Slow and steady: the fourth week of LEC

Slow and steady: the fourth week of LEC

The continued failures of Fnatic, disappointing Misfits, unstoppable G2 esports and predictable Rogue — it’s the fourth week of LEC in review.

Stats of the week

One of the main questions of this season is what will happen sooner: the loss of G2 or the victory of Rogue? The probabilities of both events are extremely small, but the first seems almost impossible. If you look at the statistics of all the LEC players, then we will see that on every role, the G2 representative are the best at the moment per minute. And Mikyx, for example, on average does as much damage as Fnatic’s Broxah.

The “damage per minute” stat leaderboard looked as follows:

1. Perkz ADC 750

2. UpseT ADC 571

3. Caps MID 570

4. Kobbe ADC 570

5. Wunder TOP 557

The statistics of Perkz, the leader in this indicator among all players of the championship, looks awful for opponents. He inflicts on his opponent 750 damage every minute, while his main pursuer Upset is only 517. And these are the numbers of the person who plays the first season in a new position and still does not fully understand how to correctly stand the line. While G2 does not have any problems in the early stage of the game, their shooter can play aggressively in any position — in Europe there is no one to punish him and take the whole game, and not just the line.

Progress of the week

Three teams managed to win both of their games this week. Nobody doubted G2, but Splyce and Origen were surprises. The first after the failure of the two meetings were able to return life to their players, especially in Kobbe, and won two games in a row, once again adhering to their favorite tactics:

1. Win in the early game
2. Do nothing
3. Wait for late game for Kobbe to collect all 6 items.
4. ???
5. PROFIT

The plan does not look perfect, but the winners are not judged. As long as Kobbe is fine, it will work.

Origen, on the other hand, was able to breathe life into Mithy, after which he demonstrated the level of one of the best EU support players for two whole games. If the victory over Rogue shows only that you are stronger than the random set of players from solo, then winning against Schalke is already a sign that the xPeke and Deficio teams are on the right track.

The entire Origen lineup began to play better: Alphari remembered that he could press the buttons at a level above the average, Kold partially rehabilitated and looked like a jungler who does not want to fly out of the league after this split, Patrik found his comfortable picks, and there were no special complaints to Nukeduck — his level is undeniable.

All in all, all these improvements became possible due to the efforts of the coaches and the shotcalling from Mithy, which gave Origen an early advantage due to timely roams. This team has a hidden potential, and only now they began to use it for the number of percent close to a hundred.

Fnatic’s mistakes

Fnatic’s suffering continues, despite their former results. No one has lost as quickly as the boys in orange lost to G2 in one of the main matches of the week. The problems are obvious both for the coach Youngbuck, and for all the team members — Fnatic are terrible in the early stages of the game, and in this environment, the victory in the early game is almost equal to the victory in the game. Instead of picking early game champions, we often see 3 losing lanes in their draft, which are aimed at the late game instead, which leads to the majority of defeats.

Youngbuck himself says that he is weak in learning the early game, and will develop in this component with the team. But Fnatic is not the best place for such experiments, because after the World Cup final, the expectations for the team are extremely high (or at least were).

Winter management mistakes hit the team critically. Whether it was worth letting head coach Dylan Falco go, and getting Youngbuck instead, is a big question that will be answered by the table after the four weeks of LEC. Dylan with a less talented roster in Schalke 04 is in second place, and Fnatic — in second from the end.

Rekkles on the stream voiced the opinion that Caps saw the Fnatic problems hidden from the fans and the lack of opportunities to solve them, so he went to G2 to win. Now it is already obvious that for him this turned out to be unconditionally the best decision that could be made.

Best team of the week — G2

Continue to speed through the LEC. Riot should allow more than 5 champions against G2 to be banned so that at least someone in Europe can beat them. Not only that individually each their player enters the tops of the best in their positions, it is still impossible to predict what they will play in each new match.

So far, the G2 level leaves only two intrigues: will they be able to arrange the perfect split with a score of 18-0, and how they will look on the international stage? If Perkz again doesn’t eat Korean snacks and approaches the game on the line more consciously, then the EU dream team will be able to resist the Chinese teams and robots from Griffin.

