SPL: Spacestation Gaming week five recap

spacestation gaming

Image courtesy of esports.smitegame.com

In week five, Spacestation Gaming became the first team in North America or Europe to clinch their spot at the SMITE Masters LAN event.

After going down in their first game against Counter Logic (4-4) on Wednesday, Spacestation (7-1) came back to win the set convincingly 2-1. On Friday, they went on to defeat an inconsistent Luminosity (3-4) team in a 2-0 set. With the victories, Spacestation separated themselves from the rest of North America as the team to beat going into the spring finals LAN event in May.

Spacestation Gaming vs Counter Logic Gaming

Game 1 – (CLG)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” Oh Neill – Artio (0/4/2)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Nemesis (1/5/0)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Ullr (1/2/1)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Athena (0/2/1)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Jing Wei (0/1/1)

SSG bans: Terra, Janus, Achilles, Odin

CLG picks:

Solo: Alec “fineokay” Fonzo – Sobek (1/0/7)

Jungle: Alexander “Homiefe” D’Souza- Ratatoskr (3/0/9)

Mid: Tyler “Hurriwind” Whitney – Sol (6/1/5)

Support: Connor “Jigz” Echols – Fafnir (0/0/12)

ADC: Evan “Snoopy” Jones – Hachiman (4/1/4)

CLG bans: Camazotz, Da Ji, Serqet, Cerberus

Game one of this set saw little competition as Counter Logic snowballed their way to victory. Spacestation fell behind early due to the pressure that Homiefe was able to provide by playing Ratatoskr.

With a Fafnir and double ADC on their side, Counter Logic was able to turn their early pressure into objectives. Those objectives allowed Counter Logic to dominate the team fights and win the game game convincingly in 29 minutes.

Player of the game: Homiefe

Game 2 – (SSG)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” Oh Neill – Artio (4/2/12)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Nemesis (2/2/8)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Ullr (9/3/6)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Athena (0/2/13)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Jing Wei (4/1/10)

SSG bans: Achilles, Terra, Ratatoskr, Janus

CLG picks:

Solo: Alec “fineokay” Fonzo – Sobek (0/1/6)

Jungle: Alexander “Homiefe” D’Souza- Awilix (6/4/4)

Mid: Tyler “Hurriwind” Whitney – Sol (3/5/5)

Support: Connor “Jigz” Echols – Fafnir (0/5/6)

ADC: Evan “Snoopy” Jones – Hachiman (1/4/5)

CLG bans: Da Ji, Serqet, Camazotz, Cerberus

Game two saw almost a direct replay of game one picks from both teams. The only difference came after Spacestation banned away Ratatoskr, forcing Homiefe to select Awilix. While Awilix’s ultimate counters Jing Wei and Ullr, the missing global presence from the Counter Logic jungler was felt.

Spacestation’s early game execution prevented a repeat of game one, as Aquarius was able to put the team on his back and front line his way to victory. Artio’s cripple field proved too much for Counter Logic as Aquarius was able to lock down his opponents for his teammates to clean up. This led to the game going in Spacestation’s favor, 33 minutes in.

Player of the game: Aquarius

Game 3 – (SSG)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” Oh Neill – Odin (0/4/2)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Serqet (1/5/0)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Ullr (1/2/1)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Geb (0/2/1)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Sol (0/1/1)

SSG bans: Thoth, Terra, Discordia, Janus

CLG picks:

Solo: Alec “fineokay” Fonzo – Cu Chulainn (1/0/7)

Jungle: Alexander “Homiefe” D’Souza- Camazotz (3/0/9)

Mid: Tyler “Hurriwind” Whitney – Hel (6/1/5)

Support: Connor “Jigz” Echols – Fafnir (0/0/12)

ADC: Evan “Snoopy” Jones – Hachiman (4/1/4)

CLG bans: Athena, Da Ji, Artio, Achilles

In a complete reversal of game one, Spacestation dominated Counter Logic from the start.

Homiefe and Hurriwind teamed up to make repeated mistakes early in the game, allowing Baskin to build an insurmountable lead. First, Homiefe went for an early invade of Spacestation’s blue buff instead of clearing his own. The invade came up empty handed forcing Homiefe to go back to finally clear his own buff. This allowed andinster and Baskin a free gank onto an out of position Hurriwind in mid lane for the first blood.

