Judge Drag - Evetech Champions League


Esports
Date: 16th Sep, 16

The Evetech Champions League Cup

The Evetech Champions League was set to take place on the 26th to the 28th of August, but after finding out that two of the countries’ top teams will be competing in Dubai, it made sense to move the tournament up one week to maintain the standard of competition that was initially envisioned.

Bravado, Carbon, and Damage Control flew up to Dubai to compete in what was described to me by Riaan “stYle” van Niekerk as one of the most professional and luxurious gaming tournament’s he’s ever been to both locally and overseas (which says something if you take in to account the number of times stYle has been overseas for CS).

Detrony enjoying the tanning booth in Dubai, which is something Evetech needs to look at.


I feared for ECL in that regard – that it will merely be a little shadow in the giant that was WESG Starladder. This turned out not to be the case at all and the Evetech Champions League blew us all out of the water, I would go on about the details but I think that was already covered by an actual journalist.

Overall, the gap between teams on the top tier of the South African CS:GO community keeps narrowing with every tournament and even though Bravado remains a good bet to win, they never really give you the idea that you should put money on it, at least up until WESG.

The Evetech Champions league concluded with Bravado beating Aperture Gaming in the final on Sunday in a bo5, with Bravado having a map advantage due to them going undefeated up to that point.

The results were as follows:

1. Bravado Gaming (bvd)
2. 
Aperture Gaming (ApG)
3. 
Carbon E-sports (cbN)
4. 
Damage Control (DC)
5. 
Xperts@Total.Chaos (xTc)
6. 
Energy (eN)

I have decided to rate each team in the competition on how they fared because articles with ratings and numbers are much cooler than just some words.

To give you an idea how my ratings work, the rating is based on the performance a team gave in relation to previous competitions and what was expected of them and has no relation to the results.

 

1. BRAVADO GAMING (bvd)
Rating: 8/10

Fresh from an incredible performance at WESG, Bravado made themselves instant favourites for ECL. In fact, it felt like they had reached a level that sets them apart from the pack.

I’m not sure whether it was a case of players being overconfident or overplayed, but Bravado came to battle with a blunt sword. You could see on the players’ faces that they weren’t in their confident comfort zone. Not that I would want to show disrespect towards xTc at all, but Bravado should have handed it to them on Train, but somehow managed to drop their own map pick in their winner’s bracket matchup.

Bravado should be worried about unexplained slip-ups like that, especially when the heat is on at ESWC and WESG.

Their final matchup vs Aperture started to show the dominance that we expected from them and they closed out the competition. I might sound a bit harsh but I’m pretty sure the Bravado players are even harder on themselves.

Bravado elated about their victory. Sonic and Detrony still angry about no tanning booth.

 

2. APERTURE GAMING (ApG)        
Rating: 9/10

ApG started off strong in the competition and never took their foot off the pedal. While the panel was discussing the downside of having to adapt to playing with a new 5th in the form of Takbok, and what they lost in Domsterr – Takbok was sitting on the other side of the room ripping opponents to shreds.

Their double-dink on DC was done in a convincing fashion and other than Cache (DC started to rake in the rounds as CT until Richard “deviaNt” Groves from Aperture decided to pull out his own power cable, forcing a technical pause to disrupt the DC momentum, after which Aperture steamrolled to a 16-9 victory, obviously totally undeserved!)

The players all pulled their weight throughout the competition and players took turns to put up star performances. Thulani “LighteRTZ” Sishi had arguably the most difficult task in the team as he had to do all the post-game interviews and bat all the hard questions that were thrown his way by TechGirl.

Thulani finding out for the first time that he's apparently a choker.

The interviewer asked Thulani whether they are aware that they are wearing a choker tag and whether they plan to dispose of it for this competition. Thulani didn’t necessarily answer the question right there, but when the time came to face Carbon in the losers-bracket final, Thulani used well-placed bullets to artistically drill a resounding “Yes” into the forehead of Carbon. Knocking them out of the competition.

