Joseph Facciol and Vietnamese Tekken 7 - Interview

With summer ending soon, we’ll be taking a break from the international interviews which you’ve all been enjoying, shifting our gaze to a local personality in Joseph Facciol. As many of you recall reading in our previous article(link), this interview will act as a follow up to Joseph’s experience with Vietnamese eSports and a method of gaining further insight into his experience. We have interviewed Joseph before, due to another Tekken experience, which you may view here: (link) We hope you enjoy the following short interview!

1.) Good day Mr. Facciol! We hope you’ve had a great summer thus far and have found the time to relax from the ordinary stressful life. We’ll start with a general question – how has life been since our previous interview in terms of personal life and of course, your pursuit of eSports? 

Since last May life has been hectic but great. After May’s Tekken tournament, The Colosseum in Italy where I got beaten to a pulp by Tekken pros, I was shocked. I had anticipated that there would be a difference in the level of play in favour of the pros but I had never expected there would be such a gap. This did not make me falter from Tekken at all; on the contrary, I felt the urge to improve once more. (The first time had happened to me after I got beaten by the veterans in Malta 11 years ago).

So I decided to observe the top 8 live, really close. I was the one who arrived first on the premises and the last to leave. I just could not understand what I was missing. I had been playing the game for 22 years, been to local tournaments, performed well and always made it a point to remain updated regarding anything Tekken-related both for my sake and for the local community.

After watching the top 8, I knew that there was something which the pros knew and which I didn’t but I could not put my finger on it. That night I could not sleep and I spent a whole month thinking about what I could do to try to bridge the gap between myself and the pros.

Finally, I realised that the thing I was missing was ‘Punishes’ so I made a plan to improve. I decided to focus on just one character and study how to deal with each move of each character. This involved a lot of work. Particularly to complete this training you need to spend roughly about 6-8 hours on each character. Considering that there are 40 characters in the game it takes roughly 280 hours to complete this task. I am very close to accomplishing this, however, as of the update on 6th September, there has been some major changes for all characters so I must revise a lot of stuff.

In the meantime, I have also been to another Tekken world tour tournament; a Masters event in Birmigham: VsFighting 2018. Although during this time I was only halfway through my training I was eager to see if my efforts had paid off. Fortunately, it did. I managed to place 65th out of 274 during which time I eliminated a local famous pro from the tournament. In casuals, I was also very satisfied with my performance. I managed to win 3-0 against tenshimitsu (a famous pro player), 5-4 against the best member of Tekken dojo then lost 3-1 against the UK champion KaneandTrench.

Overall, I feel I’ve gotten stronger even though there’s still much I need to learn.

2.) Let’s dive straight into your experience. What were your original intentions in heading over to Vietnam? Did you have to abandon any potential plans once you discovered the Vietnamese eSports scene? 

My initial intention for my holiday in Vietnam was to take a break from Tekken. I have to admit that curiosity got the better of me and as soon as I arrived I searched online for the Tekken community in Vietnam. I posted on Facebook and received a prompt reply and a warm welcome to the Vietnamese community. People were willing to take a few hours leave just to play Tekken with me! I had only a 2-hour window as I had to catch the train to my next destination.

I really enjoyed my time during this brief session even though I lost against DK, Vietnam’s number 1, 6-4. Although arriving there was a bit hectic, due to the Hanoin traffic (which makes Malta’s traffic look like a walk in the park by comparison) the Vietnamese were not only welcoming but they were also complimenting me all the time. Most of them spoke very good English and kept asking me to play more matches with them.  They showed really good sportsmanship and I honestly wish we’ll have the opportunity to meet again and have more sessions in the future, however hard that may be due to the travelling distance.

3.) Continuing with the theme of being foreign – how did you communicate with fellow Vietnamese Tekken 7 player? What was their reaction to a foreigner competing at their event?

At the end, of my short session in Hanoi whilst asuha8593, one of the top 4 in Vietnam whom I had played against, was showing me to a taxi, told me that in Ho Chi Minh City there was also another Tekken community. Knowing this, as soon as I reached the city I asked the community there for some Tekken casuals. They told me that they had a tournament on a day when I was supposed to go on a tour to Mekong river. I immediately cancelled the tour to go to the tournament. 

Upon arrival, I was cordially asked to play some casuals with some local players. I knew that this was in fact a test to assess my strength and observe the way I play. At the same time, I also wanted to play to try out the frame-lag of the monitors so I played using a different character from which I planned to use during the tournament. 

