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Long Form

ESL One Genting Tournament Preview

The first premiere tournament of 2017 for Dota 2 kicks off at Genting, Malaysia as ESL ONE turns to Southeast Asia for a battlefield of eight top teams this January 6-8. The hometown heroes Fnatic have been revamped, SEA stars Execration are coming into the tournament with new players, while teams such Wings Gaming and Team NP are looking for redemption in this USD 250,000 prize pooled event.

Participating Teams:

1. Fnatic (Direct Invite)

After a disappointing finish at the Boston Major Regional Qualifiers last year, Fnatic looked to revamp around the duo Mushi and Ohaiyo by releasing the Filipino players Raven and eyyou as well as the American legend DeMoN. As the first directly invited team for ESL One Genting and the hometown heroes of Malaysia, Fnatic introduces a touch of the old and the new with the addition of rookie InYourDream and veteran SEA stars YamateH and Febby.

Players:
Chai “Mushi” Yee Fung
Muhammad “inYourdreaM” Rizky
Chong Xin “Ohaiyo” Khoo
Ng “YamateH” Wei Poong
Kim “Febby” Yong-min

2. Digital Chaos (Direct Invite)

Digital Chaos have been consistent the whole of Fall season, ending it in a high note by placing 3rd-4th during the Boston Major. They have also kept their roster intact and as such will definitely be the favorites coming into this tournament.

Digital Chaos

Roman “Resolu1tion” Fominok
Aliwi “w33” Omar
David “MoonMeander” Tan
Rasmus “MiSeRy” Filipsen***
Martin “Saksa” Sazdov

3. Wings Gaming (Direct Invite)

Wings Gaming finished alright with the Boston Majors group stage, but the Single Elimination format for the Main Event wasn’t exactly favorable for the defending TI champions. They were paired against Evil Geniuses during the first round of the tournament, a team who ushered their first round exit as well. Now, they are looking for redemption with the new patch 7.00 to be played for ESL One Genting.

Chu “shadow” Zeyu
Zhou “bLink” Yang
Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida
Zhang “y`” Yiping
Lee “iceice” Peng

4. Team NP (American Qualifier)

Team NP routed their NA rivals compLexity Gaming during the American Qualifier to punch their tickets to Malaysia. They are also heading to the Spring Season with their primary roster intact. Additionally, the team performed well during the Boston Major — finishing 5th-8th place — which makes them a legitimate threat in this tournament.

Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling
Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao
Arif “MSS” Anwar
Avery “SVG” Silverman
Theeban “1437” Siva

5. Newbee (Chinese Qualifier)

Newbee is another team that won’t fix that which isn’t broken: the top-tier squad will not change their roster, especially after a stellar Fall Season outing. They have been a dominant force in the region of China with many LAN wins against their fellow Chinese teams. They also still feature China’s top MMR players Sccc and kaka. 

Xu “uuu9” Han
Song “Sccc” Chun
Damien “kpii” Chok
Hu “kaka” Liangzhi
Zeng “Faith” Hongda

6. Virtus.Pro (European Qualifier)

The ESL ONE Genting regional qualifiers were done way before the Boston Major; but if the invites were drawn a month later than it did, surely Virtus.Pro would be directly invited in this event. Virtus.Pro were such a force to be reckoned with during the late part of the Fall Season, so much so that they were poised to take the Boston Major if not for the single elimination format. After their premature exit at teh tournament because of Evil Geniuses, the team kept their roster intact and could be the hungriest of the teams as the tournament sounds its horns.

Roman “RAMZES666” Kushnarev
Vladimir “No[o]ne” Minenko
Pavel “9pashaebashu” Khvastunov
Ilya “Lil” Ilyuk
Alexei “Solo” Berezin

7. Execration (Southeast Asian Qualifier)

Execration suffered a huge blow by losing its start player Abed “Abed” Yusop after the Fall Season to combo up with their inability to participate in the Boston Major (despite being directly invited) because of VISA Issues. Now, the team looks for redemption as Kim0 and DJ seeks to prove that they totally deserved that Boston Major invite by conquering the Southeast Asian region through the addition of two Filipino household names Nando and Owa.

