Oct 1 2016 - 7:23 pm

Albux NoX Luna upset CLG, shows CIS region deserves world stage

Someday it will no longer be a story when a team from one of League of Legends’ more remote regions beats a team from one of the big four
Samuel Lingle
Dot Esports

Someday it will no longer be a story when a team from one of League of Legends’ more remote regions beats a team from one of the big four. Today showed that day may almost be here.

The CIS region hasn’t produced a world class competitor since Moscow Five emerged from Russia and shocked the League of Legends scene in 2012. But this year, the introduction of the LCL, the CIS region’s own version of the LCS, has given them a new launching pad to challenge on the international stage. 

And so far, Albus NoX Luna, the CIS team that narrowly survived the wild card championship, looks like they not only deserve to be there, but that they might have a realistic shot at surviving the group.

Today they scored their first win of the event by taking down America’s Spring champions Counter Logic Gaming, giving the mix of Russian and Ukrainian players a 1-1 record tied with both CLG and Europe’s top contender G2 Esports.

“As soon as we’re representing our region, we expect the best for us,” support player Kirril “Likkrit” Malofeyev, who posted a strong 3/4/10 KDA with Tahm Kench, told the sideline reporter after the match. “The thing is this group is pretty interesting because CLG won G2, G2 won CLG. You know what this means. I expect that we can have a shot of getting to quarterfinals, so good luck to us.”

Albus NoX picked a heavy poke composition after CLG handed them deadly jungler Nidalee in exchange for their own Syndra, who has dominated mid lane matchups so far at Worlds. Mid laner Mykhailo “Kira" Harmash took Jayce into Choi “HuHi” Jae-hyun’s Syndra, and despite pressure from CLG jungler Jake “Xmithie” Puchero, Kira and Albux NoX managed to build a mid lane lead, exploiting one of CLG’s perceived weaknesses heading into Worlds.

Even so, the match remained close through 30 minutes until CLG moved for an ill-fated Baron where they couldn’t survive against Albus NoX’s poke, HuHi falling in a solo fight against NoX’s top laner before the rest of his team was wiped, giving the CIS region’s top competitor a window to push and end the game.

“We don’t care about slow game or if something is risky or not,” Likkrit said. “In Russia, we just play the game, because otherwise it is not interesting, not for us, not for viewers. So we just try to do our best and be as entertaining as possible.”

So far, so good. While wild card regions regularly score upsets against the big regions—North America, Europe, China, Korea, and Taiwan—they’re usually one-off wins, low probability events. Supermassive, for example, upset CLG at the Midseason Invitational, but that didn’t stop the Americans from reaching the finals. Right now, Albux NoX Luna only has that one token win wild card teams seem to score at every international event. But they look like a team that deserved the win, and may have the tools to score another one.

Yesterday it looked like CLG was in the driver’s seat after they blitzed G2 Esports and showed the world Europe might be suspect. Today, CLG is the team that looks like they may not belong.

Group A is now anyone’s game, thanks to solid play from the CIS region’s first international graduate from their new league.

Jan 22 2017 - 9:12 pm

Hearthstone's NA vs CN event ends in controversy

The Chinese players were coasting to victory, but their final win provoked minor outrage.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

China's best Hearthstone players turned back a team of the best North America had to offer—but the event did not end without controversy.

In the final game of the event series, China's "Lvge" made a play that seemed to defy logic. He played Dirty Rat on turn two, risking pulling a hugely advantageous early Tomb Pillager or Gadgetzan Auctioneer for his opponent Keaton "Chakki" Gill.

However, according to the American players the Chinese casters and Lvge's teammates were screaming to play the Rat when he picked the card up, and with no white noise in the player headsets Lvge could likely hear the noise and take the cue.

The play promoted a furious series of tweets from Tempo Storm founder and Team NA player Andrey "Reynad" Yanyuk—though the tweets were later deleted.

Chakki and other players have also commented on the controversy, claiming that they raised the issue of players being able to hear the casters. The other members of each team were also watching the stream of the game, meaning they could see the hands of the opposing player.

There was little that could be done to address the controversy unless the admins immediately halted the game in progress, as the game was tournament point for the Chinese side.

Despite the controversial finish, team China had run away with the tournament to get into that position. Thanks to two wins by "OmegaZero" and "Lovelychook" over the two day event, Lvge was left with only Chakki left to beat.

China had also won the first of the three showpiece events, before Canada's Julien “Cydonia” Perrault had single-handedly won the second for team North America.

