi would move into his second Worlds finals in two years.

Royal Club went on to face a stalwart Samsung White. The number two seed from the LCK topped Group C over OMG, then took down TSM and Samsung Blue to reach the finals. Their series with SHRC ended in a dominant 3-1 victory, with the LPL team looking completely outclassed. Imp’s touted Twitch over-shadowed Uzi’s Tristana throughout the series.

2014 would go down as a solid year for Uzi and Royal Club. The organization grew from their rebuilding phase into Worlds finalists in the span of one year. Uzi was truly able to shine as the year went on, but Korean powerhouse teams, such as Samsung White and Blue, were still on another level. Little did Uzi know, this World Championship would be his second of many crushing second-place finishes throughout his career.

CREDITS

Keep your eye out for parts two, three and four, as they are released in the near future.

Check out TheGameHaus.com for more sports and esports articles and interviews. You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more content from Thomas and other contributors!

Images: LoL Esports Flickr

 

Smash 4 at GOML 2018 was Incredible: Here’s Why

Doubles

In one of the most stunning of developments of the season, a doubles team without Cloud actually won a major tournament. The team of Kelsy “superGirlKels” Medeiros and Matt “Elegant” Fitzpatrick. Using Sonic and Luigi, the team was able to defeat the team of Leonardo “MK Leo” Perez and Tamim “Mistake” Omary from winners bracket in a convincing 3-1 victory. A huge win for Elegant and superGirlKels, which comes on the heels of some pretty big changes.

On day one of the tournament, it was announced that dual Cloud was

SuperGirlKels and Elegant at GOML 2018

SuperGirlKels and Elegant dominated doubles
Twitter

banned, meaning no team could have both players using the character. There has been a lot of talk throughout the community about whether or not Cloud should be banned in doubles altogether. However, this is a great starting point. Double Cloud is undoubtedly a problem in the current doubles meta.

Mistake and Leo took 2nd place after fighting through losers bracket, losing to Ezra “Samsora” Morris and Jason “Anti” Bates who took 3rd place.

Having dual Cloud banned in doubles certainly made this event more engaging to watch. More teams were able to play with different characters, as opposed to picking Cloud just to stay viable. Many regions are beginning to experiment with banning Cloud in doubles altogether, which will make these upcoming months all the more interesting. Congratulations to Elegant and SuperGirlKels on their big win.

The Underdog hero of GOML

GOML was the highest tiered event of the season so far, and it showed. The players laid it all on the line and gave some amazing performances. One of the biggest upsets of the tournament came just outside of top 24. A MewTwo player by the name of Laith “SDX” Hamdan took out Elliot “Ally” Carroza in a 3-2 set. Ally, who not too long ago was hailed as being one of the best players in the world, has seen a decline in performance as of late.

While suffering yet another loss, hopefully Ally can return to form and finish the season strong. SDX also upset Chris “WaDi” Boston 3-0, huge seeing as Wadi is viewed as the best MewTwo in the world currently. SDX finished at 9th place losing to Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey.

Singles bracket had many surprises, but top 8 was when things really heated up.

Heart stopping performances

Nairo versus MK Leo at GOML 2018

The offstage interactions between these two were insane. Image:
Youtube

Winners finals saw Nairoby “Nairo” Quezada face off against MK Leo. There was a big fight feel all throughout the arena as this match had some pretty big implications. Nairo and Leo are widely believed to be two best players in the world this season.

With this being the biggest tournament of the season to date, it could make a strong case for who the definitive best in the world is. Nairo did have the set advantage (3-4) going into the set but he was still an underdog. However, he silenced all of his critics in game one. Nairo absolutely destroyed Leo in game one, two-stocking him in less than 40 seconds – an explosive start to the set for Nairo. However, Leo would not be outdone. Leo would take the next two games, one of them in dominating fashion.

Nairo would bring the set back, however, with the most intense game four that this author has ever seen. Switching from Zero Suit Samus to Bowser, Nairo put big-time pressure on MK Leo. Bowser being such a volatile character proved to be a big hurdle for Leo to overcome. In a last hit situation, Nairo kept on living into very high percents. In one final crazy offstage exchange, Nairo landed a clutch up air to close out an insane game. Leo counter picked to Bayonetta next game and put all thoughts of him losing to rest, winning 3-2, securing a spot in Grand finals. Nairo was sent to losers bracket, but would make a return.

Grand finals

Nairo fought back through losers bracket to make it into grand finals, for a run back with MK Leo. Nairo got right to work and won the first two games of set one. Leo would mount a comeback winning game three, but ultimately fell to Nairo’s Bowser in game four. With the bracket now reset, the pieces were in place for a huge finish.

