Events/Tournaments Gaming

Meet the New King of Twitch: TheGrefg

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new Twitch record holder in town. Eu Heretics team owner and Spanish streamer David Martínez aka TheGrefg absolutely annihilated the concurrent streams record with the live reveal of his Fortnite Icon series skin. The previous record of 635,000 viewers had been held by Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins as an individual streamer, also beating his own record of 660,000 concurrent streams during the December Fortnite event. 

So how exactly was Martínez able to have a reveal bigger than Ninja or any other content creator? 

Well, Martinez’s win might be a sign of what’s to come from the Latino gaming community in the future. If today’s dominance was any indication, this won’t be the last time we see something of this magnitude from the Latino community, and the last couple of years have seen a surge of popularity amongst international streamers as a whole.

It didn’t take long for word to start spreading about Martinez’s record-breaking performance, and many curious viewers began quickly joining to see what all the hoopla was about. Throughout the stream, Martinez’s emotion was infectious, and you could see the passion and excitement as he slowly revealed his new skin. The event had previously been delayed to give Martinez more of a ‘grand’ announcement, and fans and the streamer alike were pumped for the outcome.

Not only did Martinez top himself (and others), but today’s live stream set a new record for total concurrent viewership on Twitch with over 2.4 million viewers tuning in. This number absolutely crushed the previous record of 1.1 million viewers, set by ELEAGUE TV.

Today we not only witnessed history, but the stream set a serious precedent for what is to come.

Events/Tournaments Gaming

The 10 Best Chess Players in the World

“Best” is a subjective term, but when it comes to chess, the Elo rating system reigns supreme in determining the top chess players in the world. The World Chess Federation (FIDE) has used the Elo rating system, named after its creator Arpad Elo, since 1970 to formalize professionals’ ranks. 

With the renaissance of chess as a mainstream cultural phenomenon following the success of Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, we gathered the ten best chess players in the world, according to their current rankings. There are a wide array of players not on this list (both active and retired) who have been considered the best at one point or another in their careers. I mean, Garry Kasporov isn’t a top ten ranked player right now, but you’d be silly to not refer to him colloquially as one of the best chess players in the world. Nonetheless, below are the current top ten ranked chess players in the world:

1. Magnus Carlsen

The current World Chess Champion, World Rapid Chess Champion, and World Blitz Chess Champion, Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He achieved the status of grandmaster at the young age of 13, and his peak FIDE rating (2882) in 2014 is the highest rating ever achieved by a chess player. The list of accolades goes on. 

Carlsen is a deeply versatile player who constantly varies his openings, making him an extremely difficult opponent for even the world’s greatest contenders. His style has developed immensely over his career; he was a famously aggressive player in his youth, committed to sacrificing material to create more activity, but his playstyle has become more universal as he’s aged. 

The 2016 film, Magnus, chronicles his meteoric rise and gives some insight into the inner machinations of one of the world’s most incredible minds. It’s a great watch for chess enthusiasts or anyone who wants to learn about how geniuses push themselves to be better every day.

2. Fabiano Caruana

Caruana became a grandmaster at the age of 14, making him the youngest American player to achieve the title at the time. Growing up in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Caruana played for the US until 2005, after which he transferred to Italy. He’s one of the greatest American players since Bobby Fischer, but he’s never managed to knock the king Magnus off his throne. His peak rating of 2844 in 2014 is the third highest in history, after only Carlsen and Garry Kasparov.

3. Ding Liren
Sebastian Reuter / Stringer via Getty Images

Liren is the highest-rated Chinese player in history. In 2016, he was the highest-rated Blitz player in the world with a rating of 2875. Ding also surpassed an Elo rating of 2800 in September of 2018, making him the first and only Chinese player to achieve such a rating. 

4. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Another player who achieved the title of grandmaster by the age of 14, Vachier-Lagrave, is the highest-ranked player in France. MVL’s peak FIDE rating of 2819 makes him the 7th highest-ranked player of all time. He’s still the number four in the world (tied with Ian Nepomniachtchi) and one of the greatest French players in history.

