Team Fortress 2

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Team Fortress 2, Portal 2 and other Source Engine games were all affected by a particularly nasty exploit until recently. Basically, by uploading custom assets into a custom map, hackers could use them to trigger a "buffer overflow vulnerability" which resulted in the victim PC being open to remote code execution.

In other words, merely shooting at an enemy could cause your machine to be remotely hijacked. The exploit was identified by One Up Security (via Motherboard) who notified Valve. 

"Valve's Source SDK contained a buffer overflow vulnerability which allowed remote code execution on clients and servers," OUP's statement reads. "The vulnerability was exploited by fragging a player, which caused a specially crafted ragdoll model to be loaded. 

Multiple Source games were updated during the month of June 2017 to fix the vulnerability. Titles included CS:GO, TF2, Hl2:DM, Portal 2, and L4D2. We thank Valve for being very responsive and taking care of vulnerabilites swiftly. Valve patched and released updates for their more popular titles within a day."

For a demonstration of how it worked, this very short video tells you all you need to know. Death has never been so scary.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Following an Esports Integrity Coalition survey on "community opinion on the appropriate sanctions for those caught cheating in esports," ESL has announced a decision to lift its lifetime ban on players, including those of the former iBUYPOWER team, who were caught throwing matches. 

The sorry tale stretches back to early 2015, when Daily Dot posted evidence of collusion between CS:GO teams iBUYPOWER and NetcodeGuides.com to fix matches and then place bets on their outcome. Following a deeper investigation, Valve issued an "indefinite" ban against the involved players, an injunction that both ESL and ESEA [Esports Entertainment Association] said they would uphold. Valve later clarified that the bans were in fact "permanent." 

But the ESIC survey found that, while match-fixing is cheating and cheating is bad, the CS:GO community doesn't really see it as an especially big deal. "It is clear from the hundreds of 'FreeIBP,' 'FreeSWAG,' and 'FreeBRAX' comments that a very significant number feel that the lifetime bans handed out in the IBP and other historic match-fixing cases were too harsh and, while a significant number of comments support lifetime bans for such activity overall, many more are critical of the publisher’s decision in these cases," it wrote in its Statement on Appropriate Sanction for Cheating in Esports

"ESIC is concerned that the community does not regard match-fixing as serious an offense as cheating to win. ESIC believes that match-fixing is as serious as cheating to win and is, consequently, committed to engaging with the community to try and persuade them that their current perception ought, perhaps, to change." 

The community's willingness to overlook the transgression is not "the only view that matters," but combined with a review of the "publicly available facts," it led ESIC to recommend that the lifetime bans be lifted on August 1 of this year.   

"Our reasoning here is that, whilst the players are clearly culpable and should have known better, the rules surrounding this sort of activity were not clear at the time, no education had been provided to the players, and the procedures used to sanction them were not transparent and did not comply with principles of natural justice," it wrote. 

ESL said in its own statement that it and the ESEA held their own meeting with CS:GO pros in June, as part of the ESIC process, to get their perspective on the matter. As a result, ESL said it will "align its official stance on the topic with ESIC’s guidance": Rules for all IEM, ESL One, ESL Pro League, and ESEA Leagues and amateur events will be updated to reflect the recommendations, and "all indefinite match-fixing bans placed on players before February 15, 2015, have been lifted," including those of former iBUYPOWER players. 

"We believe that integrity and fair play are of the utmost importance in esports, and our updated catalogue of sanctions reflects that commitment”, ESL senior vice president Ulrich Schulze said. The slate isn't being wiped completely clean, however: ”All of these adjustments do not apply to bans and punishments issued by Valve directly though, which will still be in place for all Valve sponsored tournaments run by ESL, such as Majors.” 

Addressing the issue of unclear rules, ESL also announced that it will adopt ESIC's recommended sanctions for future offenses. 

  • Cheating: Disqualification from the tournament, results voided, forfeiture of prize money, ban between 2 year and lifetime depending on age and level of player and nature/size of tournament and how the player cheated (this offence includes “smurfing” where both parties involved are liable to sanctions). Cheating at a competition played above an amateur level (i.e. where significant prize pool is involved or qualification for a professional event is at stake) should normally result in a 5 year ban, but, in aggravating circumstances, can result in a lifetime ban.
  • Match-Fixing/betting fraud: Results voided, 5 year ban unless significant mitigating factors in line with the ESIC Anti-Corruption Code or, in the presence of aggravating circumstances, a longer ban, forfeiture of prize money and monetary fine (if discovered before the end of a tournament, disqualification).
  • Doping: Results voided, ban of between 1 and 2 years, forfeiture of prize money (if discovered before the end of a tournament, disqualification).
  • Competition manipulation and bribery: Results voided, ban of between 1 and 2 years, forfeiture of prize money and monetary fine (if discovered before the end of a tournament, disqualification).

