Shadow of War’s Audio Pulls No Punches

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is Monolith Productions’ latest entry into their Lord of the Rings franchise, and so far, it’s leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor. From an advanced Nemesis system, to dozens – if not hundreds – of Ocrs to slaughter and activities to complete, the game is full of exciting things to do! Stepping back into the role of Talion is like easing back into your favorite pair of boots, except these boots come with knives and have a ghost inside them that can obliterate your enemies.

Shadow of War continues on from Shadow of Mordor with its story, but with a lot of the features added into the mix. One the best things about Shadow of War is its ability to sound and feel exactly like Lord of the Rings. Having seen Aragorn and his amazing blade skills, it’s pulse-pounding to be able to experience Shadow of War’s combat. From sword play to daggers, ranged attacks and spectral abilities, you’ll end up feeling like a god, dispatching Ocrs with slices, thrusts, twirls, arrows, and ghostly head explosions – and it all sounds bloody amazing.

You’ll find yourself completely surrounded on a battlefield, with grunts and underlings screaming at you, baying for your blood. When using a gaming headset such as the Stealth 700, these sounds will echo around your head as you furiously attempt to reposition to find an edge over your enemies, and when you do, everything clicks together.

Sword attacks blend seamlessly with your wrath abilities as you flicker around your foes. Each sound, whether it’s the sword slicing through an Orc’s gut or an arrow piercing its skull, has its own visceral and deeply satisfying sound.

But some of the greatest moments occur when assaulting an enemy-controlled fortress. The Overlord will have something to say about your presence, because they have a memory, a grudge, and now, significantly more power. These are incredible setpieces that can shift and change depending on the choices you make or how you want to approach a fight. As seen in the video above, unleash the drake and you’ll have a fire-breathing beast screaming across the sky, filling the battle with its fire and deathly roars.

Whenever you encounter an opponent or character who is afflicted with a curse from Sauron, voices and ethereal sounds follow them and assault Talion. It creates a real sense of urgency, as not only is this enemy a physical threat – thanks in large part to the excellent Nemesis system – but a mental threat.

Hearing Sauron whisper is unnerving, and if you’re not focused, you’ll quickly lose your footing in the battle, take too many hits, and if you make too many errors, your enemy will only grow stronger. The whispers and noises that come with these enemies is reminiscent of the incredible audio design in Hellblade.

Beyond battling, the simple act of journeying between locations offers its own rewarding experiences. Every township, castle, and outpost has its own feel and style, and no matter where you go, there will always be grunts and worms for you to control and break. More importantly, the soundtrack that plays as you wander the world highlights your experiences. Some breath-taking moments can be spent on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the world you’re slowly freeing from the shackles of the dark lord, as the music swells around you.

We mentioned briefly before, the Nemesis system. Its implementation in Shadow of Mordor was a bold new mechanic that hadn’t been included in a video game before, and Shadow of War takes it a step further. Not only will your enemies grow more powerful, so will your allies. This is a double-edged sword – they can become your friends and your most trusted allies, but some will turn on you, betray you, and attempt to strike you down.

Every Nemesis will have their own story depending on your actions. An Orc whose arm you sliced off might come back with some fancy new gadgets. A burn victim will tell you how you left them for dead, and now they’re back to burn you. It’s this mechanic that leads to unique encounters throughout the entire game. You’ll want to share with your friends a clip of an Orc’s monologue about what you did to them and what they’re going to do to you. The dialogue takes what Shadow of Mordor achieved and raises it to new heights.

If you’re a long-time fan of Lord of the Rings, an avid player of Shadow of Mordor, or perhaps someone looking to get into a new action RPG, Middle-earth: Shadow of War should be the game you’re playing this holiday season. Everything about this game is fantastic, from the combat and story, to the gritty soundtrack, bloodcurdling war cries, and the visceral sounds as orcs get chopped to pieces.

The Evolution of Sound Design in Horror Games

Did you hear that? It sounded like something breathing right behind you. Depending on the horror games you like to play, in this situation you would either leap for the closest shotgun or crawl into a cupboard and cower with fear. Personally, we could go either way. Horror games have always been a staple in our gaming collection, even though we have to break out our “special pants” when we play them.

As the years go on, horror games have evolved, employing different methods in an attempt to scare the crap out of us. From the humble beginnings of Alien and Resident Evil to the terrifying Amnesia titles, a lot of high quality sound design has gone into making these games as terrifying as possible – it makes us thankful that monsters and ghosts aren’t real. They’re not real, right? Guys?

