Relax, bozos. Take a deep breath in through your mouth. Hold it. Hold it. Now let it our slowly through your nose. Go to your happy place, and be at one with your surroundings. Harness your chi. Find your inner peace. And if those don’t work, turn to medicine: take a chill pill.

For those of you not freaking out, I don’t mean to alarm you, but 3D lost a match to recKoning!

Are you panicking yet?


There are two times you make this face: an imminent apocalypse and after 3D loses.

No? Then you’re with me, because it’s not the end of the world. 3D isn’t the most horrible, awful, washed-up team in the history of eSports. In fact, they’re not much different than they were yesterday, the day before, or way back during the CEVO season. Anybody remember their stellar regular season, and then the 0-2 performance in the playoffs? Yeah. And even during CEVO's regular season they had really good matches where they dominated good teams, and bad matches where they lost or barely snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. In short, they’re inconsistent. A single loss shouldn’t surprise anyone. 

It’s not like they need an excuse to lose. Out of every ten games, the best teams in baseball win about six.  Basketball and football have some higher winning percentages, but even the “great” teams don’t always win, especially in tournaments. The Heat won the NBA championship last season after compiling a .634 winning percentage, and the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl in 2005 after a .688 clip in the regular season. In both cases there were a handful of teams that did better during the regular season. Everybody loses, even the best teams. There’s no shame in winning six or seven times out of ten, and it happens in every sport, and no matter who is playing there are going to be upsets.  It doesn’t mean 3D is bad if they lose to recKoning any more than it means the Boston Red Sox are bad if they lose to Kansas City, or if the Indianapolis Colts lose to the Houston Texans. It’s part of the game, and in that match, on that day, recKoning was the better team.

Make no mistake about that part, either. I know recKoning isn’t on many top-10 lists, but they’re not a CAL-O team. They're in CAL-I already, and they have been for a couple seasons. They deserved to win that match, and saying things like “oh, it’s Russka, 3D doesn’t care” is a disservice to recKoning.  It doesn’t matter if 3D came in less prepared or had less desire. Guess what? You need those things to be a great team just like you need talent. In fact, at the highest levels of competition, sometimes those things are more important. It’s why Jamie Moyer and Greg Maddux can be great pitchers well into their 40s: they never want to lose or go unprepared into a game. And you know, if Ron Artest wasn’t crazy, he might be the best basketball player ever. Mark Prior might have been the best pitcher ever if he didn’t get injured. But staying healthy, being under control, preparedness, etc are all things that make great players and teams. 


When Jamie Moyer was born, bats still doubled as caveman foreplay.

Would recKoning beat 3D nine times out of ten, or even on another map? I wouldn’t bet on it. I think 3D is still one of the three of four best teams in CS. But recKoning won this time, and wether it was because they have more talent, were more prepared, or wanted the victory more doesn’t matter. It takes all those things to win, and we shouldn’t take away anything from recKoning just because people think 3D is more talented.

The bottom line is this: it’s one game, and one game doesn’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of evaluating a team. If you needed any more evidence of that (in case my barely coherent ramblings aren’t enough) 3D played their next match against zEx and won 14-4. zEx has already qualified for the CGS combine a couple times over by placing well in the online qualifiers. 

When 3D starts losing six out of ten matches against teams that are outside the top-five, then I’ll get worried. Until then, I think it’s a little hasty to label them as anything more than extremely talented and inconsistent.

Tags:
3D, CEVO

 
May 27, 2007

The CGS is slowing progressing, and before we get into the excitement of things like the combine and the Playboy Mansion, we have to go through some no-so-exciting announcements. The list of cities and General Managers is one of them, although there were a couple curious choices.

I think we all agree Jason Lake (compLexity), Mark Dolven (Pandemic), and Alex Conroy (Jax Money Crew) were shoo-ins for three of the General Manager spots. When you build a team from the ground up into one of the biggest names in American eSports, you’re in pretty select company. Not choosing them would be a “demand a recount” offense.


eSportsidoodily isadidilly gettatoddily ... screw it. eSports is getting bigger.

After those three guys, everybody else is pretty much in a pack. I’m a little surprised Alex Garfield wasn’t chosen as a GM, since Evil Geniuses has been a stable name in eSports for years. But at the same time, Brian Flander was a fine choice. He’s a gamer, and he’s been managing a Quake 4 team for a while, so he’s well qualified for the job. And he’s really patient with his dumb neighbor, Homer Simpson, although maybe I’m thinking of somebody else.

If you’re like me, you know next to nothing about Kat Hunter. First, she’s quite obviously a girl, and I think that means eSports now has more female GMs than MLB, the NFL, and the NBA combined. (Suck it, professional sports!) The other thing that struck me about her description in the CGS press release was the phrase “pro gaming evangelist”. I never thought I’d see those three words together, and quite frankly the mental images are a little overwhelming. Preaching about the divinity of fRoD’s AWP, converting to compLexianity, and Four Kings instead of three kings all have potential for two things: a good joke and lightning bolt from the heavens. Since I like my skin pasty, and not fried, let’s move on.

The only question I had about the GMs was Dave “moto” Geffon. I’m NOT questioning his credentials, I think he’ll do a great job as a GM, but why not Craig “Torbull” Levine? He’s been leading 3D for around five years, and he announced that he was stepping down from 3D about an hour after moto was announced as the GM for the New York franchise. From the news post it seems like Torbull is going to be busy with other projects in eSports, so maybe he just didn’t have the time? Whatever the reason, it just seemed strange after working so hard to get competitive gaming into the realm of professional sports that he’d quit just as it was about to happen. (Although, I’m sure if I was in his shoes it wouldn’t see quite so out of the blue.) Good luck to both guys in their new roles, I don’t think either one should have trouble succeeding in their endeavors.

Overall, you can’t really find a fault with the choices the CGS made, and I’m excited to see who turns into Jerry West or Isiah Thomas. Or maybe, if we’re really lucky, Isiah will take over a team and we’ll get to see firsthand the horrendously overpriced contracts, the disillusionment of a whole fan base, and (somehow) excellent draft picks. The possibilities are endless!

The cities were pretty much like the General Mangers: good except for one curious (not necessarily bad) choice. New York? Check. LA? ... (sorry, the answer got stuck in traffic) … check. Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco? No doubt. Charlotte? Can't have a professional league without Charlotte in it.


Their meow is worse than their bite.

Wait a minute, Charlotte?! Where did that come from? We went from the four biggest metropolitan populations, San Francisco (twelfth), all the way down to Charlotte at thirty-sixth. Charlotte over Denver, Detroit, Philadelphia, Houston, Miami, or Boston? Heck, even Orlando, Kansas City, and Columbus feel slighted! Alright, Columbus probably doesn’t care either way, but you get the point. I’m sure there were other considerations besides population, I’m just wondering what the heck they were. Maybe there’s a high concentration of colleges in that area. Or maybe there’s a high concentration of LAN Centers and Pizza Huts. I really have no idea. I suppose there isn’t much competition: the only relevant sports team is the Carolina Panthers. (Apologies to Bobcats fans, but let’s face it, they’re still on a rebuilding plan.) 

Other than the chance of being more prominent in the local scene, I don’t really see much that Charlotte would have over, say, Atlanta. Again, I don’t think it’s a bad choice, per se, because Green Bay and Kansas City, two smaller markets, have supported professional sports teams for years. And then there plenty of examples of teams in bigger markets that don’t draw as well (Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Devil Rays to name two), so clearly population isn’t the only factor in whether an organization is successful. But still, when you compare Charlotte to the other five cities they chose, it seems a few million people out of place. 

Of course, if they really wanted to be daring, they could have put a franchise in Las Vegas. The over/under on matches played while hungover for that franchise would have been half, and I might have taken the over. In any event, the start of the combine is only about two weeks away, and once all these small issues get taken care of, we’ll finally be able to see a professional eSports league. I can’t wait to see who steps up their practice time to try and make a run at compLexity. And nobody can beat Jason Lake’s crew, well … compLexianity might not be a bad option after all.

Tags:
3D, CGS, coL

 

Before I get to the predictions, there are officially four more teams in CAL-Invite now. So congratulations to: Luck, Visual Gaming, The Real Untouchables, and Hyper for making the cut by winning the first two matches. I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys can do in Season 8.


So many pictures to choose from, but you can't go wrong with a tutu and a football stance.

Of course, as a wise man once said, “In every game, there must be a loser.” Alright, we know that was Ace Ventura, but the point is still valid. There were four teams eliminated from the tournament: eNvy, eXtreme PC, Children of the Sun, and Legends. Good luck to you all in Main, and let’s do this again next season.

With that said there are four matches, four spots left in Invite, and four teams that won’t quite make the cut.


Cyber Phenom vs. Nous Sommes Francophones – There was one constant in Round 2 of the placement tournament: blowouts. Just look at some of the round scores the losing teams put up: 6, 4, 7, 6, 4, 4, 0. The zero was a forfeit win, but I haven’t seen so many single digits since the results of my last IQ tests. (Its wriggd, eye sware!)

I like both of these teams, and whoever loses the matchup instantly becomes a contender for the CAL-Main championship. nsF said they had some ventrilo problems during their loss, but I just can’t convince myself to give them a win after they lost 6-16. When people make predictions in professional sports, one of the things they look at is the amount of blowout wins and close games. Generally speaking, blowouts are indicative of a very weak or very strong team, while the outcomes of close games are largely based on luck. Keeping that in mind, I have to give the edge to CP.

CP > nsF 16-12


Featured Match

50 Calibre vs. eMg – One interesting thing to consider: if eMg does lose the match, will they regret sponsoring CAL-Invite this season? I don’t think they’d rescind the sponsorship or anything like that, but you have to admit it’s a little weird to think about. It’d be like George Steinbrenner sponsoring the MLB playoffs this year. Or the Chicago Cubs sponsoring the playoffs any year. 

You know what? I don’t like this matchup, despite the potential for a great game. I think both of these teams have plenty of talent to be in Invite next season. Hopefully, whichever team loses can stick around and make it next season. On top of that, I have a bad feeling whichever one I pick to win is going to lose. But, I picked out eMg as a team to watch at the start, and despite a hiccup against Visual Gaming, I’m going to stick with ‘em. 

