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Code S RO16 Preview: Rogue, Zoun, INnoVation, Dark

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by Wax

Welcome to the group of death? Well, that’s what Group C is, at least according to a TL.net reader vote. Me, I’m not so sure. Certainly, the combined name value of the players in Group C is tremendous, as they bring with them dozens of championships’ worth of credentials. However, the recent form of these four players has been… mixed, to say the least. In my estimation, Group C isn’t so much a group of death, as it is a ‘group of let’s see where these guys are at.’ Anyway, let’s meet our contestants.

Group C: Rogue, Zoun, INnoVation, Dark

Start time: Monday, Apr 12 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00)

Rogue enters as the top seeded player of the group, largely due to his championship run in Code S season two (GSL seeding only takes GSL events into account). Despite his legendary stature and unmatched success in world championship events, Rogue remains one of the most difficult players to evaluate in competitive StarCraft II. He’s infamous for the lulls he goes through in between triumphs, having followed up the glory of winning a world championship with the indignity of getting eliminated in the first round of Code S on two separate occasions. Consider this sequence of tournament finishes from 2020: [IEM Katowice: 1st place – Code S Season 1: RO24 – Code S Season 2: 1st place – Code S Season 3: RO16]. That… that’s just silly.

So, what are we to make of Rogue’s rather middling run of form since winning Code S Season 2 in 2020? After that, a top four finish in the Super Tournament was his best finish. In his most recent major event, he was eliminated from IEM Katowice 2021 in 8th place. It would be easy to chalk all that up to laziness/lack of interest—something Rogue has admitted to in the past—but I get the feeling that he’s just going through a stretch of ‘game-is-hard’-ness like every StarCraft player suffers from time to time. His play just seems to have suffered small declines all across the board—his Infestor-Viper micro in the game isn’t quite as crisp, his all-ins don’t have the same success rate as before, and his defense against early harassment isn’t quite as pristine. Also, while I typically don’t read too deeply into players’ body language or on-camera reactions (if Twitch chat is to be believed, every progamer is in a permanent state of tilt), some of Rogue’s desk slams and pained expressions convince me that he really is trying hard right now—the game is just refusing to comply with him.

After intentionally creating a group of death last season, Rogue took a conservative approach this time around and picked Zoun as his initial opponent (Rogue later insinuated that without a guaranteed Katowice seed in hand, he has to play it safe to maximize points). Like Rogue, Zoun is a tricky player to rate—but for different reasons. Since Zoun’s return to competitive StarCraft II in 2019 (like PartinG, he was a former KeSPA player who retired, went on a hiatus, and later returned to SC2), he’s been on a steady upward trajectory, and now seems to have established himself as a Code S regular with two RO16 appearances in a row. As regards to greater aspirations, his impressive 2nd place run in January’s Super Tournament 1 was certainly an eyebrow-raising moment, proving that at least in PvP, he was ready to compete against the GSL’s best (3-1 vs PartinG, 3-0 vs Zest, 2-4 vs Trap during the Super tournament). However, due to his failure to qualify for IEM Katowice, we’ve seen precious little of Zoun’s PvT or PvZ against top players in major events (he did manage to 3-0 Armani in the Super tournament).

Looking at Zoun’s combined offline-online record in 2021, he has the good-but-not-great statistical profile that you might expect from a Code S player: 65% win-rates in PvZ and PvT, a 57% win-rate in PvP (surprisingly low considering his Super Tournament success), and the #6 Protoss spot on the Aligulac.com rankings. That makes him an underdog in a group with so many vaunted players, but given his trajectory since his return, a surprise playoff berth is hardly out of the question. In a more subjective evaluation, Zoun does seem to have an element of clutchness that helps him perform above expectations. He made the Code S Ro16 when few expected it, reached the Super Tournament finals when even fewer expected it, and he has generally exceeded expectations in the Gold Series Team Championship by helping Alpha X to high finishes.

Curiously enough, Zoun decided to continue his mini-rivalry with INnoVation going by drafting him into the group, even throwing out a barb about INnoVation’s inability to dodge purification novas. The head-to-head record between the two is almost dead even, andeven INnoVation has admitted that Zoun is a tricky opponent.

The fact that Zoun can dare to poke fun at INnoVation reveals the paradoxical place the Machine is in. Like Rogue, INnoVation’s career body of work forces us to respect him regardless of his recent form. Put the 10+ premier tournament championships aside—when INnoVation shook off a year-long slump to beat Serral in a $150,000 deathmatch at WESG 2019 (arguably the biggest win any Korean player took against ‘peak’ Serral), I figured there would be no reason to doubt his talent ever again.

