Sep 12 2013 - 4:06 pm

Competitive gaming is preparing to invade college campuses nationwide

If a pair of visionary twin brothers at the University of Texas are right, within a few years eSports—competitive video game playing—will have conquered university campuses across the United States
Aaron Sankin
Dot Esports

If a pair of visionary twin brothers at the University of Texas are right, within a few years eSports—competitive video game playing—will have conquered university campuses across the United States. And the moment the tide changed may all come back to a little name change.

Brothers Adam and Tyler Rosen started the Texas eSports Association in 2010 with only 20 members. Since then, it’s ballooned in size and made international headlines thanks to the success of its tournaments. But the Rosen brothers aren’t satisfied with regional dominance. They want to go national, beginning with a name change to make the whole thing a lot more geographically inclusive: say goodbye to the Texas eSports Association, and hello to TeSPA.

“[Adam and Tyler] looked at major professional eSports tournaments organized by companies like IGN or Red Bull and said, ‘We could do something just as good on a third of the budget," TeSPA’s chief financial officer Matthew Wiltshire told the Daily Dot.

Most popular in South Korea, eSports have grown in popularity in the United States in recent years, especially with the advent of servics like that let users watch players compete over the Internet. Earlier this year, the U.S. government officially classified eSports players at professional athletes.

TeSPA first made waves on the eSports circuit when it hosted the Lone Star Clash tournament in March of 2012, which featured both professional and amateur, college-level Starcraft II players. The 2 million online viewers who watched it came from 50 countries. A second tournament later that year—the professionals-only Lone Star Clash 2—proved even bigger and more successful.

It's precisely the experience the organization has gained hosting these events, along with a myriad of smaller ones, that TeSPA plans on utilizing as it converts itself into a national eSports powerhouse with chapters all across the country. Starting this school year, the group has already set up nine new chapters chapters from California's San Jose State to George Mason University in Virginia.

"In the just the first week, over 600 students have signed up for the clubs," Wiltshire said. "And that's just counting the two schools that had started classes by then."

Most of chapter management happens locally. TeSPA provides funding and logistical support for gaming events as small as LAN parties, which could require help in everything from procuring networking cables to securing permits. The group has even produced a 40-page guide with step-by-step instructions on how to host large-scale gaming competitions.

"In a few years, we had grown from non-existence to some sort of a global phenomenon," Adam Rosen told UT student newspaper the Daily Texan.

“We looked around the rest of the United States, and there were some fledgling groups popping up, trying to emulate us…but they weren’t growing very fast. So we said, 'There’s no reason what we did should be restricted to us.'"

TeSPA has plans to expand into the realm of high schools as well. The group already has a presence at a small handful of Austin, TX high schools located near the UT campus.

Critics might argue that encouraging kids to play more video games might not be the best idea, but Wiltshire noted that TeSPA's primary mission is, at its heart, fundamentally educational.

Video games have the power to teach us a lot of different thing: teamwork, hand-eye coordination, and the fact that dressing like a raccoon gives sometimes yields the power of flight, Wiltshire added that encouraging students to organize their own eSports tournaments teaches an entirely different set of skills.

"We want to teach entrepreneurship; we want to teach creative problem solving; we want to teach leadership," he explained. "To people who know what eSports is, the notion that it can be a tool to better their academic and professional careers isn’t foreign in the slightest."

Photo via TeSpa/Facebook

Jan 21 2017 - 10:55 pm

Contractz shines as Cloud9 topples TSM

Cloud9’s rookie jungler made a big splash in his LCS debut
Xing Li
Dot Esports
Photo via Riot Games

Cloud9’s Juan "Contractz" Arturo Garcia didn't just make an impression in his LCS debut. He blew away all expectations, and showed himself to be a force to be reckoned with.

Contractz was the last cut from the Players to Watch list we wrote before the League Championship season. We weren’t sure how much priority Cloud9 would give him, especially with so much talent elsewhere on the roster. Still, we felt uneasy--someone not on the list was almost guaranteed to break out.

We just didn’t know that it would happen in the very first series.

