In the classic movie Back to the Future, the main character travels back in time, to the time when he wasn’t even born, gets to see a world he didn’t know existed and has to find a way back to his own time. The theme of traveling back in time is an apt way to describe the general sentiment behind the biggest (in terms of prize pool) esports event that took place last week.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
For a multitude of reasons, the WESG 2017 Grand Finals took center stage in last week, not all of them good. While the prize pool of the tournament was awe-inspiring at $1,500,000, the rest of it was a bit more lackluster.
Even though the number of teams appearing at the event was, frankly, huge, they were not teams that could honestly be called good with lone exceptions of SK Gaming, Cloud9, Fnatic, Space Soldiers and some national teams fielding well-known players.
The tournament was also plagued by technical difficulties influencing matches and scheduling problems that made it very hard to watch the event for anyone who wasn’t in Asia, which was an understandable decision because this event was positioned to appeal to the Chinese audience.
Due to the sheer number of teams competing, we also had to go through huge trouble finding a stream for a match we wanted to see. Even if we could find one, the chances of it being broadcast in a language we would understand were slim. While this can easily be explained away, the fact remains that some fans expressed dissatisfaction with the situation which resembled the long-forgotten grassroots of the esports scene.
With all of that said, Fnatic and Space Soldiers surprised everyone by reaching the Grand Finals of the tournament over teams like SK Gaming (which was knocked out early into the tournament) and Cloud9. In the Finals, Fnatic won the match 2-1 and took home the $800,000 first prize. That is a LOT of money, ladies and gents!
League of Legends
In League of Legends, the last matches of the 2018 LCS Spring Split were played and the teams that made the Playoffs are now known.
After the regular matches were over, there was a situation where 5 Tiebreaker matches had to be played to settle standings conflicts. First up, 100 Thieves defeated Echo Fox. Then, Team Liquid won against Cloud9.
Team SoloMid finally showed up, playing like we we expected them to before the split began, defeating Golden Guardians and Counter Logic Gaming in the scheduled Week 9 matches and then going on to win against Clutch Gaming and Team Liquid in the Tiebreaker matches, followed by a match between C9 and Clutch, which ended in Cloud9’s victory.
When the dust settled, these were the teams headed to the Playoffs: 100 Thieves, Echo Fox, Team SoloMid, Team Liquid, Cloud9, and Clutch Gaming. Unfortunately for them, CLG, FlyQuest, OpTic Gaming and Golden Guardians were found wanting and failed to make the Playoffs.
With the results of the Tiebreakers taken into account, Team SoloMid will face Clutch Gaming in the 1st Quarterfinals of the Spring Split Playoffs, while Team Liquid is left playing against Cloud9. The winners of these two matches will move on to face 100 Thieves and Echo Fox respectively in the Semifinals.
Surprisingly, there was a single Tiebreaker played in Europe. For the whole Split, teams were bunched up together very closely but only a single tie for 2nd place between G2 Esports and Splyce needed to be broken. That match was won by G2 Esports.
The complete standings look like this: Fnatic is in 1st place, followed by G2 Esports, Splyce, Team Vitality, H2k-Gaming and Team ROCCAT. Misfits, Schalke 04, Giants Gaming and Unicorns of Love failed to make it to the Playoffs.
There are a couple of surprising things. First, H2k managed to get to the Playoffs despite having a very hard start to the season where they were stuck at the bottom together with the Unicorns. With their past excellence, G2 Esports’ return to the top (or close to it) of the EU LCS isn’t that surprising but we have to admit that we doubted their chances for a second or two early in the split, when the team looked to be struggling.
In the Playoffs, Splyce will face ROCCAT, while Vitality plays against H2k. The winners will move on to face G2 Esports and Fnatic in the Semifinals. It will be interesting to see if the young upstarts can stand up to the two most dominating League of Legends teams in the region. If you asked us, G2 Esports vs. Fnatic would be the most hyped Spring Split Playoffs Finals matchup. It doesn’t get much better than that in Europe.
In South Korea, the Week 8 matches were played and there’s one more week left to go before we know for certain which teams are going to play in the Playoffs of the strongest League of Legends league in the world.
So far, Kingzone DragonX is safe at the top with a 14-2 score, followed by Afreeca Freecs, KT Rolster, KSV eSports and ROX Tigers.
If the cutoff happened right now, SK Telecom T1 wouldn’t play in the Playoffs, a rare occurrence indeed. The format of the South Korean Playoffs is different from what’s favored in the west. In Korea, the bottom two teams play each other and the winner advances to the next round, where the next highest team is waiting to face them. The winner of that match moves on to face the 2nd seed and the winner of that match will move on to face Kingzone DragonX for the title of 2018 LCK Spring Split Champion.
Before that can happen, however, we still have a week of matches to enjoy. Action starts tomorrow with MVP vs. KT Rolster at 01:00 PDT, 09:00 CET, 17:00 KST.
This week, the last matches of the Stage 2 of the Overwatch League Inaugural Season will be played.
After last week, we have New York Excelsior at the top, followed by three times with 6-2 scores, London Spitfire, Los Angeles Gladiators and Seoul Dynasty. Philadelphia Fusion is fifth with 5-3 and LA Valiant is next with 4-4, though their score is also shared with Boston Uprising. San Francisco Shock, Houston Outlaws, Florida Mayhem and Dallas Fuel are on the list after that. The bottom of the pack is headed by the 0-8 Shanghai Dragons. The team hasn’t won a single match since the tournament began.
In Dota 2, WESG also held a LAN tournament with a $1,500,000 prize pool, just like in CS:GO. The tournament was set up in a similar way to its CS:GO counterpart, with a bunch of National teams, a lot of barely known squads and several stronger contenders fighting for an astronomical prize.
The main prize of $800,000 was won by Team Russia, which defeated paiN Gaming in the Finals. The squad fielded four players from the team which is the most successful in the Major scene right now, Virtus.pro, so there’s no wonder that they won the whole tournament.
That's all, folks!