Astralis qualify for ELEAGUE Premier playoffs as SK Gaming falter

Astralis at ELEAGUE Premier, sponsored by gaming headset maker Turtle Beach.Astralis topped a stacked Group D as the initial stages of this year’s ELEAGUE Premier Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament came to a close this past weekend, and will be joined by fellow Danish side Heroic in the playoff bracket later this month. Let’s take a look at how it all played out.

Danish pasting

ELEAGUE holds many happy memories for Astralis, who were beaten finalists in Season 2 in 2016 before winning the ELEAGUE Major in January, and comfortable surroundings seemed to help the Danes shake off the inconsistency they’ve shown in recent tournaments, as they began with a strong 16-11 win over in-form Team Liquid, who made it all the way to the grand finals of ESL One New York last month.

Astralis did most of the work in the first half, blowing Liquid away on CT side on Overpass, and while their opponents rallied after the break, they were still able to close it out with room to spare. Kjaerbye and co then faced a local derby, albeit on foreign soil, as they faced down Heroic. But playing on Train – the map where they clinched the Major in scintillating fashion nine months ago – they were unstoppable, destroying their opponents 16-2.

Astralis now head to the playoffs in good form and they will be pleased to have avoided FaZe Clan’s side of the bracket. The Danes’ quarterfinal is against Fnatic on October 10, and if they win that then they will set up a semifinal against either Cloud9 or G2 Esports.

Fallen giants

The rest of Group D was kind of crazy, with Heroic eventually securing the second playoff spot after beating SK Gaming twice. Heroic stomped all over SK on Train in their first meeting, winning 16-5 in a match that showed up all the challenges the Brazilians currently face. Coupled with Liquid’s defeat to Astralis, that meant that SK Gaming vs Team Liquid was the first elimination match.

Liquid began strongly, with a powerful T side on Inferno that allowed them to clinch the first game 16-8, but SK responded well on Overpass, winning by the same scoreline. It all came down to Mirage, where both teams have been deadly in the past, and this one was tight. Liquid made it to halftime narrowly ahead on CT, but SK matched them after the turnaround, sending the game into overtime. Unfortunately for Liquid, SK had just enough to squeeze out a win, taking the last game of the series 19-17 to win 2-1.

Coldzera and his teammates looked to ride that momentum into a return match against Heroic, and began well with a strong second-half finish on Overpass that gave them a convincing 16-8 vicotry margin. But any SK fans hoping this might spark a resurgence from the Brazilian squad, who looked so good at times in the first half of 2017, found their hopes quickly dashed as Heroic took full control of the series on Inferno, winning 16-5. Heroic then stormed ahead again on Mirage in the deciding game, leaving SK with too much to do in the second half. The final score was 16-8, completing a 2-1 win that meant SK would be the first properly high-profile casualty of a fairly predictable ELEAGUE Premier group stage.

Looking ahead to playoffs

That result means we now know the full line-up of teams who will enter the G-FUEL ELEAGUE Arena in Atlanta next week, October 10-13, for the playoff bracket and a chance to win $500,000 of the $1m prize pool. Here’s the full line-up of matches:

  • Cloud9 vs G2 Esports – October 10, 14:00 EDT / 11:00 PDT
  • Astralis vs Fnatic – October 10, 16:30 EDT / 13:30 PDT
  • FaZe Clan vs Team EnVyUs – October 11, 14:00 EDT / 11:00 PDT
  • North vs Heroic – October 11, 16:30 EDT / 13:30 PDT

Astralis definitely had the toughest path to the quarterfinals, and although Fnatic, Cloud9 and G2 would all be tough opponents, the Danes will appreciate avoiding FaZe Clan at this stage. If they can put together wins over the new-look Fnatic and then either Cloud9 or G2 Esports, they are definitely in with a chance of at least repeating their feat of making last year’s ELEAGUE Season 2 Grand Finals.

Whether they can add to their trophy haul this year remains to be seen, but you can bet we’ll be keeping a close eye on proceedings.

EA Gamescom Roundup: Battlefield 1 Incursions Leads The Way

Electronic Arts revealed a new competitive mode for Battlefield 1 called Incursions and showed off the roadmap for future content releases as part of a wide-ranging gamescom conference in Cologne on Monday.

