Eleague  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Eleague  RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network ELEAGUE Launching New Esports Late-Night Talk Show https://www.gameskinny.com/b88pt/eleague-launching-new-esports-late-night-talk-show https://www.gameskinny.com/b88pt/eleague-launching-new-esports-late-night-talk-show Fri, 31 Jan 2020 14:29:59 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Esports is expanding into the late-night talk show world with a new effort between Twitch, Turner Sports, and ELEAGUE called Super Punch  or more officially, "ELEAGUE Super Punch powered by Twitch." The show will be an interactive one recapping the week's biggest esports news and bringing viewers into the discussions as well.

Specifically, Super Punch will feature "top and trending clips, live guest interviews, contests with top streamers and interactive discussions."

The interactive element extends to choosing the content too. Streamers and viewers would source the content, and then the show's hosts would be streamers as well, alongside Ify Nwadiwe, Kelly Nugent, J.D. Witherspoon, and Alex Corea. Nwadiwe will be the Monday-through-Thursday host, with the other three hosts presiding over the big Friday showcase shows.

The first episode will air on February 3, with live showcase events set for every Friday starting on February 21.

Craig Barry, Turner's Chief Content Officer, said

Super Punch is a dynamic content offering that is built by games for gamers. Combining the platforms and assets of ELEAGUE, TBS and Twitch will create an original take on the culture of gaming, streaming and esports content, delivered in a truly immersive experience for our highly engaged fans.

"What excites us," Senior VP of Twitch Content and Partnerships Michael Aragon said, is "staying true to the community-fueled aspect that gives audiences a voice and is so core to the experience.

This is just the latest in a line of new ELEAGUE programs covering the esports world. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more ELEAGUE and esports broadcasting news as it develops.

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ELEAGUE to Air New Rocket League Championship Features https://www.gameskinny.com/v6z3r/eleague-to-air-new-rocket-league-championship-features https://www.gameskinny.com/v6z3r/eleague-to-air-new-rocket-league-championship-features Wed, 11 Dec 2019 16:08:00 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Rocket League's Season 8 Championship is coming up, airing from December 13 to 15, and ELEAGUE will broadcast two brand-new Rocket League Championship feature shows, one providing an inside look at the championship and one recapping all of the action. 

The first special will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the contending teams and players. This guide to the who's who in Rocket League's Season 8 Championship will air December 13 at 11 p.m. EST on TBS. Some of the highlights include Vitality and Pittsburgh Knights, plus Vitality’s star player Scrub Kill.

The second special will run on December 20 at 11 p.m. EST on TBS. It recaps the best, pulse-pounding moments from the Championship matches. So fret not if you miss any of the action over the weekend.

ELEAGUE is no stranger to Rocket League and esports in general. It has covered plenty of Rocket League championship material in the past, along with many other tournaments ranging from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to Dota 2 and Street Fighter 5

All of this is part of an increasing trend in esports visibility, where brands offer insider looks at the bigger names in the industry while simultaneously helping esports become more mainstream.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more ELEAGUE news and events as they develop.

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ELEAGUE and Psyonix's Four-Day Rocket League Fan Event Draws Near https://www.gameskinny.com/h7ros/eleague-and-psyonixs-four-day-rocket-league-fan-event-draws-near https://www.gameskinny.com/h7ros/eleague-and-psyonixs-four-day-rocket-league-fan-event-draws-near Wed, 06 Mar 2019 16:58:20 -0500 QuintLyn

As part of a partnership announced last month, ELEAGUE and Psyonix will host a special four-day Rocket League fan event at the NCAA Final Four Fan Fest in Minneapolis, the first-ever ELEAGUE x Rocket League Game Zone presented by AXE.

During the event, fans will be able to watch the top four collegiate Rocket League teams in an exhibition sponsored by Capital One at the Minneapolis Convention center. Those interested will also get a chance to play Rocket League in casual matches against fellow fans on game stations, including stations on a mobile ELEAGUE Arena competition stage.