And yes, calling a 4-16 loss a hiccup is a bit of an underestimation. 

eMg > 50cal 16-14


PK vs. Skull – Have you ever been watching a game while an announcer makes a call from the booth that is clearly proven wrong ten seconds later on instant replay? Have you noticed what happens after that? Most of the time, especially if the announcer’s name is Joe Morgan, they just completely ignore the indisputable video evidence and keep on talking like they’re completely right. I hate it when that happens, and I don’t want to be one of those guys. 

So, upon further review, I’m willing to admit the possibility that I underestimated PK a little bit in my last prediction. And by a little bit, I mean a lot. Now I’m going to pull a flip-flop that would get any political candidate nailed in a debate and predict PK to win and make it into CAL-Invite. And if they lose 4-16 this time instead of winning 16-4 like they did in Round 2, I don’t know what I’ll do. Maybe I’ll outsource all my predictions to India.

PK > Skull 16-13


Riot Squad vs. it’samassacre – This matchup is pretty much the epitome of why the placement tournament is a good idea. IAM would have been in Invite for winning CAL-Main, and RS probably wouldn’t have been there because of roster considerations. Now we get to see which team is better, and unfortunately for the Main winners, I don’t think they’re going to pull it off.

RS > IAM 16-12


 
May 24, 2007

Of course, by the title I mean Starcraft 2, but I just can’t help myself. Even though my main games are Counter-Strike 1.6 and Source, before those games I was a bona fide Starcraft aficionado.


How dare you counter my moves and adjust your strategies!

Now, there are a couple things you need to know about my Starcraft experience. It started and ended before I discovered there were “other people” on the internet, which means I never used Battlenet. I only played the Campaign and against the computer in the Scenarios, which is like the difference between beating Super Mario Bros. 3 in ten minutes and then playing Super Smash Brothers against real people. All of my strategies relied upon knowing exactly what the computer was building and when they were building it so I could fly around the map stomping koopa heads. Or, in this case, building Protoss Carriers and Terran Battleships.

I had one unbeatable strategy (dominate using carriers or battleships) and I only played one map (Big Game Hunters). The map had infinite resources and easily defendable bases (provided you weren’t artificial intelligence, anyway). Basically, I was single-handedly raising the bar for the definition of a “one trick pony”. There was only one thing I loved more than the predictability of hording air units for ninety minutes and then wiping everybody out in five. (Yes, this is what I considered fun back in … whenever Broodwar came out.)  I loved the Zerg rush. It was the glorious exception to an otherwise ironclad set of rules and procedures. 

For those of you not familiar with Starcraft, the Zerg are based around the thought that if you can’t beat an enemy one on one, get some friends and beat him five on one. There is no problem in Zerg society that can’t be solved by adding more units. So that’s just what I did. My ultimate Zerg rush was comprised totally of building Zerglings, flinging them against the enemy’s defenses with reckless abandon, and hoping one or two out of a hundred got through. After the initial breakthrough there were always more units close behind because they were cheap and fast to build.

I don’t want to imply that Zerglings were weak – I want to make it brutally clear how pathetic they were. They were so weak, the game felt sorry for you. When you built one, they gave you another one free of charge. Any kind of area attack was capable of wiping out dozens in a single strike. I think, if Zerglings were on Earth, you could probably squish one under your Nikes and not even know it. That’s how weak they were. But, because of that, there was also something strangely noble in their sacrifice. Hundreds would die just so that two could move on to be slaughtered by the mining units, which have an offensive strength roughly equivalent to Screech. But there was no feeling quite like watching a line of units come out of your base that was so long that the front units were already dying, and the reinforcements hadn’t even left the security of your defenses yet. In short, the Zergling rush was never disappointing: whether you were the bug or the windshield, it was always pure carnage.  

So, when the Blizzard finally announced that Starcraft 2 was coming out, the first thing that popped into my head was the thought of the Zergling Rush 2.0, and I was not disappointed. If you haven’t seen any of the coverage or the media yet, I suggest watching everything except the Cinematic Trailer, which is completely worthless. Take the two minutes you would have spent watching that and use them on something more entertaining, like watching commercials or speaking into a fan to make your voice sound weird. On the flip side, I highly recommend the screenshots (gameplay, artwork) and the Art Trailer, which does contain a couple brief moments of gameplay. And, of course, the main attraction is the gameplay trailer itself, which is just unspeakably cool. There are also some screenshots, and a short recap from the good folks over at GotFrag. Words don’t really do the videos justice, so rather than clumsily describe how geeked out I am, I’ll simply let you watch and then you’ll understand how I feel. Or maybe you’ll think I’m crazy. Either way.

From a competitive standpoint, there’s one great thing about the game, and a couple familiar problems.


They were here, gone, and then coming back. Now they're gone, hopefully for good.

The best part about everything they showed: this isn’t a port onto a new engine with a few minor changes like Counter-Strike: Source. This is a massive upgrade. There are so many new units that the gameplay is going to be more complex, with more unit combinations and strategies. I’m sure that’s what they intended. One of the lines in the gameplay trailer specifically mentioned the ability of a “skilled” player to use a certain unit or ability wisely. Judging from that line and their announcement happening in Korea, I think it’s clear that they’re aware of the competitive gaming community and receptive to the idea that it’s not just some small niche that’s going to disappear like bell bottoms or My Buddies. 

The problem is that even though the game looks awesome, I’m still not sold that the Starcraft series is the future of eSports.  I’m incredibly excited as a fan of video games, and it’s great that they’re taking the competitive scene into account, but it wasn’t designed specifically for eSports either. And this iteration is still going to suffer from the same lack of fans outside of gaming. The action isn’t intuitive enough, people need knowledge of the game to really enjoy any kind of broadcast or replay. At least, if they want to enjoy it as more than just a sideshow curiosity. Eventually, competitive gaming will need one game (not a series of them) that the majority of people can relate to. It’s the ultimate goal. It’s too hard on leagues, organizations, and players if they have to adapt to a new game every five years. You lose fans of the old game that might not like the new version as much, some players might not like the new game, it takes time for new talent to bubble up … not having one game to rely on is fraught with problems. Starcraft 2 isn’t the solution to those, in my eyes.

That being said, does it make the game any less fun to play? Heck no. So while we all wait for that perfect eSports game to come out (don’t hold your breath, it might never happen), I’d like to extend a cordial invitation to all competitive gamers to use the Zergling rush whenever possible. It might not go your way, but stick with it. Use more units, and if that doesn’t work, use MORE UNITS. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed, and if any of you have fun Starcraft strategies you’d like to share, send them to Mike@LANDodger.com. I’ll post the best ones, along with some others I’ve thought of along the way, so that we may all bask in the glory of victory.

Tags:
Starcraft

 

Just a small update on CAL’s Season 8 Placement Tournament: pure.gaming dropped out after their first round loss to Nous Sommes Francophones. Instead of giving a team in the lower bracket a forfeit win, CAL decided to move Riot Squad into that spot.

I updated the bracket and made a note of the change. Hopefully, you remember Riot Squad from the pre-tournament tournament. If not, a quick refresher: they lost their best-of-three matchup against eMazing Gaming 1-2 (16-13, 14-16, 14-16). 

There wasn’t any kind of rule or thought before the tournament about a situation like this, but in the end I think it was the right call. There’s no letter of the law to obey, but I think the spirit of the tournament was to find the best teams and put them in Invite. If they didn’t add RS to the lower bracket, one team (Legends) would get a forfeit win and another team that barely lost to the #3 seed would be left out. That doesn’t seem like it upholds the spirit of finding the best teams to play in Invite next season, so I don’t mind seeing the change. 


"Big Shot Bob" delivered his biggest shot as a hip check against Steve Nash: it got two Suns stars suspended.

If you want a parallel, just look at the NBA playoffs. The Suns-Spurs series was highly controversial because of some suspensions handed down to Suns players that didn’t seem to uphold the spirit of the rule or the spirit of the league. Those being, respectively: don’t fight or be punks, and may the best team win. I don’t want to go into it in a lot of detail, but the media reaction was largely against the NBA. So hopefully this will be a little more popular within the community.


Of course this changes the predictions as well, so here’s the updated pred from Round 2:


Legends vs. Riot Squad
– All that stuff about CAL making the right choice is nice, but if I was coming at it from Legends’ perspective, I might not be as happy. Instead of being one win away from a berth in CAL-Invite, now we’re two wins away and have to play a very talented team. Not quite an upgrade.

I like Legends, I predicted them to beat pure 16-14, but I don’t think they’re going to take down RS. Riot’s going to step in and be one of the best teams in the tournament and in Invite next season (yes, they should make it). Hopefully the guys at Legends don’t get down and they can come back next season better than ever.

RS > LgD 16-12


You can find the updated bracket here.


 

Upper Bracket

It’samassacre vs. Luck – Luck lusted after a victory against eNvy, and they came into the match with a lot of wrath built up from last season’s playoff loss. They were playing for pride, and they didn’t let sloth or gluttony slow them down. Their greed for wins was fulfilled.

Can you tell I’ve been waiting for a while to work in the other six deadly sins into a prediction with eNvy? Yeah, I’m that lame. 

IAM won their first matchup against CP 16-13, but I think Luck is a stronger team and they should be able to pull off the upset. Nuke is heavily CT-sided and both teams should be able to do well on defense, so it’s going to come down to a few key rounds or plays during the match and I have a feeling Luck is going to win those.

Luck > IAM 16-13


Note: these are not actually my shoes. And I still wouldn't eat them.


Hyper vs. Skull – Skull > XPC 16-4? Yikes. Didn’t see that score coming. They’re going to have a much harder time with Hyper. That much I can guarantee. And if they beat Hyper 16-3, I’ll eat my shoes, sell my computer and never write anything for LD again.

(Not really.)

(... I hope that didn’t get your hopes up.)

I think Skull’s going to make it into Invite next season, but they’re going to have to win a match in the Loser’s Bracket to do it. Hyper should be able to hang onto a win here and secure a spot in CAL-I.

