Rise Nation Storm Through CWL Atlanta 2018

After three days packed with action, the CWL Atlanta 2018 has finally ended and there's so much to discuss. From the Open Stage up to Championship Sunday, many of the storylines and expectations which we discussed here: http://www.gamers.com.mt/news/722/cwl-atlanta-2018-too-close-to-call, came into play. At the end of it all, Rise Nation did, in fact, come out on top, but there's so much more to cover. Sit back and get ready to scroll down while we review this event. 

Open Bracket - Plenty of New Blood

CWL Atlanta was one of the many Open events we'll be enjoying in this year of COD: WWII. Its Open nature allows up to 160 teams to battle it out to enter the Group Stage which has already been filled with teams who qualified thanks to the Pro League. This time around, the community was introduced to some new names who have never before made it past the Bracket. Names such as Heretics and Monaco Esports joined Ghost Gaming and GGEA Orange as they assimilated into their respective groups. Honestly, none of them had much of an effect as the competition was simply too much. So, what did happen in the Group Stage?

Group Stage -  Lightning Pandas Shock

The Group Stage kicked off swimmingly, except for one minor hiccup. Epsilon Esports, the Europeans, announced that they couldn't make it for the event. The underperforming team, which is currently contemplating roster change, was promptly replaced by Lightning Pandas in Group A. With Rise Nation and Splyce favourites to advance onto the Winners' Bracket, Lightning Pandas couldn't help themselves but mix things up. Beating Splyce, GGEA Orange and Echo Fox allowed them to finish with a second place finish that nobody predicted. Splyce were sent into the Losers' Bracket where they would find an early exit out of the competition. 

Meanwhile, Group B and Group C went a lot more smoothly. Luminosity cruised through the group while TK managed to take second place, ignoring the attempts of Evil Geniuses. Group C, which was predicted to be the group of death was less so. Since eUnited failed to show up with their A-game, continuing on their rough streak, Optic and Faze topped off the group in that order. However, this group was indeed a great source of controversy. As many of you know, a recent Gentlemen's ban within the professional community banned the use of items such as the FG-42 and more. One of those weapons was the M1 Garand due to its ridiculous two shot kill range. In the matchup between eRa Eternity and eUnited, Clayster pulled out the M1 Garand to his apparent oblivion. He used it in Game 5 SnD to help eUnited clutch up in this cheating fashion. After the game, Clayster realised his cheating and cheap ways as he took to Twitter, offering all of his individual earnings to eRa as he 'ruined their tournament'. eRa is yet to comment on the situation. 

Finally, Group D was quite interesting in itself too. As Team Envyus scooped up an easy first place, Red Reserve, and Mindfreak were at each other's necks. Mindfreak, who have recently been growing in capacity throughout the Pro League, managed to win second place thanks to map difference. Red Reserve was sent to the Losers' Bracket but was far from out of it. 

Bracket Play - Dominance on Both Sides

With no further delays, unlike November's bomb threats, bracket play was underway. Within three hours, Rise Nation swept Faze Clan, Optic Gaming swept a hopeful Lightning Pandas and two 5-game nailbiters gave the Winners' Bracket a huge amount of energy. Mindfreak dragged Luminosity Gaming to a 5th game which they barely lost and Team Envy shut down the weakened TK in a similar fashion.  Round 2 of the Winners' Bracket had arguably some of the most awaited series of the tournament - Optic vs Luminosity and Team Envy vs Rise Nation. 

We'll start with the disappointment. Optic vs Luminosity was meant to be a heaving battle between two giants with everyone agreeing that Luminosity had the edge with recent performance. However, the two teams hadn't encountered one another yet, so anything could happen. What did happen was a foul 3-0 scoreline for the boys in blue while the Greenwall was left shaking their heads. The maps were indeed close, but a recurring habit for Optic to not close out maps and not clutching up bit them in the back. The Greenwall would descend into the Losers' Bracket were they would finish with another undermining placement of 5-6th at the hands of Red Reserve. Many doubts are headed their way. Yes, Red Reserve is still there and fighting. 

