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The PCS 2021 Spring Split playoffs are heating up




LoL Teh “GravityWillFall” Wi-Liam

Things are starting to heat up in the PCS 2021 Spring Split playoffs as we near the end of the tournament.

It was clean sweeps over the course of the weekend with J Team, Berjaya Dragons, Machi Esports, and Hong Kong Attitude taking part in the action. The prevalent theme of the games over the weekend was the three-nil sweeps across the board as Machi Esports came out as the top dog amongst the four teams.

Both games were played out over the weekend with the winners facing off against one another for that coveted spot in the loser bracket finals. This puts them one step closer to reaching the grand finals where the victor represents the whole of Southeast Asia at the Mid-Season Invitational next month.

J Team vs Berjaya Dragons

The first game of the weekend was between J Team and Berjaya Dragons and it was a feisty affair, to say the least. Both teams used the same champions in more than one game as J Team stuck with Kai’Sa, Hecarim, and Alistar for all three games as well as Gnar for two games. Berjaya Dragons, on the other hand, stuck with Volibear and Tristana for all three games while Orianna, Tristana, Rakan, and Renekton were picked twice each.

Berjaya Dragons managed to take a slight lead in the early game but it didn’t last long before J Team got their footing and began to dominate across the map. To put it into perspective, Berjaya Dragons were stuck on just six kills the entire game while J Team ended the game with 20.

Game two wasn’t any better for Berjaya Dragons as they tried the same strategy once more with the same lineup. However, J Team also did the same but switched Akali for Kassadin instead. As a result, J Team won the second match in an even shorter time than the first. Game three was the nail the coffin for Berjaya Dragons as they just couldn’t keep up with the pressure. J Team was able to hold them off at arm’s length, ensuring that a comeback was virtually impossible in all three games.

Machi Esports vs Hong Kong Attitude

In the second series of the weekend, we saw Machi Esports take on Hong Kong Attitude. Having placed second in last year’s PCS Spring Split as well as clinching gold in the PCS Summer Split, it’s hard to write them off entirely, even if they’re in the lower bracket. While HKA did put up a worthy fight, it was unfortunately not enough to see them through.

Game one was a fairly even affair for both teams until the mid-game where Machi Esports slowly pulled away with a gold and kill lead. This all culminated in the Baron’s pit where Machi Esports took out four from HKA before breaching the high ground of their base and taking the Nexus. Game two was a disastrous affair for HKA as well with Machi Esports taking control of the game from the get-go. They were able to take a substantial lead from the start, not giving HKA a moment to breathe before forcing out the ‘GG’ call by breaching their base in less than half an hour.

In the last and final game of the series, it was do or die for HKA and unfortunately, it was the latter chosen for them by Machi Esports. While it was the longest match of the series (by only 34 seconds though!), HKA tried their hardest to make things difficult. However, as the mid-game rolled around, that is where Machi Esports were at their strongest, able to take fights with ease and walk away unscathed. Soon after, ‘GG’ was called as Machi Esports appeared too much for HKA to handle.

J Team vs Machi Esports

Both teams were feeling confident heading into the series having won their previous matches in convincing fashion. Game one started out fairly slow with first blood only being drawn after 13 minutes by J Team. They soon managed to maintain a slim gold lead heading into the mid-game but Machi Esports managed to catch up soon after. It was a tight match between both teams, who were evenly matched in every aspect. However, J Team soon buckled under the pressure and called ‘GG’.

Game two started out at a much quicker pace with machi Esports taking a quick lead in the early game. But it was J Team who regained the lead in the mid-game, not giving Machi Esports a moment’s notice. Moving into the late game, J Team were able to build a sizeable lead in terms of gold and kills, leading by as much as 7k gold at one point. Sadly, that wasn’t enough to deter Machi Esports as they dug deep, pushing J Team and taking over their base in one fell swoop.

The last match of the series was another tightly-contested game with both J Team and Machi Esports keeping up with one another in terms of gold and kills. While J Team were able to maintain a slim lead throughout the majority of the match, they could never use it to their full advantage, giving Machi Esports the opportunity to pounce on their mistakes and take the win to move into the loser bracket finals.