Khim “Gabbi” Villafuerte
Fernando “Nando” Mendoza
Djardel Jicko B. “DJ” Mampusti
Joshua “Owa” Dela Serna
Kimuel “Kim0” Rodis

8. Warriors Gaming Unity (Malaysian Qualifier)

WG.Unity did nothing shabby at all during their Boston Major run: they eliminated Fnatic and Mineski.GGNetwork during the Regional Qualifiers, smashed through the Group Stage and finished 2nd place, then went on to defeat the experienced compLexity Gaming to etch a 5-8th place finish for the whole of Boston Major. They have shown that even as a new team, they are at par with the international favorites, and will definitely be a threat here in ESL One Genting.

Jay Son “Ahjit” Lai
Boon Seng “NaNa” Kam
Soon Khong “KaNG” Chua
Soon Chuan “Ahfu” Tue ***
Ee Wooi “Wenn” Neng

Long Form

5 Female Video Game Characters who defied Stereotypes

Women in video games back then are often just damsels in distress. Say for example Princess Peach; her only role in the first few Mario games is to be abducted and saved by the player. If not seen as objectives to be saved, female game characters were often just eye-candy, wearing revealing clothing without any unique personality traits to speak of.

Now before the month of March is about to end (it is after all Women’s History Month), we are highlighting five female video game characters who have defied the stereotypes. These characters are nuanced and multi-dimensional, with different ages, backgrounds, and personalities.

Lara Croft

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Lara Croft, she’s one of the most recognizable video game characters of all time, and with good reason. The Tomb Raider series are excellent adventure games in their own right, and is one of the first adventure series to feature a badass female playable protagonist. No matter which iteration of Lara, she’s sure to be a force to be reckoned with. Though we would like to highlight the latest incarnation of Lara from the 2013 reboot.

The current Lara Croft is a great character, as she is initially portrayed as vulnerable and inexperienced, but through her experiences throughout the game, she turns into the Lara Croft that we have all come to know and love. This evolution of her character shows more depth to her personality, and is much more realistic compared to the previous Lara’s; not to mention she wears much more appropriate tomb-raiding attire (I mean, who wears a bright blue tank-top and short-shorts to tombs?).

Aloy

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Aloy is the newest character included in the list, though this does not make her the least interesting. She is the playable character of Guerilla Games’ and Sony’s newest IP, Horizon: Zero Dawn. As the game is set in a post-apocalyptic world filled with robots, you have to be tough to survive, and Aloy is just that. She climbs, fights, and takes down large robots with ease, and she’s resilient despite the harsh obstacles along her way. Most importantly though, Aloy is compassionate and sympathetic to those in need, making her one of the best new female characters in games.

Clementine

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The two previous girls on the list are strong physically, though they might not match the mental and emotional strength of The Walking Dead’s 8-year old Clementine. The game’s two seasons (with a new one underway) throws equal parts danger and heartbreak throughout her journey of survival, but she keeps on persevering. Clementine is smart and mature for her age, and she makes many tough decisions throughout her journey, decisions that most of us might not make properly given the situation. Given all that she’s been and will go through, Clementine surely deserves praise.

Tali’Zorah Nar Rayya

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One of Commander Shepard’s constant companions throughout the Mass Effect trilogy, Tali’Zorah Nar Rayya might not be human, but she’s one of the most memorable characters in the said trilogy. As a Quarian (one of the many alien species in Mass Effect), Tali is a mechanical genius, which proves invaluable in their fight against the Reapers. Tali is also a kind-hearted and gentle soul, but can kick-ass when needed. And the best thing about her is that she’s loyal to her friends aboard the Normandy, and her family in the Quarian Fleet.

Ana Amari

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Overwatch is one of the finest games when it comes to female representation, with female characters ranging from a bodybuilding Russian, to a feisty Korean gamer. And the last one on our list is Ana Amari, the game’s Egyptian sniper/healer. At 60 years old, she’s one of the oldest characters in the game, and one of the oldest female characters in any FPS.

