Categories
Culture People

Chennai’s Teen Racing Dream Kickstarted From Esports

Pexels

The global pandemic has certainly been quite a journey for everyone around the world. But, just with everything else, there is always a silver lining to the whole situation. If you take a step back and look at it from a wider perspective, there might be some good in it.  For 16 years old, Amith Kutti, this is definitely the case.

The unprecedented lockdown has given him the big break he needed in the gaming industry — something that might not have happened if lockdown did not take place.

The youngster from Chennai is not only making a name for himself in the virtual world but is also finally realising his dreams of becoming a professional real-life racer.

His unmatched skills have already gotten the like and approval from Narain Karthikeyan, India’s first F1 driver. The keen youngster will also be testing for NK Racing Academy, which has recently secured a deal with Ultimate E.

The collaboration between Ultimate E and NK Racing Academy will create a pathway for the best Esports-racing driver to break into a career in motorsports.

Founder of NK Racing Academy, Mr Karthikeyan said, “In the first edition of this collaboration, we have decided to sign up Amith Kutti who has excelled in multiple Esports league and has easily come on top as the fastest gamer in India.”

At just 16 years old, Amith currently holds the title of defending champion in Mumbai Falcons’ Indian eRacing Championship. On 28 July 2020, the schoolboy dominated the competition, winning both the Pro races.

The Chennai boy fell in love with racing when he attended the Indian Grand Prix in Great Noida in 2012.

“When my dad took me to the race track, I was so fascinated watching the cars speed fast. I couldn’t stop talking about my experience to my friends, ” he explained.

After listening to his stories, one of his friends introduced him to Codemasters, a 2012 F1 video game. Since then, there was no looking back for the rising star that goes by the name ‘ImAMyth’ in the virtual world.

Just like any other parents, Amith’s parents wanted him to focus on his studies. But, lucky for him, his parents were open to the idea after he successfully convinced them.

In an interview done with Deccan Chronicle, he said: “I am lucky to have supportive parents. At first, they were not too happy with me but they saw my passion and their view started to change. They now see it as a sport instead of a hobby.”

Though new to the industry, Amith has created quite a buzz. He has been recognised as the fastest racer after clinching the win in the Speed Runs Championship held in Sri Lanka.

Early this year, the youngster took part in the Ultimate E’s all-star race, which has impressed Narain Karthikeyan and Arjun Maini, a 22-year-old race driver in India.

Amith, who is a fan of Sebastian Vettel said that the lockdown have given him the opportunity to train and race with a lot of experienced drivers.

Apart from racing, Amith also has a strong interest in aeronautical engineering and would be keen to pursue it, if the racing world doesn’t workout for him.

But by the looks of it, it will not be too long before the esports athlete takes on the racetrack and compete with top world athlete.

Categories
Culture People Singapore

New Body Set Up In Singapore To Help Support The Growing Sensation Of The Esports Industry

Singapore has one again taken a huge step forward in giving its support to the growing esports and gaming industry.

Called Singapore Games Association (SGGA), the new trade body is dedicated to support and facilitate the gaming and esports industry in this country.

Supported by Enterprise Singapore (ESG), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), SSGA is also extending its support to local game developers and to also champion local made games.

The rise of this new body will certainly place Singapore’s name on the world map when it comes to the gaming world. According to an online market research conducted by Staista, it is projected that the video games section in Singapore will reach US$130m in 2020 and US$138m by 2024.

This figure is massive and to have a new body championing and supporting local Esports athlete is a huge step forward for Singapore.

The association would build upon the work of the former Singapore Games Guild (SGG), which is a non-profit organisation founded in 2017. Previously, SGG was big on pushing and supporting locally made games.

But now, it is passing its baton to SGGA who will now take on the expanded role to give its fullest support to the variety of the gaming and esports industry.

Unsplash

Amongst the association’s objective is to place Singapore’s name on the world map when it comes to esports. The initiative which they have set out, has a clear indicative: to make Singapore the esports hub in South East Asia.  It also hopes that through the initiatives, it will put Singapore in a strong position as a country of choice for international esporting tournaments and events.

SGGA has some very interesting plans up their sleeve. The association have said that they will establish a local public directory for all esports related services. If it happens, this will be the first local esports directory that aims to promote local companies and job opportunities in the esports and gaming world.