Today - 2:52 pm

GODSENT surprise, ELiGE is world class, and other storylines from the first day of the ELEAGUE Major

We're only one day into the ELEAGUE Major and things are already heating up.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Fragbite

Valve’s CS:GO Majors bring out some of the most exciting and tantalizing storylines in esports. And only after one day of competition, it’s safe to say that the ELEAGUE Major is delivering.

Favorites have already tasted defeat, while teams with little fanfare behind them have risen to the occasion in dramatic fashion. While the group stage is still far from over, here are some of the most noteworthy and interesting storylines from the first day of the ELEAGUE Major.

GODSENT pull a fast one on Astralis

For the better part of six months, GODSENT has been considered something of a joke. Consisting primarily of the legendary former Fnatic roster, the team struggled all throughout 2016 without achieving any kind of noteworthy results. Instead, GODSENT dropped series against opponents with far less firepower behind them, sometimes in even spectacularly embarrassing fashion.

But on the first day of the ELEAGUE Major, GODSENT upset the order and defeated tournament favorites Astralis in one of the most one-sided games of the event so far. In only 22 rounds, the Danish favorites were schooled completely by GODSENT’s T-side on Train, with only three rounds to their name after the first half.

As fate now would have it, GODSENT will now be facing Gambit in the upcoming round of the Swiss format group stage, while Astralis face their Canadian rivals OpTic Gaming. Suddenly, the tournament favorites are in anything but a sweet spot, and it is all because of GODSENT.

Virtus.Pro look fierce after battling OpTic

The battle between Poland’s Virtus Pro and Canada’s OpTic Gaming was one of the highlights at the ELEAGUE Major’s opening day, as both teams looked to assert themselves as the top competitors at the event.

While OpTic’s recent performances have put them closer to the spotlight than their Polish contemporaries, Virtus Pro’s uncanny ability to seemingly always perform at Valve Majors should never be understated.

Following a solid first 9-6 half for OpTic on Cobblestone, where OpTic’s Will "RUSH" Wierzba continued to showcase his status as one of the continent’s entry-fraggers, Virtus found their way back. The Poles’ answer, as is often the case, was the play of star player Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski, who sniped down the Canadian opposition constantly.

The Poles already found themselves looking to be one of the favorites heading into the event. After dispatching OpTic in this fashion, it certainly looks as if the hype was warranted.

ELiGE is world class

Despite losing its first game of the tournament after a triple-overtime to what is, presumably, EnVyUs’ last run, Team Liquid’s Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski continues to perform on a level far above other North American players.

The centerpiece of the North American roster since the departure of Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev in May last year, ELiGE put on display on Cache that was pure CS:GO godliness. With an ADR (Average Damage per Round) of 111, the 19-year-old North American averaged roughly one kill in each of the 46 rounds that were played, resulting in a scoreline of 48 kills and 33 deaths. Combined with several noteworthy multi-kills and clutches, there can be no missing who the star on Team Liquid is.

Where's NiKo

While being far from favorites in its first match-up of the event, the sheer magnitude of the beating the Eastern European supersquad Na`Vi administered to the German-based mousesports roster was made all the more bitter by the continued decline of mousesports’ star Nikola "NiKo" Kova?.

Widely considered to be the most skilled CS:GO player without a title to his name, the Bosnian only succeeded in netting nine kills throughout the game, resulting in one of his worst performances in his career. Granted, the game was over in only 19 rounds, and mousesports were consistently put under economic stress throughout the game. But even so, NiKo was surpassed by all but one of his teammates in terms of frags and impact.

After spending the majority of 2016 firmly placed among the top competitors in CS:GO, a collapse at the ELEAGUE Major would be a disaster for the young Bosnian.

Today’s hottest matches

SK Gaming vs. FaZe - 12:30pm ET

Since the addition of former Astralis in-game leader Finn “Karrigan” Andersen, FaZe is looking to assert itself at the top of the CS:GO hegemony. At the same time, even an SK Gaming with a stand-in is still one of the scariest opponents any team can face.

OpTic vs. Astralis - 4:15pm ET

By the end of today, one of the tournament favorites will be hanging loose: Both OpTic and Astralis faced each other in the grand finals of the two latest significant LAN events, and delivered exciting matches on both occasions. But neither of them can be measured in the potential implications of today’s confrontation, where another defeat could mean the difference between advancing onto the playoffs, or going home from the first Valve Major of 2017.

G2 Esports vs. Virtus Pro - 6:45pm ET

If there is one thing Virtus.pro has proven time and time again, it’s that you can never count them out. No matter what, the Poles will find a way to dig themselves out of the deepest hole no matter the circumstances. But given the performance of G2 Esports’ Richard “shox” Papillon against Fnatic yesterday, there’s a considerable chance for things to get really interesting.