Leo won game one pretty convincingly. Nairo would respond with bringing out his Bowser once again and winning game two in a last hit situation. Game three was the turning point, however, and proved to be Nairo’s downfall. Coming through with the surprise Diddy Kong pick, Nairo amassed a big lead over Leo early. But his play got a bit too sloppy late in the game, air-dodging too much and letting the victory slip form his grasp.

Leo now up 2-1, one game away from victory, came into game 4 with all the momentum in the world. Nairo would bring the Bowser out one last time but couldn’t overcome Leo’s insane pressure. MK Leo dominated the final game, closing it out with a two-stock. MK Leo remained consistent throughout the entire tournament and displayed a very clutch demeanor to win GOML 2018. Both players put on an amazing showcase of talent and definitely made the race for the top spot on the PGR much more interesting.

Congrats to MK Leo: Your GOML 2018 Champion!

Did you catch GOML over the weekend? let us know what you thought in the comments down below!

Featured image courtesy of Shoruken.

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From our Haus to yours.

 

LA Valiant & Microsoft to Partner for Girls in Gaming Summit

2018 Girls in Gaming Summit

The LA Valiant (Immortals) and Microsoft have announced a partnership with the intent of growing the esports ecosystem. They will start with the first event which will be this Saturday, May 19th, called “Girls in Gaming Summit”. The description of this event is as follows:

“Time to amplify all female gamers voices.

Time to unmute and highlight all that women do and can do for gaming. Together we can build a positive industry by spotlighting female heroes, giving girls a space to feel strong and meet gamers like them.

Join LA Valiant and some of the most influential women in the gaming community as we celebrate diversity in gaming at LA Valiant’s Girls in Gaming Summit.

Learn from the many women who make and work in games about their experience and growth in the industry and about the countless opportunities the gaming world holds for developing, writing, marketing and more. Attendees will hear about common experiences and tips, and learn actionable steps on how to break into a competitive industry.

This community building event will include a Business of Esports Panel, Viewing Party, Networking, and game play. All that’s needed for attendees is a desire build the community of females and allies within the gaming industry.”

Girls in Gaming Geguri

Shanghai Dragons player Geguri. Courtesy of: Liquidpedia

This networking event will be taking place at the new Microsoft Lounge in Culver City with big names of women from the esports scene. They are, Catarina Macedo, Program Manager at Xbox, Nicole Fawcette, Sr. Brand Manager, Gears of War & Women in Gaming Co-Lead at Xbox, Alice White, Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition at Blizzard Entertainment and Ann Hand, Chairman & CEO of Amateur Esports platform, Super League Gaming.

Be Valiant

With their “Be Valiant” campaign Immortals and Microsoft hope to “…provide a community and platform that embraces aspiring female gamers to explore both the competitive and career opportunities available to them in esports.”

The Girls in Gaming Summit is currently sold out and no tickets will be sold at the door.

This event should help to bring in more female fans not only to esports, but also out from behind the screen. There has been a problem of toxicity towards women in esports, and while Se-yeon “Geguri” Kim took a major step for all female gamers, many believe there is still a long way to go.

Make sure to keep up with the Valiant’s efforts to grow the esports community!

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Each position’s top underperformer in the MSI group stage

The 2018 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational group stage concludes, with Royal Never Give Up surpassing Flash Wolves in a tie-breaker for first place. The six participating group stage teams represented elite organizations, each major region’s Spring Split victor. Every roster featured big names with historic reputations and colorful narratives. This event is designed to be a clash of major players with unique strengths and diverse talents.

However, like every other tournament, MSI brought out the worst in some individuals. Although fans have faith in their favorite players’ work ethic, ambition and talent, certain players could not put their best foot forward this time around. The group stage saw several teams suffer from lackluster individual performances out of each position. Here are the worst offenders who did not show their true potential over the 10 to 11 games.

Top – Khan

Kingzone Khan underperformed at the 2018 MSI group stage

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

The only true top lane carnivore coming into the tournament, Khan is known as a monster that only played three tank games in the 2018 LCK spring regular season. He played significantly more matches on Gangplank, Gnar, Camille and Jayce, unlike the rest of the top lane field at MSI. Just like Worlds 2017, Khan came into this tournament as a touted weapon for Kingzone to wield against his island opponents.

But the anticipated results did not really come to fruition. Sure, Khan tops the charts in laning differences at 10 and 15 minutes, but he failed to transition these leads into major advantages for his team. Other than Kingzone’s match-ups with EVOS, Khan took the back seat to the rest of his team. Khan made poor team-fighting decisions, often over-aggressively diving the back line without back up. Like other tops, Khan over-extended in the side lane without proper vision or communication to back off.