As part of the initiatives, SGGA will also curate training programmes and internships to develop local talent to meet global demands. By the looks of it, the future of esports in Singapore is looking relatively bright.

This is certainly good news for those who are interested to kick start their career in the gaming industry. It is worth remembering that you do not have to be a gamer or an esports athlete to be involved in the industry!

SGGA will be functioning as a membership-based association.  It says its effort will include enabling its members to network locally and internationally as well as encouraging businesses to uphold best practices and look for global opportunities.

Its upcoming plan also includes collaborating with organisers behind gamescon with the aim to exhibit locally made games that will be held virtually later this month.

The association which will be helmed by Gwen Guo is also planning to hold workshops and capability development programmes to support the growth of esports athletes and professional gamers.

In addition to that, the association has also said talked about its plans to organise at least ten workshops covering a range of topics (i.e., business management for start-ups) in its first year. They will also be conducing outreach activities with educational institutions and SMEs to facilitate training and hiring efforts.

They are also hoping to debunk some misconceptions about gaming and esports as well as broadcasting the range of career opportunities in the games industry.

SGGA is also looking for patrons who are eager to play a vital role to its initiatives and is also seeking for volunteers across various roles.

Meet the team

As mentioned above, Gwen Guo, co-founder and creative director of a local game audio services, will chair the association.  She will be bringing in her experiences at start-ups and corporate companies.

Working alongside Gwen will be Elicia Lee, managing director of the firm Eliphant which has a niche in game marketing, events, live stream production, and esports in Asia.

Its executive committee includes Esports pioneers, Cavin Koh — director of strategic partnerships at Eliphant and Jayf Soh — CEO and founder of the largest esports team Resurgence.

The team will also be working with Brian Kwek, owner of Ysbryd Games, Emmanual Yao, associate director of production services at Ubisoft Singapore, and last but not least, Karen Teo, vice president of APAC global business group at Facebook.

Categories
Culture People South Korea

Nothing Can Last Forever: Forev and T1 Part Ways

South Korean professional Esports organisation, T1 announced on Twitter that they are parting ways with Lee “Forev” Sang-don after 11 months of working together.

@T1, Twitter

This is no surprise especially when the athlete has struggled to produce results through out the 2019-2020 Dota 2 season.

The 28-year-old was the first player the organisation signed in August 2019.

Who is Forev?

Forev started making waves in the Esports world when he was with the MVP Phoenix team in 2013.  The team did well enough to qualify for the The International 2014 where they came in 17th place.

Forev Career Timeline

In 2015, when the team (MVP Phoneix) failed to win the Dota 2 Asian Championships, he was then transferred to MVP HOT6ix.

He continued playing with MVP HOT6ix following T15 but the following December, he was transferred back to MVP Phoneix. His addition provided a big boost to the team. This time round the team placed fourth in the Shanghai Major and came in fifth at the Manila Major.

Forev and his team also successfully clinched first place in Dota Pit League Season 4 and WePlay Dota 2 League season 3. Their efforts finally paid off and they were soon invited to The International 2016, where the team placed fifth.

When he was at the peak of his career, Forev then decided to split off from MVP for the first time to join Team Secret. However, his time at the European powerhouse was short-lived as he returned back to his previous team, MVP Phoenix just a few months later.

But that was not the last of his move. When MVP Phoenix team came in last place in the Boston Major, they finally disbanded. This time round Forev was found with the Digital Chaos team. That season, Forev was seen competing on three different continents.

Luck was still not on the athlete side. Forev alongside his Digital Chaos team struggled to find a momentum but did well enough to clear the North American qualifiers for the International 2017. That year, the team came in ninth place.

Then, Forev returned back to South Korea to reunite with the 2-16 MVP Phoenix team for the Dota Pro Circuit event.  Even then, Forev and his teammates struggle to find a foothold in tournaments. Forev then made the decision to leave in December.

For the first time in his professional career, Forev had to miss The International tournament in 2018 after failing to secure a team.

He then joined forces with former MVP Phoenix Player, Park “March” Tae-Won where Forev played with the North American squad Marchoutofarmy. The team was doing relatively well but not well enough to above the seventh position in tournaments.

After his long professional journey, he finally took a break from DOTA 2. However his love for the game was too strong that he decided to team up with March after being kicked out of J.Storm.

After The International 2019, Forev joined T1 as the first member of the team.

