Last week was a strange week for news in the e-sports world. A mobile game won a “best e-sport” award, the most popular new speedrunning title didn’t get into a speedrunning marathon, the WESA added teams outside of its territory of operations, and, as usual, we saw a ton of tournament wins and new acquisitions.
Clash Royale Won an E-Sports Award at the BAFTAs
Something really weird happened at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards last week. On one hand, the BAFTAs are one of the first awards shows to feature an e-sports category, which shows that the scene is getting more and more mainstream recognition. On the other hand, their award winning choice was… dubious, at best.
It was Clash Royale that ended up taking home their e-sports award. Not League of Legends. Not Counter-Strike. Not even Hearthstone – a similar mobile game with a huge e-sports following.
Many are citing this as proof that you cannot give out awards based on fan votes. Clash Royale undoubtedly has a huge following, being one of the biggest mobile games on the market. But it has no e-sports scene worth the name, compared to the other games you’d think of in the category.
This situation gets even stickier when you consider that the BAFTA’s new Vice President of games, David Garner, is an investor in Supercell, the developer of Clash Royale. It seems odd that a game that barely makes a dent in the e-sports scene even got a nomination in the first place. Unfortunately, no comment is being made on the game’s controversial nomination or win, so it looks like this is just going to have to remain one of e-sports’ big mysteries.
Subaru to Host New Counter-Strike Tournament
Subaru of America will be hosting its first ever e-sports tournament, a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive invitational with a $20,000 prize pool. The tournament is the result of a new partnership with Damage, an e-sports agency. It will he held on May 13 and 14, however specific details about the tournament have not yet been given.
“Our goal is to build brand affinity with a highly-engaged, dedicated millennial community that shares our core values,” said Eric Park, the Zone Retailer Marketing Manager at Subaru of America. “Millennial esports fans have a fierce dedication to the games and its players.”
FC Lausanne-Sport Enters the World of E-Sports
It seems like every week brings us news of yet another traditional sports club entering the e-sports world. Swiss first division soccer club FC Lausanne-Sport recently merged with Qualitas Helvetica and rebranded it as LS eSports, its first foray into the digital world. The club, based in Western Switzerland, will be fielding teams in CS:GO, Overwatch, Hearthstone, and Rocket League, as well as other major e-sport titles to be announced at a later time. It will also establish a new academy where it will provide training opportunities for up and coming gamers.
NYC FC Also Joins the E-Sports World
While it hasn’t been strange to see European soccer clubs investing in e-sports teams, we now have an example of an American soccer club following suit. New York City FC has recently signed competitive FIFA player Christopher Holly, the second-best player in the North American scene. “It’s an honor to represent NYC FC,” Holly said. “It’s a chance of a lifetime, I’m really excited. I never thought this would happen so when the club contacted me, I was shocked and now I’m really looking forward to it.”
SGDQ 2017 Games Announced
If you are into the strange little niche of e-sports known as the competitive speedrunning community, you are in luck. The official game list for Summer Games Done Quick, a weeklong 24/7 speedrunning festival for charity, has finally been posted and… well, it’s disappointing some while pleasing others.
We are going to get to see a lot of new games – such as Nier: Automata – take the stage this year, but there is one glaring omission that is upsetting speedrunning fans everywhere: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The game was absolutely built for speedrunning, with world record times coming in at just over 40 minutes these days. Yet, despite its overwhelming popularity in and out of the speedrunning community, it is completely absent from the list. Perhaps it just isn’t marathon safe yet.
You can see the full list of games and races here. Be sure to tune in and maybe even pitch some money to Doctors Without Borders.
The WESA Is Expanding
For the first time since its founding, the controversial WESA is expanding by adding two new teams. SK Gaming and Renegades will both be joining the WESA. They are the first teams outside of Europe to do so. It’s particularly odd that they are letting in new teams after their recent scuffle with the PEA. Expanding into North America might be their first move to supplant the PEA, and become the go-to organization for Counter-Strike and other e-sports.
The Roster Shuffle
- Selfless Gaming has released their entire Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team after poor performance in Season 5 of the ESL Pro League. The team has received a severance package and is looking for new prospects, except for Terry “dsr” Rioux who will be retiring from e-sports.
- Alec “Slemmy” White has signed with compLexity Gaming. He will be acting as the team’s new leader, following the departure of Michael “Uber” Stapelis.
- Mousesports has gotten back into the DOTA2 scene. They have signed the entire former roster of Ad Finem. “Dota is one of the most exciting games in esports with a huge and very dedicated fanbase, amazing events, and the biggest prize pools,” said Mousesports CEO, Cengiz Tüylü. “We couldn’t wait to get back into the Dota community and I believe we found the perfect group to take this step. Our roster is bursting with team spirit and passion for the game and their first week has exceeded all our expectations.”
- Renowned Call of Duty player Jonathan “Pacman” Tucker has signed on with Rise Nation as a coach and team manager. Pacman was notable for playing on Rise Nation’s first Call of Duty team in 2015.
- Call of Duty organization Most Wanted has acquired teams Carbon Six and XtroVert Esports. They will be drafting up a new roster for CWL Anaheim.
- Jay “Prophet” Nicoletti and Ethan “FA5TBALLA” Wedgeworth have both left Pnda Gaming’s Call of Duty side to join Carbon Six.
- The Qiao Gu Reapers will be adding rookie Shi “Deceit” Linjiang to their League of Legends team. He will be replacing Liu “Ali” Xudong who left the team earlier this month due to health reasons.
The Big Wins
- FaZe Clan has taken the gold in the StarSeries Season 3 CS:GO championships, closing out the finals against Astralis. They will take home $300,000 for their victory.
- Tatsuya “Haitani” Haitana has won the second Capcom Pro Tour Street Fighter V premier event, the Ultimate Fighting Arena. He took down Hiromiki “Itabashi Zangief” Kumada in the finals after a stunning rivalry that saw Itabashi Zangief sending Haitani into the losers bracket earlier in the tournament.
- Benjamin “Problem X” Simon has taken home victory at Sonic Boom, granting him 160 points in the Capcom Pro Tour.
- Daigo Umehara and Justin Wong, the legendary Street Fighter rivals, have both moved onward in ELEAGUE’s Street Fighter V invitational. Victor “Punk” Woodley and Momochi Yusuke will also be advancing to ELEAGUE’s Street Fighter V invitational finals to be held on April 21, where they will compete for the winners share of a $250,000 prize pool.
- Fnatic took down H2k Gaming in the EU LCS playoffs. H2k were the overwhelming favorites to win the competition, but Fnatic triumphed through a bit of unconventional character play and meta knowledge.
- Phoenix 1 defeated Team Dignitas in the NA LCS quarter final. They will move on to face Cloud9 next week in the semifinals.
- Lunatic-Hai has won OGN Overwatch APEX season two. They took home $90,000 in prize money and the distinction of their first major Overwatch tournament victory.