Of course, Khan did not perform poorly in the MSI group stage compared to the rest of the field. He simply underperformed compared to audiences’ expectations. His 21.4 percent MSI kill participation pales in comparison to his 60.9 LCK Spring. He dropped his DPM from 570 to 356 without significantly less gold share. And Khan’s 2.2 KDA ranks lowest among MSI tops, while his 5.9 KDA was number one among LCK tops. He has not been able to perform to expectations just yet, which could be critical to Kingzone’s third place group stage finish.

Jungle – mLXG

Royal Never Give Up Mlxg underperformed at 2018 MSI Group Stage

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Though Royal Never Give Up finished group stage at the top of the standings, Mlxg stands out as an under-performer. Despite RNG’s high average gold difference at 15 minutes (+430), Mlxg averaged behind 308, second to last among junglers. While similar statistics are not available for the LPL, his gold per minute and damage per minute dropped six and 18 percent from Spring Split to MSI, despite playing fewer tanks. RNG’s First Blood percentage also dropped from 50 percent to 27.3 percent, with Mlxg contributing only 30 percent participation.

Similar to Khan, Mlxg did not perform poorly compared to the field. He definitely came across as a top three starting jungler. Mlxg mostly just played lower than fans have come to expect from him, especially in the earlier stages of the game. Few matches felt like he controlled the tempo. Comparatively, Karsa clearly controlled the pace of RNG’s game against Flash Wolves on day four.

By day five, Mlxg looked warmed up. His Xin Zhao against Flash Wolves and Graves against Team Liquid felt more controlled, more calculated. Hopefully, this form transitions into the bracket stage of MSI. Peanut, Broxah and MooJin essentially played to or above expectations. For RNG to reach the next level in a best-of series, Mlxg needs to channel his more aggressive early-game style. He is certainly capable of greater play than he has demonstrated during most of MSI.

Mid – Pobelter

Team Liquid Pobelter underperformed at 2018 MSI group stage

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

While Pobelter is not considered to be a major threat by NA LCS fans, most considered him to be on an upward trajectory since Spring Split playoffs. His role in the finals against 100 Thieves awarded him Most Valuable Player of the series. MSI has brought that momentum to a screeching halt, as Pobelter has not lived up to expectations.

Team Liquid’s mid laner ranks last in laning stats at 15 minutes in the MSI group stage, which is not necessarily surprising, considering he was middle-of-the-pack during the regular season Spring Split. During playoffs he was roughly fourth or fifth in laning among mids. But, what he lacked in early game dominance, Pobelter made up for with team-fighting prowess. He knows the limits of his champion once he hits the two to three item mark, which is how he earned a 7.2 KDA and 527 damage per minute in playoffs.

At MSI, Pobelter has a 2.8 KDA and 363 damage per minute. Team Liquid drafted him slightly different champions, such as Malzahar, Karma and Taliyah, but that does not make up the discrepancy between playoff Pobelter and MSI Pobelter. He seemed off all tournament, often getting caught during his split-push or roaming between lanes. This bump in the road is unfortunate, as many fans were enjoying Pobelter’s success. Caps, Maple, and even Warzone put their teams on their backs at times. Team Liquid could not count on Pobelter in the same way this time around.

AD Carry – Rekkles

Fnatic Rekkles underperformed at 2018 MSI group stage

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Recency bias will cause European fans to turn their heads away from Rekkles’ overall lowered performance at MSI. From awkward drafts featuring Sivir when no other AD carry was playing her, to overly passive skirmishing, Rekkles had major issues during group stage. Unsurprisingly, Rekkles only composed of 27.1 percent of his team’s damage, while other members of the team stepped up to make up for his lack of presence.

For example, Uzi, PraY, Doublelift, and Betty output anywhere from 90 to 110 percent of their 2017 Worlds’ damage at 2018 MSI. Rekkles’ damage per minute dropped to 80 percent of his Worlds’ numbers. He put up a 6.5 KDA, third among AD carries, but mostly from lower deaths, not higher kills or assists. Rekkles’ champion preferences essentially gave up Fnatic’s early game pressure around bottom lane, while other teams prioritized more aggressive champions and playstyles.

Rekkles’ final Xayah game versus Team Liquid should restore hope for EU LCS followers. For seemingly the first time during the tournament, Rekkles and Hylissang exhibited substantial early laning pressure, and transitioned their power throughout the map. Rekkles output larger damage numbers and higher kill participation, which constricted Team Liquid the way Fnatic dominated Spring Split playoffs. As the West’s last hope of an MSI victory, Fnatic will need more of this Rekkles during the bracket stage.

