Aug 11 2016 - 11:05 pm

Overwatch World Cup voting is live

Voting is now live for the Overwatch World Cup—and the list of players includes some big names
Samuel Lingle
Dot Esports

Voting is now live for the Overwatch World Cup—and the list of players includes some big names.

Blizzard's international exhibition match, which will feature national teams at BlizzCon from Nov. 4 to 5, was announced last week. Representatives for each nation will be voted in by players, with the initial pool chosen by Blizzard from pro gamers, to talented community members, and highly-ranked local players.

To vote you have to head to the World Cup website and log in—assuming you have an active Overwatch account. You’ll only be able to vote for players from your own country or region, so be sure to pick who you want representing your nation on the big stage at BlizzCon.

You can cast four votes from the player pool for your region; there are 25 candidates in the United States, for example. The four players with the most votes will make the team, with the most highly-voted player receiving captain status, which will let him pick the final two slots on the roster.

If you’re curious about other region’s rosters, you’re currently out of luck as there’s no way to view candidates outside your region (except for maybe logging in through a proxy server, or something). Unfortunately, the voting site is also experiencing technical difficulties in many regions worldwide.

For North America, the candidates include a mixture of professional players, high level streamers, and highly-ranked players from the Competitive Play ladder. There seem to be a couple glaring omissions, like Fnatic’s Matt “Coolmatt69” Iorio, who is widely considered one of the best flex players on the planet, or the lack of players who main Lúcio on professional teams as Cloud9 and Team Liquid had their Lúcio veterans, “Minstrel” and Greg “Grego” McAllen, left out.

Here’s the list for the United States, including their affiliation:


Adam “Adam” Eckel, Support
Kyle “KyKy” Souder, Flex
Derrick “Reaver” Nowicki, DPS
Kevin “deBett” deBettencourt, Tank

NRG eSports:

Yomar “Milo” Toledo, Tank
Daniel “Gods” Graeser, DPS
Brandon “Seagull” Larned, DPS
Mark “Pookz” Rendon, DPS


Casey “buds” Mcllwaine, DPS


Ronnie “Talespin” DuPree, DPS

Team Liquid:

Adam “Mesr” de la Torre

CompLexity Gaming:

Jackson “Shake” Kaplan, Support
Tony “Harbleu” Ballo, Flex

Northern Gaming Red:

Andrew “Wolf” Avola, DPS


Andrew “Purposeful” Collett, Coach/Manager


Jared “Zombs” Gitlin, DPS

Splyce Gaming:

 Eric “Papasmurf” Murphy

Ster’s stream crew:

Steven “Ster” Serge
Drew “Lassiz” Boyd, former Smite professional player on Team Dignitas
Darrell “Gnaw” Elston, former Smite professional player on Team Dignitas


Daniel “Carnage” Sturdivant, former Quake and Team Fortress 2 pro
Donald “Dahun” Leigh, Support, currently playing on Q
“Plasmasnake”, brother of Team Fortress 2 pro Manny “SolidSnake” Sy
“Raxa”, Widowmaker main

It’s a list with quite a variety of players and backgrounds, and it’s unclear just what Blizzard’s criteria was for selection. Most of the American players on the top teams in Overwatch made it through, but there are a couple of head scratchers, like the omission of Coolmatt.

One of the funnier inclusions is Purposeful, the coach and manager of Ohno. The team has made waves in recent tournaments, breaking into the second tier of teams in the North American scene, but their players are left out in the cold for the World Cup while their pencil pusher gets in.

“Here we are practicing 6 hours a day and breaking into the top 10... and our manager gets invited,” Russell “FCTFCTN” Campbell, who is quickly emerging as a star player in the tank role, told Dot Esports.

There’s little the players can do about it other than shrug and laugh about it a little. The Overwatch World Cup is only an exhibition, after all, with no prize money on the line (though players will earn an appearance fee for attending).

That said, the teams will be fighting for national pride, so I want to vote the best squad in to win the event for America.

That may be a tough task considering some players are likely to get in almost by default, like Brandon “Seagull” Larned, who is both a top competitor and the most popular streamer in the game. Other streamers, like Steve “Ster” Sterge, may have the social media presence to get voted in over professional players who may be more experienced and talented competitors.

So here’s my vote for the team. I didn’t include the aforementioned Seagull because I assume he will make it in anyway:

My vote is cast.