Yet, two years have passed since that victory, and the results say INnoVation is a much diminished player from his prime. INnoVation’s tournament finishes over the 2020-21 EPT/GSL season were remarkably consistent: in fourteen out of sixteen major events, he achieved a finish of top eight or better. Ten of those finishes were exactly top eight. It paints a portrait of a player who has become a very high-class gatekeeper. Do you think you’re ready to challenge Maru or Serral for championships? Let’s see you beat INnoVation first.

While that might cast some shadows on INnoVation’s chances of winning a Code S championship, you still have to feel good about the odds of him reaching the Code S quarterfinals. Eight has been the magic number for him over the last year and a half—by hook or by crook, he always seems to get there.

Finally, another illustrious player in Dark rounds out the group. Once a paragon of consistently excellent Zerg play, Dark has joined INnoVatioN and Rogue in becoming more of a feast or famine player. After winning the BlizzCon championship in 2019, he proceeded to lay an egg in the 2020 GSL season, only earning a single Code S playoff appearance (and even that ended in the first round).

Overall, Dark is in a similar predicament as Rogue: He’s still very good, he’s still a former world champion, but he’s somewhat diminished from his absolute peak. However, the big difference between Dark and his two legendary peers is that he actually has a recent-ish tournament that reminded us of how good he can be when he’s firing on all cylinders. In December’s TSL6, Dark went on one of the most impressive playoff runs in recent memory (really, only Reynor’s IEM run is above it), defeating Parting, Rogue, Reynor, ShoWTimE, Maru, ByuN, and Serral to win the championship. Four months later, one can still hold up TSL6 as proof that Dark will contend for the title in GSL—at least it feels like better evidence than INnoVation’s WESG, Rogue’s latest Code S Season 2 title, or Zoun’s Super Tournament runner-up.

All that goes to say, there are three legends in this group who could snap back into championship form at any moment. And, they’re joined by a rising star whose limits have yet to be revealed. There’s no result in this group that would be a true surprise.

Predictions:

Rogue > Zoun
Dark > INnoVation
Rogue > Dark
INnoVation > Zoun
Dark > INnoVation

Rogue and Dark advance

Despite these predictions, I’m bracing myself to see Zoun advance from the decider match after chain-cannon rushing a Zerg.


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Source: https://tl.net/forum/starcraft-2/571801-code-s-ro16-preview-rogue-zoun-innovation-dark

Esports

How to complete Flashback Coutinho SBC in FIFA 21 Ultimate Team

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EA Sports added a 90-rated Team of the Season (TOTS) Flashback version of Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona to FIFA 21 Ultimate Team on May 8. This item is available through the squad-building challenge (SBC) menu in FIFA 21 Ultimate Team.

This is Coutinho’s first special card. EA added this Flashback version to celebrate his inclusion in FUT 20 Team of the Season So Far (TOTSSF). He’s also a part of this year’s LaLiga TOTS promotion and will be available until May 16.

EA has greatly upgraded all of Joaquín’s skills, which include his Pace (+20), Physical (+13), Shooting (+11), Passing (+10), Dribbling (+9), and his Defending (+9) when compared to his 83-rated gold version.

This SBC costs around 529,300 FUT coins on PS4, 520,700 on Xbox One, and 623,500 on PC. This card is fairly priced when you look at his great stats. But he can also make strong links with other incredible players, like 98-rated TOTY Messi, 94-rated TOTS Casemiro, 94-rated TOTS de Jong, and Brazilian legends such as Pelé, Ronaldo, and Garrincha.

If you want to complete TOTS Coutinho SBC, you’ll have to turn in two squads: Die Bayern, Seleção, and League Finesse. The first segment requires an 84-rated squad with 75 chemistry minimum, one Inform card, and at least one player from Bayern. The second one needs to be an 86-rated squad with 60 chemistry minimum, one Inform, and at least one player from Brazil. Finally, the third solution asks for an 87-rated squad with 50 chemistry minimum and at least one player from Bundesliga.

Here’s the cheapest solution to complete TOTS Philippe Coutinho right now, according to FUTBIN, a website that specializes in FIFA content.

Die Bayern

  • GK: Péter Gulácsi 85-rated (RB Leipzig)
  • LB: Eden Hazard 83-rated (Real Madrid)
  • CB: Jérôme Boateng 82-rated (Bayern Munich)
  • CB: Konrad Laimer 82-rated (RB Leipzig)
  • RB: Hakan Çalhanoglu 86-rated (Milan)
  • CDM: Axel Witsel 84-rated (Borussia Dortmund)
  • CDM: Marcel Sabitzer 83-rated (RB Leipzig)
  • CAM: Julian Brandt 84-rated (Borussia Dortmund)
  • LM: Raphaël Guerreiro 84-rated (Borussia Dortmund)
  • RM: Koen Casteels 83-rated (VfL Wolfsburg)
  • ST: Andrej Kramarić 82-rated (Hoffenheim)