As well as the Battlefield 1 reveals, we got to see Star Wars Battlefront 2 space battles, learned that the 2018 BMW M5 will debut exclusively in Need for Speed Payback, took another look at EA Originals indie title Fe, and got to catch up with The Sims 4, which is heading to consoles later this year.

The Battlefield 1 reveals were arguably the most exciting. (Okay, we like shooters.) With 22 million players and counting, the game has certainly done the business for EA and DICE, but one thing it’s still missing is a small-scale competitive game mode – just the sort of thing that inspires esports communities.

To that end, Incursions is a 5v5 mode that looks to be as fun to watch as it is to play. Executive producer Aleksander Grondal was on stage to introduce it and revealed that a closed alpha will be available to play in September. Signups for that should be live now at battlefield.com.

Each team of five players begins by choosing specific kit to take into battle, adding a strategic layer to the game that will force team-mates to coordinate their play more actively than they perhaps do in larger 64-player battles. The small team sizes also mean that vehicles are very influential when they make it onto the field.

The other thing we got to see was the second expansion pack, In The Name Of The Tsar, which launches next month. Set on the Eastern Front, it signals the start of Battlefield 1’s Russian Revolution period, and one of the expansion maps, Lupkow Pass, is available to play right now for Premium Pass holders.

Further down the line, October will see an Operation Campaigns Update; November will see the excitingly titled November Update; December promises the third expansion, Turning Tides; and there will also be a fourth expansion in early 2018.

Not content with all that… content, EA revealed Battlefield 1 Revolution, a new version of the game available today featuring all the content released so far and all the stuff to come. Think of it as a sweet Game of the Year Edition.

Battlefield 1 may have rounded things out, but EA’s conference also gave us a little look at Need for Speed Payback. We were treated to a nice live-action skit featuring BMW Works driver Bruno Spengler that introduced us to the 2018 BMW M5, which will debut exclusively in the game before none of us can afford to buy the real thing next year. We also saw some pre-rendered footage of the game, in which an M5 stylishly evaded all sorts of heavily armored police.

Then it was time for The Sims. Maxis’ life sim may not always excite the crowds at trade shows, but the developers had an unbeatable trick up their sleeve this time: the cutest dog ever. Yes, to celebrate the impending launch of The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs on November 10, they brought Jiffpom out on-stage. It’s over, guys – EA won gamescom.

EA’s Lyndsay Pearson also revealed that The Sims 4 would be coming to PS4 and Xbox One this November, while a new mobile title is coming soon worldwide.

Elsewhere, EA showed us more of striking Swedish indie title Fe, from Zoink Studios, which is one of the tentpole games in the EA Originals series. New footage showed a hauntingly beautiful forest setting that players will be able to explore at their own pace. The game is due on PC, PS4 and Xbox in early 2018, with a Nintendo Switch version also in development. It’s easy for stuff like this to get lost at trade shows, but it’s well worth checking out.

And that was it for EA at gamescom. Not much to say on FIFA 18, which is due out at the end of September, but EA’s monstrously popular sports series had to make do with a place on the initial sizzle reel – although we did at least get our first sighting of Neymar Jr in a Paris Saint-Germain kit. He’ll probably cost even more of a fortune in Ultimate Team than he did when he was at Barcelona.

LawBreakers Tips

LawBreakers is Boss Key Productions’ first step into the high-speed gaming arena, and with Cliff Bleszinski manning the helm, LawBreakers has leaped into the air and kicked everything else in the face!

As far as fast-paced games go, LawBreakers is one of the speediest, with characters screaming around the map or flying through the air in zero-gravity. Before you dive into your first anomaly area, take a moment to read through our LawBreakers tips to help you walk away with more kills!

Play Every Character

Part of knowing how to get better at LawBreakers is understanding every character – even the ones your opponents are playing. Before you dive into your first real match (although trial by fire is an excellent way to learn), take a few moments in the training section to play each character.

Every character has its own strengths and weaknesses, and by learning these, you’ll be able to recognize what an enemy player is doing, or what they might do in response to your own attacks.