To make matters worse for Counter Logic, Homiefe followed this up with dangerous pathing that led directly into Baskin and andinster waiting around the corner for the second kill of the game.

At this point Baskin’s two level lead on Hurriwind turned into a quick third kill as Hurriwind was once again caught out of position by a ganking andinster. At only three minutes into the game, these three kills gave Baskin an enormous lead on a character known for snowballing. Spacestation went on to dominate the rest of the game, leading to the quickest victory in the SPL this season at 19 minutes in.

Player of the game: Baskin

Spacestation Gaming vs Luminosity

Game 1 – (SSG)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” O’Neill – Cerberus (0/1/6)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Da Ji (3/1/5)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Apollo (5/2/3)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Athena (0/1/8)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Sol (2/2/7)

SSG bans: Janus, Terra, Discordia, The Morrigan

LG picks:

Solo: Ismael “KikiSoCheeky” Torres – Artio – (0/2/4)

Jungle: Kurt “Weak3n” Schray – Achilles (3/2/2)

Mid: Keegan “keegsmate” TwoEagle – Poseidon (0/2/4)

Support: Michael “NotGeno” Lukashin – Sylvanus (2/3/3)

ADC: Conor “Clout” Roberts – Hachiman (2/1/4)

LG bans: Ullr, Camazotz, Jing Wei, Odin

Luminosity got off to a strong start in game one, getting the first blood along with an early team fight victory. While this put them up 5-1 in kills, they were not able to capitalize on this by capturing objectives. Instead it was Spacestation securing the big objectives on the map, allowing them to stay in the game.

As the game went on, Spacestation continued to outclass Luminosity. Objective after objective went in Spacestation’s favor allowing them to close out the game in 26 minutes.

Player of the game: Baskin

Game 2 – (SSG)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” O’Neill – Odin (7/0/10)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Da Ji (4/4/7)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Apollo (8/2/8)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Geb (1/1/9)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Sol (2/1/4)

SSG bans: Janus, Terra, Discordia, The Morrigan

LG picks:

Solo: Ismael “KikiSoCheeky” Torres – Camazotz – (0/5/1)

Jungle: Kurt “Weak3n” Schray – Achilles (4/6/3)

Mid: Keegan “keegsmate” TwoEagle – Raijin (0/6/4)

Support: Michael “NotGeno” Lukashin – Ganesha (0/3/6)

ADC: Conor “Clout” Roberts – Hachiman (4/2/0)

LG bans: Ullr, Camazotz, Jing Wei, Odin

It was all Spacestation in game two as Baskin continued to show why he is in discussion for being the best player in the world. Once again Spacestation’s objective play outclassed Luminosity’s allowing Spacestation to quickly finish the game in a dominating 20 minutes.

Player of the game: Baskin


Baskin continues to show he can make anything look overpowered in mid. Whether it be Camazotz in previous weeks, or Apollo this week, Baskin has proven his god pool has no limit.

Aquarius has been noted by casters as a role player in recent weeks, but he continues to prove that analysis wrong. The 19 year old Canadian has the ability to put the team on his back and dominate from the solo lane.

As two teams that started the split hot, Counter Logic and Luminosity are both in danger of missing the first LAN of the year. The two teams need to iron out their inconsistencies if they want to be considered as true contenders in the upcoming summer split.

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Top image courtesy of Hi-Rez Studios.

3 Things We Learned in Stage 1

Courtesy of London Spitfire

Stage one is in the books and this is what we’ve learned.

Stage one of the inaugural season of Overwatch League has come and gone. First off I would like to say congratulations to the London Spitfire on winning the stage one playoffs over the New York Excelsior. A lot transpired during the first stage and there’s plenty more to come but here are three things that stood out during stage one.