Support – Olleh

Team Liquid Olleh underperformed at 2018 MSI group stage

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Without beating a dead horse too much, Olleh fell flat at MSI, and was arguably the largest liability in the entire event. From sub-par day one play, to stepping down at one point, to further reduced execution, Team Liquid’s support looked completely out of sorts. His decision-making with Tahm Kench, Alistar and Braum was questionable, which is why safer supports, like Janna and Morgana, better suited him.

With supports having much less statistical analysis to back up their play, eye testing becomes much more important. Compared with SwordArt, Ming, GorillA and even Hylissang, Olleh felt outclassed. While every other support player showed off clutch play-making, particularly on Rakan, Olleh’s best plays were in the background and his worst plays remained memorable.

This tournament is far from Olleh’s best, and anyone who has followed his time in North America knows his potential. He was a top support in North America on Immortals, and he was strong this spring. Olleh will most likely come back even stronger this summer. However, this MSI will be a dark stain on his record, as he severely underperformed when Team Liquid needed him most.

credits

Images: LoL Esports Flickr

Player and Team Statistics: GamesofLegends.com

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Postmortem: Flash Wolves vs Gambit Esports

Last week, the Play-In stage of the 2018 mid-season invitational (MSI) concluded not with a bang, but with a whimper, as CIS representatives Gambit Esports found themselves on the wrong end of a barely-contested 3-0 clean sweep at the hands of the LMS’ Flash Wolves. Gambit came close to victory only in the very first game. In this postmortem of Gambit’s defeat, I want to look at the teamfight that ultimately decided that game, and see what it tells us about Gambit, the Flash Wolves and why things turned out the way they did.

Image courtesy of Riot Games

Setting the scene

Before we can analyse the fight, we must understand the context in which it took place. Gambit’s soft-scaling composition, featuring champions most comfortable in mid to late game teamfights like Cassiopeia, Kai’sa and Trundle, had come online after 20 minutes of being forced to cede objective after objective to the Flash Wolves’ stronger, more early-game focused composition. The Flash Wolves attempted to engage multiple times after this point, trying to carry their momentum forward, but to no avail. After one particularly successful fight and an opportunistic baron, Gambit marched down the bot lane towards the Flash Wolves’ inhibitor turret to begin a siege. They had a gold lead, an active baron buff, and the tempo of the game in their hands. It seemed theirs to win or lose. It was here, exactly 29 and a half minutes into the game, that the pivotal teamfight occurred.

 

The Fight

One of the most important features of the Flash Wolves’ composition was Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh’s Rakan. Representing both their primary engage and counter-engage potential, SwordArt had a vital role to play. Thus, when he slightly overstepped on Gambit’s flank, toplaner Alexander “PvPStejos” Glazkov (Maokai), saw the chance to swing the odds in their favour and went for the pick, chaining his Twisted Advance and his ultimate to lock him down. Meanwhile Gambit AD Carry Stanislav “Lodik” Kornelyuk, representing much of Gambit’s damage on a Kai’sa at the peak of her power, immediately blew his own ultimate ability to rush to his toplaner’s side and help secure the kill.

Of course, the kill never actually happened, and SwordArt escaped by the skin of his teeth while the remaining elements of each team clashed at the entrance to the base. The Flash Wolves’ Cho’gath traded his life for that of Gambit jungler Danil “Diamondprox” Reshetnikov (Trundle) while their own carries (Karma and Xayah) dealt as much damage as they could from the back. A tense trade of summoner spells and cooldowns later, Gambit retreated, health bars low. The fight was over, and though it looked like little was ultimately lost, the moments before the fight were the last in which Gambit had any measure of control over the game. In the next several minutes, the Flash Wolves would push out from their base, re-establish control of the map and win the game after a single well-executed teamfight.

 

Image courtesy of Riot Games

 

Mistake #1: Over-committing

 We know what happened, but what did Gambit actually do wrong?

The first mistake that Gambit made was to commit so much to an uncertain play. Gambit spent the ultimates of Maokai and Kai’sa for the prospect of a kill on a Rakan. Though perhaps a fair trade, the cost of these ultimate abilities cannot be overstated. Maokai’s Nature’s Grasp was the central engage mechanic that Gambit relied on. As a lane-wide ultimate with long range, the ability could both force a fight or  zone the Flash Wolves away from important objectives. In the context of a siege, expending a Maokai ultimate for a single pick is more than a little risky.

