League of Legends

T1 Partners With K-pop Academy SM Institute In New Venture

South Korean esports organisation T1, primarily known for their highly successful League of Legends team, is partnering with SM Institute to create a brand new academy. The news broke late on December 30th across Twitter thanks to K-Pop fan John Yoo.

SM Institute is a training and academy arm of SM Entertainment, a South Korean entertainment company. One of the country’s largest star makers, SM Entertainment manages numerous top level K-pop stars, including Girls’ Generation, Kangta, S.E.S, BoA, and Red Velvet. 

T1 are multiple time World Champions in League of Legends, having been victorious at Worlds in 2013, 2015, and 2016. The team were also runners up in 2017, and came 3rd-4th in 2019. Their legendary player Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, made headlines this year after becoming a part-owner of the organisation.

The deal marks an exciting new avenue for the esports organisation. K-Pop is on the rise in popularity across the globe. South Korea’s most-famous esports team partnering with the country’s most-famous stars is a winning combination. 

The new academy looks to provide schooling and higher education for esports professionals. The SM Institute currently allows stars to continue their education while pursuing their dreams of K-Pop stardom. This new collaboration between T1 and the SM Institute will instead provide high-quality “K-Education” to esports players who may have forgone schooling to concentrate on their esports career.

T1 has vastly expanded its reach this year, partnering with organisations including Nike to grow their brand (Image via T1/Nike)

T1 has made numerous high profile deals in the past year. They’ve partnered with, Nike, and Hana Bank to expand the reach of the organisation. The company is rapidly growing into South Korea’s most recognisable brand – Outside of K-pop. By partnering with SM Entertainment T1 is making moves to become an even larger presence globally.

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Astralis crowned the IEM Global Challenge 2020 Champions

Astralis are your IEM Global Challenge 2020 Champions after beating an unlikely opponent of Team Liquid in the Grand Final. The two teams pulled out an amazing run to the finals, sending out 2020 with an el Classico despite the big teams they had to face at every stage of the event.

But how did the rest of the event go? The final event of 2020 was wild with its results, For that reason, lets explore all that came with the event, and what that means for 2021.

Astralis crowned once again

Astralis once again earn themselves yet another trophy as they took home the gold as the IEM Global Challenge 2020 Champions. The Danes have earned themselves their second trophy in December, and its third since coming back from the player break in the summer. The team has ramped up at an incredible time, and they are doing with a six-man roster when it comes to Nuke.

One of the big storylines for this roster was the fact they were beginning to peak at the right time. Since the original Astralis roster returned from their absence, they have grown and grown. The conclusion to the recent BLAST Premier Fall Finals showed that Astralis was contesting the best team in the world. The victory here shows they are arguably the best team now they consistently making the Finals in their last three events.

One of the ways Astralis beat Team Liquid in their finals

El Classico

The last time that Astralis and Team Liquid played each other was not too long ago. They met in the first round of the Lower Bracket at the DreamHack Masters Winter European event. But now the role is reversed with them playing in the finals.

Sadly, the battle from the old days seemed to have faded. Astralis won the series 3-0, and the maps were not as close as we all would have hoped. Inferno was a 16-11 victory for Astralis, with Overpass going 16-11 and Dust II 16-10. Despite the sad losses, it was still a great time for Team Liquid, they showed that their new roster can reach the finals of events with European opposition. On the other hand, it was also a happy send-off for Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken, who announced that he is heading to a European team in 2021.

Twistzz with the respectful departure from Team Liquid

Vitality Bleeds

One of the most successful teams in CS:GO right now just so happened to fall in the Group Stages just days after taking a trophy. Team Vitality and their amazing roster fell at the final hurdle of 2020, dropping out of the Group stages in 3rd place after losing the decider against Astralis.

Despite the fact Team Vitality got dropped us unexpectedly early, there are some strong takeaways to consider. Team Vitality has grown incredibly well this year, picking up a six-man roster and adventuring into greatness with a team that has few roster rotations. One of those elements is Kévin “misutaaa” Rabier, who spent his first year as a competitive player on a team redefining the game.

What a great debut year for the young CS:GO star

BIG maintain top-class form

One of the teams that have come out of nowhere in 2020 is BIG. The German side as really harnessed the power of the online era and maintained a presence. They have won several events this year and even at the event designed for the best teams in the world, they make it to the semi-finals.