Worst Team of the Week — Misfits

Marked with the “Super team” stamp, the Misfits crumbled too quickly. Their in-game communication suffers, which significantly slows their development. Gorilla and Hans Sama no longer look so impressive as at the beginning of the season. After a great start, the Korean support seemed to lose all of his motivation, losing the whole game on his own mistakes. And it’s not necessary to talk about their synergy with Maxlore — why discuss what is not there.

Teammfight in the middle of the game with Splyce is indicative, when Maxlore, Soaz and Gorilla could not synchronize their actions, separately initiated the battle and gave all the advantage away. With this teamwork, the Misfits are infinitely far from the struggle for the Top 2 in the Spring Split.

Best Player of the Week — Caps

The main talent of Europe continues to destroy as once again the opponents forget to ban his Akali. All Jizuke had to do was helplessly raise his hands up. Against Duo Caps and Jankos, no one has yet emerged victorious, their interaction is now immaculate. Wunder said that after they picked Akali, whom he hadn’t played for a long time, because he knew that Caps would keep them closed. Confidence rolls over, but when you have collected such talents, you can not call it unjustified.

The game against Fnatic was quite simple. Jankos helped a little in the early game, and after Caps on Zoe, he was unstoppable, hit all the skill shots, did impressive damage, killed Nemesis solo, forcing Fnatic to be sad once again. A great week for the Danish G2 midlaner.

Worst player of the week — Gorilla

Gorilla’s frustration can be compared to Piglet’s initial disappointment with Team Liquid. Legendary Korean players often face difficulties outside their home region and without compatriots in the team, but Gorilla already has so much experience from various tournaments that the least problems were expected of him. This week he is directly responsible for the defeats of the Misfits.

Picking Tam Kench simply buried Hans Sama against the Blitzkrank — instead of saving him from the hook, Gorilla, on the contrary, was dragging his shooter straight into the enemy team. At first glance, this is a random error, but in the second game, the Korean support also gave up the early game on the bottom lane, just by not pressing the flash in a simple situation. This is no longer an accident, but a pattern. Gorilla and Hans Sama, like the rest of the Misfits, are sorely lacking in synergy.

Games not to miss this week:

G2 [1.48] – Misfits [3.05] (Feb 15, 22:00 CET)

Schalke 04 [1.99] – Team Vitality [2.01] (Feb 16, 19:00 CET)

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Old rivalries and incredible backdoors: the third week of LEC

Old rivalries and incredible backdoors: the third week of LEC

Partial rehabilitation of Fnatic, soaz against Bwipo, the backdoor from Vitality and pentakill for Rekkles — we analyze what happened during the third week of the European League.

This week brought not only exciting and interesting moments but also patch 9.2. To find out what did that bring to the game exactly, read on.

Day 1

SK / G2: It’s not easy to play, knowing that your opponent is still the invincible G2 Esports, sweeping their enemies off the Summoner’s Rift. But SK Gaming did not succumb to the excitement and showed that they are not afraid to play against such a team. Pirean earned first blood on his Le Blanc, fighting against Jankos and Caps.

An aggressive and bloody early game from both teams, where each side responded with a kill to a kill. But only one mistake by SK in a fight at 22 minutes decided the outcome of the match. Despite the impressive performance of Werlyb on Kennen, the lack of visibility and focus of Sejuani gave G2 enough advantage to trample SK and pick up Nashor. And from there on they could see the end. 8/18 in favor of G2 in 25 minutes.
#G2WIN

SPY / S04: From the very beginning, the game went in favor of Splyce. When they took their first blood on the top, and then Norskeren on Braum caught the dragon using the Unsealed Spellbook rune. However, Humanoid could not compare with Abbedagge nor by damage dealt, nor by pressure on enemies.

