eSports in Australia just keeps on growing. Following Paladins’ team Abyss’ impressive performance at the 2017 Hi-Rez Expo, the scene has seen greater interest from both inside and outside of gaming circles.
Major developments over the past few weeks include;
- Hi-Rez has opened up its international SMITE and Paladins Masters events to teams in Oceania for the first time
- Nestle Peters has used its Maxibon brand to sponsor an Australian eSports team (Avant Garde)
- Seagate ANZ has formed the Rocket League FireCuda Cup
- Paladins’ open bracket for the Masters Qualifiers has concluded
- SMITE Oceanic Pro League commences
Ice Cream & eSports
It seems like a bit of a novelty to hear news that Maxibon is sponsoring an eSports team, but it’s actually a pretty big deal. Professional teams and players across all sports have long been recipients of sponsorship from private companies. It’s a symbiotic relationship that helps both parties.
The sponsored team or player has access to additional funds which can be used for training, travel and all manner of necessities. The sponsor receives press coverage and hopefully an uptick in sales and good will from fans of the team.
Maxibon is the first FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) brand to enter the eSports scene. Choosing to sponsor Avante Garde is a smart and safe move for Maxibon. Avante Garde are one of, if not the most, popular and successful eSports teams in Australia.
Avante Garde represented Australia in the SMITE Oceanic Pro League and the World Championships. Its League of Legends team is part of the Oceanic Pro League and is competing for a place in the International Wildcard. Avante Garde has also moved onto the round robin stage of Paladins’ Masters Qualifier, having been successful in the open bracket.
Maxibon is a brand owned by Peters. Peters’ media agency saw the potential for growth in the eSports arena and the popularity of certain games and teams so reached out to make a deal. Avante Garde are the first team in Australia to be sponsored by a consumer brand, but likely not the last.
Hard Drives & Rocket League
Rocket League’s phenomenal success is a story unto itself. It’s become so wildly popular and so widely played that Seagate and Cybergamer have launched a league in support of a professional season.
The FireCuda Cup takes its name from the Seagate solid state hard drive of the same name. It is split into three divisions; professional, main and amateur with a total prize pool of $5,000 AUD .
Players won’t just be awarded for winning though, as those with the best plays, saves and goals will have the chance to win prizes and awards. The tournament kicks off tonight, February 22, 2017, in a ‘Fight for Your Invite, format.
The top eight teams will be entered into the professional division and the following eight in the main division. Amateur will be open for all. The league will be exclusive to PC and players will need a Cybergamer subscription to play.
Following the qualifiers, the season commences March 1, 2017 and will end April 19. Matches will be played weekly on Wednesdays at 7pm AEDT and will be broadcast on Twitch.
After three brutal weeks of competition, the Paladins’ Masters Qualifiers open bracket have concluded. With $8,000 and a chance to represent Australia in Atlanta in April on the line, the tournament kicked off with a bang.
Avant Garde were the winners in week one, managing to defeat all comers without losing a single map. Foreront took the second place out, but did it the hard way. ReduxESC knocked Forefront into the secondary bracket in the very first round. Forefront staged an incredible comeback, but were defeated by Avant Garde in the final.
Week 2 of the open bracket wasn’t sure on drama. Team Kings took out first place without losing a game despite a last minute roster change. Forefront were again defeated and forced to play through the lower bracket, only to again lose in the final.
Player Snugg of Corvidae took out Play of the Week when he used Torvald’s ultimate and managed to push three enemies off the map. His quick thinking and smart use of the ultimate meant he won the round single handedly.
Week 3 was the final opportunity for teams to qualify for the Round Robin stage of the qualifiers and Forefront finally emerged victorious after two heartbreaking defeats in previous weeks.
Forefront defeated Corvidae early in the piece and sent them to the lower bracket. Corvidae managed to fight their way back and the two teams met in the final. Forefront won the first match of the best of three and were up 3-0 in the second, but Corvidae weren’t rolling over.
Corvidae clawed back a win and won the second round 4-3. Unfortunately that’s as far as they got because Forefront proved too good and won the third round.
Forefront joins Avant Garde, Kings and the pre-qualified Abyss in the second stage of the qualifiers. A three week Round Robin will now determine the share of $8,000 AUD and which team will travel to Atlanta to represent Australia.
SMITE OPL Season 4
SMITE’s fourth Oceanic Pro League season has commenced with six teams competing for a share of the $10,000 AUD prize and a chance to represent Australia in Atalanta in April.
LG Dire Wolves return from their trip to the Hi-Rez Expo in January after claiming victory in the Oceania Championships in 2016. Even though they were defeated, LG Dire Wolves are a fierce and talented team who’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
Alongside LG Dire Wolves are Legacy eSports and Avant Garde who together, form a triumvirate of talent, skill and potential. Also featured in Split 1 are Team Noxide, Daddy Daycare and Pretty Boiz.
This year is only into its second month and already the eSports scene in Australia is on fire.
Stay tuned for more updates.