Jul 27 2014 - 2:55 am

Norway top country in 'StarCraft' Nation Wars

Part of the appeal of esports is its international nature
Samuel Lingle
Dot Esports

Part of the appeal of esports is its international nature. Few things bring people from around the world together like competition and gaming, two parts of a universal language that esports seems to speak. Players from around the world regularly compete against each other, crossing the globe in a melting pot of nationalities and creeds.

This weekend, French Web TV group O’Gaming put together the second edition of Nation Wars, a StarCraft 2 tournament where the countries themselves duke it out on the field of battle. The format adds an interesting twist to the plethora of individual events littering the StarCraft calendar.

Sixteen countries competed in the tournament, including 13 from Europe and three from North America—the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Asian nations like South Korea and China were conspicuously absent, but that gave the tournament a level playing field: Korea has won nearly 70 percent of all prize money awarded in StarCraft 2’s history.

Norway won the title, beating cinderella team Mexico in a 4-2 series to take the tournament.

It was a surprising finale. Teams like Poland, Ukraine, Russia, and Sweden were favorites entering the event. But in the end the tournament was a tale of two stars: Jens “Snute” Aasgaard and Juan Carlos “MajOr” Tena Lopez, the ace players of Norway and Mexico.

The tournament featured the controversial all-kill format, famous for producing exciting victories but also uneven results. In an all-kill tournament, a player plays until they lose a match, in which case the team picks a different player to take his place. That opens the door for one of the most exciting plays in StarCraft team play: the all-kill, where one man takes down an entire team in successive fashion. One of the more famous examples is American player Kevin “qxc” Riley mowing down the entire Incredible Miracle lineup in the Global Starcraft Team League.

The all-kill format has interesting implications on team strategy. Teams with a superb ace player can win matches despite a weaker roster overall, if that star can take out a few foes before going down. It also means that “snipers,” players who may be strong in a particular matchup or particular map, become useful: if they can snipe the enemy ace player, that alone can be enough to earn a victory.

Nation Wars featured best-of-seven series with three-man rosters, meaning one player on each team had an extra life. That favors teams with strong headliners, since countries could put them in the lineup twice.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise the tournament came down to the two top performing aces.

Norwegian Zerg Jens “Snute” Aasgaard was the most valuable player at the event, finishing with an overall 9-2 record. That's not a surprise for the Team Liquid player, as he's emerged as the most consistent player outside of Korea this year. He all-killed Scandinavian rivals Sweden in the second round, narrowly avoiding that same fate for his own team by stopping a three-game win streak by Swedish player Dan “hOpe” Gustafsson. In the grand final, Aasgaard lived up to his billing as Norway’s ace. He won three maps in a row to finish the series, including two wins against Mexican ace Juan Carlos “MajOr” Tena Lopez.

Lopez carried Mexico on his back throughout the tournament, single-handedly leading them to the final. Against Finland, the Terran player won three maps to pull off a surprising upset for his country. Canada came next, and Lopez was up to the task against Chris “HuK” Loranger and Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn, two of the highest profile players at the event. He followed it up with an all-kill against France, including two wins over Ilyes “Stephano” Satouri, the best non-Korean player in StarCraft history. Lopez ended the day with a 9-3 record, after dropping two maps to Aasgaard in the final.

Aasgaard was the only player capable of stopping Lopez’s rampage. It's fitting that the Norwegian would lead his team to the championship. At the Intel Extreme Masters Shenzhen tournament last week, Aasgaard was the highest placing player outside of Asia.

The tournament produced a few other standout performances. Norwegian Protoss player "Eiki" pulled off one of the most impressive feats of the tournament when he all-killed Poland, a team featuring superstar players Artur "Nerchio" Bloch and Grzegorz "MaNa" Komincz, two of the top five earning non-Korean players in StarCraft. Bloch himself had the third best win rate in Nation Wars, with a 7-3 record. Russian Zerg Artem "sLivko" Garavtsov all-killed Italy in the opening round. Satouri may have been France's biggest star, but it was Terran player Antoine "Dayshi" Stievenart who played the biggest role in their third place finish. The 19-year-old went 6-3 during the event, responsible for three wins against Russia and for taking down the dynamic Polish duo Bloch and Komincz in the third place match.

