Hello there, my name is Chris Kemp – you’ll know me from my controversial and awfully written columns and my stab at journalistic integrity over the weekends with the news roundup. I’ll be your eSports correspondent for the rAge expo weekend, and I wanted to kick things off with a full breakdown of all the eSports happening at rAge this year.
In here you can find out all the games being played, the various tournaments taking place and the players and teams to watch. Get yourself ready for a weekend of competitive gaming, right after the jump.
Telkom DoGaming Championship
The bulk of the eSports action, the DGC boasts the biggest tournaments and the biggest prize pools. As such, I’ll go through each of these events individually and give you an idea of who and what to look out for.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PC/Xbox)
Prize Pool: R40,000+
A clash of titans is expected here between defending champs Altitude Kinguin eSports and challenger [HRO]Elevation.
Being both in Group B (of two groups), this will actually be both teams’ first match – and a big one at that. After an undefeated Winter Leg and a strong performance in the Premier Playoffs, Elevation is hungry for the upset over the current title holders.
The attitude reflects in a DoGaming interview – Altitude will be bootcamping all week and are feeling respectfully confident in the matchup, while underdogs Elevation’s captain Walter “FuzZi” Snyman believes his team are prepared, but not yet as much as they should be.
Group A, on the other hand, looks to be an all-out brawl, with pedigreed clans such as Energy eSports and BerZerK Gaming looking to fight their way into the finals.
The Xbox One players will also be battling it out, with the big opening matches expected to be Energy eSports vs Team Astra and VEntus Gaming vs FURYOUS.
We’ll see who stumbles out of the wreckage come Friday.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Prize Pool: R220,000
It’s been an interesting year for South African CS:GO, with a number of drastic roster changes amongst the top teams.
After picking up young superstar Aran “Sonic” Groesbeek as well as Ashton “Golz” Muller, defending champs Bravado are bringing what has been called the “ultimate” South African team by many.
Looking to overthrow them will be Energy eSports, who were a near-unstoppable force before the player shuffles, but certainly no slouches now. Like Bravado, Energy can boast some decent experience on the international stage, which gives both teams an edge over other contenders.
Of course Damage Control are never to be overlooked and quite capable of taking down either team, while FlipSid3 has put up strong performances in the past and may be looking to pull off an upset.
If you enjoy ultra-competitive gaming with high stakes, be sure to check this one out.
Prize Pool: R230,000
Speaking of high stakes, get a look at that prize pool – South African eSports is booming, and one only needs to see the year-on-year increase in prize support to know it.
The Battlefield 4 competition will be all about taking down the near unstoppable force that is Aperture Gaming, who haven’t been beaten since March.
I’m all for the underdog, so I’ll be on the edge of my seat waiting for the upset (sorry guys).
The challenger hopefuls include Pulse Gaming and Xperts@Total.Chaos, whose play is a lot more strategic and organised than their name would suggest (also, they have three teams competing to try and do it).
I’ve got my eye on Semper Vincemus Gaming however, they’ve been strong in the tournament leading up to this one and seem quite capable of taking down the biggest dog in the yard.
ApG might LOOK invincible, but it turns out that an Alienware X51 apiece and R22K cash is a pretty strong motivator.
Prize Pool: R200,000+
Arguably South Africa’s most beloved eSport, the DotA 2 championship promises plenty of action and even more spectators.
The big names here are CarboN (who were dropped from bvd despite winning the 2014 championship) and juggernaut franchise Energy eSports as the prime challengers.
Of course the likes of bvd are never to be counted out (and are favoured by many to win the whole thing), and other teams such as In-Finity Gaming boasting strong seasons will be looking to shake things up a bit.
The real winners here are the spectators – there’s no hard and clear favourite, which will make this a great tournament to watch.
League of Legends
Prize Pool: R220,000+
The globally dominant MOBA has found plenty of love in South Africa, managing to score an impressive prize pool of R220,000 for the championship.
The clear favourite here is Energy eSports, who have taken the tournament down back-to-back and will be looking to three-peat.
Their dominance is bolstered by the fact that coming into the tournament, they are undefeated for the Winter Premier Division of the DGL. Impressive.
Looking to topple the King will be Veneration eSports (arguably the #1 contender), Reversal eSports and Ventus Gaming, with plenty of other teams in the mix trying to make their mark.
Prize Pool: R20,000
Our last game for the impressive DGC line-up, Blizzard’s not-quite-casual CCG has taken hold in South Africa, with Telkom introducing R20,000 of prize support for the event.
The big names here are the guys consistently seen at the top of the SA matchmaking ladder, including SelfmOord, Pand3m0nia, Skunkzy and TreNd.
Of course, tournament play can be very different to online ladders, and strong tournament players coming out of the groups will be looking to take them down – keep your eyes on players such as ViViD, BLooDSLoTH and Arachne to cause some upsets.
GameArena – Heroes of the Storm
GameArena will be hosting Heroes of the Storm at the Rectron stand. The Blizzard MOBA that’s barely out of beta has seen plenty of competitive action already, and South Africans aren’t ones to miss out.
Once again Bravado and Energy eSports are fielding strong teams here, both winning their respective qualifier groups.
Teams to watch, however, are Veneration and WRG][200ms, both of whom went undefeated in their groups with impressive 5-0 records.
This looks to be a clash between the big name franchises and the challengers with even more impressive group performances. This is one to check out, especially if you’re interested in seeing more of the game.
NAG Gaming League
Games: CS: GO, Hearthstone, StarCraft 2, DotA 2
Prize Pool: R15,000
Finally, the NGL will be hosting a tournament for the NAG LAN attendees.
This one is open registration for clans and lone rangers alike, and as such it looks set to be an all-out brawl.
It’s a fun way to add to your rAge LAN experience, so gather a few friends together and register right over here if you’ll be attending the NAG LAN this weekend. Have a go, you might end up going home with some decent loot.