Mar 13 2014 - 4:47 pm

Esports journalist fired after anti-Polish tirade

A British esports journalist and commentator has been fired after going on an anti-Polish rant during a live Web talk show Tuesday night
Ferguson Mitchell
Dot Esports

A British esports journalist and commentator has been fired after going on an anti-Polish rant during a live Web talk show Tuesday night.

The journalist, Duncan “Thorin” Shields, was slated as one of the main commentators for CounterStrike: Global Offensive at the Intel Extreme Masters World Championships in Katowice, Poland this week.

Following a report by journalist Richard Lewis, the event’s organizer, the German-based eSports League (ESL), confirmed this morning that Shields has been removed from his position.

Shields, who also works as a senior content producer for the U.S.-based esports news site OnGamers, made the comments on Chris “ChanmanV” Chan's “Unfiltered.” Shields was on to talk about his upcoming role in the World Championships when he went on started to rail against the Polish country and people.

“Poland is one of the worst countries in Europe, bro,” he said.

Shields continued:

Well [the World Championships are] in Poland and I think the tickets are pretty cheap so I assume it will be sold out.. Because what the fuck else is going on in Poland? And they’ve got that existential hole of being Polish to try and fill with some esports.”

The second they opened [the Schengen Agreement] up, everyone in Poland was just like ‘Cool, let’s get the fuck out of Poland’ and they just went to the next countries.”

Maybe, it’s like when you have the Olympics somewhere in Africa and they can all pretend they’re part of the developed world for two weeks, and then everyone just leaves and they’re still in the dirt.”

The show's co-host, Steven “Destiny” Bonnell, has his own history of racist and homophobic comments.

ESL explained the reason behind their decision: “Thorin’s tirade has offended not only the live audience of the show he was hired to work on, but the entire Polish production team that he was going to be a part of.”

ESL does not stand by or tolerate acts of racism, xenophobia or other forms of discrimination and does not wish to be associated or employ those who make any such comments. We are deeply upset that a long time member of the esports community would display such ignorance and make highly inappropriate comments about an entire nation.”

The tirade wasn't surprising for those who follow Shields closely. He has a reputation for making risky comments. One Redditor compared him to American comedian Louis C.K.: "It's part of his act and it's funny so just go with it and enjoy it and try not to take it too seriously.”

Another countered: “[Louis C.K.] would never fall into xenophobia and bashing an entire nation.”

Shields did not immediately respond to a request to comment on this article.

Screengrab via Thooorin/YouTube

Jan 18 2017 - 8:14 pm

You’ll be able to watch DreamHack and ESL in virtual reality this year

A total of 14 events are set to be broadcast through the rapidly evolving technology.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Image via Valve

Two of the world's largest esports tournament organizers will broadcast in virtual reality in 2017.

ESL and DreamHack will air a total of 14 events through Sliver.TV, a virtual reality platform that allows viewers to immerse themselves fully in a 360-degree rendition of live tournament matches. This can be done on computers and mobile devices via the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Google Cardboard.

The platform was field-tested last year at ESL One New York and IEM Oakland, with the Oakland event attracting 130,000 unique viewers to its VR broadcasts. A result that appears to have convinced ESL and DreamHack that the demand for virtual reality in esports is growing in tandem with the increasing popularity of the technology itself, which is predicted to generate $30 billion in revenue by 2021.

The partnership between Sliver, ESL, and DreamHack will provide "360 virtual reality, live replays and stats technology to millions of esports fans worldwide," according to Sliver CEO and founder Mitch Liu. He added, rather ambitiously, that the company's vision is "to forever transform the esports spectating experience by providing new perspectives and insights into live esports streams."

The events that will feature broadcasting through Sliver's platform are:

  • DreamHack Masters Las Vegas - Feb 15-19
  • Unnanounced DreamHack Masters stop
  • DreamHack ASTRO Open Austin - Apr 28-30
  • DreamHack ASTRO Open Atlanta - Jul 21-23
  • DreamHack ASTRO Open Montreal - Sep 8-10
  • DreamHack ASTRO Open Denver - Oct 20-22
  • DreamHack ASTRO Open Winter - Nov 30-Dec 2
  • Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, Poland - Feb 25-Mar 5
  • 3 Addtl IEM Global events
  • ESL One Cologne - Jul 3-8
  • ESL One New York - Sep 1-15
  • Unnanounced ESL One event

While virtual reality may still be in its infancy, the billion-dollar industry looks to continue growing in the coming years, and it will be interesting to see its potential influence on esports.

