eSports @OnRPG – IEM Singapore and Dreamhack Winter
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG eSports Reporter
The players must be dead tired by now or extremely jetlagged since past weekend was the third event planned in November for most professional gamers. With two events live at the same time, this was a promising weekend yet again for any eSport fan of both League of Legends and Starcraft 2. With big players and teams going to both of the events, this weekend was chaotic to cover with switching streams and eliminations going on in both tournaments. Hopefully with the new collaboration between the organization in question and MajorLeagueGaming this will be prevented in the future to give the best quality content for everyone.
First things first, let’s start off with the biggest event of this winter which is the DreamHack Winter tournament. In this big event, everyone from all over the world gathers around in one big hall to compete with each other. Besides this big main hall there is also the big tournament for all the pro players for both Starcraft 2 and League of Legends. Since this is one of Europe’s biggest tournaments, big names for both games ignored their fatigue to compete for the huge prizepot. DreamHack has the knack of having one of the hardest competitions, mainly because the prize money they hand out is not a joke at all, and unlike some lesser tournaments, they have some hefty sponsors that ensure the money is paid out timely. So let’s begin our DreamHack with Starcraft 2!
Dreamhack – Starcraft 2
With Sweden’s proud players coming home to play in their homecountry, this was a promising match for most Sweden Starcraft 2 fans that want to get close to the professionals. And with other big names coming in from the countries around Europe and even some Koreans, this was in my eyes the most exciting tournament of the two. I am not going into full detail with both these tournament since there is so much to cover, but all the Protoss and Terran fans were in for a treat in both tournaments; despite complaints that both races are underpowered in the current metagame, they achieved respectable results.
DreamHack started out in the grouping faze where only the top 3 out of six could advance to the bracket stage of the winter tournament. With big names like TheSTC, Stephano, SaSe, DIMAGA, NightEnd, ForGG and Ret falling out of the tournament in only the groupstages, all predictions were off the table as new unfamiliar names rose to their chance to shine in the spotlight. A young Belgium player named Feast was among the notable unexpected players to advance along with Snute and fraer, resulting in a showdown between the old and new generation. NaNiWa drew the crowds after his repeated strong showings this past month.
TLO came showing great determination as he has grown successively stronger over the past year and now had his chance to prove himself against the big shots including ThorZain, Socke, and Nerchio. This vicious bracket carried the theme that ‘Where heroes fall, new champions will rise’ as one upset followed another.
Unfortunately for the European fans, the tournament was unkind to their champions, with all but Nerchio and monchi standing tall after the second round of eliminations. Though players of any geographic were able to appreciate the teammate battle between the legends Hero and TaeJa as they faced off in the semi-finals for a best of seven series. Hero has had a slump for the past six months, but this month has experienced a bit of a renaissance in his playstyle, making many question if the godly machine TaeJa could really put a stop to his momentum. Surprisingly Hero not only won but demolished TaeJa in a 4-0 shutout to claim $37,726 in prize money, with his teammate still pocketing a hefty runner-up prize of $15,090.
Dreamhack – League of Legends
DreamHack also lured League teams from around the world with a grand prize of $18,500. Just like the Starcraft 2 competition, the games started off in the Group Stages where only the top two of each group advanced into the brackets. With $2,200 given to the last place teams, everyone could smile knowing they would walk away with a nice prize. In the first group the big fan favorite CLG EU managed to place first with a relatively unknown team, Sju Sjösjuka Sjömän, taking the second spot.
No one was really surprised when Fnatic emerged unscathed from the second Group Stage, winning all 3 matches. The CopenHagen Wolves limped into the second position, knowing they had a rough battle ahead if they were going to make a dent in Fnatic’s claim for the grand prize.
With only four teams left in the brackets, the semi-finals rang in a do or die aura. You could probably guess but both CLG.EU and Fnatic shrugged off the two lesser known teams to meet each other in the finals. In an exciting series Fnatic took the tie breaker match, leaving fan-favorite CLG.EU to go home with only $12,600.
IEM Singapore – Starcraft 2
Meanwhile in Singapore the Intel Extreme Masters raged all weekend with close plays and tight matches. Europeans and Koreans faced their jetlag with blazing endurance as fans from around the world tuned in at odd hours to catch these epic match-ups. This was yet again a match between the Europeans and Koreans that took a slightly different turn than our tournament in Sweden. With players such as MC, VortiX, HasuObs, YugiOH, StarDust, Sting, Revival, Zenio, Ninja, sLivko, LucifroN and Grubby advancing to the brackets of IEM Singapore, fans and players alike downed their energy drinks to stay tuned for this all-star line-up. The format was akin to Dreamhack so players faced similar challenges. This match-up puts quite a bit of pressure on players as elimination comes early and mercilessly, leaving LucifroN, StarDust, HasuObs, Zenio, MC, Revival and Yugioh out of the running after two short rounds. With three Europeans left in the Semifinals versus the one Korean, I joined my EU buddies in cheering for vengeance after the poor showing in Dreamhack.
While Sting took the battle against VortiX, and won the series with only a one game difference in an exciting match, Grubby and sLivko fought it out in the other semi-final game with Grubby making a huge comeback, taking the match as the final result. This meant the final match was Sting versus Grubby. Just as in the semi-final game for Grubby, he lost the first games but not without putting out a pro level last stand in each defeat. It looked rather grim for Grubby but he managed to tie the series up as he adapted and evolved to match Sting’s tactics at an amazing pace. Unfortunately the last game the Korean player Sting showed Grubby who the better player was in these series and took home $6,500 leaving Grubby with $3,300 as a second place prize.
IEM Singapore – League of Legends
It was truly a 24/7 weekend of eSports as IEM Singapore brought in teams from all across the Asian continent and even 2 from Poland. With the same format as in DreamHack, only two teams were able to advance to the brackets and Absolute Legends NA, Kuala Lumpur Hunters, MeetYourMakers and Itadakimasu where the stronger ones to advance. The fan favorite Absolute Legends NA had to face Itadakimasu in the first series of the brackets, and successfully advanced with a 2-0 score. The second fan favorite MeetYourMakers had to battle it out versus Kuala Lumpur Hunters and also advanced with a 2-0 score. In the finals both fan favorites had to clash it out against each other, and in this promising series all the fans were given a great show. In the end the weekend closed out with MeetYourMakers taking out Absolute Legends and bagging $15,500 in prize money, leaving Absolute Legends NA the second prize of $8,500.