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MSI intros new gaming motherboards at CES 2017

It’s no surprise that gaming-oriented brands have a slew of new offerings on display at CES 2017. MSI is no exception, as they unveiled all the newest hardware showcasing the newest Intel processor, codenamed Kaby Lake.

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MSI’s newest set of motherboards, the Z270 Enthusiast series, aim to provide gamers with the latest innovations the company has to offer. The Gaming M7 and Titanium lines feature M.2 Shield, a cooling option for your Intel Optane SSDs, which helps prevent heat throttling. Also on board are VR-related tech: the VR Ready and VR Boost. VR Ready is a one-click feature on the MSI Gaming App that flawlessly switches your PC settings to max, allowing you to enjoy the best VR experience possible. VR Boost is a smart chip embedded in the motherboard that allows smooth, consistent, and strong signal flow to the dedicated VR-optimised USB port, reducing motion sickness in gamers who use VR goggles caused by inconsistent signal flow.

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The Performance Gaming line of boards are for gamers who don’t just want great performance, but also stylish lighting aesthetics. The ZZ270 Gaming Pro Carbon has built-in RGB Mystic Light. Through the app on the desktop or smartphone, you can control the lighting effects not just on the board, but also any other Mystic Light-enabled piece of hardware or peripheral, and even LED RGB light strips you wish to install. The Performance Gaming line also features Audio Boost with Nahimic 2 ensure sound quality is top notch thanks to an isolated audio PCB, audio covering, and gold-plated audio connectors.

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The Arsenal line of the Z270 boards are built to withstand punishment coming from long hours of gaming. The board is loaded with heavy plating, akin to a tank. The plating contains heat sinks that aim to keep the board and all connected components working at optimal levels for far longer, without performance dips. These boards feature the Lightning USB 3.1 Gen 2 system, ensuring high speed data transfers (up to twice the regular transfer speed) for all USB 3.1 Gen 2 devices plugged into the board’s ports. The DDR4 Boost on the other hand, ensures maximum performance and stability when working the RAM chips overtime via gaming, video editing, and large-scale rendering.

Expect the new MSI boards to dominate shelves soon.

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European LCS 2017 Spring Split Primer

A new season in the European League of Legends Championship Series is about to begin. Along with a new format, a new team has survived the Promotional Tournament and will look to make their names known on the Rift.

We’re here to introduce the 10 EU teams that will be competing in the 2017 Spring Split along with this, we will classify the teams into four groups, the Contenders, the Almost but not quite, the Middle of the pack, and the Danger zone.

The Contenders

 

G2 Esports

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The first on the Contenders is no surprise. The defending EU LCS champions may have disappointed during their performances in international tournaments, but one thing they’ve successfully done is to dominate Europe.

It helps their cause this season that they were able to keep their roster from the 2016 Summer Split. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

 

Splyce

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Splyce is a team that took to Splits to ramp up from a team fighting in the Promotional Tournament to a team that competed at the 2017 World Championship. Their strength lies in their macro play and ability to turtle out games and win in late game.

Similar to G2 Esports they have been able to keep their roster intact but this team has been together since 2016 Spring Split. I don’t expect to see their performance to dip anytime soon and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them up against G2 Esports in the Finals by the end of the Split.

 

Almost but not quite

 

Fnatic

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Fnatic had its worst season last year and had to rebuild around their ADC, Martin “Rekkles” Larsson. Unlike their 2016 rebuilding, where they brought in Gamsu and Spirit in hopes to replace Huni and Reignover, they’ve decided to bring in four Europeans three of which are LCS veterans in Paul “sOAZ” Boyer, Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider, and Jesse “Jesiz” Le. Perhaps the biggest question on their roster is their young mid laner, Rasmus “Caps” Winther.

It may not be the freshest lineup around, putting together four veterans to surround a young mid laner seems like a better option than bringing in two Koreans who can hardly speak English. One thing that this iteration of Fnatic will have is better communication.

 

Unicorns of Love

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Unicorns of Love has looked impressive especially after their win at IEM Oakland. Since then though they’ve seen two changes in the roster after their jungler, Move and their ADC, Veritas left the squad. In their place they’ve added in Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir and Samuel “Samux” Fernández Fort.

Xerxe is a talented jungler that seems like an upgrade over Move, while Samux has quite the shoes to fill. They have, however, been able to keep their solo laners, Vizicsacsi and Exileh. Vizicsacsi is one of the best top laners in Europe and Exileh has slowly shown he can carry when needed.

 

H2k-Gaming

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H2k-Gaming despite a strong performance at the 2017 World Championship saw three of their players leave, only retaining Odoamne and Jankos. They’ve had to fill in the void that Ryu, FORG1VEN, and Vander left, and their place they’ve seen the prodigal son, Fabian ”Febiven” Diepstraten return in the mid lane, and they’ve brought in Shin “Nuclear” Jung-hyun and Choi “Chei” Sun-ho to fill in the bottom lane.

Questions may be raised regarding the three added players but the two Koreans, but they’ve shown impressive performances even in their previous teams of SBENU Sonicboom and Jin Air Green Wings, respectively and should Febiven return to form, he can be quite the mid-laner.