The above penalties will be applied for first offenses. For subsequent offenses, ESL and ESC warned that "participants should expect far harsher sanctions and, in the cases of (a) and (b) above, in all likelihood, a lifetime ban from esports." 

ESL said in February 2015 that it would abide by Valve's bans against the players in question, "until these cases are reviewed by Valve." That clearly happened last year, when the bans were declared permanent—and while this might be backing into it a bit, that presumably opened the door for ESL and ESEA to chart its own course, and ultimately lift the bans. I've emailed Valve to ask if it plans to grant a reprieve of its own, and will update if I receive a reply. 

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike's AI bots are universally terrible—that's what most players would have you believe, at least. But during a ranked match on the third-party Faceit community league, one bot rose to glory by single-handedly killing every player on the enemy team. BOT Connor is his name, and shaming seasoned Counter-Strike players is his game.

Scoring an ace is a rare thing for even pro Counter-Strike players, but having a bot go all John Wick on the enemy team is practically unheard of. That's exactly what happened this weekend and Czech player 'Kosta' was there to capture the incredible killing streak. Here's the video. 

I think that BOT Connor won this game for us. If you're losing and the bot wins this super important round, it's just insane.

Kosta

If you're unfamiliar with Global Offensive, bots will frequently fill open slots in teams when they are down a player. Aside from being a meat shield, they're not overly useful. They'll respond to preset commands and can sometimes get a kill, but as soon as a human player dies, they'll usually take command of the bot. But BOT Connor doesn't need a human puppet-master pulling his strings because he's a goddamn pro.

During the match on de_mirage, BOT Connor leads the charge to defend bombsite A. After tossing a flashbang towards the tunnel known as 't ramp,' he immediately rushes in. In the span of five seconds, he scores a kill against one of the terrorists, presses into the ramp, jumps in the air, and scores a second, mid-air kill. As the players on the counter-terrorist team lose their minds over what they just witnessed, BOT Connor scores a third kill. With that part of the map clear, he then turns around, climbs a ladder, and kills the remaining two players. All of this happens in the span of 45 seconds and it's absolutely savage to watch.

The counter-terrorists were down by one and the terrorists only needed another two wins, and this kill by BOT Connor tied the game up. I tracked down Kosta on Facebook and he informed me that BOT Connor inspired the team so much that they managed to come back and win the game. "I think that BOT Connor won this game for us," Kosta writes. "If you're losing and the bot wins this super important round, it's just insane."

"I thought it was hilarious," Richochetbang told me. He was another counter-terrorist player from the match. You can hear him laughing his ass off as BOT Connor begins his rampage. "Every time he shot a guy they were caught off guard."

While that appears to be true for a few of Connor's kills, most players aren't willing to cut the terrorist team much slack. This match took place on the third-party Faceit community league. Like ESEA, it's a place for more dedicated CS players to gather and features its own matchmaking, anti-cheat, and rankings. The terrorists' average ranking is 4.4, which is decent (Faceit ranks go up to 10). Considering these leagues attract a more serious audience, you wouldn't expect them to put up such a weak defense against a rogue AI.

But hey, we all have bad days. Some are just way worse than others.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Photo via Evo.

Now that Rift Rivals is over, Dota 2 is once again dominating the headlines as The International continues to ramp up its prize pool. The tournament won’t start till August, but there’s still plenty of esports action to be had from the CS:GO: PGL Major Krakow to the Street Fighter V: Evolution Championship Series. We even have the SMITE: Pro League Summer Finals to look forward to. All the details on this weekend’s events can be found below.

League of Legends: LCS

North America’s Team SoloMid won the first ever NA/EU Rift Rivals tournament securing victory in the Finals against Europe’s Unicorns of Love in a clean 3-0 sweep. This sweep completes a near perfect tournament from TSM who only lost one game in the competition. TSM enters the second half of the summer split with a new-found confidence, which could give them the power they need to take the top spot away from Counter Logic Gaming. Meanwhile, Unicorns of Love will be aiming to put their disappointing finals performance behind them and use their international experience to crush Misfits in today’s match. Both schedules and streams for the EU and NA LCS can be found by heading over to lolesports.com.