The other series, thankfully, was a pure gem. Both sides saturated with emotional and talented youngsters gave way to an epic display of the future of Call of Duty. The fast-paced action from both sides was a joy to witness and quite exciting too. The daring plays from "TJHaly and the energy from opposing "Huke" made it action packed to the point that the casters were running out of breath. At the end of it, Rise Nation snatched the final map and Team Envy also fell out and into the Losers' bracket where they would be taken out by Red Reserve. 

The final round of bracket play placed Luminosity and Rise Nation in the same cage, fighting for the Grand Finals spot. These two teams were the point of polarisation between the community - it was one of these two teams which were scheduled to win this event. Rise Nation played tactically and floated to a 3-1 scoreline, awaiting their next opponent. 

Grand Finals - Bathed in Red 

Luminosity stumbled into the path of a clinical Red Reserve and needless to say, the European maniacs threw them off of the tracks. Red Reserve was part of the greatest Losers' Bracket run in the history of Call of Duty; playing a total of 20 maps on Championship Sunday just to get to the Grand Finals. Their endurance and determination were unmatched at the event. Red Reserve was the Grim Reaper of CWL Atlanta as they remained under the radar yet executing all the big names: Faze Clan, Team Kaliber, Luminosity and Optic Gaming in quick succession.

Now they headed into the Grand Finals with a little fuel left in the tank. Unfortunately, this wasn't enough. Although they equalised with a phenomenal SnD performance, Rise Nation then took the next two respawns to solidify themselves as the best team in Call of Duty at the moment. On the other side of things, Red Reserve are now the undisputed best in Europe and the Second best in the world after that incredible run where they faced everybody who is somebody in Call of Duty.  

Conclusion

CWL Atlanta 2018 was incredible, simply incredible. Arriving right at the climax of discussion and hypothesis, it gave the community answers it was craving. Optic Gaming is not Top 3, Team Kaliber is not on top, Rise Nation is the best in the world and Red Reserve is the best team in Europe.

Another topic which must be picked up on, before ending, is the casting. Many were those who disregarded the new talent, as they try to fill the gap that "Courage" left. Give them time, I'm sure that they'll be great. 

Posted by Gabriel Sciberras on 14th March 2018, 09:01

I'm Gabriel - 17 year-old student attending a sixth form with a little free time on his hands. I've been working with Gamers.com.mt for a roughly a year now - spreading my interests in technology, gaming and writing over the platform along with interviews and hardware reviews. All constructive feedback is appreciated. Thanks for reading!

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Interview with Mark Horner - Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018 MVP