Kai’sa’s ultimate, meanwhile, looks far less impactful on the surface. It provides a shield and the ability to quickly reposition, but by itself it provides none of Kai’sa’s substantial damage output and tank-shredding ability. However, the difference between having this ultimate available or not is the difference between being able to step forward and provide damage with a safety net versus having to play from the backline, and the difference between being able to forcefully clean up a fight or letting it get away. Though Kai’sa represented only half of Gambit’s primary damage output, with Lodik less than a percentage away from midlaner Mykhailo “Kira” Harmash’s (Cassiopeia) damage share in this game (29.6 to 29%), spending this ultimate came at a substantial cost.

That’s not to say it wasn’t worth it. Any good team knows that sometimes, you have to spend valuable resources to try and get ahead. What makes the play so questionable is how uncertain it was, as SwordArt had both Cleanse and Flash summoner spells available to him, which allowed him to escape. Gambit either failed to properly track his summoner spells, or failed to consider how strong they’d be in avoiding the pick. Either way, Gambit messed up.

 

Mistake #2: Mechanical missteps

A team could have the perfect draft and an unbeatable plan, with every possible risk or outcome accounted for; but at the end of the day what decides games is how well a team executes their plan. Gambit, unfortunately, did not execute their plan well at all.

The first mechanical error came from PvPStejos. We’ve already covered how important the Maokai ultimate could be, however it would’ve been entirely possible to use it for the pick on SwordArt whilst also helping the main fight. If he’d angled his ultimate towards the botlane tower, Gambit may have fared better. PvPStejos instead angled it away from the tower, meaning that aside from (briefly) rooting SwordArt, the ultimate did nothing except zone the Flash Wolves’ least relevant teamfighter, a Kha’zix.

But this had little bearing on the pick itself, and things may well had gone differently if SwordArt had gone down. What more directly influenced that was Lodik’s positioning. Rakan’s ultimate, The Quickness, causes Rakan to gain movement speed and charm whomever he touches. Maokai would almost necessarily be hit by this. A well-positioned Kai’sa, however, would be capable of firing off the crucial extra auto-attacks necessary to secure the kill before succumbing to the CC. It’s therefore tragic that Lodik, in his rush to follow up PvPStejos’ engage, positioned himself in melee range of the Rakan, meaning he was CC’ed and locked out of auto-attacking almost instantly and was unable to secure the kill. Each of these crucial mechanical errors snowballed against Gambit in their own ways, each contributing to their losing the fight.

 

Image courtesy of Riot Games

 

Mistake #3: The follow-up

While SwordArt was making his great escape, toplaner Su ‘Hanabi’ Chia-Hsiang stepped slightly out of the base to support him, and the remaining Gambit squad rushed forward in an attempt to punish him. It’s here that another issue with Lodik’s dive becomes clear: Gambit had no good way of dealing with Hanabi’s Cho’gath.

Gambit had a Trundle, whose Subjugate ultimate shreds through tanks resistances. Effective as this is, Hanabi had both substantial health scaling from his own ultimate, as well as a Gargoyle’s Stoneplate which can temporarily make any tank virtually unkillable. In order to be able to properly utilise Subjugate to burn through Cho’gath and make it to the backline, Gambit needed their consistent damage sources at the ready to take him out. Unfortunately, the best tank-shredder on the team was Lodik, who was busy being CC’ed by a frustratingly not-dead Rakan at the point that Diamondprox and Kira decided to engage on Hanabi. Meanwhile both of Flash Wolves carries were present and dealing incredible amounts of damage to every Gambit member, safe in the knowledge that both the most salient enemy damage threat and the main source of engage were preoccupied.

Though PvPStejos and Lodick did soon rejoin the central fight, Diamondprox was already dead and PvPStejos was forced to use his most reliable remaining method of locking a target down, his Twisted Advance, to secure the kill on Hanabi, allowing the Flash Wolves’ carries a further measure of safety for a few seconds. Meanwhile Lu ‘Betty’ Yu-Hung’ (Xayah) had a full health bar, his flash, and his own safety-net ultimate at the ready.

In other words, at the point that Gambit engaged onto Hanabi they had neither the damage output nor lockdown to secure the kill, or any method of stopping the carries Hanabi was protecting from dealing damage. By the time they were able to secure the kill, Gambit had low health bars across the board, and neither Flash Wolves’ mid or ADC had a scratch on them. Diving SwordArt was problematic in itself, but committing to a fight which had little chance of success with a Cho’gath and two carries was arguably the bigger mistake.