4. Ian Nepomniachtchi

The highest-ranked Russian player in the world right now, Nepomniachtchi’s classical rating of 2184 ties him for the 4th spot with MVL. Among his numerous accolades, Nepomniachtchi won the World Team Chess Championship as a member of the Russian team in both 2013 and 2019, in addition to winning the 2015 European Team Chess Championship.

6. Levon Aronian

Aronian, the number six player in the world, has been a grandmaster since 2000 and has been one of the world’s top players for most of his career. In 2014, the Armenian achieved a FIDE rating of 2830, making him the 4th highest rated player in history. He was the World Rapid Chess Champion and World Blitz Chess Champion in 2009 and 2010, respectively. 

7. Alexander Grischuk
Sebastian Reuter / Stringer via Getty Images

Another Russian player on the list (Russia was, for a long time, a powerhouse of producing the world’s top chess players), Grischuk is best known for being an elite blitz player, in addition to his prowess with traditional tournament chess. He won the World Blitz Chess Championship in 2006, 2012, and 2015, making him one of the most decorated blitz players still on the circuit.

8. Wesley So

Although So is currently ranked 8th, the Filipino-American player’s March 2017 ELO rating of 2822 makes him the fifth highest-rated chess player in history. Last year, he beat Magnus Carlsen in the first World Fischer Random Chess Championship to take the title. Fischer Random Chess is a form of the game that utilizes the same board and pieces, but their initial position is randomized, making it an extremely creative form of chess. So is another prodigy on the list, who earned the title of grandmaster at the young age of 14.

8. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Mamedyarov’s personal best rating of 2820 (in September 2018) gives him the position of sixth highest-rated player of all time. The Azerbaijani player has a long list of accolades, and he even beat Magnus Carlsen for the title during the 2018 Biel Chess Festival.

10. Teimour Radjabov

Radjabov is another Aizerbaijjani player to make the top ten list; he was actually born in the same city as all-time great Garry Kasparov. He famously beat Kasparov in the Linares tournament in 2003 at the young age of 16, launching his status to that of an internationally-renowned player.

Events/Tournaments Gaming

Free Melee: Nintendo Versus The Big House

The Super Smash Bros. series is one of the most recognized and beloved video game series of all time. A legendary classic, these games are a staple in video game history.

So naturally, when it was announced that The Big House (one of the biggest annual Smash events) would be hosting an online event, fans were excited. However, it all came crashing down this past Friday when Nintendo sent a cease and desist to The Big House, immediately shutting down plans for the event.

Getty Images

Now one may consider this move a shock (especially since 2020 has been one the best years for the esports/gaming industry); however, to those familiar with Nintendo’s history, this is no surprise. In 2010, Nintendo blocked MLG (a professional esports organization) the rights to stream Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The ‘restriction’ meant that MLG had to stop the circuit of the game.

Five years later, on December 1st, 2015, Nintendo also shutdown Project M (a mod of Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii). Historically, gaming companies and brands have been known to dislike mods because if a mod were to ruin the game in any way, the company would be liable.

Now you might be thinking that this isn’t a big deal, but to the gaming industry, it’s caused such an uproar that shutdown is trending on Twitter, and you better believe that the icons of the gaming scene had something to say.

Now is it a case of Nintendo not supporting its own community, or is it possibly the lawyers? In a statement to Polygon, Nintendo stated that while they “appreciate the love and support from their community, if something crosses over into the line of a copyright violation, they simply cannot support it.”

Over the years, Nintendo has become known for having a robust copyright enforcement policy, which has cost them the benefit of having a stronger relationship not only with their community but the esports/gaming scene in general.  Hopefully, in the future, we see something that eventually resolves that issue. 

Events/Tournaments Gaming

The Call of Duty Championship is Finally Here

It’s the last week of August so that means we are approaching the Call of Duty Championship weekend. This season has been a unique one considering that this year was the inaugural season of the Call of Duty League. The season began in January of 2020, and featured twelve different teams competing in their home cities to earn enough points for a playoff berth.