Nobody expected them to beat Bravado’s destined rival, but they did so in a convincing fashion.

Their final run was less than ceremonious but as with many teams who put up such unexpected performances to get into a final, they ran out of steam eventually.

Needless to say, the stigma of a sure “Carbon vs Bravado” final has now fallen away with Aperture joining the fray (except if they have to face WRG in the first round).

The face of a guilty conscience.

 

3. CARBON ESPORTS (Carbon)      
Rating: 7/10 

Carbon was affected most by the rolling roster swaps that took place over the last few weeks. These weren’t official rosters swaps per se and was obviously out of their control, but nonetheless had an obvious impact on their consistency. Let’s have a look:

Carbon 4 weeks ago:

  • HackeM
  • Fadey
  • Flexee
  • JT
  • MAKMUR

Carbon 3 weeks ago:

  • Takbok
  • Flexee
  • Spoof
  • Domsterr
  • MAKMUR


Carbon 2 weeks ago:

  • HackeM
  • Flexee
  • Domsterr
  • JT
  • MAKMUR

Carbon Final Product:

  • Fadey (HackeM standing in as Fadey is focussing on matric as far as I know)
  • Flexee
  • Dommsterr
  • JT
  • MAKMUR


Nevertheless, Carbon still posed a considerable threat when they made Bravado sweat for their 16-14 and 16-13 victories. It is as if Carbon has some kind of kryptonite when it comes to Bravado. I’d like to think that Carbon lacks the fear most teams have when it comes to facing Bravado. They take fights and make plays which other teams usually give Bravado too much respect to attempt.

Maybe it is just the size of Makmur’s arms? We can only speculate. I would’ve given Carbon an 8 but everyone expected them to come first or second and they failed to deliver.

Makmur's favourite CS:GO map is de_mirage, because it has a bench.

 

4. Damage Control (DC)
Rating: 7/10

Those of you who watch English Premier League Football will be familiar with the team “Arsenal”. DC is the local iteration of Arsenal in the fact that they are almost guaranteed to come 4th, regardless of the circumstances. This time around was no different.

Most eSports websites always mention Damage Control’s age and refer to them as “Veterans” and “Ou ballies” which might have been an insult if it wasn’t so damn true. It is common knowledge that Jannie “Hellhound” van Niekerk starts getting hip pains after 8pm and needs to have his vegetable soup.

The reality is that while DC has less time to play CS:GO, but in turn carries valuable experience and BMT from their 1.6 days. This creates a balance where they remain relevant in the grand scheme of things, but don’t carry the expectation of winning competitions.

This experience showed when they beat xTc in a convincing fashion but the lack of preparation in turn showed when facing a much more oiled machine in the form of Aperture. DC flew in Dane “Racno” Friedman up from Cape Town to coach the team, but even with his help, Aperture could not be stopped.

Can't blame Dane this time! 


DC was without their IGL, Harry “inciN” Apostoleris who was visiting his grandchildren in Switzerland and used me as a stand in, which shuffled all the team roles to the left (other than stYle being the main Deagle, that never changes) and DC lacked the structure that makes them a dangerous team.

The community expected DC to place 4th and they did just that. I actually wanted to give DC a 10 out of 10, mostly because I’m biased and actually think that we were unlucky to lose to all these noobs, but hey, that’s life.

I can’t remember who mentioned it at the tournament, I think it was a panellist – but they said that DC serves as the gatekeeper for top tier CS:GO in South Africa. Once you can beat DC on LAN, you’ve made it into the big leagues. Fail to accomplish this task and you still have some work to do.

stYle's has this reaction when he loses and when he wins. He is always happy for CS

 

5. Xperts@Total.Chaos (xTc)
Rating: 7.5/10

To me at least, xTc cannot reliably be placed. Most of their players have been around since the dawn of CS:GO in South Africa, but somehow I still regard them as players who are “new”. Maybe this is because they were the only team who didn’t field ex-1.6 player(s).