 

Image courtesy of Riot Games

Lessons learned

This teamfight serves perfectly to elucidate Gambit’s issues when faced with a team of the Flash Wolves’ calibre. Gambit demonstrated awkward and poorly considered calls, mechanical errors, and a failure to understand both where the power in their composition lay, and how much of it would be required to stand up to specific elements of the Flash Wolves’ composition. Though this fight only cost them one game, it was the game they were best positioned to win, and what we learned about how Gambit functioned under pressure helps explain how they were so outclassed by the Flash Wolves throughout the series. Yet as tragic as the loss was for Gambit fans, at the end of the day, the better team won.

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Featured photo from Riot Games

Super Smash Bros and why Esports are so special

I’ve had a love for competitive video games ever since I was able to hold a controller as a young child. The thrill of battling it out with interesting characters against friends and family was very appealing to me. Fast forward to today and competitive gaming is bigger than it has ever been. Fighting game tournaments are streamed to millions of viewers, and even aired on television. Players are being signed by professional teams to do what they love for a living. What was once seen as a simple fad, a passing trend, has become bigger than anyone could have ever imagined. The world of Esports is so unique and interesting, and offers an experience unlike any other.

The tournament experience

One of the biggest differences between Esports and traditional sports is the level of accessibility. If you want to play in a regional fighting game tournament that top players will be attending, you can just register online. Any random player can easily be pit against the greatest player in the world just by how the brackets play out. This simply isn’t seen in traditional sports. You cant just register online for an NFL game and play against the pros. Not to take anything away from traditional sports, but it’s not in their nature to offer this experience. That accessibility should not however be mistaken for easiness. Just because any random Joe can enter a tournament, doesn’t mean they’ll get very far.

I myself can attest to this. I’ve been playing Smash 4 for a few years now and I consider myself to be pretty good. I study the game, watch almost every tournament, and keep up to date on new advanced tech.

Nothing can prepare you for the big stage other than competing on it
SB Nation

I beat just about all of my friends and people at my university, and look to improve every time I play. This however simply isn’t enough. Glitch 4, a regional Smash 4 tournament in Maryland, wrapped up a few weeks ago, and many top players attended. The Venue was near me so I registered early and did my best to train with the best players I knew. The day of the tournament arrived and I got destroyed, going 0-6 in my pool, only taking one game off of one player. So what went wrong? I’m decent enough at the game, how could I perform so poorly?

Rising to the occasion

First off, this was my first ever smash tournament, so I saw that outcome coming a mile away. But more important is the skill gap most games have at the competitive level. Being the best player in your group of friends means absolutely nothing if you’re not consistently playing in tournaments. Just like in any other sport, you have to train against the best to be able to compete with the best. This goes for any game, not just smash. The upside to this is that if I wanted to, I could attend the venue weekly tournament and play as many skilled players as I can to improve my performance (which I will in the future).

This is where Esports truly separates itself from traditional sports. If a top player lives in your region and frequents a nearby venue, you have access to them by attending also. Chances are you’ll get to play against them and get hands on experience of what it’s like to play a professional. I personally got to play against AF Justin “Jebb” Boston who is currently the 9th best player in MD/VA. (Maryland/Virginia) Even though I lost it was great to play against such a high caliber player. These interactions are so valuable to someone looking to improve their play.

Coming together

Lastly I want to talk about how big a role community plays in Esports. Any competitive video game scene you can think of began with a group of people bonding over a game they enjoyed. The very first tournaments for games like Melee, were held in peoples basements and garages. Small scale events among friends that blossomed into something much greater. Even though the size and scope of things are much bigger now, the community feeling is still very strong. Video game communities (usually) treat each other well and welcome newcomers with open arms. Speaking from my own experience, I’ve made many new friends just by playing smash with them. And when I got the chance to meet top players like p1 Tweek, P1 Captain Zack and EMG Mistake, they were very friendly and made the tournament experience just a bit more enjoyable.

The world of Esports is a very unique and genuine experience to be a part of. It’s wonderful to see the field gaining much more popularity now, and seeing players make a living from it. The only place to go is up for Esports. With the level of accessibility being so wide open, the next big hidden boss player could be you!

The Competitive gaming scene has grown quite a bit
SSB Wiki 

How do you feel about competitive smash, and Esports as a whole? Let us know in the comments down below!

Featured image courtesy of Twitter.

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Tips and Tricks for Fortnite’s “Avengers” crossover

On Monday, game developer Epic sent the internet into a frenzy with an announcement on Fortnite’s newest update. For a limited time, players will be able to play in an “Infinity Gauntlet” mode, featuring Thanos, the main villain from Avengers: Infinity War. Here’s a breakdown of the new game mode, as well as some tips to ensure your next Victory Royale:

What exactly is “Infinity Gauntlet Mode”?

fortnite-avengers tips and tricks

GIF from laughingsquid.com

The new game mode starts out as a normal solo game of Fortnite, but with a twist. Somewhere on the island, the Infinity Gauntlet will spawn in all its glory. Whoever finds and equips the gauntlet first will then turn into Thanos, becoming the most powerful player in the game.