Listen For Supers

Another huge element of LawBreakers are the sounds. Whether it’s the announcer letting you know the objective is under threat or a Super is being cast, keeping an ear out for the audio cues in LawBreakers is going to keep you alive longer.

Whenever a character activates their super, listen for their call or the sounds they make. This can be the difference between life and death, as there’s nothing worse than running directly into Harrier’s devastating Convergence super.

One of the best ways to hear the audio cues is to obviously have a kickass headset. The Turtle Beach Elite Pro, with the Tactical Audio Controller, go hand-in-hand to ensure you never miss a beat. Your opponents will straight-up think you’re cheating when you get the jump on them because you can hear their freakin’ footsteps as they approach. There’s nothing quite like people mistaking your raw skill for hacks.

Know the Maps

This LawBreakers tip is one that will take its own time: know the maps. It can be tough at first, navigating your way around the many maps in LawBreakers, but after enough games, the general layout will become clear.

Once you get your footing with each stage, begin looking a bit deeper. You’ll find that each map has its own ebb and flow, as well as certain lines-of-sight where you can nail someone as they come around a corner or give you a good angle on an objective.

Another advantage of knowing the maps in LawBreakers is that it allows you to quickly and easily transition from one area to another. If you know how high a ledge is, you will be able to begin your jump at the correct time, or shift from the zero-g zone, into another objective, and around a corner without stuttering to a halt.

Practice Your Kit

In order to improve at LawBreakers you must know your character’s kit inside and out. A character’s kit is its abilities, but it’s also more than that. A kit is how each ability interacts with one another, and how combos can be linked together to enhance your damage output or combat efficiency.

Shooting Gunslinger’s guns before throwing his Tac-Knife into a combat-heavy area will let the enemies know where you are, but when done the other way around, you gain the advantage. The same goes with Harrier’s Laser Tag – tag your enemy before using the rest of your abilities to increase your damage potential.

Take the time during battles to figure out the best way to string together your attacks and abilities. This can be further improved by working with your teammates to see which abilities should be used first, and in what order.

Keep Moving

Arguably the most important LawBreakers tip is to keep moving! LawBreakers is incredibly fast, coupling high speed and bunny-hopping, with zero-g areas where your velocity increases, so it’s important to use all of these as much as possible to avoid getting stuck walking around.

Characters like Titan can use their rocket launcher to further increase their speed by firing at the ground as they sprint along and then jumping as the blast occurs to literally rocket jump around the map. While it does deal a little bit of damage, it is incredibly useful when you need to get to the objective quickly! Then there’s Assassin, with its super fast Dash ability. With three charges, you can very easily become a menace for your enemies as you literally dash around their attacks.

The other benefit of continually moving is that it prevents enemy players from landing easy headshots. A moving target is hard to hit – a target sprinting around, jumping into the air, and dashing about is next to impossible to hit, let alone kill.

LawBreakers is fresh out of the gates and kicking up a storm. Keep this tips in mind and you’ll find that your kill count will go up and up! What LawBreakers tips would you give to new players?

How to Setup Chat in Splatoon 2

How to set up chat in Splatoon 2 on Nintendo Switch.

Splatoon 2 is here and it’s time to paint the town red, or green, or pink! To be an efficient painting team of squids and humanoids, you’re going to need to communicate with your teammates. However, setting up chat for Nintendo Switch can be a bit complicated. Don’t worry though, because we’ve got you covered!

Keep in mind, the Nintendo Switch app only provides chat audio. The use of a splitter cable may provide both game and chat audio, however this has not been thoroughly tested at this time!

How to Setup Chat in Splatoon 2

It can be a bit involved setting up chat for Splatoon 2, so be prepared to do a bit of fiddling before you can strategize with your teammates. There are a few things you will need before you can setup chat in Splatoon 2:

  • A Nintendo Switch,
  • Splatoon 2,
  • An Android or iOS smart device,
  • A Nintendo Account linked to your Nintendo Switch console and your smart device,
  • Nintendo Switch Online App, and
  • A Turtle Beach headset – such as the RECON series!

Now that you have everything you need, you can begin the chat setup.

Step 1: Download Nintendo Switch Online App

Head to the Apple Store or Google Play Store and download the Nintendo Switch Online app. While the service is currently free, there will be a subscription fee for Nintendo Switch Online when it launches in 2018.