He is currently ranked 30th in South Korea and 213rd in the world.

What next for Forev?

Throughout his time with T1, Forev effort and determination has certainly paid off. Thanks to his hardwork, the team managed to win two minor tournaments – the Hephaestus cup and the SEA Dota Invitational 2020. In addition to that, the team also came in fourth place during the ONE Esports DOTA 2 Sea League.

The organisation has yet to neither announce the replacement for Forev nor have mentioned where Forev is heading to next.

With his professional career at stake, will Forev be able to find a team that he can compete with?

Only time will tell. But, it is a certain that this will not be the last of Forev.

We wish Forev and T1 all the best with their future.

Categories
Culture People

Meet The Inspiring Thabo Moloi: Africa’s First Red Bull Esports Athlete

Thabo Moloi aka “Yvng Savage” has made history by becoming the first African Esports athlete to sign with the big organisation, Red Bull.

Red Bull South Africa welcomed Thabo “Yvng Savage” Moloi to the winner’s circle on 28 July 2020 via Twitter.  His appointment has given South African fans and players a beacon of hope for the gaming future in South Africa.

The 18-year-old FIFA pro player first started making waves in the Esports scene back in 2018.

The then 16 year old made his appearance at the VS Gaming FIFA Festival where he participated in his very first competitive tournament.

His win in the competition left South Africa a huge mark in the gaming industry. Out of 512 players, Yvng Savage’s ability to come out at the top in his first event was indeed very impressive.

What was even more remarkable was the fact that this young talent borrowed a copy of the FIFA game and practiced it on his second hand console, which he bought with his lunch money.

In an interview done with Ginx Esports Tv, the youngster said, “In 2018, when I first started playing FIFA competitively, I didn’t have the latest console to practice on. I saved my lunch money and asked my parents to help me. That’s how I got a second-hand PlayStation 4.”

Before his first big win, he also had to convince his parents that he was not just sitting behind the console and wasting time.

But since then, his parents have been nothing short of supportive and have played a huge role in helping him balance between his schoolwork and practice time.

Soon after, he signed with Goliath Gaming and became the second FIFA player under their belt.

Yvng Savage was not there to play. He quickly proved his worth by clinching the first place in the 2019 FIFA eNations Cup South Africa Qualifier.

However, things were not always rainbows and butterflies for the rising star. In 2018 after winning in the VS gaming competition, he was sponsored to travel to Amsterdam to compete in the FIFA eWorld Cup Global Series Playoffs. But, was unable to do so because his passport did not arrive in time.

The young talent faced the same fate in 2019. This time round, he missed out the chance to travel to United Kingdom to compete in the FIFA eNations cup due to unexpected circumstances.

But, none of his setback has slowed him down. In early 2020, before the widespread of the pandemic happened, he managed to travel with Goliath Gaming to Dubai. It was his first time out of South Africa and the whole experience has ignited a strong sense of passion to push his boundaries to compete and win abroad even more.

With his hard work and determination, it is no surprise that his young talent has created quite a name for himself within the gaming industry. He is currently the number one FIFA player in the South African FIFA scene.

In 2020, he represented team eBafana Bafana alongside Goliath Gaming Player — Cassper Nyovest, Kagiso Rabada, and Sibusiso Vilakazi.

His gaming journey has taken him from a FIFA player at home to a professional player and the latest addition to his belt is securing the contract with Red Bull.

The youngster has plans on becoming an IT specialist when he leaves school. But for now, he is making the most out of his FIFA career and is focused on his goal to be the number one FIFA player in the world.

But with his competitive mind-set and strong will, hopefully, it will not be too long before he is crowned the champion of the world.

Categories
Culture People

What’s Next for Superstar Gamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins gained popularity when he started playing Fortnite Battle Royale in October 2017. Blevins streamed himself playing Fortnite on Twitch, growing his viewership and the game’s popularity, which peaked in the late 2017/early 2018 period. His following had grown from a respectable 500,000 in September 2017 to over a whopping 2 million in March 2018.