CS:GO: PGL Major Krakow 2017

SK Gaming swept Cloud9 3-0 to claim the ESL One title last weekend, but the CS:GO action doesn’t stop there as we head to Poland for the Krakow Major this Sunday. The group stage of the major tournament will see teams from around the world battle it out in a best-of-one Swiss format. A total of five rounds will determine the eight teams who will make it to the quarterfinals. Once the group stage concludes, the teams will face off in a single-elimination, best-of-three playoffs bracket, so expect plenty of drama and frantic firefights. Gambit will be kicking of Sunday’s matches when they take on mouz at 02:00 PDT / 11:00 CEST, while Fnatic tackle F3 at 03:30 / 12:30 CEST. The full schedule and stream can be found over on major.pglesports.com.

CS:GO: DreamHack Valencia

Back in June we saw the conclusion of the European and North American closed qualifiers for DreamHack Valencia 2017. NRG Esports and Red Reserve took first place and consequently secured LAN finals placements. These two teams will now battle it out amongst the six prior confirmed teams in Valencia, Spain this weekend to determine who will secure the lion’s share of the $100,000prize pool. The group stage is kicking off today at 02:00 PDT / 11:00 CEST, while the semifinals kick off Saturday at 03:00 PDT / 12:00 CEST.  Be sure to check out the full stream over on Twitch.

StarCraft 2: 2017 WCS Valencia

The World Championship Series continues in Valencia where 80 StarCraft players will compete for the $100,000 prize pool. Neeb has won the last two events back-to-back, so he’s currently the favourite to win. The playoffs begin today at 03:15 PDT / 12:15 CEST and will pit the remaining 16 players against one another before moving onto the quarterfinals. The full weekend’s schedule can be found by heading over to DreamHack’s official site, while the tournament can be streamed over on Twitch.

StarCraft II: Global StarCraft League Season 3

The Global StarCraft League continues to heat up as Korea’s finest battle it out for their chance to win the $152,100 prize pool and a guaranteed spot for the champion in the WCS Global Finals. These matches will be the defining journeys in many StarCraft II pro players’ careers, so expect plenty of drama this weekend. Group D’s matches begin today at 21:00 PDT / 06:00 CEST and will continue throughout the day. The full weekend’s schedule and stream can be found by heading over to wcs.starcraft2.com.

Overwatch: Apex Season 3

Overwatch APEX Season 3 wraps up this weekend, with the conclusion of the monthly series and a $177,000 prize pool being awarded to the victor. The finals are taking place this Saturday and many fans will be eager to see whether KongDoo Panthera has what it takes to beat Lunatic-Hai. Last weekend, AF.Blue managed to obliterate Team EnVyUs in one-side affair that saw the team taking third place. The action will kick off at 03:00 PDT / 12:00 CEST, so be sure to check out the full stream over on Twitch.

Hearthstone: Global Games

The Hearthstone Global Games tournament enters week 14 of play today and every team has been fighting hard to claim the top spot in phase two. The Group of 16 matches concluded yesterday for US viewers, but those of you in Europe can catch all the action today at 03:00 CEST. It’s a long road ahead for the pros and every team will be fighting hard to secure the $300,000 prize pool in phase two of the tournament. The full schedule and stream for week four can be found here.

Hearthstone: Grand Prix 2017

The Hearthstone action doesn’t stop there as we head to Valencia for the DreamHack Grand Prix where players will test their mettle to see who is top dog. Notable participants include Cydonia, Fluffy, Maverick and Odemian. The turnout in 2016 was the largest amount of players the Grand Prix has ever seen and DreamHack aims to top this with their latest tournament. However, only the most crafty card connoisseur will take the title and the £25,000 prize pool. Make sure you head over to DreamHack’s official site to see the full tournament breakdown, schedule and stream.  

SMITE: Pro League Summer Finals

SMITE Pro League’s online phase wrapped up this past weekend and teams are now preparing for the the summer split: Dreamhack Valencia. The top four teams from the European SPL, the top three teams from the North American SPL and the top South American teams will be present at the tournament. The semifinals start today at 04:15 PDT / 13:15 CEST and only the best teams will advance to Saturday’s live finals. Along with the conclusion of the Summer Split, Hi-Rez will also announce the remaining events in Season 4, so make sure to tune into the action over on Twitch.

Heroes of the Storm: Global Championships Phase 2

Phase two of the HGC is well underway and teams from around the world will continue to battle it out for the $425,000 prize pool. Team Freedom has taken the lead in North America after they beat Superstars and Gale Force eSports last weekend. However, Roll20 will be aiming to stop Team Freedom’s dominant run this Saturday. Meanwhile, Fnatic continues to lead the European bracket and Team Liquid will be hoping to take down Zealots to close the gap. Each team has their eyes firmly set on the next Western Clash in August, so every victory will help increase the chance of taking the title. Make sure you head over to heroesofthestorm.com to find the schedule and stream for all the matches being played this weekend.