Step 2: Log in to the Nintendo Switch Online App

This is fairly simple. Ensure all your details are correct!

Step 3: Connect Your Turtle Beach Headset

Now that the Nintendo Switch Online app is installed, connect your Turtle Beach headset to your smart device to achieve the clearest sound possible.

With all that setup, you can now begin setting up a room so you can chat with your Nintendo Switch friends.

Step 4: Create a Splatoon 2 Chat Room

This next step in setting up chat in Splatoon 2 requires you create a Room using Splatoon 2. Press the X Button to open the Menu, and then select “Lobby” or if you’re planning on joining a Salmon Run, select “Grizzo”.

Scroll down and select “Online Lounge”, then “Create Room”. From the drop-down menu, select the game mode you wish to play, either Private Match, League Battle (pair), or League Battle (team).

You will then need to select “Allow Nintendo Switch friends to join the room with a password”. This is needed if you have friends who aren’t using the Nintendo Switch Online app – meaning you won’t be able to hear them but they can at least still play.

Hit OK to create the room. Once the room is created you will need to select, “Send Notification to My Smart Device” in order to proceed to the next step.

Step 5: Complete Smart Device Pairing

Now you will need to finish connecting the Splatoon 2 Room to your smart device’s Nintendo Switch Online app.

Select the Notification you received on your smart device or open the Nintendo Switch Online app and select the room you’ve created. Now that you’re in the Chat Room you can send out invites to your friends!

Step 6: Invite Your Friends

Select which invite method you want to use to send an invitation to your friend:

  • Social Network Friend: This sends a URL through a social media platform that your friend can open on their own smart device in order to join your lounge.
  • Nintendo Switch Friend: This method sends a notification to the smart device of your friend who also uses the Nintendo Switch Online app.
  • User You Played With: The final method sends a notification the smart device of someone who you just played who is also using the Nintendo Switch Online app.

After the other Splatoon 2 player or friend has accepted your invitation, they will join your Online Lounge in Splatoon 2 and you will be able to chat and strategize with them through the Nintendo Switch Online app!

While the process to setup a chat in Splatoon 2 might seem a bit complicated at first, once you’ve done it a couple of times it’ll far easier.

Unfortunately, you will need to have your phone screen on at all times for the chat to remain connected. This means you can’t lock your phone to save battery. We suggest turning the screen brightness down low and closing all other Apps in order to get the most battery life out of each play time. Alternatively, you can keep your phone plugged into a charger while you play Splatoon 2 and chat with your friends.

Best Headshot Sounds in Video Games

There’s nothing quite as rewarding as landing a headshot in a video game. Not only is scoring a headshot a feat of accuracy, but it lets your opponent know you just dominated them with your skills.

A headshot is more than just seeing the little headshot icon come up, whether it’s a crosshair or some other icon, it’s about the visuals and the audio. There are a lot of games where you can get headshots, but only a few of them offer truly unforgettable sounds when you land one.

These sounds feel all the more intense when using a headset such as our latest release, the Stealth 700 or Stealth 600 headset. With these headsets boasting Superhuman Hearing, you’ll hear your enemies first, followed swiftly by their heads exploding after you land a headshot!

Counter-Strike

We have to start off this list of best headshot sounds in video games with one of the most iconic and memorable occurrences of headshots. Counter-Strike not only spawned one of the greatest eSports in the world, but also helped create the zany FPS_Doug from Pure Pwnage who would scream “Boom! Headshot!” each time he scored a headshot.

Every headshot in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is accompanied by a specific sound, one that, when heard, is unbelievably satisfying – if you’re the one getting the headshot.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

If we’re talking about headshots and the sounds they make, we absolutely have to include at least one Call of Duty title. We’d like to include them all but it wouldn’t be fair on the other games out there. Call of Duty has completely dominated the FPS side of esports, with each successive title rising up and taking the mantle of the previous. Each game brings with it such a well-honed experience that relies on the greatest skill of all: reflexes.

When those reflexes kick in, and you manage to get that crosshair over an enemy head and pull the trigger, the sound that follows is pure bliss. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 had one of the best ting sounds yet, and has stuck in our minds as a standout example. Though there’s a bit of talking in the above video, it does play the sound we all remember and we all aim for!