One of the first titles to really get under our skin and spook us was the infamous Resident Evil that released in 1996 on the PlayStation. This brand new franchise managed to do the unthinkable: fuse puzzle-solving with genuine horror.

What made Resident Evil so terrifying was its use of fixed-perspective camera angles and audio cues. Only being able to see a small portion of a room, all while hearing the groaning and moaning of a nearby zombie, was utterly terrifying. Furthering this sense of horror was the fact that ammunition was so scarce. In the event you managed to locate the zombies in the dim and dreary hallways, there was no guarantee you’d have the resources to take them out.

Propelling forward roughly ten years to 2008 brings us to the release of Dead Space, a title developed by EA Redwood Shores (now known as Visceral Games). Dead Space is a survival-horror game that is probably most famous for its use of dismembering enemies in order to kill them efficiently, that, and it’s big creepy spaceship setting.

Carefully lurking around the USG Ishimura was a nerve-wracking experience, as every creak and groan from the large dead ship would send shivers down our spine. Even in the zero-gravity sections, where the sound was muffled, all we could hear was Isaac’s ragged breathing as he tried to stay calm, which in turn made us all the more terrified.

Dead Space expertly juggled the eerie silence of the ship and the sudden, very explosive appearance of the Necromorph enemies. Every time the game got a little bit too silent and all we could hear were Isaac’s boots clanking on the deck, we’d clench up and prepare to be startled. Now that Dead Space is part of the backwards compatible library on Xbox One, it’s time to grab your Stealth 600 gaming headset and unravel the mystery of Unitology and what it has to do with those damn zombie alien monster things.

This “jump scare” phase seemed to take a backseat as a more artistic form of horror began to rise in the form of atmospheric horror. Though it wasn’t the first, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, managed to perfectly encapsulate the sense of being alone in a haunted house through its use of atmosphere alone.

Amnesia didn’t scare you by having a monster jump out at you, it scares you through long drawn out periods of gameplay where the darkness is creeping in, and the shuffling of feet on floorboards above your head is the only indication that you’re not alone.

We could only play Amnesia for an hour at a time before our nerves were too frazzled from all the whispers, the ghastly screams from some terrible secret in the basement, and the mangled retch of the eldritch horror hunting us.

The idea of using sound alone to paint a picture continued for a few years, but then along came Resident Evil 7: Biohazard to bring together both forms of terror. It made us feel fear despite the fact we had a fully-loaded shotgun in our hands.

We’ve talked about Resident Evil 7: Biohazard’s ability to cause us emotional turmoil, but the whole experience is worth repeating. When we sit down, with our Stealth 350VR gaming headset on, we experience a whole other level of horror when playing this game. It perfectly captures what made the original title so great, while also taking parts of the terrifying Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

Resident Evil 7 would build fear through the atmosphere, and then deliver a knockout punch with its monsters. There were moments when the only sounds were the rattling of branches against the windows, and we would have to steel ourselves, not knowing whether or not we were going to discover a new weapon or be torn to shreds by a monster.

The P.T. demo was one of the scariest video games to date.

It might have only received a demo on the PlayStation store, but P.T. has got to be one of the most unsettling and horrifying video games never released. From the minds of none other than Hideo Kojima of Metal Gear Solid fame, and acclaimed film maker Guillermo del Toro, the P.T. demo was elegant in its simplicity and heart-stopping with its terror.

The same hallway greets the player as they walk from one end to the other, but things slowly change and the sense of something terribly wrong begins to bubble to the surface. After reaching the door at the end, you step through to find yourself back at the start but wait – that door on the side, there’s noises coming from behind it.

Every lap built upon this gut-wrenching horror as the sounds became unbearable and the visuals slowly changed around you. It was like a bad case of déjà vu, but we couldn’t stop. Unfortunately, the demo is no longer available, but if you want to hear the horrifying audio, check out the video below.

Horror games have become more subtle in their delivery of fear. Instead of showing you what you must be scared of, they prefer to leave you guessing, and it’s this fear of not knowing that is enough to drive a gamer insane. But it’s not just the holding back of the monster, it’s that these games create a believable environment and fill it with the creepiest sounds out there. The simple act of walking down a hallway becomes all the more terrifying as the audio shifts and changes around you, because despite the fact you can’t see anything, it’s the sound that tells you one thing: you should be afraid, very afraid.