Despite the league being in the first season, things were running pretty smoothly until the Coronavirus Pandemic occurred at the beginning of March. On March 13th, The COD League announced the immediate transition to online competitions. Two months later, more changes were made allowing all twelve teams to compete for Championship Weekend. The Playoffs began on August 19th, and after a week of intense competition, we are down to the Final Four; The Chicago Huntsmen, The London Royal Ravens, The Atlanta Faze, and The Dallas Empire.

So what’s the Grand Prize for the winners? Well the prize for winning the championship features a whopping $1.5 million reward to the organization. The remaining teams/organizations will also fare pretty well with the runner up receiving $900,000 and third place receiving $600,000. The fourth place team will receive $450,000, while The Optic Gaming and Toronto Ultra (who came in fifth and sixth) will split the $300,000 reward. The seventh and eighth place Florida Mountaineers and New York Subliners will split $175,000 and the ninth and tenth place Minnesota ROKKR and Paris Legion will split $100,000. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Guerillas and Seattle Surge won’t receive anything due to placing eleventh and twelfth respectively. In addition to the mula, the winning team gets a Black COD League ring, a championship trophy, some custom Jordan 6’s, as well as a Throne for each individual player.

Call of Duty
The exclusive 2020 Call of Duty Championship Ring

Of course ONE37pm had to talk to Commissioner Johanna Faries about this season, in particular about the transition from LAN to online.

Johanna Faries: Despite all of the challenges we faced, it has been incredible to see the resolve and agility from the League, our teams, and partners in these unprecedented times. A ton of work and innovation went into ensuring that our players and personnel could compete and operate safely from remote locations. In a matter of weeks, we were able to shift to a new way of working that still delivered incredible competitive entertainment for fans all over the globe.

We also asked Johanna about the excitement for this upcoming championship, and also asked her about what we can expect from the Call of Duty League in the future in terms of competition, features, and even collaborations.

JF: The classic rivalries, incredible matches, and the range of veteran and new star talent across all teams. As new as CDL is, it also comes with tremendous legacy surrounding it. We are all so excited to see how it plays out between our final four teams this weekend. While we have announced a ton of great stuff these last few weeks, including a fashion collaboration with Billionaire Boys Club, our Sheron Barber-designed Championship throne, a new trophy, rings, and the distribution of 10,000 beta codes for Call of Duty®: Black Ops Cold War during Champs Sunday, we still have more to come. In many ways, CDL is only just getting started.

Now let’s take a closer look at the Final Four teams who have battled so hard to get to this very moment. Let’s start with the Dallas Empire Squad spearheaded by recently announced 19 year old MVP Cuevas-Castro (also known as Shotzzy). Dallas has the most experience out of all the teams, and players such as Crimsix and Clayster leading their squad as well. According to Head Coach Ray “Rambo” Lussier, Empire believes that the experience of their core roster will prove beneficial in those tense battle moments that are sure to be expected this weekend. They may be right as maturity can sometimes be a determining factor.

Next up are the Chicago Huntsmen, a team with a strong culture and dynasty. The Huntsmen just won one of the most thrilling series in Call of Duty History against Optic Gaming LA drawing over 150,000 viewers. We already know how key momentum is in a Finals series, and the Huntsmen are also very aware that they come from a city of greatness (their apparel has featured the number 23 in reference to Michael Jordan).

Now onto the Atlanta Faze, arguably the most dominant team in the series winning all eight of their home games. The Faze squad is led by two superstars Simp and Priestahh. However like another ATL team, (The Atlanta Hawks), they are also a very young team, and as we all know, youth can be a deciding factor in playoff and championship matchups.

Last but not least we have the London Royal Ravens, the underdog that nobody saw coming. Nobody expected this team to be in the top four, and the Ravens used that to their advantage to sneak up on opponents. To win the championship though, the Ravens would have to beat both Atlanta and Dallas after Chicago to win the championship.