Blevins set a Twitch record in his streaming career for having the most massive concurrent audience on an individual stream, with 635,000 people watching him play Fortnite with popstars Drake, Travis Scott, and Juju Smith-Schuster. Blevins enjoyed great success through streaming on Twitch and playing Fortnite. It gave his streaming career a considerable boost and gained him a massive following. He was also reaping the benefits, monetary wise. As the popularity of the game rose along with him, Epic Games had reported that they earned over US$3 billion in revenue from Fortnite sales. To acknowledge Blevins’ impact on the game and the industry, Epic Games added a Ninja-based cosmetic skin to the game in January 2020. At the height of his career, Blevins has described it as a blur of flights, TV appearances, and charity events.

On August 1 2019, Blevins signed a deal with Microsoft’s Mixer platform, where he was to stream exclusively. According to Blevins’ wife and manager, Twitch was limiting Blevins’ route for growth and had taken an impact on his mental health.  Things were going well for Blevins, until Mixer shut down in July 2020, releasing him from his exclusivity deal.

Now, with no obligations to any company, his large following, and the popularity of Fornite keeping steady, where is Blevins headed?

As of July 8, 2020, Blevins began streaming back on Youtube, but only once since then. Blevins is currently weighing his options and seeking out potential platforms for a deal. He has also uploaded videos on Youtube, garnering views upwards of 200,000. Despite the relative success, it is apparent that Blevins has his heart set on reaching Hollywood.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Blevins mentioned he prefers voice acting instead of hosting, but ultimately, he is seeking to dabble in ‘everything and anything Hollywood’.

“Movies, voice acting, cartoons,” the 29-year-old with millions of fans said, “I’m looking at everything.”

Without a talent agent, he is reading scripts and coming up with original ideas that he could either produce or star in himself. The first round of platform negotiations has forced Blevins into thinking about his end goal, something the Fortnite player is not used to, as his career thus far has been based on his short-term wins.

“I have always been afraid of becoming a sellout,” he says. “I tell Jess every day, I’m never going to work with someone I don’t want to work with and I’m never going to endorse something that I don’t like.” Beyond that, he says that no matter what else he’s doing, “I’ll be gaming my entire life.”

While Blevins’ hopes to have a successful venture into Hollywood and blow up as he did with Fortnite, he’s pragmatic about his chances.

“It just has to make sense,” he says. “If it’s tough because I’m not comfortable with it yet, I can work on that. But if it’s tough because I’m not good, I’m not going to cry over it.”

Moving forward, Blevins has decided to take the break with appreciation, as while his streaming presence has retracted, his brand is growing bigger. He has appeared on Fox’s The Masked Signer and became the first gamer to release his shoe with Adidas, the ‘Time In’ Nite Jogger.

The news that Microsoft was shutting down Mixer gave Blevins a form of relief as he seeks to take a backseat in streaming and decide which platform offers him the best deal while dabbling here and there in Hollywood.

On August 6, Blevins returned to Twitch, the first time in over a year. He played Call of Duty: Warzone, with over 100,000 viewers watching him. According to a tweet from esports consultant Rod Breslau, this Twitch stream is not due to a deal with the platform and is acted by Blevins on his own. He is still negotiating with different platforms.

 

Categories
Culture International People

Fornite Prodigy Jaden ‘Wolfiez’ Ashman: Where Is He Now

15-year-old Jaden ‘Wolfiez’ Ashman was just a regular kid that played video games until he won 2nd place in the duos category of the Fortnite World Cup on 27 July 2019, and won a million dollars. His success did not come easy, however. Being a teenager under his mother’s roof, he had to cope with his mother trying to end his gaming obsession before realising it could earn him a living. 

Due to his commitment to the game, Ashman often never submitted his homework on time, leading to a disgruntled mother. His computer got taken by his mother away at one point during the solo World Cup week one, causing him to be unable to play the first week. Despite clashing in ideals, the mother and son duo set boundaries and struck a balance when he started earning money. Ashman competes under the username ‘Wolfiez’, and he set a Guinness world record for being the youngest person in esports history to win US$1million (S$1.4 million) at a single event. 

The British teenager turned millionaire promised to buy his mum a house after he won. Before winning his first million, Jaden and his mother were living in rented accommodation and were unable to save up for a mortgage. They were living day-to-day, and it was overall stressful for his mum, who had to take care of Jaden’s younger sibling as well.

After winning the Fortnite World Cup, he went ahead and bought him and his mum a house. 

In an interview with BBC, Jaden mentions that paying taxes on the house was what struck a chord with him. 

“It’s a really good feeling, to be able to buy the house and keep my word to my mum. All the stresses that she doesn’t have anymore, it’s just a nice feeling.” 

