Aug 15 2014 - 8:44 pm

Alliance are going to Worlds

It was a precarious start for Alliance
Samuel Lingle
Dot Esports

It was a precarious start for Alliance. SK Gaming seized control of the first game, only allowing Alliance back into the game late with a mistake. In game two, that mistake never happened. It looked like SK Gaming, a team dominant in their opening round playoff match against Millenium, had come prepared with the perfect strategy against the top seed.

But then Alliance showed why they were the most dominant League of Legends team in the League Championship Series this season.

Alliance bested SK Gaming 3-1 to advance to the finals of the Summer Split and earn a berth at the Season 4 World Championships, the biggest tournament in League of Legends. There, Alliance try to transfer their dominating LCS performance, good for a 24-8 combined regular season and playoff record, to the rest of the world.

Alliance entered the match heavy favorites against SK Gaming, who won just one game against Alliance in four games during the regular season. Most of those SK losses were stomps, including one match where the team surrendered at 20 minutes.

But after limping into the playoffs, SK Gaming seemed revitalized in a format that allowed them ample preparation for every specific match.

They gave Alliance a run for their money in every match, only losing games three and four after a small mistake lost them an important team fight.

The back-and-forth nature of the games was epitomized no better by this combination of plays in the final game of the series. Henrik “Froggen” Hansen manages to score a quadra kill, but SK Gaming mid laner Jesse “Jes1z” Lee was quick to answer.

Alliance punished SK Gaming when possible, backed by star performances from their two carry players.

Henrik “Froggen” Hansen, mid laner and captain of Alliance, may just be the best player in League outside of Korea, and today’s match was one example why. He put together a 23/10/32 KDA line over the four games good for 88.71 precent kill participation. His partner in crime, marksman Erik “TabzZ” van Helvert, put up an insane 23/1/21 KDA line, or a 44.0 KDA in four games. Van Helvert benefit from outstanding play from his top laner and support. Mike “Wickd” Petersen only put together a 5/16/38 KDA line, but his play on Alistair, Maokai, and Swain kept van Helvert alive.

"I’m just happy we succeeding in doing it, especially after a very bad start in Spring," said Hansen. The Alliance team formed with a lineup hand-picked by Hansen with the goal of making worlds, but a shaky Spring split seemed to put that goal in question. Now those questions are answered, though Alliance can't rest on their laurels.

"There's definitely a lot of work. We actually played this series really bad," Hansen said. "They outplayed us in rotations, but we managed to get the win anyway. It was a really hard series."

SK Gaming put together a very solid match, with Dragon as part of the backbone of their strategy. They secured 14 drakes compared to 7 from Alliance. But that’s not enough against another solid team with star power like Hansen and van Helvert to back it up. SK marksman Adrian “CandyPanda” Wubbelman, who showed off a great series against Millenium in the quarterfinals, struggled to make an impact against Alliance with a 13/8/31 KDA for the series.

Still, SK Gaming will have one more chance at redemption. They will face ROCCAT tomorrow with a spot at the World Championships on the line. ROCCAT gave defending LCS champions Fnatic a run for their money in the other semifinal early today but ultimately fell short with late game mistakes dooming them, similar to SK Gaming. Based off their two performances today, that series is anyone’s game.

Alliance will seek to end Fnatic’s reign as the LCS Europe champions at three season long on Sunday in what should be a thrilling conclusion to League of Legends’ stint at Gamescom.

Screengrab via Riot Games/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.