The Verge

Now we move onto the schedule. The Elimination Semi- Finals kickoff at 2:00pm EST/ 11:00am PT with The Chicago Huntsmen against the London Royal Ravens. The Atlanta Faze will then face the Dallas Empire in the Elimination Bracket at 3:30pm EST/ 12:30 PT. The winner of the London/Chicago matchup will then battle the loser of the Atlanta/Dallas matchup to see who will battle the Atlanta/Dallas winner in the Grand Finals. From there the Finals will take place at 4:00pm EST/1:00pm PT on Sunday August 30th. 

One thing’s for sure, this weekend will be extremely competitive as that 1.5 million will be up for grabs with every single one of those teams having a legitimate shot at the championship. However there also will be a quick turnaround time for all the teams, as the new patch released Tuesday, includes a change to the MP5. It will definitely be interesting to see how it all shakes out. In the meantime to get you pumped here’s our predictions for the Finals. May the best man win. 

Aaron (ONE37pm): “I predict that the Chicago Huntsmen will win it all. They’ve got a lot of talent, and have proven themselves to be successful, especially in clutch situations.”

Jael (ONE37pm): “I think Dallas wins it personally. They also have a lot of talent, but Shotzzy wants that ring (especially after being named MVP). MVP’s lead their teams to championships, and that’s exactly what I think he will do.”

Events/Tournaments Gaming

The EVO 2020 Lineup Is Equal Parts Expected and Surprising

If you’re one of those individuals who regularly mash buttons on their fight stick and watch extensive combo tutorials, chances are you sat through the recent Evolution Championship Series (EVO) 2020 main games lineup reveal. And after it was done, the FGC went wild in comments sections across gaming websites everywhere.

So hardcore fighting game players found out they’ll need to go in the lab to prepare for the following games:

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Tekken 7

Street Fighter V: Champion Edition

Dragon Ball FighterZ

Samurai Shodown

Granblue Fantasy: Versus

Soulcalibur VI

Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[cl-r]

Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes

The nine fighters listed above will take center stage at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas from July 31-Aug. 2 and bring in another record number of Twitch viewers from around the world. The usual suspects that we’re used to seeing during past EVO’s are back for another round. And for many of them, they’re returning to the big stage in a refined and more exciting state for players and viewers alike.

By the time EVO rolls around, new character additions and balance patches will have significantly impacted many of the event’s chosen games. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is in the midst of delivering another lineup of characters in the form of a second Fighters Pass, which could lead to a fresh batch of faces being utilized onscreen. Tekken 7 will bring its new Muay Thai warrior Fahkumram to the scene in the spring and introduce balance adjustments that will make Leroy Smith less of an unstoppable roadblock. In the case of Soulcalibur VI, the 3D weapons fighter will increase its roster with returning combatants, and even a new guest character fans actually want. As for Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, Capcom’s signature fighter will add Seth to the fray and seemingly bring this series iteration to a fitting close.

Speaking of Capcom fighting games, the return of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is pretty shocking but awesome nonetheless. MvC2 once stood tall as one of EVO’s strongest games and has managed to retain its relevancy in recent years due to its passionate scene. The Battle of the Strongest tournament has kept MvC2’s hype intact thanks to the combined efforts of top players/commentators, such as Michael “Yipes” Mendoza and Chris Matrix. MvC2 is returning to EVO in a major way with an 8-player tournament that features past MvC2 champs, such as IFC|Yipes, Justin Wong, Duc Do and Sanford Kelly. This 20th anniversary tourney for the game is a fine way to honor EVO’s past and perhaps signal a tease of a major reveal for the next Capcom Vs. installment (fingers crossed!).

Over on the anime fighter’s side of the coin, Arc System Works reigns supreme. Three of the publisher/developer’s games have been placed in a premier position–Dragon Ball FighterZ, Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[cl-r] and Granblue Fantasy: Versus. The first two fighters are actually on the verge of increasing their roster and introducing updates that will present them in a much-improved state. In a move that points to EVO’s stronger emphasis on marketing new fighters on behalf of their business partners, the still unreleased Granblue Fantasy: Versus has been given the top spot over some tournament mainstays. And judging by the success of last year’s event debut of the Samurai Shodown reboot, EVO and SNK’s relationship must have grown stronger since the game is returning for another main stage appearance this year.

