Last Week in Esports (5/1-5/8): TI7’s Battle Pass, AnyKey Responds to ESL’s Rejection of Trans CSGO Players, EG Shakes Up Halo Roster
It’s that time of the week, kids: Monday. You know why Mondays are special to StreamMe? Because I get to tell you about the cool stuff that you missed in esports last week. From ESL stepping on the toes of the LGBT community to Valve’s Battle Pass already bringing the TI7 prize pool to $7,000,000 USD, let’s get started on what big news stood out at me in this edition of Last Week in Esports.
ESL has found themselves in a bit of a PR pinch after their employees rejected the application of five openly transgender players to CS:GO 5on5 Female Summer Open 2017. The reason for the rejection, to put it plainly, was due to the players not looking “female” enough in their provided photos. In short, ESL was accusing them of faking their gender.
Sly Buehl Rigilio, who made the situation public through BuzzFeed, went back and forth with an ESL Admin after two more failed attempts at getting her team into the tournament. The admin demanded to see the players’ passports to confirm that they were legally female, which is not a viable option for many individuals for a number of reasons. However, due to the gender restriction, the tournament’s rules did declare that official documents will be required as proof of gender. Anna Rozwandowicz, a spokesperson for ESL, commented on the matter by saying that they are “extra careful to triple-check that those who want to participate in female tournaments are eligible to do so.
This was when AnyKey, the esports and gaming (mostly esports) community founded by ESL in partnership with Intel that lauds itself for its diversity and inclusivity, spoke out on the matter. In a post titled “Esports for all women,” AnyKey’s T.L. Taylor outlined the basic fact inclusivity does not begin with cherry-picking who deserves to be included.
“AnyKey we believe in a policy of “you are who you say you are”,” wrote Taylor, “This means that anyone who self-identifies and lives as a woman should be able to participate in any women-only tournament.”
“We understand some will respond with concerns that this leaves events open to be being griefed by trolls. But the costs and risks in preserving outdated models of gender is too high, especially for our trans sisters who already bear a disproportionate burden.”
The following day, AnyKey claimed to be working with ESL to improve the verification methods that will be used to determine eligibility for similar events in the future.
Just exactly two months after making their entrance, Red Reserve has released their Overwatch team and bowed out of the scene.
Formerly known as b0nkers, Red Reserve signed the European team back in March when they noticed Overwatch’s exponential growth as an esports community, naming it one of the “quickest expanding esports scenes” in the market. Unfortunately, it seems that their enthusiasm had blinded them to the fact that Overwatch’s competitive scene is relatively small in their region While it may not be tiny, it doesn’t compete with North America’s and Asia’s scenes; Europe’s pro teams mainly see online weekly and monthly events.
“A project close to us was this Overwatch team, we saw hope and potential not only with this squad but also with the European scene but not much progress has happened since their signing,” wrote Sebastian Spooner, COO of Red Reserve, “We wish the team the best of luck in their future endeavour’s as they hopefully grow into one of the elites.”
Since being picked up by Red Reserve, the lineup has come in 3rd at Copenhagen Games 2017 and have brought in approximately $2,000 USD in earnings, so it’s no crime to see the organization release their team when European Overwatch doesn’t provide enough to so much as cover their costs of living. From now on, or until they are signed by another organization, the roster will continue to compete under the name Th0nkers.
Brett “Naded” Leonard and Michael “Falcated” Garcia have been signed to Evil Geniuses’ Halo roster, replacing Tom “OGRE2” Ryan and Cody “ContrA” Szczodrowski
A Halo pro since late 2015, Falcated most recently played with Splyce, who he placed 5th-6th with at the 2017 Halo World Championship alongside 2v2 duo Anthony “Shotzzy” Cuevas-Castro.
By contrast, Naded has been competing since the start of the 2006 MLG season with Halo 2. He’s one of the longest-tenured pros still in the scene, and one of the most popular Halo streamers, though, despite his skill and veteran status, has yet to place first in a major event and has rarely stayed on a single team for more than a few months. Naded was previously a part of Crowd Pleasers, which he joined for a few weeks after a two-month stint with Pnda Gaming.
Evil Geniuses narrowly missed out on qualifying for HWC 2017, a disappointing follow-up to their 5th-8th finish in last year’s event. All in all, they have had a rather unimpressive run in the first half of the year, failing to champion a single qualifier. Evil Geniuses attempted to find solutions to their consistent failings by releasing Devon “PreDevoNatoR” Layton in favor of coaxing OGRE2 to come out of retirement, but their efforts have clearly been in vain.
“After much thought, the decision was made by Jason, Justin, and myself to continue competing following the 2017 Halo World Championship,” wrote Ryan “Towey” Towey, EG team coach, on the matter, “While we weren’t able to achieve the goals we set together, we would like to thank Cody [“ContrA” Szczodrowski] for his time and effort on the team, as well as Tom [“OGRE2” Ryan], who will be returning to his analyst role with us full time.”
With the Road to TI rapidly coming to a close, last week, Valve released the Battle Pass for The International 7 for purchase on the flagship. If you are unfamiliar with the Battle Pass, it is a method of crowd-funding Valve utilizes in order to create the biggest prize pools in the history of esports. A portion of every sale goes towards the ever-growing prize pot, Valve makes some coins off of every sale, and players get some sweet, all-exclusive perks; everybody wins.
This year, players will be able to unlock special rewards by increasing the level of their Battle Pass, which is sold at level one for $9.99 USD and level 75 for $36.99 USD. This can be done by either directly purchasing levels in increments of 5 ($2.49), 11 ($4.99), and 24 ($9.99), or through completing certain achievements in regular games that will award you with experience. Obviously, it is much faster to just drop the change.
As you level up your Battle Pass, you will unlock all kinds of perks. New items, improved towers based off of level, new announcers, and Immortal items await those who level up their Battle Passes. My personal favorite feature of owning the Battle Pass is the in-game chat wheel, which can play strategic phrases that will help with team fights and final pushes as well as comedic sound effects and sound bites such as a cartoon plane crashing and Tobiwan’s famous “It’s a DISASTAH!” from TI5.
Meanwhile, purchasing a Battle Pass will also unlock Siltbreaker, a multiplayer campaign where four Battle Pass owners band together two complete the two chapters of the co-op campaign. The first chapter will be released sometime this month, and the next will be available in July.
Of course, there are a ton of perks and goodies to be reaped from the Battle Pass, so I suggest checking out the official page yourself to see everything. Until then, it’s worth noting that Dota 2 fans have purchased enough Battle Passes and levels to bring this year’s The International prize pool to a whopping $7,000,000 in just three days, smashing records for yet another year.
A certified weeb that passionately live-Tweets his reactions from esports events, Sian is one of those people that hasn’t seen the sun in weeks. You can find him on Twitter @FriendlySenpai