Another factor is that BIG only arrived at the tournament because Chaos had to step out of the event for unforeseen illnesses. For a team that didn’t qualify for the usual metric, but they still highlighted their power level. For BIG, the roster is in a position to show the world that 2021 is their year, as they took out teams like Vitality and Astralis in the Group Stages.

Stay tuned to Dartfrog for all the latest news and analysis on CS:GO and follow us on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch.  Image via Astralis

Dota 2

Team Spirit is back in Dota 2

The new Dota 2 Pro Circuit is just around the corner. Consequently, there are many new teams looking to take part. Joining their ranks will be Team Spirit. As one of the top CIS eSports organizations, they’ve decided to acquire the Yellow Submarine roster.

The Team

Unless something changes, the new DPC will begin around one month from now, and Team Spirit has gone through numerous players in order to pick its final roster. In the end, there were only 12 players shortlisted. Although there were many big names on the list, the organization decided that Yellow Submarine would be the best fit.

The last time Team Spirit had a Dota 2 team was back in May. They had a very strong roster, but were unable to live up to expectations. As a result, the organization decided to part ways with its roster. Some of the players are now a part of Gambit Esports, whereas others play for Live to Win.

Team Spirit’s current roster

  • Ilya “yotoro” Mulyarchuk
  • Alexander “TORONTOTOKYO” Khertek
  • Magomed “Collapse” Khalilov
  • Vitaliy “so bad” Oshmankevich
  • Yaroslav “Miniposhka” Naidenov

Airat “Silent” Gaziev will be the team’s coach, an awesome player with plenty of experience.

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Call of Duty

Call of Duty League 2021 season structure details announced

A glimpse at the new Call of Duty League structure has given us a better idea of what to expect in the 2021 season.

The 2020 Call of Duty League Championship marked the end of the inaugural CDL season in August of last year.

Since then, all 12 teams except Paris Legion have confirmed their rosters and a switch back to a 4v4 format was announced with matches being played on PC and controller.

To the surprise of many fans, LA Thieves joined the Call of Duty League and the Chicago Huntsmen are no more due to Hector Rodriguez’ reacquisition of the OpTic Gaming brand.

Finally, as we approach the new year, the CDL have gifted us an early Christmas present and provided us with a few details about the new season.

The CDL said: “Tournaments are back as high stakes Majors that will feature all 12 teams in the Call of Duty League competing in double-elimination competition. Tournament seeding will be determined by head-to-head group play matches over the course of three Home Series weeks leading up to each Major.

“The regular season will include five stages, each culminating in a Major Tournament. During each stage, all teams will compete in five group play matches to determine their seed in each Major.”

Teams will also earn CDL Points throughout the season just as last year. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to earn additional points distributed based on their performance at Majors.

The top eight teams in the CDL Points standings will qualify for Playoffs at the end of the season.

Confirmed CDL 2021 rosters

Atlanta FaZe – Simp, Abezy, Cellium, Arcitys

Dallas Empire – Shotzzy, Huke, iLLeY, C6

Florida Mutineers – Havok, Owakening, Skyz, Slacked

London Royal Ravens – Seany, Alexx, Dylan, Zer0

Los Angeles Guerillas – Vivid, Apathy, Assault, SiLLY

Los Angeles Thieves – Kenny, Slasher, Temp, TJHaly

Minnesota Rokkr – Attach, MajorManiak, Priestahh, Accuracy

New York Subliners – ZooMaa, Mack, Clayster, HyDra

OpTic Chicago – Scump, Formal, Envoy, Dashy

Paris Legion – Unconfirmed

Seattle Surge – Octane, Gunless, Prestinni, Loony

Toronto Ultra – Cammy, CleanX, Methodz, Bance

More information about the Call of Duty League 2021 season will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Follow Dartfrog for all the latest Call of Duty news and analysis onour TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Twitch.

League of Legends

LCS 2021 format changes: More games, less time off

It may still feel far away in your mind, but 2021 is looming, and with it a fresh year of LCS action. Yesterday, on December 14, the NA’s top League of Legends division gave us an early Christmas present: A new format.  Revealed in detail on Travis Gafford’s YouTube channel, the format debuts a number of changes. These include new names for the playoffs, a shorter Spring Split, and lots more games.

