Tokido Halts Smug’s Losers Bracket run to win ELEAGUE

It took every ounce of focus from Tokido, but he found a way to slow Smug after he rattled off five straight wins over legends of the game. After losing to Smug on set one of the Grand Finals,  beating Smug almost felt out of the question and majority of the time the player winning that first final set to reset the bracket leads to a win. This was not the case for Tokido.

For Tokido, handily beating Punk and Daigo in the quarter and semifinals looked and felt like the first part to Tokido easily taking home the ELEAGUE title. Arguably the scariest player with some momentum is Tokido and early on it looked like he would not be denied. Even against a player like Smug who was on an even hotter streak of wins, beating five of the top-10 including Tokido in the first set.

The fact that Tokido was able to calm his nerves, refocus, and win against Smug’s Balrog which was running feverishly downhill on his opponents is unbelievably impressive. It basically came down to outplaying Smug in those clutch, low-health scenarios and Tokido ended the second set landing all the kill combos. It was a combination of methodical offense and not leaving himself open to counter-attacks.

Tokido continues to revolutionize the game with his incredible Akuma play.  SMug was the only player able to contend with his damage output on every given neutral exchange today, but it still wasn’t enough to beat the monster that is Tokido.

Top 8 Results

1. FOX|Tokido (Akuma)
2. Rise|Smug (Balrog)
3. CYG|Daigo (Guile)
4. Mouz|Problem X (Abigail, M. Bison)
5. FOX|Punk (Cammy, Karin)
5. FOX|Momochi (Cody, Kolin)
7. CO|Dogura (Urien)
7. FD|Fujimura (Ibuki)

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Los Angeles Gladiators Win Game One over the London Spitfire with Fissure on the bench

Shortly before the start of the second Overwatch League playoff match, the Los Angeles Gladiators sent out a press release relaying to fans that Fissure would be sitting out the first map against the London Spitfire. A move born out of some inner turmoil and a strong week of practice from iRemix, but nevertheless, the Gladiators didn’t miss a beat with their best player on the bench.

Now, the Fissure benching will take all the headlines, but the biggest story is not only how good the Gladiators looked in the win, but how badly the Spitfire looked in the loss. It was a combination of a cohesive, fundamentally sound Gladiators approach to this match against a discombobulated, miscalculated attempt at slowing down the Gladiators backline. Similarly to a Philadelphia Fusion team that came out firing, the LA Gladiators also made a statement by sweeping the Spitfire.

Starting with Surefour, the MVP of the match, who gave the supports of the Spitfire trouble all game long. On either McCree or Widowmaker, Surefour wasn’t being contested enough to throw him off his positioning or force him into tougher sightlines. It was a struggle in both the Widow-duel and trying to dive onto his spot. It was a huge game for Surefour and helped make up for a real space creator in Fissure on the bench.

Luckily for the Gladiators, the decision to bench Fissure ended up working out. The move from Bischu to Void gave that frontline a bit more firepower, but the Gladiators dominated at every position. It wasn’t just Surefour on hitscan, but Hydration tearing it up on Hanzo or Silkthread in more of an aggressive dive role. It feels as if no team is improving at the rate of the LA Gladiators, and tonight was more proof of that.

London Spitfire Meta Woes

Trying to come to terms with the Spitfire’s recent struggles that have now bled on over into the postseason, in my eyes, boils down to one thing. The drastic gameplay changes with the popularization of sniper compositions, forcing Profit onto a role he’s not entirely comfortable with or necessarily excels in like he does with every other damage role. Bridring can certainly play an effective Widowmaker, but the most aggressive-minded team in the OWL having to play more passive-aggressive sniper strategies is messing with their gameplay.

This run also comes in the midst of a number of roster changes this team has made, as they assemble a core structure to the organization.  All these subtle and big changes hit at once and at the most inopportune time right before the playoffs. This is no excuse for getting badly outplayed and generally outcoached, but it’s a factor into the recent struggles. However, more of this will lead them out of the playoffs.

NRG Blows Second Map Lead in Consecutive Days as Rogue Impresses in the Win over Complexity at the America FACEIT Minor

It’s been a rough few days for the prohibitive American favorite to not only take one of the two qualifying spots but to be sitting in Rogue’s spot as the top placing team. Now, after starting off 1-0 against both Complexity and eUnited, ended both days losing two straight and are now the first team sent packing.

The loss to Complexity yesterday was completely unexpected, by winning decisively on the first map, only to drop two games with sloppy play and inconsistent play from their bottom-three. For an NRG team that’s usually solid against their own region, the last two days seem like a total outlier. The odds of losing the match when winning the first map are low for any team, but the top-ranked North American team doing it is somewhat of a mystery.

Even the top players showed up on both days, Cvetelin ‘CerQ’ Dimitrov and Vincent ‘Brehze’ Cayonte played quality Counter-Strike. Both finished with positive kill-death ratios and made plenty of big plays. However, the rest of the teams play dropped off drastically after those two. And even on the losing maps, CerQ struggled to get anything going and ended up with less than .60 kills per round.

