May 5 2014 - 1:20 pm

LCS offseason heats up with flurry of roster changes

The North American League Championship Series got a whole lot tougher this weekend as a flurry of roster transactions bolstered the rosters of prime contenders like Team Solomid and Dignitas
Samuel Lingle
Dot Esports

The North American League Championship Series got a whole lot tougher this weekend as a flurry of roster transactions bolstered the rosters of prime contenders like Team Solomid and Dignitas.

The upcoming Summer Split determines which three teams advance to the highly competitive World Championships, so teams are gearing up to battle for their shot at a world title.

Counter Logic Gaming, the third place team from the Spring Split, revealed their intention to bring in Korean top laner Shin “Seraph” Woo Yeong for a tryout last week, in an ambitious bid to bolster the talent of their roster.

Their long-time rivals would not sit by quietly, however.

Team Solomid made one of the biggest moves of the offseason after the surprise retirement of long-time jungler Brian “TheOddOne” Wyllie, adding European jungler Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider to the team. The German left Copenhagen Wolves to join the second ranked American squad, who hopes the addition will boost them from the top of North America to the top of the world. 

Stückenschneider has big shoes to fill. The departing Wyllie is one of the original League pro gamers, the last remaining original member of TSM dating back to Season One in 2011. “The General," as fans affectionately call him, had suffered a decline in play as the LCS competition level increased in recent seasons.

Wyllie believed stepping down was the best way to make that happen. “With our current roster, we can definitely be top two in North America, but I want TSM to be the best team in the world,” he said.

The addition of Amazing isn’t the only surprising move for TSM. One week after benching support Alex “Xpecial” Chu, still considered the player top at his position in the region, the team announced the results of their subsequent tryouts, adding Nicolas “Gleebglarbu” Haddad as their new support.

Playing with top Challenger team Cloud 9 Tempest this past season, the hard-working Haddad just barely missed qualification for the LCS. But his work ethic, attitude, and high solo queue ranking gained TSM’s attention.

The team had been unhappy with Chu’s attitude. And Haddad had better synergy with lane partner Jason “WildTurtle” Tran during tryouts.

“[Chu] is an amazing player, but just because you have the best players on a team does not mean you have the best team,” said TSM owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh.

Chu will be joining Team Curse, becoming the latest in a line of revolving supports. While Michael “BunnyFuFuu” Kurylo, the fourth support of Curse’s Spring Split, seemed to lock down the position, performing admirably with duo lane partner David “Cop” Roberson, Chu was a talent too good to pass up.

“We are excited to sign a world-class support player,” said Steve Arhancet, Team Curse's support player. “He has proven he has the skill, experience and, above all, the drive and hunger to take our team to Worlds in the Summer Split.”

“This was not an easy decision to make, as Bunnyfufuu has shown to be a very strong player with a massive amount of potential.”

Dignitas made their own splash, revamping their roster by adding the solo laners from relegated Team Coast. Top laner Darshan “ZionSpartan” Upadhyaya and mid laner Danny “Shiphtur” Le will add fresh blood to a team falling behind the increasingly tough LCS competition.

Le and Upadhyaya were the two shining stars on the failing Team Coast. Upadhyaya ranked second in the league with 28 solo kills against two deaths, while Le placed sixth with 11 kills and five deaths.

New mid lander Le replaces Dignitas captain William “Scarra” Li, who will stay on as coach. “Roster changes alone won’t bring a team to the top,” Li said on Twitter. “I’m in the process in creating an actual full support staff for the team.”

Li could be instrumental in integrating the two new players into the new Dignitas lineup, which CLG coach Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles says still has “shot calling issues.” Still, if Le and Upadhyaya can provide the individual performances they did for Coast, Dignitas should be a contender for a spot in Worlds next season.

Thatmake the NA LCS a tough scene for Evil Geniuses, who narrowly avoided relegation by beating Cloud 9 Tempest in their promotion game.

As such, EG is holding tryouts to decide the fate of their jungler and duo laners, the three former CLG Europe players who left Europe to compete in America at the end of last year.

“While it's not pleasant having to potentially part from people you've played with over two years, this still remains a job and a competition,” said Mitch “Krepo” Voorspeols, EG support and one of the players in question, “I do believe we'll all mature enough to understand that and not hold grudges.”

