While big headline news was sparse last week in e-sports, the chaotic shuffle of players between teams seems to have resumed. It’s a particularly odd time for this to happen, however, as we are smack dab in the middle of several important tournament series. This is causing many teams to call in temporary replacements, something that is bound to weaken them on the tournament scene.
NRG and Events DC Team Up
One of the big transitions we will see as e-sports become mainstream is the regional adoption of e-sports teams and franchises. A recent partnership between NRG Esports and Events DC, is looking to stay one step ahead of the game. A new deal between the two says that they are trying to make Washington DC not only the capital of the U.S., but the capital of e-sports as well.
“DC is no longer your grandparent’s capital,” Events DC board chairman Max Brown said. “Each month there are 1,000 new residents in Washington, DC who are accelerating and becoming part of DC’s ongoing transformation by attracting new and exciting events that further position the city on a global stage.”
The deal will involve several steps, the first being cross branding. Events DC logos will show up on NRG jerseys and streams in the near future. NRG will also hold bootcamps in the DC area in order to field new talent. The final part of the deal involves eventual access to the Washington Mystics WNBA arena, which will be “fully tailored and wired” for e-sports competitions in late 2017, early 2018.
ESL Announces New Overwatch Tournament Series
A new round of ESL Overwatch tournaments is opening up for Australia and New Zealand. The series will run from March to May. March and April will each hold two monthly online qualifiers followed by a monthly final with a thousand dollars going to the winner. May will see the top two teams from each month go up against each other in meat space for the grand prize of 10,000 dollars. More information is coming shortly and registration for the events is open on the ESL’s website.
Team Enters Kiev Qualifier with Openly Offensive Name
A recent entry in one of Valve’s open DOTA 2 qualifiers has caused some controversy. A team with a name too offensive to type here, but which included both a racial slur and made light of the Holocaust managed to make it through the first five rounds of the qualifier before losing. However, the fact that a team could enter with such an offensive name has gotten some fans and tournament organizers talking about what should and shouldn’t be allowed in the tournament scene.
The qualifiers are hosted and run by third-party matchmaker FaceIt, whose rules bar the use of “offensive player names or team names.” As a result, the team’s name was abbreviated as HCN on all official FaceIt pages. However, the name was shown in its entirety on official Valve pages, which FaceIt has no jurisdiction over.
So the question is, should the team be forced to change its name in order to compete and, if so, how could that be enforced when FaceIt has no ability to change or ban teams outside of ejecting them from the tournament?
The Roster Shuffle
- Ninjas in Pyjamas are poised to sign William “draken” Sundin from Epsilon to their CS:GO team. He will be replacing Jacob “pyth” Mourujarvi, who is leaving the team after about a year of play.
- Relatively new Chinese team Flash Gaming has announced that they will be sighing player YuLun “fancy1” Cai and coach QiFang “Karsa” Su, formerly of TyLoo, as their first two players.
- Joey “CRUC1AL” Steusel has announced that he will be leaving Splyce.gg for as of yet undisclosed reasons. He will be replaced temporarily by Daniel “roca” Gustaferri for the remainder of the ECS Season 3 development league.
- Sergey “starix” Ischuk is stepping down as coach of Natus Vincere after an impressive seven year career. The team’s analyst Andrey “Andi” Prokhorov will be stepping into the coaching role in his stead. Starix has said that his departure is a result of the team’s lack of progress in recent events, however he plans to stay in the e-sports industry, possibly returning to competition as a player.
- CLG has signed Australian veteran Ricky “Rickeh” Mulholland to take the place of their former rifler Yassine “subroza” Taoufik. This will be the team’s third player replacement after their defeat at ELEAGUE.
- Team Solo Mid will be adding a new player to their Hearthstone roster – Julian “Cydonia” Perrault, winner of last year’s Americas Spring Championship. Many see this as TSM refocusing their effort on Hearthstone competition as their other two players, Octavian “Kripparrian” Morosan and Jeffrey “Trump” Shih, are more known for their presence on Twitch than on the competitive circuit.
- Jacob “Cinkrof” Rokicki, formerly of Spain’s Baskonia Esports, has joined Origen’s new LoL roster. In addition, Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez will be joining the team temporarily as a support player due to the recent departure of Aleksi “Hiiva” Kaikkonen.
- Adrian Ma has joined Team Liquid in a support position. William “Stunt” Chen will be replacing him on his former team, Phoenix1.
- Hammers Esports has a new Overwatch roster after its old roster was bought out by Luminosity gaming. The team will consist of Christopher “ChrisTFer” Graham, Piotr “Sev” Hutyra, Mads “Fischer” Jehg, Erik “SnizzleNose” Hedåker, Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara, Tamás “tomzeY” Bordás, and coach Yann “Kirby” Luu.
- Darnell “Sleep” Waller has taken home the gold in the Killer Instinct World Cup. This makes his second major K.I. victory after taking home EVO last year. He follows in the footsteps of Johnathan “Rico Suave” Deleon who won EVO 2015’s K.I. championship, and the following 2016 World Cup.
- Ho Kun Xian took home the gold in Final Round XX’s Street Fighter V tournament. Xian met up with an old rival, Ai “Fuudo” Keita, in the finals, taking it home in an incredibly close series between R.Mika and Ibuki. Du “NuckleDu” Dang, last year’s Capcom Pro Tour winner, came in third.
- Team Faceless have become the first team to qualify for the DOTA2 Kiev major by winning the South East Asian regional qualifiers. This is the second time in a row Faceless will be entering a major by way of a Valve qualifier.