Oct 19 2016 - 1:51 pm

AlphaDraft, FanDuel's esports site, is shutting down its fantasy contests

After less than two years and millions raised in funding, fantasy esports site AlphaDraft is shutting its doors on Friday
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.

After less than two years and millions raised in funding, fantasy esports site AlphaDraft is shutting its doors on Friday.

According to an email sent to users this morning, AlphaDraft will cease offering paid fantasy contests at the conclusion of Friday's League of Legends World Championships semifinal.

The news comes just over a year after the company was purchased by fantasy esports giant FanDuel—and just a few weeks before FanDuel and fantasy sports in general became embroiled in legal controversy in the United States.

"As we continue to evaluate the eSports landscape," the email said, "we are announcing today that we have made the difficult decision to stop offering fantasy eSports contests on AlphaDraft as of Friday, October 21, at the conclusion of the League of Legends World Championship."

FanDuel and rivals DraftKings both invested heavily in esports last September. DraftKings still offers contests on League of Legends today but dropped its sponsorship deals with some of North America's biggest teams, including Cloud9 and Team SoloMid, at the beginning of this year.

AlphaDraft had attracted $5 million in a funding round just last May, before the acquisition by FanDuel. Vulcun, AlphaDraft's main rival in esports fantasy, also shut down its fantasy site in January and laid off a large number of staff.

It is unclear at this point if AlphaDraft will shut down entirely, or attempt to pivot to another aspect of the esports industry.

Jan 14 2017 - 8:43 pm

ESPN survey reveals League of Legends pro pay, opinions on female players

The anonymous answers are quite revealing.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via Riot Games

An anonymous LCS player survey has revealed just how much the average League of Legends pro gets paid—and what some of them think about the prospect of playing with a woman.

The ESPN Confidential article surveyed 33 anonymous European and North American League of Legends professionals, asking their opinions on everything from team houses, drugs and injuries.

According to the survey, North American players are significantly better paid than their counterparts. Of the players surveyed those in North America had an average base salary of $105,385, compared to just €76,137 ($80,816) in Europe.

Due to the anonymous nature of the survey, however, it's hard to extrapolate much from the averages themselves.

What does give us more insight however is the selected comments from the pros directly however—particularly their comments on playing with women.

While most pros, 73 percent, would have no issue with a female player joining their team, comments from two of the 27 percent have angered the community.

"If a female was to join my team," says the first, "she would have to prove she was worth it more than a guy [in the same role]."

Though this comment is shocking to hear as someone's definitive opinion, it does reflect what many believe is the reality for aspiring female pros in the current esports culture, where female players are held to higher standards than their male counterparts.

The second highlighted comment claims that they would have concerns over the likelihood of their male team mates being attracted to a female player.

Elsewhere in the survey, 27 percent of players claim to know of players taking drugs to perform better in competition, while 24 percent say they have suffered an injury as a result of gaming.

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.