The season will kick off on January 15 with “The LCS Lock In.” This cash and charity tournament will pit the LCS teams against each other for $200,000 in prize money. The teams will be split into a unique set of groups decided by the previous season’s champions. The top four teams from each group advance to a playoff with the winner taking home $150,000 plus $50,000 for a charity of their choice.

Image via Travis Gafford

The Spring Split will run between February 5 and March 14. In a trimmed-down triple round-robin best-of-one format, teams will play three games over a weekend. This gives us 15 games a week total. As a result the spring split will only take 6 weeks. Following this, the spring playoffs, now renamed the “Mid Season Showdown” will take place. The top 6 teams clash in a double elimination tournament. The victor will be crowned as spring champion and given a spot at the Mid Season Invitational.

Summer will follow a similar format, with another round-robin season. This time it’s a full 9 weeks, running from June 4 to August 11. After this, the summer playoffs, now name the LCS Championship, will pit the 8 top teams against each other. The top three teams will then head to Worlds 2021, representing NA on the grandest stage.

Image via Travis Gafford

But questions have to be asked whether this is the right move for the LCS. While some reactions to changes have been universally positive, others have seen flaws in the new format. Carrying over results between splits will make each game more important to the league. However, questions remain over how the LCS will handle the new schedule.

Last year the LCS had subpar production values. On top of this, the new schedule, at least in spring, will make it incredibly difficult for players to have any down time. The schedule seems more akin to the manic mass games of Season Three, rather than the sleek modern production we’ve seen from the LEC in these past years. As a result, it remains to be seen whether the LCS in 2021 can deliver a top quality product and production while dealing with these new format changes. 

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Vitality crowned BLAST Fall Premier 2020 Champions

Team Vitality has walked away with the BLAST Fall Premier 2020 trophy after taking down Astralis in the Grand Final. Vitality seems to have peaked at the right time, also showing the world that a proper six-man roster can be incorporated to take home trophies. With the win, the team earns $225,000 USD and has huge momentum to the final event of the year, the IEM Global Final.

The Playoff Run

The French side found their path to the Finals, similarly to how easy they recently found their path to the IEM Beijing Finals and their group showing. The side moved through the Upper Bracket with glee, taking down a recently resurged mousesports and Natus Vincere. The best part about this is that Na’Vi was looking like a world number one with the way the team was on fire.

The mouse series was the opening stomp that we expect from Vitality. Mousesports capitulated fairly early on in the series, going down 0-2 with a 16-7 loss on inferno and 16-8 on Dust II. Moving on, Team Vitality had a real fight against the best CIS team in Natus Vincere. While the score reads 2-0 for Vitality, both maps did go to overtime. Vitality had to win the map 19-15. On the other hand, Vitality won 19-17 on Dust II, showing it was the final round of overtime that mattered. Furthermore, the final round of that series was insane. There were quality spray transfers, pinpoint accuracy and amazing utility use from both sides. However, Vitality somehow secured the map victory despite all their players being dead. Mind-blowing!

One of the most memorable moments of CS:GO in 2020

With the Upper Bracket journey almost over, they met BIG in the Upper Bracket Final, where they achieved a 2-1 victory. For Vitality, this was a bit of a surprise, since they lost the first map of the series on Vertigo, 16-9, a map Vitality seem competent on. However, Vitality came back stronger with an unbelievable 16-1 on inferno, followed by a 16-2 series on Dust II. What is interesting about this is that while Mathieu ” ZywOo” Herbaut was Vitality’s most consistent performer, the in-game leader of Dan “apEX” Madesclaire performed admirably. ApEX achieved a 1.84 rating on Inferno, which isn’t something you see from an in-game leader every day.

The Final

Vitality eagerly awaited their opponent from the Lower Bracket. Out of the potential opponents, it was BIG Clan, Astralis, and Natus Vincere. But the story of the Lower Bracket was Natus Vincere losing to Astralis, which is a shame. Na’Vi was forced to use a sub for map one, tagging in Valerii “B1T” Vakhovskyi from there Na’Vi junior team. This situation hurt Na’Vi as the lower Bracket Buff Astralis recently gets seems to drive them to Finals without fail. Astralis won Inferno 16-11 and Train 16-7, a map Na’Vi are normally amazing on. This was the trend for the story, as Astralis beat BIG 2-0. winning Nuke 16-14 and then Dust 16-6.