The expectation I had from them was that they’re going to put up gutsy performances, but not quite run the mile, as they are still very young.

xTc instead came out to ECL with a mature edge to them that I have not seen before. Their play was structured and their teamwork solid. They showed that they have come a long way in the manner they disposed of Energy. In comparison you could see how solid their team-play has grown, forcing Energy to look awkward despite a few hero plays by the Vanderbijl Broers, Zeo and Kustom.

Tiaantjie’s mature performance on de_cbble made the crowd go wild and the commentators started referring to him as just Tiaan. xTc also the only team to take a map off Bravado, which also happened to be Bravado’s pick and arguably one of their strongest maps. A feat that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

xTc then met DC in the lower bracket, but faced a side that was hungrier than the one they met in the online qualifier. Tyrone “Explicit” Lautre had a pep talk with his DC team and proclaimed that he refuses to lose against a team who is fielding a guy named “SandpitTurtle”, which everyone agreed was a fair concern to have.

SandpitTurtle having a giggle

I must admit however that xTc was not playing near the level they were capable of. Simply put, they just didn’t show up for that matchup and you could see it on the players’ faces. It was like they couldn’t absorb the momentum DC was creating which is usually a product of inexperience.

xTc doesn’t have the scare flair yet, but played themselves into a solid 5th place. Not only for ECL but in my overall ranking of South African teams.
 

6. Energy Esports (eN)

Rating: 5.7/10

While I have to admit that I’m scared of getting a “klap” from Zeo, I have to be critical in my assessment of the current Energy team. The return of Energy from Copenhagen Games gave us all the expectation a more mature and consistent Energy team who will use the experience they gained abroad to become a fierce and formidable team. Ironically, their return spelled the start of what is to become a dreadful period of fighting and team splitting.

They used to be the thorn in Bravado’s foot that would take them to a 5th map in a final series, up to the final match point. You’d see Bravado players launching out of their seats in pure ecstasy at having outlasted Energy in a back-and-forth arm wrestle that would have the whole DGC floor buzzing behind them. No other team ever came close to animating Bravado like that.

Zeo and Kustom created their own Energy sub-team while Nefan, T.c. and Takbok did the same, in an attempt at spawning two powerhouse teams out of one (not unlike what Fnatic did with the Fnatic/Godsent split). This left them all but watered down and it was just a short matter of time before t.c. and Takbok left Energy and then Nefan apparently ceased to exist after disappearing into thin air, completely erasing himself off the internet and social media. Basically a real life rage-quit by one of the most kind-hearted players the scene has ever known.

This left Zeo and Kustom to rebuild the team, which they had to do in a short time with limited options available.

Maniac with the classic Jason Statham look.

The line-up was completed with Light, Shazzchck and Maniac. These are top players, but I would simply be lying if I tried to convince everyone that they are on the level that the previous Energy players were.

The team pitched up for the competition but looked more like a matchmaking team – they relied heavily on Zeo and Kustom’s aiming and clutching power and showed little to no cohesion. The result was an unceremonious disposal from the competition by xTc and ApG respectively.

I’d usually give teams the benefit of the doubt in a rebuild phase, but I honestly don’t see this line-up going the distance.

This begs the question which is on everyone’s mind: Did the Energy management decision to exclude themselves from the DGL Masters inevitably lead to the doom of one of South Africa’s CS:GO powerhouses? I think the proof is in the pudding.


DGC

We have a lot more competitions this year in comparison with prior years, where we had to wait for Telkom DGC at rAge before we could see where we stand. One fact hasn’t changed however – the team that wins at DGC wins 2016.

This is turning out to be the year for eSports in SA, thanks to Telkom, Orena and Evetech – as well as the hundreds of people working tirelessly behind the scene to make eSports a reality in our country.

I hope to see everyone at rAge, except for the smelly cosplayers of course.

Apocalypse being interviewed after winning the first Little Miss Evetech beauty pageant... by a landslide.

by Alwyn Kotze