Jan 7 2014 - 4:43 pm

A 'StarCraft' legend is coming out of retirement

One of the best StarCraft: Brood War players of all time is returning to the game that made him a legend
Patrick Howell O'Neill
Dot Esports

One of the best StarCraft: Brood War players of all time is returning to the game that made him a legend.

Hong "YellOw" Jin Ho, whose prime lasted for several years in the early 2000s, has been invited to the Gomtv Classic, one of the first major televised Brood War tournaments in years, scheduled for Feb. 9 to March 9. 

Brood War, an expansion to the original StarCraft, was released in 1998. It quickly rose to dominate the eSports world, especially in South Korea, where the game’s top tournaments were broadcast on national TV. Gomtv's new tournament, just announced this week, is meant to take advantage of recent surge of interest in Brood War in Korea and around the world. Bringing Hong out of retirement should help fuel that revival.

Hong, 31, is known best for his rivalry with Lim "BoxeR" Yo Hwan, one of the most famous eSports stars of all time. Fans labelled Hong the “The King of Silver” because he repeatedly fell to Lim, known as “The Emperor,” in the finals of the game’s top tournaments. The rivalry came to define Brood War in its early, ascendant days.

Lim would go on to become the most successful eSports player of the era. Hong, Lim’s dramatic foil, earned a 30-33 record against him but lost in the finals of the 2001 Starleague, the 2002 Korean Pro Gaming Association Tour, and the 2002 World Cyber Games grand finals.

One of the best matches of either players’ career came in 2004, in the semi-finals of the Ever Starleague, at the time the world’s most prestigious eSports tournament. Both players fought to the semifinals, despite recent downturns in both their careers. The eternal rivals didn’t disappoint: Lim, in wildly aggressive style, launched a fast Terran bunker rush against the Storm Zerg in three straight games to sweep his opponent out and advance to the finals.

When it was over, Hong looked almost amused.

Despite those memorable losses, Hong won 11 major gold medals and reigned as one of the top Zerg players in the world for five years. Hong might be known most for his silvers, but he’s still got a trophy case full of gold.

Today, expectations are much lower. It’s been nine years since Hong was a top player and three since he retired. He’ll be facing some of the world’s best Brood War players next month, a daunting prospect. It’ll be incredible if he can pull off a single upset. But just seeing the old King of Silver in action will be enough for many Brood War fans.

Since he retired in 2011, Hong has made numerous appearances on Korean television including shows like The Genius, a Korean game show, and Saturday Night Live Korea where he appeared in a sketch with Lim, his longtime rival—and friend.

Correction: The Genius is a Korean game show, not a variety show as previously reported. We regret the error. 

H/T Kotaku | Photo via TVOngamenet/YouTube

Jan 20 2017 - 5:28 pm

Combo Breaker announcement may imply the end of auto-qualifiers for Capcom Pro Tour

Capcom may be trying to simplify its 2017 Pro Tour.
Steve Jurek
Dot Esports
Image via Capcom

A big change is coming to the 2017 Capcom Pro Tour, but yesterday's announcement may have hinted at an even larger change—a possible end to players winning automatic qualification into the Capcom Cup through Premier events.

The Street Fighter V tournament at Combo Breaker is being upgraded to a Premier event for the 2017 Pro Tour, Capcom announced via Twitter. The event, which will take place in the Chicago area over Memorial Day weekend, served as a Ranking event in 2015 and 2016. Its spiritual predecessor, the Ultimate Fighting Game Tournament, filled the same role in 2014.

Premier events award more Capcom Pro Tour points to top performers compared to Ranking events. A yet-to-be-announced number of the season's top points earners will earn a spot in the Capcom Cup, the season's championship event. Premier events also offer a Capcom-provided pot bonus. The figure has not yet been confirmed by Capcom, but it is believed to be $15,000.

In previous years, a player who won a Premier event received an automatic berth in that season's Capcom Cup. Thursday's announcement, however, may have implied that this is no longer the case.