The mother and son pair initially expected to be paid $50 thousand but planned to buy a house anyway, with his mother working to pay off the mortgage. However, with Jaden now a million richer, he purchased the house and paid the mortgage as well, which gave his mum a pleasant surprise. The house is currently under renovation, and next in line to develop is Jaden’s gaming room. In his room holds his Guinness world record, a clipping of his first news feature, and his orange and black outline wolf logo, plastered proudly on a wall. 

A year later, Jaden is still playing Fortnite competitively and making a living out of it. He hopes to be a professional player for years to come. 

After winning second place in the World Cup, Jaden has signed with Excel Sports and is now a part of its roster. Jaden is the first Fortnite player that the UK organisation signed, who also has a League of Legends roster. Jaden has spoken about his excitement and cited that Excel Esports was a perfect fit for him. 

In May 2020, Jaden had competed in the Fortnite Championship Series Invitational (FNCS). The solo-competition FNCS Invitational pools together the highest performing players from the first season, and a hundred players directly invited by Epic. The total prize pool is $2 million, split among the top-placing competitors. 

Jaden ranked number 2 after the first day of the competition in the Europe region. At the end of the FNCS Invitational, Jaden ‘XL Wolfiez’ Ashman fought his way into second place with a final intense game that earned him 234 total points and made him $95,000 richer. 

Despite certain games having a short lifespan, Jaden isn’t worried about Fortnite losing any hype. The game boasts over 200 million players worldwide, generating an estimated US$1.8 billion in revenue for Epic Games last year. Jaden strives to be the best Fortnite player and hopes to continue to build his brand and loyal following so that he can continue to play competitively in another game when Fortnite eventually dies down. 

Categories
Asia Culture Local Malaysia People Singapore South East Asia

Meet JJ Lin’s All-Singaporean Esports Team

JJ Lin’s Team Still Moving Under Gunfire (SMG) has released their roster for the new first-person-shoot game, Valorant by Riot Games. The list of players comprises of an all-Singaporean team, consisting of veteran professional players of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. 

Mandopop megastar singer JJ Lin founded the esports team, along with veteran Dota 2 player turned coach, Kenchi Yap. Team SMG won first place in TheGym MY/SG Final Countdown: Causeway Cup, CSGO2Asia Grassroots Cup and GeForce Cup Pacific Singapore Qualifier. 

Born out of his love for Dota and esports, JJ Lin brought his passion and love for gaming to a professional level, with various teams playing competitively under his belt. Team SMG was established in 2017 and is a premier esports organisation in Asia, with teams in China and Southeast Asia. Mandopop megastar singer JJ Lin founded the team, along with veteran Dota 2 player turned coach, Kenchi Yap. JJ Lin has provided support to official Dota 2 events such as the Shanghai Major and DAC Major as a guest performer and is currently heavily involved in the development of his esports teams. His aim is to bring esports to greater heights, utilising his influence in pop culture as leverage. 

Team SMG gained popularity after its big win at the Arena of Valor International Championship with their Taiwan based team. In 2018, the esports company moved into Player Unknown’s Battleground (PUBG) with a Shanghai-based partnership team. In 2020, team SMG announced that they had signed on ‘Makan Cendol’  to compete in Mobile Legends Bang Bang, an online mobile battle arena multiplayer game. The acquisition of ‘Makan Cendol’ is part of Team SMG’s strategic venture into Southeast Asia’s competitive esports scene.

Armed with teams competing in Mobile Legends Bang Bang (MLBB), PUBG, and PUBG Mobile, Team SMG’s new foray into Valorant territory is not unfounded; with the addition expanding Team SMG’s esports presence in SEA, with now teams in Shanghai, Malaysia, and Singapore. 

Valorant was only recently officially released at the beginning of June 2020 but has already grasped the attention of several esports organisations, unveiling rosters consisting of former CS:GO professionals. Lin’s team consists of: 

  • Captain Sha ‘ZesBeeW’ Mohtar;
  • Coach/Manager Kenneth ‘Colbat’ Ho;
  • Danyal ‘Kama’ Heng;
  • Alex ‘falfalfal’ Cheng;
  • Xavier ‘LEXY’ Lee;
  • Chun Ting ‘Divine’ Yeoh; and
  • Syafiq ‘Aeozora’ Anuar.