But on the 15th minute of FC Schalke 04 Esports began to gradually come forward, increasing the advantage due to the passivity of rivals. As a result, in the large midfield on the midpoint of the 26th minute, S04 were able to get an ACE and immediately advance to the Baron, which brought them 2 inhibitors later. Splyce managed to defend their base for the first time, but here the second push of Schalke 04 — powered by the Nashor buff — was the last straw. A well-deserved victory for S04 in 35 minutes with a score of 7/16 in their favor.
#S04WIN

FNC / RGE: After a series of defeats in the first weeks of the split, Fnatic unanimously claimed that they could return to the pedestal again and this time they reinforced the words with a deed. Despite a shaky start, the FNCs showed how good they are in team fights. And if at first it was all “on the verge”, then with each fight Fnatic held on more and more confidently.

Due to the excellent positioning of FNC, Rogue could not get through to their main carry, Rekkles and in the final team-fight the Swedish rifleman received a well-deserved pentakill. 15/8 in favor of Fnatic and the first victory in this split.
#FNCWIN

XL / MSF: This time, exceL Esports was playing more actively than in previous weeks, and it bore fruit: after a leisurely 25 minutes, the game was in the hands of XL. On the 28th minute, Misfits Gaming decided to go to the baron, having lost the fight right before this, but Expect had to remake the enemy jungler with the help of the Unsealed Spellbook. After such a chance, MSF did not have any chance of winning, and even attempts to defend base 4 against 3 did not help them. Score 12/3 in favor of exceL.
# XLWIN

VIT / OG: With the slow but sure steps Team Vitality stepped up the advantage of the whole early game, despite the resistance of Origen. By midtime, it became clearly visible — each time OG lagged behind more and more. In a fight near Nashor on 30 minutes, they tried to stop VIT, but a wonderful ult from Mowgli’s Lee Sin immediately on three players Origen decided the retreat from this fight. One successful teamfight at the 39th minute mark could turn into a comeback point for OG, if they hadn’t been caught in the deadly Vitality ambush. 16/8 for 43 minutes in favor of VIT.
# VITWIN

Day 2

G2 / SPY: Splyce’s extremely aggressive early game, but G2 only needed a little more time for Wunder and PerkZ to collect key items. However, even with powerful carry G2 had to sweat to get another victory. On the 35th minute, SPY took Nashor and even decided on a dangerous fight in the forest, but something went wrong according to plan: Kobbe flew over the wall because of PerkZ, which hit the blast cone, right into the hands of G2. Deprived of their carry, Splyce lost their chance for a victory. Tense 40 minutes and a score of 28/14 in favor of G2.
#G2WIN

XL / S04: For most of the match, it was a game of junglers. Memento from the early levels began to invade the enemy forest, while Caedrel focused on the ganks. But closer to the midgame Schalke 04 gradually began to come forward, because by this time Upset farmed up on Kai’Sa enough items. Unfortunately, the XL could not resist the two sieges of S04 with Nashor’s buffs. The game ended in 30 minutes with a modest score of 6/9.
#S04WIN

SK / OG: From the very beginning of the game, the advantage was for SK: Pirean held onto Atrox perfectly, and Selfmade on Sejuani simply outplayed Kold in all directions. But this turned into excessive confidence, so already on the 16th minute, SK Daivili, under the T2 turret and this did not turn out very well. They took the tower, but the Patrik on Calista earned a free triple kill.

After that, Origen began to play more aggressively and confidently, which was facilitated by a successful fight for Nashor in the 25th minute, where Werlyb made a fatal mistake — he accidentally walked Zhonya’s Hourglass to teamfight, playing on Vladimir. 37 minutes and the victory is already in the OG’s piggy bank with a beautiful 11/22 score in their favor.
#OGWIN

RGE / VIT: Perhaps the most incredible game of this split so far. Rogue all match crushed opponents, not giving them a chance for a comeback. Kikis played in his own style — very aggressively, and Sencux showed a real master class on cutting enemies to Akali. Vitality’s only hope for victory was in Splitpushing, which was what Jiizuke did on his Ryze.

