Can CTF save Quake Champions?

Can CTF save Quake Champions?

In anticipation of the release of the December patch for Quake Champions, the community doesn’t subside excitement about the long-awaited appearance of the CTF mode in the game.

Of course, it is nice that the good old “Capture the Flag” will receive another birth in a new quake, but how much will this change the sluggish state of affairs? Will it be added online? Will it affect competitive activity? Will it introduce new big names the world?

Most of these questions can be given very accurate answers, based on previous experience and the history of the developer — id Software.

First, I will say about the good — CTF is the most team based game mode out there. And therefore it is even a bit strange that it appeared after “Sacrifice” and “Slipgate”. It will definitely be easier to watch for the audience.

“Capturing the flags” is devoid of the shortcomings of “Sacrifice” and “Slipgate”, if only because of the presence of two points of attraction in playful attention and constant respawns. The CTF will surely delight the small, but old guard of the band members, those who played the older variations of Quake.

And so much for the upsides. CTF is not a source of attraction for new players, because of the need for the same well-coordinated team game. And you can’t compare it to the likes of CS: GO, because there, even if you stay 1 against 5, you still have a chance, albeit a slim one, for victory. In Quake CTF, however, even in 2 against 4 your chances are non-existant.

A modern set of maps does not favor beginners either, if you don’t know all the forks and corridors you’ll have a hard time. Why not even make a new map, that’s simple and open with wide corridors? In the spirit of Spider Crossings from Quake 3 / Quake Live, for example.

At the pro-level, the competition will go down to 3-4 teams (a la Sacrifice), since super-strong players will want to play with the same as they. Large prizes will not help either (remember QuakeCon 2017?). But in the end, everything will be reduced to four-team events, like it was at DreamHack Denver 2017.

In the current state of Quake Champions it can be difficult to send just one player to the US from Europe. Having to send four seems to be an almost impossible task, especially if you consider that most players still pay their own travel expenses.

In the end, I believe that the 3-4 major tournament organizers will hold the “Capture the flag” events. The probability for Americans to dominate there is massive. Prize funds will definitely be scattered to the Top 16, otherwise, events won’t be able to attract more than four teams.

The general public at first, of course, actively runs around with a curved flag (as in Quake 2, by the way), waiting for the CTF to come out. But then calm down, once the game mode is actually released.

But the big question remains, which of the current game modes will have to go, to make space for CTF? Because there’s no way for this experiment to ever succeed if they’re going to split an already meager player base even more.

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cypher: “There is no curse, only my own weakness”

cypher: “There is no curse, only my own weakness”

Quake legend Alexei “cypher” Yanushevsky has been struggling to find his style in the new Quake Champions but according to him, curses have nothing to do with it. Only his own weaknesses.

Even though the Belorussian managed to secure a Top 4 finish in last year’s DreamHack Winter 2017 Duel tournament, it remains the only high placement for the player since 2014 when he became the QuakeCon Champion. 

In Quake Champions the 28 year old player saw mediocre results in both solo and team competitions. For the longest time to he struggled to compete with other players. His experience in the previous versions of Quake and deep rooted habits have been hurting his progress.

Though the journey is long and hard, Alexei “cypher” Yanushevsky has no plans on giving up just yet and is about ready to return to wining ways in Quake Champions. 

Vie: Does Fortnite somehow affect your DreamHack preparation? Cooller says a warm-up in Overwatch helps him before Quake Champions.

cypher: Even before Romania, I stopped actively playing and developing in Fortnite. I gave myself the ultimatum that I will try to do my best in Quake, having played three LAN tournaments before the new year (which is rare today). And so that I did not have unnecessary excuses — I gave up Fortnite completely. I will come back to it after Sweden, maybe.

Vie: How did it happen that at the last moment your duet with Nitrino broke up?

cypherLet’s just say, there was a misunderstanding, and even twice. The first was with Avec, the second with Nitrino. We decided everything with Avek, and I occasionally told Nitrino that I might come back, and I cannot say 100% that we will play with him. Some time passed, and when I found out with whom I was going to go to DreamHack, Nitrino immediately reported this. Of course, I was uncomfortable in front of him, because he lost at least a week and a half, plus Nitrino really began to play well, and we could have shown a good result with him.