Hyper > Skull 16-12


Featured Match

eMazing Gaming vs. Visual Gaming – These teams are both worthy of Invite, but eMg is going to beat VG in this match. Why am I so confident? I don't know. But it's simple logic that any team named eMazing will win online, right?

In all seriousness, eMg is a great team, and not just online. I wasn’t really impressed by the way VG handled Phrentik in the first round. That’s not to say VG is a bad team, because they’re definitely not. I just don’t know if they can pull off a win. Both teams should get into Invite, eMg is just going to get there a little sooner.

eMg > VG 16-13


Nous Sommes Francophones vs. The Real Untouchables – This is probably the longest matchup of the season in terms of letters. One thing I learned from professional sports commentary is that there are quirky people out there that get excited by names, and especially their length. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was called up from the minors for the Atlanta Braves and everybody got into a tizzy about how long his name was because it was an MLB record for last names.

Name commentary aside, this should be a close match.  nsF defeated pure 16-6, which was a surprising margin. I’m not sure if they just got on a good streak, but I might have underestimated them a little bit. TRU is coming off a close win over Legends, but I think they’re going to lose a close match this time.

nsF > TRU 16-14


Lower Bracket

Cyber Phenom vs. eNvy – What is this, the Central Playoffs? eNvy was sent to the lower bracket by Luck, and now they meet up with CP, another team from CAL-Main Central last season. It should be a good match. Nuke will be a little easier to AWP for Kanon than Contra was, and eNvy will need him to do better than 12-19 if they want to win.

If Kanon doesn’t turn it around, eNvy’s going to be in a lot of trouble because CP is just a solid team. They don't have “big” names, but they’re all good, hungry, dedicated players. CP played well in their first match against It'samassacre, and they should be able to pull out a win here. And for the sake of my sanity, I hope Kanon has a great match. Every results thread involving eNvy is still threatening to turn into a flaming fest. Even though I hate those threads with a passion, I avoid them as well as a moth avoids a light the size of the Bat Signal.

CP > eNvy 16-13


50 Calibre vs. eXtreme PC
– 50cal is probably around the fourth best team in the tournament, and they lost their first round matchup to Hyper. Meanwhile, XPC was on the wrong end of a whoopin’, putting up only four rounds against Skull. Not sure what happened there. Skull is a really good team, but I don’t think anybody expected a score that lopsided. XPC will rebound a little bit, but it shouldn’t be enough to take down 50cal.

50cal > XPC 16-10


Children of the Sun vs. PK
– Children of the Sun put up ten rounds against eMg. If you don't know what I think about eMg, they're a great team, and you should pay closer attention because I've said it a couple times already. Sun didn’t even play in Main last season, they’re a team from Open. But I think it’s safe to say they’re pretty good. 

I’m a little skeptical on PK still. They got thirteen rounds against Visual Gaming, but I’m just not feeling it. It’s like looking at the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sure, they’re in the Eastern Conference Finals, but when you look at their team the only person that jumps out at you is LeBron. Everybody else is so underwhelming they actually seem to sink into the page. And you just know they’re going to get their brains beat in by the Detroit Pistons unless Bron drops 40-12-12 every night. I don’t think PK will lose badly, the Children of the Sun will pull out a W.

Sun > PK 16-11


Pure.gaming vs. Legends – Legends aaaalllmost pulled off the upset of TRU, but they lost 16-13. That was a big mismatch in seeds (2 vs. 15), and after beating n2p (19-15, 16-7) to get into the tournament I think they’re closer to the middle of the pack than the low end. In other words, they’re going to be a good match for pure, who didn’t do very well against nsF. 

It should be a close match, and I’ll give Legends the upset victory to stay alive in the tournament. 

LgD > pure  16-14 


 
May 20, 2007

“Hello, my name is LANDodger, and I cheat at Counter-Strike.”

Group: “Hello, LANDodger.”

“I guess it all started with just one little hack. I just wanted to look at some maps to find new spam spots so I downloaded a wallhack. But once I started, I was hooked. I started using it in pubs every once in a while, to find the best times to spam. Of course, then I had to do it in scrims because pubs are meaningless. Pretty soon I was using it in matches because I knew other people were hacking. I was full-blown cheater before I even knew what was happening. I never meant for it to be like this. By the way, who needs to sign this slip to verify I attended the meeting? If I don’t turn it in the ESL is going to permanently ban me from all their competitions.”



Warning: being Zack Morris' principal may cause hair loss.
If you haven’t heard the news, a 1.6 player from Virtus.Pro got banned for hacking after he was caught by Aequitas, the anti-cheat program for the ESL. I don’t like to see high-level players being banned for hacking because it gives eSports a bit of a black eye, but in this case I’m going to overlook that in favor of the ESL’s Cheater Rehabilitation program. The list of requirements starts off with a bang. The first line is simply:  no tricks. It’s quick, to the point, obvious, funny, and ridiculous all wrapped into one package, and as a bonus it sounds like something Mr. Belding would say to Zack on Saved By The Bell. 



That line is just an appetizer, though. The main course is later in the list: requiring a hacker to write an essay about why hacking is wrong. I’m all for second chances, and I don’t think cheaters will always invariably be cheaters, but a rehab essay is high comedy. (I wonder if that comes with a detention, too. Belding would have included it.)  I don’t know what tickles my imagination more: what the essay would look like, other possible rehab techniques, or Jason Giambi or Todd Sauerbrun writing an essay to their respective commissioners admitting they cheated.  (For non-NFL fanatics, if there are any, Sauerbrun is a punter that's been linked to steroids while on the Carolina Panthers.) If you’re not laughing at the prospect of Barry Bonds sitting down at his computer and writing, “Dear Mr. Selig, I am sorry … “ then I’m not sure you’re breathing. 

There are so many directions to go with this. Maybe instead of the above styled AA meeting, a Cheater Rehab program could look like a parent teaching a child not to smoke by stuffing a pack of cigarettes into his/her mouth. Take a known hacker and make him play a full scrim every day with a server full of hackers. Would he renounce hacking or quit the server first? My money is on leaving the server.

Those are just a couple quick things I can up with, but I think I can barely scratch the surface of interesting rehab programs no matter how hard I think. So, community, lend my your crazy or funny ideas. If you have an idea for something you’d find in a rehabilitation program for cheaters (guidelines, specific examples (What Bonds’ letter to Selig would look like), or another kind of rehab program converted to eSports) send it to mike@landodger.com. I’ll publish the best ones (if I get any) in an update, hopefully within a week or so. It doesn’t have to be long, don’t spend hours and hours writing a four page essay. But if you’ve got a quick, funny idea or line (about cheating or anything else, for that matter) send it my way. I look forward to seeing what the community can come up with.


 

The first round of the CAL Season 8 Placement Tournament will start in just a couple days, and with that in mind it’s time to start the coverage. And by coverage, I mean predictions that have about a fifty-fifty chance of being wrong. Or right, if you’re the “glass half full” type. Either way, I hope you enjoy them.


It’samassacre vs. Cyber Phenom – Cyber Phenom beat out FragFacile to capture the sixteenth seed, and as their reward they get to play the CAL-Main Atlantic champions in the first round. Well, it’s better than not being in the tournament at all, right? ‘Tis better to have won and lost then never to have won at all. This won’t be a blowout – CP is a good team – but I think IAM should end up with the victory.

IAM > CP 16-13


Luck vs. eNvy – This is a matchup of two teams from Central Main last season, and eNvy knocked Luck out of the playoffs in the lower bracket. Despite that I think I’m going to go the other way on this one. Luck has been strong the last couple seasons, and I think their style will translate well to the CGS format. Kanon is a big part of eNvy’s team, and I’m not sure how his AWP picks will do on Contra with the faster round times.

Luck > eNvy 16-11


Featured Match


It's not a slight, Dwight. The Pistons are just a better team.

Hyper vs. 50 Calibre – Hyper’s a fun team to look at because they’re basically the epitome of the roster problems in eSports. They were a good team before NightFall joined, he put them over the top and made them a legitimately great team, and then everything completely imploded and the team broke up. The original roster that challenged coL in the Intel Invitational was Badapples, Foerster, NightFall, Shredder and Tuned, and it was the only team that has been a legitimate threat to coL since they switched from 1.6. 3D is too inconsistent, Check-Six (formerly rSports) isn’t quite there yet, EFG and verGe lost something during the season. Devastation and the old Check-Six are both good teams, they’re not on coL’s level just like the Orlando Magic are a good team and the San Antonio Spurs are just better.

Now the team has broken up and only Shredder and Tuned are left. (Shredder and Tuned are widely regarded as a package deal for any team, kindof like you can’t separate Scott Boras and his superiority complex. As such, in the future Shredder and Tuned will combine to form Shreduned.) They’re still a good team, but at the end of the day was it worth it? It’s a question that needs to be asked, just like the Pacers had to ask themselves if it was worth it to keep Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson. What do those two guys have in common with NightFall? They’re no longer with the teams they started out with. 

50 Calibre is a talented team, but I don’t know if they’ll be able to take down Hyper. I think it’ll be a pretty close match and 50 Cal will be one of the best teams in the lower bracket.

Hyper > 50 Cal 16-12


Skull vs. XPC – Skull’s the most misunderstood team in the tournament. I said it before, and I’ll say it again just so we’re clear: this is not the same Skull team that playing in Central Main last season. It’s actually the From Within team that picked up two new members and joined the Skull organization. They’ve got talented players, and I think they’re going to make it to Invite. I don’t think they’re the strongest team and a trip to the Loser’s Bracket wouldn’t be surprising, but they should pick up a win against XPC here.

Skull > XPC 16-12


eMg vs. Children of The Sun – Children of the Sun won CAL-O, which ain’t nothin, and they do have some former CAL-I players on their roster. And their name is pretty cool, although they could have lifted it from a 1960’s band. It sounds vaguely hippie.

So they’ve got that going for ‘em, but eMg has more experience and more talent, and they deserve that number three seed. I just don’t see eMg losing here. 

eMg > Sun Children 16-8


Visual Gaming vs. PK – Things I learned today: reading philosophy books makes my brain hurt, eating cheeseburgers makes my stomach bulge, and PK is short for PhrentiK, which seems like a strange abbreviation. Maybe I should ab

Visual Gaming has some new faces, and I think they should be able to take the match after being inactive from Invite for a season.