Don’t judge a team by its roster

Before the season started analysts, broadcasters, journalists, and content creators all put out their projected power rankings for the first stage. Boston Uprising were synonymous with the bottom of the barrel everywhere you looked. But, that was put to bed several weeks into the stage when Boston became the first team to beat an all Korean roster in the London Spitfire. Boston shocked so many people, myself included, and became energized by that win. Boston went on to miss the stage one playoffs after losing a hard fought game 3-2 against the Houston Outlaws but Boston showed that it’s not all about the names on the roster but about the heart and synergy among the players on the team.

This is only getting bigger

During the first stage of the Overwatch League a lot of things transpired. Some players were suspended and/or fined, expectations for teams changed, Overwatch League added more talented personnel to the broadcasting team but, what stood out the most was the sponsors that bought into the league. The season began with big name sponsors such as Intel and HP but given that those two companies are basically synonymous with esports no one batted an eye. After a few weeks though things began to change and new sponsors began jumping on this wagon including T-Mobile, Toyota, and Sour Patch Kids. Nate Nanzer, the commissioner of Overwatch League, said that they already are looking to expand the number of teams and are looking to get more teams from Europe and Asia as well. Overwatch League is doing a lot to help grow this community and I’m sure with the addition of these major companies others will follow their lead and hop on OWL or other esport competitions.

The style is helping to grow esports

This may be a personal opinion but the Overwatch League makes finding your favorite team and players significantly easier than other leagues. The way they set this all up is helping to not only grow, but legitimize esports to the world. Esports has grown a lot and is still far from being widely accepted but, the Overwatch League is a major step forward towards the ultimate goal. Having the games four nights a week also helps. Knowing when the games are on makes it much more like traditional sports.

You know that Sunday’s are for football. The way they managed to set this up, you know Wednesday through Saturday will be Overwatch League days. Keeping it scheduled well, providing excellent coverage and exposure, the social media accounts of teams are constantly interacting with the fans and each other. Blizzard has done great with the Overwatch League and we’re only a quarter of the way through the season!

How did your team do during the first stage? What are you looking forward to the most during stage two and beyond? Let us know and be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel! Links down below!

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OWL leading to map fatigue

Only two weeks in the community is getting tired.

Courtesy: Blizzard Ent

If you’re like me you’ve been following the Overwatch League since the preseason. The games for the most part have been very fun to watch and watching the crowd reaction in stadium, as well as online, has been great. But one issue has emerged. Map Fatigue. After week one people on Reddit and the Blizzard forums were starting to mumble about being sick of seeing the same maps.

The two maps in particular that have dominated stage one have been Junkertown and Horizon Lunar Colony. Now if you don’t know this, the Overwatch League is broken into four stages that are six weeks long. Each stage has a predetermined selection of maps. The first stages maps are Horizon Lunar Colony/Anubis, Oasis/Ilios, Numbani/Eichenwalde, and Junkertown/Dorado.

Repetition has it’s ups and downs.

After watching week one we were seeing that since these maps were so common it was forcing teams to change strategies and routes. Seoul at one point ran a triple tank composition on Junkertown which is incredibly rare. The same maps at the same time also create an “even ground”.

But this does give mid-tier teams an opportunity to focus of specific map strategies and further attempt to hone their skills as a unit. Teams are being forced to come up with new ways to attack payloads. At the start of the season Junkertown’s first point was absolutely dominated by the “Pirate Ship” composition. If you’re unfamiliar with the comp itself you park a Bastion in turret mode on top of the payload and have Orisa lay down a protective barrier in front of him. At first this strategy was working but with familiarity teams are finding ways to slow down or stop that entire composition.

SO what changes after stage 1?

After stage one concludes on February 10th teams are allowed to add players to their rosters. One thing I’m sure Florida will be heavily in favor of. The stage two map selection has not been released yet but guessing by the fact there’s a ten day break in between stages, that will give Blizzard time to select the maps and let the teams know.

The main issue here is that map fatigue is a difficult problem to solve. The Championship Series allowed teams to pick/ban maps which led to teams constantly playing the same maps even more then. Shrinking the map pool is not something that would help this league at all.

All we can do is sit and hope that Blizzard is listening to our concerns as fans of the league. But seeing as Blizzard has invested incredible amounts of money, time, and talent into making this league something fun for people of all ages I’m convinced that they will do their absolute best to keep the fans, as well as the players, happy.