Jan 17 2017 - 11:07 pm

How to Watch the ESL Hearthstone Trinity Series: Players, Format, Times, and More

It's the biggest team league the game has seen in over a year.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via Blizzard Entertainment

It's been well over a year since Hearthstone last had a major team league in the West—something fans have been crying out for. Tomorrow the wait ends, and the ESL Trinity Series begins.

Eight trios, flying the banners of some of the biggest franchises in esports, will compete in best-of-11 matches until Mar. 2. The top teams will advance to a live finals at the ESL studios in California, with $75,000 up for grabs for the winning team.

This is a big moment for Hearthstone esports. After growth slowed in 2016, this league could get 2017 off to a big start as the major players in the scene attempt to stabilize and consolidate their positions.

Here's everything you need to know about the league, the teams involved, and how the matches will play out.

What is the format?

For each match, the teams will submit nine decks—one for each class in the game. Each team will ban out two of their opponent's decks, leaving seven decks from which the teams pick a final lineup of six.

The teams then play a best-of-11 match in the Last Hero Standing format—once a deck loses a game it is locked for the rest of the match, and you lose when you have no decks left. Unlike the Archon Team League Championships where each player was assigned a couple of decks to play, all six players will be playing every game of every series. They will do so with open communication, which viewers will be tuned in to throughout the broadcast.

The format requires a huge amount of strategy, deckbuilding skill, and team work. The teams will have to argue out each individual play, make their move within the short timeframe of a turn, and try not to fall out in the process. Matches will be long, and real-life fatigue will play a part.

How will the league be broadcast?

The broadcasts will be presented from ESL's studios in Burbank, California, with TJ Sanders and Brian Kibler slated to call the action.

The players themselves will be playing from home, adding another level of difficulty to the communication, until the league reaches its final stages.

The matches will be played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting tomorrow, with two matches per day. Games will start at 1pm ET (10am PT) for the duration of the seven week season and will be aired on ESL's Hearthstone Twitch channel.

Who are the teams?

The lineup features some of the biggest brands in esports. Two Hearthstone world champions, over a dozen tournament winners, and some wildcards too.

G2 Esports are easily the favorites to win it all. The trio of Dima "Rdu" Radu, Thijs Molendijk, and Adrian "Lifecoach" Koy is the most decorated in the game, with the Archon Team League Championships title also under their belt. The weight of expectation is firmly upon this European trio.

Although the team is relatively new, having just brought on a third member in time for the league, Alliance will be one of the teams to watch. The Swedish organization picked up a trio of players to represent the team and their country in three-time major winner Jon "Orange" Westberg, 2015 world champion Sebastian "Ostkaka" Engwall, and consistent journeyman Harald "Powder" Gimre.

Virtus Pro will be a force to be reckoned with. After starting out as rivals at the 2016 European Winter Championship, Artem "DrHippi" Kravets, Ole "Naiman" Batyrbekov, and Raphael "BunnyHoppor" Peltzer have formed a formidable unit. The team has been represented in countless major tournaments this year, with DrHippi finishing second in the world championship.

CompLexity will be looking to turn potential and underdog determination into results. Jan "SuperJJ" Janssen was impressively consistent throughout 2016, but did not win a major title. Simon "Crane" Raunholst has long been considered one of the best minds in the game but he has also not borne this out with results, while perennial prospect Tugay "MrYagut" Evsan will be looking to show just why he was so highly touted for so long.

The only all-American lineup in the tournament, Luminosity Gaming will also be hoping to live up to their billing. Branded a U.S. "super team" when they were formed last year, DreamHack Austin winner Keaton "Chakki" Gill and the experienced Paul "Zalae" Nemeth will be partnered by top young talent Frank "Fr0zen" Zhang.

The experienced but somewhat out-of-favor hand of Peter "Gaara" Stevanovic will look to guide Tempo Storm's young prospects David "JustSaiyan" Shan and Victor "Vlps" Lopez to success, while the veteran Team Liquid trio of David "Dog" Caero, Jeffrey "Sjow" Brusi, and Yevhenii "Neirea" Shumilin will aim to prove the value of experience.

Speaking of veterans, 2014 world champion James "Firebat" Kostesich, early leader Cong "StrifeCro" Shu, and 2014 World Esports Championship winner Andrew "TidesofTime" Biessener will round out the lineup for Cloud9. With Firebat having casted more than competed in 2016, StrifeCro having made just the odd appearance and TidesofTime having spent the past two years struggling with whether or not he loved the game anymore, this lineup will now have to deliver on a big stage.


Though 2017 is only a few weeks old, the ESL Trinity Series promises to be one of the most entertaining and competitive events of the year. The players will be tested to the limits of their skills—and Hearthstone fans will finally have another team league to get invested in.