The Star Wars Battlefront 2 Beta Kicked Ass!

A short time ago, on a gaming platform not so far away, Star Wars Battlefront 2 saw its first open beta! Over the weekend, gamers on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC were given the opportunity to dive into the upcoming space fantasy shooter currently being developed by DICE. Though not everything was unlocked, the beta let us experience the rush of multiplayer in two separate modes, as well as a look at the new loot system and classes.

Galactic Assault

The Galactic Assault features 20-on-20 combat.The Galactic Assault is precisely what it sounds like: a large scale battle where teams of twenty players use all manner of strategy, teamwork, firepower, and sometimes good old fashioned idea of “running directly at the enemy” in order to claim victory.

As you take your first steps out onto the winding streets of Theed on Naboo, you’ll be greeted with the incredible detail that DICE has managed to pack into Battlefront 2. The streets are filled with swirling leaves dancing in the wind, the sky overhead is smeared with cloud cover, and the civilians and birds are fleeing for their lives – all this is the back drop to an epic battle with lasers flying everywhere.

Fighting as the Separatists, you must push your way into the Palace, a massive task that requires defending an MTT as it moves ponderously forwards. Otherwise, the Republic must use their might to destroy the MTT, lest you must retreat to the Palace for a final stand.

The model is similar to Overwatch’s Payload, but with a lot more vehicles, explosions, and massive shoot-outs. As you inch closer to the goal, you’ll be fighting down different streets or trying to get an angle into the palace rooms. It’s large-scale and packed full of action, barely five seconds will go by before you’re trying to gun down another player or use your abilities to help reach the objective.

Starfighter Assault

Starfighter Assault is fast-paced and intense.The Starfighter Assault is every Star Wars fans’ greatest wish come true. Take to the sky in the Fondor Shipyards in whatever fighter you please – be it an X-Wing, Y-Wing, or even a Tie Fighter.

It’s truly incredible to experience this side of Star Wars once more. The sounds of the engines screaming past you as you try desperately to either defend your own vessel from enemy attackers, or even the flipside, as you scramble to lock on and get those pesky enemies out of your way! One section of the fight saw us ducking and weaving inside a ship in an effort to take out engines and guns! You’ll need to steady hand in order to claim victory here.

Strike

The Strike playlist in Battlefront 2 is a highly-focused objective mode.The eight-player-a-side Strikes are intense battles set in incredible locations where one team must defend while the other attacks. In the Star Wars Battlefront 2 beta, the Strike was on Takodana, as recently seen in the J.J. Abbrams films. Attackers will need to locate and secure an artefact, and then take it to the extraction point. Meanwhile, the defenders will need to stop them using any means possible.

As you play through the thick forest, you’ll be relying heavily on sound to locate your enemies, as the impressive foliage does everything to break up the sight lines. Using the Elite Pros with the Tactical Audio Controller makes locating sneaky enemies a breeze, which is important as the artefact carrier can be difficult to spot. The sound of leaves and sticks crunching underfoot can give away an enemy location, as can the distant sparks of lasers. The entire match plays out as a giant tug-of-war, but in reverse, as each time tries desperately to move the object away from their own end zone.

Classes

The refined class system diversifies the battles.Throughout the various modes available, you’ll be playing as one of the many classes in Star Wars Battlefront 2. The four main classes are Assault, Heavy, Officer, and Specialist, each offering their own unique weaponry, abilities, and statistics.

There are, of course, more units to use, but these are locked behind an intuitive points system. The more kills you earn, objectives you clear, or the more teamwork you employ, the more points you earn.

You can then redeem these points and spawn as one of the special classes, with the Heroes costing a fair chunk of points! If you want to jump in as Darth Maul during the Galactic Assault, you need to amass 5,000 points, while a Rocket Droid will set you back 2,000 points. But choose wisely, because once you spend the points, you’ll need to earn more!

How it Feels

Star Wars Battlefront 2 captures the magic of the entire franchise.To put it simply, Star Wars Battlefront 2 feels incredible to play. Every aspect of the game has been improved over the first title. While we only had access to a few maps across a handful of modes, they all felt true to the source material. However, what really sells it is the audio design. Starting a match of Galactic Assault (especially when playing as the Separatists), is like diving into a real Star Wars battle. Your little droid legs will hit the ground running, diving between civilians that scatter while lasers start blasting across your field of vision.