Still to come…

Machi Esports will be waiting for the loser of the match between PSG Talon and Beyond Gaming, the top two teams so far in the PCS 2021 Spring Split. They will face off in four days time on 17th April. The loser will drop down to the lower bracket final and play Machi Esports a day later.


Can Machi Esports bring themselves to the grand finals?

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Sources: Karmine Corp finalizes 6-month deal with top laner Cabochard to replace Adam




LFL and European Masters reigning champion Karmine Corp finalized a 6-month deal with ex-LEC toplaner Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet to replace Adam Maanane after his departure from KCorp was confirmed a few days ago according to sources close to Dot Esports.

KCorp concluded a deal with the 24-year-old French top laner a few days ago, while former top laner Adam is heading to the LEC as the new starting toplaner for FNATIC, according to a Dot Esports report published on May 11th. At the moment, Cabochard will be KCorp’s toplaner for just the LFL Summer Split and the Summer European Masters, as his contract will expire next November, sources said.

After five years on Team Vitality, the French LEC team announced last December that Cabochard would not continue on the starting roster for the LEC 2021 spring split. He was substituted by Mathias “Szygenda” Jensen.

Cabochard has been out of competition these past months, and now he will be with KCorp–currently considered the best team outside the LEC–to play in the LFL and the next European Masters.

This is expected to be the only change to the KCorp line up heading into this upcoming Split. Thus, the final roster would be Cabochard, Jakub “Cinkrof” Rokicki, Lucas “Saken” Fayard, Matthew Charles “xMatty” Coombs and Raphaël “Targamas” Crabbé.

Dot Esports reached out to Karmine Corp, but the French team kindly declined to comment about this move.

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Excel parts ways with Czekolad, Tore




Excel Esports is making changes to its League of Legends roster ahead of the next split.

The organization confirmed the departure of mid laner Paweł “Czekolad” Szczepanik and support Tore Hoel Eilertsen today.

“We will always be grateful for the passion and skills they have both brought to the team,” Excel head coach Joey “YoungBuck” Steltenpool said in a statement on social media. “Roster changes are never easy, however, we have to look at ways to improve our team’s synergy and performance.”

The team attempted to replace Czekolad and Tore in the middle of the 2021 LEC Spring Split and planned to introduce players from their academy roster, but according to sources close to Dot Esports, they were prohibited from following through with their actions. The players were even sent home before Excel realized they had made a mistake.

“Players who played in thirteen or more LEC Matches are ineligible to participate in any ERL Regular Season, Playoffs and the EM event for the current Split,” it says in the LEC rulebook. 

The team have held “extensive tryouts” during the off-season and are “confident” they have found a roster that will help them achieve their “Summer Split ambitions,” according to a statement today.

Excel has finalized a deal to sign Misfits Gaming support Petr “denyk” Haramach and former Astralis mid laner Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik for the 2021 LEC Summer Split, sources told Dot Esports on May 10

Make sure to follow us on YouTube for more esports news and analysis.

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“Like signing Cristiano Ronaldo”: NIP on landing device and his impact inside and outside of the game




Hampus “⁠hampus⁠” Poser could hardly believe what he was hearing.

Imagine thinking that your team, who have struggled to break into the elite ranks of Counter-Strike, suddenly have the opportunity to sign one of the greatest and most storied players in the history of the franchise. What’s more, it is the player himself who is pushing for the move to happen.

When he was told that Nicolai “⁠device⁠” Reedtz was coming, hampus couldn’t help but feel that it was almost too good to be true.

“I was really shocked,” hampus told “Signing device is like signing Cristiano Ronaldo. And of course, if you have the possibility to get device on your team… Any team should do it, maybe except NAVI and Vitality because they have s1mple and ZywOo.

“It was such a big shock, even that he wanted to come to NIP. Of course, it was sad to see nawwk go, but as I said: device, Cristiano Ronaldo… Not more to say about this.”

device will make his NIP debut later on Friday (Photo by Patrick Strack/NIP)

The Counter-Strike scene was left just as dumbfounded on April 23, when NIP unveiled device as their new player on a permanent transfer from Astralis. The symbolism of the moment was inescapable: His departure brought an end to the lineup that had set a new standard for excellence, not only in Counter-Strike but in all of esports, and saw him embark on a new journey without the familiar presences of Peter “⁠dupreeh⁠” Rasmussen and Andreas “⁠Xyp9x⁠” Højsleth — his teammates since 2013 — at his side.

device‘s signing was a major coup for the NIP organisation. The Danish player left a team that was ranked No.2 in the world at the time for one that was No.11 and whose last trophy came in November 2017. Between then and his transfer to NIP, device won 20 titles, including three Major crowns, and 13 MVP medals.