Street Fighter V: Evolution Championship Series 2017

The Evolution Championship series returns this weekend where more than two thousand players from all over the world will come together to beat the virtual snot out of one another. Evo is notorious for bringing in new talent, as last year Japan's YOUDEAL|Yukadon, surprised almost everyone when he managed to take third place. The road to victory certainly won’t be easy, but Evo will give ultimate fighting glory to whoever rises to the challenge. The full schedule and stream can be found by heading over to evo.shoryuken.com.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is an outstanding esport, and deservedly recognized as the top competitive shooter on the market. But despite the community’s best efforts, it didn’t quite make the shortlist for Steam’s coveted Best Use Of A Farm Animal award.  

If you’ve ever fired up CS:GO's deathmatch mode, you’ve probably noted an epidemic of chickens plaguing the server. Relegated to target practice in most players' minds, it’s about time these long-running birds got the recognition they deserve. From zombification to the time a chicken got a professional player killed, let's reflect on the ways our feathered friends have embedded themselves in Counter-Strike’s history.

Festive feathers

With the changing of the seasons, so too comes the inevitable swathe of holiday updates for our favourite online games. But where others run huge events, reworking levels or modes and adding unique player skins, CS:GO has, well, chickens. Since Halloween 2013, Valve has patched the little mascots to match the mood, festooning chickens with all manner of spooky or festive gear. Starting with an adorable, bed-sheet ghost costume, chickens have donned Christmas jumpers, pumpkin heads, antlers and more.

Each update included its own quirks, from bunnyhopping chickens at Easter, to death-confetti for CS:GO’s anniversary. The most impressive change came on Halloween 2014, when patch notes ominously listed: “When there’s no more room in chicken hell...” Players soon discovered that chickens no longer remained dead when shot, rising from the grave in ghoulish green to stalk both the battlefield and your nightmares. Okay, it was mostly adorable, but they’re trying their best.

A history of hens

Counter-Strike’s love-hate affair with these iconic birds stretches far back to the days of CS 1.6, where two chickens could be found feeding in cs_italy’s market. These early birds were incapable of moving, pecking on the spot until killed. However, despite their limitations, players quickly took a shine to them. Chickens returned in Condition Zero’s singleplayer, Deleted Scenes, which contained two hidden chickens as easter eggs. Sadly, upon the release of Counter-Strike: Source in 2004, the popular birds were nowhere to be found, and Counter-Strike’s mascot appeared to be plucked from the game forever. Until the 2012 launch of CS:GO. 

The long-awaited return was a clear point of celebration to the development team, who announced their appearance before release. It’s clear to see why, as the bold little birds had come far in the transition. Free-range, chickens could roam the map and react to player shots/movement. Now found on the competitive Inferno, Cobblestone, Italy, Militia and Rush maps, chickens will also spawn anywhere during deathmatch, and even score 1 point when killed. In homage to 1.6’s originals, two butchered chickens can be found hanging in Italy’s market.  Take a look through the offices of the updated Nuke, and you’ll find a message informing staff to “stop letting chickens in the facility.” Since release, chickens have also been included in many of the game’s Operations, requesting the player eliminate them through a variety of means. Even CS:GO’s bots appear to take umbrage at their smaller companions, voicing their disgust.

Valve has done much to accommodate the influx, patching a henhouse into Inferno’s T-side spawn, and even allowing players to claim chickens as their own. Press E on a chicken and she’ll follow you until death, even teleporting to spawn if she survives the round. When killed, your period of ownership is reported, letting you remember the good times spent together. 

Fowl play

The inclusion of livestock to the competitive world was always a risky proposition, and on more than one occasion they’ve interfered with professional play. When first added, chickens would run away and squawk when approached. In Dreamhack Winter 2013, this led to the death of Recursive’s star sniper kennyS, when a fleeing chicken caused his opponent to fire early.

Professional AWPers are trained to react with split-second timing, and the unwitting bird triggered Skadoodle to fire right as kenny prepared to peek, killing him through the corner of a wall.

When Keyd Stars faced rampageKillers in the R1SECUP, 2015, Fallen found himself a personal chicken bodyguard, casually blocking SHOOWTiME’s sight to soften the blow. Unfortunately, rampageKillers went on to win the round, proving this bird’s sacrifice in vain.