At 31 minutes, RGE killed Nashor and went to demolish the mid, but the leader of VIT continued his push. A slight delay and uncertainty in the decision making was the end for RGE. As long as they doubted, Vitality took advantage of two additional teleports and simply took away the enemy base. So in a blink of an eye, the game in which Rogue confidently fought 13/3 ended in a win for Vitality.
#VITWIN

MSF / FNC: If you look at the results of the first day, it may seem that the Misfits are exhausted, and Fnatic are back in service. However, as this game showed, everything is still in place. The dominant performance from MSF, where Maxlore from the very start did not let Broxah quietly farm the forest, thereby preventing Zach from skating to Leith, and Febiven to Le Blanc very quickly could oneshot almost anyone.

In addition, in the standoff at the top of Soaz, without a chance, he destroyed Bwipo. The FNC tried to stop the constant Misfits offensive and even succeeded a couple of times in this, but the defeat turned out to be inevitable. Only 30 minutes in the game and a crushing 17/2 score in favor of MSF.
#MSFWIN

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January marks the return of League of Legends

January marks the return of League of Legends

The first week of the first 2019 League of Legends season is approaching. The years pass, the scenario evolves, new leagues arise and more and more games are played.

Following all leagues is practically impossible, so we selected the five best competitions to follow in the first Split of 2019.

CBLOL – Beginning January 12th:

The Brazilian Championship of League of Legends will start off the 2019 season. If killing the longing is not enough, I have two reasons for you to watch CBLOL this Saturday.

The first is the new format, announced on December 6th. Now CBLOL has ten weeks and all matches will be just a single map. This result is a pleasant experience for the spectator, but that affects the competitiveness of the teams. And, unfortunately, we can only know the impact of this change on future international championships.

Another important change happened during the transfer window. The first stage of 2019 will be the most competitive edition of all time. Eight of the forty-five players registered (18%) in the tournament are foreigners, surpassing the 12% mark in 2014 — the previous high.

LPL – Beginning January 14th:

The LPL has always been a fun championship. Matches are marked by epic moments and teamfights are constant. Teams are willing to take risks and the result is exciting games. The sum of these factors makes, in my opinion, LPL the most friendly league for casual League of Legends fans.

However, the conference model seemed to be a barrier to the arrival of new fans. In 2019 the LPL will be simpler and easier to understand: all teams face each other in best-of-three series and the top eight qualify for the playoffs.

The combination of solid structure and good games is the formula of success for any league, but the LPL has a card up its sleeve. If you do not know, Invictus Gaming has maintained its world championship winning line-up for the year 2019. On the 14th we will have the first of many chances to review the champions in action against the world’s best teams.

LCK – Beginning January 16th:

With no changes to its format since 2015, the big highlights of the LCK have always happened within Summoner’s Rift. Despite this, the Korean league will have a major change in 2019: a new home. The LCK leaves the studios of the OGN and goes to LOL Park, one of the venues of the 2018 World Cup.

On the other hand, the failure in the Worlds 2018 has resulted in great changes in the equipment of the first and second division of Korea. New seedlings generate new narratives and the Spring 2019 LCK promises to be a generation shock. On the one hand, SK Telecom veterans are looking for more trophies for the most successful organization in history. On the other hand, Griffin and DAMWON Gaming are willing to show that they are not only the future but also the gift of the LOL elite.

If you like good narratives and even better games, do not miss the LCK.

LEC – Beginning January 18th:

The League of Legends European Championship is the perfect tournament for those who are fans of news. With a new name and visual identity, the LEC marks the arrival of the franchise model and newcomer organizations in the Old Continent.

But do not be fooled, European teams have not lost their competitive potential. The maintenance of players like Bwipo, Caps, Rekkles and Perkz indicates that we can expect good performances from Fnatic, G2 Esports and other teams in future international tournaments.

Europe is unlikely to give up its spot as one of the best regions in the world anytime soon, but the 2019 season will show just how much stronger they can get.

That alone is reason alone to watch the debut split of the new LEC.

LCS – Beginning January 26th:

If I had to choose the LCS soundtrack, my choice would be Pink Floyd’s Money. That’s because even after a year of underperforming and overall unimpressive results, most organizations opened their wallets and reinforced their positions for the upcoming split.