This is not how things are supposed to be: The elite sides are expected to cherry-pick players from teams below them — not the other way around.

device became enamoured with the thought of playing for a team based in Stockholm, where he lives with his girlfriend, but he was also attracted by NIP’s performance culture and the possibility of becoming the cornerstone of the organisation’s project. Over the previous 18 months, NIP had begun to carve a new identity in an attempt to break with the past and bury the ghosts of the legendary 87-0 squad. A new office was built in Stockholm, the organisation’s structure was boosted by key hires, including ex-Olympic rower David McGowan as a performance coach, and a company rebrand was announced with a new logo design and a fresh colour scheme.

All that was needed now was a marquee player to top it off.

“The first thing that comes to mind is that you’re humbled, right?,” NIP Chief Operating Officer (COO) Jonas Gundersen said about landing device. “You’re humbled by it, by the fact that a player of his caliber is interested in coming to us.

“It’s been a long rebuilding process, it feels like, and transforming the whole culture of such an old iconic team is not an easy feat. It shows that all the work that everyone has been doing on a daily basis, from the organisation to the performance staff, has provided a foundation and a home for players of his caliber.

“That’s something that just humbles you and makes you proud at the same time. I think it underlines that we are heading in the right direction.”

It would have been impossible to imagine a better player than device to fix one of NIP’s biggest weaknesses for years: The AWP role. Tim “⁠nawwk⁠” Jonasson showed flashes of brilliance during his time with the team, but his lack of consistency — as evidenced by his low percentage of maps with above-average ratings (55.9%) — was troubling. He himself admitted that he couldn’t argue with the decision to sign device.

NIP refuse to say whether the rumours suggesting that the organisation splashed out approximately $1 million on device are accurate. “Everything is relative in terms of value,” Gundersen said, adding that the organisation benefits from device’s presence not only inside the server but also outside of it as it attracts new fans and increases commercial opportunities. “A signing like device propels us back into relevance immediately because we’re the kind of the club that has a player like him. That means followers will come. It’s like, ‘What are you guys doing? I want to follow your journey’.

“We expect an increase in the level of ambition. Of course, there are other effects. Hopefully, major wins. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that. And also commercialization, bigger sponsorships, more merchandise sales, all those things. But more than anything, this is a testament to our ambition as a team that wants to win titles because that’s in our blood and in our DNA.

“We feel like we have the right players and the right structure behind them. Once you have a player like device, if you don’t win tournaments you need to constantly look at why you’re not doing it. Because we have all the pieces for it now.

“Pressure is a natural part of being on NIP, but it’s also our job to create a culture where players feel supported so that we work towards achieving our goals and dreams together in a healthy manner.”

NIP are still in the honeymoon phase as they are yet to play an official match with device. Without surprise, the early impressions on the server are very positive. “I think it’s been going really well,” hampus said. “I thought that communication was going to be a bit of a problem at the beginning, but he’s learning quickly and his Swedish is really good. He comes up with so much input on everything. His energy has surprised me a bit as well. I thought he was like this chill dude, but he’s pretty hype.” hampus also admitted that he came away impressed with how easy it was for the players to establish a strong relationship with the new member. “I thought that these guys who were the best all had a bit of an attitude, but he’s really down-to-earth and modest.”

NIP hope that device’s signing will take the team to new heights (Photo by Patrick Strack/NIP)

The arrival of a player with device’s résumé comes with sky-high expectations, which can be a burden for a young squad like NIP‘s, with an average age of just 21.7 years. Other than the Dane, only Fredrik “⁠REZ⁠” Sterner knows what it’s like to win a big international title.