Following a number of professional’s complaints, Valve eventually patched chickens, reducing their responsiveness to player movement and the volume of their clucks, citing professional suggestions in the patch notes. When asked directly, however, professional opinions are mixed. While some only want to save their feathered brethren, others simple want to kill them all. Despite the complaints, some chickens still take that extra step for attention.

Popular poultry

The popularity of chickens with the game’s fanbase has inspired a plethora of entertaining fan art, in-game stickers, videos, and even mods. 1.6’s chicken attack mod transformed one side into bloodthirsty birds intent on pecking the opposition to death. Global Offensive’s offerings gave players the chance to race chickens, or attempt to defuse bombs strapped to them.

Source Filmmaker and the Saxxy awards sparked the creation of some amusing chicken clips, most notably the 2014 entrant, Defuse on the Fly (above), by Deviant Pictures Films. 

It would seem, however, that chickens don’t want to be limited to just canon fodder. Chiken, a silver ranked player, has gained legendary status by infiltrating not only a large number of big CS:GO streamers, but even a LAN tournament semi-final. Joining the lobbies, the infamous Chiken was initially friendly, stating that he only wanted to play. However, following the inevitable kicking that followed, chiken has become more ominous, finally leaving the message: “This is only the beginning.” With security measures tightened up, the return of chiken at future events remains to be seen. 

The inclusion of comedic birds in an otherwise realistically-themed competitive shooter has helped highlight the fun in what can often be a very silly game. So next time you see a chicken on the battlefield, think twice before you end its life.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

As the Steam Summer Sale closes, here’s the last of the charts influenced by the discounts, before they return to being exactly the same as they were before the sale, and indeed during it.

So this week we’re going to dig into the history of these familiar names, revealing some secrets of their pasts that many may not already know. … [visit site to read more]

Dota 2

Photo credit: Riot Games

It’s been an action-packed summer so far and it’s that time of year where the eyes of the esports world turn to the Dota 2 International, which begins in August. However, there’s still plenty of action to be had from the League of Legends: Rift Rivals to the Hearthstone: Spring Championship. We even have the StarCraft II: Global League Season 3 to look forward to. All the details on this weekend’s events can be found below.

League of Legends: Rift Rivals

The LCS is taking a break this week as Rift Rivals continues to pit teams from all 13 regions against their closest rivals and re-open old wounds. Each tournament will vary in the number of invited teams, venues, and format—but every event will pair one region against each other. Back in 2013 Riot held its first ever Europe vs North America League of Legends competition, called Battle of the Atlantic. North America ended up winning this tournament, despite Europe coming out with a better record. Of the ten teams that competed at that tournament, only Fnatic, Cloud9 and Team SoloMid, will make their return to once again battle it out to secure regional glory and bragging rights. The full schedule and stream can be found by heading over to lolesports.com.

Dota 2: The Final Match

Dota 2’s Final Match 2017 is kicking off tomorrow in Lima Peru where the eight invited and qualified teams will be competing for a slice of the $50,000 prize pool. The tournament will feature Alliance, Team Spirit and MVP.Hot6ix as the overseas guests. Teams will be separated into two groups of four for the group stage and will compete in a one game series round robin format. The first and second place of each group will be seeded into the upper brackets of the main event, while the third and fourth place teams will go to the lower brackets. Meanwhile, the main event will take place July 8-9th, and will feature a double elimination round. Today’s group matches will see MVP.Hot6ix face SG e-sports at 09:00 PDT / 18:00 CEST, while Alliance will duke it out against Midas at 14:00 PDT / 23:00 CEST. Make sure to check out the full stream over on Twitch.

Dota 2: Mars Dota 2 League 2017

The Mars Dota 2 League is well underway and as of writing OG has topped the group with a 5-2 record, while Clutch Gamers fell to the bottom of the standings after only picking up one game. Rounding out one of the last LAN events before TI7, the eight teams will be fighting hard to show off their strengths and claim the lion’s share of the $250,000 prize pool. The winner’s final begins Saturday at 02:00 PDT / 11:00 CEST, while the grand finals start the same time tomorrow. Make sure to head BeyondTheSummit’s Twitch channel to catch all the latest action.

CS:GO: ESL One

This year's ESL One tournament will see 16 participants duke it out for $250,000 at the Laxness Arena in Cologne, Germany. Twelve of the participants received direct invites, while the remaining four teams were admitted via regional qualifiers. Team Liquid are currently at the top of the leaderboard and their dominance has landed them a place at the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Ninjas in pyjamas will be kicking today’s matches off at 01:00 PDT / 10:00 CEST, while the semifinals and finals start July 8-9. The full schedule and stream can be found by heading over to ESL’s official site.