My vote is cast. Overwatch World Cup

I’m probably being a homer picking Mesr and Harbleu, who I teamed with to win ESEA in Team Fortress 2 way back in 2010. But Mesr is possibly the best tank player in the game, and he’s too humble to win the recognition he deserves. Harbleu certainly has no issue with humility, but he doesn’t need it as he’s become a dangerous flex weapon on a variety of heroes for Complexity Gaming. Ronnie “Talespin” DuPree’s most played hero in Competitive Play is Mei, and that alone is almost worth the vote if he wasn’t one of the world’s best carry players. Mark “Pookz” Rendon is a proven champion in multiple games, and, well… there weren’t any other Lúcio players to choose.

So head on over the World Cup website and cast your vote. The Overwatch World Cup may be an exhibition, but it’s going to be one of the biggest international events in Overwatch this year, potentially the first to include players from Asia. If you want to beat the team fielded by Korea and China, those bastions of pro gaming, make sure your vote counts. 

Today - 12:04 am

The new LCK meta: Singed top?

LCK Season 7 kicked off last night, giving us an early look at the new 10-ban meta.
Xing Li
Dot Esports
Image via Riot Games

Competitive League is back. Most professional leagues kick off the Spring Split later this week, with League of Legends Champions Korea getting the ball rolling last night. After a crazy offseason, we finally get to see what the pros make of the meta, how they’ll play around overpowered tanks, and what they’ll do with jungle plants.

One of the key questions going into this season was what the new draft phase would look like with the implementation of 10 bans (5 per team). We saw some of the effects of that last night. The first match involved a fascinating storyline with the ROX Tigers facing former top laner Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho for the first time.

But from a meta perspective, the more interesting match started after Smeb and KT walked off with a win. That’s when Longzhu Gaming and Samsung Galaxy both busted out pocket picks.

Wait, what? Singed top?

The craziness started in game one, when Samsung, playing on the red side (and picking second), inexplicably left Rengar available. That allowed Longzhu to first-pick the terrifying jungle assassin. In return though, they got Ezreal, Poppy, Zyra, and Viktor, strong picks themselves and ones that Samsung is familiar with.

Then with the last pick, top laner Gu "Expession" Bon-taek went with Singed.

Singed is fun and unique champion who can push minion waves in a way few champions can match. His mechanics have led to some pretty ridiculous strategies. But he’s not known in professional play because of his low overall damage and uselessness in team fights. Singed players typically play with a one-versus-five mentality, something that usually doesn’t agree with the typical Korean focus on team cohesion.

For Longzhu, Singed was honestly an afterthought for most of the game. That’s because Rengar took over. Lee "Crash" Dong-woo was all over Kang "Ambition" Chan-yong’s Lee Sin from the start, taking over the blue side jungle and enabling his bot lane to push with impunity.

That can be risky against Samsung’s strong solo laners, but it paid off as the Longzhu duo roamed around for turret after turret. Kim "PraY" Jong-in’s Jhin was absolutely incredible, pushing people off turrets and sniping them from range.

Samsung tried to turtle and defend, but that’s where Singed came in. Having built Zz’rot portal, he made life hell for Lee "CuVee" Seong-jin’s Poppy. Poppy wants to teamfight, but with Singed constantly pushing, CuVee had no priority and Longzhu romped.

We are not sure that Singed will continue to be a popular pick; he’s too easy to camp if there isn’t pressure elsewhere. But we’re also excited to see more team strategies being built around previously off-meta champions. 

More pocket picks to come

Image via Riot Games

Samsung responded in game two with a new champion: Camille somehow made it through the first ban phase. But then Longzhu came back with a counter pick of their own: Jax.

This game was what 10 bans was all about. It was incredibly fun watching these two top laners duel. At first, Camille had the upper hand, taking on Jax and then Song "Fly" Young-jun’s Ekko, beating both. But after Jax got a couple items, he became the stronger bruiser, getting a solo kill back. Stuns, dashes, and ults combined in a terrific dance. It was an incredible display of skill from two players and everything we hoped 10 bans could be.

Game 3 was a more straightforward Samsung win, but we got even more champions. New jungler Kang "Haru" Min-seung picked Kha’zix, and a level one invade got him first blood. In the mid lane, Lee "Crown" Min-ho picked Corki, someone we hadn’t seen in a some time. His range advantage kept Fly pushed in and Samsung played a steady game to win.

Three games, full of creative strategies and pocket picks. This is likely what Riot envisioned when they moved to the 10 ban system. But of course, these are the highest skilled players in the world—can players in Europe and North America, perhaps with smaller champion pools, recreate the success we saw last night?

In just a few days, we’ll find out.

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.