Gears of War

Gears of War made its way onto the Xbox 360 back in 2006, and since its release, Gears fans all over the world have been relishing the brutality the game brought with it. Whether you were chain-sawing Locust Drones in half or blasting enemies in multiplayer with the Gnasher, it was always a gore-fest.

However, one of the most memorable sound effects in any Gears of War title was that which accompanied a headshot. The sound effect was most satisfying when using a Sniper Rifle. A steady hand would have the reticle hovering over an enemy head, and then – bam! – the sound of a watermelon being crushed would echo across the battlefield.

Fallout 3

The inclusion of the VATS program changed the future of Fallout games for the better. VATS stands for Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System and was first introduced in Fallout 3 as a means of bridging the gap between the isometric style of the originals with the revamped FPS style of the future.

VATS allowed you to pause the game and take aim at specific points on an enemy’s body, be it their legs, arms, chest, or even their head. It was designed to allow you to more accurately attack an enemy weakness, and it worked like a charm. However, it allowed gamers to easily score those sweet, juicy headshots.

An enemy’s head would come off at the neck, leaving the shoulders barren and the body slumping to the ground. To say it was violent and over the top is an understatement, but damn, was it fun!

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil

The original Turok series introduced gamers to the idea of fighting dinosaurs with guns. It was a wild ride by anyone’s standards. Then Turok 2: Seeds of Evil reared its head and showed the gaming world a new take on the classic “headshot”.

Included in Turok 2 was a little gun known as the Cerebral Bore. This brutally-named gun shoots a homing projectile at any enemy head – and as the name suggests – drill in through their skull to get to their brain.

A geyser of blood would spray everywhere as your enemy screamed in pain, but it didn’t stop there. Once the projectile hit the brain, it would explode. The sound of the drill, the crunching bone, the splattering of blood, and the screams of your enemies make this one of the best headshot sounds in video games!

Overwatch

Overwatch is Blizzard’s latest success story, with fans flocking to the game with fervor. Though each character has its own abilities and weapons, headshots are still rampant, even with Roadhog’s shotgun-like Scrap Gun.

However, there is one head-shotting menace that everyone fears as soon as they hear a particular sound, and that man is McCree. With a one-liner that makes every player spin around and look for him, McCree is able to instil fear into the hearts of even the most seasoned players.

McCree’s Ultimate is Deadeye, a short stance where he locks-on to enemy heads and then releases a quick volley of shots. The sound of these headshots is preceded by McCree calmly announcing, “It’s high noon.” What follows is a moment of panic for his enemies. Headshots never sounded so good.

Unreal Tournament

Finally, the granddaddy of headshot sounds himself, Unreal Tournament. PC gamers of all ages have played an Unreal Tournament game at least once in their life, and the first time they score a headshot is underlined with one of the most iconic headshot sounds from all of video game history.

Nothing tells you you’ve gotten a headshot more than the gritty announcer bellowing “HEADSHOT” as your enemy’s face explodes from your well-timed Sniper Rifle or Lightning Rifle round. From there on out, every time you earned a headshot, regardless of game, you were sure to do your best mimicry of this glorious sound – HEADSHOT!

Headshots are the bread and butter of any first-person shooter, with gamers honing their skills in order to hit these difficult shots as much as possible. Not only is it a testament of skill, but more often than not, they’re followed by some truly terrify, and sometimes horrific, sound effects. These are by far the best headshot sounds in video games, did your favorite make the list?

Best Upcoming Competitive Multiplayer Games

Competitive gaming is the lifeblood of many a gamer, so it’s always exciting when new games are announced that offer the chance for competitive multiplayer. The monumental industry that is esports is growing exponentially each year, and we think these games have a good chance at becoming the next big thing in the competitive multiplayer scene.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

It was recently announced at E3 that Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is officially coming to Xbox One before it launches on PlayStation 4. So far the community reaction to Battlegrounds – more commonly referred to as PUBG – has been phenomenally positive, with streamers helping the marketing immensely.