The event will run over four days, beginning on April 5 and ending on April 8.  On April 7, beginning at 3 p.m. EDT, the matches between the top four winning teams from Psyonix's Collegiate Rocket League Spring Season will begin competing. These matches will be streamed across both Twitch and ELEAGUE.com

Following the event, on Friday, April 12, at 11 p.m. EDT, TBS will air highlights of the event.

This is not the first time ELEAGUE and Psyonix have worked together to televise Rocket League play. However, it will be the first traditional sports event at which a Rocket League competition has taken place.

Previously, the organizations teamed up to work together on the 2018 Rocket League ELEAGUE Cup, which took place on November 30 and, as with the upcoming event, was livestreamed on both Twitch and ELEAGUE.com.

With the addition of the upcoming event in Minneapolis, it seems as though this partnership has been beneficial to all involved and fans can expect to see more from it in the future.

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ELEAGUE Signs Deal With Psyonix On Cross-Platform Rocket League Content https://www.gameskinny.com/3yliy/eleague-signs-deal-with-psyonix-on-cross-platform-rocket-league-content https://www.gameskinny.com/3yliy/eleague-signs-deal-with-psyonix-on-cross-platform-rocket-league-content Tue, 12 Feb 2019 10:16:44 -0500 QuintLyn

Today, ELEAGUE announced a deal with Rocket League developer Psyonix. The media company owned by Turner & IMG will be collaborating with the game company on a variety of content, including a live event designed as part of the NCAA Final Four Fan Fest.

For their part of the deal, ELEAGUE has agreed to create a wide range of content. This includes a series focusing on the Rocket League Championship Series that will air on TBS later this year.  It will feature the players and their teams, as well as include content from both Season 7 and Season 8 of the RLCS.  Fans will be able to relive the highs and lows of both seasons of the RLCS during the show.

Also included in the deal is an agreement for the Turner Sports ad sales team to have their advertisements featured during both Season 7 and 8 of the Championship Series.

Finally, the four top ranking teams will be featured in an exhibition competition to be held during the NCAA Final Four Fan Fest in Minneapolis this April. Details on the exhibition will be released at a later date.

In a press release issued earlier today Psynoix's VP of Publishing, Jeremy Dunham had this to say about the partnership:

“We’re excited to bring Rocket League Esports and the Rocket League Championship Series to new television and collegiate audiences. This is a significant step forward for our sport and ongoing relationship with our partners at ELEAGUE. We’re excited to see what the future will bring!”

Turner Sports Chief Content Officer, Craig Barry added that the partnership is unique in that it allows the companies to "create compelling experiences for fans and work collaboratively to identify new strategic business opportunities."

“We’re excited to partner with them as we build on the success of the previous ELEAGUE Cup: Rocket League events and launch new fan-friendly live experiences, including at this year’s Final Four in Minneapolis.” 

This isn't the first time ELEAGUE has partnered with Psyonix. In fact the two companies worked together this past Novemer on the ELEAGUE Rocket League Cup. This is, however a much larger deal between the companies, and a pretty good sign that they intend to work together for a long time to come.

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ELEAGUE Hits the Pitch, Announces New EA Partnership https://www.gameskinny.com/r9t9s/eleague-hits-the-pitch-announces-new-ea-partnership https://www.gameskinny.com/r9t9s/eleague-hits-the-pitch-announces-new-ea-partnership Thu, 24 Jan 2019 11:23:52 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Through a new partnership with Electronic Arts, esports broadcaster ELEAGUE will be the first North American partner to host a FIFA 19 Global Series FUT Champions Cup. 

Taking place February 22-24 at the ELEAGUE arena in Atlanta, GA, the worldwide competition will see 64 of FIFA 19's best North American and South American players contend for $100,000 in prize money. 

The ELAGUE FUT Champions Cup February will be one of six Majors in the upcoming FIFA 19 Global Series. Fans can watch the Cup live on ELEAGUE's Twitch channel as well as B/R Live. Following the tournament, TBS will air a series showcasing the Cup's best moments. 

In addition to the Champions Cup, ELEAGUE will also host a licensed FIFA 19 qualifying event May 3-5. During the event, players will earn Global Series points and have the chance to win additional prizes. As of this writing, neither play times nor prize pools for the qualifying event have been announced. 