As promised, we've landed an exclusive interview with Mark Horner, the captain from the squad of EndPoint and also the crowned MVP form the recent Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018 where the team established their dominance in concrete. We've conducted the interview in order to gain further insight into the winning team mentality and the experience of being crowned MVP, while also offering some well-deserved spotlight to the incredibly talented team. We hope you enjoy! 1. Describe your overall experience at the event, including the online stage and the LAN portion as a player and as a team. The event was really great, we didn’t have to participate in online qualifications as we had won Gallantry Budapest. The offline portion was great, the PCs were amazing and we had plenty of desk space which was always sometimes a bit of an issue. The admins were really helpful and any PC related issues we had were sorted very quickly. 2. What teams seemed to give you the hardest times when you matched up against them? The hardest game was definitely CRG, they are (or were, given some players left) the 2nd best team easily. It’s a real shame we had to meet them in the semis as that would have made an awesome final. It took us a little while to get into our groove against Avenue’s B team as it was our first game of the day, but as soon as it got to Manor we knew we couldn’t lose. For the final, we kind of knew that we won before it had started, it felt like Demise settled for 2nd knowing that they maybe should have been 3rd or 4th if CRG wasn’t on our side of the bracket. 3. Why is it that EndPoint placed first? What makes your team the best team in the world at the moment? I think it’s our teamwork, our ability to adapt and that anyone on the team (minus me, ha!) can pull of some ridiculous clutches/plays. One thing you’ll notice if you watch the VODs back of the stage games, when the cameras are on the players inbetween rounds or even mid round on our team, usually me or one of us is always talking. We use the 18 seconds or whatever to re-evaluate, why did we win the round? Why did we lose the round? How can we win the next round? Most other teams, especially when they are losing just look sad and don’t talk. It’s talking that plays the most fundamental part in winning – understanding the gaps in our defence/attack, how to plug them, etc. We also have the best team spirit; good luck finding a team that laughs and jokes and has as much fun as we do whether we are winning or losing! 4. Extremely well-deserved, you were awarded the MVP award. Comment on this achievement by referring to your individual performance within the team. I was happy to receive MVP, but as cliché as it sounds, in my eyes there were 4 MVPs. Everyone stepped up; Synde was clutching absolutely everything, Kevin was…using all of our coins, Cozje and Replan were getting some mad multi kills too. I guess my part to play is just get a few frags but read the game and find the holes in the enemy’s play, and keep the team motivated so even if we had a sh*t half they believed we could still do it – and do it we did! 5. The Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam was the first Battalion 1944 Major for all. Do you have any suggestions to improve any future Battalion 1944 Majors? It’s hard to say really, as an event it was carried out really well. There’s a lot to think about in terms of how the game grows, would it perhaps be better to run a couple of smaller events for the current player base than one big one? It’s hard to make that call now, but going forward we’ll just have to trust in Bulkhead and their plan for MU3 and beyond. I do really hope that another major or big event is announced soon though! 6. Apart from the fact that EndPoint is the top team at the moment, what else has the event proved in your opinion, about the state of competitive Battalion 1944? That we are #1 by far, CRG (were) #2 by far, then the rest at like 3-16 I believe are really close. A lot of teams, when practising online use all of their strats/nades/rotations that they will use at LAN and play exactly the same or more passive and wonder why they lose to us. When we are practising, we’re losing a lot of our practices because a) we are holding a few things back, yes, but most importantly b) we are learning from every game – most teams don’t do this they just say 'oh it’s unlucky' and move on rather than working out why we lost A/B so much on defence etc. I’d happily lose every PCW for 6 weeks and win the LAN because people underestimate us (hello, CRG 😊). 7. How does your team plan to keep up this position within the scene? Who are your biggest threats? The same as always, if there’s something to play for, we’ll get a good 5 or 6 weeks practice in again hopefully and follow the same routine – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. It’s hard to say what our biggest threats are because now we’ve owned everyone again a lot of the teams will do a standard roster shift. Given the current state of the player base and the lack of events on the horizon, I think we’ll be waiting until next year for the competition to really heat up again. 8. What plans do you have as an individual and as a team for the remainder of the year? Keep an eye on the game, if there’s events worth playing for then of course we’ll play those. Outside of that I think we’ll give Black Ops 4 a try and see how that fares competitively; if it takes off on the PC then it may also make sense to play that – time will tell! 9. Do you have any final comments after the victory? A huge thanks to EndPoint and all their sponsors, the support they gave us massively helped us and I can’t reiterate that enough. Going from having 0 support at Penta to having everything taken care of at Endpoint made it much easier for us, especially having a gaming house to use. A special shout out to Pronic for being the best coach, he did a lot for us before the event and at the event that played a big part in our win. Thanks to the guys in my team for being awesome and carrying my ass to another victory. Thanks to Brammer and his team, as well as Sean and The Plays for making the event possible. Shout out to everyone we met old and new at the major, it was cool hanging out with some new people and getting the beers in! Finally a huge thanks to everyone in the B44 scene for being distinctly average and changing rosters after each LAN rather than putting in the hard work to improve, because it makes our job of staying the best a bit easier 😉. One can only admire the confidence in Mark, which hasn't changed from before the event as an earlier interview sported the same casual approach - EndPoint knew they were going to win because practice doesn't lie, it seems. Perhaps some of the remarks are indirect jabs at other competitors; we hope that this will serve as motivation for other teams to step up their game for the next event, which will hopefully be announced soon. Will EndPoint manage to maintain their form throughout or will they falter? Can a team such as CRG knock them down? The Battalion 1944 scene will only grow from the event.  A final thanks to Mark for the speedy replies and a final congratulations on behalf of Gamers.com.mt!

