Last Week in E-Sports: Closing the Capcom Cup

Although the end of the year is quickly approaching, not every e-sport has finished its season. We still had the last big Street Fighter V tournament last week with the conclusion of the Capcom Cup. It was an outstanding tournament with a final match to remember, and with it came a host of exciting new announcements about upcoming games and tournaments. It was a bright spot in the murky mire of qualifiers and roster shuffles that normally happen at the end of the e-sports year.

NuckleDu Wins the Capcom Cup

It was an astounding show at the Capcom Cup last weekend. Upset after upset continued to shake up the brackets, leading to a final that nobody expected. Major players such as Daigo Umehara and Justin Wong were eliminated early in the bracket while two all-American all-stars, Du “NuckleDu” Dang and Ricki Ortiz, battled their way to the finals.

Ortiz had a fantastic showing all weekend long. Her incredible Chun-Li play kept most players off balance. She proved to be a master of spacing, keeping opponents just inside leg’s reach without letting them close the gap. So many of her matches came down to the wire, edging out 3-2 victories against some of the best in the business. Seeded seventh from the bottom, she was clearly the underdog in this competition, and her second place standing was well earned.

NuckleDu, on the other hand, was seeded fourth, and was one of the only players in the top 11 seeds to actually make it into the top 4. He set a new standard for aggression with his powerful R. Mika play. Unlike Ortiz, NuckleDu’s victories were all hard sweeps, either 3-0 or 3-1. He clearly had unstoppable momentum since the tournament began and quickly set himself up as the player to beat.

NuckleDu’s win marks the end of a 14-year losing streak for America. Prior to last weekend, no American player had won the main Street Fighter tournament at ANY world championship event (EVO, Capcom Cup, or otherwise) since Jason “Afrocole” Cole won the Super Street Fighter II Turbo title at Evo in 2002.

Other Notable Victories

  • Flipsid3 Tactics recently won the finals of the second Rocket League Championship Series. They will be bringing home $50,000 of the $125,000 prize pool, the largest purse any indie e-sports title has seen.
  • OpTic Gaming has claimed the ELEAGUE Season Two title by triumphing over Astralis. They will be bringing home a $400,000 grand prize.
  • EnVyUs has managed to defeat Afreeca Freecs in a clean 4-0 sweep to take home the OGN Overwatch APEX gold. This marks their first major title win.

The Houston Rockets Are Blasting Off Into E-Sports

Yet another traditional sports team is joining the world of e-sports. The Houston Rockets are bringing in former Team Archon co-owner Sebastian Park as an advisor. His job will be figuring out how the NBA franchise can most effectively enter the e-sports market.

Most traditional sports teams invest in established e-sports franchises. However, the Rockets will be the first NBA team to bring on a dedicated e-sports advisor to help them before investing. Signs point toward the Rockets establishing their own competitive team in the future, though this has not yet been confirmed. It’s possible the Rockets will still go the investor route.

Overwatch Claims Best E-Sports Title at the Game Awards

While it’s impossible to deny that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the biggest e-sport on the scene, Overwatch has been voted the best. Receiving the Best E-Sports Title at The Game Awards last week, Overwatch was commended for its mechanical excellence, its creative take on the shooter genre, its outstanding community support, and its progressive initiatives in the world of professional e-sports. All e-sports awards at the show were chosen by global fan voting, so it’s not just the critics who agree on this one.

Overwatch was up against some heavy competition in the category. It edged out CS:GO, DOTA 2, LoL, and SFV – all powerhouses in the e-sports world. It also won several other awards, including the prestigious Game of the Year award. In fact, it exited the show as the game with the single most awards given that night.

E-Sports Figureheads Launch Code Red

Several important e-sports figures have come together to form Code Red, a new agency that is looking to aid broadcasters in the e-sports world. They will offer their services to new and veteran broadcasting talent and will be focusing heavily on broadcaster rights. They will also be working on integrating major brands that are looking to get involved in e-sports. The company has been operating in an unofficial capacity for a few months and has already worked with brands like Valve, PGL, Ginx.TV, Gfinity and the Esports Industry Awards.

The board of directors includes Paul “ReDeYe” Chaloner, Austin “Capitalist” Walsh, and former heads at ESL UK Ben Woodward and Luke Cotton. They hope that Code Red will help improve professionalism and working conditions for e-sports talent, both player and broadcaster alike.

EA Teams up With NFL Media to Support Madden E-Sports

One of the great ironies in the world of video games is that traditional sports games rarely make it as an e-sport. I suppose few people want to watch digital football when they can just watch the real thing.

But EA is looking to change all that. They previously announced plans for a one million dollar Madden tournament circuit, and now they will be teaming up with NFL Media in an attempt to push and popularize the football franchise as a potential e-sports competitor. A recent deal will see NFL Network and NFL.com covering EA’s Madden circuit from December through April, and sets the groundwork for a new weekly TV show about the Madden scene called Madden America

Immortals In Trouble After Ill-Thought Out Twitter Joke

Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon and Lee “Piccaboo” Jong-Beom, formerly of KT Rolster, were supposedly in talks with Immortals, according to recent rumors. The rumors were so strong that Immortals players themselves tweeted out images of jerseys bearing the players’ names. This set off a firestorm of speculation that the two players had been signed. Unfortunately, this was not the case, and ended up landing Immortals in some serious trouble.

While the Immortals did apologize to both players and for their tweet in general, they attempted to wave it off as “cultural differences” between North America and Korea. I’m not personally sure what sort of cultural differences warrant making up a fake jersey before a player is signed.

The Roster Round-Up

  • Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten will be returning to H2K after leaving their League of Legends side to compete with Fnatic. He will be replacing Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook, who has only recently left the team’s lineup.
  • Han “Peanut” Wang-ho has decided to leave the ROX Tigers LoL team after his contract expired. It is currently uncertain where Peanut will go next. It’s also uncertain what will happen to the ROX Tigers now that they have lost all five players in its 2016 lineup.
  • CJ Entus, one of the biggest Korean League of Legends franchises, has dropped a whopping nine of its twelve players. Only Seo “Soul” Hyeon-seok, Lee “Reach” Joo-won, and Park “SungHo” Sung-ho remain on the team.
  • Toplaner Lee “Duke” Ho-seong and jungler Bae “Bengi” Seong-woong have both left the world championship winning SK Telecom T1. Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho may be taking Duke’s former spot, though official replacements have not yet been announced.
  • Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong will join KT Rolster’s League of Legends roster. Mata is largely considered one of the best Korean LoL players in the scene right now, and he will make a powerful addition to KT Rolster’s already star-studded lineup.

Lincoln “fnx” Lau will be leaving SK Gaming. He will be replaced by Portuguese player Ricardo “fox” Pacheco for next week’s ECS finals.