The major hoopla surrounding this year’s EVO isn’t just relegated to the games that were selected. It’s also been centered on the games that weren’t picked for the main tournament spot. BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle’s disappearing act doesn’t really come as a shock to many–Granblue Fantasy: Versus obviously took its place since it’s a fresher addition to the FGC and a bigger focus for Arc System Works. The most shocking omission of them all, however, is Mortal Kombat 11. For the first time in a while, a NetherRealm Studios fighting game won’t be a part of EVO’s main games lineup. Two trains of thought immediately come to mind when trying to rationalize this decision–the game’s hype levels might not be high enough to warrant another top spot, or it may just be a move by EVO to respect its sponsors by refraining from featuring the gory fighter in a prominent position. While the games excluded from the mainstay lineup will most likely be featured in side tourneys at EVO, it’s still a bit surprising to see MK11 get relegated to a sideshow act.

EVO 2020 looks to be one of the tournament’s most important installments to date. And by the looks of things, it may be the final year for many of its selections. EVO 2021 might look entirely different if a wealth of FGC rumors end up coming true – the sixth mainline Street Fighter might not be that far off, plus Tekken X Street Fighter may still be deep in development. We all know for a fact that Guilty Gear–Strive- is releasing sometime after EVO 2020, which means its main game spot at EVO 2021 should be a given.

The FGC will come out in droves for this year’s EVO and put their mastery of the hype genre on full display once again. Your favorite fighting game may not have been given its just due this year, but that shouldn’t be a huge cause for concern. No, Mortal Kombat 11 isn’t dead or on life support. And it’s no less important than its fellow genre stalwarts. Fighting games everywhere are still kicking (pun intended) and are bringing in plenty of attention at EVO and FGC tournaments worldwide.

Events/Tournaments Gaming

Everything You Need to Know About ‘Overwatch’ League 2020

In the last three years, the Overwatch League (often shortened to OWL) has become a prominent part of the esports scene. According to Variety, the 2019 OWL Grand Finals had 1.12 million viewers worldwide, and the industry is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

This season holds exciting roster changes, transitioning to a best-of-three map series, making history as the first major esports league to adopt a city-based home-and-away model and the opportunity to compete for $5 million in prizes. 2020 is looking more exciting than ever before—and this year is a great time for new fans to jump into the action.

Hunter Martin/Getty Images
1. How to Play ‘Overwatch’

Overwatch is a team-based, first-person shooter game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. 

Each Overwatch game consists of two teams of six players fighting for control over regions of the map. Each player chooses between 31 different heroes who each hold a unique weapon and ability. The three types of heroes are damage hero, tank hero and support hero.

According to the Overwatch website, “Tank heroes soak damage and shatter fortified positions, like closely-grouped enemies and narrow chokepoints. If you’re a tank, you lead the charge. Damage heroes seek out, engage and obliterate the enemy with wide-ranging tools, abilities and play styles. Fearsome but fragile, these heroes require backup to survive. Support heroes empower their allies by healing, shielding, boosting damage and disabling foes. As a support, you’re the backbone of your team’s survival.”

During the game’s duration, heroes charge up their ultimate ability. The better you play as your hero, the faster your eventual ability charges. These abilities can significantly change the outcome.

Overwatch can be played on Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC. The OWL plays on PC.

To understand Overwatch basics, be sure to check out the video below. [Please note: This video was published in 2016, and there have been new heroes and mechanics added since. However, this video does a great job breaking down the wonderful world of Overwatch.]

2. ‘Overwatch’ League Details for 2020

It’s finally that time again! The OWL 2020 season is kicking off on Feb. 8, 2020, hosted by the New York Excelsior in New York City and by Dallas Fuel in Dallas, TX. The 28-match season will end on Aug. 20, 2020. 

In 2019, the San Francisco Shock dominated their way to victory after defeating the Vancouver Titans 4-0 at the Grand Finals in Philadelphia.

Hunter Martin/Getty Images

This year, the league is introducing a few fundamental changes.

