VP tops SK in a seemingly half-filled arena

I watched the grand final of DreamHack Masters Las Vegas last night and I’ve got a few questions that I want to, at first, ask rhetorically then immediately revert to type by spilling disorganized prose into this post via my keyboard.

DreamHack sure as hell doesn’t give a shit about fucks, right?

Personally, I don’t mind the lack of a language filter when it comes to expressing how important a previous play was or how impossible it appears that a certain team would lose in a situation, but compared to the last big CSGO tournament, the ELEAGUE Major (which Valve are keen on identifying as the Atlanta Major presented by ELEAGUE), there seemed to be a more relaxed-yet-mature atmosphere surrounding the entire production. While innuendo wasn’t necessarily the center stage of analyst desk segments and floor interviews, I don’t think the amount of joking present in this establishment was terribly out of place or demeaning to the nature of the broadcast.

How about them Poles, folks?

Virtus.Pro proved it deserves to remain a top-tier professional team by defeating the recently reorganized SK Gaming roster to win DH Masters Las Vegas two games to one (8-16 Cobblestone, 16-11 Train, 16-13 Mirage). The $200k USD first prize is a slightly bigger payoff than the team’s second place showing at the Atlanta Major and it’s about time.

SK’s roster woes aren’t really woes, but I’m sure they’re pretty disappointed with how quickly VP deconstructed their game plan. When the Virtus-plow is on point, you get rekt. Considering VP only needed the one map to warm back up after an extended downtime from playing, it’s pretty clear that the Polish side have rediscovered the advantage to its rock-solid roster in the current meta of CSGO.

Where was the audience?

I think it’s safe to say that the attendance for such an important event for CSGO was a little disappointing. There’s so many pockets of empty seats that are shown on camera even during wide-shots of the stage between rounds.

Now, I understand the MGM Grand arena is a considerably larger venue for a States-side DreamHack event to be held in, but you’d think they would be trying to give out tickets left and right to entice people to take a winter vacation to Las Vegas and watch a premier offline CSGO tournament live.

After taking two seconds to look up ticket prices to see how expensive it was to get into the arena for the weekend, I instantly understood why the areas in front of teams were filled with so many patches of empty seats: they were assigned to the $150 Premium ticket holders.

A bit of an oversight for an event that didn’t sell out.

My notes on the r/Overwatch content petition.

Whenever something happens that catches my eye in the realm of sports, I generally try to break it down the simplest way possible by putting it in my notebook. I’ve got pages upon pages of notes about the latest r/Overwatch drama that I discussed on the latest episode of the lowercase esports podcast that might not have made it to air, but was on my mind while recording it.

Hit the jump to peruse the knee-jerk reactions that I record in the moment to keep some semblance of consistency and sanity when it comes to trying to keep these things in order in my head.

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The WESG 2016-that-actually-took-place-in-2017 wrap-up.

Non-standard calendars and their year counting madness. How about those crazy things?

World Electronic Sports Games 2016, also known as Alibaba Spent 3.7M USD This Year To Virtue Signal Its Success To A New Vertical, is probably the closest thing esports has to a world final for multiple games. Well, at least a multi-title event that’s mildly relevant in this era of inflating prize pools not run by the usual suspects.

I keep up with events like these by going back after the fact and gathering information about the results, as well as some general statistics about the games and prize awards for each tournament. Here’s my entries regarding the WESG 2016 results (using my goto source, Liquipedia) and a little blurb about why I record the statistics I have.

  • CSGO
    • 1ST: ENVYUS, 800K USD
      • GROUP A WINNER (11PTS, 8-2)
      • 2-1 TYLOO (16-9 CACHE, 8-16 MIRAGE, 16-14 DUST2)
      • 2-1 SPACE SOLDIERS (8-16 CACHE, 22-19 CBBLE, 16-14 DUST2)
      • 2-0 KINGUIN (2ND: 400K USD) (16-5 TRAIN, 16-6 DUST2)
    • VIRTUS.PRO (3RD: 200K USD) 2-0 SPACE SOLDIERS (4TH: 60K USD) (16-8 CBBLE, 16-6 NUKE)

First: I usually don’t write anything in my notebook in lowercase unless I need to actually remember the case of what I’m writing down. Pretty ironic since the sub-title for the blog and prominent name for the podcast contains the word lowercase.