4.) Of course, Joseph went ahead and won the event, with only a single loss. With that in mind, what are your comments regarding the level of competition you encountered in Vietnamese Tekken? How does this compare to the Maltese level of competition? 

The competition was pretty much the same as in Malta. What struck as most interesting was their play style. It is the exact opposite of the Maltese community! Maltese tend to play really aggressive (a style which is referred to as Pitbull in the Tekken scene) in Vietnam, people tend to play defensively (turtle - style).

5.) Competing with international players must have been quite the experience. Did you learn any new styles of play or absorb any strategies or techniques which the Vietnamese players utilized? 

I feel that this experience helped me a lot. I managed to go head to head with a style which is really not popular in Malta and come out on top. This has proven to be a rewarding experience since it is quite rare to fight someone in Malta who plays turtle.

6.) What are your comments regarding the stereotype of ‘gamers being antisocial’, especially after such an experience?

In my opinion, that stereo-type has been challenged ever since eSports tournaments started being held and has been rendered obsolete when online gaming was introduced. Not even the argument of favouring face-to-face communication over digital communication is relevant in the eSports scenario anymore. This is because there is a clear mixture of both direct and indirect communication in eSports. People meet online and they also meet up and play offline.  Even more so, as regards Tekken; priority is given to offline play due to the fact that even the slightest lag online, affects the gameplay badly as the game operating at the frame-level. Furthermore, after this experience, I do not how one can uphold that stereotype. I mean I managed to travel and an engage in a competition while transcending the cultural boundaries and linguistic barrier only because both the Vietnamese community and I love Tekken.

7.) A final question. Do you have any intentions to return to Vietnam in any way? What are your goals as a Tekken 7 player for the remainder of the year?

The trip to Vietnam was indeed a pretty expensive one, as are most of the travels outside of Europe so, unfortunately, the chances of me getting back there a kind of slim. This does not mean that I do not wish to. In fact, I made it a point to keep in touch with the community here. Some already showed interest in coming to Malta in the future. If that happens, and I hope it does, it would be my turn to show them around our beautiful island and introduce them to the Maltese Tekken community to have some sessions. 

I am currently in Cambodia and was planning on meeting the local Tekken community here as well but unfortunately, I have been told that the Tekken scene here has been missing for over a decade. Since my training has been fruitful my plans now are to train and study the game even more. Not just because of the new update which has changed the game quite a bit but also to have a better chance of winning more tournaments. So as soon this holiday is over I’m guessing it’s back to the lobby and more training with my sparring partner Dylan Caruana- who also has a good thing going for him in the local Tekken community. I hope that in the end, this will help Maltese Tekken players get sponsored. This would not only allow us to increase the Maltese eSports scene and encourage more people to join the Tekken community but it would also allow us to represent Malta in more events, both locally and globally.

Some fantastic replies out of Joseph! Esports bring people together; that is one of the many messages which Gamers.com.mt stands behind as it’s one of the reasons why we do what we do – organizing events, offering two lounges across the country and trying to better the local community as best we can. Joseph Facciol embraced this theme on his surprise trip to Vietnam, as he happily told us about it. We’re very happy for him and we wish him a great end to his summer. 

Here's a final comment from him: "I do not deserve all the merit of this victory for it is thanks to the Maltese Tekken community that I was able to gather enough experience and win the tournament."

If you’ve got an eSports experience which you’d like to share with the community, let us know! 

Posted by Gabriel Sciberras on 12th September 2018, 11:57

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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Road To The VulkanBet Invitational Finals - Semis Recap