StarCraft II: Global StarCraft League Season 3

The Global StarCraft League is the bedrock of competitive StarCraft II play in Korea, so expect plenty of drama this weekend. Season three of the GSL boasts a $152,100 prize pool and a guaranteed spot for the champion in the WCS Global Finals. These matches will be the defining journeys in many StarCraft II pro players’ careers and there’s certainly a lot on the line. Group B’s matches begin today at 21:00 PDT / 06:00 CEST and will continue throughout the day. The full weekend’s schedule and stream can be found by heading over to wcs.starcraft2.com.

Overwatch: Apex Season 3

Overwatch Apex Season three continues to heat up as we enter the final stages of the tournament. The finals are fast approaching and many fans will be eager to see whether KongDoo Panthera can take down Lunatic-Hai on July 29. Meanwhile, AF.Blue and Team EnVyUs will battle it out to see who will take third place in today’s match. The action will kick off at 03:00 PDT / 12:00 CEST, so be sure to check out the full stream over on Twitch.

Hearthstone: 2017 Hearthstone Spring Championship

The top 16 players from each region's spring playoffs will battle it out at the Silver Hall Expo Center in Shanghai, China. Players will battle in a dual tournament group stage, and the top two from each group will advance to the single-elimination playoff bracket. Only the best players will advance to the finals where they will have a chance to grab the $250,000 prize pool, so expect plenty of tense matches. The group matches concluded yesterday for US viewers, but those of you in Europe can catch all the action today at 04:30 CEST. The full schedule and stream can be found here.

Heroes of the Storm: Global Championships Phase 2

Phase two of the HGC is well underway and teams from around the world will continue to battle it out for the $425,000 prize pool. Gale Force eSports still remain on top and they will be aiming to take down No Tomorrow in today’s match. However, No Tomorrow are on the rise as they have currently gone undefeated in in Phase 2. Meanwhile, Fnatic continues to lead the European bracket and Team Liquid will be hoping to take down Tricked esport to close the gap. Each team has their eyes firmly set on the next Western Clash in August, so every victory will help increase the chance of taking the title. Make sure you head over to heroesofthestorm.com to find the schedule and stream for all the matches being played this weekend.

Rocket League: 7-Eleven Summer Series

The 7-Eleven Summer Series took place last Monday, and offered a unique glance at what we may have in store for RLCS Season 4. Eight teams were invited to compete in a single elimination tournament, but G2’s dominance saw them take the trophy. However, the action doesn’t stop there as the Rocket League Summer Series hops over the ocean to Europe, where Europe’s finest will compete for their chance to compete for a $6000 prize pool. You can catch the action on Sunday at 09:00 PDT / 18:00 CEST by heading over to Twitch.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

As we learnt last week, the Steam Summer Sale feels> like the sort of thing that should enliven the charts. Nothing can enliven the charts…

Apart from me! … [visit site to read more]

Dota 2

It’s been an action-packed month so far and various tournaments are nearing the finish line, while others are just getting started. There’s still plenty of action from the Dota 2: International 7 Main Qualifiers to the Hearthstone: Wild Open Playoffs. We even have the CS:GO: PGL Major Kraków 2017 Offline Qualifier to look forward to. All the details on this weekend’s events can be found below.

League of Legends: NA LCS

Immortals continued to dominate the competition in week four coming out on top in their match against Counter Logic Gaming with a 2-0 sweep. The first game started out with a strong early-game from Immortals, but they struggled to turn that lead into any significant objectives. This quickly changed when CLG made several poor teamfights that resulted in IMT taking objectives. CLG struggled to defend their base as structures fell all around them and they eventually fell to the mounting pressure. Dardoch started game two with some strong early ganks that gave CLG and early lead, however, CLG suffered the same problem as the first game and they constantly engaged in unwinnable team fights. Meanwhile, IMT simply punished CLG’s over-aggression and methodically took objectives until they closed out the game. Week 5 starts today and we shall see whether anyone can contest IMT for the top spot. The full schedule and stream can found by heading over to lolesports.com.

