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Underdogs NEW Esports prevail in marathon ALGS EMEA Playoff series

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NEW Esports won a marathon 10-game series in the Apex Legends Global Series (ALGS) today. The underdog squad rose to the top of the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) ALGS Playoffs, which had a total prize pool of $250,000. Alliance and Gambit came in second and third, respectively.

NEW Esports’ 16th-place finish in the EMEA Pro League would not have qualified them under the original competitive format of a planned global LAN, but they snuck into the field when the postseason tournament moved to an online regional format. They persevered over the long series and beat teams with stronger overall performances to win a $100,000 check. The powerhouse Alliance got second place and $50,000, while their rivals Gambit took third and $25,000. 

Alliance, with 116 points, were one of several teams in the lobby that outscored NEW Esports. NEW only notched 77 points over 10 games, but took the series because they were the first to win a game after reaching the 50-point threshold for the league’s Match Point system. The format, which rewards a single clutch performance more than consistency over time, has been criticized by fans and players in the past. But those more consistent teams—Alliance, Gambit, and Invictus Gaming—all had several games of eligibility to win and couldn’t quite get to the finish.

These matches debuted a host of new features meant to improve the ALGS experience for both fans and players. The new Multiview feature on Twitch is a way for Apex fans to watch and listen to any of the 20 teams at any time. Multiview also offers a handy option to see a real-time map with the position of every team revealed. New stream overlays showed what was in each player’s inventory and the total amount of kills per team. These features made for a large improvement in the viewing experience, leveling up the production quality. 

Players also benefited from a new innovation in Apex esports. These matches were played with an anonymous kill feed, meaning competitors couldn’t see who’s getting knocked down or killed in games. That’s a big change from previous ALGS tournaments that used the Match Point format. At other high-stakes tournaments in the past, savvy players would pay attention to the kill feed and use the info to strongly focus teams who’d already passed the eligibility threshold, often dashing their own hopes at success to deny someone else glory.

Teams like Gambit, Alliance, and Guild started the day’s competition with points for their performance in the first split of the Pro League. Invictus Gaming had the strongest start, wiping Reply Totem early in the first game. In a final circle that featured a great bit of multilevel terrain right outside Lava Siphon, Invictus prevailed with 14 kills, giving them 29 points overall.

Alliance just squeaked out ahead of them thanks to their higher Pro League regular season performance, with 30 points of their own. Game two saw both Alliance and Invictus get a lucky break with a similar circle pull, and both settled in near Lava Siphon. As the late game developed, Invictus wiped a team near their home base and took an excellent position overlooking the action. They also got their hands on a Kraber, but couldn’t fully stabilize, ending up in fifth place. Gambit and Alliance, two giants of the EMEA Apex scene, survived the chaos to fight each other in the endgame. Alliance got an early knock and clutched up with a win and a bundle of kills to reach 52 points after just two games. That allowed them to just reach the Match Point threshold, which would give them the tournament win if they could put together another victory. 

In game three, Alliance received a near-ideal win condition with the zone pulling straight into their drop spot at Thermal Station. They stayed safe and even picked up some kills, but had to use their Valkyrie ultimate to reposition as zone four closed in at their back and the number of enemy squads quickly dwindled. Their tiny hunk of cliffside ended up less safe than they hoped after other teams in the back of Thermal Station challenged their position. Gibby ultimates and sustained pressure drained Alliance of healing items, and Hakis had no shields as they set up another, more desperate Valkyrie ultimate in an effort to reach a stronger position.

Other teams seized on the opening, and the would-be champions were shot down in a hail of coordinated fire as Valkyrie’s ultimate launched them upward. Their rivals Gambit prevailed with an 11-kill win, sending them over the Match Point threshold. Invictus Gaming were right on their heels, clearing the Match Point threshold as well. The team’s performance was all the more impressive considering they started the day with only three Pro League regular season points, compared to Gambit and Alliance’s 10 and nine points respectively.