The $20,000 VulkanBet Invitational tournament has reached its final stages. Last week we witnessed the last two teams qualify for the playoffs – HAVU and Epsilon. It was surprising to see the Finnish team (HAVU) have so much success in the group stage. With ease, they beat the favored team to win the whole thing – Epsilon. In the deciding game against Alternate Attax, HAVU acquired a 16-7 victory and secured a spot in the playoffs. As for Epsilon, because they lost the opening match, they played two more bo1’s for the playoffs. In the deciding match against SJ Gaming, the European mixture pulled off a miraculous comeback to come out on top. The final group stage game of the VulkanBet Invitational was a battle between Epsilon and Alternate Attax. It looked like an interesting game on paper, but it didn’t deliver to its full potential. There were a couple of rounds were the Germans would have a significant numbers advantage (i.e a 5v2) and still lose. Epsilon banked on those mistakes and acquired a win. With the group stages concluded, the next stage started off with the playoffs. Depending on how the teams finished the groups, second or first, determined their seeding. The initials bo3’s were: Nemiga vs HAVU and ex-3DMAX vs Epsilon. Nemiga vs HAVU The first bo3 of the playoffs began with Nemiga vs HAVU. The odds were stacked against Nemiga and for good reason. During their time in the tournament, they were able to beat the lackluster VP roster and the French LDLC. On the other hand, a team like HAVU has had profound success. After all, it is the victories against Epsilon and Alternate Attax which helped them secure a 1st place finish. First Come, First Served The Belarusians decided to pick Inferno as the first map. This is the map in which Nemiga has found success in tier 2 Counter-Strike events. Virtus.pro, Windigo, Nemiga, etc. are just some of the scalps they’ve proclaimed. And yet, as the match began, Nemiga had a grueling start. On the ct side of Inferno, they managed to scrape 1 round to HAVU’s 6. Nemiga held on to their defensive and began winning consecutive rounds on after the other. It didn’t take them long enough and by the end of it was 7 rounds for them and 8 for HAVU. Things looked good for Nemiga as they also won the pistol round. But disaster struck for the Belarusians as they ran into a stacked B bombsite and couldn’t hold their own against the mere pistols. The momentum shift couldn’t come in a better time for HAVU. Since they played on the ct of Inferno, they didn’t have a difficult time closing out the first map 16-10. Illusions Of An Easy Victory The second map was Dust2, picked by HAVU. Nemiga is no stranger on this map, after all, it is their second most played map. It saw staggering to witness their proficiency on the t side. You could’ve very easily blinked and missed the whole first half. In a very decisive manner, lollipop21k & co. bounced back from Inferno and led the first half by 12-3. With the pistol round victory going in favor of Nemiga, it looked like the end for HAVU. However, the in 18th round the tides changed completely. In a 1v3 hold on the B bombsite, ZOREE secured HAVU’s first round on the t side. What happened next was an impeccable comeback from the Finns. They won 9 rounds in a row and they had the lead by 15-13. Thanks to some solid hold on the bombsites from Nemiga, they acquired the last two rounds in regulation and the game went to overtime. It was a back and forth affair and even led to the second set of OT. But in this second overtime, it was Nemiga who put their foot down and won the map 22-18. Settling The Score The final map wouldn’t be as exciting as Dust2. On Mirage, HAVU had a difficult time on the ct side. They won the second round after the pistol round went to Nemiga. This meant that the ct’s had a short lasting lead of 3-1. After which the Belarusians began playing full force on the terrorist side. They overcame HAVU’s early lead and secured a 9-6 half.  After which, they yet again secured the pistol round and consecutive rounds followed suit. Even though there was another comeback attempt from HAVU, it didn’t pay dividends. The final score favored Nemiga 16-12 and they secured a slot in the grand finals. ex-3DMAX vs Epsilon The most anticipated match of the tournament. If Epsilon would’ve finished first in their respected group, we could’ve seen this match in the final. But still, the stakes were high and the teams couldn’t just breeze through one another. At least, that was supposed to be the case on Inferno. Ex-3DMAX went for this pick, as it is their most played map. Even though Epsilon tends to play this map, they have been battered by a lot of tier 2 and tier 3 opponents. Blazing Start To Inferno Despite their lackluster results, it was very surprising to see the Epsilon roster perform this well on Inferno. It didn’t really matter where Epsilon would hit on their t side, because ex-3DMAX had a difficult time holding any of the sites. It didn’t help the French that Epsilon had 3 of their players k1to, broky and Surreal popping off. Without much of a struggle, it was a 13-2 lead for Epsilon. Even though the match was more or less over, on the second half pistol round we witnessed an impressive ace and a clutch from hAdji, a sign of things to come. But his performance wasn’t enough for the team to still fight for a victory on Inferno. Shortly thereafter, Epsilon secured a 16-11 win on the 1st map. Exhausting Affair This lead to the second map, Mirage. Now that Epsilon arrived on the map they’ve chosen, it looked like this could be the end for the French. However, ex-3DMAX started things well, as they secured a half eco victory on the second round. After which a flurry of consecutive rounds went in favor of ex-3DMAX. At the end of the half, Epsilon began to recuperate and they themselves won a couple more rounds. It wasn’t enough to equalize the score, as it was still favoring the French 9-6.  As far as the second half is concerned, Epsilon tried to pull off a reverse sweep. They began winning consecutive rounds on their t side and were on the brink of victory. But on the 28th round, LOGAN managed to deny a bomb plant on the B bombsite and secured 3 kills in a clutch situation. This play was just what the doctor ordered, as ex-3DMAX won one more round to reach 15. Yet, Epsilon secured the last round of regulation and overtime ensued. There were moments were the European mixture had a difficult time at closing out advantageous situations in overtime. That cost them dearly, as they managed to scrape only 1 more round in overtime. The French showed good ct and t sides of OT and secured a 19-16 win over Epsilon. When On Dust2, Do As The French Do The final battlefield was Dust2. This map wasn’t back-and-forth like the others. Primarily, it was ex-3DMAX with a constant lead in this map. Early in the map, ex-3DMAX had secured a nice 5 round lead. One of the reasons was hAdji. Just in the second round, he won a 1v4 clutch, including a triple man spray-down on short. Epsilon did retaliate with their own string of 5 rounds, but it was still the French who secured a 9-6 lead moving forward. The lead wouldn’t stop there, as a pistol round and four more rounds went in favor of ex-3DMAX making it 14-9. Arguably, the French didn’t have the easiest time closing out the series. It would take 5 more round wins from Epsilon before ex-3DMAX could take matters in their own hands. At the 29th round, a half eco victory on the ct side and a gun round victory led to the eventual bo3 win for ex-3DMAX. VulkanBet invitational Final Overview That concludes the two semi-final games. Both bo3 were very close affairs, which took us on a 3 map journey to decide the eventual victors. And even then, there’s always a probability if a certain round would’ve gone a different direction, we could see different finalists. Even though HAVU and Epsilon have lost the semi’s, their journey doesn’t conclude yet. There is still a 3rd place decider to be played out amongst the two teams. Epsilon was a couple of rounds away from securing a grand final slot, but there were too many rounds they’ve lost due to petty mistakes. On the other hand, HAVU is looking determined and might prove to be a more challenging foe than on first glance.  As far as the grand-final is concerned, which will be held on May 2nd, it should be an intriguing series. Even though ex-3DMAX seems to be the better team, Nemiga has proven to be a worthy opponent. Be sure to tune in on Thursday’s stream and witness the conclusion of the VulkanBet Invitational.