Unfortunately for NRG, it was the snowball effect for them today. Falling down early on Dust 2 by losing pistol and the lead slowly growing put the stranglehold on an NRG team that was losing confidence. The final kill count on Dust 2 ended at 91-52 in favor of eUnited. It was over once NRG’s mental game faded. eUnited will now face Complexity in qualifying for the Major. The two teams who beat NRG this week.

Rogue Improvements

Rogue deserves plenty of praise for their noteworthy performance at the Minor. Against a Complexity team that played exceptionally well, Rogue went to an even higher level of play and earned the win. It was nice to see a Rogue team, headed by Spencer ‘Hiko’ Martin, play up to their talent level. They’ve put themselves in a great position to qualify with the 2-0 win against Complexity.

Witnessing Casper ‘cadiaN’ Møller heat up with the AWP on Mirage was quite the sight. He sat apartment side and seemingly didn’t miss a shot for the entirety of the map. Of course, Complexity adjusted to his positioning specifically, but his overall impact on the game didn’t go unnoticed. Outside of cadiaN’s AWP, Hiko was a monster against Complexity. On Dust 2, a map Rogue dominated on, and Hiko finished with 30 kills and a staggering 1.79 rating. He set everything in motion.

The Grand Finals

eUnited vs. Complexity should be a barn burner, in that both teams seem evenly matched in most important areas. Seeing as both teams lost to Rogue, a scenario where one of these teams makes the necessary adjustments to beat Rogue seems unlikely. Especially now with Rogue having the upper bracket advantage, but the important thing to remember here is the winner of Complexity and eUnited qualifies for the FACEIT Major.

Featured image courtesy of FACEIT

Na’Vi and BIG Clan both pull momentumental upsets to reach the ESL One: Cologne Grand Finals

Monumental might be an understatement when considering the type of day Big Clan, the only German-native team, had at ESL One: Cologne. The team that some thought didn’t even earn the invite to this event are three map wins away from doing the unthinkable and winning the whole damn event. It all comes down to one huge game, in front of a massive crowd of rabid Counter-Strike fans in Germany.

The storylines coming out of this event, aside from an early exit from Team Liquid, were all focused on the insurgence of the German side. The former NRG team, headed by tabseN and gob b, who is looked at as influential leaders on BIG, were certainly not a popular pick to make a deep run. After losing early to Fnatic on day two, BIG came together and strung together a strong performance after another.

TabseN’s and nex went absolutely off in the win: a combined 155 kills, and a staggering +44 that ultimately sealed the deal for FaZe Clan and their hopes of winning the intel grand slam. On all three maps, these two players made it increasingly difficult on Rain to clutch out rounds, and they essentially shutdown Guardian, who was having a strong ESL before the loss. FaZe looked like the team to beat once again, but after gaining momentum in that the third and final map of the match, BIG Clan never slowed down. The 12-3 first half sealed any hopes of a FaZe win.

Who Wins the Finals?

Picking between these two teams is tough considering both are coming off emotional, upset wins. Both teams enter Sunday with an amazing sense of momentum at their backs, and it feels as if the intangibles will make the difference. Natus Vincere definitely has the experience advantage, but it’s going to be a full-house of German fans feverishly chanting for their new German heroes.

For Na’vi, it took all they had in them to get past the Dutch side, Astralis. Seeing Zeus pop-off on Inferno and Electronic play a consistent, frag-heavy game is the main reasons this team was able to pull it off. Astralis is going to overwhelm teams top-to-bottom, but with Simp1e playing, at arguably an MVP level all it takes is a few other Na’vi players to step up. That’s how this team got over the hump and have a serious chance of winning it all.

Now, despite all the hype surrounding BIG Clan, and the crowd support they’ll surely receive tomorrow, Na’vi has to be looked upon as the favorite. BIG Clan looked like the best team overall, but it’s tough to see them duplicating their peak performance like they did on map three against FaZe. If that team shows up, Na’vi’s in for a treat, but with Simp1e playing at his mind-blowingly strong level, it’s going to be tough to shut down that firepower.

Featured Image courtesy of ESL

Element Mystic Open the Overwatch Contenders Season with a Razor Thin Victory over Seven

Element Mystic opens up their second season of Overwatch Contenders pretty much the same way they started season one: winning with style. In a matchup between the two of the higher placing regular season teams in season one, Mystic Element got bigger performances and ended up taking the match by the thinnest of margins.

By no means was Seven overmatched at any point in the match, as they pushed the team who finished 18-2 last season. It took a ridiculous Widowmaker performance out of Xzi and the many intelligent plays from Doca on D.Va that led to this victory. Outside of those two, finding the right times to unveil Torbjörn on defense.

Both Numbani and Watchpoint: Gibraltar displayed a strong showing and understanding from Element Mystic on how to play Torbjörn. Rapel, who’s primarily a Zenyatta-main, and a very strong one at that, surprised everyone with his bait on Torb. Setting Xzi far behind on point A with Widow and playing the turret in the hallway allowed on the Numbani high-ground prevented any attempts at dive-pressure from D.va or Winston.

