It was an action-packed weekend in some of the major esports titles, with the League of Legends’ 2018 Mid-Season Invitational starting its group phase in Berlin, Germany, as well as we seeing definition of several Overwatch Contenders Champions across the world.
But besides that, we also have a new Heroes of the Dorm Champions – and they don’t come from the United States – and, as it couldn’t be different, a bit of controversy surrounding the scene and a bunch of new announcements – including a certain creature from the depths resurfacing…
So in case you couldn’t follow closely what happened over the past few days, don’t worry: I prepared a small recap to keep updated with the most important esports news and events throughout the weekend up to Monday afternoon:
League of Legends
Say Hello to Pyke
LoL’s newest champion was officially revealed earlier today. With a rather scary appearance, Pyke is designed in theory to be a support, but with several stealth and dash abilities, is bound to become League’s very first assassin-support champion.
Check out this complete article to check out everything you need to new about the 141st champion entering the Rift.
Everything still undecided in Berlin
Fans and analysts alike were certain of one thing before the 2018 MSI: Korean Champions Kingzone DragonX, as the uncontested best team in the world, would have a relatively easy time to claim yet another title for LoL’s most dominant region.
But after four days played in Berlin, three teams – Kingzone, Taiwan’s Flash Wolves and Chinese Champions Royal Never Give Up are within a single game from each other, carving the path for an exciting final day to decide the seeding to the semi-finals, which will be kicking off on Friday in Paris.
Meanwhile, it will be once again a clash between Europe and North America for the final spot in France: after a disastrous start to the tournament, Team Liquid went back to the fight after a perfect 2-0 day today, including a pivotal win over their transatlantic rivals. With two more matches to go, everything still is open, and small mistakes can spell doom for any of these teams.
2018 MSI Standings after Day 4:
1- Flash Wolves (TW): 6-1
2- Royal Never Give Up (CN): 5-3
2- Kingzone DragonX (KR): 5-3
4- Fnatic (EU): 4-4
5- Team Liquid (NA): 3-6
6- EVOS (VN): 1-7
And for more information – including many interviews – check out Inven Global’s League of Legends page!
Esports Casters Enter the Rift
In celebration of the MSI, some really familiar voices have invaded the Rift: that is right, until May 20, Quickshot, Phreak, Cloudtemplar and co. have taken over as in game client announcers, with the professionals having recorded several hundreds of lines especially for the occasion.
Overall, there are 11 different pairs of casters, depending of the region, and – in case of Europe – of the language of your client. The full list of casters is as follow:
EU: Trevor “Quickshot” Henry and Eefje “Sjokz” Depoortere
NA: David Phreak Turley & Sam “Kobe” Hartman-Kenzler
KR: Chun Yong Jun & Lee “CloudTemplar” Hyun Woo Lee
TR: Kürşad “Regarnur” Demirer & Can “Scarlet” Çaldıran
BR: Tacio Schaeppi & Guilherme “Tixinha” Cheida
LATAM: Óscar "Corsario" Aliste & Érick "Skyshock" González
FR: Fabien "Chips" Culié & Charles "Noi" Lapassat
ES: Ulises Prieto & Ibai Llanos
DE: Jona "JustJohnny" Schmitt & Niklas "Bart" Eigen
RU: Mikhail "Olsior" Zverev & Yury "FlashInTheNight" Shilenkov
CN: Vincent “Changmao" Lee & Zeyuan Guan
But if LoL Esports is not your thing - or if you just don’t like the new voiceover - don’t worry: you can disable this new option in-game in order to see your games commentated by the familiar voice we are all so used to.
Meet your Overwatch Contenders Champions
The weekend was mark by decisions all over the globe, as the first season of the 2018 Overwatch Contenders came to its end in Europe, North America, Korea, China, Brazil, South America and in the Pacific region.
Starting with the latter, DeToNator.KOREA, a team composed by – you guess right – Korean players, took the win after beating Australia’s Blank Esports 4-2. The two maps lost at the finals were actually the only ones the team lost in the entire tournament, as they ended with a nearly flawless 15-2 record in order to win the title and the $30,000 main prize.
Meanwhile in South America, we had that continent’s most traditional rivalry in the final, with Brasil Gaming House facing off Argentina’s Isurus Gaming. With an undisputable 4-1, the Brazilians took the win home, and their fans, bragging rights over their regional rivals.
Moving over to Asia, we had in China the two best teams of the tournament, LGD Gaming and Lucky Future Zenith – actually the second team representing the Lucky Future organization – in the finals for a Korea versus China match-up. And just like in the Overwatch League, the Chinese were defeated, with Zenith taking the win 4-3, after an action packed final map on Junkertown, decided only on overtime.
Heading to Korea, scouts from all Overwatch League organizations surely followed very closely as X6-Gaming and O2 Ardeont faced each other in the Grand Finals. With a surprising campaign, which included a win over tournament Element Mystic in the Quarters, O2 arrived as heavy underdogs against X-6, an organization who once fielded two players currently defending the colors of the San Francisco Shock, Hyo-bin "ChoiHyoBin" and Park "Architect" Min-ho.” At the end, logic prevailed, and X6-Gaming handily defeated the outsiders 4-0 to claim the Contender Korea’s trophy.