Todd Sitrin, senior vice president and general manager of the EA Competitive Gaming Division, said that the new partnership with ELEAGUE is the perfect fit for the EA Sports FIFA brand, especially considering Turner's 2017 acquisition of UEFA Champions League broadcast rights

ELEAGUE is a fantastic viewership platform for competitive FIFA and accelerates the mainstream esports and sports connection thanks to the power of Turner Sports. We’re seeing rapid growth for EA Sports FIFA competitive gaming right now around the world, and the opportunity to host a major event in North America will be an accelerant to this growth.

This partnership with ELEAGUE is perfect given EA Sports FIFA’s global reach, its instant accessibility for spectators, and the millions of FIFA competitive gaming players that are participating in the
Global Series.”

It's been a busy four months for ELEAGUE. In October, the company inked partnerships with both Nintendo and Activision. At the same time, the broadcaster also kicked off the Rocket League Cup and announced its plans for the 2019 CS:GO Invitational

During a 2018 interview, Matt Mosteller, vice president of content for Turner Sports, told GameSkinny that it is important for ELEAGUE to constantly search for ways to "bring the fans closer to the action, giving them a chance to know [players]." 

Considering the growing popularity of FIFA and soccer in the United States, as well as Turner's close association with major American sports leagues, the partnership with EA fits perfectly into those plans. 

Fans who would like to attend the FIFA 19 Global Series FUT Champions Cup in person at the ELEAGUE arena in February can get free tickets from ELEAGUE.com

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Dates, Teams, Talent Announced for CS:GO Invitational 2019 https://www.gameskinny.com/3b6ah/dates-teams-talent-announced-for-csgo-invitational-2019 https://www.gameskinny.com/3b6ah/dates-teams-talent-announced-for-csgo-invitational-2019 Thu, 10 Jan 2019 11:48:51 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Last January, Cloud 9 was the first North American team to ever win a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive major. That win was not only a watershed moment for CS:GO as an esport, helping the game garner more than 54.1 million hours watched on Twitch during a single event, but it also cemented the ever-growing relationship between the game and esports broadcaster ELEAGUE. 

Now, one year later, C9, CS:GO, and ELEAGUE are back, bringing viewers what's sure to be another interesting, if not gripping, tournament: CS:GO Invitational 2019. 

In typical ELEAGUE fashion, the stakes are high. Four teams will compete over three days for a prize pool of $150,000. Matches will begin on Friday, January 25 and run through Sunday, January 27; coverage of the tournament will begin at 2 p.m. EDT each day and will be broadcast on ELEAGUE's Twitch channel, ELEAGUE.com, and B/R Live

Team's competing in the double-elimination bracket competition include: 

  • Cloud 9
  • FaZe Clan
  • BIG
  • CompLexity

Aside from the sure-to-be electric competition, there will be a cast of familiar faces and voices reporting on the action from both the ELEAGUE studio floor and from behind the desk.

Alex "Goldenboy" Mendez will be hosting the Invitational, and he will be joined by casters James Bardolph, Daniel "DDK" Kapadia, Jason "Moses" O'Toole, and Sean Gares. Reporting from the floor will be veteran Sue "Smix" Lee. 

As has become tradition with ELEAGUE tournaments, there will also be a TBS episodic series created to recap the tournaments most explosive moments. According to the release provided by ELEAGUE, the series will "include feature content, player interviews, and other behind the scenes access to the teams." 

For fans in the Atlanta area, there will be a limited number of free tickets available for watching the tournament live, in-studio on Saturday and Sunday. Those interested can visit ELEAGUE.com/tickets for more information. 

While ELEAGUE's first Invitational of the year isn't as "big" as some of its tournaments from last year, such as the CS:GO Premier, there's no doubt the broadcaster has larger, even more extensive tournaments planned for the year. 

In many ways, it's logical that ELEAGUE will only grow in 2019, considering the monumental success the brand has seen in such a short period of time in not only viewership, but also attracting the attention of influential gaming brands such as Nintendo and Activision. That's not to mention the cache the broadcaster commands by being a branch of Turner Broadcasting. 