VG > PK 16-10


Nous Sommes Francophones vs. Pure.gaming – I believe Nous Sommes Francophones is French, or it could be something you say when you have a cold. I'm betting on French though.

Both teams had similar records and accomplishments in CAL and CEVO, so it should be a close match. I'll give it to Pure in a squeaker, but I don't think they have a clear advantage by any means.

Pure > nsF 16-14


Legends vs. The Real Untouchables – I gotta give some props to Legends because I predicted them to lose in the pre-tournament matchup against Nothing To Prove, and here they are. TRU is a CAL-I team from last season, and I think their credentials are a little more impressive dating back to their days in CAL-Main as well. They should be able to take this match. Prove me wrong again, Legends!

TRU > LgD 16-10


 

They might be a little annoying, but at their core the recent announcement threads are awesome. What could be more brilliant than announcing a future announcement!? It’s like hitting two birds with one stone, except instead of hitting birds you’re doubling publicity. Everybody wins: the team gets more attention, fans feel like it’s something really important that they need to hear, people that already know feel like they know some huge secret. The idea is pure genius, but to make sure it reaches the full potential, I’d like to humbly submit a few suggestions.

First, the fatal flaw is that there’s actually news to announce. That’s a huge misstep. All the idlers vacate once they get the scoop, and all the support you drummed up is gone in an instant. You fix that by not having anything to report. Just an endless string of announcements. That way people will always be awaiting the next installment and there’s no payoff. If you keep this up long enough, eventually people will forget why they started idling in the first place. They’ll just think of themselves as fans of the team, and you’ll have a good bunch of dedicated followers to back you up on the forums, help spam other IRC channels, and play with you while severely inebriated.


After the photo shoot he'll put on his game face. It doesn't include a smile.

The major problem with that is lying to everybody is going to be hard. You’re going to need some guidance. I recommend watching any politician talk about anything. Of course there are certain rare species of politicians that are better to observe than others. If you manage to catch a glimpse of a Rove, Homo sapiens deceptivus, answering a question about Valerie Plame, pay close attention because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Roves aren’t often seen in the wild, only in caged habitats where every move and thought is controlled and measured.

In general, when you string people along you’ll want to speak in broad, vague terms. “We expect some progress in the near future.” “Some progress” could mean anything, even just another announcement. Near future is a great term because it’s so relative. The near future for a fly that lives for twenty-four hours is a lot nearer than the near future of a two thousand year old tree. “There’s been an unforeseen complication, we’re working as hard as we can to resolve the issue quickly.” Nobody’s going to question that. It sounds vaguely legal in nature, and clearly it wasn’t the team’s fault that the announcement can’t be made.  If you spread out these nuggets well enough and they’re properly ambiguous, you could lead people on for months, even years.

The second major problem with the announcement right now is that they’re all bunched together. It’s last minute, helter-skelter, “COME LOOK AT THIS” arrangement. Multiple people spamming multiple threads about some big announcement. It gets annoying, and quite frankly it pisses a lot of people off. Instead of doing that, plan ahead. Plant the seeds of an announcement early. You don’t have to worry about leaks because there’s nothing to leak. So go ahead and tell some people that you’re working on a huge project. You could even give it a fancy name like coL did with their four part evolution. By doing this you won’t need to spam all the forums at once trying to gain publicity. The goal is to get it to spread like an LOLcat or a YouTube clip: slowly making its way through the population until it blows up and everybody knows about it.

All I’m asking if that you’re gonna do it, do it right. Talk in vague terms. Plan ahead. Don't have any real news to announce. Let me start the new trend: 

In the near future, it’s likely there’s a strong chance there might be a huge news announcement about LANDodger.com. Sadly, there is the possibility of an unfortunate delay in the near future, but hopefully with a little luck and some hard work, we’ll get past any problems and we’ll be able to finally announce the announcement. Of course we’ll be doing our best to keep the community informed of any updates, but it’s a complicated arrangement so it could take some time to finalize. Thanks ahead of time for your support.

Now that’s an announcement.

Tags:

 

Everybody was so happy about the CAL placement tournament, but the honeymoon ended as soon as the actual list of teams was released. It’s not unexpected, if you invite X teams into the tournament, the X + 1 ranked team is going to complain. And in eSports, so will all the teams up to X + 30 that got caught with five golden ringers, four calling wallers, three French hackers, two sixteen-bitters, and an AWPer with a speed hack. Don’t even get me started on the other seven days of Christmas.

The problem is, there’s no specific formula you can follow to determine which teams get to be in the placement tournament. Some teams play CEVO, some teams are exclusive to CAL. Some teams have LAN accomplishments, some teams don’t. Some teams have new members, some teams … wait, it’s Source, all teams have new members. Then you have to consider who they played. A team that won a LAN by beating the only other team there, Grandma’s Geriatric Gamers, isn’t as impressive as a team that lost to coL and 3D by a narrow margin. There are so many variables to take into account that the best you can do is lay down some guidelines and then make some judgment calls. Which means people are bound to disagree with you.


Gaming: it's not just for whippersnappers and rugrats anymore.

But that’s fine, the whole reason for the placement tournament is the results reward the best teams more than comparing records from three different conferences (Atlantic, Central, Pacific) and at least three different leagues (CAL-I, CAL-M, CEVO). The point is that it’s a process. You find the best teams, put them in a tournament together, and then you do the same thing next season. If there is really a deserving team that was left out this time, they should rise to the top and get an opportunity to prove themselves next season. 

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the frustration. It’s no fun working for something only to feel like you got shafted. At the same time, that’s an inevitable part of sports. Talent evaluation has always been as much of an art as a science. Gilbert Arenas in the second round? I wish the Bulls could go back and trade up for that pick. One of the best lessons of Gilbertology is using rejection as motivation. After being picked in the second round he rode the bench his first season in the NBA. Now he’s not only an All-Star but an MVP candidate. As a fan of Counter-Strike, I look forward to seeing what the spurned teams can come up with. Hopefully they turn their frustrations into extra practice, come out with a vengeance next season, and make it obvious it was a mistake. 

If that doesn't do it for you, there is a method behind the madness. It's not as specific as a formula, but there are guidelines, which I'll shed some light on now. All the inactive and low ranked Invite teams were given spots in the tournament, along with teams that placed third or higher in the Main playoffs. A couple of those Main teams were moved straight to Invite, and some have to prove themselves a little more. Any team that didn’t play in CAL last season wasn’t accepted except for VisualGaming (formerly TeoS), and they were an Invite team during Season 6. There’s been some fuss about 50 Calibre being in the tournament, but half of their starters were also part of their #1 ranked team in Season 6 of Invite. Some of the other complaints have been with fromWithin and Children of the Sun. First of all, there’s been a little confusion about Skull’s roster. The majority of the players are from fW, not Skull, so it’s clearly not the team that went 0-2 in last season’s playoffs even though they’re under the Skull organization. As for Children of the Sun, they did win the Open division and came recommended by some of the admins within CAL. Can you make an argument against these teams? Maybe, but you can make just as strong of an argument for them, as well.

Having said all that, there are actually going to be matches played, so let’s shift our attention to that. There are eight teams that have an auto-berth into Invite, leaving another eight spots to fill with teams from the tournament. Just looking at the list, the teams that stand out to me are: Hyper, eMg, 50 Calibre, Visual Gaming, and riotsquad. Will they all make CAL-Invite? Now that I’ve picked them, probably not. For reference, my CEVO darkhorse was EG. I learned one important lesson from that: it’s hard to have your darkhorse team come through if they don’t make the playoffs. Ouch. Well, at least I didn’t pick Hyper (old roster) to win the Buy.com LAN … crap.

As for the other teams, there’s a good chance you don’t know them very well. So, as part of my coverage of CAL (and because I don’t want to get fired), I’m here to spread a little knowledge. But rather than introducing all nineteen teams at once and putting everybody to sleep, I thought it would be easier to break things up a little bit. Now that you know my favorite picks, aka teams that are already guaranteed to display the LD curse within one week, let’s get on with the first installment of the team predictions and recaps: the pre-tournament tournament.

Astute readers (I know you’re out there) will notice I said nineteen teams and think, “Mike, you fool, you can’t have a bracket with nineteen teams!” True enough. Hence the pre-tournament tournament. There were unique circumstances for these teams, so there are three early matches to determine the 14th-16th seeds and then it’s a regular 16 team bracket from there. The matchups are: eMg vs. riotsquad, Frag Facile vs. Cyber Phenom, and Nothing To Prove vs. Legends.  Cyber Phenom and Frag Facile were both chosen as alternates for the PT once Legion of Terror dropped, and Nothing to Prove has to face Legends for a spot because of their forfeit loss in playoffs last season. My personal favorite is the circumstances around riotsquad and eMg. They’re competing for a spot because each team has half of the starters that played for NPU last season in Invite. Think there’s a little friendly rivalry there?

Since they’re all best-of-three, I’m just going to give the results from that rather than breaking down every map and every score. Enjoy!



Chaotic? More like Cute-otic. Okay, that didn't make sense, but still ...

Cyber Phenom vs. Frag Facile – Before I get to the prediction, I need to get this off my chest: Cyber Phenom, please change your name! Would the San Francisco Giants rename themselves the Raging Hulks? It’s like Tom Brady wearing a Yankees hat – you’re just asking for trouble. The “online” label is one that’s thrown around pretty often, and it usually sticks whether you like it or not. I’ll forgive you though, since your team is formerly known as the Chaotic Penguins. I don’t know what chaotic penguins would look like, but I laugh every time I try to imagine it.

With that out of the way, they’re a pretty good team. They’ve finished third and fourth the last two seasons in CAL-Main (Central), and finished ninth in CEVO-Main. Unfortunately their only LAN performance was submarined by an excess of alcohol, which I think isn’t a rare problem in the eSports scene. (Memo to LANers: drink responsibly or Ksharp will knife you.) 

Frag Facile won CAL-O in the Pacific division, and I’m just not sure they’re going to take CP. I think they’ll give it a good shot, but the penguins (of the phenoms, if you prefer) should have a little more experience with the top competition, and I think they’ll take down FF in the best of three.