Game four gave those three teams—Gambit, Alliance, and Invictus—a cushion to grab a win today, and fourth-place Guild Esports were still twenty points away from the magic 50-point threshold. 

A quick end to the competition was not in the cards, however. Alliance went out early in game four, dying to a boatload of grenades in the tight space of a Geyser zone. That left Invictus and Gambit alone to try and grab victory. Gambit were set up on the hard edge of zone sniping, while Invictus, at the center, attacked with confidence. They wiped Kungarna with a well-timed Crypto EMP and a Wraith Portal to nip in and out for the clean-up. Gambit died after a tough rotate into the late game, leaving just Invictus. They got their hands on some loot after another brilliant EMP-assisted wipe and stayed safe in their Geyser building. 

They made it to the top two with some world-class fighting. Only the talented team MajorPushers stood in their way, and it came down to a final one vs. one. Patience and two well-placed Mastiff shells allowed MajorPushers to deny Invictus the win and let the competition continue.

Game five left those same teams in line for a win, but teams like MajorPushers were coming on strong. Invictus went out fairly early. Alliance survived into the late game at Staging, where they took a crucial Valkyrie ultimate to set up safely. With four squads battling it out in the final circle, a series of Gibraltar and Caustic ultimates left Alliance dead and 69iQ on top of the podium, sending the tournament to yet another game. 

Those results kept the top of the scoreboard fundamentally unchanged. Invictus, Alliance, and Gambit remained the only teams past the Match Point threshold. Game six would likely be the final game where those three squads alone had the opportunity to wrap it up and go home before anyone else caught up to the Match Point threshold. GMT Esports only needed three points to reach the 50-point milestone, and others were closing in as well. 

Invictus went out somewhat early, while Alliance again used their Valkyrie ultimate to get a great position in the late game outside The Tree. Alliance’s Yuki laid down punishing damage from a Kraber and Longbow combo, but a well-timed Gibraltar ultimate left them caught out, and Rebel clutched out a win from high ground with a fairly easy clean-up.

By game seven, 69iQ had joined the teams eligible to win, making 10 percent of the lobby able to win the tournament at any time. Alliance and 69iQ survived into the late game, but Magicians pulled off a big trick to get their first win of the day.

Game eight had six teams who could win. Alliance ran into trouble early and got wiped on a tough rotate into zone. Gambit found themselves in a desperate situation and used a Valkyrie ultimate to try and find safe space in the final circle. Clinging to the edge of a cliff above lava was not safe enough, though, and they got shot to pieces by another team also hiding inches away from a river of free-flowing lava. NEW Esports charged into the winner’s circle with a 15-kill statement.

The EMEA playoffs could have been a sprint: Gambit, Alliance, and Invictus were sitting on Match Point since game four, and Invictus in particular were one shotgun shell away from a big payday. Instead, the day turned into a marathon, stretching almost six hours and seeing a variety of different teams each take a moment in the spotlight with a great win. 

The games also showed the consistency of the top teams—Alliance, Gambit and Invictus were still the top three after eight games. Game nine moved into a final circle between Countdown and Trials, where 69iQ were thwarted from taking the day by the newly signed squad Solaris, formerly LCDF.

Game 10’s circle was another lucky break for Alliance, with a game centered around Thermal Station, the team’s home turf. But they failed to capitalize, leaving rivals alive. That’s when NEW Esports ended the tournament—a bit of an anticlimax for viewers since they had been sparsely mentioned in the competitive conversation on Saturday.

These matches were the second-longest Match Point format event, outdone only by 2019’s Preseason Invitational in Krakow, the last LAN the Apex scene enjoyed.

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2023 Call of Duty League Major 1 Qualifiers: CDL Scores, Schedule, and Results

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The latest Call of Duty League season is officially starting earlier than ever before.