The GO Malta Esports Festival - GALLANTRY Malta

Gallantry Events will be partnering up with GMR Entertainment to provide the best Battalion 1944 tournament ever to date in Europe with a nice prize pool and the perfect offline gaming conditions for the participating teams. After their success in organizing a 16 team event in Budapest last July Gallantry Events will be joining forces to host an international and high-quality event during The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018. Starting with the physical venue itself, we’re taking gaming to one of the largest commercial centres on the island, that being the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre in Ta’ Qali. All the competition will be hosted over 2,500 square metres of area! The central stage will match an incredible size, while spectators will also have the possibility to enjoy an Expo area and a Careers Convention area. A maximum of 16 international teams will head their way to the sunny island of Malta to participate in the Battalion 1944 Tournament, were friends and families can join the teams for a relaxing holiday. Casters and a production team over will also be present to broadcast the games online at a top notch level. The Battalion Tournament will start early morning at around 9am on Friday 7th December where teams will battle out each other in the group stage matches. Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th will be all about the elimination stage where the top teams will face each other and play on the biggest stage ever in Battalion 1944 history in order to crown the champion. Teams don't have to worry to search for Hotels, Transport etc since they will find all information one needs on our website, with very cheap and reduced rates for both. All one needs to do is get the team together, book the flights, check the website for all info and he is good to go to come to Malta. Due to the international coverage which the tournament will be treated with, it’s a fantastic opportunity for organisations to reach out internationally alongside a national presence. Thousands of viewers who will observe through the broadcast, while locals and foreigners will be present at the event - ready to witness some breath taking matches.  Be sure to visit the event website for more info regarding the battalion tournament and comment on the thread below if interested in joining.

The GO Malta Esports Festival - PUBG Open

At last year's GO Malta Esports Festival, Malta witnessed the first inclusion of PUBG competition on its shores as the battle-royale was only beginning to gain friction. Since then, the local playerbase supporting the title has grown exponentially as we've held further competition both locally and internationally. Needless to say, we'll be continuing support of the title in the upcoming MESF, with more stakes on the line than ever before.  The battle royale is one of the main components of the year's genre craze, as seen in other titles such as Fortnite and now, the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout. These titles are different from each other, but all of which seem to be attracting the same player base. It consists of the basic BR elements, in which a large number of players, often reaching up to 100, deploy onto a set map from a passing carrier plane and select the desired spot to land on. Upon landing, the intense scavenging begins as players hunt for resources and weaponry to better their chances of survival in the constantly shrinking map. As the map closes in, forcing gunfights to ensue, player count decreases - this occurs until a final battle occurs to determine the ultimate victor, an exhilarating experience to say the least. This accomplishment may be achieved publically in the form of single, duo or squad teams. Since its initial craze, the title has been growing ever since.   To try to maintain the public's attention, the title has been subject to many updates; bringing in new maps, gamemodes, mechanics and reasons to play, while also providing access to mobile users and console from its PC origins.  Powered by BlueHole, the PUBG esports scene is growing steadily on the international horizon, although there remains room for improvement. Hence, we're constantly improving local PUBG competition, both locally and internationally.  First of all, the prize pool present is set to expand from its current standing. Sitting at a guaranteed €1500 at the moment, Gamers.com.mt is prepared to increase the prize pool should more than 10 squads be involved in the competition; more precise rules will be released at a later date on the tournament website. The venue for the specific tournament will be the BYOC Area, with a dedicated area for PUBG players, solely for the PUBG tournament and for PUBG players to reside and observe. For more information on how the tournament will work please the website.