The VulkanBet Invitational Group B Recap

The VulkanBet Invitational Group B just ended, and man did it deliver. Because the competition is split into 2 groups, last week we witnessed the action from Group A. This was a pool where the participating teams needed to prove their worth. This group had the newly assembled LDLC roster. Old French talent, left in the wayside of any more meaningful Franco-Belgian shuffle. They lost both of their bo1 matches in a convincing manner. First to Virtus.pro, then to Nemiga. Speaking of which, the VulkanBet Invitational Group A had an interesting conclusion. In the deciding bo1 game deciding who will join ex-3DMAX in the playoffs, Virtus.pro faced Nemiga. It was a darn surprise to witness a Belorussian victory over the Poles. If you thought group A was a gruelling affair, you haven’t seen the teams in group B. This is a pool with known teams of tier 2 Counter-Strike. Epsilon, Alternate Attax, SJ Gaming and HAVU. In a tight pool like this one, upsets were bound to happen. The VulkanBet Invitational Group B Opening Matches Alternate Attax vs SJ Gaming To start things off, the first game of the day was Alternate Attax versus SJ Gaming. Ever since the start of this year, the German lineup has been rising through the ranks. Just like their Finnish counterparts, they too play a lot of online Counter-Strike. In the veto, it was settled that the two teams shall play Inferno. This is a map both teams tend to play often and looked like a good veto. Alternate Attax started things well on the ct side. They garnered a pistol round victory and the subsequent rounds from it. But SJ Gaming would put up a fight shortly after in the early stages of the game. An early example of this would be the 1v4 on the B bombsite that KHRN was able to win. The Finns would also gain a lot of success from their explosive middle takes and they wouldn’t have a difficult time securing middle. This allowed them to acquire a 4-3 lead. What happened next was a convincing ct side from the Germans. They had good opportunities and secured early advantages in many rounds to follow. Even when it came down to a post-plant scenario, like a 2on2, the ct side would still secure a round. Great holds from players like stfN helped secure an impressive 11-4 lead. Alternate Attax had picked up the pistol and from then on out it was just a matter of closing out the game. They achieved victory when the score was 16-8. Epsilon vs HAVU This was an interesting opening match of the two. Epsilon is a rising European team, but they still have some quirks to overcome in online play. HAVU is another team on the cusp of rising through the European ranks. Some haven’t really noticed their growth, especially because they are in the shadow of the Number 1 team in Finland – ENCA. Yet surprisingly, these two teams haven’t crossed paths that often. In fact, the first and last time they’ve done so was in Loot.Bet Season 2. During a very close bo3 series, Epsilon secured a 2-0 (22-19 and 16-13) victory. And now the two teams met on a new map, which was Train. Since HAVU was able to ban out Train or Dust2, they went for the latter. For a good reason. Train is a map that’s been great for this roster. It is their most played map, with the biggest win rate. They may not have played a lot of it during the past two weeks, but it is still a better pick than Dust2. With some neat plays, the Finnish roster found some great early success. It didn’t take them to long to acquire 7 rounds to Epsilon’s 2. One of the biggest success factors was the AWP-er ZOREE. He found a lot of impact for HAVU on the terrorist side with his sniper rifle plays. The only entity to challenge him was the Dutch player CRUC1AL. As much as he tried, none of his other teammates could’ve played to his standards. As the ct side economy would be constantly reset, Epsilon ran away with only 5 rounds on the ct side. When the sides were switched, HAVU didn’t take too much time to close out the game. They got the pistol rounds, the subsequent rounds, have reset the economy of Epsilon and won the game 16-7. The VulkanBet Invitational Group B Winner’s Match Alternate Attax vs HAVU Early in the day, Alternate Attax and HAVU secured victories in their opening matches. Both of these teams have shown to have profoundly good individuals. However, the victory of HAVU was against a higher caliber opponent. Most importantly, this early win might have been a great boost in confidence for the HAVU squad moving forward. This time around, the battleground was set on Mirage. This map was decided by the German veto. Mirage is a map Alternate Attax had difficulties securing wins in. Last two losses were 16-6 against ForZe and 16-1 against NoChance. HAVU themselves are no strangers to avoiding Mirage, as during the month of March they’ve only played it twice. However, they had