As for not recording game wins/losses and only recording map wins/losses in CSGO, the former is the only base statistic that matters without listing round wins/losses in series for group games. It’s the most basic representation of a team’s performance in a group stage without also stating the rosters’ cumulative kill-death-assist ration. In a perfect world, if you’re gathering KDA statistics, you might as well be gathering average economy statistics, too.

Knowing round scores against certain matchups, however, is a perfectly sane thing to remember. Especially when we’ve moved beyond the mundane

And let us not forget the real metric that matters, here, winnings. Yeah, I could be lazy and just write out $800K, but sometimes the currency of the award isn’t USD. Using symbols seems lame in a notebook that only I’m going to read. Might as well be pedantic if I’m going to do whatever in my magic book of personal records and notes and so on.

  • DOTA 2
    • 1ST: TNC, 800K USD
      • GROUP D WINNER (10PTS, 7-3 IN 361M46S)
      • 2-1 DILECOM (IN 114M43S)
      • 2-0 ALLIANCE (IN 75M50S)
      • 2-1 CLOUD9 (2ND: 400K USD) (IN 132M22S)
    • ALLIANCE (3RD: 200K USD) 2-1 INFAMOUS (4TH: 60K USD) (IN 126M52S)

Dota 2 is a grand ol’ game of strategy, tactics and fatigue. Typically, you could also say that League of Legends is the same thing, along with many other Dota-clones, however not all Dota-clones receive near-complete makeovers of their end-games as recently as Data 2 has. 7.00’s mid-to-late game changes revolving around its implementation of a skill tree is a huge change in game mechanics.

Match length might begin to tell us if the teams have adapted their strategies to the new mechanics in the patch and in turn optimize all heroes’ viability for all situations—which we’d see if games trended towards longer times.

OR… a trend for shorter match times could mean that matches are more often decided by the magic of a player hitting 25th level followed by a blatant, drastic steamrolling.

  • SC2
    • 1ST: TY (T), 200K USD
      • GROUPD D WINNER (8-4)
      • 3-0 STEPHANO (Z)
      • 3-0 NEEB (P)
      • 4-3 MARU (T) (2ND: 100K USD)
    • NEEB (P) (3RD: 50K USD) 3-1 SHOWTIME (P) (4TH: 20K USD)

When it comes to the top tiers of StarCraft 2 professional play, map selection, player race, and starting position might be more important statistics to track here, but I’m not a living, breathing statistics machine that is obsessed over identifying trends like this.

Maybe if SC2 was more of a major esport and not in the rut that it is.

  • RNGSTONE
    • 1ST: STAZ, 150K USD (25-16)
    • 2ND: ORANGE, 70K USD (28-15)
    • 3RD: BUNNYHOPPER, 40K USD (26-18)
    • 4TH: XIXO, 20K USD (21-18)

The only things that matter in RNGstone, since every player uses all classes of decks in a tournament setting, are game wins and… losses. Since the game is practically decided by a randomized, predetermined deck, there’s not really a reason to bother associating most of the statistics that one could reasonably derive from a game.

That statistic is average turns taken to win. With that statistic, you can identify those with the super-optimized decks and those with decks that might require longer to set up a victory condition.

Actually, yeah, sure. That statistic doesn’t help as much as I thought it might.

Take five mid-tier NA CSGO players combine with established EU org, add Heat, then blitz.

Sean Gares, ShahZam, Relyks, SicK and Twistzz are certainly positioned to take advantage of all of the opportunities that 2017 will offer mediocre teams. The five CSGO pros have gone from TSM’s latest hope to rise up out from the mediocrity to the Miami Heat’s new CSGO squad that will be using their recently-acquired Misfits name in about a month.

