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Big Lucio changes and more in recent Overwatch PTR update

Last Saturday, the Overwatch Public Test Realm (PTR) server has been given an update; and it contains pretty big changes to Lucio, along with a tweak to Assault and Assault/Escort maps in competitive. Also added in the update is a new route in Eichenwalde from the attacking team’s spawn point.

Lucio Updates

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Lucio’s changes are both a nerf and a buff, as he can now only heal or speed boost allies within a 10 meter radius (compared to the previous 30 meters). His Sound Barrier’s radius was also decreased from 30m to 20m. These nerfs mean that Lucio has to be near his team to heal; he won’t be able to effectively heal flankers as before.

In light of these changes to Crossfade, Lucio’s healing-per-second was increased by 50%. He’s also given a movement buff of 30% when wall-riding, plus a burst of speed when leaping of a wall. Adding to these buffs are the increase in projectile speed for his main fire, along with a better knock back for his alternate fire.

These changes can be seen as a nerf to passive Lucio playstyles, as it rewards more aggressive players. Though the buffs might be a bit too much, as the 50% increase in healing will make Lucio even harder to kill (just watch DSPStanky’s PTR playthrough). It remains to be seen if the changes will prove effective in lessening Lucio’s near-100% pickrate in tournaments.

Competitive Tweaks

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The changes to competitive Assault and Assault/Escort maps should mean that draws will be much less common. In the live servers, when both teams fail to cap the first point, the match will result in a draw; in the PTR, whichever team has captured the largest portion of the point will win.

New Eichenwalde Route

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The Overwatch dev team has also addressed an issue in the Eichenwalde map. Players have been calling for tweaks to the first point in Eichenwalde, as most heroes from the attacking team can only go through the arch; this means that the defending team has a bigger advantage positioning-wise. With the addition of the new route, there are now more options for the attacking team to cap the first point (now if only Blizzard can add another route to Hanamura).

For the full list of changes, click here. There is no word yet on when these changes will be available in the live version.

Images courtesy of reddit, Blizzpro, and the Overwatch blog.

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Overwatch APEX Season 2 Playoffs: RunAway beats LW Blue 3-2, advances to Grand Finals

The first Grand Finalist for the Overwatch APEX Season 2 has been determined, and it’s team RunAway, a Korean squad that didn’t even place in the Top 12 last season. Their win didn’t come easy though, as their semifinal match against LW Blue was a close nail-biter of a series, with RunAway eventually winning on the fifth game.

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The first game was on Lijang Tower, where RunAway quickly took the first round on Garden; as LW Blue’s Pharah pick was countered by RunAway’s D.Va. The second round on Control Center was more of the same from RunAway, as they showed great discipline as they take the first game of the series.

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LW Blue fought back on the second game on King’s Row; with a quick first point capture. Though they did get stalled on the last point, but Flow3r’s last-minute Widowmaker pick helped LW Blue take the round on overtime. The next round saw RunAway pick an unorthodox lineup with Widow and Zenyatta, which worked as they took the first point. Though LW Blue’s defense proved good enough to stop RunAway from taking the last point, which gave them the win.

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Game 3 on Hanamura started off well for LW Blue, as they almost defend the first point successfully. But RunAway eventually took the point with seconds to spare, and they carried their momentum for a quick second point capture. RunAway’s turn on the defense then started with a cheeky Torbjorn pick, which failed as LW Blue took the point in their first push. Though LW Blue’s advance ground to a halt, as they failed to capture the next point.

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Being down 2-1 coming into the fourth game, LW Blue fought hard to keep their Finals dreams alive on Route 66. Flow3r picked Widow again to take the first two map points, though they nearly fail to take the round, as they capture the point on overtime. On RunAway’s turn to attack, they were stalled rather effectively on the first two points, though they did take the last one in a single push, meaning they had a larger timer coming into the timebank rounds.

The next round saw an amazing effort from LW Blue, as they take two map points even though they only had 1 minute in their time bank. RunAway failed to take even one in their attack round; this meant that LW Blue has tied the series.

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The series deciding game was on Eichenwalde, and LW Blue took a page from their opponent’s book with a Zen pickup, which was successful. They almost lost on the second point though, but they manage to take the point, and the round on overtime.