a decent start. Something you can’t really say for the Germans. Alternate Attax ended up losing the pistol round, but still showed some solid stuff on the ct defensive. Especially on the B bombsite from Mantuu. However, after their 3-2 lead, things just went downhill. The HAVU squad was consistently finding opening kills on the terrorist side. This allowed them to become very mobile and unpredictable. What made matters worse was the German inability to win crucial rounds. There was a particular 2v5 the Germans lost due to their lackluster positioning. And as the half ended, they only secured 3 rounds total. At the end of it all, it was a fine showing from HAVU and they secured the map, yet again, 16-7. VulkanBet Invitational Group B Elimination Match SJ Gaming vs Epsilon Epsilon had an upper hand in this matchup, even after their early loss to HAVU. It was a mere bo1 scenario and could’ve been a flimsy start. As the veto was decided, the map was Dust2. The early start was somewhat murky. The pistol round was picked up by Epsilon on the ct side, but the terrorist side of SJ Gaming secured a force-buy victory with a 3-1 lead. The Finnish players weren’t planning to stop there. Their solid terrorist side approach helped them to win over bombsites, even with the Epsilon double AWP setup coming into play. In order to gain some early advantages, the European mix began looking for early opening kills. This was a good idea as it helped them to accumulate an 8-7 half. After that demoralizing end for the Finnish side, it was interesting to see how they hold up on the second half. They started out strong, as they secured an early pistol round victory. Yet the gun rounds were still favoring the terrorist side. On the 20th round the Finns had to go on a full eco. But their aggressive 5 usp push down mid not only garnered them some kills, but also a round victory. It looked like SJ Gaming was on the cusp of securing a win on Dust as they were up 15-11. However, we saw a momentum shift and the Epsilon squad pulled off a comeback of their own to make it 15-15. Overtime was impressive for Epsilon, to be more exact, for Broky. On the terrorist side, he won 2 back-to-back 1v2 scenarios, to put his team up by 17 rounds. They were able to close out the game 19-17, but it was a gruelling match. The Decider Alternate Attax vs Epsilon The final group stage match of the VulkanBet Invitational Group B. It’s was an interesting match considering that the two teams met just a day prior in the Loot.Bet Season2. That was an entire bo3 Epsilon had to power through in order to secure a victory (16-13 and 19-17). The VulkanBet Invitational is only a bo1 for a spot in the playoffs so this could’ve been a close map. Especially since the decider was Inferno. An unforgiving map for the Epsilon players as it has been particularly hard in recent events. For Alternate Attax this a middle of the pack map, thus it’s a fine map to land on. It was looking fine and dandy for the German side as they secured a pistol round victory and two more subsequent rounds to work with. However, Epsilon fought back on the 4th round in a disadvantageous 5v3 scenario. Crucially enough, they couldn’t build a bank from their victory, because a simple eco push through the apartments caught the ct off guard. This allowed the Germans to secure yet another round. From that point onward, the game was back and forth. There were well-formulated pushes from the terrorist side, but the cts proved to be a tough nut to crack. At the end of the half, it was 9-6 favoring Epsilon. Because the sides were switched, it was a fine start for Alternate Attax. They picked up the pistol and some subsequent rounds to follow. But that was a very brief moment of success. The Epsilon players began mounting strong offensives on their t side. Attax would have a difficult time holding the sites and even blew away an easily winnable 5v2. At the end, it was a victorious Epsilon with a spot in the playoffs. Concluding Thoughts And that brings us to the end of the VulkanBet Invitational Groups. Unlike Group A, there was more intrigue about the teams. Because the group was seemingly stacked, it wasn’t easy to predict the victors. Not to mention the fact that these teams are on a very similar level. One of the biggest surprises has got to be the performance of HAVU. Not only did they top the group, but it was done in a very convincing manner. Epsilon, the best team on paper in this group, had a difficult journey to the playoffs. In the deciding game against SJ Gaming, they almost lost and went out dead last. But some expertise and individual skill came through in the end. Best of luck to Alternate Attax and SJ Gaming in the future, as they proved to be worthy opponents in Group B. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the VulankBet Invitational CS:GO playoffs.