An update on Combo Breaker's website stated that placing well at the event "will earn you valuable ranking points that put you well on your way to qualifying for the Capcom Cup!"

Notably, the statement makes no mention of an automatic berth into the Capcom Cup, something that every Premier event winner has been awarded since the Pro Tour's founding in 2014.

The statement does not necessarily confirm that auto-qualification into the Capcom Cup has been eliminated. It does, however, fall in line with statements made by Capcom esports director Neidel Crisan. In conversations with both Yahoo! Esports and EventHubs late last year, Crisan mentioned the possibility of eliminating auto-qualification berths in order to simplify the qualifying process.

A player had three ways to qualify for the Capcom Cup in 2016; winning a Premier event, placing high in the global Pro Tour points standings, or placing high in each region's Pro Tour points standings. The system confused fans, commentators, and players alike.

We may not know how qualification for the Capcom Cup will work in 2017, but we do know that the tour itself will look a bit different than it has in previous years.

Combo Breaker will presumably fill a gap left by Stunfest, a French gaming convention that that served as a Premier event on the Pro Tour in each of the last two years. Organizers of that event announced a "pause" for the convention late last year with plans to return in 2018.

The tour will also be without Cannes Winter Clash, the other French event that was part of the 2016 tour. Organizers of that event, which will take place during the last weekend in February, announced the change last week in a Reddit post. The event had served as the Pro Tour's season opener in both 2015 and 2016.

"Obviously with Cannes and Stunfest out there will need to be at least one French replacement event," Samad "Damascus" Abdessadki, a competitor and commentator who is involved in the organization of the Cannes Winter Clash, told Dot Esports. "[Capcom] can't leave France out of [the Capcom Pro Tour] when it's arguably the biggest community in Europe - and maybe [the] strongest."

France is the only European country that has sent two players to the Capcom Cup in each of the last two years. It is also home to Olivier "Luffy" Hay, the only player from outside of Asia to win a Street Fighter IV Evo title.

One event that will return is Final Round. On Wednesday, Capcom announced that Final Round will serve as the first Premier event of the season for the fourth straight year. That event, now in its 20th year, will take place in Atlanta during the second weekend of March.

Capcom will announce full details of the 2017 Pro Tour in late February.

Disclaimer: The author of this article has worked as part of the volunteer staff at Combo Breaker/Ultimate Fighting Game Tournament since 2014.

Jan 20 2017 - 9:49 pm

IEM Katowice’s CS:GO tournament is going to be awesome

The final two invites went out today, and the tournament's guaranteed to be exciting.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Fragbite

The final two teams to be invited to one of the year's biggest events have been announced.

FaZe Clan and Danish soccer club FC Copenhagen's esports venture, North, will be attending IEM Katowice's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive finals from Mar. 1-5, ESL announced today. The teams, which showed impressive form towards the end of 2016 at multiple international LAN events, will be competing against some of the best teams in the world.

The two teams are also the last to receive invitations to the event, as four teams will be added after a series of online qualifiers. In total, three more European teams will be attending IEM Katowice, as well as one North American team. With an already-stacked ensemble of teams ready to attend, such as Brazil's SK Gaming, Polish hometown heroes Virtus Pro, and Denmark's top team Astralis, the four teams that will be advancing through the online qualifiers will be making an already-competitive event all the more fierce.

In October 2016, the current North roster, which was signed to Dignitas at the time, took home the $500,000 EPICENTER event in Moscow. Aside from being one of the biggest events of the year, it had all the top teams in the world in attendance. Since then, however, North has struggled to live up to the expectations placed upon them, and have recently fallen short at nearly all events they have attended since.

The opposite can be said about FaZe, since the team picked up former Astralis in-game leader Finn "Karrigan" Andersen. Since Karrigan's arrival, FaZe have had their best results since the team's inception, and have looked stronger at each event they have attended.

Taking place roughly one month after the ELEAGUE Major, which begins on Jan. 22, IEM Katowice will likely be the debut tournament of several new rosters—so make sure to keep an eye on what could be one of the biggest CS:GO events of the year.