Then, regardless of what side you’re fighting for, there’s nothing quite as pulse-pounding as hearing the loud crack of a bomb going off a few feet from you as a ship tears across the sky on a bombing run.

The entire experience can be taken to the next level on Xbox One if you make sure to switch on the Windows Sonic in the settings – it really lifts the sense of being in the thick of it when using the XO THREE or the Stealth 700 gaming headsets. Star Wars has never sounded so good!

Even the loot system is worth talking about, as it’s thrilling to earn enough credits to purchase a crate. These crates can drop all manner of cards, which are applied to Classes and actively help increase your lethality or help with cooldowns. The more you play Star Wars Battlefront 2, the more you will earn, allowing you to craft new weapons for your classes, upgrade your abilities, and just generally make your loadouts more awesome!

Though the Star Wars Battlefront 2 beta has been extended a few more precious days, it will still come to an end. But at least we don’t have long to wait until it launches on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on November 17!

Red Dead Redemption Retrospective

A look back at Red Dead Redemption by gaming headset manufacturer Turtle Beach.Seven years ago, gamers got their chance to re-enact their cowboy fantasies through the eyes of John Marston in Red Dead Redemption. Since then, games have come and gone, but this ode to Westerns of old remains a highpoint in Rockstar Games’ line-up of titles. And now, on the cusp of a prequel being released, what better time to look back at what made Red Dead Redemption an instant-classic.

Aside from the very first entry in the series, Red Dead Revolver, there hadn’t been this level of quality dedicated to a cowboy game. With Rockstar at the helm, and their years of experience developing the Grand Theft Auto franchise, Red Dead Redemption was sure to be mind-bogglingly huge, in both scope and scale – and it was.

The influences behind Red Dead Redemption are obvious on first appraisal, with the likes of Walker, Texas Ranger, Wyatt Earp, and Deadwood leaping to mind. The wild frontier, cowboys, Indians, outlaws, stage coaches, and more, are all indicative of a period well before our time, so having these represented in a video game was incredible.

Taking control of John Marston allowed gamers to experience both sides of the cowboy coin: the outlaw and the sheriff. That was the beauty of the character. As a reformed outlaw, Marston had his connections and his set of skills, but he also had the desire to better himself and work with the local deputies and lawmen. This gave rise to more than just excellent story potential, as Marston’s gameplay mechanics allowed him to do all manner of deeds, good or evil.

Rolling into a dusty town on the edge of the desert meant looking for the saloon where you could find work, visiting the jail to collect on a bounty, or just visit the shop to spruce up your duds. Alternatively, robbery, gambling, heavy drinking, tying up people and dragging them behind your horse, these were all fair game. It’s why Red Dead Redemption was so loved, it let you live out a cowboy experience however you please.

Rockstar took what they had learned from Grand Theft Auto IV and applied it to Red Dead Redemption. Instead of a linear storyline with some quests, they developed a living and breathing world and filled it with things to do. It didn’t tell you what you had to do, it simply provided a sandbox where you could experience North America like never before.

Though it was set in a fictional county, the environment nailed everything about the wild west. The arid desert, the lush prairies, the cold mountains and their pines, even the rapids dividing North America from Mexico all looked and felt as if they were lifted from the 1910s.

What’s more is that the audio, not only the visuals, sold the entire Red Dead Redemption experience. The gentle rattle of spurs as you walked down the street, the wind rustling through brush on the plains, it all built up this rustic experience. The soundtrack lifted this further with its unique take on each location. The first time you cross the border into Mexico, you were greeted with a song that perfectly matched that moment in Marston’s life, where big things were happening and changes were coming. We remember that moment especially vividly, listening through our XP510 gaming headset for Xbox 360 (those were the days!)

These emotional journeys were dotted all throughout Red Dead Redemption. Your entry into Armadillo, your arrival at Blackwater, and even as the credits rolled was all filled with music that could bring a grown cowboy to his knees in tears.

The story of John Marston’s struggle to return to his family was just so pure, despite being full of wrong doing. By the end of the game, we were all so emotionally invested in his motivation, that as we stood at the top of the mountain, with no sound but the emptiness of the world, it was almost too much to bear. We will always remember this moment, wondering whether Rockstar would let us live to see John’s family – our family – again.