Are you getting map fatigue? Do you have any ideas on how to fix the fatigue problem? Let us know! Also be sure to follow The Game Haus on Twitter, Like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Overwatch League news!

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Player Spotlight: Babybay

Courtesy of Babybay

Overwatch League Player Spotlight: Babybay

Every week here at The Game Haus we will be highlighting one player from the Overwatch League. This weeks player is Babybay of the San Francisco Shock.

Andrej “Babybay” Francisty is the main DPS/Flex player for the Shock. He is part of a very strong roster of talented players but Babybay manages to separate himself from his peers. He was one of the biggest stand outs from this years preseason where his Widowmaker play was simply something to behold.

Another reason he is able to separate himself is that he is American. Americans aren’t known for our Esports prowess. Babybay is more well known for his Genji, Mcree, and Soldier 76 which was part of the reason his Widow stood out to so many people. After the matches during the preseason he was interviewed and seemed to relish in the crowds cheering.

History of Babybay

The last time Babybay played in a LAN competition was the Overwatch Winter Premiere back in January of last year. That isn’t to say he hasn’t been competing for longer than that. His history in Esports runs fairly deep. The last team he was a part of was Kungarna. He was part of their roster on two separate occasions.

The Shock have two more players joining their roster later this season as they are ineligible to play due to the Overwatch League age requirement. Babybay and the Shock will look to keep up the high level play as they not only fight for the Overwatch League title but fight for California supremacy as they are joined in California by the two Los Angeles teams, the Valiant and the Gladiators.

Are you a Shock fan? How do you feel Babybay has started off the season? Let us know and be sure to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Youtube channel! Links down below and as always stayed tuned to The Game Haus for all your Overwatch League news!

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Overwatch League’s Uprising may cause some upsizing

Big numbers in Day two of the Overwatch League. Big numbers coming out of cities hosting watch parties 

Boston Uprising watch party at The Greatest Bar.

Upsizing not Uprising

This is a picture taken last Thursday at the Boston Uprising watch party held at The Greatest Bar (clever name, not my opinion.) inside the TD Garden where the Celtics and Bruins play. Over 125 people crammed into the two floors of a Boston sports bar.

Now I don’t know if any of you have been to Boston sports bars, I’m sure some of you have. This is the last thing anyone expected. Especially The Greatest Bar. Boston Uprising hosted the event and also had people there giving out free merch to fire up the crowds. To see people cramming themselves into a bar to watch video games gives me immense hope for this sport. For this league. For the next generation of geeks.

Watch parties like this have been held all over the country for the Overwatch League. San Francisco hosted one and had Sinatraa and Super, players who are currently ineligiable to play, there to meet and take pictures. Around 100 people showed up to watch that one.

Picture of Houston Outlaws watch party.

Houston, from all the pictures Posted around the internet had what appears to be the biggest watch party of them all. Over 600 people came out in support of the Houston Outlaws! That’s insane!

Some fans even drove across the country to the Blizzard Arena to watch their favorite teams complete.

These two guys drove 2,700 miles to watch the NYXL. Viewership on Twitch yesterday peaked at just about 250,000. I know it’s still early. I know it’s the “cupcake phase” or however you want to say it. It’s still new and exciting but even people who aren’t fans of Esports have to at least admit this is impressive.

Did you attend/throw any watch parties for your favorite team? Let us know! Also be sure to follow The Game Haus on Twitter, Like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel! Links are down below!

Credit to The Esports Writer.

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Why Overwatch League Matters

How Blizzard can change the Esports scene in North America

Courtesy of Blizzard Ent.


I feel as though I’ve had to explain to multiple friends and family members what exactly Esports is. I have several friends who understand the basic concept of it but don’t understand how fun and entertaining it is. This is where the Overwatch League steps in.

After being announced over a year ago, January 10th was opening night. Twitch viewership peaked at just over 400,000. 400,000 people tuned in to watch a video game competition. In the grand scheme of things people gather to watch this number is relatively small, but also very big. Let me explain why Overwatch League matters.

Why does it matter?