Vie: What is the reason for the “Raisy curse”? How will you fight this problem?

cypherThere is no curse, only my own weakness and insufficient speed of thinking at the moment. I still have many habits from the classic quake (note ed. – Quke 3 / Quake Live) and it’s hard to get rid of them. I can say that I work hard on this and do not give up, even if very few people believe in me now.

Vie: DaHang said that in Europe there are about five teams capable of landing high places. Do you think you are in this top five?

cypherIn principle, everything remained as it was. I think that Myztro EU ( Raisy, Silencep ) has become stronger, and we can expect high results from them, the team Cooller and toxjq has also appeared, who claim to be the top 3. Regarding other teams, anyone can fight more or less. Xron + Clawz is the main puzzle of the tournament for me. About us, I do not want to give any predictions. We train, we try and we want to get to the top, let’s see how it will be.

Vie: How do you feel about Evil coming back? Will he be able to get in shape and become the best again?

cypherI am very glad that he returned, honestly. I think that if there is motivation from Bethesda, and regular tournaments with good prizes are held, he will return in earnest. I myself do not communicate with him at all, but I have such a feeling about him.

Vie: Do you think that the European teams are hopelessly behind Liquid? Can you somehow overcome this chasm?

cypherNo I do not think so. I am sure that there are several teams that can beat them in this tournament. Myztro EU / CIS and Anton + Johan (AMD).

Vie: Now everyone in pracc games is actively playing unconventional champions (Scalebearer, Athena, Eisen). Does this mean we will see them at official tournaments? And if not, what is the point of such training?

cypherI think we will see a lot of different games there, wait and see. (smiles)

Vie: Cooller didn’t win any big international duel events for quake since 2011 (IEM Europe), you since 2014 (QuakeCon). You think you can brake this series anytime soon?

cypherDo not put salt on the wound, plz (laughing)

Vie: What is the secret behind the stability of Rapha (in all Quakes)?

cypherIn his discipline and brains.

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Vie: What is the reason for the “Raisy curse”? How will you fight this problem?

cypherThere is no curse, only my own weakness and insufficient speed of thinking at the moment. I still have many habits from the classic quake (note ed. – Quke 3 / Quake Live) and it’s hard to get rid of them. I can say that I work hard on this and do not give up, even if very few people believe in me now.

Vie: DaHang said that in Europe there are about five teams capable of landing high places. Do you think you are in this top five?

cypherIn principle, everything remained as it was. I think that Myztro EU ( Raisy, Silencep ) has become stronger, and we can expect high results from them, the team Cooller and toxjq has also appeared, who claim to be the top 3. Regarding other teams, anyone can fight more or less. Xron + Clawz is the main puzzle of the tournament for me. About us, I do not want to give any predictions. We train, we try and we want to get to the top, let’s see how it will be.

Vie: How do you feel about Evil coming back? Will he be able to get in shape and become the best again?

cypherI am very glad that he returned, honestly. I think that if there is motivation from Bethesda, and regular tournaments with good prizes are held, he will return in earnest. I myself do not communicate with him at all, but I have such a feeling about him.

Vie: Do you think that the European teams are hopelessly behind Liquid? Can you somehow overcome this chasm?

cypherNo I do not think so. I am sure that there are several teams that can beat them in this tournament. Myztro EU / CIS and Anton + Johan (AMD).

Vie: Now everyone in pracc games is actively playing unconventional champions (Scalebearer, Athena, Eisen). Does this mean we will see them at official tournaments? And if not, what is the point of such training?

cypherI think we will see a lot of different games there, wait and see. (smiles)

Vie: Cooller didn’t win any big international duel events for quake since 2011 (IEM Europe), you since 2014 (QuakeCon). You think you can brake this series anytime soon?

cypherDo not put salt on the wound, plz (laughing)

Vie: What is the secret behind the stability of Rapha (in all Quakes)?

cypherIn his discipline and brains.

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Buying victory: The cost of Artifact’s winning decks

Buying victory: The cost of Artifact’s winning decks

Valve’s collectible card game Artifact was released on November 28 and immediately sparked heated discussions among players. A few hours after the release, the Metacritic game scores dropped to 2 points and have not changed since.

Users criticized the economy system behind Artifact and already jokingly named the game the first of its genre — pay-2-pay. But despite the cold reception in the beginning of December Artifact hosted the first tournament. We take a look just how much its top players spent on their cards.

We reviewed the decks of the four semifinalists of WePlay! Artifact Mighty Triad: Strength tournament.