CP > FF 2-1


Nothing To Prove vs. Legends – I have to say I was a little impressed when I talked to the leader from Legends. He showed me an old-school screenshot of the CAL page, back when times were simple and the web was still 1.0. WONIDs frolicked happily among the people, not knowing they would be extinct in a matter of months. There wasn’t any money to be made in online leagues, so people just played for fun. And I didn’t have any clue what a forum was. So young, so innocent.

The more I look at the three pre-tournament matches, the more they make sense because all these teams seem to have similar finishes. A lot of decent finishes in Main, a couple decent LAN finishes thrown in here and there, but nothing overwhelming. This is another one of those situations – Legends finished fourth in Main, n2p finished third, and the only notable LAN finish was n2p placing fourth at a w2z in late 2006. I’m going to give this one to n2p by a hair, but I think it’ll be another close matchup.

 n2p > LgD 2-1


eMg vs. riotsquad – Honestly, I wish that these teams weren’t facing each other because I think they both have enough talent to move on. (That’s the subtle, “you should watch these matches if possible” endorsement.) The other two matchups featured teams that were just coming up for the first time, but the guys filling these rosters have mostly been in CAL-Invite before. AC, Dutch, vertigo, helix, LeKtriK, hiCKEEEEY, and projeKte are all aliases I recognize. 

eMg hasn’t been together very long, but I don’t think riotsquad would win any contest that starts with “established in”. Although they’re both playing for a low seed, it wouldn’t surprise me if the winner of this best-of-three was in Invite next season. And since I already mentioned eMg as a team to watch, it would be silly to pick riotsquad here, right? Right.

eMg > riotsquad 2-1


That ends the coverage for tonight, but I have a couple side notes. I’m sure you can tell the site looks a little different than it did before, I hope you guys like the changes. If you have any suggestions or complaints about the site or the writing, as always you can leave a comment or e-mail me at mike@landodger.com. I’ve been a little swamped, so some things are still going to be changed, transferred to the new template, or updated. Thanks ahead of time for your patience.

I’ll also be traveling the next couple days. I’ll be bringing my laptop along, but I’m not sure how much writing time I’ll actually have. Those pesky friends are always around to annoy me when I try to sit down to write something. But hopefully I’ll have at least a little time to write, and if not I’ll have a lot to cover on Wednesday.


 

CAL just announced a league-wide standardization for improper conduct, and it was an impressive list of offenses.  I think the only thing they overlooked was a competition ban for eSports writers that give bad interviews.  (I’m off the hook again!) 

The driving force behind the massive rubric was CAL|Daniel.  You may remember him from an earlier interview about the changes in the Counter-Strike: Source Invite division.  I hope you liked that one because he generously offered to answer a few questions and he’s back in the hot seat.


1) The CAL rules have been set for a long time and I haven't heard of any attempt to standardize the rules for all the games, what brought this on now?

CAL|Daniel: There has been discussion of standardizing the rules in the past; it has always been abandoned in favor of the flexibility that each game having its own rule set provides. This suspension list has been in progress for some time now but in order to make sure every game was able to submit feedback... it took awhile! It came about because we were sometimes contradictory between games on issues where it just did logically make sense. There were many user complaints; so in the interest of the community, I undertook the project to bring this policy to life.


2) A lot of the penalties are related to conduct -- racism, disrespecting admins, excessive forum suspensions, etc. Do you think people will follow the rules now that those things can result in competition bans?

CAL|Daniel: Ultimately, my hopeful answer would be yes. Whether that is the result or not only time will tell. I will say this much, however, at least now users will know what can constitute those suspensions so maybe they will think before they act. If not, at least they will understand clearly, where the suspension stems from.



It's a regular hammer by day, but don't be fooled. Every night it becomes an eSports banhammer.

3) Do you expect the QC/Appeals sections to be busy in the upcoming seasons while players and teams get used to the new rules? Would there be any leniency (under the right conditions) for violations like evading a forum ban while everybody gets used to the new setups?

CAL|Daniel: Rules always sadly have their exceptions and leniency will probably be one of those exceptions. One of the issues focused in the creation of this list was that many of these violations are easy to do accidentally, and therefore it should carry with it a light first offense. However, the exceptions will be left up to the game divisions to decide. I imagine that the appeals and QC process will now be far busier since it will be clear what violation is appealing (and under what reasons). I hope this list will add a better organization to appeals making it easier on the users and admins.


4) This is really comprehensive, but like you mentioned I'm sure there are going to be cases or violations that don't quite fit any of the listed punishments. Will there be a process for determining possible ban lengths as those unique situations arise?

CAL|Daniel: I am glad you asked that question. It was one of the hardest parts of the policy to construct fairly with the goal of the user not being punished unjustly. From the list, “The policy for suspending for a reason not present on this list or that wishes to deviate from that which is outlined needs to be approved by a panel. The panel should be as follows: Consist of three people including always the Game Manager and Operations Manager for that game with the third person being the anti manager if applicable or another senior admin from the game (or operations staff).” Every unique situation will have its own panel (of which I will often participate no doubt).


5) It seems like there's been a huge movement in CAL to win back support and popularity, especially in the CS:Source division. Did this spawn as a part of that movement, or did it kind of come up independently?

CAL|Daniel: This project was in the works long before my initiatives to reach out the communities. It came of its own accord as being a necessity long overdue. I do not want that to take away however from our attempts to reach out more to communities. Leagues are composed of those they serve. For this reason, my email is public and available to all who have ways to improve these communications lines or their specific community. I am always willing to hear new projects that the community feels CAL is lacking.


Thanks again to Daniel for taking the time to answer some questions. If you have any questions about the interview or anything listed in the rubric, you can e-mail CAL|Daniel at daniel.parmet@caleague.com


 

The biggest story in Major League Baseball (for everybody not in New York) is Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron’s homerun record. It’s a national story by itself, but throw in the steroids accusations and you’ve got enough talk show fodder to put Jerry Springer to shame. And if you want to get an idea of how important cheating is, listen to what they’re talking about. People are more concerned about Hank Aaron and Bud Selig’s travel schedule because of Barry Bonds’ alleged cheating than they are with the actual record.

(For New Yorkers, Roger Clemens making $4,500,000 every month is probably the biggest story. That's more than $1.50 every second. I’d ask to sign up for that deal, but I know it’s going to include fire, brimstone, a pitchfork and my soul, and I’m not ready to make that kind of commitment.)

Of course, their current problem is steroids. When something compromises the integrity of the sport, whether it’s cheating, gambling, or collusion, there isn’t going to be a bigger storyline. People still talk about David Stern and the frozen envelope that gave the New York Knicks the first pick in the 1985 NBA draft, which they turned into Patrick Ewing and a decade of dominance. Pete Rose is banned from the baseball Hall of Fame for betting games while he was managing the Cincinnati Reds. He never even did it as a player, and they’re keeping the all-time leader in hits out of Cooperstown because he compromised the integrity of the game. Going back even further, who can forget Shoeless Joe Jackson? Harsh punishment, but also necessary when you threaten a whole sport.


This picture is an unapologetic display of eye candy. Enjoy.

So it’s not hyperbole to call the release of the CAL Anti-Cheat Client the biggest news in the history of their Counter-Strike: Source division. The modified CGS format was a drop in the bucket compared with this -- not only in terms of the importance, but the number of players affected. Thousands of people will be playing on the client. (Or, as I like to think of it, the same number of people that are going to get less action while Paris Hilton is in jail for 45 days.) The original draw of CEVO was that you could play on the client and finally have some assurances that you weren't wasting your time against a guy with clear walls and no recoil. I'm not sure you can ever simulate the feel and security of a LAN environment, but CAL can finally guarantee some protection against cheating just like ESEA and CEVO do.

The way I see it, the client’s going to work in three ways, just like the steroid policy in baseball: it’s going to stop current hackers, it’s going to deter people in the future, and it’s going to catch those really dedicated douchebags that just can’t give it up. 

In the immediate future, people will probably give up the habit for a little while. The most effective time for an Anti-Cheat program is right after the release. Nobody knows much about it (read: how to get around it), and that’s going to scare cheaters. So whatever happens next season, at least we’re sure that the teams got to Invite on their own merit and not how good their cheating program was. 

(On a side note, everybody knows people are going to stop hacking, and I look forward to a thousand threads talking about how Player X dropped bombz in the playoffs last season and then went -18 and 18 in the Placement Tournament. You know it’s coming, so just prepare for the storm. And if you’re one of the legit players that happen to play poorly for a couple days, you have my deepest sympathies.)

But the brilliance of the client is really in deterrence. It’s pretty easy to hack when you’re confident you won’t be caught and you feel like you have to even the playing field. If you listen to people in Major League Baseball speak on steroids and greenies, a lot of them will mention using because they felt like they were at a competitive disadvantage if they didn’t. The drug policy evened out that playing field just like the client will for CAL. People who hack because they can get away with it won’t get away with it, and people who hack to even the playing field won’t need to do it anymore. Basically, the risk/reward ratio of hacking got a huge boost to the “risk” section. 

I’d go in depth about the client catching cheaters, but I think that pretty much speaks for itself, right? Right. The only thing I’ll say is that the happiest group of people might be the AC admins. There will finally be more to say than just “I don’t think he’s hacking.” A little hard evidence will go a long way towards easing their workload and their credibility. 


Begin sarcasm. "Please, take our money and give it to people that cheat. We beg you." End sarcasm.

Don’t get me wrong, all of that’s great for the league, but the biggest impact of the client is what it allows CAL to become: relevant to professional organizations. The client won’t do that by itself. But it will allow CAL to offer prizes without suffocating under a swarm of hackers, and we all know they’d come out en masse if there was money with no Anti-Cheat technology. I’m sure any company that donates resources would be thrilled if the team that won was accused of cheating. That's not as big of a problem anymore, and it looks like CAL already has plans for sponsorships if this quote from CAL|Shawn in the CAL-Main forums is any indication:

Actually, as an admin I would know about things that are going to happen in the upcoming season. So if you say there needs to be an incentive for ppl to play, and I say something like "just wait and see," maybe to you it's predicting the future but I already know what's going to happen.