According to the Kotaku report regarding the matter, it seems like the Miami Heat organization is going to have more than just a League of Legends team and random FGC sponsorships to dump money into, but, on top of what they have, they’ll have a new team that’s going to have regular opportunities to play games and leagues in what is the most active esports scene out of the three major titles. Realistically, this rounds out the portfolio of teams for the organization to immediately wield going forward in the year, but also allows them to begin reestablishing the Misfits name as something other than a low-tier organization that barely keeps afloat.

Along with the transfer of the TSM-for-a-minute squad to the Misfits organization, TSM lost its right to play in the ESL Pro League due to the league’s majority-roster rule.

So not only does Misfits have to be getting a roster at some sort of premium, but they’re going to have brand awareness for their name in the best online league for the game straight out of the gate? How is this anything short of a massive victory for the account manager involved in this entire deal?

I mean, they’re seriously getting on the money dispensing train and committing to it.

Of course, CS:GO is not the only game in the Misfits’ portfolio. They’re active in five other games:

  • Their League of Legends squad, which just clinched a slot in the European LCS, wasted zero time in the off-season and added some reasonably strong free agents from EU and KR: PowerofEvil and KaKAO. They join Alphari, Hans and IgNar to round out the starting roster with Lamabear and Yuuki60 on the bench.

  • The Misfits’ Overwatch roster is based on an earlier acquisition of Graviton Surge made by the team before Heat ownership, from which Nevix and Zebbosai are the two remaining players from that transaction. During December, the organization made headlines for participating in a three-way player swap with Rogue and Luminosity. They round out the Misfits roster with a pile of Swedes: Manneten, Zave, TviQ and Reinforce.

  • Misfits even have a team playing the best Dota-clone that isn’t Dota 2! Their Heroes of the Storm team is still the old mYinsanity team the organization picked up this past summer. Captain Blumbi leads the team including StarCraft 2 veteran HasuObs along with Darkmok, Nurok and Splendour, the only non-German on the roster.

  • Misfits’ sole FGC sponsored played is a Smash Melee player called The Moon. The Moon’s Marth is certainly top-tier and has maintained a top-30 status in the SSBM Ranking Series for the past two years. He’s currently ranked 21st in the world. His best finish from last year was a $1250 purse from Shots Fired 2, where he finished runner up to Mew2King.

  • To round out the Misfits’ other holdings, the brand has recently signed a trio of RNGstone players from the EU scene: Georgec from the UK, and Pokrovac and StanCifka from the Czech Republic. Georegc and Pokrovac are both 2016 standouts, with multiple podium finishes in the European circuit of events, but StanCifka, on the other hand, has won multiple major tournaments in 2015 and has not regularly competed in 2016.

2017 is proving to be an intriguing start, as far as esports go.

Hooooo-lyyyyy shieeeeet.

I mean, just look at the esports news dated today(-ish):

Tonight I’ll be recording the first test run of the new Monday episode of the lowercase esports podcast for February, and I’ll try to offer a summary of the recent past and upcoming events of Dota 2 as well as this week’s episode of the Esports Morning podcast with keekerdc.

Valve vs. bad parents, round 4, pre-game

While we were all going a little nuts over the CSGO drama involving PEA management/owners against its players, it seems that the same lawyers who’ve been on a crusade against Valve for the past few months filed another complaint in US federal court.

TopClassActions.com’s summary of the latest complaint seems to focus on Valve’s supposed violations of state underage gambling law. The class in this suite are the parents of minors who were given money to spend on the Steam Marketplace on skins, but did not know that they were funding their child’s intent to gamble via skins purchases.

I’m looking at the complaint documents now, and it seems like the complaint is written to mislead the court to which it was filed with regards to Valve’s responsibility in these matters. Valve’s initial response to this particular complaint seems to be encased in its motion to compel arbitration, per the Steam Subscriber Agreement.

As we’re presently in the midst of the holiday season, I imagine the matter is in a holding pattern for now. I’m looking over the documents filed to this point thanks to internet cool person keekerdc, but I imagine there’ll be copies floating out there eventually, with more to come when the holding pattern breaks in January.

See, I just knew the week between Christmas and New Year’s was going to deliver on some spicy esports drama. More to come.