With the opponent decided, it was a tense final between both teams. The opening match saw Vitality pull out what feels like a one-sided classic. Vitality battered Astralis in a 16-4 Vertigo, with ZywOo, not even the best player on the map. Kévin “misutaaa” Rabier dominated on a 2.12 rating with le tank Cédric “Rpk” Guipouy also dominating in his own right.

With that stomp set, the Danes woke up and returned for the second map. Nuke was the map of choice with Astralis beginning to take the lead from the get-go. They started off on the CT side and got 11 rounds. This seemed done and suited considering that Nuke is one of the popular maps for every team. However, Vitality made a great CT half off their own, but Astralis got three round wins in a row to cement themselves as the map two winners.

The final map of inferno once again saw Vitality gain a strong round. Vitality won 16-5 with everyone on Vitality popping off. One of the more notable players going off was once again Vitality’s best player in the world ZywOo and RPK popping off once again. With this result, Vitality is the BLAST Fall Premier 2020 Champions.

He certainly rolled back the years.

The end of 2020

With Vitality winning yet another trophy, they line themselves up well for the last event of the year, the IEM Global Finals. Here both Astralis and Vitality are set for potentially a rematch as these two teams are the finalists of the last few events they both attended. It will certainly be interesting to see who prevails over there.

Furthermore, one of BLAST’s analysts gave us a rundown of what the event meant for CS:GO at the present. These are solid narrative points as we watch the end of year event kick-off on the 15th December.

The narrative points to watch for the end of 2020 and the start of 2021

Stay tuned to Dartfrog for all the latest news and analysis on CS:GO and follow us on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch.  Image via BLAST.

Dota 2

Alliance win the Epic League Division 2

Before the OG vs Virtus. Pro game, we saw Alliance up against Live To Win. Both teams have reached the Division 2 grand finals after eliminating numerous teams along the way.

Alliance actually began in Division 1, but after losing a lot of series, they were relegated to the second division. Needless to say, Alliance was definitely one of the best teams there, which is why they managed to rip through teams like Winstrike, Just Error, Spider Pigz, and Gambit Esports. The series vs Gambit was probably the most impressive, with plenty of cool heroes on show.

The Final

Live to Win and Alliance played an incredible five games marathon full of action. Although many thought that the European powerhouse would dominate the series, this didn’t end up happening. Despite winning the first game, Live To Win managed to steal two quick wins in game two and three and got a lead in the series.

Unfortunately, the team were unable to keep up with their opponents in the next two games of the series. After a very dominant victory, both teams had to play a decisive game five, where Linus “Limpp” Blomdin picked a mid-lane Mirana. He played absolutely flawlessly yet again after ripping through the mid lane Razor.

Alliance needed just 22 minutes to secure the victory in game five and deserved to win the prize.  Feel free to follow DartFrog on TwitterFacebook, Instagram, and Twitch for the latest Dota 2 news.

Call of Duty

Temp completes LA Thieves’ CDL 2021 starting roster

The LA Thieves’ starting roster for the 2021 Call of Duty League season has been confirmed with Temp completing the line-up.

After much speculation, LA Thieves officially joined the CDL at the start of November. Being a fan favourite, the 100 Thieves organisation have been warmly welcomed back into the scene.

Since the announcement there have been multiple rumours circulating regarding their potential roster.

It has now been officially announced and it consists of TJHaly, Kenny, Slasher and Temp. CoD veteran JKap also joins the squad as a coach with Muddawg returning as a general manager.

We take a look at the roster in more detail and see what this newly-formed team can bring to the table this season.

Thomas “TJHaly” Haly

TJHaly is a young star who has a lot of experience in the scene for his age. He found the most success under Rise Nation during the World War 2 season where he took first place at four majors.

Coming off a sub-par season with OpTic Gaming last year, TJ will look to show his talents once again with this brand-new roster. He has proven that he has what it takes to win on the big stage and will be a valuable asset to the LA Thieves this season.

Kenny “Kenny” Williams

Kenny began his competitive career in 2015 but made his mark with Team Kailber in 2017. He was part of the 100 Thieves organisation in Black Ops 4 and his return is no surprise.

The 21-year-old played alongside TJHaly under OpTic Gaming last year and the pair will undoubtedly cause trouble for the other CDL teams. Kenny will be one to watch in the 2021 season.

