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This weekend is all about warm-ups. League of Legends ongoing group stages heat up in Paris; Blizzcon gets its latest pair of Hearthstone competitors; the Dota 2 Frankfurt Major begins its massive international qualifier process; the Smite Pro League rumbles on. Fancy something different? Try the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive World Championships 2015, a rare example of a competition featuring national teams rather than established orgs.
This has been arguably the most dramatic group stage in the history of the League of Legends World Championship. The action continues this weekend, with matches between Team SoloMid, Origen, KT Rolster, LGD Gaming, Invictus Gaming, ahq e-Sports Club, Fnatic, and Cloud 9. Games run from approximately 10:00 BST/02:00 PDT on Saturday and from 08:00 BST/00:00 PDT on Sunday. Find a full schedule right here, and follow the action on the official livestream. Need to catch up on the teams? Check out our massive group stage preview.
Hot on the heels of last week's European Road to Blizzcon, the best Hearthstone players in the Americas head to San Francisco to compete for a prize pool of $25,000 and one of two spots at the World Championship at Blizzcon. Play is scheduled to occur all day on Pacific time, and you can follow it all on the official stream.
The first Dota 2 Major will find its final set of teams this weekend as all four regional qualifiers happen at once. This includes teams that qualified through the open qualifiers, which have been running all week. There are big names mixed in with the newcomers - Invictus Gaming in China, Na'Vi, Alliance and Ninjas in Pyjamas in Europe, Fnatic and MVP Phoenix in South East Asia. It'll be difficult to follow the entire thing, so I recommend picking a region and sticking with it. Play starts on Saturday at the following times:
In China, the games start on Sunday at 03:00 BST/19:00 PDT (Friday night in the USA.)
Games can be spectated in the client, or check the official site for Stream info.
They may well have called this 'Technically The World Championships 2015'. TWC is one of the few esports events to involve national teams rather than sponsored squads. As such, it's a bit of a novelty: a chance to see the USA face off against Singapore, Kyrgyzstan, Sweden and so on. Most players are drawn from multiple esports orgs, with a bunch of free agents in the mix to round things out. The winner takes home $50,000. The group stages are happening right now, with the main bracket to be played over the course of the weekend. Scheduling info isn't currently available that far ahead on the official site, but you can watch the stream here when the time comes.
Smite's Super Regional draws closer as the Fall Split marches on. Play starts at 18:00 BST/10:00 PDT on both Saturday and Sunday, and all of the games will be streamed on the official Smite Twitch and available afterwards on YouTube. Look out for Cloud9 vs. COG on Sunday. C9 is made up of the players who won the first Smite World Championship under the COG Gaming label earlier in the year: they face off against the team brought in to replace them.
PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!
As the march towards Halloween gains pace (seriously, where has this year disappeared to?!), Team Fortress 2 [official site] has launched a month-long Invasion event, spilling its community-curated guts in the form of new maps, weapons and items.
The launch trailer is typically TF2 in its spectacle and flair and can be viewed without the use of 3D glasses inside.
In the latest of TF2's seemingly eternal supply of updates, the mercs are faced with their most outlandish threat yet.
The update brings four new community created maps, some of them 'Invaded' versions of existing maps and others entirely new. The Watergate map introduces a new 'player destruction' mode, in which both teams have to collect beer from dead players and deliver it to a UFO in the middle of the map.
It's set up in much the same way as the Gun Mettle Update, with an 'Invasion Community Update Pass' available from the store which gives you a coin that tracks kills on invaded maps for the month that the event lasts. You don't need to buy it to access the maps, and all the money raised goes to the update's community creators.
Buying the pass also makes you eligible for random drops of 'Space Cases' that can contain anyone of a bunch of the new cosmetics that have also been added. When Valve have done similar things with CS:GO, I've often been able to make back the money by selling my first couple of crate drops—so long as it's in the first day or two before the price of them comes crashing down on the community market.
I still dip in to TF2 every now and then, and updates like this one are a great excuse for you to do the same.