Our final destination is Poland, where the finals of both European and North American Contenders took place. The European decision also featured a somewhat “David against Goliath” match-up, with the London Hurricane – the development team from the London Spitfire – facing a surprise side in form of Team Gigantti, who, after a rather irregular group stage, cruised their way towards the Grand Final with two convincing 3-0 wins. With the Hurricane quickly opening 2-0 in the best-of-seven, things seemed to be decided, but Gigantti fought back, bringing us to the 7th and decisive map, won however by the Hurricane after a close affair on Dorado.
Finally, the North American finals saw a rather familiar contest, with the development teams of the Philadelphia Fusion – Fusion University – and OWL’s Stage 3 runner-ups Boston Uprising – Toronto Esports – matching forces. At the end, the happier end for Fusion, who handily took down Toronto 4-1 in order to take the trophy back home in Pennsylvania.
All results of the Overwatch Contenders Finals:
Pacific: DeToNator.KOREA 4-2 Blank Esports
South America: Brasil Gaming House 4-1 Isurus Gaming
China: Lucky Future Zenith 4-3 LGD Gaming
Korea: X6-Gaming 4-0 O2 Ardeont
Europe: London Hurricane 4-3 Team Gigantti
North America: Fusion University 4-1 Toronto Esports
Talking about Fusion University…
But Fusion’s victory got somewhat overshadowed by yet another controversial case surrounding the Overwatch professional scene. As the team is called “Fusion University”, its jersey naturally has a big “FU” printed on the center of the chest, with its complete name following below. Of course for Overwatch fans the meaning of these two letters is obvious, but Blizzard Entertainment took into consideration the more “vulgar” interpretation of “FU”.
Result: the newly released jerseys were banned, with the players wearing a plain black t-shirt instead of its usual attire. The organization itself used the chance to make a joke of the absurd situation, writing on Twitter "FU jerseys banned by Overwatch Contenders for possibly being too hot to handle. FU jerseys on sale soon."
In a report by Dot Esports, the Philadelphia Fusion staff claimed they were unaware of this “banishment” until the Contenders media day in Poland, with the organization’s PR manager saying that "the players frantically started messaging me at 3am ET”, clearly in panic with the situation.
At the end, it didn’t affect the Fusion’s performance, but the fracas certainly will be raising question marks regarding Blizzard’s “over eagerness” to create a “clean” and “family friendly” environment in a league plagued by multiple problems – ranging from homophobia to sexual misconduct – since its start in January.
Heroes of the Storm
With an 3-0 victory over the University of Buffalo at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, Université Laval from Quebec were crowned the 2018 Heroes of the Dorm champions – the first team to bring the trophy north since the tournament’s first edition in 2015.
”For years, it was only a US team [that won it] not even one Canadian team in the top four, and we just won Dorm, not only the top four,” said captain Jérôme “Earth” Levesque. “It was an amazing Heroes of the Dorm. It was an incredible, special thing [that was] well done.”
“Laval University had a run for the ages and I couldn’t be more impressed with the new champions,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “Heroes of the Dorm teams are the future of competitive gaming, and we’re thrilled at how they embrace their roles in the broader esports ecosystem. The passion of all the students and college sports fans who participated in this year’s event keep us looking forward to more Tespa events in 2018 and beyond.”
Check out more about how the games unfolded here!
New academy team for Fnatic
Fnatic once again has an academy line-up, having signed four of the five players who won the “GAMERZ” reality show in March following a period of trials. The players signed are Matej "MaTaFe" Fekonja, Johan "Meddo" Lundborg, Alexander "AlekS" Andersson, and Adam "ec1s" Eccles, with Hubert "CaNNiE" Ludwig, an 18-year-old player hailing from the Czech Republic being the only member from the winner team not joining the traditional organization.
Dreamhack Tours groups determined
Earlier today the two groups for this weekend’s Dreamhack Tours have been determined. A total of eight teams will be fighting for the lion share of the $100,000 in the French city, including tournament favorites Gambit, placed in Group A alongside GODSENT, AGO and Torqued. In group B, we will be seeing some household names, such as North and Team EnVyUs, with Hellraisers and Imperial completing the line-up.
Dreamhack Tours kick off on Saturday, May 19 for the first round of the group stages. The semi-finals and finals are on Monday, starting at 11am CEST / 2am PDT.
TSM’s boys got a new house
Fortnite’s esports still isn’t really a thing, but with the game skyrocketing in popularity since the start of the year, a bunch of esports organizations started investing in the scene, including North America’s behemoth TSM.
Ali "Myth" Kabbani, Darryle "Hamlinz" Hamlin, and "Daequan" and Juan "CaMiLLs" Camilla were all recently signed by the multi-winning organization, but now, TSM has taken their investment one step further, will the announcement of a team house to help the players create synergy with each other aiming potential tournaments.
However, many considering TSM’s decision as “strange” to say the least, as there is yet no official plans announced by Epic Games regarding Fortnite’s competitive scene. Recruiting streamers, which the organization has also done, makes more sense - though the pro players also create content so there's a fallback plan for them should nothing happen with Fortnite esports. The organization however is no newcomer when the subject is Battle Royale, fielding teams in two other popular titles, such as H1Z1 and PUBG.
(Photos courtesy of Riot Games, Fusion University, Carlton Beener and TSM)
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