Hearthstone, fighting games, and more scandal with the WESA. Let’s take a look at what happened last week in eSports.
The WESA Loses One of Its Founding Teams
Scandal is already erupting over the newly formed World eSports Association. Recently it was revealed that FaZe Clan, one of the original eight founding teams, will be leaving the organization. FaZe was apparently pressured to sign an exclusive partnership with the WESA, which would mean that it could no longer be represented by its own talent agency. FaZe was forced to pay the WESA $50,000 just to exit the association.
Poker and Hearthstone Will be Crossing Over
Who are the better gamers: professional poker players or professional Hearthstone players? Well now we have a chance to find out. A one-of-a-kind crossover eSports event called World Collide will soon he held, where three top Hearthstone players will compete against three top Poker players in a one day event.
Jason “Amaz” Chan, will line up alongside Team Liquid’s David “Dog” Caero and Esteban “AKAWonder” Serrano to represent the Hearthstone pros, while Maria Ho, Scott Ball, and Doug Polk will be repping team poker. Ho has more than $2.6 million career earnings, while Polk is considered the world’s best no-limit Hold ‘Em player.
The two teams will be competing in a swiss tournament featuring three games. Poker and Hearthstone will obviously be two of the main events, while a third neutral game will test both teams video gaming skills. That third game? Pac-Man.
World Collide kicked off on Tuesday, May 24, at 2 PM Pacific. You can tune in on the official Poker Central Twitch channel to check out the action.
Twitch Becomes Deliciously Refreshing and Mainstream
Twitch is about to put their logo on something non-gaming related. They will be partnering with AMP Energy, a Pepsi Co. energy drink.
Pepsi has been attempting to push into eSports for some time now. Earlier this year, Pepsi’s iced tea brand, Brisk Mate, entered into a sponsorship deal with Call of Duty esports OpTic Gaming.
Usually we see money flowing in one direction, from sponsors to players, in the eSports world. However, this is one of the first times we are seeing a notable eSports logo on a mainstream product. Hopefully this will open up the world of eSports to the public, one sip at a time. “The Twitch community has never seen our brand on this type of consumer packaging or in retail stores in this fashion before,” Twitch’s senior vice president of client strategy, Anthony Danzi, said.
Capcom Bans Pornographic Sponsors but Not Their Players
The fighting game community has had to deal with an interesting situation recently. What do you do when your players are sponsored by porn, but your image is marketed to a teenage audience? This is exactly what happened when Valentin “Valmaster” Petit and Anton “Filipinoman” Herrera became sponsored by Team YP. The YP in Team YP stands for YouPorn, the internet pornography website.
There is nothing particularly pornographic about Team YP’s sponsorship. Their logo isn’t lude and their players mention nothing pornographic. However, with eSports quickly gaining mass media relevance, organizations are being careful about who and what they allow in their competitions. Thus Capcom has decided to ban Team YP from the Capcom Pro Tour, but only the team.
Being that the player’s have done nothing wrong, they will not necessarily be banned from Capcom events. They can participate in any event they like, but they are forbidden from wearing any Team YP gear.
Capcom has noted that only pornographic material is deemed unsuitable for a tournament appearance. “Players who are sponsored by alcoholic beverages, cigarettes or vaping (e-cigarette) products will not be precluded from competing in a Tournament.” In fact, some big names such as Ryan “Filipino Champ” Ramirez, Chris Tatarian, Jason “Jayce the Ace” Nghe and Gustavo “801_Strider” Romero, are sponsored by Bud Light.
EVO organizer Mr. Wizard has said that Team YP is welcome at EVO, wearing their jerseys and all. However, EVO is a Capcom Pro Tour event, and this may put Capcom and Evo in conflict.
Luminosity Gaming Withdraws from StarLadder i-League Invitational
Counter-Strike team Luminosity decided to withdraw from the StarLadder i-League Invitational citing commitments to Turner’s ELEAGUE. The Ukraine event had $100,000 on the line. However, the team was scheduled for an ELEAGUE appearance two days after the end of the invitational, and it had $1.2 million on the line.