The most economical of the participants in the semifinal was the Dane Frederick “Hoej” Nielsen. At the beginning of the tournament, he knocked out Virtus.pro player Olzhas “Naiman” Batyrbekov from the competition and then overcame Sean “MieGod” Yana in the semifinals. In the final match he lost the championship to the American George “Hyped” Maganzini.

For the tournament, Nielsen chose the most popular bunch of red heroes: Axe and the Legion Commander, and added Phantom Assassin to them, Sorlu Khan and the Mechanics from the black category. He became the only semifinalist who practically refused to get late-game cards: the most expensive in his arsenal were the Berserker Cry and the Blow of Mercy — their use costs 6 units of mana. The rest of the players in the decks had spells for 7, 8, and 9 units of mana.

The cost of the deck is $44 dollars.

The most valuable cards in the deck were Axe at $18 and Mechanic at $5 dollars USD.

Stanislav “StanCifka” Cifka, now acting under the nickname LuckBox, has assembled a slightly more expensive deck. Like Hoej, he chose a black and red composition of cards, but failed to reach the final. At the stage of the semifinal, he was beaten by a future champion — Hyped.

LuckBox used the same combination of Axe and the Legion Commander, but added another red card hero to the deck. From the black category, he took the Phantom Assassin and the Headhunter, who in most matches brings a lot of gold. LuckBox did not take a lot of items in the deck, preferring the three “Jump Daggers”. He also completely refused the upgrades, preferring to use spells and creeps.

The cost of the LuckBox deck was $51 dollars, and the most valuable cards were Axe at $18 and “The time of accomplishments” (x2) at $8 each.

Hyped chose other colors for his deck and played with blue-green cards. He eliminated DrHippy from Virtus.pro, and then consistently dealt with Lifecoach, LuckBox and Hoej on his way to becoming the champion.

The Hyped deck turned out to be the most balanced — it contained both basic and late-game cards, among which were not only creeps with spells but also improvements in lanes.

Of the heroes, he chose Kann, Zeus, and the Ogre-Mage in the blue category, and the Drow Guard and Enta Protector from the green set.

You can build a similar deck for staggering $72. The most valuable cards in the deck were Guard drow – $ 13; Canna – $ 9; and “Extermination” – $ 7.3.

The most expensive deck belongs to the Chinese player MieGod. He played a red-green deck, with which he managed to reach the semi-finals. Like most of the participants in the tournament, MieGod preferred the duo of Axe and the Legion Commander, and also added the Sea Tyrant to the set. From the green category in his deck were Drow-guard and Ent-protector.

The Chinese player actively used the improvement lanes — eight of his 40 cards in the deck are of this type. He also took two copies of Klaszurum’s Hourglass, which give the wearer health points and also prevent the opponent from playing cards.

The MieGod deck costs about $89. The most valuable cards used by the Chinese player were Axe – $ 18, Guard drow – $ 13 and “The time of accomplishments” (x3) – $ 8 each.

Despite the fact that players criticize Artifact for the pay-2-win system, it wasn’t the owner of the most expensive deck that became the champion of the first tournament. MieGod, who spent almost $100 on the cards could not beat Hoej, although the Danes deck was half the price.

Of course, for ordinary players it hardly matters — the majority cannot yet compete for prizes. However, the developers have already noted that they will soon add to the game a certain system of progress, as well as the opportunity to organize competitions with awards.

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SonicFox: “I’m gay, black, a furry and the best esports player of the year!”

SonicFox: “I’m gay, black, a furry and the best esports player of the year!”

On the night of December 6th, Los Angeles hosted the fifth annual award ceremony of The Game Awards 2018. Among dozens of nominations, a separate category was dedicated to esports.

Winners were determined by secret voting of the jury (90% of the assessment) and voting of the viewers (10%) in social networks, Discord and on the website. This time around, fans could even vote via their Alexa device. The esports jury was made up of representatives from 17 leading publications covering video game competitions. Among them are ESPN, DotEsports, GosuGamers and even Forbes.

Best esports team – Cloud9 (LoL)

They did not win the World Cup, as OG did in Dota 2. They did not earn many titles, like Astralis in CS: GO. They did not even make it to the final of the 2018 World Championship, unlike Fnatic. But they were still called the best esports team of the year. In addition, their mentor received a statuette in the nomination “Best Coach of the Year.”