All the roster action means defending champions Cloud 9 will have the longest running stable roster in the league next season, and with good reason—they’ve gone undefeated in each of the past two playoffs. But with the other LCS teams making strides, they may not take their third.

Jan 23 2017 - 8:37 pm

Armada takes out Genesis 4 Melee crown

His win at Genesis 4 helps solidify his claim as the best Melee player of all time.
Xing Li
Dot Esports

We've seen this story before. Adam "Armada" Lindgren vs. Joseph "Mang0" Marquez for the Genesis Super Smash Bros. Melee title.

Once again, Armada emerged victorious.

Both players are idolized in the Smash community for their stunning success over the years. But if any venue has been the site of their personal rivalry, it's Genesis, where the two have met in the finals again and again. There were other talented players in the field, but this is the matchup most fans wanted to see at Genesis 4.

Armada had the easier path to the final by virtue of his 3-1 victory over Mang0, which sent his rival to the loser's bracket. Armada had a relatively easy time, absolutely controlling stages and strangling life from his opponents. His run seemed relatively routine until he ran into Jason "Mew2King" Zimmerman.

Mew2King was on-point with grabs and air attacks on his signature Marth. Many times, Armada was stalling on Peach, trying to get into winning situations. Mew2King had a lead and momentum.

But Peach is hard to finish off and Armada's stalling got him to a deciding fifth game. Even then, Mew2King had chances, but missed key inputs. Small mistakes compound against a talent like Armada, and he punished Mew2King relentlessly.

In the loser's bracket, Mang0 survived by grit and guile, coming back from numerous deficits. First, it was against William "Leffen" Hjelte, where Mang0 mounted an insane comeback to tie the set at two games apiece. But Leffen came out strong in the deciding game and quickly took a two-stock (life) lead. Down to his last stock, Mang0 found his way back to the middle of the stage and went ham, somehow ending Leffen's run. The comeback ignited the crowd, with fans hugging and high-fiving at what they just witnessed.

Things wouldn't get easier. Juan "Hungrybox" Manuel Debiedma, valiantly playing with a broken finger, used Jigglypuff's burst to take big stock leads. But Mang0 continued to control the center of the stage to take Hungrybox down. He then beat Mew2King—reeling from his loss to Armada—to set up the finals rematch.

Fans wanted to see a show, but it was a different one than they might have expected. Though these two have gone back and forth in extremely close sets over the years, Armada has been on a tear for the last several months. And the final against Mang0 was no different. Instead of a close, tightly-fought match, fans got a coronation.

Armada had an answer for everything Mang0 threw at him. He floated around and seemed to take no damage. It was perhaps his most convincing win of the day.

Melee has been ruled by the Six Gods (which includes all the aforementioned players) for years now. But Armada is beginning to separate himself from the pack. He stands alone at the top at the beginning of 2017—if he ends the year in the same position, he could cement himself as the greatest Melee player of all time.

Jan 23 2017 - 3:29 pm

Our predictions for the Evo 2017 lineup

These are the ten games we think will make it to Las Vegas... and the four that won't
Steve Jurek
Dot Esports

Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to officially enter Evo season.

Organizers for Evo, the largest fighting game event in the world, will reveal the event's 2017 lineup on Tuesday at 9pm ET. Thousands of fans will be watching intently to see if their favorite game will be played on the fighting game world's biggest stage. There is a bit of uncertainty about this year's lineup, as several new games—including King of Fighters XIV, BlazBlue: Central Fiction, and Injustice 2—all have strong cases to be part of the Evo 2017 lineup, and the nine games that were part of Evo 2016 all have strong arguments to return to the event.

Earlier this month, lead Evo organizer Joey Cuellar asked which seven games fans would like to see at Evo 2017. This led many to believe that only seven games will be featured at this year's event. While that's certainly a possibility, Evo staff have a tendency to try and do things bigger than they did the year before. I feel that this year will be no different, as I believe a record-setting ten games will make the final list.

Here are the 10 games I believe will make the cut for the Evo 2017 lineup, along with a few that won't.

Will make the cut

Street Fighter V

After a launch year that included poor reviews, missed sales targets, and an embarrassing rootkit fiasco, it is safe to say that 2016 was not a great year for Street Fighter V. However, there was one area in which the game was unquestionably successful: tournament turnout. A record-setting 5,100 players took part in last year's Evo tournament, which is more than the number of players who participated in the second- and third-largest tournaments in the event's history combined. Despite its freshman struggles, Street Fighter V's status as an Evo game is as safe as can be.

Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. for WiiU

The increasing prominence of Smash games at traditional fighting game events has not been without controversy, but it's a trend that isn't going away anytime soon. Last year's two Smash games were the second- and third-largest events in Evo history. Over 2,600 players entered last year's WiiU tournament, while over 2,300 entered the Melee event. With support like that, it's impossible to imagine a 2017 lineup without either game.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3

To steal a line from a popular fighting game talk show: Marvel lives! The Marvel community did everything they could over the past two years to reignite interest in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, and Capcom's December announcement of Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite poured gasoline on that spark. There's no doubt that we'll see at least one more Evo with the insanity that is Marvel 3.

Injustice 2

Injustice 2's May 16 release date will surely make Evo organizers a bit nervous. With just two months between the game's release and Evo 2017, the game's entertainment value will hinge largely how well-balanced the game's cast is at launch. A poor initial balance could lead to a repeat of the original Injustice's Evo debut in 2013, an event in which three of the top six finishers played Superman. Still, those fears won't be enough to dissuade Evo organizers from including the game in the 2017 lineup.

Tekken 7: Fated Retribution

It's strange to think that Tekken 7, a game that hasn't seen an official North American release, can be making a third straight Evo appearance. Yet here we are. Bandai Namco, the Tekken series' publisher, has done well to drum up interest in the game with its regional King of the Iron Fist tours. That effort will pay dividends on Tuesday, and they'll pay dividends once players can finally get their hands on the game. Speaking of...

 BONUS PREDICTION: Tekken 7 console release date will be revealed

Tekken publisher Bandai Namco has promised to announce a console release date for its much-anticipated fighter some time this week. The company has been coy about exactly when that announcement will come, but Tuesday's Evo lineup reveal show seems to be the most likely choice. With popular figure Mark "Markman" Julio - who has appeared on the reveal show in each of the past two years - now working with both Evo and Tekken in official capacities, this appears to be a no-brainer.

King of Fighters XIV

The King of Fighters series is always a favorite among international Evo viewers, so it would be incredibly shocking to see the recently-released King of Fighters XIV left out of the 2017 lineup. 

Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- and BlazBlue: Central Fiction

Evo has historically had one unwritten rule for "anime" games: they only get one spot in the lineup. That rule was broken in 2015 when both Guilty Gear Xrd and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax were included in the event, but only Xrd returned last year. I feel that this year will see that rule broken again, as the BlazBlue series has a strong new entrant in Central Fiction to join Guilty Gear Xrd's still-strong -Revelator- update.

Killer Instinct

This may be the toughest call on the list. With the amount of developer and community support shown for the game four years after release, Killer Instinct is the type of game you want to see succeed. Microsoft is now backing the competitive scene in a big way as evidenced by the upcoming $30,000 Killer Instinct World Cup in March. I feel that momentum should be enough to see the game make the cut again despite being the game that had the fewest entrants at Evo 2016.

Will not make the cut

Pokken Tournament

It's tough to imagine a game going from over 1,100 entrants at Evo 2016 to not even in the 2017 lineup, but that's the fate that I believe Pokken Tournament will face on Tuesday. The game's community has shown up to events in force, but so have many other communities. Pokken felt like an odd choice last year, but with so many other games in contention,this year it feels like the odd one out. 

Mortal Kombat XL

There is precedence for Evo including two different NetherRealm Studio games at one Evo - both Mortal Kombat 9 and the original Injustice were a part of Evo 2013. But with so much crossover between players from the two series, along with the abundance of potential choices at Evo's disposal, I think that we've seen the last of Mortal Kombat XL at Evo.

Ultra Street Fighter II and ARMS

The Nintendo Switch will likely have at least two fighting games available by the time Evo rolls around, but don't expect to hear the name of either game on Tuesday. Many tournament players love Super Street Fighter II Turbo, but its re-release as an "HD Remix" was not particularly well-received by most of that group. It's doubtful they would be more receptive to Ultra Street Fighter II, a game that appears to be an HD remix of HD Remix. And as fun as it would be to see players like Justin Wong and Daigo duke it out with motion controls, there are far too many 'legit' fighting games in the running for a spot in the lineup to take a flyer on ARMS.