As ELEAGUE continues to bridge the gap between gamer and the casual viewer, tournaments such as this upcoming CS:GO Invitational will only become more frequent. 

You can find out more about what ELEAGUE's up to by following them on Twitter and staying tuned to GameSkinny for more updates and coverage. 

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ELEAGUE Cup: Rocket League 2018 Kicks Off November 30 https://www.gameskinny.com/ckiwx/eleague-cup-rocket-league-2018-kicks-off-november-30 https://www.gameskinny.com/ckiwx/eleague-cup-rocket-league-2018-kicks-off-november-30 Wed, 28 Nov 2018 13:48:40 -0500 QuintLyn

Rocket League esports fans only have two days to wait before being able to watch eight of the best teams compete for their share of a $150,000 prize. On November 30 at 2 p.m. EDT, the ELEAGUE Cup: Rocket League 2018 will hit the ground spinning, and fans can watch it all on Twitch and ELEAGUE.com.

This is the second annual Rocket League tournament under the ELEAGUE banner and will feature well-known teams like Cloud 9, NRG, Dignitas, Evil Geniuses, PSG, FlipSid3, The Chiefs, and We Dem Girlz.

For the first part of the event, the teams will be split into two four-team groups and play through a double elimination bracket. Following that, the top four teams will take part in a single elimination playoff. The winning team will walk away with a good chunk of the $150,000 prize.

Following the live-stream of the tournament online, a series of four episodes featuring the most exciting plays from the games, as well as the teams' stories, will be aired on TBS. The first episode will air on Friday, December 7 at 11 p.m. EDT/PDT, with the other three following every Friday after.

For more news on epsorts and ELEAGUE events, stay tuned to GameSkinny.

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The ELEAGUE Cup: Rocket League Returns To Twitch And TBS https://www.gameskinny.com/1m0d2/the-eleague-cup-rocket-league-returns-to-twitch-and-tbs https://www.gameskinny.com/1m0d2/the-eleague-cup-rocket-league-returns-to-twitch-and-tbs Wed, 07 Nov 2018 13:06:15 -0500 QuintLyn

Today, Turner Broadcasting and IMG announced that their esports content brand ELEAGUE would continue its partnership with Rocket League developer and publisher Psyonix, bringing The ELEAGUE Cup: Rocket League 2018 to viewers in both a live event and four-part series.

The league event features eight of the best Rocket League teams in the world and will be streamed live on Twitch from the ELEAGUE Arena in Atlanta. Following the tournament, TBS will air a four-part special featuring highlights of the best plays and stories from the event, which is set to begin December 7.

The tournament will take place over three days, November 30 - December 2, beginning at 2 p.m. EDT each day. Two groups of four teams each will play in a double-elimination bracket. The top teams from both groups will move into a single-elimination playoff on Sunday, December 2, with the winning team walking away with $150,000.

Those looking to attend the tournament can get free tickets to join the studio audience on December 1 and December 2 via Evenue.  The event can also be viewed on the ELEAGUE Twitch channel or ELEAGUE.com.

Once Rocket League 2018 comes to an end, fans will be able to relive the experience by catching four special episodes on TBS on December 7, 14, 21, and 28 at 11 p.m. EDT/PDT.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news on ELEGAUE.  

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TBS To Air Best Plays From ELEAGUE's Black Ops 4 Charity Event Today https://www.gameskinny.com/n19i3/tbs-to-air-best-plays-from-eleagues-black-ops-4-charity-event-today https://www.gameskinny.com/n19i3/tbs-to-air-best-plays-from-eleagues-black-ops-4-charity-event-today Fri, 02 Nov 2018 11:46:39 -0400 QuintLyn

If you missed out on the recent Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 x ELEAGUE #CODNATION Challenge for Vets charity event, don't worry. Not only can you still donate to the cause, but you can also catch some of the best plays of the event today on TBS

Tonight at 11 p.m. EDT/PDT, TBS will air an hour-long show focusing on CoD pro Anothony "NAMELESS" Wheeler and his team. During the original stream -- which was also his last tournament as a pro before moving on to casting --  Wheeler and his team competed in several Black Ops 4 modes, including "Blackout" the series' new Battle Royale.