League of Legends: EU LCS

Fnatic still remain at the top of the leaderboard and they show no signs of slowing down as we enter week five of play. The ultra-aggressive attrition approach employed by FNC has been extremely successful and ROCCAT has been the only team that has been able to punish their playstyle. However, H2K decided not to follow in ROCCAT’s footsteps, as they chose to engage Fnatic head-on. This decision proved to be extremely detrimental and FNC’s aggressive playstyle simply went unpunished. FNC constantly continued to ramp up the pressure throughout both games and secured a quick 2-0 victory, putting them firmly at the top of the leaderboard. FNC will be aiming to continue this success when they face Splyce today. The full schedule and stream can found by heading over to lolesports.com.

Dota 2: International 7 Main Qualifiers

The Dota 2 International main qualifiers wrapped up for most regions yesterday, but China will finish their qualifier matches today. For many professional teams these qualifiers are the most important steps towards a successful season. The main qualifier features a two stage format and only 60 teams (10 from each region) will eventually make it to the gruelling group stage of the tournament. The winning team will secure their share of the massive $1,600,000 prize pool and claim international glory. The full schedule and stream for each region can be found by heading over to dotabuff.com.

CS:GO: PGL Major Kraków 2017 Offline Qualifier

Sixteen teams from various regions have made their way to the PGL Studio in Bucharest, Romania where they will clash to determine the eight participants who will be joining the eight Legends in July 16th. CS:GO teams GODSENT, G2 Esports, Team Liquid and Team Dignitas are just a few of the teams that will participate in the PGL Major offline qualifier. These teams will battle their way through a best-of-one Swiss format over the course of four days. The Teams that manage qualify will be invited to participate at the LAN finals in Poland, whilst those who fail will be packing their bags for the disappointing journey home. Today’s matches begin at 00:00 PDT / 09:00 CEST and continue throughout the day. The stream can be found by heading over to Twitch.

Overwatch: Apex Season 3

Overwatch Apex Season three continues to heat up as the top teams from each group head into today’s semifinals. The finals are fast approaching and every team will be trying to claim the $177,055 prize pool. Today’s match will see AF.Blue take on Lunatic-Hai at 03:00 PDT / 12:00 CEST, while the match between KongDoo Panthera and Team EnVyUs starts July 4 at the same time. Make sure to check out the full stream over on Twitch.

Hearthstone: Global Games

The Hearthstone Global Games tournament enters week 12 of play today and every team has been fighting hard to claim the top spot in phase two. Half the teams from the original 48 have now been knocked out and the remaining players will be hoping to make it to the next stage. Group C and Group D’s matches concluded yesterday for US viewers, but those of you in Europe can catch all the action today at 03:00 CEST. It’s a long road ahead for the pros and every team will be fighting hard to secure the $300,000 prize pool in phase two of the tournament. The full schedule and stream for week four can be found here.

Hearthstone: Wild Open Playoffs

The first ever official Wild Open Hearthstone tournament will take place this weekend where 64 players from the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific will battle it out. Competition will be fierce and only the best players will have a shot at claiming the $25,000 prize pool. The Hearthstone Wild Open will be played in a best-of-five Conquest format with one ban. Online qualifiers took place June 9 and now the top two players from the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific will advance to the single elimination playoffs, where they will be joined by the top two players from China. The playoffs start Saturday at 10:00 PDT / 19:00 CEST and continue at the same time tomorrow. The full schedule and stream can be found here.

Heroes of the Storm: Global Championships Phase 2

Phase two of the HGC is well underway and teams from around the world will continue to battle it out for the $425,000 USD prize pool. Gale Force eSports still remain on top and they will be aiming to take down Tempo Storm this weekend. However, Roll20 did manage to maintain an even footing with Gale Force and while the team eventually lost, they did show some promising plays that they will be aiming to improve in week two. Each team has their eyes firmly set on the next Western Clash in August, so every victory will help increase the chance of taking the title. Make sure you head over to heroesofthestorm.com to find the schedule and stream for all the matches being played this weekend.

Dota 2

Dota 2 continues to headline the world of esports this week as The Summit 7 saw Virtus.pro take the title, while on the other side of the Pacific in Shenzhen, China, Newbee won Galaxy Battles.The drama doesn’t stop there, as there’s plenty of action from the Dota 2 International 7 Open Qualifiers to the League of Legends LCS. We even have the CS:GO Esports Championship Finals to look forward to. All the details on this weekend’s events can be found below.

League of Legends: NA LCS

Immortals continued to dominate the competition in week three and the introduction of Xmithie has only heightened their performance on the Rift. Team Liquid didn’t stand a chance as they were quickly crushed in a 2-0 sweep, which gave Immortals the confidence to reverse sweep Cloud9. Immortals aim to continue their dominance during their week four matches against Counter Logic Gaming and Team Dignitas. With their solid teamwork and excellent macro play, Immortals are ready for the challenges that lay ahead, but we shall have to see whether they can claim the top spot. The full schedule and stream can found by heading over to lolesports.com.