In a rematch of last summer’s LCS Finals, Cloud9 and TSM clashed on the rift. And despite the star power that this matchup brings, much of the focus was on Contractz. He was a major focus for C9, almost a win condition in themselves.

Let’s see how he did it.

Jungle Priority

Due to the changes Riot made to the jungle in the offseason, priority has risen for junglers. More experience and more ganks means a good jungler can more easily carry a game. Cloud9’s coach, Bok “Reapred” Han-gyu talks about priority all the time.

Priority is a League term that indicates which lane has a strong matchups and should be a focus for jungle ganks. The player or lane with priority gets earlier picks and more attention from the rest of the team.

In a bit of a role reversal, C9 picked jungle to have priority in game one. That meant C9 players actively played around Contractz’ Kha’zix and made plays to get him ahead. In one telling instance, AD carry Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi burned his Ashe ult so that Contractz could invade and secure red buff.

Contractz rewarded that allocation by killing TSM ADC Jason “WildTurtle” Tran for First Blood. Cloud9 picked a risky comp that required Contractz and mid laner Nicolaj Jensen (playing Fizz) to snowball. Aided by some questionable team play from TSM and baffling itemization from WildTurtle, they accomplished that.

How would TSM react in game two?

A Lee Sin God

Cloud9 continued to give Contractz priority by first-picking Lee Sin for him (only one jungler, Rengar, was banned). This time, he lived in TSM’s red side jungle, playing around pressure from Jensen and top laner Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong.

A well-executed gank gave C9 First Blood again, this time on Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. C9’s duo lane kept their own red-side safe, allowing Contractz to clear and run to the top lane to kill Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell.

For much of the series, Cloud9 exhibited superior team play and coordination, and Contractz was at the center of big plays. He is an aggressive, carry-oriented player and C9 enabled that aggression extremely well. Even when TSM jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and the rest of the team was there, it was often C9 making the right moves, faster. Following a decent TSM dive in the bot lane, Contractz responded with kill after kill.

It’s still very early in the season, but this team has come together very fast. Their communication was superb as was the shot calling. TSM had poor performances from Turtle and Svenskeren, but this victory was still more about C9's macro-oriented team play, rather than individual performances. They will have chances to come back, just like C9 will have to keep their play high by continuing to aid their jungler.

Contractz just dominated what was the best team in NA. Keep this performance up, and he’ll find himself on another one of our lists: the end of split awards.

Jan 21 2017 - 10:20 pm

G2 Esports and H2k-Gaming on top after EU LCS opening weekend

Last year's top teams haven't missed a beat.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via Riot Games

G2 Esports and H2k-Gaming picked up exactly where they left off as the 2017 European LCS season got underway.

Both G2 and H2k, who had the most championship points in Europe in 2016, won both of their first two matches of the 2017 Spring Split as they look to win out in their respective groups.

In the biggest match of the weekend on paper, G2 beat Fnatic 2-1 in a thrilling series to the delight of the crowd in the LCS studio. The first game was a cagey affair, with G2 securing all of the objectives and getting a relatively comfortable win, but the second game was far closer.

The game was level for most of the first thirty minutes, until Fnatic managed to take Baron. From there the team's advantage slowly developed despite G2's best efforts. Fnatic broke down G2's defences and left the Nexus exposed, before this daring flash play let Fnatic in the backdoor to win the game.

Fired up by the audacious play, G2 Esports fired back in game three. Though Fnatic were able to secure more kills than G2, 20-14, G2 once again took almost all of the objectives. They wore down Fnatic with repeated attacks on the Nexus until Fnatic could no longer withstand the pressure.

G2 also defeated Roccat 2-0, finishing the week top of Group A.

H2k-Gaming went just one better than G2 in Group B—not only did they win both of their initial matches, they also did without dropping a game. The 2016 World Championship semifinalists defeated Origen in the first game of the season, before knocking off fellow World Championship competitors Splyce.

Misfits and Unicorns of Love were the only other victorious sides on the opening weekend, over Giants Gaming and Vitality respectively.