If you want to get back into your cowboy boots, but don’t want to wait until 2018 for Red Dead Redemption 2, boot up your Xbox One or PlayStation 4 and pop Red Dead Redemption back into the disc tray (or play it digitally). You’ll be able to experience the beauty of this title all over again, from the gorgeous visuals to the heart-wrenching sounds. With a pair of Stealth 600s or Stealth 700s you’ll be able to truly immerse yourself in the experience, whether you’re hunting buffalo, searching for treasure, or just enjoying the old-timey tunes in the saloon.

While we wait for Red Dead Redemption 2 to come sauntering onto our consoles, you’ll find us roaming the plains of West Elizabeth, as we help Bonnie with whatever chores she needs doing. Because after all, as a reformed outlaw, we owe it to the county to help those in need.

Why Cuphead Deserves a Shot at Game of the Year

A look at Cuphead, by gaming headset maker Turtle Beach.Call us crazy, but Cuphead is probably going to be everyone’s Game of the Year. Beautifully crafted hand-drawn animations, meticulous responsiveness, and harrowing boss fights make Cuphead a game for the ages. It’s a big claim to make, but everything about this love-letter to 1930s animation just screams success. Developed by Studio MDHR, Cuphead has been a long time coming, but the wait has been well worth it for the product the 20-person team was able to deliver.

For the uninitiated, Cuphead is a 2D platforming shooter similar to the old-school games of yore, such as Contra, Metal Slug, and a host of side-scrollers that made it onto the NES Mini and SNES Mini – along with their killer soundtracks. However, what sets Cuphead aside from those games is its deceptively charming 1930’s style animation and soundtrack.

The premise of the game is simple, Cuphead and his pal Mugman love a bit of gambling, but they make the grave mistake of betting against the Devil, and wouldn’t you know it, he wins. The Devil says he’ll take their souls, but after they beg for an out, he concedes, but there’s a condition: they must track down the contracts of several others who have reneged on their own promise. And so off Cuphead and Mugman trot, to capture the soul contacts of these other rapscallions, so they can save their own skin.

From the moment you boot up Cuphead, to the final scenes of the game, the stylized animations will have you captivated. What’s incredible is that these graphics were all done by hand; not a single element was manipulated with software. In an interview with Alex Gilyadov of GamesRadar, Chad Moldenhauer explained the painstaking process, “To really capture the style of the 30s animation, we had to double down on the authenticity by doing the work the same way they did back then – pencils, inks, watercolour paintings, every frame done by hand. We don’t use any of the modern techniques or software tricks to assist our animation. If you see an egg spin 360 degrees in Cuphead, we didn’t draw one frame and spin it in software, we drew all the individual frames at each stage in its rotation.”

This mesmerizing style will sometimes take you by surprise. You’ll be so wrapped up in the glorious combat, that as soon as you find a moment to breathe, the way an enemy moves or boss transforms will startle you, and then you’ll get startled again as your brain realizes everything is hand-drawn.

The combat and art style blend so seamlessly together that you’ll wonder why no one has done it before. From jumping and dashing, to shooting and using your super, everything feels tight and responsive, and looks amazing. Stringing moves together, all while dodging attacks, will have you feeling like a gaming legend as you close in on the boss kill.

Even the audio in the game is impeccable. Sitting back with a set of the XO THREE gaming headset for Xbox One on your head, you’ll be able to appreciate just how detailed every piece of audio is in Cuphead. The firing of the Peashooter finger gun sounds markedly different to the Charge upgrade or the Spread. Every enemy has a unique sound associated with every move, from the way they move across the screen and attack, to how they die. Better yet, every sound plays as if it was recorded in the era, so it has an authentic crackle of age to it.

And the soundtrack. Oh, the glorious soundtrack. For a game where you die constantly and have to fight the same boss dozens of times, Studio MDHR has done a marvellous job at ensuring you won’t grow tired of a boss’ theme song. Eschewing traditional gaming practices seems to be a theme with Studio MDHR, as according to PasteMagazine, they reached out to Kristofer Maddigan, a composer who had never written music for a video game before. But what we have is one of the most memorable soundtracks to ever grace a game. You’ll be torn between wanting to fight the boss and wanting to stand around and listen to the jazz.

Aside from the gorgeous art and the foot-tapping tunes, Cuphead is also brutally difficult, but not to the point of being unfair. While the game will push you to your limits and demand more of you, it won’t throw anything at you that you can’t overcome – at least not on your first playthrough. If you’re a pretty casual player, Cuphead might be too much, but it’s worth dipping your toe in, if only to experience the gameplay, art, and music, of what is likely to be a lot of gamer’s Game of the Year!

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.