The VulkanBet Invitational Group A Recap

The VulkanBet Invitational is a $20,000 CS:GO tournament. It has GSL style groups with a bo3 playoff. The invitational has 8 teams competing across two groups. VulkanBet Invitational Group A consists of Virtus.pro, LDLC, ex-3DMAX, and Nemiga. Group B has Alternate aTTax, Epsilon, Havu, and SJ. As you might see from the teams here, it is a good mix of the veteran players and rising talent. For example, a team like Virtus.pro are part of this old guard. It no longer includes players from the golden five, but they still have individuals like Snax and Byali. It should be a formidable roster, but they have been on a downward trajectory. They are the worst ranked team in the event, being placed at 87th in the world. An invitational like this is a great way to prove they are still capable of competing. As for rising talent, Epsilon is one of the teams that comes to mind. After their performance at Charleroi Esports, they have garnered attention from the community. This mixture of old, young, new, experienced and inexperienced is simply delightful. The Vulkanbet Invitational is the right battleground to show a team’s expertise. VulkanBet Invitational Group A Opening Matches ex-3DMAX vs Nemiga The first match of the VulkanBet Invitational Group A. The number one team in Belarus going up against the 3rd team in France. However, these are two teams that lurk in the shadows of tier2/tier3 Counter-Strike. They tend to compete against a similar level of opposition. So no wonder that their most played maps include inferno, Dust2, and Mirage. For this particular match, the veto landed on Mirage. This is a map both teams tend to leave open. Its something you can pick-up on their veto’s. It will come as a first ban, only when the opponent they are playing against is a specialist of Mirage. In other cases, they leave it as a decider or allow a lesser opponent to pick it. As the battlefield was set, ex-3DMAX came out swinging. They had a very aggressive terrorist side approach. They wouldn’t be phased by any molotov’s or smokes from the Belarussians. The Frenchmen would hit a site guns blazing and the cts had a difficult time. Once Nemiga began abandoning mid presence and focusing purely on the sites, that’s when 5 rounds where won. Things didn’t get much better for Nemiga on the terrorist side. Ex-3DMAX won the opening pistol round and secured a flurry of rounds to 15. After a brief 4 round stint from Nemiga, ex-3DMAX secured a 1v1 to win the Mirage 16-9. LDLC vs Virtus.Pro The LDLC roster is a newly established team. Yet, the composition is looking somewhat weird. You have 3 possible in-game leaders, that’d be MAJ3R, Happy and XMS. There also doesn’t seem to be a star player on their team. Maybe, they’re hoping that Roden, the newcomer, fills the igl shoes. On the other hand, you have Virtus.pro, who have made massive roster changes themselves. They’ve now added Vegi, a player from another Polish team called Pact. From what we’ve seen of him at Charleroi Esports, he had a good individual performance. That’s a good sign for this Polish team. As the veto took place, the teams landed on Nuke. This is a map Virtus.pro have tried playing in the past but lost 4/6 times they played. They’ve lost to Nemiga, Sprout, and Optic, just to name a few. For LDLC this was their first official match Nuke, so it was hard to grasp their level on the map. Nonetheless, the Frenchmen had a good start by winning the pistol round. But their success didn’t last too long. Virtus.pro began exploiting the upper bombsite defensive, which wasn’t held properly at the start. Once the members of LDLC realized what was going, VP began changing their avenues of attack. This led to a tight scoreline between the two teams. But for a lot of the half, the ct side of LDLC was struggling in the money department. This led to a half score of 9-6 in favor of VP. Then it was a matter of closing out the game for Virtuus.pro. But the French showed resilience and even tied the scoreline 10-10. But alas, once VP had their cash flow secured on the ct side, they began winning consecutive rounds in a row. This led to the eventual victory of 16-12. VulkanBet Invitational Group A Winner’s Match ex-3DMAX vs Virtus.pro These are two teams that won their opening matches at the Vulkanbet Invitational Group A and were fighting