Before Valorant, several team members were former CS:GO pro players, with Captain ZesBeeW being a previous CS:GO e-athlete for Malaysia’s Team XCN and JYP Gaming. ZesBeeW also captained the Resurgence CS:GO team, and played with falfalfa, LEXY, and Divine, before its disbandment. 

Previously a professional PUBG player, Aeozora had played the battle royale game for four years and competed in the PUBG SEA Series 2020, alongside the Aerowolf Pro Team. Aeozora has since retired from PUBG and now focuses on Valorant.

Moving into Valorant territory, the team has already dominated the community tournaments, such as BRSG Valorant Community Series and the Stay Home Challenge Breaker. They will make their competitive debut in the Lenovo’s Rise of Legion: Valorant July 2020 tournament, running from 27 July to 1 August, when the finals take place. More information on the competition can be found on the Lenovo Legion website. 

Lin has called the Valorant squad a ‘milestone in my esports journey, one that is very close to my heart’ in an Instagram post announcing the team. 

The Valorant team is the first Singaporean team of SMG.

SMG has rosters that compete in other games, such as Mobile Legends, PUBG, and PUBG Mobile, based in Malaysia and China. 

In his Instagram post, Lin also mentioned his vision for esports in Southeast Asia.

“Like these boys, I started gaming as a past time. But this past time evolved into my passion and global vision in esports, and I strive to nurture home-grown talent in this burgeoning esport scene.” 

Categories
Asia Culture International Japan People Tokyo

Daigo Umehara, The Greatest Fighting Game Player of All Time

Daigo ‘The Beast’ Umehara is a 39-year-old Japanese gamer who specialises in 2D arcade fighting games. He has won six Evolution Championship Series and $175,659.82 in prize money so far. Daigo Umehara is one of the most famous Street Fighter players across the globe, considered the best player globally. Daigo is also currently the holder of a world record for being “the most successful player in major tournaments of Street Fighter” in the Guinness World Records. Daigo’s recent win at the Street Fighter V tournament has traction in the media, but his age has caught the most attention. 

Being 39 and winning a championship might seem impressive, but winning at street fighting games for someone of Daigo’s calibre isn’t all that unexpected. Daigo has been in the fighting-gaming scene for 20 years. 

Daigo was endearingly referred to in the Japanese media as “the god of 2D fighting games” before singing on a sponsorship deal with Mad Catz. This American company produces entertainment products marketed under Mad Catz, Game Shark, and TRITTON. His love for fighting games grew since he was a mere ten-year-old boy, with his first two games being Street Fighter 2 and Fatal Fury: King of Fighters. Through challenging other players in Street Fighter 2 (Champion Edition), Daigo discovered his preference for competing with other players. 

Daigo’s recent win in the latest Capcom Cup East Asia has brought him more spotlight in the media. In the match, Daigo competed with several talented Street Fighter V players, including the revered Street Fighter legend Hajime ‘ Tokido’ Taniguchi and Korean Hyung-suk ‘Verloren’ Gong. Daigo beat them both in his journey to the Capcom Cup qualifying match and did not suffer a single loss, until his last opponent, Keita’ Fuudo’ Ai, fought his way to a second set in the grand finals. Ultimately, The Beast won an incredibly intense competition with some of the best FGC pros in Asia. 

The focus on Daigo’s win was distracted by his age, with a lot of fixation on him being 39 years old, yet winning a Street Fighter tournament in 2020. For someone of Daigo’s calibre, however his win shouldn’t be much of a shock but more so something to expect of him. His earliest tournament win was during the 1997 Vampire Savior event hosted by Japanese video game magazine Gamest. Daigo’s successive wins included Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Capcom vs SNK 2, Guilty Gear XX, Street Fighter IV, and the most recent Street Fighter V

Coming in second next to Justin Wong in the Evolution Championship Series titles; he has won six EVO championships with his legendary performances in the biggest tournaments globally. More impressively, Daigo cinched two victories at Super Battle Opera, which is now defunct but once highly regarded as the most prestigious fighting game competition in the world at its inception.

His skillset, coupled with his 23 years of experience, would set him up for success. Daigo implemented a few tactical methods to help him secure his win during the tournament. For instance, he would opt for maximum damage combos that would provide him with the life lead, and force his opponents into playing against his defence. His ability to read his opponents well also plays to his advantage, along with his fluid conditions: he never stays in one position for long, often toggling between offence and defence, confusing his opponents. 

