GIF It’s not often you see upsets like the one that happened today in Kyiv, Ukraine, where the lowest seed of the tournament not only pushed the top seed to a game three, but eliminated them altogether. Advertisement SG Esports is the South American qualifier team, and they hail from a region not traditionally known for strong Dota performances. Its 0-3 run in the group stage reflected this. The only highlight they managed was a single map taken off OG, and they were seeded dead last out of the 16 teams in attendance. Meanwhile, Team Secret, steamrolled their way to the top seed without dropping a single game in the process. When the two met in the main event bracket, it should have been a romp. And in Game 1, it was; in the span of 29 minutes, Team Secret steamrolled SG, with mid player Yeik “MidOne” Nai Zheng putting up 19 kills and 13 assists. Advertisement SG kept composure though, and in Game 2, pushed back with their own mid player Adriano “4dr” Machado, who had 13 kills and 19 assists on Lina. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Image credit: Kongdoo Panthera. KongDoo Panthera’s outfits are so good. While other Overwatch teams go with the standard “we wear jerseys basically all the time” look (aka “the Kevin Smith”), KongDoo’s players prefer to snazz it up. Last season they wore stylish dress shirts and suspenders. This season? Sailor uniforms. Advertisement It’s a heck of a fashion statement, which I almost typo-ed as “deck,” because 1) it’s been a long week and 2) BOATS. Despite the sharp new look, however, KongDoo couldn’t quite pull off a win in their first match of OGN’s APEX season three. They faced off against season two champions Lunatic Hai, and while they looked strong in the match’s early goings, Lunatic Hai pulled ahead as time wore on. Lunatic Hai player Lee “Whoru” Seung Joon’s Genji play, especially, was a sight to behold: In a single, high-flying run, he knocked off KongDoo Panthera’s Zenyatta, Tracer, Winston, and Soldier 76. In another fantastic moment, he sliced clean through KongDoo Panthera’s Pharmercy combo, a beautiful bond of love and comradery considered by most to be ninja-proof: I saw somebody refer to this play as “anime shit.” That sounds about READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Red Canids were set to be a team to watch in League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational, which kicks off today, but now they’re in the spotlight for an entirely different reason. After posting a racist joke to Twitter, Felipe “YoDa” Noronha has been served with a three-game suspension, and a $2,000 fine. Advertisement Noronha made several derogatory comments about the players hailing from Japan, using an intentional misspelling of the word for “chicken” to mock their pronunciation. After it rocketed up the front page of Reddit, Noronha removed the tweet, but another user had already screen-capped the message. Noronha went on to publish and delete several apology tweets, and Riot Games issued their punishment this morning. The three-game suspension benches Noronha for at least the first few rounds of MSI, on top of lightening his wallet. Advertisement Calling attention to previous rulings for players like Road and Svenskeren, Riot Games noted that the severity of Noronha’s language is what merited a three-game suspension, as opposed to a single match, though previous cases would have merited a more serious response in today’s ecosystem. Noronha posted an apology video on Facebook, stating his opinions and posts do not reflect the principles of…
A week ago, a team won a six-figure esports competition through sheer patience. Obey Gaming, a team competing in H1Z1 King Of The Kill, orchestrated their strategy around not starting fights, opting to wait patiently on the sidelines as the Battle Royale-esque game of survival and slaughter played out. This patience would not only lead to them lasting longer than many other top teams, but winning in the first televised H1Z1 broadcast ever. Advertisement This result, however, was leaked well in advance of the airing of the tournament on The CW. It was a taped broadcast, cut down from a live event held a month prior, with the audience all placed under non-disclosure agreements. Much of its intensity and presentation was manufactured in an editing room, and many firefights were shortened or cut to make room for advertisements. It wasn’t quite the home run the battle royale esports scene was looking for. Games like King Of The Kill or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds fall under a burgeoning umbrella of “battle royale games,” named after the movie of the same name. If you’ve seen Battle Royale or its Western version, The Hunger Games, you get the premise: READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Quick! Which would you rather be, a Kpop star or a gaming pro? Wanna-be idol Choi Dong Ha is choosing music. Advertisement Choi is appearing on reality music show Produce 101 Season 2. According to mainstream news sites Joongang Daily and Insight, he claims to have received offers to become a gaming pro after apparently ranking 30 worldwide in Overwatch. But since he says gaming is only his hobby, he’s focusing on singing. No word what moniker he played under, and it doesn’t appear as though Choi has offered any footage from his hobby to confirm his claim. We do know for certain he’s good at dancing and singing, though. “My dream was to be on stage as a singer,” he says (via Joongang Daily), requesting that people vote for him on Produce 101. If they don’t, maybe he can cash in on those apparent gaming skills! Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Stefano “Verbo” Disalvo plays Lucio for Immortals, one of the best Overwatch teams in the world. He’s a shot-caller, which means he plays a huge role in leading the team. He’s also 17 years-old. Before he could become a pro, he had to overcome one very big obstacle: his parents. Advertisement When Disalvo started high school, he had no idea what he wanted to do. People around him assumed that he’d graduate, go to college and major in something, and then work a nine-to-five until his soul withered into a depleted pile of dust with a little sad face on it. But that’s not what he wanted to do. First with League of Legends, then with Overwatch, he found something to be passionate about. He decided to he wanted to go pro, even if that meant leaving his educational future in limbo. His parents didn’t love that idea. “My parents were completely against it,” Disalvo told me in an interview. “They would take away my modem and cut me off from the internet. I was told to quit many times, because they thought I was wasting my time.” Image credit: Immortals. Some friends, too, told Disalvo he should just give…
Smash 4 A big fighting games tournament organizer says his company lost $20,000 throwing its first Super Smash Bros.-centric tournament earlier this month. As a result, Florida-based CEO Gaming does not have plans for a future CEO Dreamland event. Advertisement “Dreamland came about as a way to show the Smash community that our team cares and appreciates their huge support of our flagship CEO event over the years,” CEO Gaming director Alex Jebailey wrote in an e-mail. Jebailey, along with his team, organized a ballroom space, security, staffing, hotel rooms, commentary and, most importantly, a handmade “whispy tree” from Kirby’s Dreamland stage for CEO Dreamland. They needed 2,000 attendees for it to be considered a “success.” There was plenty of support and excitement for the event. But unfortunately, it took place over Easter weekend, which Jebailey says explains its lower-than-expected turnout of 1,100 attendees. Hotel rates were cheapest that weekend, but of course, several potential attendees were tied up with family obligations. Advertisement “There’s so much that goes into an event,” Jebailey told me. “A lot of dedicated tournament organizers pour their heart and souls into READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Blizzard has announced Overwatch’s D.Va will join Heroes of the Storm, and she’ll be a Warrior class. Here’s the new cinematic featuring D.Va fighting alongside fellow Overwatch fighter Genji. Both appear as part of the Heroes of the Storm 2.0 update rolling out today and tomorrow. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
The four-month gap the Boston and Kiev Majors in Dota 2 has been especially vacuous, as precious few tournaments gave fans a chance to gauge each team’s potential headed into today’s Kiev Major group stage play. After Boston it seemed like TNC Pro Team was in disarray, but Kiev is showing that just might not be true. Advertisement The southeast Asian squad made a name for itself at last year’s International, where it shot up through the qualifiers and eliminated OG, a tournament favorite, before finishing at 7th/8th. The months since have not been so kind to TNC, as they failed to qualify for Boston after most of their players scattered to other teams during the offseason, and only recently did three return for this week’s Kiev Major. Despite all this, TNC has had an incredible run so far in Kiev, taking down the North American titan Evil Geniuses 2-0 and Thunderbirds, formerly of Digital Chaos, at 2-1 in the group stage. In a chat conversation, team coach Muriel “Kipspul” Huisman expressed extreme confidence, and said he expected to defeat Evil Genuises: Advertisement “We knew we could take READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Lunatic Hai is far and away one of the best Overwatch teams in the world right now. Despite (or perhaps, because of) that, they’ve recently become a lightning rod for controversy. Advertisement Mere days after Lunatic Hai added two new alternate players, DPS Byeon “Munchkin” Sang-Beom and flex Lee “claris” Keon-Ho, both have stepped down due to recently unearthed controversies. This comes in the wake of a February incident in which two other Lunatic Hai alternate players left the team due to relationships with female fans that were deemed inappropriate. According to Dot Esports, Claris has been accused of, among other things, using cheat software, boosting, and poor sportsmanship. He says those things aren’t true, but he’s felt a lot of pressure in the wake of the controversy, so he’s