Seleção

  • GK: Andrea Consigli 86-rated (Unione Sportiva Sassuolo Calcio)
  • LB: Nicolás Tagliafico 84-rated (Guangzhou Evergrande)
  • CB: Paulo Dybala 88-rated (Juventus)
  • CB: Stefan de Vrij 84-rated (Internazionale)
  • RB: Oscar 83-rated (Shanghai SIPG)
  • CDM: Bruno Fernandes 87-rated (Manchester United)
  • LM: Son Heung-min 87-rated (Tottenham)
  • RM: Gareth Bale 83-rated (Tottenham Hotspur)
  • CAM: Dele Alli 83-rated (Tottenham Hotspur)
  • ST: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 87-rated (Arsenal)
  • ST: Rui Patrício 84-rated (Wolverhampton)

League Finesse

  • GK: Alisson Becker 90-rated (Liverpool)
  • LB: Roman Bürki 84-rated (Borussia Dortmund)
  • CB: Michał Helik 86-rated (Barnsley)
  • CB: Ederson de Moraes 94-rated (Manchester City)
  • RB: Rui Patrício 84-rated (Wolverhampton)
  • CDM: Wilfred Ndidi 84-rated (Leicester City)
  • LM: Raphaël Guerreiro 84-rated (Borussia Dortmund)
  • CM: Axel Witsel 84-rated (Borussia Dortmund)
  • CM: Koke 85-rated (Atlético de Madrid)
  • RM: Daniel Parejo 85-rated (Villarreal)
  • ST: Iago Aspas 84-rated (Celta de Vigo)

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Source: https://dotesports.com/fifa/news/how-to-complete-flashback-coutinho-sbc-in-fifa-21-ultimate-team

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Pokémon fans collaborate to make incredible Pokémon Adventures Sinnoh concept trailer

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In a collaborative effort between multiple Pokémon fans, artists, musicians, and editors, content creator millenniumloops has released another trailer concept that reimagines how one of the upcoming Pokémon games could look.

In the past, millenniumloops released a trailer that reimagined how Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl could look in full 3D using assets from previous Pokémon games. 

This time, they took the traditional Diamond and Pearl and combined it with elements of Pokémon Legends: Arceus to create a visual concept for Pokémon Adventures Sinnoh. This included full 3D landscapes for many locations in the Sinnoh region, like Oreburgh City, the Valley Windworks, and the Distortion World from Pokémon Platinum

The trailer also showed customization and accessory options, such as letting Pokémon wear scarves and other themed items or bringing back the Poké Ball Seal mechanic, which would use visual effects to change the animation of a Pokémon being sent out into battle. 

Millenniumloops and the team behind the trailer reimagined some of the gameplay elements too, using the Legends: Arceus battle system to provide a more involved look and some voice acting in the battle between Flint, one of Sinnoh’s Elite Four members, and Dawn. That battle also included fan concepts and models for what a Mega Infernape and Mega Empoleon could look like. 

The team even went a step beyond and showed aspects of the various Mythical Pokémon events that lead to encounters with Darkrai and Shaymin. 

The entire concept trailer is incredibly well made and had a lot of work put into it. But, as millenniumloops themselves noted, the entire thing is just an animated concept. It’s in no way a game and was made using mostly animation and editing software, including Blender, After Effects and Photoshop, which makes it closer to fan art than anything related to a fan game. 

But even though the trailers are just concepts and fan art, millenniumloops plans to keep creating them moving forward. 

“I want to thank you all for your love and feedback,” millenniumloops said. “I make these so I can inspire and motivate other creators/developers and to give you all a peek at what could someday be the future of Pokémon games as I try to be part of it. This is just the beginning of a long series, so stay tuned as much more is to come in the future.”

You can find a link to everyone who contributed their music, art, and voices to the Pokémon Adventures Sinnoh game concept trailer in the description of the video. 

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Source: https://dotesports.com/pokemon/news/pokemon-fans-collaborate-to-make-incredible-pokemon-adventures-sinnoh-concept-trailer

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How to complete TOTS Moments Barrenetxea SBC in FIFA 21 Ultimate Team

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EA Sports added an 89-rated Team of the Season (TOTS) Moments version of Ander Barrenetxea from Real Sociedad to FIFA 21 Ultimate Team today. It can be obtained by completing a set of squad-building challenges (SBC).

This is Barrenetxea’s first special card. He’s part of the LaLiga TOTS promotion. TOTS celebrates and highlights the best players who had a large impact on their respective clubs in the different leagues across Europe. Player Moments cards are used to celebrate a special match or season that a specific player had in the past. EA created this Player Moments card to celebrate Račić’s superb inside-the-box goal against SD Eibar.

EA massively upgraded all of Barrenetxea’s stats, including Shooting (+26), Physical (+25), Passing (+21), Pace (+13), Dribbling (+9), and Defending (+6), when you compare this new card to his 73-rated silver version. You can complete this SBC until May 15.

