Greetings, eSports fans. It was a big week in League of Legends, Dota 2 and Hearthstone, but isn't it always? This week: the LCS heated up when the top two ranked teams went head to head in League; Cloud9 and relative newcomer ScaryFaceZ shattered a major record in Dota 2; and some of the top Hearthstone players in the world threw down at the first ever O.T.K. Invitational. More on all of that, plus what's coming in the months ahead, in this week's eSports Report.
Team SoloMid Takes Down CLG to Claim Top Spot in LCS
Long time followers of the League of Legends pro scene know there's no love lost between Team SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming. The two elite squads had a record of 21 and 21 against each other going into Sunday's match up, but this weekend's victor would get more than just an edge in the head to head record. First place in the LCS was also on the line as the regular season hits the home stretch.
Staying true to the storied rivalry between the two teams, Sunday's match up was one of the closest of the season. The teams traded kills and towers for almost a half hour without either side getting the upper hand. CLG had an opportunity to gain an edge during a Dragon team fight, but SoloMid's Soren "Bjergsen" Berg showed off his ridiculous skills, managing to avoid four CLG skill shots in a row to escape with his life and the virtual tie still intact.
The battle turned 30 minutes in when Team SoloMid managed to find a gap in CLG's defenses to pull off a run at Baron. CLG's Peter "Doublelift" Peng had left the battlefield to go and cash in his large amount of gold, and once he left, SoloMid ran at Baron immediately.
The push gave them the momentum they needed to grab another tower and a dragon with no resistance from CLG. Counter Logic Gaming made one last gasp by taking a mid lane inner turret, but the ensuing TSM response overwhelmed them and SoloMid was in control from that point forward.
More than 400,000 people watched the match live and TSM is now 12-4 on the season and in the driver's seat for the #1 seed in the playoffs. Cloud9 may have something to say about that, though, as they could also be 12-4 when they face off against TSM next weekend. Never a dull moment in the LCS.
Cloud9 and ScaryFaceZ Battle in the Longest Game in Dota 2 history
Dota 2 has long been known as the more demanding game between it and League of Legends. Its games tend to last longer than League, because gaining an early lead isn't as big of a deal. Whereas many League games tend to snowball towards the finish line once one side has the upper hand, Dota 2 games can ping pong back and forth much more frequently because every battle largely comes down to who executes their plan better, and not always who is currently in control of the map objectives.
Never was this difference more on display than this past Friday in a match up between perennial contender Cloud9 and the relatively unknown ScaryFacez. The match lasted 200 minutes and 35 seconds, the longest in competitive Dota 2 history. The top three heroes alone accumulated 175 kills and a net worth of nearly 200K.
Altogether, five different heroes set new farming and net worth records, many of which were more than twice the previous mark. Just about every player had enough gold to purchase any item they wanted, and as the game progressed, players were dumping powerful items to the ground in order to adapt to the changing gameplay.
ScaryFaceZ finally came out on top, a somewhat embarrassing result for the much more well-known Cloud9.
ThijsNL Wins First Hearthstone OTK Invitational
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft just recently celebrated its first full year out of beta, and the game continues to grow at a rapid pace, with a new expansion releasing soon. New tournaments are also popping up all the time, and even first time tourneys are pulling in some big name players and sponsors as everyone continues to hone their skills in advance of the 2015 Hearthstone World Championship.
This past week, the O.T.K. Invitational Skirmish made its debut with the help of organizer Azubu and its sponsor Razer.
The 8 players invited were essentially a murderer's row of some of Hearthstone's best. The roster included current reigning world champion Firebat, as well as several of the most popular Hearthstone players on Twitch, including StrifeCro, Kolento and Amaz.
But it was ThijsNL, known in real life as Thijs Molendijk of Nihilum Gaming, who took home the $1,500 top prize, by beating Amaz 4-3 in an epic best of seven. The format was "Last Hero Standing", the same used at the 2014 Blizzcon World Championship. Players could take multiple decks into the tournament, but once they lose a game with a deck, that deck is retired for the rest of the series.
Both players went down to their last decks, with ThijsNL's Mage topping Amaz's Druid for the title.
Red Bull Battlegrounds Gives Dota 2 Its Wings
Red Bull has been making a name for itself in the eSports space thanks to its StarCraft completions, but now the energy drink maker is looking to expand its presence in the eSports arena by bringing its unique "battle" format to Dota 2 over the next couple of months.
The event will have 20 pro teams from around the world battling online to determine who will play in the finale May 10 in San Francisco, Califorina. What makes the "battle" format different is that in each series, participants will start with three "lives" and an opportunity to select their opponent. Each time a team loses, one life is removed from their pool. Teams who lose all three lives are eliminated. Five teams that emerge from the group stage will advance to the playoffs at the Red Bull eSports Studio May 5 in Santa Monica. The final two teams from there will advance to the series finale at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco.
The tournament begins March 29 and the base line prize purse is $75,000, but that could increase via crowdfunding, similar to what Valve does with The International.
New eSports Documentary Coming to a Cinema Near You?
eSports group ESL has partnered with a documentary filmmaker to have its popular Intel Extreme Masters series featured in a new eSports documentary called "All Work All Play". The film will give a behind the scenes look at the planning and production of the Intel Extreme Masters, the longest running global pro gaming tour.
The film will premiere July 23 at ESL's Burbank studio and fans will be able to watch the documentary live in cinemas across the country as part of ESL's "eSports in Cinema" promotion.
This certainly won't be the first eSports documentary to come out in recent years, with Valve's own Dota 2 documentary "Free to Play" coming to mind. It's fair to say that most of these documentaries so far have served as free advertising for the games or tournament featured, and it sounds like this latest venture will be more of the same. But the ability to watch the movie live with other people in cinemas is a unique twist. The exact theaters that will be showing the film have not yet been announced, but tickets will go on sale at eSportsinCinema.com presumably in the near future.
Following the airing of the film, ESL will also broadcast an after-show featuring gameplay and eSports personalities.