for a slot in the playoffs. The stage was set and Nuke was the deciding map. The French started things on the ct side, while the Poles where on the terrorist side. Even after losing the pistol round, ex-3DMAX got up to a nice 4-2 lead. But the half score was close between the two teams. As the half ended 8-7 in favor of the French, the real fun would begin on the 2nd half. Ex-3DMAX had a similar style at play, as we saw in the Mirage game against Nemiga. Ex-3DMAX were very quick on their aggressive pushes. This allowed securing an impressive 15-9 lead. This is where the French needed one more round and they win the game. But on the 25th round, we witness a whacky push from the French. They had 4 players coming out of the orange squeaky door on the upper bombsite. They were easily shut down by VP and afterward, they began winning round after round. Suddenly, the scoreline was 15-15. Overtime was a truly enthralling affair. Individual performances were the main reason for a team’s success. Even though Snax won an impressive 1v2 on the upper bombsite on the ct side, it was no match for what the Frenchmen pulled off on their ct side. With an AUG in hand, DavidP shut down 4 players in the outside area. In the last round of the game, we saw Hadji pick up 3 kills with the awp, whilst holding A. These performances led to an ex-3DMAX victory at 19-17. VulkanBet Invitational Group A Elimination Match Nemiga vs LDLC A do or die scenario for both teams. But an important match for the Frenchmen. Could this possibly be another event where they finish dead last? It turned out that the map shall be Inferno. Nemiga have got a lot of experience on Inferno. This is their most played map in online Counter-Strike with a win percentage of 57% these past 3 months. LDLC, however, have played the map in Charleroi Esports. But it was a lackluster map. They lost it 16-4 to Sprout and made a comeback against the inexperienced team FrostFire to secure a 16-14 score. Pretty early on the French had a difficult time on the terrorist side.  They’ve tried time and time again to change up the pace. But they would hardly get comfortable, as Nemiga had a very aggressive ct side. And that aggression would always net them an early kill. It was a bleak half for the Frenchmen and the game ended 16-4 in favor of Nemiga. It is important to note that both Nemiga and LDLC had to resort to stand-ins. That’s something to keep in mind when talking about the result. The Decider Nemiga vs Virtus.pro The final match for the Vulkanbet Invitational Group A. The winner can proceed to the semi-final, whilst the loser is out of the tournament. There’s a lot at stake for the two teams. Even in a scenario like this, it’s hard to predict who can win. Not too long ago, Nemiga secured a 2-0 victory against the Virtus.pro roster in a one-sided fashion. When Nemiga was given the opportunity to choose between Overpass and Inferno, they chose the latter. The Polish team had a solid 3-0 start on the terrorist side. Then slowly but surely Nemiga began picking-up a lot more rounds in a row. However, they couldn’t go for the same aggressive tactics as they did in the LDLC game. They were punished more often, thus it was a more of a passive hold. Things were looking pretty good for Virtus.pro, but then they lost some massive rounds. First was the eco from Nemiga and then the 1v3 from lollipop21k on the B bombsite. This made the half 9-6 in favor of Nemiga. The Polish side had a swell start on the ct. Things were looking up, but then the Nemiga shifted into 5th gear. They won the last couple of rounds and secured Inferno 16-12. Concluding Thoughts Those were the matches for the first day at the VulkanBet Invitational. As expected, a team like ex-3DMAX was able to push through to the playoffs without dropping a map. But it’s a somewhat dissatisfying affair for a team like LDLC. The first loss against Virtus.Pro on Nuke was still somewhat close. Yet, there’s very little to defend them in the game against Nemiga. There didn’t seem to be a lot of team cohesion not to mention proper team play. This isn’t a team with some amazing fraggers, they definitely need more time to work on this project. As for Virtus.pro, it’s another exit in the early stages of the tournament. This concludes the matches of Group A. Tune in next week to find out who’ll make it out of Group B.