This is a good card with balanced skills. TOTS Moments Barrenetxea has four-star skill moves and weak foot. You can further elevate his quality by applying the marksman chemistry style, which will increase his Dribbling (+8), Shooting (+5), and Physical (+5), maximizing many of his skills, like his Finishing, Shot Power, and Dribbling.

This SBC costs around 208,700 FUT coins on Xbox One, 208,150 on PlayStation 4, and 256,450 on PC. The price is fair for this card, but it still doesn’t have anything too special to justify spending your fodder on it unless it fits your playstyle.

If you want to complete TOTS Barrenetxea SBC, you’ll have to turn in two squads: La Liga and 85-Rated Squad. The first segment requires an 84-rated squad with 65 chemistry minimum and at least one player from LaLiga. The second one just asks for an 85-rated squad with 60 chemistry minimum.

Here’s the cheapest solution to complete TOTS MomentsAnder Barrenetxea currently, according to FUTBIN, a website that specializes in FIFA content:

La Liga

  • GK: Koen Casteels 83-rated (VfL Wolfsburg)
  • LB: Nicolás Tagliafico 84-rated (Ajax)
  • CB: José Giménez 84-rated (Atlético de Madrid)
  • CB: Jan Vertonghen 83-rated (Benfica)
  • RB: Thomas Meunier 81-rated (Borussia Dortmund)
  • CM: Koke 85-rated (Atlético de Madrid)
  • CM: Axel Witsel 84-rated (Borussia Dortmund)
  • CAM: Raphaël Guerreiro 84-rated (Borussia Dortmund)
  • LW: Mikel Oyarzabal 84-rated (Real Sociedad)
  • RW: Jesús Corona 84-rated (Porto)
  • ST: Raúl Jiménez 84-rated (Wolverhampton)

85-Rated Squad

  • GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma 85-rated (Milan)
  • LB: Jorge Grant 85-rated (Lincoln City)
  • CB: Milan Škriniar 84-rated (Internazionale)
  • CB: Leonardo Bonucci 85-rated (Juventus)
  • RB: Danilo Pereira 82-rated (Paris Saint-Germain)
  • CM: Christian Eriksen 85-rated (Internazionale)
  • CM: Arthur Oliveira Melo 84-rated (Piemonte Calcio)
  • LW: Adem Büyük 85-rated (Yeni Malatyaspor)
  • RW: Pizzi 84-rated (Benfica)
  • ST: Romelu Lukaku 85-rated (Internazionale)
  • ST: Paul Mullin 85-rated (Cambridge United)

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Source: https://dotesports.com/fifa/news/how-to-complete-tots-moments-barrenetxea-sbc-in-fifa-21-ultimate-team

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Skys breaks down 1-vs-4 clutch vs. BDS: ‘I waited patiently for my opportunity’

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Alexander “Skys” Magor arguably made the play of the first day of the Six Invitational 2021 group stage.

Early in DarkZero’s Rainbow Six Siege match against BDS today, Skys was left alone against four members of French juggernaut BDS. Had Skys lost the round, BDS would’ve tied the score at 3-3 on their attacking half, a substantial win on Kafe Dostoyevsky. But Skys isolated each player in succession and, to cap it off, won a gunfight against superstar Stéphane “Shaiiko” Lebleu.

“I just remember that Kyle [“Mint” Lander] had died… I honestly don’t remember everything,” Skys said during a post-match press conference. “My teammates communicated where most of the people were… I just waited patiently for my opportunity.

Regardless of precise memory, Skys’ one-vs-four clutch resonated with fans and is widely regarded as one of the best plays of the day. DarkZero went on to lose the map in maximum overtime, however, with a scoreline of 8-7.

Skys also said he’s grateful for international competitions to return. “For like a four-month span, we were literally only playing SSG and TSM,” he said.

Another early loss to FaZe Clan put DarkZero at 1-2 on day one of the group stage. DarkZero went down 5-0 to FaZe in the opening half of the day but fought their way back to a respectable 7-4 loss. Head coach Brandon “BC” Carr said slow starts are normal for DarkZero, though, and it’s something they’ve been working hard to improve on.

“Our comms take a little while to get going… we got penalized and got too far behind to really come back,” BC said. “We didn’t necessarily change the game plan or anything like that. We knew how we wanted to approach FaZe, it just took a while for us to start firing.”

DarkZero are going to have to find a way to start quicker against their next opponent. They take on the red-hot Team Empire on May 13 at 4am CT and can’t afford to drop many more maps. If DarkZero don’t finish in the top four in their group after the round robin has completed, they’ll be facing a single-elimination tournament as opposed to the double-elimination safety net given to those in the top four.

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Source: https://dotesports.com/rainbow-6/news/skys-breaks-down-1-vs-4-clutch-vs-bds-i-waited-patiently-for-my-opportunity

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