Great players are attracted to regions with greater financial potential, not very surprisingly. However, it is surprising to say that five former world champions will play in North America in 2019. The LCS has always been marked by its main characters and this season has leading players. If you want to follow the next chapters in the history of Crown, Bang, Doublelift, Bjergsen and Sneaky, just watch the most popular league in the West.

North America’s LCS once again establishes itself as the most expensive league, but will that help them get results on the international stage?

 

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Bly: “I think I can count on at least TOP-8 at the WESG finals”

Bly: “I think I can count on at least TOP-8 at the WESG finals”

After winning in the Ukraine WESG qualifier, Aleksandr “Bly” Svysiuk packs his bags for the World Finals in Chongqing next year.

The 29-year-old Ukrainian had a rough 2018, changing teams several times. He transferred from team expert, where he spent two years, to Tollenz Lions. Lions dropped their Starcraft, FIFA, and PUBG teams last week, leaving Bly teamless.

He didn’t have to stay a free agent for long. Right before the WESG Ukraine finals he joined his fellow countrymen DIMAGA in Team Blacer.

This weekend Bly successfully qualified for WESG World Finals, where he will compete for $240,000 USD in prize money.

Following his victory against Kas, Bly spoke about his expectations for WESG, Serral, the next year and the future of Starcraft.

You have won the Ukrainian WESG for the third consecutive year, how difficult was it for you to win this time? 

Given the format, given that I did not have the advantage of the Winners, I was afraid that it would be difficult. The organizers made it so that in the grand final it was necessary to play the match BO7 and there was no advantage for Winner. In principle, I knew that I played the best of all the others. I was sure that if I played at least more or less, I should win, even in close 4-2 or 4-3 games, but I understood that I could play very well and then I’ll generally be.

Has Kas surprised you in the final? How difficult was it to play the final?

It is always difficult with him. He surprised me by playing very well today, usually, he plays worse in online tournaments. Sometimes the game was so naughty that only intelligence could understand what was going on. Then I ran in – I killed SCV, then he killed drones, we did not have time to control, multi-front, etc. 

It was difficult, it was very difficult. He pleasantly surprised me with how well he played. According to my feelings, I did not play well in terms of the brain. His hands worked fine, but not always what happens in the game, it turned out to analyze — how many troops he has, what mix, etc. In general, I played more on intuition.

Did you assume that it is with Kas that you will meet in the final?

I thought I would play with HellRaiser. The Protoss in principle is now imba and I thought that the Protoss would crush Terran, but Kas arranged such a strong-willed victory, the commentators there just yelled, it was very cool. Kas deserved this victory and outplayed the young player. The old guard, that’s what it is. 

In TOP-4, there are three players in this tournament who have been playing for so many years. Are you surprised that new players do not appear? Why is this happening, why is this your old skill so invincible?

Yes, we are very old. I’m with Kas from Warcraft, Dimaga from the first Starcraft. 12 years already we are engaged as pro-gamers, therefore we are very old school. Most likely, there are no young talents because we have not very developed Starcraft scene in CIS and we have all young people going to Dota or to CS because there is good money, there are a lot of spectators and a huge community. 

If it’s not a secret, how much can a progamer of your level earn on Starcraft in the CIS or Europe? Does it even make sense to break into Starcraft Professional right now?

If you play well, you can earn a prize of 20-30 thousand dollars a year. WCS pays good money. It takes a lot of stops and even for 16th place gives $ 2,750. Last year there was a tournament, where they gave $ 6,500 for eighth place, with only 16 players. I just went there and already received $ 3000 for the trip. 

Money in Starcraft is there and it’s good. If you look at WESG, you can win $ 150,000 for first place. Of course, there you need to fight with the Koreans and Serral, but if you play not bad, then you can try. There are still teams’ salaries. In Ukraine, in general, you can live perfectly, of course, Dota 2 players can live perfectly anywhere, however.

How do you comment on the sensational domination and victory of Serral at the World Championships this year. What did this give Starcraft 2?