The OWL is adapting a homestand system, where each team will host at least two or more homestand events in their city throughout the season. This is the first time a significant esports league will feature a city-based, home-and-away model.

In addition to these matches, there is a new mid-season tournament that will coincide with the All-Stars Game after Week 12 of the season.

According to the league’s website, “The mid-season tournament will feature the top four teams in the league: the top team from each conference and the next best two teams by record from either conference. To manage logistical requirements for teams around the world, the teams will qualify based on their record over their first nine matches in the 2020 season. Those teams will play in a single-elimination bracket, with the top seed picking their opening-round opponent.”

Also, the league’s website states, “All-Stars will feature the league’s best players competing in a series of fun game modes. We’re also planning some 1v1 action and another Talent Takedown. Stay tuned for more details. These All-Stars events will have a total prize pool of US $250K, so there’s more than just bragging rights on the line in 2020.” Check out the full schedule here.

3. ‘Overwatch’ League Game Modes

The OWL is played in a best-of-three map series—a new change to the previous best-of-four map series. There are four types of game modes: Control, Escort, Assault and Hybrid. In OWL, the first map is a Control map followed by a rotation of Assault, Escort and Hybrid maps. 

Control is a best-of-three mode where both teams battle for a single objective point. They do this by standing next to the control point. The longer they control that point, the more their team’s percentage will increase. Only one side can capture the objective point at a time, and the first team to 100 percent wins the round. 

Escort is a payload-style map, where both teams take turns escorting a payload to multiple capture points while the defending team fights to prevent it. The speed of the payload will increase as there are more attacking team players are around it. Whichever team pushes the payload farthest wins the map. In case of a tie, both sides will retry with the remaining time from round one.

Assault is where both teams take turns attacking and defending two objective points in a particular order on the map. Objective points are earned by standing next to them by the attacking team, while the defending team fights them off before time runs out. After the attacking team captures the first point, the timer and spawning locations will adjust. Whichever team captures the most points during their turn, wins the map. Similar to Escort, both sides attempt again with the time they have left from the first round in the event of a tie.

Hybrid is a mix of Escort and Assault modes. In this mode, both teams take turns capturing an objective point, unlocking the payload and then pushing the payload to the final capture point. Whichever team captures the most objective points and pushes the payload farthest wins that map. In case of a tie, both teams attempt this again with the time they have left from the first round.

4. Every ‘Overwatch’ League Team

Previously, the OWL was divided into two divisions: The Atlantic and Pacific. Due to the new homestand model (and the traveling that comes along with it), the divisions are now called “conferences,” and each conference is split into two divisions. That means that each weekend, matches will take place in two different locations. 

The Atlantic North is comprised of the Boston Uprising, London Spitfire, New York Excelsior, Paris Eternal and Toronto Defiant. 

The Atlantic South consists of the Atlanta Reign, Houston Outlaws, Florida Mayhem, Philadelphia Fusion and Washington Justice. 

The Pacific East includes the Chengdu Hunters, Guangzhou Charge, Hangzhou Spark, Seoul Dynasty and Shanghai Dragons. 

The Pacific West contains the Dallas Fuel, LA Gladiators, LA Valiant, San Francisco Shock and Vancouver Titans. 

After last year’s San Francisco Shock versus Vancouver Titans OWL Grand Finals, there’s a lot of eyes on the Pacific West right now. Throughout the season, you can keep track of each team’s standings here.
‘Overwatch’ League

5. ‘Overwatch’ League Top Prizes

The total prize pool is $5 million, according to the league’s website

The midseason tournament includes first place ($500,000), second place ($250,000), third place ($150,000) and fourth place ($150,000). 

The All Stars Game has a prize pool of $250,000. 

The Season Playoffs breaks down to first place ($1.5 million), second place ($800,000), third place ($500,000), fourth place ($300,000), fifth place ($200,000), sixth place ($200,000), seventh place ($100,000) and eighth place ($100,000).

6.. How to Watch the ‘Overwatch’ League

You can keep up with the Overwatch League on YouTube, the league’s website and the OWL apps for Google and Apple products.