Aug 5 2016 - 6:35 pm

What to watch for at VSFighting

A pair of online Capcom Pro Tour events will take place this weekend in Latin America and Asia
Steve Jurek
Dot Esports

A pair of online Capcom Pro Tour events will take place this weekend in Latin America and Asia. But the most important event of the weekend may be VSFighting 2016 in Birmingham, England.

After watching players from another region take the lion's share of the points at the last Capcom Pro Tour event, Europe's best Street Fighter V players have a chance to bounce back. The last few Pro Tour events on European soil have not gone the way of the host continent. Over the last four European events, Asian competitors have scored three wins and taken nearly 68 percent of the points at stake. Those results mean that Pro Tour points are at an absolute premium for European players, and those hoping to qualify for the Capcom Cup can ill-afford to see more points leave the continent.

The good news for European players is that no Asian competitors are expected to make their way to Birmingham this weekend. The bad news is that there's still a chance that foreign players can take the bulk of the points at stake this weekend. Four American players are expected to be part of the VSFighting field: Chris Tatarian, Brentt "Brenttiscool" Franks, Kenneth "K-Brad" Bradley, and Peter "Flash" Susini.

With so much at stake in Birmingham this weekend, here are the three biggest stories to follow when the action kicks off on Saturday at 5am EDT (2am PDT) on Twitch. If you’re interested in the two other events you can find them at the Capcom Fighters Twitch channel, with Latin America on Saturday at 3pm EDT (12pm PDT) and Asia on Sunday at 4am EDT (1am PDT).

Can the Americans make the most of their European vacation?

The four American players in the VSFighting field aren’t just there to take in the sights. All four have hopes of reaching the Capcom Cup, and this weekend could be key to their campaigns.

This weekend is an opportunity for either Tatarian or K-Brad to lock up a Capcom Cup berth. A win for Tatarian would bring his point total to nearly 400, which would almost certainly be enough to secure a place in the season finale. K-Brad would go to just over 350 with a win, which would be close to absolute safety.

It's a different story for the other two Americans in the field. Flash enters the weekend a few places outside Capcom Cup qualifying position despite his fifth-place finish at Defend the North. Brenttiscool is in more dire straights, as he has not finished among the top eight at any Pro Tour event since Final Round in March. He is in desperate need of a big result this weekend.

Can CCL and Mister Crimson continue to surprise?

Thanks to his victory at DreamHack Summer, Arman "Phenom" Hanjani has ensured that at least one European player will make their first-ever Capcom Cup appearance. Two other European players in the VSFighting field hope to join him in the 'Capcom Cup debutant' club: Nathan "Mister Crimson" Massol and Younes "CCL" Lazaar.

France's Mister Crimson opened the season with a surprise victory at Cannes Winter Clash in February. He has finished among the top 16 at four Pro Tour events since then, the best of which was his fifth-place performance at Sonic Boom last weekend. CCL has rounded into form more recently, as the Belgian won FFM Rumble in late May and placed fourth at Sonic Boom.

Both players enter the weekend on 145 points, just outside the top 20 in the global standings. A win would not be enough for either player to lock up a Capcom Cup spot just yet, but it would make qualification far more likely than not.

Can Luffy finally get a Pro Tour win in 2016?

Olivier "Luffy" Hay's 2016 season has certainly been solid, but it hasn't been quite as good as we've come to expect over the past couple of years. Luffy won 12 Pro Tour events over the past two seasons, including a victory at Evo 2014, but he has yet to claim a Pro Tour win in 2016. That lack of a win means that he enters the weekend on the fringes of Capcom Cup qualification.

That's not to say that he hasn't performed well this year—far from it. He claimed second place at Hypespotting earlier this year, and his third-place finish at Sonic Boom last weekend was best among Europeans. He was also one of just two Europeans to finish among the top eight at DreamHack Summer, the other being eventual winner Phenom. Another strong performance this weekend—and perhaps an elusive win—may very well be in the cards.

Today - 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.

Jan 22 2017 - 9:12 pm

Hearthstone's NA vs CN event ends in controversy

The Chinese players were coasting to victory, but their final win provoked minor outrage.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

China's best Hearthstone players turned back a team of the best North America had to offer—but the event did not end without controversy.

In the final game of the event series, China's "Lvge" made a play that seemed to defy logic. He played Dirty Rat on turn two, risking pulling a hugely advantageous early Tomb Pillager or Gadgetzan Auctioneer for his opponent Keaton "Chakki" Gill.

However, according to the American players the Chinese casters and Lvge's teammates were screaming to play the Rat when he picked the card up, and with no white noise in the player headsets Lvge could likely hear the noise and take the cue.

The play promoted a furious series of tweets from Tempo Storm founder and Team NA player Andrey "Reynad" Yanyuk—though the tweets were later deleted.

Chakki and other players have also commented on the controversy, claiming that they raised the issue of players being able to hear the casters. The other members of each team were also watching the stream of the game, meaning they could see the hands of the opposing player.

There was little that could be done to address the controversy unless the admins immediately halted the game in progress, as the game was tournament point for the Chinese side.

Despite the controversial finish, team China had run away with the tournament to get into that position. Thanks to two wins by "OmegaZero" and "Lovelychook" over the two day event, Lvge was left with only Chakki left to beat.

China had also won the first of the three showpiece events, before Canada's Julien “Cydonia” Perrault had single-handedly won the second for team North America.