During the livestream of the original event, fans were encouraged to donate to the Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit founded by Acitvision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. The CoD Endowment assists veterans in career placement and supports organizations that prepare those veterans to find work in the current job market.

If you'd like to help with the cause, the donation portal still open on the ELEAGUE site.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news on ELEAGUE.

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ELEAGUE and Riot Games Partner for League of Legends Special Feature on TBS https://www.gameskinny.com/7wp3p/eleague-and-riot-games-partner-for-league-of-legends-special-feature-on-tbs https://www.gameskinny.com/7wp3p/eleague-and-riot-games-partner-for-league-of-legends-special-feature-on-tbs Thu, 11 Oct 2018 16:13:30 -0400 Zack Palm

There's little doubt that esports is quickly gaining popularity in and out of the traditional gaming scene. A lot of that has to do with Turner's ELEAGUE, a growing brand streaming and broadcasting esports events and features both online and on television. 

And their latest partnership with Riot Games has already started generating a lot of buzz. 

Set to air next Friday, October 19, at 11 p.m. EDT/PDT on TBS, ELEAGUE will broadcast a one-hour-long feature on League of Legends called ELEAGUE's Esports 101: League of Legends.

The special will be hosted by League of Legends experts Bil "Jump" Carter and Kelsie "KayPea" Pelling. They will discuss the culture, history, and in-game elements of the MOBA's esports presence while highlighting why the MOBA has been so successful in the space.

The television special will air at about the halfway point of the League of Legends World Championship, which began on October 1 and will continue through November 3.

Craig Barry, EVP & Chief Content Officer, Turner Sports, had this to say about the television special:

League of Legends has a massive, global fan base and ELEAGUE welcomes this opportunity to both celebrate the game's passionate community and provide additional opportunities to broaden its reach to a new audience.

ELEAGUE continues to expand its content experiences and overall portfolio through a collection of partnerships that showcase the biggest titles in esports and their unrivaled community of fans. 


The announcement comes among a slew of surprise ELEAGUE partnerships this month. Earlier in October, the esports broadcaster announced a partnership with Nintendo for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, as well as with Activision, where ELEAGUE plans to provide live stream coverage for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 the day after it releases.

ELEAGUE has put a lot of work into legitimizing esports for casual fans and tangential demographics alike. Behind-the-scenes looks like these have been key to that success.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and info on ELEAGUE as it develops. 

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ELEAGUE Announces Partnerships With Nintendo, Activision Just Hours Apart https://www.gameskinny.com/di63i/eleague-announces-partnerships-with-nintendo-activision-just-hours-apart https://www.gameskinny.com/di63i/eleague-announces-partnerships-with-nintendo-activision-just-hours-apart Wed, 03 Oct 2018 16:54:08 -0400 Jonathan Moore

It's been a busy 24 hours for ELEAGUE. 

Yesterday, the Atlanta-based esports broadcaster announced via Twitter that it would be partnering with Nintendo to showcase unique footage of the upcoming brawler Super Smash Bros. Ultimate ahead of its release.

Today, it also announced it was partnering with Activision to live stream intense Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 action the day following the game's release. 

Historically, neither Nintendo nor Activision have formed many partnerships like this. So it's something of a big deal for ELEAGUE to collaborate with two titans of industry before or right at an IP's release.

In many ways, it shows the cache TBS and ELEAGUE have been able to create since entering the esports scene in 2016.

From Street Fighter 5 to OverwatchRocket League and, of course, CS:GO, the Turner Broadcasting brand has created a unique niche for itself in the industry by diversifying its distribution. By live streaming on platforms such as Twitch and Youtube and broadcasting on linear television via TBS, ELEAGUE has quickly reached and gained the trust of a large audience. 

Both Nintendo and Activision realize that. 


With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, ELEAGUE will feature unique footage taken at this year's E3 during Nintendo's SSBU Invitational 2018. The three-part program, called Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Invitational 2018 presented by ELEAGUE, will air on TBS in November.