In the next round, RunAway took the first point on the back of a good Genji ult by Haksal. They went on to take the second point with time to spare. As they advanced onto the third point, KAISER hit a 5-man Earthshatter, securing the game for RunAway with time to spare; meaning RunAway has taken the game, and the series.

RunAway will face the winner of Meta Athena and Lunatic-Hai’s match at the APEX Season 2 Grand Finals. The next semifinal match will take place on March 28 at 6PM PHT.

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The StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 – Finals lineup is now complete

With a total prizepool of $300,000, the third season of StarLadder i-League StarSeries is definitely one of the premier CS:GO tournaments to watch out for. And now, after months of league play in three different regions, the lineup for the StarSeries Season 3 finals is complete.

Invited Teams

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Astralis and FaZe Clan are coming into the StarSeries final as the favorites; the two teams finished first and second respectively at IEM Katowice, the latest premier tournament. Though the difference with StarSeries is that FaZe Clan has now gained more experience playing together, seeing at they added NiKo to the team just last February. Expect NiKo and FaZe to give great showings at the main stage.

Though they had disappointing results at Katowice, you still can’t count out Fnatic, SK Gaming, and Virtus.Pro. The three teams may have been caught off guard at IEM (resulting in them not making it to the main stage), but they still have potential to take the tournament; they did get high placements at the ELEAGUE Major. And since StarSeries is in Ukraine, hometown hereos Na’Vi could potentially upset the other teams, seeing as they have home advantage.

Qualified Teams

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From the StarSeries CN league, MVP Project, 5Power Club, and Tyloo have qualified to the main tournament. Surprisingly though, Tyloo was the last of the three teams to qualify, even though they have won most of the Asian CS:GO tournaments lately. It still remains to be seen if the Asian teams have what it takes to go against the arguably better EU and NA teams.

Immortals and Counter Logic Gaming are the two teams that qualified from the North American region. Immortals’ qualification is no surprise, considering their great performance at Katowice; fnx’s addition to the lineup has seemed to reinvigorate the squad.

For the European region, the three teams that qualified are Fnatic, G2 Esports, and HellRaisers. The said teams are looking to prove themselves against the top CS:GO squads; especially Fnatic, as they had a history of great performances in the past years.

The StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 3 – Finals will take place at the National Palace of Arts in Kiev, Ukraine on April 4-9.

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NA LCS Week 8 in review

Week 8 in the North American League of Legends Championship Series kept things even more interesting because there of even more shuffling in the standings.

After getting out of the bottom of the table in week 7, Team Liquid struggled last week as they were swept by both Team Dignitas and Phoenix1. A 0-2 week 8 meant that their hopes of possibly making playoffs came to an abrupt halt.

Like Team Liquid, FlyQuest eSports finished with a second 0-2 week in a row, this time in the hands of Team SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming. Because of this, FlyQuest eSports are currently tied with Immortals at sixth just barely within Playoffs reach.

One team though that continued to find success in week 8 was Counter Logic Gaming who’ve seem to have found their own momentum as they swept Echo Fox and FlyQuest eSports in week 8. After a slow start to the 2017 Spring Split, Counter Logic Gaming find themselves in fourth place under Phoenix1.

Right behind Counter Logic Gaming, Team Dignitas has also found their form in the 2017 Spring Split. After a 2-0 week in week 7, they finished week 8 with another 2-0 week after facing the bottom teams of the NA LCS, Team Liquid and Team Envy.

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The top 5 of the NA LCS after week 8. Courtesy of lolesports.com

With only one week left in the North American LCS, a win or loss may be the difference for making Playoffs or just barely surviving the Relegation Tournament.

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The bottom 5 of the NA LCS after week 8. Courtesy of lolesports.com

Team SoloMid has secured their spot in the Playoffs, but they may not let up for their opponents in Week 9, Team Liquid and Phoenix1. While the bottom three teams, Echo Fox, Team Liquid, and Team Envy will definitely have to play their hearts out if they want to make it out of relegation.

 

Featured photo courtesy of lolesports Flickr.

 

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