Whoever is playing as Thanos will have a tremendous advantage over other players, having additional health and a trio of power moves to use against opponents. The other players’ main goal will then be to kill Thanos, as well as defeating other players and avoiding the storm.

When killed, Thanos will drop his gauntlet, allowing the next player to pick it up to use.

What does Thanos entail?

fortnite-avengers tips and tricks

Thanos using his primary attack. Photo by Reddit user BeastedNoob

If you are lucky enough to acquire the gauntlet, you will receive a bounty of advantages in the game. First, you will obtain a full health of 800, as well as a full shield of 200. These health meters cannot be replenished from shield potions or med kits.

Additionally, Thanos cannot use any weapons available to other players. Instead, he is equipped with three “power moves”, each using a different stone on the gauntlet. His primary attack, using the space (blue) stone, is a ground punch that destroys anything within a short area of the attack. To perform the attack, players must charge up to jump high into the air, then switching to attack mode, causing Thanos to punch the ground.

His second attack is a laser beam shot from the power (purple) stone. This is just a simple attack that is good for short range, like the game’s submachine gun. Finally, Thanos can use the time (green) stone to make a powerful punch, destroying anything in its’ path. This is great for attacking players or destroying buildings.

How to defeat Thanos

  1. fortnite-avengers tips and tricks

    Photo from vg247.com

    Play Defensively- With 1000 total health and moves powerful enough to kill players in one blow, Thanos is a force to be reckoned with. It wouldn’t be wise to simply run up to him without putting a chink in the armor first. By sitting back and putting damage on Thanos from a distance, you are greatly increasing your chances of defeating him. Being defensive will also help you avoid other players, who will get in the way of you killing Thanos.

  2. Watch the “Thanos Tracker”- One helpful tool in the Infinity Gauntlet mode is the “Thanos Tracker”. At the top of the screen, players will be able to see Thanos’ (and the gauntlet’s, if not equipped) location at any time. They will also be able to see his health and shield meters, giving a huge advantage to other players. Watching his health diminish will help determine when to be aggressive and when to fall back.
  3. Start off slow- In this game mode, the storm begins shrinking as soon as players land. This forces many players to panic, heading straight for the circle. Not only will there be little to no loot, there will also be a hoard of other players, including Thanos. Instead, try landing farther from the circle in sparsely populated areas. This allows other players to do some of the work for you by weakening Thanos. There will also be a plethora of loot available, requiring little to no effort.

Good luck in your fight against the man who can kill with the “snap” of his fingers.

 

Featured image from Epic Games

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The Overwatch League goes big as the Barclays Center will host their Finals

To many the Overwatch League has been very successful in its first season. Teams have been fairly even, viewership is trending upwards, and overall production has been very good. With stage 3 ending and only stage 4 remaining Blizzard has announced that they will be hosting their season one final at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

To say this is much bigger than what Overwatch League fans are used to would be an understatement. The Blizzard Arena holds around 450 people while the Barclays Center holds 19,000. With a bigger venue it will be interesting to see how many tickets go on sale and how quickly it will sellout, if it does.

This announcement comes on the heels of Riot announcing that their North American LCS Finals would be held in Oakland California at Oracle Arena. What this showcases is that, at least for now, many major esports will continue to use NBA arenas for their major events.

It is possible that this is due to the fact that so many groups and individuals from the NBA are involved with esports or that their venues are currently about the perfect size for a major esports event. Oracle Arena hold 20,000, TD Garden (NALCS Fall 2017 Finals) holds, 19,580, and Staples Center holds 21,000. All of these venues have been used for esports events before and hold about the same amount of people.

What this shows is that this is most likely the crowd size expected for major esports events these days. It will be interesting to see how this shifts in the future.

Stage 4 of the OWL starts next week as teams battle for the final season 1 playoff spots.

Tickets for the Grand Finals will go on sale May 18th. The event will be on July 27th and 28th.

 

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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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MSI

MSI Play-In Round 2 Breakdown

MSI Play-In Round 2

Four teams are still in the running to fill the last two Main Event spots for the 2018 Mid Season Invitational. Gambit Esports, SuperMassive eSports, EVOS Esports, and Flash Wolves will all face one more hurdle in their quest to take on the best team from the top regions in the world. The competition will be intense as they fight to keep their MSI dreams alive.