The 2023 CDL season kicked off on Dec. 2 with the opening qualifier matches for Major One, which will be the first LAN of the Modern Warfare 2 season held in Raleigh, North Carolina from Dec. 15 to 18. The tournament will be a $500,000 pro-am event featuring the 12 CDL franchises and four Challengers teams.

Before Major One, the 12 CDL teams will play two weekends of online qualifying matches to determine the seeding for the LAN event. These matches will be best-of-five series played using the CDL maps, modes, and ruleset.

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Schedule for the qualifier matches from Dec. 2 to 4. | Image via Call of Duty League

A lot has transpired between now and when the Los Angeles Thieves ended the 2022 CDL season by winning CoD Champs, though. Before we even get into all of the roster changes made this offseason, arguably the most notable announcements were the retirement of Crimsix and the pending retirement of Scump following the 2023 CDL season.

The L.A. Thieves, OpTic Texas, and Seattle Surge retained their starting lineups from 2022. Every other franchise made at least one roster change, including the Atlanta FaZe, who swapped Arcitys for SlasheR. Arcitys will now play for the Los Angeles Guerrillas, while the Boston Breach also made a one-person change by acquiring Owakening from the Florida Mutineers.

The Paris Legion has relocated to Las Vegas and built a roster around Clayster and Temp. And several other organizations, including the Minnesota RØKKR and Toronto Ultra, made multi-player changes heading into the start of professional Modern Warfare 2 action.

Here are the results from the qualifying matches for Major One of the 2023 CDL season.

Saturday, Dec. 3

Toronto Ultra vs. Minnesota RØKKR

Toronto lead 1-0

  • Embassy Hardpoint: 250-167 Toronto

Friday, Dec. 2

Los Angeles Guerrillas vs. Seattle Surge

Los Angeles win 3-2

  • Al Bagra Fortress Hardpoint: 250-126 Seattle
  • Al Bagra Fortress Search and Destroy: 6-5 Los Angeles
  • Breenbergh Hotel Control: 3-2 Los Angeles
  • Breenbergh Hotel Hardpoint: 250-91 Seattle
  • Breenbergh Hotel Search and Destroy: 6-2 Los Angeles

Los Angeles Thieves vs. Vegas Legion

Los Angeles win 3-1

  • Breenbergh Hotel Hardpoint: 250-204 Los Angeles
  • Al Bagra Fortress Search and Destroy: 6-2 Vegas
  • Breenbergh Hotel Control: 3-0 Los Angeles
  • Mercado Las Almas Hardpoint: 250-198 Los Angeles

OpTic Texas vs. Minnesota RØKKR

Minnesota win 3-1

  • Zarqwa Hydroelectric Hardpoint: 250-203 OpTic
  • Embassy Search and Destroy: 6-0 Minnesota
  • El Asilo Control: 3-2 Minnesota (win via OpTic forfeit of round five)
  • Al Bagra Fortress Hardpoint: Map wasn’t played; Minnesota win via OpTic forfeit

Boston Breach vs. Atlanta FaZe

Boston win 3-1

  • Embassy Hardpoint: 250-207 Atlanta
  • Al Bagra Fortress Search and Destroy: 6-3 Boston
  • Al Bagra Fortress Control: 3-0 Boston
  • Zarqwa Hydroelectric Hardpoint: 250-203 Boston

This article will be updated throughout the Major One qualifiers.



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OpTic Texas Forfeits First CDL Series As Tempers Flare

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It was a season debut like no other, and owing to some memorable and somewhat tragic moments, it’s one that won’t be forgotten for a while. For OpTic Texas, it was a heartbreaking season opener, with a complex and (in the eyes of some) potentially malicious situation bringing about the decision to forfeit the fixture against Minnesota Rokkr. It doesn’t matter if you’re blaming the stability of the game or the decisions of Rokkr’s Cammy, it’s a sour situation all-round.