The United States is known for a mulititude of things but Esports prowess is not one of them. In Korea they’ve been showing Esports on television since the days of Starcraft Brood War. TBS signed a deal with ESL to broadcast CS:GO on their station and I made sure I tuned in.

On January 9th Blizzard Entertainment held their first ever media day for the OWL and announced that they signed a deal with Twitch for a two year broadcasting agreement. It’s been reported but not confirmed that Twitch spent in the area of 90 million dollars to obtain exclusive broadcasting rights.

If you’re like me you tuned in to the games opening night and saw one of the best Overwatch matches I’ve ever seen played between the Dallas Fuel and the Seoul Dynasty. Seoul ended up winning the match but it was as close as they could be. Nearly to half a million people watched that game. It’s very early into the first year for OWL but from what I’ve seen online they’re living up to expectations. They loaded the booths with experts on the broadcast team. The analysts, shout casters, and production teams are insanely talented and above all engaging.

So why does any of this matter? Personally I think that it matters because this is giving the kids who were picked on for being a “nerd” or what have you a safe place to gather. The word nerd has lost its sting and gamer culture has become celebrated and cool thanks to sites like Twitch. Streaming has exploded over the past years resulting in communities of kids and now adults having a place to embrace our passion, gaming. The average age of an Esports fan in the US is 28 years old. Right on the nose for me and my friends.

Overwatch League can bring people together

Another reason OWL is important is it gives kids and parents something to bond over. Several of my friends have kids of their own and are always looking for a way to connect with them. This offers them that opportunity as well as a way to see if their passion will grow into something more than just a fan. Overwatch League is important because it’s helping to legitimize Esports as a whole throughout more of North America. If you told me 5 years ago that Robert Kraft was going to own an Esports franchise I would looked at you upside down.

I haven’t been covering Esports actively very long in the grand scheme of Esports itself but even in the “short” amount of time I’ve been around, the scene has flourished. There are major companies/sports franchises buying teams for video game competitions! Is this a business move? Yeah, probably. But even so it helps to legitimize this crazy thing we call Esports. While we’re only a couple days into season one of Overwatch League look for it to continue to do well and if things go the way they’re projected to, expand exponentially.

What do you think of the Overwatch League so far? Do you think it’s going to sustain viewership or will it die it over the season? Let us know and be sure to stay tuned to The Game Haus for more Esports news!

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Everything that’s been going on with the KeSPA investigation so far

Currently, the Korean Esports Association is appearing in the news along with allegations of bribery and embezzlement. Three people have been arrested and one person has been charged. One name that is most commonly seen is former President of KeSPA and former political aide to the president of South Korea, Jun Byung Hun. The reason why is related to his time as President of the organization. It should be noted that during his tenure he was also seated on the nation’s broadcasting and communications committee. Here are all the details that we currently know about what is going on.

Korean Esports association

KeSPA was created in order to overwatch the esports scene in South Korea and to make it an official sporting event. This was created after receiving approval from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism back in 2000. It was their job to make sure that esports became a more professional sport, one way was by making sure players were getting paid a competitive salary compared to traditional sports.

They were also known for stepping in when allegations of match-fixing were found to be true in the StarCraft scene, or when teams such as Longzhu Gaming allegedly failed to pay past players. They were at one point part of the Korean Olympic Committee where they pushed for esports to be part of the Olympics. After October they were no longer considered an official member due to several new rules put in place.

The allegations

Back in 2015 Lotte Homeshopping, the largest department store in South Korea, sent a payment of $300,000 to KeSPA right before the company went to renew its broadcasting license. The money was allegedly removed by two aides under Jun then family members of the former chairman started receiving large amounts of shopping vouchers from Lotte Homeshopping. The renewal process ended up failing in 2016 when it was found that Lotte Homeshopping had falsified information, this led to their chief being arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison. News of the payment to KeSPA did not spread until this year of November when KeSPA offices were raided by police forces.

The second allegation towards Jun was levied by Yeo Myung-Sook, the director of the games rating broad, who alleged that Jun was the “root of the corruption.” This allegation is related to the fact that Jun had major pull in the game industry and was criticized for not doing enough to regulate microtransactions, despite other elected officials voicing their concern. Now recurring payments by four major companies to KeSPA during the time Jun served are being looked up to see if there was anything illegal.

