The college eSports championships
Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio, Sports and Wrestling. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!
This weekend, a first of its kind happened. The Collegiate eSports Championships were combined and held in one place, the George R Brown Convention Center during Comicpalooza. For those who don't understand what that means, there are numerous college programs across America that have gotten into competitive gaming as another scholarship avenue for it's students as well as another great fun thing to get involved with. Most of these games are produced by one major company, Blizzard Entertainment and one major sports broadcaster has gotten heavily involved in the eSports movement, ESPN and this weekend was the two of them working together.
Each of the five games had national events going on starting in January and were eventually down to a total of 22 teams from 20 schools competing in Hearthstone, Overwatch, Starcraft 2, Street Fighter V and Heroes of the Storm.
There were some interesting upsets in some of the events, in the Overwatch event which follows the same scoring and formatting as the Overwatch League Blizzard has created so it's first to 3 match points wins the game, Harrisburg and Utah were equal seeds from opposite sides of the bracket but are vastly different programs. University of Utah has a full eSports program with coaching and school sponsored equipment while Harrisburg is a student funded club that entered the tournament. Another interesting facet of that match was that Utah played a very traditional, what's called tank or camp style where they play the choke points on a map and lay down heavy fire from big slow characters and force the opponent to grind through those killing fields, where as Harrisburg was playing a very unique style. They were specifically running tons of damage inducing, but low health characters that are fast and agile but not built for long protracted grindout battles. It's like if a ninja was fighting a dinosaur, one good hit from the dinosaur and the fights over but maybe the ninja can win, and that's what happened with Harrisburg actually overcoming an early deficit to win the championship.
Starcraft 2 had some interesting moments as well, as this was the only event to feature the fabled and storied UC Berkeley program. They are a legend in the college eSports program as they have long put money and focus into their efforts. Starcraft 2 is a fascinating game to watch happen because there is tons of data to process and decisions to make on the fly, with elite players averaging 350+ interactions/decisions a minute. It's a best of seven series and the matches were great fun to watch and with UC Berkeley pulling out the win.
Hearthstone, Street Fighter V and Heroes of the Storm also lived up to the hype with Georgia Tech winning the Hearthstone championship, RNJIT winning Street Fighter V and Rutgers winning Heroes of the Storm.
ESPN was streaming these events live on twitch but will also package and broadcast the events on ESPN2 May 22nd 6pm central time, so definitely go check that out.
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