It’s been a busy week in the world of esports. Fifa held its eWorld Grand Final this past week while EVO satisfied the needs of all the fighting game fans out there. The fabled OpenAI team also squared off against real high ELO DOTA 2 players in its first ever match against human opposition as the AI readies itself for the International. There is a lot to discuss so let’s get right to it!
The 2018 Fifa eWorld Cup came to a thrilling conclusion this past weekend and delivered everything fans of sports games love most. Ultimately Mosaad ‘Msdossary’ Aldossary took home the crown after he managed to claim victories in both Manchester and London in the FUT Champions Cups. The victory earned him a quarter of a million dollars, no small chunk of change for an 18 year old champion.
The top seeds entering the final weekend of play, Michael ‘Megabit’ Bittner and Nicolas ‘nicolas99fc’ Villalba, were both eliminated in the quarter finals of the competition. Megabit was eliminated by the eventual champion was nicolas99fc fell to Marcus ‘Marcuzo’ Jorgensen.
Fans were also pleasantly surprised by preview footage of the upcoming Fifa 19 which includes multiple new features EA was proud to display. The new title goes on sale next month, and until it drops competitive Fifa action has come to a close.
The past weekend was the best one of the year for fighting game fans as EVO, the world’s biggest fighting game exhibition, dominated the esports landscape. The best players from around the world gathered to compete across a multitude of titles in a weekend that was full of action, upsets and surprises.
The SFV tournament was a highly contested affair resulting in an epic final showdown between Benjamin “Problem-X” Simon and defending EVO champion Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi. Ultimately Problem-X was able to get the better of Tokido in both sets they played in the finals, crowning him the champion and bringing a much needed western victory over the Japanese gods who rounded out the top 4.
Street Fighter fans were rewarded with more than just top tier play however, Capcom also announced that both G and Sagot are playable characters as of yesterday. This returns two fan favorites from the series back into the hands of players and may cause some significant changes to the meta.
In the DBZ competition it was Dominique “SonicFox” McLean who was able to get the better of his rival Goichi “GO1” Kushida in the finals of yet another event. The two have widely been regarded as the best players in the game and their performances this weekend against the rest of the competition solidated their standing.
While GO1 was able to win the first set of the finals to reset the bracket, SonicFox was able to sweep the second set 3-0 to claim the crown. Other than his losses against GO1, SonicFox went through the entire tournament without dropping a game.
DBZ fans were also privy to a new character release this weekend as Cooler, the brother of Freeza, was announced after the conclusion of play. While there hasn’t been an official release date announced, the trailer that previewed Cooler showed gameplay footage meaning it likely isn’t too far away.
The Tekken 7 event too provided plenty of excitement and ultimately Sun-woong “LowHigh” Yoon was able to best defending Tekken World Tour champion Byung-moon “Qudans” Son 3-0 in the second Grand Finals set to claim the EVO championship. Although Qudans was able to win the first set of the finals and force a do-or-die best of three, LowHigh was able to respond brilliantly and secure the upset.
Tekken fans were also shown some new content, as a new season pass will bring back familiar characters and feature the introduction of Negan from AMC’s The Walking Dead. More details on the season pass will be released soon.
The Melee event was one of the most anticipated of the weekend and did not disappoint, with the top players in the world claiming all of the top spots and treating fans to spectacular levels of play. In the end it was William “Leffen” Hjelte and defending champion Adam “Armada” Lindgren in the finals but Leffen proved to be too much this year and was able to sweep Armada 3-0 in the final series.
Most fans of esports will remember the news last August when a bot managed to defeat Danil “Dendi” Ishutin in a 1-on-1 showdown in a Dota 2 matchup. Since that time the team behind OpenAI has been hard at work and over the past weekend they accomplished an even more incredible result.
OpenAI was able to triumph, and easily at that, over three former professional players, a current pro player and a play-by-play commentator. While the matches were limited to a selection of only 18 heroes to choose from instead of the regular 100+, and item delivery couriers were made invincible the bots were astoundingly competent in all of the major pertinent aspects of DOTA. The OpenAI squad was able to win the first two matches with ease but in the last, the crowd selected the heroes both the humans and AI would use. With the heroes being stacked heavily in favor of the human squad they were able to save some face, and pull out a victory in the final game.
This astounding level of performance has raised a considerable amount of eyebrows, and further adds to the excitement around the upcoming International 2018 where the OpenAI team will again face off with pro players. You can watch a full replay of the showdown on Twitch.