What next

Right now the prosecution office has issued an arrest warrant for Jun and the public will most likely to see him stand trial. Corruption is a big deal in South Korea to the point that they got rid of their last President for it. Most of the charges are stemming from the first allegation, but the public shouldn’t be shocked if more comes to light and more people are arrested.

For KeSPA, everything relating to sponsorships will be gone through with a fine tooth comb such as the second season of the KeSPA cup which was sponsored by Lotte Homeshopping. This shouldn’t negatively impact esports too much other than the fact that the scene is losing someone who championed it to be considered more serious. Esports has seen scandal from match-fixing to issues with money before and this in honestly will not be the last time.


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Overwatch Contenders Week 4: Group stage takeaways

We finally get the matches with the teams the people wanted. Ties, stomps, brutal come-from-behind victories and the occasional “well that just happened” makes its way to the front. The casting has grown to a rather fever pitch with everything becoming more comedic and punchy. Players and teams have settled into the tournament and are actively putting the pedal to the metal. The Overwatch Contenders tournament has been rough around the edges and maybe needs to retool itself, but there’s a working motor underneath this event and it finally got a chance to rev up a bit.

Let’s jump in.


If there was ever a need to have a guide on how to tie a match, just watch the VODs from Saturday’s matches. We finally get to see Vivi’s Adventure play against Singularity (Formerly Singularity Ninjas) along with 123 Squad smashing Alfa Squad. The uniqueness is that both matches involved ties. Oddly enough, looking at the map scores for Vivi’s, they tied on Anubis twice in a single day of play and if not for a tie with Gamers Origin might have ended up in a tiebreaker with RiP (Formerly Ninjas in Pyjamas).

The other story line is that the European scene has hit a few icebergs on its way through this tournament. Ninjas in Pyjamas released their one-time notorious squad (The Triple Tank inventors) and Cyclowns disbanded (and forfeiting every match this weekend), putting a small cloud in an otherwise strong showing from Europe. RiP qualifying for the final bracket and doing it under pressure speaks volumes for their commitment to playing. They could have easily just thrown their hands up and let it go but stuck it out, putting a hell of a stamp on their dedication mark.

A final thread to point to is Cyclowns. The talent is irrepressible, with the former players cropping up to save major teams. Boombox played out of his mind for eUnited against Team Expert, more specifically, in the match on Route 66 where his Winston play is the stuff of supports nightmares. destro helping push Movistar Riders over the hump after Finnsi’s depature, beating the tie against Alfa Squad which ultimately puts them into the final bracket. Cyclowns are dead but the squad still finds ways to influence the tournament.

Unfortunately, the group stages send home four of their teams with Vivi’s Adventure, GamersOrigin, Alfa Squad, ESPORATI, Ninjas with Attitudes, Team eSporters Cyberatheletes (Quietly Richard Lewis screams into a pillow) and Team Expert. Cyclowns’ demise ultimately begs the question, if the team had remained together could they have knocked off Movistar Riders? But like many hypotheticals, it’ll remain an unresolved question for the ages.

North America

Surprisingly North America’s showing was a bit more chaotic, it just took a long time to get through it. The matches themselves went till the wee hours of the morning. Call it a scheduling issue but the truth was that every match between teams seemingly took forever. Four maps played is a lot to order. In groups, this works because ties are a thing where as brackets need winners and losers. The merit however of having teams go the distance every time is fine. The issue taken is that matches need to be started sooner so viewership doesn’t drop towards the end of the night.

I just wanted to go to bed, thanks C9 and Kungarna

A good reason for so many maps played is highlighted in Liquid vs CLG. While it ended in a tie and made for some great plays on both sides, the idea of mind games lingered. Sure, they’re up two maps to one but they really suck at this map so a chance to draw presents itself. Kungarna drawing five times in groups and notching only two wins really speaks towards the power of draw games. Their final win was over Cloud9 in a winner take all best of one. Their tiebreaker match to cap off the night, Kungarna dug deep and buried C9 finally amidst the talk of the beef from the casters. A way better match to watch in the mid evening with some form of a snack. Suspiciously, Cloud9 was absent from the day’s streams despite their popularity. This harkens back to last week’s recap which highlighted the lack of strong teams being streamed.