Austin “Slasher” Liddicoat

Slasher is the veteran of the team who will no doubt be calling the shots this season. He is widely-known as one of the best AR players in the world and is a great addition to any team.

Slasher also played under 100 Thieves in Black Ops 4 where he showed unbelievable dominance all season long. His gameplay speaks for itself and he is a pivotal member of this new squad.

Donovan “Temp” Laroda

Temp is the final addition to the squad and arguably the most exciting. He hasn’t found much success during his career but he has performed on every team he has been on.

The Subliners performed poorly last year and Temp will surely be looking to redeem himself on this impressive new team. It will be interesting to see how he fits in and how the team get on this year.

What do you think of the new roster?

Let us know!

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Dota 2

Dota 2: B8 will have a new roster

A few months ago, one of Dota 2’s biggest stars Danil “Dendi” Ishutin announced that he would create a new team under the name B8. Although it featured a few promising players, Dendi and co. were unable to live up to the expectations. As a result, two of the B8’s members decided to part ways with the organization.

Who leaves?

The first player finding himself a new team is Remco “Crystallis” Arets. Although he is one of the best carries in the world and one of the few people that reached 11,000 MMR, he couldn’t unleash his full potential. Besides him, the second player that’s also going to change his team is Dmitriy “Fishman” Polishchuk. This was B8’s position five, who joined the squad back in June after another roster change.

The recent changes in B8 mean that Dendi’s team has changed by more than 10 players. We won’t be surprised if we see an entirely new roster for the next DPC season. In fact, B8 said in the announcement that they are “under construction”. We really hope that Dendi will be able to gather a new roster that can compete against the best teams in the region.

For now, the only players that are a part of B8’s roster are Danil “Dendi” Ishutin, Oleg “LastHero” Demidovich, and Enis “5up” Elfki. Feel free to follow DartFrog on TwitterFacebook, Instagram, and Twitch for the latest Dota 2 news.

Call of Duty

Call of Duty Challengers Cup 1: NA, EU & APAC final placings

The 2021 Call of Duty season kicked off with the first Challengers Cup at the weekend across all three regions.

A whopping 1,443 teams competed altogether in the three separate online events. They included a lot of familiar faces from three-time world champion Karma to fellow veterans Aches and Parasite.

The matches were played on recently released Black Ops Cold War in a single elimination format up to top eight. From top eight, the matches were played in best of five series with double elimination.

The NA and EU regions competed for $2,500 each whilst the lesser populated APAC region competed for $1,500.

Whilst there was no official coverage from the Call of Duty League for the event, a broadcast team was put together to provide coverage for Challengers fans. The broadcast talent included well-known personalities such as IHOLDSHIFT and former CWL caster, Chris Tunn.

Here is a look at how the matches played out with the final placements and prize pool distribution:

Challengers Cup 1 – APAC

A total of 85 teams competed in the Asia Pacific region of the Challengers Cup. Some notable players took part including former pro players Fighta and Shockz.

Renegades stood out as the team to beat prior to the tournament and they certainly lived up to expectations as they remained unbeaten on their way to the final.

Their team of Fighta, Louqa, Pred and Shockz proved too strong for VOID in the grand final as they took home $1,000.

1st Place – Renegades ($1,000)

2nd Place – VOID ($500)

3rd Place – Chiefs Esports Club

4th Place – 2Balanced

Challengers Cup 1 – EU

In Europe, 493 teams took part in the Challengers Cup. The competition was packed full of talent from young prospects to seasoned veterans so entertainment was never an issue.

House Tarth took the crown with a team of Defrag, Afro, Gismo and Peatie. They took home a sizeable $2,000 with Team Singularity finishing second and taking the remaining $500.

1st Place – House Tarth ($2,000)

2nd Place – Team Singularity ($500)

3rd Place – BULLFROG

4th Place – RAMS

Challengers Cup 1 – NA

The North American Challengers Cup had 865 participants with a heap of well-known talent across the board.

Baby FaZe were the team that finally emerged victorious after a long weekend of matches. Their team consisted of PaulEhx, Zaptius, GRVTY and Venom.

The team only dropped two maps in stage two along their impressive road to victory.

1st Place – BabyFaZe ($2,000)

2nd Place – revengetour ($500)

3rd Place – HYXR

4th Place – Westeros

The second Challengers Cup is set to take place on December 12.

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