He showed that it doesn’t matter where you live. The main thing is how you approach the process, and Serral approaches the process of training very painstakingly. He did a great job on himself psychologically. So much to train, to sharpen a lot of things to do everything perfectly — it is necessary to break everything in yourself and build in such a way as to become the number one of the world. Serral could do it and I think that he would be the best in any game. He is one of those people who can. 

Is there more persistence and perseverance, or is he just a uniquely talented esports athlete? 

He is a unique talented athlete with perseverance and more perseverance. Without this set, TOP-1 WCS does not shine, especially in such a complex game like Starcraft, where the smallest nuances are solved and the slightest mistake leads to loss.

Do you think he will last a long time at the top? 

I think next year he will win everything in principle. I am familiar with him and as far as I know him, he is as focused and minimally emotional as possible, and he will continue to live with God for a very, very long time. 

What does Starcraft has in the future?

I hope that Starcraft will be at a good level for another five years, as it is now in terms of the number of viewers and the community. The community in the old man is now really big and it is not falling, but growing, so I believe that, perhaps, Starcraft will live for a very long time.

Would you like a new version of Starcraft or for example a new Warcraft? 

I’ll be very old by then. Another 2-3 years, and I will, like Dimaga, come to the tournaments and comment, because cognitively suffers, and in Starcraft, if you do not have 450 apm, when you need it, then move on. 

They used to say that after 25 you need to leave esports, now they say that after 30. Maybe everything is not so bad and they will soon start saying that you can play even before 40, there are no examples just yet. Now, in Warcraft III, Moon, who has been playing for a hundred years, destroys everyone, in Quake 30+ players dominate, in Starcraft in Ukraine, 30+ players are in the top. What do you say to that? 

In Starcraft reactions are key. In Warcraft, the reaction decides less. Now Maru won WCS and Serral or, for example, Raynor – and how old are they? They are very young and, playing with them, I understand that I do not have time. Looking at Raynor’s game, I’d seem to understand everything he does, but there are times when he managed to evaluate and react, but I haven’t yet managed to evaluate. I can replay with brains, I can replay with experience, but in cognitively, I lag behind the young and begin to fall behind even more. I felt it especially strongly about two years ago, and every year I feel it more and more.

How do you evaluate your chances in the final, which will be held in China? 

This year I set myself the task of making a breakthrough, because already age, etc. I will train more than ever and I already do it. I train a lot. If I could play the qualifiers, as I play on the ladder, then all the scores would be 3-0, but even with such an experience as mine, my nerves decide very much. I still sometimes can not turn on the brain during the game and play on intuition. All this nerves, they interfere. But if I keep this pace, then I think I can count on at least the TOP-8.

What is more important for players now – to win the WESG or win the WCS?

WCS much more important than WESG, because it gives you points that allow you to pass the next season, you are invited to tournaments, you are higher in the sowing rating, etc. This is a whole system, because WCS is much more important.

What do you have now with sponsors, do you represent some kind of team?

Today I went to the stage wearing a Team Blacer T-shirt. We are signing a contract. This organization is tied to cryptocurrency and they have a good idea. If it develops, it will capture this market. I looked at the project and decided – why not join? In principle, the team already consists of Ukrainians including Dimaga and Avers – it will be more fun. At the award ceremony, I was already in a team shirt.

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149 million dollars in prize money awarded in 2018

149 million dollars in prize money awarded in 2018

In 2018 almost $149 million dollars were paid in esports tournaments. We take a look at the biggest esports tournaments this year.

For the fourth year running, leadership in the most rewarding tournaments is held by The International for Dota 2. If in 2014 the prize fund was $11,000,000, in 2018 $25,500,000 were played in the main tournament of the year (although the prize fund compared to 2017 increased only by 1 million).

Following DOTA 2 is the League of Legends world finals with $6,450,000 in prize money. At the WESG 2017 finals in Dota 2 and CS: GO, a total of $ 3,000,000 was awarded.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive had a total of $22,000,000 awarded in prize money this year.