Immortals, on the other hand, were essentially looking to run the table for their group until Arc6 (formerly YIKES!) pulled a Leonidas.

Arc6 can know they took the draw against Immortals and proved that their squad is beatable. While Immortals dropped maps, they did not drop matches until that one moment. If Arc6 needs anything to top its resume it’s proving that they were the only team to draw against Immortals. Their run came to an end sadly when FNRGFE won four to nothing. Toronto Esports and Counter Logic Gaming showed they could also hang with the big teams.

The NA teams that ended up leaving at group stages read like a mid tier tournament winners ticker line. Selfless Gaming, Counter Logic Gaming, Toronto Esports, Arc6 (Yikes), Cloud9, Tempo Storm, Hammers Esports (Happy Richard Lewis) and You guys get paid? all leave knowing they left an impression for other teams to look for. Sponsors are watching these tournaments and their actively looking for which teams are truly going the distance in their matches.


This is an open qualifier – the idea was more centered on proof of concept. The teams that did not qualify for final bracket showed they have formulas to win. Teams like Toronto Esports, Vivi’s Adventure, Team expert, Arc6, Cloud9 played incredibly close in their respective groups. If teams need to tell sponsors they’re getting exposure, look no further than this weekend. Contenders was strong this weekend and the finals are looming.

Check in later this week when I break down the upcoming matches for both North America and Europe!

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Overwatch Contenders Week 3: Group stage round one takeaways

It’s remarkable how much a tournament can twist around in a week’s time. Here are a few points to mention concerning the Overwatch Contenders tournament as a spectator.

One: The lack of streams on matches is becoming abhorrent

In group stages, there are 16 very strong teams that should be all drawing in major viewership from their respective fans. We get to see eight games over two days. That’s a quarter of the number of games played in that time, and it’s not good enough, especially without a replay feature. No replay feature means people can’t go back and watch the replays themselves or even have a VOD or two to browse.

During the Saturday European games, eUnited, who crushed the competition last week, had no games on stream. None. The single best team of the bracket and of the groups gets no coverage whatsoever. This is a huge tournament. Put the big teams out there. Close matches between two strong teams yield the best results.

Two: The group format is confusing

This is going off Team Liquid’s page here. Here’s what I can gather: every win is a point, ties are nothing and losses lose a point. Ergo, a team that wins every match finishes with 12 points at maximum. So the closer you play the game, especially with a two-two tie, means you theoretically have averted damaging the chance to continue but have also done yourself no favors. This shorter gap means matches become more important and so on and so forth. Every match that ends in a tie creates more pressure to win the next one. So the emphasis is on wins overall first, followed by how many maps are won. Losses are losses and ties mean absolutely nothing happened. There, this is the format explained as best as one can without any explanation from Blizzard.

For people who’ve never seen a group stage, this is confusing, and for a tournament to go from brackets to groups, this is even more confusing. Somewhere Blizzard figured group stages are a good way to measure teams metrics and yet they did brackets first. They could have done pools and used that to weed out a lot of the teams and then gone to brackets. Evolution does it every year with over hundreds of people and it gets sorted out rather quickly. Whatever the case may be for the tournament thus far, changing styles only made it worse. When group stages are over, the tournament seems to go back to brackets. So why did they do this in the first place?

Three: The shadow of the news cycle

One group has a team that disbanded immediately following the day’s matches. Cyclowns, who a week prior showed incredible poise and play under pressure, folded. What happens next week? They’re still in the groups, so do they just give the whole group a free point now by forfeiting? There are no rules in the tournament document I’ve found that has any info for this. To make matters even worse is the Defran suspension on Selfless which forced a switch and sub-in with Carpe. Carpe had a single day to practice with Selfless who also switched Kresnick for Midnight (a D.Va Main) and finished the night going for two losses and one win. The win was against FaZe clan which is considered an upset until you look at the group performance. The Carpe and Midnight storyline would’ve been a lot bigger if Blizzard had streamed more matches during the day.