Schedule congestion is currently a hot topic in the Counter-Strike community. Several large teams have needed to withdraw from events due to schedule constraints. Na`Vi recently withdrew from the $3.5 million Esports Championship Series (ECS), DreamHack Austin, and the CEVO Gfinity finals, after feeling the pressure from a packed schedule and an injury to star player Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács. The community is currently arguing for a less congested tournament schedule that spreads out major events in the future.
Big Trades and Bigger Changes
- While it was previously reported that Daigo Umehara would have a dual sponsorship with Mad Catz and Red Bull, Mad Catz has announced that they will be exiting the sponsorship business. Daigo will still be partnered with them and will still be wearing their logo, but they will not be directly sponsoring him in any fashion.
- Echo Fox expanded into yet another eSports last week with the signing of notable Smash player Mew2King.
- Team Liquid announced Tuesday that Luis “Peacemaker” Tadeu will be its new Counter-Strike: Global Offensive head coach. They have also brought back former member Eric “adreN” Hoag after Oleksandr “S1mple” Kostyliev left the team after only a short run.
- CS:GO teams Astralis and Dignitas have just participated in a player trade. Astralis will be acquiring Marcus “Kjaerbye” Kjærbye while Rene “Cajunb” Borg will be heading the other way to Dignitas.
- Cloud9 is shuffling their roster after a recent string of bad luck. They have signed on Ben “Cattlepillar” Bunk after failing to qualify for the second North American Heroes of the Storm Summer Regional in three separate attempts. He will be replacing tank player Taylor “Arthelon” Eder. It is unclear whether or not Arthelon was dropped or left the team of his own accord.
- League of Legends players Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez recently confirmed rumors that they would be leaving Origen to team up with G2 eSports. Mithy made headlines for being a high profile player banned for toxic behavior in the past. Former G2 member Glenn “Hybrid” Doornenbal will be replacing them on Origen, along with former H2k-Gaming player Konstantinos “Forg1ven” Tzortziou. Meanwhile, former G2 eSports member Kim “Emperor” Jin-hyun has been acquired by Longzhu Gaming and will be heading back to South Korea to represent his home country.
- Finally, Alberto “Crumbz” Rengifo announced Wednesday on Twitter that he is retiring from professional League of Legends play. Part of Renegades, which was recently banned from Riot sponsored events, Crumbz blames his retirement on the eventual sell-off of his old team. “I was forced to retire. The team was sold to new owners, the new owners didn’t want me, nobody else wanted me to play on their LCS team so I retired,” he said on a Twitch stream. He went on to say he already has a job that pertains to League of Legends but he did not give out further details.
Fighting for the Big Wins
The fighting game community was very active last week, as the start of summer signals their busiest tournament season. All tournaments listed below are a part of the Capcom Pro Tour which has $500,000 in prize money up for grabs.
- Leffen won the Super Smahs Bros. Melee tournament at Get on My Level 2016. He won a straight victory through the winners bracket and triumphed over competitors such as Joseph “Mang0” Marquez, Adam “Armada” Lindgren 3-1 and Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman.
- Elliot “Ally” Bastien Carroza-Oyarc won the Smash 4 tournament at the same event, defeating Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios 3-2 in the finals. This was ZeRo’s first tournament after a recently announced hand injury that was preventing him from competing.
- Haitani Tatsuya triumphed over Team Evil Geniuses’ Momochi in the Battle Arena Melbourne 8 Street Fighter V Grand Finals. This marks Haitani’s first Capcom Pro Tour win.