Ana’s design deserves a lot of praise, especially as there are only a few games that feature playable female characters that are already in their 60s, even though old male characters are quite common. She’s also unique gameplay-wise, as she is equipped with a sniper rifle that heals allies. And best of all, she has a motherly nature, which is in line with the colorful personalities of characters that inhabit the world of Overwatch.

Images courtesy of in2gpu, Escapist, PlayStation Universe, PlayOverwatch, and the Mass Effect Wiki.

Long Form

Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 Tier List (Part 2 of 2)

The Dota 2 Asia Championships will be starting March 27th, where the 12 participating teams shall undergo a BO2 round robin stage to determine who’ll go to the Upper Bracket or the Lower Bracket of the Main Event come April 1-4. GG Network evaluated where the 12 participating teams fare in terms of their chances in winning this tournament:

READ: Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 Tier List (Part 1 of 2)


Tier 3: Dark Horses

Vici Gaming. J (VG.J)

Sun “Agressif” Zheng
Liu “Freeze” Chang
Bai “rOtk” Fan
Xu “fy” Linsen
Lu “Fenrir” Chao

The standout performance of Vici Gaming.J last Star Ladder Star Series — where they eliminated teams such as Wings Gaming and OG en route to the Grand Finals — was enough for Valve to actually directly invite them for the Kiev Major. Understandably so, because the face value you get from just their lineup is quite immense. It is still the support duo fy and Fenrir as well as former TI runners-up Agressif and rOtk, anyway. They’ve shown that they can defeat even the greatest if they find their groove.

Wings Gaming

Chu “shadow” Zeyu
Zhou “bLink” Yang
Zhang “Faith_bian” Ruida
Zhang “y`” Yiping
Lee “iceice” Peng

Wings Gaming might be the recent world defending champions, but teams have already figured out their unpredictability up to this point; hence, their poor performances in their past tournament outings since their TI6 championship run. They have shown that VG.J can defeat them as well, but the chaos that Patch 7.04 might bring could be their second wind.

Newbee

Xu “uuu9” Han
Song “Sccc” Chun
Damien “kpii” Chok
Hu “kaka” Liangzhi
Zeng “Faith” Hongda

The second Chinese powerhouse hasn’t been active as of late — but the fact that they were direct invites to both DAC and the Kiev Major speaks a lot about the team’s pedigree. There’s still much to stay whether or not they look good for the recent patch, but their roster since Fall season has been kept intact and their strength should also be here as well. It is not impossible at all for the 9000 MMR-heavy team (both Sccc and kaka were the first ones to reach such height in the China Region) to take this tournament home.


Tier 4: Championship Contenders

Team Liquid

Lasse “MATUMBAMAN” Urpalainen
Amer “Miracle-“ Al-Barkawi
Ivan “MinD_ContRoL” Borislavov
Maroun “GH” Merhej
Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi

Finally, the three-man 9000 MMR stack of Team Liquid — MATUMBAMAN, Miracle-, and even the support GH all reached 9000 MMR  — found their success after winning the StarLadder Star Series Season 3 last month. More importantly, they did it in a very convincing fashion. They have netted their Keiv Major invites as well, and it’s no doubt that the uber-talented team can easily become the champions of this tournament.

OG

Johan “N0tail” Sundstein
Anathan “ana” Pham
Gustav “s4” Magnusson
Jesse “JerAx” Vainikka
Tal “Fly” Aizik

The recent Fall Major champions may have had a rather premature exit at the Star Ladder Star Series Season 3, but their strength and tactical depth as a team is nothing to be shrugged off. In almost all of their LAN outings, they are a threat to any team and a championship contender as well. They are looking in prime shape as of late, and they are a very strong force here in DAC.

Evil Geniuses

Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
Syed Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan
Saahil UNiVeRsE Arora
Ludwig “zai” Wahlberg
Andreas Franck “Cr1t” Nielsen

Their Fall Season have had a rocky start, but the new iteration of Evil Geniuses seemed to slowly be gelling. They had quite an impressive run during the Boston Major, but their stand out performance was taking down the titans OG last Dota Pit Season 5 to win the tournament in five epic games. They are indeed the defending champions of this tournament, and SumaiL might just get his second Divine Rapier from DAC this year.