Recap of the Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018!

Gamers.com.mt has put in a tremendous amount of preparation for the world's first Battalion 1944 Major ever in the form of the Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018, through our various interviews and content coverage. The best 16 teams in the world battled out for the $50,000 total prize pool, between the 27th and 30th of September. We've let the dust settle before breaking down how the first world championship of Battalion 1944 was. Roughly this time last month, we sat down and interviewed all team captains in preparation for the event. It added greatly to the tension, as every team confessed their intentions to win it all and listed out the top competition. Sadly, not all interviews could have been published as certain teams left the competition. Overall, as an esports journalist, I received a warm reception from the community as we all coordinated on a Discord server to ensure that everyone received their interview! Everyone was ready for an event.  And so it commenced, during that definitive weekend of competition, starting with pool play across all four groups. Within moments, bracket play was ready to begin with the following teams: Primal, LGC, Demise, Method, Entropy, 1UP, CRG, V.pro, nn, AVENUE, FE and of course, Endpoint. It should be noted that Primal was the only North American team still present at this point in the competition. Sadly, they quickly found the door in the first round of the bracket. Meanwhile, the Europeans continued competing until 4 were left for semifinals; Method, Demise, CRG and Endpoint.  Demise, who faced EndPoint in the final, had an equally impressive importance to arrive at the grand final, having only conceded one map up to that point, one less than EndPoint. Demise and EndPoint both swept their respective semifinals in the forms of Method and Comrade Gaming respectively, with the latter placing third. There isn't much to commentate regarding the final, except for the fact that it was a rather dominant BO5, in which EndPoint certainly deserved to be crowned the champions.  I had virtually sat down with Mark Horner of EndPoint, being the team captain - little did I know that it would be his team winning it all with him as the crowned MVP. Of course, many of our other interviews pinned the veteran team as a favourite for the event; safe to say that they filled those expectations. I do recall the interview as the most charismatic one which was conducted, with his clear intentions of winning the whole thing while I did have to edit certain words which couldn't be published, being much harsher than 'noobs'. Yet, such confidence may only be applauded after their victory, as "mark", "rEpIn", "synde", "cozje" and "reflexR" dismantled the competition, proving to be back-to-back champions.  Full tournament details can be found here. With the event complete, one begins to ask - what's next for Battalion 1944? Gamers.com.mt will be announcing something very exciting soon until then, congratulations to Team EndPoint! Let's see if we can grab an interview with the champions. 

The ePremier League - Inaugural Investment of a Football League in Esports

One of the most prominent football leagues in the world is, of course, England's Premier League, with certain powerhouse teams fielding fans and support from all over the world and embellishing high-quality competition. Many Maltese are quite invested in supporting some of the top teams. There's the Premier League and then there's the ePremier League? Haven't heard of it? It's a new idea fueled by the recent iteration of EA SPORT's FIFA.  Competitors investing time into FIFA 19, corresponding to those of British citizenship, can demonstrate their skills and represent one of the many Premier Clubs indirectly through the new ePremier League. Just like the field-played sport, a league will be carried out through the controller to discover a 2018-19 season champion - the first ever ePL champion.  All the curious action will require much less time than full 90 minute games; hence the inaugural ePL tournament will begin in January 2019, ending with March at the ePL Final to be broadcasted live on Sky Sports and Premier League social media channels. Note that online qualifiers will progress between January and March to skim down the registered participants through playoffs and group stages in order to arrive at 20 Premier League representatives per console. Registration opens on the 3rd of December through FUTChampions.com, with the chance of being the first ePL champion ever - winning prestige, prize and also some points to register into the FIFA 19 Global Series Playoffs.  This is exciting news for esports; one of the largest football leagues is recognizing esports for what it truly is - a different yet equal sport to that played with boots. It will be interesting to see how it develops over the years in terms of size. 

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