For the American League of Legends scene, their story is just a fairy tale. In the fifth week of the summer split, the team ranked 10th in the LCS. After several substitutions, they managed to break through to the second line of the standings and reach the playoffs. After losing the regular season finale, Cloud9 defeated TSM in the regional qualification finals and reached the world championship.

In South Korea, they landed among teams, which they called the “group of death.” The audience waited for failure, and the Americans were able to break through to the second round, where in a tough match against Gambit they won with a score of 3: 2. They made history later, when they got into the semifinals of the World Cup. Prior to this, the American team submitted a similar result only once – in 2011.

However, maybe what earned the favor of the jury and the fans wasn’t the the story of Cloud9, but cosplay from Sneaky instead?

Best esports tournament – LoL World Championship 2018

It seems that League of Legends takes awards in this category almost every year. The biggest stadiums, the most ambitious show and the biggest numbers of views.

According to Newzoo, in 2018, viewers watched 81.1 million hours of content from the World Championship on Twitch and Youtube. And the peak number of spectators of the tournament was almost 2 million people, and that’s excluding Chinese platforms. LoL even managed to step over the 1.1 million viewers on Twitch at the same time.

This year, the League of Legends World Championship was hosted by South Korea. The tournament started from the Play-In stage in Seoul, then moved to the group stage in Busan (the quarter-finals were organized there), the semi-finals were held in Gwangju, and the grand final was held in Incheon at Munhak stadium.

The audience occupied half of the arena with a capacity of almost 50 thousand people and watched the show with The Glitch Mob, Mako, The Word Alive and Bobby from iKON and the virtual group K / DA. By the way, the latest clip has already exceeded 100 million views on YouTube.

Best esports moment of the year – underdogs Cloud9 defeat FaZe Clan at ELEAGUE Major 2018 Final

A little more glory to American esports. This is not an incredible breakthrough of OG for The International and is not the exchange of Nexus in the KT vs. IG match. Cloud9 managed to snatch a victory in the Major of CS: GO in the second overtime of the third final map.

And this is after losing the first Mirage card, which was their pick.

On Inferno, the first half ended with a score of 8:7 in favor of FaZe. Then rivals managed to bring the game to 15:11, but Cloud9 at the last moment equalized the score. Then the Americans held out the first overtime and only on the second try were able to snatch the final victory.

Best esports game of the year – Overwatch

Well, time to listen to another bite of grumble on the insolvency and unpopularity of the Overwatch League. However, the jury and organizations that invest millions in the purchase of slots, franchise league obviously liked.

Yes, the viewing figures were hardly impressive for those who are already accustomed to the millions on Dota 2, LoL and CS:GO broadcasts. At its peak, OWL gathered at the monitors a little less than 350 thousand spectators excluding the Chinese audience. According to Newzoo, YouTube and Twitch viewers watched a little over 5 million hours of content, which is incomparable with other disciplines.

But the genuine interest of large investors and a significant expansion of the league in the new season suggest that the Blizzard project was a success at least at this stage.

Best esports player of the year – Dominic “SonicFox” Macklin

This guy in a recognizable blue cap and with a tail behind him managed to circumvent Alexander “s1mple” Kostylev and Jian “Uzi” Ziao. He is not so famous outside the fighting game scene, but it is impossible not to admire his achievements there.

Dominic is one of the most versatile players capable of achieving success in almost any game. At EVO, he won in Injustice in 2014, in Mortal Kombat X in 2015 and 2016, and in 2018 became the champion in Dragon Ball FighterZ. And while he managed to participate in competitions and other games of the same genre.

This year, Macklin won the Injustice 2 Pro Series, won first place at the Canada Cup in two disciplines, and at SoCal Regionals 2018 entered the top 3 in three games at once. His main victory this season was the fourth EVO league title, after receiving which he promised to give $10,000 out of his prize to another player, Curtis “Rewind” McCall, whose father has cancer.

But at The Games Awards, Dominic will be remembered not only as the best esports athlete but also as the author of the most impressive speech. Of course, he came out on the stage in his Sonic mask and with a blue tail, sincerely surprised at his victory, thanked all those involved and then openly declared:

“For those who might not know. I’m supergay. I want to say hello to all my LGBTQ friends. I’m gay, black, furry – in fact, everything Republicans hate so much – and the best esports player of the year!”

At the same time, the guy’s sincerity touched the community enough that the ESPN journalist called this speech the best moment of the year in the gaming community.