You can follow this writer through @caisamyvez

Long Form

Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 Tier List (Part 1 of 2)

The Dota 2 Asia Championships will be starting March 27th, where the 12 participating teams shall undergo a BO2 round robin stage to determine who’ll go to the Upper Bracket or the Lower Bracket of the Main Event come April 1-4. GG Network evaluated where the 12 participating teams fare in terms of their chances in winning this tournament:


Bottom 3: Happy To Be Here Tier

Team Empire

Vladimir “Chappie” Kuzmenko
Rostislav “fn” Lozovoi
Andrey “Ghostik” Kadyk
Yaroslav “Miposhka” Naidenov
Rinat “KingR” Abdullin

Team Empire found a lot of luck after Virtus.Pro failed to participate in the online European Qualifiers of DAC. This team was also neither invited nor qualified for the upcoming Kiev Major, which proves their struggles in maintaining their performance at the EU scene. Still, they qualified for DAC, but they’re long ways to go especially against 9 other Kiev Major participants.

LGD.Forever Young (LFY)

Du “Monet” Peng
Xie “Super” Junhao
Xiao “Jixing” Zhihao
Lei “White” Yipei
Luo “Lpc” Puchao

Like Team EmpireLFY would not be participating in the Kiev Major and might just be the weakest link in the stronghold of the Chinese lineup for DAC, as their revamped roster still hasn’t brought fruit. They can easily be taken down by other more stabler teams, and both Super and Monet has a long way to go in terms of representing this team.

Team NP

Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling
Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao
Arif “MSS” Anwar
Avery “SVG” Silverman
Theeban “1437” Siva

Team NP also failed to qualify for the Kiev Major, after a big upset from Team Onyx and Abed “Abed” Yusop’s Meepo. This is hard evidence for Team NP‘s chances in DAC: surely, they can go far in this tournament by talent value in ther lineup alone, but they can also be easily defeated by any team if they don’t get themselves together. Team NP‘s chances are slim against other top-grade teams here in DAC, and they themselves can make it slimmer because they are a team proven — time and time again — to be outplaying themselves.


 

Second Tier: Long Shot

Invictus Gaming

Xu “BurNIng” Zhilei
Ou “Op” Peng
Lin “Xxs” Jing
Ye “BoBoKa” Zhibiao
Fu “Q” Bin

iG might not be the best in the Chinese scene, but still proves to be successful in many of their recent online tournament outings. They’ve bested many teams in this region, and successfully qualified through three premiere tournaments throughout 2017: DAC, Kiev Major, and Manila Masters. The BurNIng-led bunch of considerably upstarts in the Dota 2 scene showed the whole world recently that if they can find their stride, they can be successful against many other teams.

Invictus Gaming Vitality

Zhang “Paparazi灬” Chengjun
Xu “Sakata” Zichen
Yang “InJuly” Xiaodon
Su “super” Peng
Gao “Dogf1ghts” Tianpeng

As the secondary team of the franchise, iG.Vitality found themselves more successful than the main squad since their revamp last Fall season. They actually qualified for last season’s Fall Major — though they had to change three of their players because of US VISA issues — and masterfully defeat them in a series to effectively qualify for the upcoming Kiev Major. They still have a lot to prove when going up against the top-grade Chinese teams, but they have already shown the international scene their strength as a team. It wouldn’t be surprising if they can upset many other teams because of their youngster savvy.

Team Faceless

Dominik “Black^” Reitmeier
Anucha “Jabz” Jirawong
Daryl “iceiceice” Koh
Toh “Xy-“ Wai Hong
Wong “NutZ” Jeng Yih

There’s no doubt that Faceless are currently the kings in the Southeast Asia region, but they are the team that showed quite inadequate performances when it comes to international tournaments. Then again, they showed last Dota Pit Season 5 that they can defeat even the top teams because of the amount of veteran experience running through their decorated lineup. If Faceless can still pull something out of their bag o’ tricks, their chances in making it through the tournament can be higher.


Watch out for Part 2 of this GG Network Tier List for Dota 2 Asia Championship. You can follow this writer through @caisamyvez