The last month has been nothing but a hive of activity at home and abroad, but for a nice change of pace, Australians have been right in the thick of it.
While the World Championship Series was a great weekend for many Australians – and the handful of New Zealanders who made the flight up – it was only the start of proceedings for Jared “PiG” Krensel and Andrew “mOOnGlaDe” Pender, who caught a flight the next day to fly to Gamescom in Germany.
Krensel, who won the Australian part of the local WCS double-header (but only made it as far as 6th the following day) had qualified with Pender to participate in the Intel Extreme Masters tour stop. Pender’s an old hand – IEM traditionally brings out the best in the Queenslander – while Krensel was able to call on the experience of having played in Guangzhou last year for another leg of the event.
Despite starting the week a few thousand dollars richer, the wind was taken out of both boys’ sails early on. Krensel got hit the hardest with a difficult draw, being asked to overcome three of the world’s most feared Koreans (Violet, MVP and Nestea) and one of the more reliable foreigners (Kas). His 1-10 score looked bad, but understandable given the circumstances.
Pender’s ride, for his standards, was much more achievable but it didn’t work out all the same. Despite a comfortable 2-0 put down of Choi “Bomber” Ji Sung, who qualified from the group stages first, the Queenslander surprisingly away games against the Protoss and Zerg opponents, and his 2-3 score wasn’t enough to get him out of the group stage.
One Australian outfit that did get past groups recently was Absolute Legends (pictured at top), which had the honour of being the sole representative for Oceania at the recent DOTA 2 International.
With the laconic Toby “TobiWanKenobi” Dawson overseeing the action along with a team of casters, aL found themselves in a group with LGD Gaming and DK, two Chinese teams that were (rightly) hyped up by the casters and feared by many. LGD and DK would end up taking out 3rd and 4th for the entire tournament, with the former not dropping a single game until the winner bracket finals of the play-off stage.
The Australians were paired off against Darer from Ukraine in an elimination match, which saw them finishing 12th-16th for the tournament. It’s always disappointing to never make it past the first round, but to be even playing at a tournament featuring all the best players in the world is always something special.
Sadly, the magic didn’t last for very long with news breaking in the past week that the European organisation had dropped its DOTA 2 squad. It’s not sure what the cause behind the breakup of a relationship that had been running since the start of the year, where the Australians burst onto the scene as one of the most promising teams in the world.
Someone who’s managed to breach the limitations of Australia’s geography was Dawson, who started from the humble beginnings as a Call of Duty fan to become one of the most well-known commentators in professional gaming. He now lives in Berlin spending most of his time shoutcasting, but was able to spend a couple of hours sharing a side of eSports that most people don’t often see.
Dawson admits that he doesn’t have a lot of love for League of Legends, but that wasn’t the case last night at The Republic Hotel in Sydney, which hosted the first BarCraft-esque event for the free-to-play MOBA.
Given that most people are still recovering from last night’s shenanigans, photos aren’t immediately available, but I’ve heard that the event was a success, which should provide a little bit of competition to the Paragon in Sydney for local BarCraft events.
People looking for a bit of social gaming outside of the city centre, with a small event being held next weekend at the Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club for the Australian qualifiers for the International eSports Federation World Finals. The event’s looking like it’ll be much smaller than the traditional fare at the Paragon – around 50 people have committed to going so far. That sounds like a disadvantage, but on the other hand it’ll be nice to actually be able to hear the person next to you.
Australia has always been praised for its small, tight-knit, dedicated community. Over the last month or so, I think we can safely say we’ve upheld that reputation quite nicely. Except for the small part.