Norway took home $14,608 for their victory, while Mexico pulled in $7,717. Third place finishers France earned $3,583, while Poland took in $1,653.

Screengrab via ogaming.tv

Today - 1:25 am

Get your Red Envelopes ready—the Lunar Revel event in League starts today

Riot is kicking off the 2017 Lunar Revel with some slick new skins.
Aaron Mickunas
League of Legends Writer
Image via Riot Games

The Lunar New Year is a sacred, historic holiday that is celebrated by nations in the far east. It marks the beginning of the year based on the cycles of the moon. There’s dancing, festivals, parades, but much more importantly: A special League of Legends event. Why is that so important? Because you can get sweet new skins, of course!

The Lunar Revel Event is a yearly occurrence in League that features shiny new goodies to buy in-game. The event was announced and started today, so after you update the client, you’ll be able to take part in the festivities.

1) Free Icon

That’s right, for the small cost of going to the official Lunar Revel web page, you can claim a free Summoner Icon! The interactive home page acts as the hub for the Lunar Revel event, and you can click through the menu to see all the features. There’s even some lore tying each of this year’s Lunar Revel skins to their respective champions.

2) Champion Skins

There are three skins coming out for the Lunar Revel event this year: Garen, Azir, and Vi. Each has a matching Summoner Icon available in the store.

Garen’s sword and rad man-bun make this skin what it is: Awesome. When he spins to win, a green dragon swirls around him. When he ults, the giant sword that falls from the heavens... well, it’s green.

Azir seems to be more of a themed skin specific to this year, as it’s the Year of the Rooster—and Azir is as rooster-like as any League champion gets. His soldiers are also made to match his skin, sporting golden armor.

Vi’s theme is “the green demon” and when she ults, a big green dragon swirls up into the air and slams back into the ground as she does. This one’s our favorite, but mostly because it’s the only time we’re ever going to see Vi in a ponytail.

Not only are those three new skins available now, but past Lunar Revel skins and bundles are in the shop as well.

3) Crafting

A brand new Lunar Revel crafting system will also be in the client until the end of the event. It uses the same crafting page as usual, where you open chests with keys you earn from playing games and combine shards to form skins and champions. You can buy a Revel Red Envelope for 250 RP and visit the crafting page in your client to turn it into a skin shard and one random relic.

The relics come in three types: the Pauldron Relic, the Golden Relic, and the Gauntlet Relic. Once you have all three, you can combine them into Epic Skin Shards (1350 RP skins), random skin permanents, Gemstones, or Hextech Chests and Keys.

4) Merch

Finally, you can visit the Lunar Revel merch store to check out some IRL event goodies. Want a shirt featuring each Chinese Zodiac with League champions instead of the usual animals? Well it’s in the merch store, as well as a collectible figurine of Lunar Revel Azir.

The event is running from now until Feb. 2, so be sure to log into the game and check it out!

Today - 12:27 am

University of Toronto students can now apply for an esports scholarship

Who said gaming was a waste of time?
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Image via CC 3.0

Canada's top-rated university will begin taking applications for an esports scholarship to be awarded next year.

University of Toronto alumnus Victor Xin started the scholarship program as a way of providing extra support to students who want to hone their skills in competitive gaming. While this is the first such scholarship to be introduced in Canada, several U.S.-based universities such as University of California, Irvine began offering esports scholarships in 2016.

Xin works at Toronto-based wealth management firm Athena Capital Partners, which also funds the scholarship. He told the university that students that display competitive drive through computer games shouldn't be distracted from trying achieving success in the world of esports.

"There are trailblazers on campus who are rallying a different set of students to build campus organizations focused on an alternative way of learning to lead and succeed in life," Xin told the university. The former student, who graduated in 2008 after studying at its Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, began following StarCraft during his tenure at the institution and also founded the University of Toronto eSports Club. For Xin, the fund is aimed at making sure that students who show drive and leadership through esports won't "fall through the cracks."

Are you thinking of applying for the Victor Xin scholarship? The requirements are: That you're an undergraduate at the university's Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, you've got a 3.5 GPA, and participate regularly in gaming-related extra-curricular activities. If it means we get to play League of Legends during school hours, we're totally in.