Daigo’s impeccable performances throughout his gaming career have brought him regular participation in tournaments, having been in at least one each year since the start of his gaming career in 1997. His success in his Street Fighter career has also earned him entry into every Camcom Cup since the game’s release in 2016. 

The esports industry’s strong fixation on youth and how to exploit it might have made Daigo’s win come as a surprise. After all, what’s a 39-year-old doing, winning video games designed for young ones? But Daigo is a living example of how age does not define anything. His past experiences in fighting games and current win in the recent tournament showcases and represents what esports truly is about at heart: a foundational passion for gaming that isn’t found in other competitive sports. Daigo Umehara might have shocked the world recently with his stellar performance in the Street Fighter tournament, but he has been and will continue to be, a legend in 2D fighting games. 

Categories
Culture International People

Rensga Harumi is the First Woman to Compete in an Official Esports LoL Match

Gabriela ‘Harumi’ Gonçalves is the first woman to compete on an official LoL Esports stage in Brazil, as part of Rensga Esports. The organisation is relatively new and was founded in 2019. The team managed to get a spot in the Brazilian Challenger Circuit and won the sixth place on its first Split, and first place on the subsequent Split’s Promotions. Gabriela joined Rengsa in February 2020, selected after the organisation sifted through candidates from Goias. 

More than a thousand people registered for Gabriela’s current spot. The applicants were grouped into three categories: Rengsa Academy, Pro, and GO. Four other candidates were selected along with Gabriela. Five months later, Gabriela was placed in the starting line-up, a spot previously held by Pedro ‘Zirigui’ Vilarinho. 

The Challenging Circuit of League of Legends championship started on June 8 2020. Team Redemption downgraded in the last split, while Rengsa returned through the promotion series. Both teams are set to compete with Falkol, Havan Liberty, Team oNe, and RED Canids Kalunga. This edition will be the last playoff of the challenging circuit. 

Esports company Rengsa has announced their roster against Falkol in a Twitter statement on 28 July 2020:

“Cowboys and Cowgirl have been locked in for today’s duel. Harumi will be starting, go, girl!” As part of Circuito Desafiante (Challenger Circuit), a tier 2 competition in Brazil, Harumi will compete for the team in the Support position, as they look to advance in the playoffs.” 

The League of Legends roster consists of:

  • Thiago ‘Kiari’ Luiz (Top Laner);
  • Leonardo ‘Erasus’ Faria (Jungler);
  • Vinicius ‘bydeki’ Hideki (Bot Laner);
  • Pedro ‘gafone’ Ramos (Head Coach);
  • Silas ‘Hylen’ Paz (Sub/Mid);
  • Matheus ‘Blacky’ Lessa (Mid Laner); and
  • Gabriela ‘Harumi’ Gonçalves (Sub/Sup).

Gabriela’s debut in the Brazilian Challenger Circuit (BRCC) had her play as a starter for the match against Falkol, valid for the 15th and final round of the points stage of the Challenging Circuit, which is the second national division of the game. She is a substitute for Zirigui. After joining Rensga Esports on 3 June, Gabriela continued as a substitute until she was given the opportunity to play in the starting team against Falkol. 

Rensga won against Falkol, announced in a Facebook post published by Rensga Esports. 

The team earned success against Falkol, coming in second place behind RED Canids. 

Player ‘Kiari’ took the MVP, while Gabriela ‘Harumi’ made a great debut and supported the team’s win against Falkol. Gabriela played the supporting role and controlled Rakan, contributing with 10 assists as they cut through Falkol. 

The team is now focused on winning the semi-finals of the game. As the BRCC reaches the second split playoffs of the Challenging Circuit, team Rensga will continue to compete against the top four teams for a total prize pool of $40,000. The Brazillian esports team Rensga has announced its next opponent to be Team oNe, in the semifinals of the second split of the Challenging Circuit 2020, scheduled for August 11. 

Previously, there were players like Geovana ‘Revy’ Moda and Júlia “Mayumi” Nakamura who had graced the professional League of Legends scene in Brazil. They have played successfully in non-official stages, but Gabriela’s match is the first official match representing a female player in its starting roster. Brazil is an up and coming region to look out for in the esports scene as it is quickly catching up to other major regions, size and quality-wise.