League of Legends: EU LCS

Misfits shed its underdog status last weekend when they managed to secure a 2-1 victory against G2 Esports in their week three series. Jungler Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian got Misfits ahead as Lee Sin, giving first blood over to mid laner Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage's Orianna during the first three minutes. Maxlore continued to ramp up the pressure throughout the first game and Misfits finished game one off with a powerful teamfight from PowerOfEvil. Misfits eventually took the series in game three thanks to another dominant showing from Maxlore’s Lee Sin. Misfits now find themselves at the top of the Group A standings and they will be aiming to continue this success when they face Team Vitality today. The full schedule and stream can found by heading over to lolesports.com.

Dota 2: International 7 Open Qualifiers

The Dota 2 International open qualifiers started yesterday and for many professional teams these qualifiers are the most important step towards a successful season. The winners of each open qualifier will then advance to the main qualifier, which will run from the 26th to 30th of June in a two stage format. Competition is expected to be extremely fierce and 60 teams (10 from each region) will eventually make it to the gruelling group stage. The winning team will secure their share of the massive $1,600,000 prize pool and claim international glory. The full schedule and stream for each region can be found by heading over to dotabuff.com

CS:GO: Esports Championship Finals

The esports championship series season three finals are taking place at Wembley Arena today, where eight teams from around the globe will duke it out for the $660,000 prize pool and the champions' title. The event will see a double-elimination group stage, followed by single-elimination, best-of-three play-offs stage. The group stage matches will be best-of-one match-ups, whilst elimination and decider matches will be best-of-three. FaZe Clan and OpTic Gaming are kicking off the group stage today at 04:15 PDT / 13:15 CEST, while the elimination and deciders start tomorrow at 03:15 PDT / 12:15 CEST. The tournament will be streamed live on www.youtube.com/faceit.

Overwatch: Apex Season 3

Overwatch Apex Season three continues to heat up as the qualified teams from each group continue to battle it out against one another. The finals are fast approaching and every team will be trying to claim the $177,055 prize pool. Today’s match will see X6-Gaming take on Team EnVyUs at 03:00 PDT / 12:00 CEST, while the Group B match between LW Blue and Lunatic Hai starts at 04:30 PDT / 13:30 CEST. Make sure to check out the full stream over on Twitch.

Hearthstone: Global Games

The Hearthstone Global Games tournament enters week 11 of play today and every team has been fighting hard to claim the top spot in the group stage. Half the teams from the original 48 have now been knocked out and the groups have been reseeded ready for the round robin stage. Group C’s round five match concluded yesterday for US viewers, but those of you in Europe can catch all the action today at 03:00 CEST. It’s a long road ahead for the pros and every team will be fighting hard to secure the $300,000 prize pool in phase two of the tournament. The full schedule and stream for week four can be found here.

Hearthstone: SeatStory Cup VII

Hearthstone’s seatstory cup begins today and 32 of the best Hearthstone players will gather at Krefeld, Germany to participate in the tournament. Hearthstone pros Frodan, Impact, Maverick and RDU will be present at this year’s tournament, but only the strongest will have a chance to claim the $20,000 prize pool and the seatstory cup. Today’s match will see Ostkaka and Reckful kick off the Group E bracket at 04:05 PDT/ 13:05 CEST, followed by RDU vs. Pavel at 05:20 PDT / 14:20 CEST. The full schedule and stream can be found by heading over to seatstorycup.com.

Heroes of the Storm: Global Championships Phase 2

Phase two of the HGC is well underway and teams from around the world will continue to battle it out for the $425,000 USD prize pool. Fnatic will be aiming to continue their Mid-Season Brawl success and claim a top spot in phase two of the tournament. Every team will have their eyes firmly set on the next Western Clash in August, but only those who can remain focused and remain strong under the pressure will have a chance at taking the title. Make sure you head over to heroesofthestorm.com to find the schedule and stream for all the matches being played this weekend.

Street Fighter V: The Fight 2017

The next stop in the 2017 Capcom Pro Tour season takes us to Bogotá, Colombia for The Fight 2017. Top players like Brazil's Brolynho and Dominican Republic's MenaRD will be in attendance as well as other top regional players. Flash from the USA will also be competing, so be sure to tune in to the live stream over on Twitch to watch all the combo chaos. The matches start tomorrow at 12:00 PDT / 21:00 CEST and continue throughout the day.

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