It should be understood that esports is rather a pleasant addition to the main award of The Games Awards. Some nominations were announced just one after another, and some of the viewers decided that they needed esports only to attract new viewers.

So do not be discouraged if your favorite team or player did not get a statuette. Champion titles in their game are certainly much more important for them.

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Best Artifact decks: Blue-Green

Best Artifact decks: Blue-Green

With Valve’s card game now fully released, it’s time to find out what is the best deck in Artifact. Taking a closer look at the best Blue Green cards in the game.

From November 29 to December 4, there was a real holiday for fans of Artifact — the WePlay tournament! Artifact Mighty Triad: Strength. The viewers turned up for a great opportunity to learn strategies and the right game of Artifact from such masters of the TCG genre as Lifecoach, SuperJJ, Xixo, Hoej, Hyped, Naiman and others.

The most popular deck in the tournament was the Red-Black deck. Nevertheless, experienced card players explored better meta and picked up decks that go beyond our usual assemblies. The Blue-Green deck was one of them, with a staggering 80% win rate in the group stage.

The deck is built around Kanna, Zeus, Ogre Magi, Treant Protector, and Drow Ranger.

It is noteworthy that all the players who took this deck (fr0zen, HotMEOWTH, Lumi, Hyped and StrifeCro) overcame the group stage — and they are all from the USA.

The basis of the blue-green deck are two blue heroes (Kanna and Ogre Magi) and two green heroes (Treant Protector and Drow Ranger). The third blue hero is traditionally Zeus. Only Team Liquid player Hyped added Luna to his deck. We will analyze the deck we like to call the StrifeCro version.

Heroes . Kanna is a classic agro hero. Firstly, one of the creeps will always go to the line with it, and secondly, it has a Prey on the Weak signature card calling a creature of 2/1 for each shot unit, and the opponent’s units are also taken into account.

Although Ogre Magi doesn’t have very strong stats 3/7, his Multicast ability allows you to put a copy of the blue spell in your hand with a 25% chance. This is perfectly combined with the addition of two cards in the form of Foresight, especially when the Incarnation of Selemene is on the table, allowing you to play spells endlessly.

Hero Zeus is added primarily because of his 7 mana Thundergod’s Wrath signature card. The spell is similar to the Flamestrike Mage in Hearthstone, it also deals 4 damage to each hero on all lines. With this card, it is easy to seize the initiative not only on your lane but also on the whole playing field. But this is not what makes this the best deck in Artifact.

Treant Protector has strong stats 4/10, and he gives 2 armor to nearby creatures. Trent also has a good signature Roseleaf Druid, which gives an extra mana per line. To be the first to play a powerful card in this deck is very important.

Drow Ranger is among the strongest green heroes in the game. Her stats are 4/7, she gives all other units +1 to attack, and the worst thing is Gust’s signature for 4 mana, which imposes silence on all heroes. This means that the opponent can not play cards at all. Very imposing indeed.

Cards.  There is a lot of finishing in this deck.

  • Improved Uneathed Secrets: you can get a card if your tower has taken damage;
  • the addition of two cards for 4 mana Foresight;
  • Diabolic Revelation, which deals 2 damage to its creatures, but you draw two cards;
  • Arcane Assault, which allows you to inflict 2 points of damage to the enemy tower and take a card;
  • Compel, which allows you to redirect the attack and take the card and Cunning Plan, which swaps the allies and fires the map.

This deck plays well with mana. Stars Align for 1 mana gives 3 mana this turn, improving Aghanim’s Sanctum allows you to restore all mana on the line. But the strongest card – Incarnation of Selemene – completely restores mana after playing any card. It is with her that the Emissary of the Quorum looks so strong. Because of the possibility of an almost infinite buff, this deck often breaks the Tron, seizing the initiative on the same lane.

A lot of sweeps are played in the deck. In addition to the Zeus signature, there is Annihilation, to completely pick up the table, and At Any Cost, which deals 6 points of damage to all units.

From the items added Traveler’s Cloack (+4 health), Leather Armor (+1 armor) and Blink Dagger, which you can use to swap characters between lanes.

Overall. The Blue-Green is currently one of the best decks in Artifact.  This variation by Cong “StrifeCro” Shu wields some of the best cards in Artifact, and the 80% winrate in the first big, official tournament speaks volumes.

For anyone looking to get into Valve’s new card game, this is a great starter deck, offering amazing firepower and win potential for a very affordable deck.

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