Think about it: what have all these changes been geared towards? If you’ve been watching the forums, the biggest support for the CGS rules came in the Invite and Main divisions, while the people in lower leagues tended to disagree with the move. I’m not going to call them stupid or wrong, but it’s clear that the top teams have appreciated the switch, and I’m sure that was CAL’s original goal. CAL’s trying to draw the top teams back into their league, and the only step left to tread is offering rewards for the top finishers. It’s been a problem going all the way back to 1.6 when 3D and coL originally dropped CAL for CEVO, and they’ve finally taken the first steps to rectify it. And if you take that train of thought to its natural conclusion, it doesn’t take a genius to see that in the near future I’m going to be writing about CAL’s new sponsors and how they’ve managed to revitalize their league.


Text: CAL Client running ... please click 'Done' when your match has ended.

That might not happen, but it's a lot more possible than it was two months ago when professional teams had almost no reason to choose CAL over CEVO. Now they just need to keep the client updated, because we know the hackers will be back. They always come back. The biggest success of ESEA and CEVO clients isn't that they're unhackable. They just keep the programs up to date with the attempts to get around it. Or, on the other end, you have VAC. More hackers have probably lost their accounts through scams than VAC bans because the last update was during the Clinton administration. On top of that, CAL will need to at least make an offer competitive to CEVO, because I don’t think teams will leave $10,000 in CEVO prizes for some mousepads and headphones. But at least they're back in the game, and if they keep listening to the community and adapting their league to suit the needs and desires of players, they should at least remain competitive with CEVO.

But that’s all in the future, so for now let’s just bask in the warm, welcoming glow of the client while it lasts. I leave you with this haiku to commemorate the event:


AC client born
Internet: serious biz
Hackers in hiding


 
May 10, 2007

You ever have one of those ideas that sound great in your head, even at the same time you’re realizing it’s completely crazy? I happen to have one of those ideas. 

The good thing about them is you know immediately whether your crazy idea is going to fail or succeed, and it’s either going to burn like the Hindenburg or become as popular as adding “izzle” onto words to sound cool. If it’s truly crazy (crazizzle?), people are going to be skeptical even when you’re just setting up the idea. You’ll get some furrowed brows, a snort or two, and maybe the dreaded stink eye if you're really off your rocker. So at that point you know it’s not going well, but it’s not like you can stop, either.  The idea’s been percolating too long, and it’s time to let it out into the world. And the great thing about a site like this is that I get to go down swinging in front of thousands of strangers. 

(Here goes nothing … )


She'd be worth a pick in a deep league, but I don't know if she can be a top 10 fantasy QB.

What’s the one thing in sports that makes any situation more exciting?  Overtime. The only thing better than Albert Pujols hitting a game winning grand slam in the bottom of the ninth during the World Series is Pujols hitting that home run in the bottom of the eighteenth inning. (Bonus points if it utterly crushes the psyche of the other team or pitcher. Minus points if you’re rooting for that team.)  There’s only one unbreakable, irrefutable, irrevocable law for overtime: it has to be fair. Teams can’t play to a tie in regulation only to be given an advantage in overtime based on the luck of the draw. Yes, National Football League, I’m looking at you. The team that wins the coin flip in an overtime NFL game has around a 60% chance of winning the contest. That’s a good ratio when I’m all-in with a pair of fives, not when the Chicago Bears are getting ready to play the Green Bay Packers in OT. And really, everybody knows it’s unbalanced. Think of it this way: is there any set of circumstances where an NFL team would choose to be the defense first? Maya Angelou could be the quarterback and they’d still choose to receive the kick. That’s a sign there might be a slight imbalance. 

Sadly, the only thing worse than the NFL overtime is the system the CGS is using. They have a one round overtime, even on maps where the defense wins seven out of nine rounds. Which means in the CGS Finals the best teams in the world could play to a 9-9 tie, and then one of them would be randomly given almost an 80% chance of winning. Good plan.  If I had hopes of winning, I’d start figuring out who’s going to be flipping that coin, and if they prefer a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. Barring that, I’d start learning magic tricks with double-sided coins.

There needs to be something different for the sake of fairness, and instead of going back to the boring old OT formats, here’s my crazy idea: go with a hockey or soccer shootout. They’re the most exciting overtime formats in professional sports because the whole game literally rides on every shot. You can’t get more dramatic than that. Even the MLB uses the same system, there just isn’t a predetermined number of rounds.  In hockey you get five rounds (shots on goal), whereas in baseball the first team that outscores the other in a round (inning) wins.  If three of the most successful professional leagues use that basic format, and everybody agrees the one that doesn’t is silly, maybe competitive gaming should do something similar. I see some eyes rolling just at the thought of a shootout in Counter-Strike, but it could work.


This, like all Starcraft references, is just a ploy to increase readership in Korea.

Here’s how it would look: the terrorist team has five players with pistols, attacking a site against one defender with a rifle. Basically, the weapon and position advantages go to the defender, while the attackers just have to rely on greater numbers. (Terran vs. Zerg, if you’re a Starcraft fan.) There’s going to be complaints about the arbitrary or artificial nature of the setup, but it’s no different than soccer or hockey where they remove the whole defense and leave only a goalie. It’s just a test of skill for the most talented player on each team.

Of course, that’s only the basic format. I’m not sure what the best weapon restrictions would be. Five Deagles seems like too much of an advantage for the offense, so maybe they get four Glocks and one USP. Full nades for the defender seems excessive, too. It wouldn’t be much fun if he could just blind everybody and pick three people while they can’t see or hear.  Maybe the defender gets two nades of any kind, and the offense has one flash to help them through a choke point. 

The maps would have to be slightly altered as well – one CT can’t cover both sites, even against five people with pistols. But it wouldn’t be too hard to just cut out part of a map, or at the very least you could just label areas off-limits and have any team that goes out of bounds disqualified or that member is ruled “dead”. The overall goal of the whole setup should making the round hard enough on the defender that aces are still special, but easy that he doesn’t get creamed.  If it’s too easy or too hard, it becomes too predictable. 

Even though it’s completely different than the current OT formats, it’s clearly more fair than what the CGS is using.  Teams would be playing on the same map with the same restrictions so there isn’t anything inherently unfair with the setup, unlike a coin flip to determine which team gets CT side on Nuke. In this system, the player with the best individual performance wins the match for his team, which can hardly be considered unfair.  Artificially forcing the action with the player imbalance will make sure the pace is fast and entertaining, which is a huge concern for the CGS. In my mind I imagine Method trying to hold off five members from coL rushing, and he needs four kills to win the tournament for 3D. What’s better than watching one of the most talented players getting to show of his skills under pressure? 

Truthfully, the chance of this being implemented is smaller than the chance of finding WMDs in Iraq tomorrow. But it’s fun to think about, and the CGS system definitely needs to be changed. I promise if they use my suggestion I won’t demand royalties. Not being crazy is enough of a reward for me.


 

What’s the biggest stage in professional sports? That’s a matter of opinion, but I suspect we’d all have the same contenders: Superbowl, World Series, NBA Championship, Augusta National, Lord Stanley’s Cup. Or, simply, the playoffs. Playoffs are what Paris Hilton is to tabloids: a sure thing, the bread and butter, and a big ratings grab all in one. All the professional leagues make sure every series, every game, every play gets as much exposure as possible. (This sometimes comes at the price of viewer sanity – the NBA jingles drive me over the edge.) The playoffs are huge, just ask Jerome James or Brad Lidge. So, where are they in eSports?  This season, jammed into a two day extravaganza with minimal exposure. 


If Lidge's career is a ship, Pujols is an iceberg that you can't dodge.

The CEVO playoffs couldn’t be a better example. They could have been played at a worse time. The whole postseason was over in a single weekend, or as most of the community knows it, “let’s find a designated driver” time. The only worse time to have the matches would have been during the afternoon. Oh wait, they did that too. After a weekend of partying most people aren’t going to be worried about eSports until about 5 PM, aka three hours after breakfast. So for CEVO, what’s the rush? What could they possibly gain by having all the matches happen that fast? I guess it’s possible they like small crowds, but I find that a little hard to believe.

In contrast, look at the NBA playoffs. (This is the most convenient example since they’re happening now, but any postseason would work.) Those teams are only playing three, sometimes two times a week just so they can fit all the games into the TV schedule. It allows all the tension to build up. Golden State would’ve gotten less publicity if their series with Dallas was over in a day. By the time a lot of people found out that 3D had lost their first match, their second match was already done, too. The quick schedule doesn’t build interest, it hurts it. Stories can’t develop.

Here’s a list of some stories from the first round in the NBA:

Denver upsets San Antonio in Game 1.
– San Antonio destroys Denver 4-1 after being upset in Game 1.
Golden State upsets Dallas in their series, making history as the first eight seed to beat a number one seed.
– Is Dirk Nowitzki a true superstar, and can he lead a team through adversity?
– Baron Davis plays hurt in the deciding game, leading GS to victory.
Chicago sweeps the defending champions, the Miami Heat.
– Luol Deng and Ben Gordon further emerge as stars in the NBA.
– Vince Carter returns to Toronto.
– Vince Carter sucks it up in Toronto.
Cleveland and Detroit sweep their matchups. 
– The Lakers get blown away by the Suns, and Kobe demands more help.
T-mac fails to get another team into the second round, is he a superstar?
– Is Yao Ming overrated?
– Carlos Boozer dominated for Utah, especially in their last game against Houston.
– Is Jeff Van Gundy leaving the Rockets?

And that’s just stories from Round 1 off the top of my head. How many of those stories would have gotten pushed to the back page if the NBA playoffs had to be done as fast as eSports playoffs?

I can understand not drawing it out as much as the NBA or the MLB does. There aren't any TV interests in eSports, but condensing it that much is a disservice to the teams, too. Do you think they’ll be more or less prepared if they have to play four maps in one day? Ask coL, they had to do it. The strats aren't going to be as crisp, which means, basically, CEVO is putting out an inferior product by limiting the schedule that much. I don't think it's the difference between enjoying a match or feeling like you're watching the internet paint dry in slow motion, but it's a consideration at least worth mentioning.

I’d also be pretty pissed, as a player, if I had to sit around all day on Saturday and still be eliminated. One match every day for three days is a lot more palatable than playing for a whole day and not winning anything. That isn't much of a concern to compLexity considering they win everything, but it's probably a little annoying for the other teams.

Now, having said all that I realize the NBA has a lot more fans in the first place, so naturally there’s going to be more interest. The NHL playoffs are staggered well, and nobody really talks about them. But instead of trying to fit as many seasons into a calendar year as possible, I think CEVO and other online leagues should be making sure their product gets as much exposure and press as they possibly can. Right now it’s just not getting done. The CGS is just around the corner and it’s going to be hard enough for the online leagues to remain relevant to the professional teams. The very least they can do is make sure that the thing all fans are waiting for, the biggest stage, is actually covered and easy to watch.


 

There are a couple things still to address from the CEVO playoffs that I didn't cover yesterday. First of all, congratulations to compLexity for taking home the cash monies. It’s a little crazy how quickly they became the best team in Source, with no room for any kind of argument. They’re the best team like Michael Jordan’s Bulls were the best teams in that era. Everybody not being paid by Jason Lake is playing for second place.

One thing that hasn’t been talked about at all is the coL house. It’s hard to say what effect it’s had on their play, but it doesn’t appear to be hurting them like some people thought it might. At least I hope it isn’t, because if they’re playing worse by living in a house together, I’d hate to see what they’d be doing separately. There haven’t been killing sprees, emotional breakdowns, there haven’t even been any juicy stories. From an entertainment standpoint, I’m a little disappointed, but not surprised.

Oh, and speaking of coL, as part of getting Marcus “zet” Sundstrom a work visa they convinced the United States Government that competitive gaming is a sport. Up next for the organization is beating a team full of hackers, stepping in and finishing CSP, ending the war in Iraq, and maybe even turning a profit. Although I doubt that last one.


Is he: a) signaling his wife, b) showing off his shaved armpits, or c) professing his love for bull horns?

Outside of the champions, the story that got the most publicity in the playoffs was Hyper disputing verGe in the Lower Bracket Finals. Apparently verGe, as a team, decided not to record. I’d like to see something like this in real life. Can you imagine the fallout if Barry Bonds just decided not to take a drug test? Demos are the most reliable way of catching cheaters, and they’re playing for money. Nah, recording isn’t important. Even though it’s ridiculous not to record, I will say this: they handled it a lot better than the community did. verGe released a statement accepting the blame for their actions and agreeing with CEVO’s action of overturning the match. I don’t know if they were privately seething or not, but publicly they handled it very well.

That was in stark contrast to the community, who blamed Hyper like they were violating some code of ethics.  I hate to break it to you guys, but when the difference between second and third place is $1,000, teams are going to dispute if they think something fishy is going on. And as for CEVO, what should they have done, let verGe keep the win and advance? People would be just as pissed about that because it would look like preferential treatment. Everybody that ever had a teammate banned would be up in arms because they had their match overturned and verGe was allowed to keep playing. Cheating is the biggest issue in online gaming with the harshest punishments. If they allowed verGe to keep playing, CEVO would have looked more whipped than Doug Christie.

Other than that, there wasn’t much worth discussing about the actual matches. 3D fell flat, coL dominated, and the rest didn’t seem particularly exciting – which is something we should never be saying about the playoffs. It’s bad when the event that’s supposed to be the most exciting part of the season is over in the blink of an eye. So bad, in fact, that it’s worth a separate blog post tomorrow.


 
May 6, 2007

I’ve been busy writing about CAL news and a couple topics, but I’m finally backtracking and writing about the CEVO Season 3 playoffs. Looking at the results, my biggest question is: what happened to 3D? They were the #3 seed going into the playoffs, and the #2 seed, Hyper, had just lost its key player in NIghtFall. Despite their regular season record of 13-3, 3D didn’t put up much of a fight and got eliminated in their first two matches. They lost to verGe and EFG. Before I get into more commentary, here are the lineups they played with and their regular season records.


3D: 12-3

Kyle “Ksharp” Miller
Andy “recTOOOOR” Rector
Mike “Method” So
Sal “Volcano” Garozzo
Jimmy “LiN” Lin


verGe: 8-6

Sam “devour” Chamma
Grant "Griff" Hall
Drew "Drew" Morehead
Mike "paradox" Stanowski
Benedict "STRuK" Kaminski


EFG: 8-5

Trevor “P0S” Randolph
Ryan “pham” Pham
Josh “dominator” Sievers
Matt "resinous" K
Moe "mOE" Assad



Misery loves company. 3D, meet Dirk. Dirk, 3D. Long live the favorites.
I don’t see how this could be anything besides a disappointment, but it's not as bad as it could have been. It’s definitely notGolden State beating Dallas, but when a majority of the playoff teams, including verGe and EFG, had roster problems you’d expect a team like 3D to do a little better. Since I wasn’t able to watch the matches live, I went to the next best thing: SourceTV. GotFrag is hosting both of the demos (EFG, verGe), but you won’t need to watch them to understand what follows. 

(One more note before we start. When I’m talking about their performance, it shouldn’t be interpreted as a put-down, flame, diss, or anything like that. Everybody has a bad day, or a bad game, and it doesn’t take a genius to recognize it. If Barry Bonds goes 0-5 with 5 strikeouts and 5 errors, I think it’s safe to say he had a bad game. So if I say something like Ksharp looked awful, I already know A) he could beat me 30-0 in any kind of setting with any gun, and B) if I trained for a year, I might get three kills. There’s a difference between saying a player DID bad, and a player IS bad.)

My two big impressions: they tried to get a lot of picks, and they just didn’t communicate that well. I have no idea why this happened, but there were a few times that they were looking at areas already covered by their teammates, or running into each other, or covering the same site in a 2 v 2, etc.

For instance: verGe took the upper ramp at A on Contra and killed the person watching lower. Method is coming from CT spawn to back up Ksharp, who was watching upper and had to fall back. Method runs straight into Ksharp, they get stuck on each other, and Devour from verGe comes out from upper and kills them both with a deagle. Maybe the strangest thing is that both of them had AWPs. I’m not sure what Method was going to do with the AWP at top that Ksharp wasn’t already doing. 

On their T pistol round (CEVO's still playing under a normal config, not CGS rules) 3D was going to do a hard upper rush to A. verGe rushed down middle, which provided them with a quick flank. They got two kills on 3D before they could react, and 3D was left with recTOOOOR, Ksharp and Volcano alive. Instead of continuing the strat through to the site, which would have gotten a bomb plant at the very least, they decided to fight 3 v 5 at the chokepoint. That included the bomber, even though not all three could shoot at the same time because the hallway was too small.  Plus the cover from nades and flashes would have been a little better if they had continued on a little farther towards the site. 

Despite that they managed to work it down to a 2 v 2 with rector and Ksharp alive for 3D, and paradox and devour surviving for verGe. Then another miscommunication happened. It looked like Miller wanted to fall back towards CT spawn, while Rector wanted to push to the site. What happened was that they basically split up for a couple seconds, and Rector got in a firefight with paradox, who had time to come from the site due to the previous firefight. So Rector exchanged shots with him and started falling back, except by then Ksharp was running up the ramp to help him. Which means he ran right into paradox’s nade. So instead of having a 2 v 1 at either CT spawn or the site area, now Rector was alone in a 1 v 2 with about 25 HP. It didn’t end up well for him. 

3D had similar troubles on Russka, this time involving recTOOOOR and LiN. They were in a 2 v 2, and instead of splitting up and watching both sites, they rotated to the same site and allowed EFG a free plant and time to set up. EFG made a nice rotation, but 3D’s players were still out of position.

Other than that, my biggest impression was how heavily 3D relied on their picks. They were really aggressive with their pushes on Russka, and it put them at a disadvantage a lot. It didn't seem like a coordinated push, it seemed like players being randomly aggressive just for the sake of being aggressive. The other thin about their picking was that Ksharp didn't AWP as much as I expected him to. LiN's actually their primary AWPer on the CT side of Contra and Russka, which is strange considering how scary Ksharp’s AWP is. Don’t get me wrong, LiN is a great player, and Ksharp is a great rifler. But you don’t run strats away from Ksharp when he has a rifle, you do when he has an AWP. You have to know where he is at all times. It’s like the motivated version of Randy Moss. If you turn him into a possession receiver, he’s still going to be awesome, but that’s not what he’s the best at. You need to go to the deep ball to keep teams honest. Maybe it was just a map specific strategy, or a money problem, but as a fan I was still a little disappointed.

You know what the craziest thing after all this is? 3D's still the second best team in Source. EFG and verGe were just better on that day, but one game does not a better team make – the San Antonio Spurs lost their first game in the playoffs to the Denver Nuggets, and then came back to beat them 4-1. It wasn’t a lack of skill that sunk 3D this time, just seemed like a bad day. On top of the problems above, there was an unlucky TK here, a ridiculous shot by the other team there, those fluky things that completely change the complexion of a round and the money situation. I expect them to be the #2 team in CGS still, and honestly, based purely on player skill, they’re maybe the only team that can hang with coL. They just need to put it all together, and as a fan I hope they do. coL’s only been playing Source for four months, but they’ve won so much they’re already a dynasty. 


Coming up is a more general look at the CEVO playoffs, including coL’s win, and an article about things eSports has that professional leagues like the MLB can only dream about. Have a good Sunday!


 
May 3, 2007

I’m not a rocket scientist, but I like to think that I have a small helping of common sense. Admittedly, it’s probably very small – the size of my brain allocated to common sense might make an amoeba look like a gelatinous Godzilla.  But still, even I can see that all the roster movements in Source fly in the face of common sense. And those are the sensible ones. Some of the moves are kamikaze fighters smashing into logic and reason with reckless abandon.

That’s the bad news.  The good news is that EFG and verGe squads are back! After breaking up months ago, the core players are all on the same team (although the verGe members are now with the Forbidden organization). clowN, p0s, Warmach1ne, and moE are playing for EFG name, and juan, n0it, paradox, and Struk are all together again as well.  But wasn’t there a reason that these teams broke up in the first place? What’s changed between now and a month ago when they were all on separate teams?