Announcing The VulkanBet Invitational

The VulkanBet Invitational is an upcoming CS:GO tournament organised by GMR Entertainment that brings together eight teams and gives them a chance to test their skills against some excellent European rivals. Tournament Info The VulkanBet Invitational offers a prize pool of $20,000 and is scheduled to take place between April 17th – 26th. Given the duration of the event, we will probably have the chance to see some good matches and get to learn more about some of the European teams that are on their way to break into the Majors and Minors of CS:GO. In this article, we will give you a better understanding of who these teams are, what they’ve done so far and why they’re worth watching in spite of not being at the top with the likes of Astralis, Natus Vincere or Team Liquid. Some of them you already know if you watch CS:GO, because they used to be among the world’s best just some time ago. Prizes A total of $20,000 in prizes will be shared among the top four participants in the following way: Placement Reward 1st $10,000 2nd $5,000 3rd $3,000 4th $2,000 Participants and Format VulkanBet Invitational features eight teams from Europe. The teams will be split into two groups of four and the GSL format will be used for each of these groups. The Playoffs Stage (April 24th – April 26th) will be played in a Single Elimination format and every match will be a BO3 series.   Group A (April 17th – April 18th) Group B (April 22nd – April 23rd) ex-3DMax Epsilon Nemiga Alternate Attax LDLC SJ Gaming Virtus.Pro Havu Team Analysis Be sure to check out the upcoming pages Group A and Group B for a brief analysis of the eight teams that will participate at the VulkanBet Invitational.

Apex Legends at the Malta Cyber Series#5: MRO Edition

It was bound to occur; the arrival of a free-to-play battle-royale which would contest with the juggernaut of Fortnite in both spectra of competitive and casual play. It goes without saying, that I'm referring EA's Apex Legends; an engaging mix of pick-a-hero gameplay and other unique mechanics tossed into the recipe of battle-royale. The title has definitely taken the world, and the country by storm; we've realised this. Hence, GMR Entertainment will be capitalizing on the current buzz by offering competitive Apex Legends at our upcoming event; the MCS#5: MRO Edition.  The MRO, year in and year out, has always been an opportunity to dig our heels into the ground and push forward with a new titles such as Overwatch, Battalion 1944 and now, Apex Legends. The announcement is probably less of a surprise to most of you, especially those who tuned in to last week's stream hosted by the new Hex Media studio, where we revealed our intentions through a little gameplay of our own. For the tournament; one can expect a format similar to the one utilized by the international Twitch Rivals event: in which teams attempted to score as many points as possible overall through placement and kills. The Apex Legends tournament will be part of the BYOC area, which is a new addition for the first time in the MRO series.  With new legends, updates, ideas and tonnes of support from social media and communities, Apex Legends is definitely the 'next big thing' in gaming. However, the cyclic nature of these free battle-royale titles will only become more rapid as developers cram for the spotlight - though, if they keep these titles free and accessible to the community, it's only beneficial to the community. The only drawback, is that the contemporary nature of these battle-royale games, and the fact that attention is being pulled in many directions, makes sustaining a long-lasting and stable esport quite difficult.

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