Series 1 – SuperMassive eSports vs. EVOS Esports

Tuesday, May 8th

SuperMassive eSports

SuperMassive eSports breezed through the initial Play-In Stage as easily as they won the Turkish Champions League (TCL) this Spring Split. Winning their group with a 5-1 record, there was no doubt that they deserved to move on. All members looked exceptional throughout the stage and their teamwork made them stand out against their opponents.

Their only loss came in their last game of the stage after they had already secured first place. The lack of pressure on the outcome resulted in a game that looked more like an ARAM than a competitive match. After SuperMassive locked in a team consisting of three Marksmen and an Irelia Support, their opponents, KaBum! E-sports locked in a Rammus for their Top Lane. The result was a fast-paced match that lasted less than 25 minutes and had an excessive 75 kills.

EVOS Esports

This year, the Vietnam Championship Series is being represented at MSI by EVOS Esports. Founded in 2017, they won the 2018 VCS Spring Promotion, and immediately went on to finish first in the league and take first place in the postseason. With a 12-2 record, the newcomers dominated the VCS.

Though Nguyễn “Slay” Ngọc Hùng and Đoàn “Warzone” Văn Ngọc Sơn have been on the competitive scene for a while now, the team is made up of mostly unknowns. That is unlikely to remain the case for long as they look to make a name for themselves in their first international tournament.

MSI Supermassive

Photo: Leaguepedia

Prediction

SuperMassive eSports 3:1 EVOS Esports

EVOS has had a great season and are a strong team, but they have several things working against them. First, they are still a new team, with no experience on the international stage. Not only does SuperMassive have experience at MSI as an organization, but they boast some seasoned veterans on their roster as well. Midlaner Lee “GBM” Chang-seok has played since 2013 on varioous teams in the LCK, EU LCS, and NA LCS. Their Support, No “SnowFlower” Hoi-jong played several seasons in Korea for Afreeca Freecs and Jin Air Green Wings before finding his way to the TCL.

In addition to the experience advantage, SuperMassive also has the upper hand when it comes to momentum. Coming off of a season where both GBM and AD Carry Berkay “Zeitnot” Aşıkuzun were tied for first place with 8 “Player of the Game” awards apiece, they continued to play and improve throughout the first Play-In Stage. While they have of course been practicing, it will be just over a month for EVOS since they were last on stage. Inexperienced and out of practice, they will have a big hill to climb if they want to keep up with the dynamic SuperMassive Gaming.

 

Series 2 – Flash Wolves vs. Gambit Esports

Wednesday, May 9th

Gambit Esports

Gambit Esports followed up a dominant split with an equally impressive run in the first Play-In Stage. The winners of the League of Legends Continental League have a truly impressive amount of experience throughout the team, and it shows. Not only have Jungler Danil “Diamondprox” Reshetnikov and Edward “Edward” Abgaryan both been playing since early 2012, but they have been teammates for nearly that entire stretch. The game knowledge and synergy that comes from this history compliments the mechanical skill of the rest of the team.

Flash Wolves

As has often been the case, Flash Wolves once again topped the League of Legends Master Series this split. With the legends Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang and Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh leading the team from the Mid Lane and Support position respectively, they also boast impressive young talent in the Solo Lanes. Additionally, Lu “Betty” Yu-Hung had an exceptional season and looks to be one of the few that could rise to the challenge of the AD Carries that will be waiting in the Main Event. 

Though they tend to stumble at Worlds, they traditionally do well at the Mid Season Invitational.

Flash Wolves MSI

Photo: Leaguepedia

Prediction

Flash Wolves 3:2 Gambit Esports

This matchup is shaping up to be one of the closest ones of the tournament. The veteran duo of Diamondprox and Edward is one of the few that can rival the experience of  Maple and SwordArt. Both teams rely on top level Macro play to dissect their opponents, and it will be a constant mental battle to see who can get the upper hand.

Wrapping up their season at the end of April, Flash Wolves did not have the long break that EVOS will have to come back from. In the end, the deciding factor may be the AD Carry matchup, and this is one that Flash Wolves will likely win. Though Stanislav “Lodik” Kornelyuk has been playing quite well, he gained the starting role late in the season, and only has 10 games under his belt with the team this year. Facing off against Betty who has been part of the Flash Wolves lineup for a few years and has been in great form, Lodik and Gambit will likely fall just short.

 

 

 

Find the rest of my articles here. If you would like to contact me or keep up with things I like, find me on Twitter: @_mrdantes. For more of the best esports news, follow The Game Haus on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading!