This week’s edition of The eSports Report brings news of a top Call of Duty player who is walking away in his prime, and a Counter-Strike player who’s just happy he walked away with his life. We’ve also got your breakdown for the start of the League of Legends LCS Playoffs and the 411 for a major Dota 2 tournament that starts today. Let’s get to it.
Matthew “NaDeSHoT” Haag Retires
The eSports Report told you last week about Denial eSports taking the 2015 Call of Duty World Championship. CoD fans will also recall that Denial played a large role in knocking out team OpTic Gaming on the second day of the competition, which came as a surprise to many, as OpTic was widely considered one of the favorites going into the weekend.
Now, it appears the fallout from OpTic’s poor showing has started with the best player on the team, and one of the top pros in the world, announcing he is leaving eSports, at least for now.
Matthew “NaDeSHoT” Haag spoke directly to his fans in a 10 minute video. It sounds like Haag is going through difficulty with being such a well-known eSports and online personality.
“I felt my passion to win wasn’t high enough to compete at this level,” Haag said. “I felt like I was playing not to lose. I wasn’t playing to win, so I wouldn’t hear the repercussions of it on my Twitter and YouTube channel for the next week.”
“If we’re not winning, I know that everyone’s coming after me. I felt my attitude and drive to win was holding back the team.”
Haag noted that he is also part-owner of team OpTic, which finished seventh at the World Championship, and that he feels it is best for the team to pursue another player to fill his spot right now.
Haag leaves behind some big shoes to fill, even if he’s in a slump. He was named eSports player of the year at the inaugural Game Awards last December. The New York Times ran a profile on him last year as well and estimated that his annual earnings were around $1 million. Haag closed his statement by adding that he is “very confident” that he will “be revisiting his competitive roots and competing for a Call of Duty title soon,” so it sounds as if this is just a break instead of a retirement, but only time will tell.
Danish Counter-Strike Pro Survives Attack, Slit Throat
A Danish Counter-Strike professional gamer is in stable condition in the hospital after surviving an attack in which his throat was badly slit.
Anders “rullox” Johannsen, best known for his time playing with Viborg Vipers, was rushed to the hospital immediately following the attack.
The trouble started when Johannsen tried to break up a fight between a male and female couple. Johannsen and the police said the male was acting violently towards the woman. Johannsen tried to help the woman after the man pushed her over a table, but the man pulled out a knife and cut Johannsen’s throat before running away.
That man, whose name has not yet been released, was arrested and the knife used in the attack was also recovered. Johannsen posted about the assault on his Facebook page, where many of his fans are offering their support.
NA LCS Spring Playoffs Down to Final Four, CLG Sent Home Early
The League of Legends Spring Playoffs began this past Saturday and now the North American bracket is down to the final four teams. The two semifinal matches will happen this coming Saturday and Sunday.
The first semifinal features Cloud9 vs. Team Liquid and starts at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 11. The second match features Team SoloMid vs. Team Impulse and starts at 3 p.m. Sunday.
Readers of the eSports Report might be surprised to see that Counter Logic Gaming, aka Team SoloMid’s biggest rival, did not make it to the semi-finals. Team SoloMid and Cloud9 received byes into the semi-finals as a result of their top two finish in the regular season standings. Counter Logic Gaming came in ranked as the #3 seed and had to play a first round match up against #6 seed Team Liquid. But Liquid surprised everyone by running CLG out of the building 3 to 0 on Saturday. #4 seed Team Impulse advanced to the semis by knocking off #5 seed Gravity 3 to 1 on Sunday.
With CLG out of the picture, most of the smart money now seems to be pointing towards a Cloud9 and Team SoloMid final, which takes place Sunday, April 19. But after Team Liquid’s upset of CLG, anything now seems possible.
Red Bull Battlegrounds for Dota 2 Kicks Off
The eSports Report told you a couple of weeks ago about Red Bull expanding its Battlegrounds series to include Dota 2, in addition to its popular Starcraft tournaments. Today was the official start of the new event.
Players can tune in to watch the matches live at Redbull.com/Battlegrounds. Today’s matches between the top teams in the Southeast Asia bracket occurred early this morning, but the livestream is rebroadcasting the matches all day long.
The China bracket starts action April 12, followed by CIS on April 16, EU on April 17 and North America on April 28th. The tournament will culminate May 10th in San Francisco.
Red Bull Battlegrounds features a unique format where all teams start with three lives and are not eliminated until they lose all three lives. There is also an opportunity to influence who your next opponent will be.
The base prize pool is $75,000, but the tournament announced its Red Bull Battlegrounds Bundle this week for $8.99. 20 percent of the sale price from the bundle will go towards increasing the prize pool, a similar tactic to what Valve does with the Compendium in The International. The bundle features the Majesty of the Forbidden Sands set for Sand King and the Fallen Cloak set for Clinkz.