- Stunfest, the yearly French video game culture festival, recently concluded as did its huge number of tournaments. A quick rundown of the victors follows:
- Street Fighter V Singles – EG|Momochi (Ken)
- Street Fighter V Teams – Team Red Bull RB|Bonchan (Ryu), RB|Luffy (R.Mika)
- Ultra Street Fighter IV Teams – LordDVD (E.Honda), RB|Luffy (Rose), YP|Valmaster (Chun-Li)
- Mortal Kombat XL – PND|Madzin (Grandmaster Sub-Zero)
- Smash 4 – Griffith (Zero Suit Samus, Bayonetta, Lucario)
- Super Street Fighter II Turbo Teams – Abdel, Bazoukha, Saimonax
- BlazBlue Chronophantasma Extend – DragonLordZ (Bang)
- Guilty Gear Xrd –REVELATOR- – Shenzo (May, Jack-O’)
- Guilty Gear Xrd –SIGN- Teams – Jackal (Millia Rage), Alioune (Elphelt), Maho (Leo Whitefang)
- Breakers Revenge Teams – Solinvictus (Sho), Spinalblood (Dao-Long)
- Capcom vs. SNK 2 – Waldo (K-Balrog/Yamazaki/Blanka)
- SoulCalibur V – GOLD|Shad (α Patroklos)
- Hokuto No Ken – Oro (Toki)
- In addition, Stunfest ran one of the first King of Fighter’s IV exhibition tournaments. QANBA.Douyu|Xiao Hai won with two teams of Iori/Kyo/Kim and Luong/Kim/Iori.
- Toryuken also went down in Canada last weekend and some big names showed up. EG|Justin Wong took the Street Fighter V tournament with Karin, while PG|FChamp expectedly won Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 with Magneto, Dr. Doom, and the return of Phoenix cheese. PG|MarlinPie, a regular from the east coast, took GGXRD with Zato-1, and Mortal Kombat X was taken by Orbit MTL|Hayatei playing Takeda.
- Finally, Lima Salty 3 went off in Lima Peru. Brook.ANV|Misterio took the Street Fighter V championship, NEM.ATX|David won Guilty Gear, and Elite Potato took Mortal Kombat XL.
- In non-fighting game news, OG won DreamLeague’s DOTA Grand Finals, dispatching Natus Vincere 3-0.
- Hearthstone North American Spring Preliminaries have also just finished. The qualifiers that will be moving on to the championships will be DeerJason, Rosty, Duane, Cydonia, Bradfordlee, Napoleon, PNC, and Joster. The line-up surprised most, as big names like Dog and Chakki fell out early. Many attributed this to the swingyness of the current meta.
Next week will also be fighting game heavy, with many tournaments going down on Memorial Day weekend (primarily in other countries, appropriately enough).
- China will host the Ze Fighting Game Championship, another stop in the Capcom Pro Tour.
- Japonawa 2016 will be hosted in Tijuana, Mexico, also part of the Capcom Pro Tour. The tournament will feature Street Fighter V, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, Guilty Gear, and The King of Fighters XIII.
- One American tournament that is going down regardless of the holiday is Combo breaker 2016 in St. Charles, IL. Prize pools at Combo Breaker are largely determined by player participation so it’s hard to say what’s at stake this year, but last year the pool was over $39,000 dollars.
- FFM Rumble #9 is happening at Frankfurt Germany featuring tournaments in Street Fighter V, Guilty Gear, Killer Instinct, Pokken Tournament, and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. Last year’s event had a prize pool of over $500,000.
- Outside of the fighting game community, Heroes of the Storm is taking the spotlight. The Taiwanese Summer Regional Final will take place next weekend, with a prize pool of 1,800,000 TWD (approximately $55,000 U.S.) at stake.
- Another Heroes tournament, Copa America, will be held in Brazil, with a $18,500 prize pool.
- Finally, the Korea- Super League losers and decider brackets will be hosted over memorial day weekend in Seoul.
- And in upcoming game news, one of the very first Overwatch tournaments will be held over the weekend. Agents Rising will take place in Santa Ana at the eSports arena, and will feature $10,000 in prizes.