For those that haven’t been bitten by the PUBG bug, Battlegrounds is a 100-player battle royale where the last player (or team) standing wins. All one hundred players start in a massive plane above the map and can jump out whenever they please. What follows is an intense looting session followed by the numbers slowly dropping until only a few remain in the games iconic “final circle”.

As far as competitive multiplayer goes, the game is constantly being updated and tweaked, the combat is tight, and the firefights are incredible. PUBG relies heavily on strategy and planning, as well as risk taking. We totally expect Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds to become the next greatest esport franchise.

Destiny 2

Who could deny the astounding success of the Destiny franchise, and with Destiny 2 around the corner, there’s a good chance that the multiplayer aspect of Destiny will birth a competitive scene.

The first title in the Destiny franchise had its own in-house competitive multiplayer in the form of Trials of Osiris. This was an intense 3v3 elimination style game where there are no respawns, save for if a teammate manages to bring you back.

Trials of Osiris required map control, complete understanding of classes and their abilities, as well as constant practice and perfection of the given meta. One season saw Thorn rule the Crucible followed by the likes of fast rate of fire Pulse Rifles and even Scout Rifles.

With Destiny 2 on the horizon, and the player size changing to 4v4, the competitive multiplayer scene is going to see a new contender enter the mix. We can’t wait to see how the community reacts to Destiny 2 when it hits consoles in September and PCs in October.

LawBreakers

LawBreakers is the first title by Boss Key Productions, a company headed by Cliff Bleszinski. This brand new IP is an arena-style first-person shooter that blends Unreal Tournament with Overwatch.

Revealed at this year’s E3 during the PC Gaming Show, LawBreakers boasts gravity defying combat and an array of unique characters each with their own abilities and powers. The fantastic thing about LawBreakers is that it is being designed specifically for a certain type of audience: the lovers of all things fast-paced. It looks to require twitch reflexes and split-second decision making.

Games like Quake and Unreal Tournament have always drawn huge crowds of avid fans, and have created some of the best competitive multiplayer experiences around. Whether it was getting together with friends and having a LAN or competing in official competitions, these kinds of games thrive when there is an avid audience to consume and perfect them – and LawBreakers is no different.

Cliff Bleszinski has an excellent track record with Gears of War, which is a title still being played on a competitive level at grand events, so our confidence in LawBreakers is sky high. We just know the competitive multiplayer community is going to embrace this with open arms.

Splatoon 2

Nintendo’s Splatoon came out of nowhere and blew everyone away for its creative take on competitive multiplayer. Like a painter’s worst nightmare, Splatoon involves players shooting one another with paint and literally painting the town red – or whatever is your team’s color.

There’s a twist, players can also turn into squids that can swim through their own paint color, even going as far as being able to swim up walls. The levels end up looking like an old paintball field with paint splattered everywhere.

The idea is to use your paint to damage the enemy team, earning points. Paint is fired and spread using all manner of weaponry that mimic real guns, and with melee items such as paint rollers and brushes. What at first looks like hilarious and simple fun, actually hides a deeper strategy, with teams already competing around the world of huge prize pools.

Oddly, the Nintendo Switch suffers from some odd communication choices. The Switch has no built-in chat function, instead it requires the use of a mobile-based app. While this is a peculiar way to do things, the success of Splatoon and its competitive multiplayer set an excellent foundation for Splatoon 2 to have its own esports league.

Call of Duty WW2

Call of Duty belongs on every single list regarding competitive multiplayer. The entire franchise is built around praising quick reflexes, decision making, and teamwork. Now that Call of Duty WW2 has been revealed, there’s a good chance it could be the title to take over from Infinite Warfare and its hold on the competitive multiplayer scene.

This return to the World War 2 era and its standard, non-modern weaponry, could create a massive shift in competitive multiplayer. The gamers who left the competitive scene when Call of Duty shifted to a more sci-fi orientation will likely return to embrace this new direction.

It will be interesting to see what happens to COD esports when Call of Duty WW2 launches on November 3rd 2017. But one thing’s for certain, it will likely going to result in some huge numbers tuning in to see their favorite teams compete!

It’s an exciting time to be a gamer interested in competitive multiplayer. Whether it’s the likes of ECS with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or MLG with Halo 5, now is the time to be into esports. The rest of the year is looking phenomenal as more games enter the arena to prove their worth!