In the closing seconds of the third-round match, a Control on El Asilo, Cammy summoned an SAE – a GA’d killstreak. There’s a known bug concerning the SAE at present, and it causes the player to freeze in place upon kicking it off, and that’s exactly what happened. There were single-digit seconds left in the game when Cammy called it in and owing to the bug surfacing, the COD League rules determined that the entire round should be replayed.

At that point, OpTic Texas had already won the round.

Controversial, To Say The Least

optic texas forfeit scump

This isn’t how Scump wanted his final season to begin. (Image Credit: COD League)

There are several key pieces of information to take away from this situation. Firstly, given that the SAE killstreak is GA’d, Cammy shouldn’t have been running it in the first place. Furthermore, as a top-tier professional competitor, he should have recognised what it was that he was about to deploy, as the in-game menu does allow for a preview. Unfortunately, owing to limitations in the Modern Warfare II platform, once Cammy had set the SAE up, he couldn’t remove it again.

For now, there are arguments hailing from all sides of the debate. There is the party that believes Cammy was playing maliciously, deliberately using the SAE to trigger the bug and force a replay, especially considering there was no way that Rokkr could have won at that moment, and triggering the bug did bring a replay order around. There’s another party that believes it’s an unfortunate series of events made up of several mistakes and shortcomings of the platform.

Fortunately, Cammy was on hand after the match to explain the situation from his perspective:

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Astralis announces new LEC 2023 roster

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Another LoL news was introduced as the European League of Legends team, Astralis, has announced its roster for the upcoming LEC season. While keeping mid laner Dajor and the bot lane duo Kobbe and Jeonghoon within the organization, Astralis also acquired Finn from EXCEL and 113 from Karmine Corp.

Ready for the new season

One of the most famous esports organizations especially in the western world, Astralis never had great success in League of Legends. Unlike its success in different gaming titles, Astralis failed to achieve anything worthy in LEC. The team placed ninth in LEC 2021 Spring, 7-8th in LEC 2021 Summer, tenth in LEC 2022 Spring, and lastly, ninth in LEC 2022 Summer.

Despite the disappointing result of the last split, Astralis decided to keep its core within the organization and make a change for the top side of the map. Last split, Vizicsacsi and Xerxe were the top laner and jungler of the lineup but Finn and 113 will replace them in the upcoming LEC season.

astralis-2023-lec-roster

Image Credit | Astralis

As mentioned, Finn will take on the top laner responsibility. The Swedish player started playing professionally under the Magistra roof and player for nine different teams before signing a contract with Rogue to compete at LEC. He attended Worlds 2022 with his team and then signed with Counter Logic Gaming. After a year in North America, Finn made his return to Europe with EXCEL. This year, he will be a part of the Astralis roster.

The new jungler of the organization is the young Turkish player 113. He started career in Turkey, with SuperMassive Academy. After his success with the team and insane solo queue performance, 113 was acquired by Giants Gaming. He spent the last season with Karmine Corp with names like Cabochard and Rekkles and won the EU Masters 2022 Spring Trophy. He recently parted ways with the organization to join Astralis.

The original core remains

Other than the top side of the map, rest of the 2022 Summer Split roster will remain within the organization. The German mid laner Dajor, Danish marksman Kobbe and South Korean support Jeonghoon are going to stick with the team. Looking at the roster from last year, only Vizicsacsi and Xerxe are not going to be a part of the team. Dajor, Kobbe, and Jeonghoon had decent individual performances last year but they failed to show it as a team. Astralis lacked chemistry last year and that is why they failed to qualify for playoffs.

On another note, the organization has not made it to the playoff stages since it was founded. Astralis’ success in the European LoL esports world is surely not optimal. However, the organization still tries to form the best roster combining talented players to succeed in the region.

The new Astralis roster will compete against some of the best LoL players as the competition in Europe is pretty tough. With the combination of youngsters and experienced players, Astralis might be a real threat if they can build the chemistry needed. All of the players are very talented on an individual level but their communication and chemistry will decide their performance in the ucpoming LEC season.

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