The Intarwebs and fantasy baseball: both serious business.

It’s unusual that those players ended up back together, but the basic thought behind the moves isn’t abnormal at all. People are building Source teams like a fantasy baseball team, which only has one rule: acquire as much talent as you can. If somebody has better stats in the free agent pool, pick him up. If that person goes into a slump, find somebody else. If that doesn’t work, you make a trade. And, if those two options happen to fail, you offer your friends money in exchange for fantasy players, because winning fantasy baseball is really important. (And anybody who disagrees is a loser. A LOSER! Sorry, I'm still upset over Rich Harden getting hurt.)

The problem is that you can’t just acquire talent and expect it all to work out. It’s one thing if you’re trading Smush Parker (Clank-o-matic 3000) for Steve Nash (2-time MVP). That’s a pretty clear upgrade. It’s another thing entirely when you’re exchanging Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki. They’re not interchangeable parts. The Spurs are built around Duncan’s post game, and the Mavs rely on Dirk’s versatility and outside shooting. Dirk wouldn’t be nearly as effective in the Spurs’ system, and likewise for Duncan and the Mavs. 

Which, in a round-a-bout way, brings me to coaches. A trade like that would never happen in the NBA, but it occurs in eSports all the time.  Good players get dropped for other good players. Great players are replaced by other great players. That’s a problem with organizational philosophy, but even player movement in professional sports is a little trial-and-error. Not to the extent that eSports is, but you don’t have to be a draft expert to know that sometimes players don’t live up to they hype.  By far the bigger problem is that when a player exchange like Duncan/Dirk happens in eSports, nobody’s around to change the system to fit the players. 

So you end up with Tim Duncan on the perimeter shooting threes, and all his teammates wondering why he’s been playing so bad. It’s a bit more subtle in eSports, but you get the point. Then the team starts losing and everything goes straight to hell – even Terrell Owens is a good teammate when his team is undefeated. A loss here, a loss there, and pretty soon the clubhouse (read: ventrilo and IRC) is more like a boxing ring than a meeting place. Players fight about who’s bad, who’s good, scrim scores, match scores, baiting, strats, dedication, who needs Viagra the least, and, I can only assume, the meaning of life.

And that's why we need coaches in eSports. When things go bad people lose they look for things to blame. The usual scapegoats are officials or umpires especially if you're Rasheed Wallace) but in eSports it ends up being the other players.  Basically, you end up with Derek Jeter giving hitting criticism to Alex Rodriguez, only this time A-rod can just leave the team whenever he wants or talk back without any kind of punishment.   You think he’s just going to sit there while Jeter insults him in front of the team? Their relationship is already a little frigid. That’s why you have Joe Torre: a person who can see the whole field and not only evaluate what’s going on, but help people learn from their mistakes while not being a threat. It’s his job to make the team run smoothly and make sure people are in the right positions. Or, if they’re not, he can change the system or teach the players.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a cure all approach. You can’t take mortal enemies, throw in a coach and make them best friends. But I think having a system where players can receive criticism from an outside source instead of damaging their relationship with their teammates is critical to team stability. At the very least, I don’t think anything can be worse than what we have now. If you look at the CEVO season, only a handful of top teams even made it through the season without replacing two or three players. And teams at that level are theoretically the most stable. I don’t know how much a coach will help. It could be a huge advantage, or it could make less of a difference than one person boycotting ESPN. But instead of banging our collective heads against the wall and doing the same things over and over again, I think common sense suggests at least trying a different approach.


 
May 1, 2007

Group A











































Standings G W L T RW/RL P
One Eyed Zomblerz 2 2 - - 33/15 4
No-Namers 2 1 1 - 23/25 2
Team Nemesis 2 - 2 - 16/32 -


































Scoreboard 1H 2H OT F
One Eyed Zomblerz > No-Namers 9-3 7-5 - 16-8
One Eyed Zomblerz > Team Nemesis 8-4 9-3 - 17-7
No-Namers > Team Nemesis 7-5 8-4 - 15-9



Group B

 


















































Standings G W L T RW/RL P
Upper 3 3 - - 52/20 6
eMazing Gaming 3 2 1 - 51/21 4
Ungah 3 1 2 - 30/42 2
Tired of Winning 3 - 3 - 11/61 -

































































































Scoreboard 1H 2H OT F
Upper 5 8 - 13
eMazing Gaming 7 4 - 11
eMazing Gaming 21 - - 21
Tired of Winning 3 - - 3
eMazing Gaming 19 - - 19
Ungah 5 - - 5
Upper 21 - - 21
Tired of Winning 3 - - 3
Upper 9 9 - 18
Ungah 3 3 - 6
Ungah 10 9 - 19
Tired of Winning 2 3 - 5



Group C

 


















































Standings G W L T RW/RL P
[Fire] - - - - 0/0 -
Fuel Gaming - - - - 0/0 -
Pandemic - - - - 0/0 -
Just Type Kill - - - - 0/0 -



































































































Scoreboard 1H 2H OT F
Just Type Kill vs. Pandemic Friday, 2:30 PM EDT
Just Type Kill vs. Fuel Gaming Friday, 2:30 PM EDT
 
Start Time: Today at 2:30 PM EDT
Just Type Kill
[Fire]
Start Time: Today at 2:30 PM EDT
Pandemic
Fuel Gaming
Start Time: Today at 2:30 PM EDT
Pandemic
[Fire]
Start Time: Today at 2:30 PM EDT
Fuel Gaming
[Fire]
Start Time: Today at 2:30 PM EDT



Group D

 


















































Standings G W L T RW/RL P
Cyber Phenom 2 1 1 - 32/17 2
inRage 1 1 - - 13/12 2
Sharks With Lazers 1 - 1 - 4/20 -
carNage - - - - 0/0 -













































































































Scoreboard 1H 2H OT F
Cyber Phenom
carNage
Start Time: Today at 4:00 PM EDT
carNage
inRage
Start Time: Today at 4:00 PM EDT
carNage
Sharks With Lazers
Start Time: Today at 4:00 PM EDT
inRage
Sharks With Lazers
Start Time: Today at 4:00 PM EDT
inRage 9 3 1 13
Cyber Phenom 3 9 - 12
Cyber Phenom 10 10 - 20
Sharks With Lazers 2 2 - 4



Group E

 









































Standings G W L T RW/RL P
Digital Uprising - - - - 0/0 -
Brotherhood - - - - 0/0 -
Turmoil - - - - 0/0 -
































































Scoreboard 1H 2H OT F
Brotherhood 10 - - -
Digital Uprising 2 - - -
LIVE NOW
Turmoil
Brotherhood
Start Time: Today at 5:30 PM EDT
Turmoil
Digital Uprising
Start Time: Today at 5:30 PM EDT



Group F

 


















































Standings G W L T RW/RL P
Team Dick - - - - 0/0 -
Gamings Elite - - - - 0/0 -
High Self-Esteem - - - - 0/0 -
Hyper! - - - - 0/0 -



















































































































Scoreboard 1H 2H OT F
Hyper!
High Self-Esteem
Start Time: Today at 8:00 PM EDT
Hyper!
Gamings Elite
Start Time: Today at 8:00 PM EDT
Hyper!
Team Dick
Start Time: Today at 8:00 PM EDT
High Self-Esteem
Gamings Elite
Start Time: Today at 8:00 PM EDT
High Self-Esteem
Team Dick
Start Time: Today at 8:00 PM EDT
Gamings Elite
Team Dick
Start Time: Today at 8:00 PM EDT



Group G









































Standings G W L T RW/RL P
Slaughterhouse5 - - - - 0/0 -
Electronic Gaming Evolution - - - - 0/0 -
Eximius Sports - - - - 0/0 -






























































Scoreboard 1H 2H OT F
Eximius Sports
Electronic Gaming Evolution
Start Time: Today at 9:30 PM EDT
Eximius Sports
Slaughterhouse5
Start Time: Today at 9:30 PM EDT
Electronic Gaming Evolution
Slaughterhouse5
Start Time: Today at 9:30 PM EDT

Group A (zomblerz, n3mesis, No-Namers)


zomblerz > No-Namers 16-8

zomblerz > n3mesis 17-7

No-Namers > n3mesis 15-9


Zomblerz: 2-0, 33 RF, 15 RA

No-Namers: 1-1, 23/25

n3mesis: 0-2, 16/32




Group B (Upper, eMg, Tired of Winning, UNGAH!)


Upper > eMg 13-11

Upper > UNGAH! 18-6

eMg > UNGAH! 19-5

eMg > ToW 23-1

UNGAH! > ToW 19-5

UPPER > ToW 21-3


Upper: 3-0, 52/20

eMg: 2-1, 53/19

UNGAH: 1-2, 30/42

ToW: 9/63




Group C (Pandemic, Revived, Fuel, Fire)


Revived > Fuel 21-3

Pandemic > Fire 22-2

Fuel > Fire 13-11


P'emic:   8   9   17

Revived: 4   3   7


P'emic:  11  11   22

Fuel:      1  1      2


R'ived:  9  11   20

Fire:      3  1      4


Pandemic: 3-0, 61/11

Revived: 2-1, 48/24

Fuel: 1-2, 17/55

Fire: 0-3, 15/57




Group D (inRage, Sharks wit Lazers, Carnage, Cyber Phenom)


inRage: 9  8  17

Sharks: 3   4  7


Carnage:  9  5   14

Cyber P:   3  7   10


inRage:

Carnage:


inRage:   9  3  4 (OT)   16

Cyber P:  3  9  2 (OT)   14


Cyber P:

Sharks:


Carnage:  10  11   21

Sharks:      2    1    3




Group E (Turmoil, Brotherhood, Digitial Uprising)


Turmoil:

Brotha:


Brotha:

DigiUp:


Turmoil:

DigiUp:




Group F (Hyper, High Self Esteem, Gamings Elite, Team Dick)


Hyper

HSE:


Hyper:

GamE:


Hyper:

TDick:


HSE:

GamE:


HSE:

TDick:


GamE:

TDick:




Group G (Eximius, eGe, Slaughterhouse 5)


Exim:

eGe:


eGe:

s5:


Exim:

s5:

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