taking a break from professional Overwatch. Advertisement The situation with Munchkin is messier. Shortly after announcing that Munchkin would join the team, Lunatic Hai acknowledged that Munchkin previously had an alternate account he used for the purposes of basically, well, being an asshole. He’d also effectively lied about his identity, as the account was registered READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment Most pros’ careers end in injury, deteriorating mechanical skill, or just when their interest in competing runs dry. Toronto Esports’ Matt “Dellor” Vaughn opted for a different end: A very long, very public stream of racial slurs during an Overwatch game. Advertisement Vaughn, a 28-year-old adult, was playing a ranked match in Overwatch. His opponent’s Widowmaker was making a few too many accurate shots, and Vaugn took umbrage. His response was to yell the N-word into his microphone using the game’s voice chat system, as the rest of his team listened on. Below is the video (via PVP Live), though be warned, he really goes on for a while, literally repeating the N-word for just shy of 30 seconds with a few adjectives near the end, and the audio can get a bit loud. What Vaughn seemingly didn’t realize was that he was streaming to his Twitch followers, one of which was quick to capture and upload the rant in its entirety. Toronto Esports responded by releasing Vaughn: “Toronto Esports is an organization built on inclusivity, and we have always had a zero- tolerance policy for any forms of discrimination,” said President Ryan Pallett. “Immediately upon…
Robert “shadder2k” Mocanu is one of the best Genji players in professional Overwatch. This weekend, he proved that he was not just a great player but also a pretty nice dude. Advertisement shadder2k and his cohorts in Team Liquid faced off against EnVyUs on Watchpoint Gibraltar during this weekend’s HND Overwatch Invitational. The most remarkable thing about the match is what he didn’t do. After Liquid manages to push the payload to the first checkpoint, shadder2k climbed to the top level and began to harass the enemy team. Here, he runs into Lui “Lui” Olivares’s Soldier 76. Pegging him a few times with throwing stars, shadder2k backs off when he realizes that Lui isn’t responding. It’s unclear why he is frozen. The moment seems lost on the announcers but chat was more enthusiastic, painting shadder2k as a good-sporting chap deciding to spare a lagging opponent. Advertisement “Nice guy shadder stopped shooting,” one commenter said. “Shadder being a gentleman,” another said. This display of battlefield chivalry comes shortly after a shake up in EnVyUs’ roster. Earlier that day, Dennis “HULK” Hawelka left the team to join READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Two games in, Team SoloMid looked poised to deftly sweep the number-two seed Cloud9 in the finals of the North American League Championship Series Spring Split. Cloud9 would not cede so easily, however, and rallied back to push it to a climactic game five, where a single clash would decide the champion of the split. Advertisement Though TSM was dominant in the first two maps, game three was a turning point for Cloud9. Battling back with the help of rookie jungler Juan “Contractz” Garcia, a single teamfight swung game three in Cloud9’s favor. Taking game four afterwards, a single match would determine the series outcome. Game five was a slugfest, with each team trading blow-for-blow. The gold and kill differential between the teams never widened too great, as each looked to eke out whatever advantage they could to win. At one point, in the span of half a minute, the teams took kills off each other in scattershot skirmishes across the map. At 38 minutes in, a clash in the top river gave Cloud9 the edge, as they took out most of Team SoloMid’s key players while keeping a solid amount READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
As eSports continues to gain prominence around the world, one college in the US has become the first all-women’s school to sponsor a varsity eSports program and is already assembling an Overwatch team for Fall 2017. Missouri-based Stephens College’s president Dianne Lynch told ESPN that the school started putting together a plan over a year ago and Overwatch couldn’t have come at a better time. Although women’s eSports teams already exist, Stephens College’s program is the first of its kind at least in the US. “We always consider ourselves early adopters, or a kayak in the water, as I would say, rather than an ocean liner, ” said Lynch. “We have the capacity and the appetite for doing something new that allows us to say, ‘Let’s try this.’” ESPN points out that there’s no infrastructure currently in place for eSports under the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Therefore, Stephens’ team will operate under the Information Technology department for the time being. “There are multiple kinds of athletics, and this is just a new kind,” explained Lynch. “It’s different, and it looks different, and it feels different, but it is, as you know, one of the most rapidly growing industries and athletic events…