In 2018, Denmark’s Astralis dominated the pro scene. The Danish five for the year won the seventh and eighth season of the ESL Pro League, the fifth and sixth season of the Esports Championship Series, ELEAGUE CS: GO Premier, FaceIT Major London 2018 and took one million dollars in the Intel Grand Slam. Each player has earned approximately $730,000 (prize money only) in the tournament year.

The second place was occupied by the Swedes from fnatic (250 – 280 thousand dollars), who did not have their best year, but won World Electronic Sports Games 2017 and Intel Extreme Masters XII.

Following them are Stewie2k and tarik (273 and 250 thousand), who, as part of Cloud9, won a major in Boston, and then won several prizes for mibr. However, in the near future, players plan to leave the Brazilian organization. Stewie2k plans to join Team Liquid, and Tarik will be sent to the transfer market.

The top also got players from Natus Vincere. Electronic earned about $262,000, and other players of the Ukrainian organization about $235,000. The reason for this was his third place at the WESG 2017 in the Russian team. The Ukrainian national team, not for the first, but not the last time, refused the finals, although it won the European qualifier.

Dota 2 saw a record $41.2 million awarded this year.

The breakthrough of the year from European Union OG (Ana, Topson, 7ckingMad, Notail, jerAx) at The International 2018 put the players in first place in terms of earnings. Each player has earned $2,290,000 this year.

JerAx and Topson will give approximately 60% of the prize money from the main tournament of the year as taxes. This is how the system works in Finland, but the quality of life there is at the level. It is also worth noting that both players attended a reception in honor of Independence Day in Finland, to which they received an invitation from the President of the country. In November, Ana left OG, and his place was taken by former Natus Vincere player Pajkatt.

China’s PSG.LGD finalists also earned a million dollars each. The Chinese squad showed good results throughout the year, including a victory in EPICENTER XL and MDL Changsha Major.

The top three also included players of Russian Federation representing Virtus.pro. The roster went through the majors in 2018 (Katowice, Birmingham, Bucharest, Kuala Lumpur and second place at Chinese Dota2 Supermajor).

Unfortunately, at The International 2018 Virtus.pro took only 5-6th place, losing in the losers’ grid to the Evil Geniuses team. On average, players earned $ 840,000 in prize money, not counting the Mercedes for MVP on the majors. Ukrainian Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko earned less than other players in the line-up, as the Russian team won the 2017 WESG final against Brazilians from paiN Gaming.

Fortnite came in third with $ 20 million in prizes up for grabs in 2018. Not left behind and the most popular game of the year. The developers of Epic Games conducted a series of tournaments with huge prize pools.

The top seven positions in earnings in the Battle Royale took the residents of the United States (Tfue, Cloak, Bizzle, NateHill, Poach, 72hrs). Players earned from 250 to 450 thousand dollars each. The developers do not plan to stop sponsoring new tournaments with millions in prize pools.

However, the most famous streamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blave, receives invitations to the most popular show in the US, streams with rapper Drake, and also plans to hold a New Year’s stream marathon in Times Square.

The top also included such games as League of Legends, PUBG, Overwatch, HoTS, Hearthstone, CoD and Starcraft II. Unfortunately, in 2019, Blizzard decided to abandon the esports series HGC and other supported tournaments.

Serral dominated StarCraft II on the professional scene. The Finnish player won about seven WCS tournaments, and most importantly, the WCS world finals. In this case, the player bypassed six Korean players, and earnings in 2018 amounted to $479,000 — not far off the biggest esports titles.

With esports booming, the next year should bring even larger prize pools and even more tournaments. Within the current projections, we could see upwards of $200 million dollars given in prize money in 2019 alone.

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Justing: “Blizzard said they would make us Superstars”

Justing: “Blizzard said they would make us Superstars”

Less than a week ago Blizzard announced they would be closing down Heroes of the Storm Global Championship and pulling all esports funding for the game effective immediately.  

With no prior warning to the teams, players, or even the staff, Blizzard shut down all their efforts to further promote Heroes of the Storm (HotS) competitive scene. The next season, that was supposed to come in less than a month from now will not happen. Leaving dozens of players, support, staff and anyone else involved with the league, jobless. 