Do the players feel more pressure than usual, now that they get on the server with device? “I don’t think so,” said hampus. “When you play, you forget that he’s the Major winner. We’re joking sometimes now. Our Facebook chat now is called ‘NIP + Major winner’. We’re just laughing about it. When you’re in the moment, you don’t really think that he’s done all those things. You’re only living in the moment and trying to win.”

Beyond his skills and experience, device also brings with him stability and strong tactical acumen. He has become sort of a secondary caller, providing input during freeze time and taking over when hampus is out of a round. This helps alleviate the burden on the former Gamerlegion player, who is the team’s permanent in-game leader again after he briefly relinquished calling duties to Erik “⁠ztr⁠” Gustafsson on Overpass and Nuke. “I don’t think my skill will be a problem,” hampus said when asked about the impact that being a permanent IGL will have on his numbers. “I think the maps I played the best on were the maps where I was already calling. I think I played pretty poorly individually on Overpass, and ztr was calling on that map. That’s also the reason why I switched back on that map, because I feel like I can be stronger as the caller now.”

Almost one month on from device’s grand unveiling, Counter-Strike fans will finally get to take a first look at the new NIP lineup this Friday, in Flashpoint 3. hampus believes that at least repeating the semi-final run from ESL Pro League is “a reasonable goal”, especially considering the upgrade in the AWP role, even though he warns that the Dane is still adjusting to his new reality and may not be quite himself out of the gate.

“There has been a lot of talk that device can only be good with Astralis or with these four teammates in Astralis,” hampus said. “At the beginning, he will have some small pressure, but we all know for sure how good he is.

“I think it will take him one or two games, and then he will just wreck everyone.”

It has been a case of “out with the old and in with the new” over in the NIP camp, where there have been changes on multiple levels to put in place the right structure to provide the organisation’s teams with the tools to succeed and be the best in their respective games. With the old culture ripped out, a new philosophy installed, and a franchise player who has won almost all there is to win now on the books, the Swedish team can once again be more than just a beloved underdog. Their fans now expect it to earn results and challenge for titles.

“I believe device will help us achieve consistency since he’s so consistent himself,” hampus said. “I think it will rub off on everyone else.

“I think some players were lacking some confidence, they were thinking more than just playing. They were thinking, ‘If I do this I might die’, and things like this. If we get our confidence up, focus on the game and just be in the game, I believe consistency will come.

“Now, it doesn’t matter if I die, he will kill three anyway.” (laughs)

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League of Legends World Championship ranked as one of Shanghai’s most significant sports events of 2020




The 2020 League of Legends World Championship, hosted in Shanghai, China from Sept. 25 to Oct. 31, ranked as the cities’ second-most “impactful” sports event of the year, according to a recent report by The Shanghai Sports Bureau

The annual event reportedly contributed $4.6 million in “direct economic effect” and $483,000 in tax effect, despite restrictions to travel and tourism in the country. The Shanghai Marathon, which was ranked first on the list, generated $7.6 million in direct economic effect and $818,000 in tax effect for comparison. 

Other esports events hosted in the city, including Esports Shanghai Masters (Overwatch), the Peacekeeper Elite Championship (PUBG), and the LPL Spring Split (League of Legends) also ranked in the top 10 most impactful sports events of the year. 

The metric determining the “impact index” of the cities’ sports events were based on “professional level” and contribution to the economy, according to The Esports Observer.

These figures are almost certainly connected to the coronavirus pandemic, which swept through China in 2020, leading to governing bodies postponing or canceling traditional sports events. 

Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 (tennis) and the F1 Chinese Grand Prix (Formula One racing), which ranked in the top three most impactful sports events of 2019, were both canceled in 2020. 

Worlds 2020 was held exclusively in Shanghai to reduce travel throughout the tournament. Riot Games, the organizers of the event, used a bubble system similar to the 2020 NBA playoffs to limit outsiders and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The finals between DAMWON Gaming and Suning were played in front of 6,000 spectators in the Pudong Football Stadium on Oct. 31, however. DAMWON won the series 3-1.

Worlds 2021 is expected to take place in Shenzhen, China later this year. “It’s only fitting that we return to China, home to our biggest league and tens of millions of longtime fans, to produce the world’s highest-calibre esports event in one of China’s most innovative cities,” Riot head of esports John Needham said in January.

Make sure to follow us on YouTube for more esports news and analysis.

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