Written by: Dave Throop
It was an incredible weekend for esports with Call of Duty hosting its World League Championships, NBA2K playing through the quarter and semi final rounds, Overwatch World Cup qualifier action and the Canadian Rocket League Challenge finals. With so much to discuss let’s jump straight in!
The biggest Call of Duty tournament of the year delivered on all of the excitement and action fans were hoping for. There was incredible skill on display throughout the entire event and it became apparent very early on that this event would take some intriguing turns.
The tournament began with the top 32 teams in the world being placed into 8 groups of 4 in order to eliminate half of the competition. These initial matches are usually seen as a warm up for the best teams and fan favorites but this year things played out a little differently.
OpTic Gaming, one of the most popular and storied franchises in Call of Duty, was knocked out in the group stage of this event – giving the organization it’s worst ever placement at a large LAN event, and their first time ever failing to make it past the first round of a World Championship level competition. For fans of the Greenwall this marked the end of a truly disappointing season that even a blockbuster trade was unable to salvage and leaves them wondering how the organization will return to glory next season.
OpTic wasn’t the only major name to stumble last week as Rise Nation also exited the tournament far earlier than anybody expected. After being one of the most dominant teams on the North American circuit throughout 2018 Rise Nation was expected to be a contender until the final rounds.
Although they got off to a perfect start in group stages their first opponent in the proceeding bracket was their nemesis from the most recent North American playoffs, Team Kaliber. Much like in their last encounter, tK was able to gain the advantage and dispatch of Rise 3-1, sending them immediately into the loser’s bracket. There they encountered Luminosity gaming, another staunch opponent, and although they fought a hard 5 game series they ultimately fell short. Although this was certainly an underwhelming end to an impressive season for Rise, the team can take it as a learning experience and become even better next year.
The eventual victors of the weekend would shock everyone as well. Evil Geniuses emerged from this weekend as the World Champions despite entering the tournament through relegation. They dispatched teams such as nV, FaZe Clan and Team Kaliber twice, in both the Winners and Grand Finals. Although few experts, if any, had them pegged to take home the whole thing coming into the week of play this Call of Duty World Championships demonstrates why we play the game – anything can happen during one event.
If you missed any of the action and want to see detailed information on the bracket, as well as links to videos of all of the matches check out the official gamepedia tournament page.
The finals are now set for the NBA2K League and it isn’t the matchup many were predicting. After intense quarter-final and semi final action we will see the Knicks taking on Heat Check in this weekend’s finale.
The Knicks secured their spot in the playoffs due to a win of the mid-season tournament, The Ticket, but struggled throughout the majority of the regular season. With their quarter-final match up coming against the best team this regular season in Blazer5 most fans thought the Knicks would exit in the first round of competition. Instead they upset the Blazer5 group 82-78 pushing them to the semi finals. Here they encountered the Cavs legion, and although they were bested in the first game, were able to respond with two back to back victories by a combined 5 point total. This ability to play under pressure was highly impressive, and they have earned a slot in the finals as a result.
The Heat Check barely squeaked into the playoffs this season but have made the most of their postseason opportunities. Defeating one of the top ranked teams in the Pistons by an astounding 15 points in their quarter-final match up, Heat Check looked incredibly strong. They proved this was no fluke the next day, dispatching the 76ers in two games with relative ease.
While neither of these teams was predicted to be in this position their phenomenal play last weekend means they only need to take down one more opponent to become the first ever NBA2K champions. The showdown will take place this Saturday August 25th, at 4 p.m. est live on Twitch.
The first qualifiers for this year’s Overwatch World Cup have come to a close and there has already been some incredible games and results. It is no surprise to most that South Korea finished their group with an undefeated record and qualified for the final 8 teams at Blizzcon, but who would be leaving the group with them as the second seed was up for significantly more debate.
Neither Russia or Finland qualified for the final round of 8 last year despite both possessing very talented players. This year one of these countries would change that while the other would have to watch the top 8 play out from the sidelines for the second year in a row. Ultimately Finland was able to best Russia in their series, and that made all the difference.
That means South Korea and Finland will advance out of Group A. Qualifier action resumes with Group B, beginning on September 7th.
Canada held its own Rocket League tournament that culminated in a grand finals in Toronto this past weekend. With top level broadcast talent and the best talent the country has to offer, this was quite an exciting weekend. Ultimately it was the Croissant Bois who emerged as the champions taking home the $10 000 grand prize. You can read all the details in our finals recap.