 

Middle of the pack

 

Misfits

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Misfits is the newest team in the scene after surviving the Promotional Tournament and taking the spot from Schalke 04. Since then, they’ve added in the inconsistent mid-laner Tristan “PowerofEvil” Schrage and former Korean superstar jungler Lee “KaKAO” Byung-kwon to replace Marcin “SELFIE” Wolski and Kim “Wisdom” Tae-wan.

Despite being new to the LCS, their roster has the experience under their belt in order to fight and keep themselves at least within Playoff reach.

 

GIANTS! Gaming

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GIANTS! Gaming has always been a question mark in the EU LCS, but have always found a way to keep themselves alive and the 2016 Season is a testament to this. After fighting in the 2016 Summer Promotion, they end the Summer Split in third place and fall to Unicorns of Love in the Quarterfinals.

Since then, they’ve been able to keep their mid laner, Na “NighT” Gun-woo and their support, Morgan “Hustlin” Granberg. Joining them is a promising top laner, Olof “Flaxxish” Medin, jungler Jonas “Memento” Elmarghichi, and ADC Martin “HeaQ” Kordmaa.

 

Team Vitality

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One of the biggest disappointments of 2016 is Team Vitality, who despite finishgin the 2016 Spring Split in third, saw the end of their Split after losing to Fnatic. The struggles didn’t end there after they ended the 2016 Summer Split in seventh, just barely out of relegation.

Despite signing ADC Pierre “Steelback” Medjaldi, junglers Charly “Djoko” Guillard and Lee “GBM” Chang-suk, and former KT Rolster support Ha “Hachani” Seung-chan, having GBM and Hachani as mainstays may be possible downsides should visa problems arise.

 

Danger zone

 

Team ROCCAT

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ROCCAT has unfortunately found themselves in the Promotional Tournament in both the 2016 Splits, and I doubt it’s going to change this Split especially with them being drawn a group with G2 Esports, Fnatic, Misfits, and GIANTS! Gaming.

It doesn’t help that they’ve brought in four new players; top laner Ambrož “Phaxi” Hren, jungler Nubar “Maxlore” Sarafian, ADC Petter “Hjärnan” Freyschuss, and support Kim “Wadid” Bae-in; with a lot of questions on how they’d perform, more specifically Phaxi and Wadid.

 

Origen

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The glory that was Origen is long gone and their 2016 season shows it. After finishing second in the Spring Split, they just couldn’t find their form again forcing to fight for their spot in the Promotion Tournament.

Since then, they’ve seen what remains of their 2016 roster leave the team. This forced the team to rebuild and unlike the other teams they put together a roster with a mix of untested players, Challenger Series, and former LCS talent. Not quite the best of the talent pool and I expect them to be fighting to stay out of the relegation zone.

They signed top laner Max “Satorius” Günther, jungler Kim “Wisdom” Tae-wan, mid laner Yoo “NaeHyun” Nae-hyun, ADC Erik “Tabzz” van Helvert, and support Aleksi “Hiiva” Kaikkonen.

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Overwatch CNY event starts January 24

Earlier today, Blizzard announced through their US and Korea Twitter accounts that they’re cooking something to celebrate Chinese New Year. Check out the tweets below for the videos:

It’s a no-brainer that Overwatch hero and climatologist Mei will have a Chinese New Year skin, given her cultural roots. What’s also interesting is that Korean hero and esports athlete Hana “D.Va” Song will get a cute new hanbok (a traditional Korean garb for women) for herself and a makeover for her mech.

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Expect a slew of Epic and Legendary skins (including the Mei and D.Va skins), voice lines, emotes, sprays, player icons, and probably highlight intros for the Overwatch heroes with this patch. The CNY event starts January 24 worldwide.

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CLASH ROYALE | A new arena and a new card

A new Arena is finally upon the Supercell mobile strategy card game, Clash Royale. Along with the new Arena, it has also received its first card, the Dart Goblin.

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Photo courtesy of Orange Juice Gaming Youtube

The newest Arena is the Jungle Arena which is unlocked at 2600 trophies, in between the Frozen Peak and the Legendary Arena, this closes the gap between the two arenas.

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Photo courtesy of Orange Juice Gaming Youtube

The Jungle Arena has an Aztec vibe to it, with the sides covered in leaves and gold walls. It has a warm vibe that’s quite unique from the other Arenas.

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Currently, the only card that can be unlocked in the Arena is a card new to the Goblin family, the Dart Goblin. He is a rare three Elixir single-target ranged troop.

He shares the same hit speed as the Lumberjack and the Witch at 0.7 seconds and shares the same range as the Royal Giant at 6.5 tiles.

Because of his fast hit speed, he is able to land two hits to a tower despite being low on health. He outranges defensive structures like the Inferno Tower but doesn’t outrange the Crown Tower.

At tournament standard, he shares the same health as the Princess, meaning he can be countered with The Log and Arrows but can’t be killed with a Zap. Because of this he can be considered as a larger Spear Goblin, similar to how the Mega Minion is a larger Minion.

The Dart Goblin can easily be countered but if left alone, can also be quite devastating, chipping away at your Towers.

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