Four: Matches that were streamed were not that good

Teams getting demolished on a stream is not fun to watch. Immortals, the absolute favorites to win this, only lost a single map the entire time. Sure great play and amazing teamwork is something to study and revere. It doesn’t make for good viewing, however. Another example is the Selfless/FaZe match which essentially turned into a real match. FaZe pulled a reverse sweep on Oasis that started entirely off of ShadowBurn getting a reflect kill off a McCree Deadeye. The whole match swung and suddenly everyone comes alive. The rest of the series becomes tense as a result. That wasn’t always the case in streamed matches over the weekend.

Final thoughts

Those are some serious gripes but I won’t lie that the overall production quality was solid. The casters have found some serious chemistry and it’s working great now. We have laughs coming out of them with good jokes and insight wrapped into a solid package. The observers are doing their absolute best to really work on their camera control. You see a lot of the action the moment before it happens and get a decent scope of who’s doing it. It’s a rough job trying to guess just who is going to be making the hard picks for people. This is their inaugural season and it’s not surprising they’re trying and testing out things as they go along. It does, however, start reflecting on the tournament as a whole when even the pro team’s players start dissing the tournament on Twitter before and after their matches though. If this does wish to continue for improvement, Blizzard needs to look into making a replay system for their matches. Valve and Riot have made it a requirement for these types of things and even Blizzard can’t make the excuse of no replay. Hearthstone and StarCraft 2 have it so why is such a key feature missing. Much like this tournament, it’s in development but it needs to hurry up and fast.

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Defran banned from Competitive Overwatch, suspended from Selfless Gaming

Defran banned from competitive Overwatch in all forms for the rest of the season.

Daniel “Defran” Francesca has been suspended from Comeptitive Overwatch for unsportsmanlike conduct pertaining to a stream he did on June 7th, 2017. Prior to the suspension, he tweeted out

Today however in a report put out by Blizzard,

“We have found that Dafran, from Overwatch Contenders team Selfless, has violated Rule 7.0 (Conduct) of the Overwatch Contenders Ruleset, which states the following:

All competitors and spectators are required to act in a respectful sportsmanlike manner at all times.

Due to this violation, as of June 8, Blizzard will suspend Dafran’s access to his current Overwatch accounts for one week, and from Competitive Play for the remainder of Season 5. Further, Dafran is disqualified from Overwatch Contenders Season Zero, will not be eligible for Overwatch Contenders Season One, and is disqualified from all future Blizzard-sanctioned tournament play for the duration of this competitive season. Dafran’s Overwatch Contenders team is still eligible to compete with a substitute.”

Tweet from Richard Lewis and Erik Lonnquist

Defran had been streaming the night of June 7, 2017 and had a rather colorful couple moments. While this writer is unable to access his vods which are currently behind a paywall, investigation into the matter shows several disturbing lines.

Jeff Kaplan recently said on Overwatch’s main message board they were going to take a more critical aim for Competitive griefing and throwing.

screen cap from Jeff Kaplan concerning competitive play.

Consider that statement and then what happened not even a couple hours later to be the enforcement of that statement. Blizzard has been notoriously slow in some cases to handle problems in their games in terms of balancing. From the looks of it, they do not hesitate to handle business when it’s a person or people.

Selfless Statement highlighted on it a bit more.

Our own Jared MacAdam even said “Be toxic in a scene with more talent than teams guaranteeing Overwatch League spots and see how quickly you get stopped.” It begs the question now of who will Selfless get to replace their DPS? Defran was no slouch on Tracer and with the dive comp meta still reigning supreme in major Tournaments. Suddenly, the question becomes a matter of immediate attention. Ultimately this falls as a blow to Selfless Gaming. Qualifying for one of the 16 spots for the Open Qualifiers in the Overwatch Contenders League in the North American bracket no less than week before this suspension. The shake up and the blending of a new teammate to replace Defran does not help the mounting pressure for the team to perform.

I used screen shots to show you what information I had a the time of writing this. Things change and text is easy to edit but images are not. If things do change, I will leave the images and have both the old and new information to leave up for speculation.

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