Justin “Justing” Gapp, team captain for North America’s top HotS team Simplicity, opened up about their struggles with the dying game, big promises from Blizzard that never delivered, and the abrupt ending to it all.

In retrospect, he figures, the signs where there all along. “The overall quality of the second summit was SIGNIFICANTLY lower in general down to every single detail. The first year we each got backpacks with HGC “Swag” — Hat, Thermos water bottle, Even a pin. We each got a box of limited edition “Ragnar’os” cereal with Rag and the skin code and jackets with our names on them. The next year we got a plastic water bottle that leaks if you put any liquid in it, a fake varsity style jacket and one player from each team got a big metal thing for an HGC banner because they didn’t want the viewers to see we were all living in our parent’s house.”

“The first year they had a party with an open bar, the second year we went to an expensive bar and had to buy our own drinks. Basically, every aspect of the summit was worse, I even had to pay 25$ at the airport to check my bag, apparently this year that wasn’t in the budget.”

The budget cuts weren’t that unexpected. Every player could see the viewership couldn’t compete with the likes of League of Legends or DOTA 2. Blizzard, however, disagreed and claimed the viewership for the game was “owning”. “They told us we did amazing, our numbers were through the roof and above all we were OWNING on Disney XD where we were getting supposedly hundreds of thousands of viewers. Not only that but they said 2018 would be even better, we would have loads of opportunities to make more money and Blizzard would make us “Superstars”. We assumed they would promote HOTS pros in the launcher but they only did that for content creators and Tempo Storm.”

As it turned out later it wasn’t just the outside world that wasn’t watching the HotS Global Championship. Some Blizzard employees had trouble identifying what it was too. “We did a tour of the Blizzard campus with everyone wearing their HGC 2018 shirts, Overwatch employees saw us and literally asked “Who are you guys” and “What is the HGC”. Before ducking out into a top secret OW area. “

“They expected us to be full time players with the 20k salary while making it very clear we were not Blizzard employees (i.e. no benefits). But with the promise of promoting our brands/streams and making us “super stars“. It has been painfully obvious they purposefully promoted a specific handful of players/teams,” Justing added. It was no secret that Blizzard promoted Tempo Storm almost exclusively, leaving every other team out in the cold. 

“Cloud 9 saw the danger and left the scene immediately after 2016, a smart move that took foresight and I’d expect inside information,” the player speculates. “Last year Blizzard/Twitch/Organizations split the revenue from bits 33/33/33, why multi billion dollar corporation Blizzard needed to take a cut in bits and advertise it as “support the players, support the teams” is misleading at best. “

It is no surprise, that the best event most HotS players had to attend wasn’t even organized by Blizzard, which was heavily cutting costs. “Gold Club was the best tournament I was ever a part of. Words cannot describe how great it was, it was the one event where you felt what it was like to be a professional gamer in a serious esport. This was the one event hosted by NetEase in China. Unfortunately, halfway through the tournament, we were told that Blizzard had released a major content patch so we had to play a different game halfway through the three-week tournament. “

What was even more shocking (or maybe expected, after all?) was the radio silence in the past few months. Blizzard adamantly refused to share any information with any involved parties. Until the very last moment they were kept in the dark. And when all the players and teams found out they would be losing their jobs was at the same time as everyone else — after reading a press release, innocently titled “Thank you, HGC fans”.

“As a team owner, I have asked Blizzard for information regarding HGC since September, as well as more recently asking for information on November 18th. I was told I would be given an update within two weeks. I wasn’t. I received my update at the same time as the public and we negotiated our contracts with Simplicity with 0 information for 2019 while we were under the impression organizations had signed NDA’s. “

But Gapp insists it wasn’t all bad. “Overall I had a good experience as a pro player as it was always my dream. I am however not surprised for these reasons and more that it came to such an abrupt end.”

Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm Global Championship is second developer league to be shut down in 2018, following Daybreak’s H1Z1 Pro League. What will it mean for the future of these games is yet to be seen.

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