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Nerd Street Gamers partners with Riot Games for 2022 VCT Stage 1

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Riot Games has named esports infrastructure company Nerd Street Gamers as its exclusive partner for the first stage of the 2022 VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) for North America.

The deal will see Nerd Street Gamers lead the tournament circuit’s operations and broadcast.

Image credit: Riot Games, Nerd Street Gamers

RELATED: Nerd Street Gamers unveils CSL Esports and Albright College partnership

VCT Stage 1: Challengers NA commences with two 128-team Open Qualifiers, the first of which is expected to begin on January 27th. Following qualifiers, VCT Stage 1: Challengers will start on February 11th. 

Alongside operating the VCT, Nerd Street Gamers will operate all of Riot Games’ Game Changers series in North America this year.

John Fazio, CEO and Founder of Nerd Street Gamers, spoke on the deal: “Riot Games is an extraordinary partner, and Nerd Street is excited to continue working with a publisher that supports its games’ communities, from first-time players to fans, talent, and professional teams.

“As an organisation, we take pride in delivering top-tier services to every organization we work with, and being selected to operate VCT in its second year demonstrates the success we were able to achieve together last year.” 

RELATED: Riot Games names Polish Esports League as VRC operator

Nerd Street Gamers has a long-standing relationship with Riot Games having operated and produced the LCS Proving Ground last-chance qualifier tournament in 2021. Moreover, the company has collaborated on the North American League of Legends: Wild Rift: Summoner Series.

Bear Jemison, VALORANT Esports Product Lead for North America and Oceania, also commented: “We couldn’t be more excited to work with Nerd Street Gamers again to bring a new season of VCT play to North America, “Nerd Street has been an incredible partner and they bring a wealth of expertise, experience, and passion to their esports operations. We’re confident that together, we’ll build something that fans will love.”

Esports Insider says: Considering the success of Nerd Street’s handling of previous VCT stages, it’s no surprise to see the company return as the exclusive operator for the first stage of 2022 and all VCT Game Changers tournaments in 2022.

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Brazilian CS:GO player slams quality of practice in North America

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Just days after winning the $20,000 CBCS Invitational 2022 in Brazil over 00 Nation, paiN Gaming have traveled back to North America to play their last matches before the player break. Rodrigo “biguzera” Bittencourt, paiN’s No. 1 star, is not happy at all to practice again with NA teams, though.

“How I missed practicing in NA,” biguzera ironically said today. “[Practicing in] Brazil is a thousand times better than here. Now I see why this region [NA] is so successful,” biguzera added, calling out how the NA players have been practicing.

Biguzera is not the first and likely won’t be the last player to complain about the quality of CS:GO practice in NA. This has historically been a concern in the region and the practice only got worse after the COVID-19 pandemic because several organizations stopped investing in the competition and almost all relevant tournaments shifted to Europe, which forces the only few good teams from NA like Team Liquid to spend most of their time practicing in Europe to have a chance of winning such big tournaments.

This is also the overall perception in Brazil as well. Most of the Brazilian teams move to NA to attend NA leagues and try to qualify for big tournaments, but with the practice being so bad nowadays, it’s unclear if that is the best approach for Brazilian teams. One of biguzera’s fans asked him if paiN could not move to Europe because they will “unlearn” how to play CS in NA.

The quality of practice in NA won’t likely change anytime soon unless organizations try to nurture talent in the region like Evil Geniuses is doing with its Blueprint project and tournament organizers invest in the grassroots scene.



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Uncrowned king steps down: Ame takes time off from Dota 2 as LGD begins huge rebuild

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Ame, one of the most respected position-one players in the Dota 2 world, revealed that he’ll be taking time off from competitive play today. The news came as a surprise for fans, as PSG.LGD has been one of the most consistent teams in the game’s history.

With even an Aegis in their collection, LGD has been placing top six at The International since 2017. Ame has been a core part of that success since he was recruited from CDEC Youth.

Ame has been a constant in multiple iterations of the LGD roster, which were all one step away from greatness. Ame fell one step short of lifting the Aegis twice in his career, running up in the event in 2021 and 2018 while securing the top four in the remaining ones except for TI11.

Though placing fifth in the most prestigious Dota 2 event of the year is an accomplishment of its own, TI11 marked the worst result for LGD in the event since 2017. Knocking on the door of success this many times only for the door to remain closed can take a toll on players’ mindset toward the game, and it looks like Ame is looking for a complete refresh with this break.

“We’re following the player’s wishes and respecting his personal development needs,” LGD said. “Ame’s status is inactive, temporarily away for rest.”

Ame’s future is currently unknown, but he seems to have the full support of LGD no matter what he decides. Considering Ame has been competing at the top of the Dota 2 mountain for six years now, this is a well-deserved break for the Uncrowned King who fans hope to finally crown when he returns from his break.

With a pillar removed from its roster, LGD only remains with two members in its active squad, NothingToSay and y’, opening the door for a major rebuild.

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The Second Phase of Fasttoken’s Private Sale is Open – European Gaming Industry News

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Following on its successful presence in a number of Central European regulated markets, Tom Horn Gaming has agreed a content integration agreement with yet another betting and gaming operator giant in the region, Fortuna Entertainment Group.

In Romania Fortuna operates two brands – fortuna.ro and casapariurilor.ro – and players of both sites can now enjoy a selection of carefully picked games, which include the supplier’s all-time favourite slot 243 Crystal Fruits as well as the top performers The Secret of Ba and Sherlock. A Scandal in Bohemia.

Commenting on the latest content alliance, Ondrej Lapides, CEO at Tom Horn Gaming said: “Fortuna is one of the strongest brands in Central Europe and we’re delighted to have joined forces with them as this collaboration will further expand our footprint in the region. The Romanian operation is the first market where we launch our games with the operator and we’re sure to capitalise on our expertise and exquisite knowledge of player preferences in the region in order to contribute to increased player retention and overall revenue growth.”

Stanislav Sopko, Group Head of Product & Channel Management at Fortuna Entertainment Group added: “Tom Horn has built a reputation for creating slots that resonate well with Central European players. Offering the supplier’s titles to our customers is a huge boost to our casino portfolio. We believe this deal will lead to a long and successful partnership that will generate impressive growth for both of our companies, whilst providing highly engaging and entertaining content to our players.”

With the Fortuna link-up, Tom Horn Gaming continues to maintain its commercial growth trajectory in Central and Easter Europe, where their games are particularly popular among players.

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