The Torbjörn pick was fun, but the heart of the Element Mystic lineup returns again to the presence of Repal, Doca, and Xzi. These three came through in a big way today. Each one contributing in diverse ways and adding value all over the map. In fact, Doca deserves the MVP for constantly moving and shooting. Doca was a pest on the Seven snipers all game.

However, it’s hard to say Xzi didn’t deserve the recognition for his insane Widowmaker plays. Doca essentially protected Xzi with strong frontline play, but Xzi wasn’t missing many shots onto squishy characters. In the Widowmaker duel category, Xzi had an overwhelming advantage in kills. And Overwatch being a team game means both players helped each other immensely.

Seven Come Back Strong

Yes, Seven would’ve preferred to start the season off with a win, but let\s remember how both these teams ended season one. Top three in the regular season only to fall quickly in the first round. Seven to Meta Bellum and Element Mystic to O2 Ardeont. Falling that early after a strong season can do irreversible damage to a team and leads to questioning a teams talent when it’s often times just one bad game. It’s good to see both teams come out firing.

For Seven, Fr3e gave Doca on the other side a run for his money in terms of overall team value. In losing situations for Seven when Xzi was getting picks, Fr3e was the one Seven player turning disadvantage situations with his ability to drop tons of damage. Mika (Mercy) and Adora (damage) also looked on point, but that wasn’t enough to stop the three-headed wrecking ball of Mystic Element.

Featured photo courtesy of GSL

Leenock with a strong showing as he qualifies for GSL Code S Round of 16

Leenock finished his day in impressive fashion over Dear after falling to Maru in the winner’s match of the group. The four straight wins over Dear in the group stages pushed him back into the round of 16 in a Code S. One of StarCraft 2’s most talented and dedicated individuals is looking like much more than just an average player. More performances similar to tonight will lead to a deep playoff run.

Now, Dear is absolutely no joke as a Protoss player. One of the few players to a royal road a Code S in GSL, and at one point in time the best player in the world. Leenock had his hands full with the matchup but still managed to win both sets quickly. Dear tried different things, working in some all-ins and more macro intensive strategies, but each time it was sniffed out by Leenock.

The first map, Leenock fell into a small deficit with Dear’s macro being so efficient, but once he noticed it, it only took a few effective baneling busts to flip the worker count heavily in Leenock’s favor. The metagame surrounding Protoss vs. Zerg is geared heavily towards constant pressure with Zergling run-by, Overlord drops and spreading out a Protoss army between three bases. Leenock did this to perfection on the map Lost and Found.

Taking out 28 workers with two baneling’s is quite the impressive feat. It was clear, that despite having somewhat of a lesser army, in terms of composition, Leenock still found ways to win with his harassment. It was essentially the perfect way to play Zerg in this matchup especially in more of a macro-game.

In the last game, Dear was feeling the immense pressure of losing four straight to Leenock. Entering that game it felt as if Dear’s spirit was broken and the proficient Zerg player completed the full-sweep holding a last-ditch charge all-in.  As the video entails, Leenock held strongly by taking out the warp prism early, shutting down any possibility of the attack working out.

It was a quick 2-0 of Dear and must have had the same effect of mouthwash: it got the bad taste of barely losing to Maru out of his mouth. If Leenock plays anything like he did today, he will make a deep playoff run in this season of Code S.

Featured Image courtesy of GSL

ASUS 24-inch Full HD FreeSync Gaming Monitor [VG245H] 1080p, 1ms Rapid Response Time, 75Hz, Dual HDMI, Low Blue Light, Flicker Free Display with Pivot, Tilt and Swivel, ASUS EyeCare

 

GLL PUBG Season 2 European Finalist: Pittsburgh Knights Win Big

Season two of the Global Loot League has come to an end with a number of different regions qualifying for the Grand Finals in August. The North America season ended last night with Team Gates winning week six overall, but Totality placing first.  Europe’s finals ended this afternoon and the top seven teams have been decided:

GLL.jpg

The Pittsburgh Knights ended the tournament as the top squad, earning nearly five thousand points. The Knights also led the European division in overall kills with 147. The next three qualifying teams hovered around 4,100 using different approaches.  FaZe Clan finished second relying on aggressive pushing on enemy teams and fighting as much as possible. Team Vitality is a more patient group, winning round four in week six. Team Liquid understands how to place high without engaging better than anyone.

The next four teams to fill into those bottom four spots: Moonwolf in fifth (3,810 pts, 131 kills), Penta Esports in sixth (3,757 pts, 99 kills), and in the last qualifying spot Team Extra from Germany grab it wth a staggering 138 kills. Method missed out by a measly 48 points, meaning each one of those 138 Extra kills mattered in the end. G2 also missed out by a few hundred points. Razor thing margin up-and-down, with the Knights sperating themselves at the top.