ELEAGUE said it would release more information about the event, including exact air dates and times, in the coming weeks. 


On the other hand, Call of Duty will be presented in a more traditional ELEAGUE setting.

Beginning on October 13 at 5 p.m. EDT, the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 x ELEAGUE CODNATION Challenge for Vets will pit three teams of five against each other "in several Black Ops 4 multiplayer games," including the game's battle royale mode

The event will follow the three-day Call of Duty Endowment event and will be broadcast from ELEAGUE's Atlanta studios. Highlights of the mini-tournament will air on TBS on Friday, October 26, at 11 p.m. EDT/PDT.  

Anyone watching the live stream will be able to contribute to the Endowment, which aids veterans in finding employment opportunities. You can contribute directly via the stream. If you are in the Atlanta area and would like to attend the event, you can get free tickets by following this link

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With these two partnerships just ahead of its third birthday, ELEAGUE is continuing to prove that esports is increasingly popular across demographics and mediums -- and that it currently has a winning formula on its hands. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and info on these events as it develops.  

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Street Fighter V ELEAGUE Invitational Finals Recap https://www.gameskinny.com/cfp98/street-fighter-v-eleague-invitational-finals-recap https://www.gameskinny.com/cfp98/street-fighter-v-eleague-invitational-finals-recap Mon, 16 Jul 2018 15:44:19 -0400 Jonathan Moore

To say ELEAGUE's Street Fighter V Invitational has so far been chock full of some the game's most competitive and finest moments might be an understatement. Assembling some of Street Fighter's most talented pros in a single place has the chance to kick things up a notch. 

But as tournaments are wont to do, the Invitational's final rounds proved to be some of the most electric of the competition. With the likes of Tokido, Daigo, and Punk taking the stage, the lineup was utterly mind-boggling. 

Here's what happened. 

Playoffs Game 1: Tokido vs. Punk (Akuma vs. Cammy)

The first match of the night pitted Punk against Tokido, both of whom faced each other at EVO 2017. Although Tokido won that match, Punk was confident his strong play in the Invitational's Group B round would propel him to victory in the finals. 

Both fighters started out prodding each other, showcasing the respect they had for on another. However, it was quickly evident that despite Punk's confidence in himself as the self-espoused "mayor" of Georgia was waning. Tokido easily took the first match two rounds to none, putting the young gun on his heels. 

Playing with great respect for Punk, Tokido played tight, not overextending himself. He slowed the match down so much that Punk's restlessness grew palpable as his play began to unwind into erratic movements and ill-advised risks. One mistake too many helped put Tokido up 2-0. 

A fantastic mid-combo CA put Tokido in the driver's seat during the third game of the match. Going into set point, Punk put his foot on the gas and tried to push Tokido off, but the round was a microcosm of the entire game: Tokido completely bodied Punk -- using the same mid-combo CA (Sekia Kuretsuha) once again to win the set. 

Punk was going to the loser's bracket, but that didn't mean things were over. The American won ELEAGUE's 2017 Invitational from the loser's bracket. Tokido hadn't killed the beast yet.  

Playoffs Game 2: Problem X vs. Daigo (M. Bison vs. Guile)

Right out of the gate, this game was much faster and more frenetic than the game between Tokido and Punk, with both fighters coming out swinging with heavy attacks, normals, and specials. Daigo, however, seemed ready for everything Problem X threw at him, as he went up 1-0 with superior footsie play. 

However, it seemed that Problem X settled in between matches as things became decidedly more defensive in the second bout. From the looks of things, it was pretty clear that Problem X had caught on to Daigo's tactics -- and Daigo knew it. Showcasing some truly fantastic neutral play, clutch V-trigger activation, and superiro EX play (where the Dai-God didn't miss a single flash kick), Daigo went up on Problem X 2-0.

Things didn't change in the third game as Daigo bodied Problem to get one win away from the winner's bracket. But Problem didn't like the thought of going home so quickly -- he readjusted and brought the hurt to Daigo, pushing with heavy attacks and specials. 

But as was the story of the entire game, Daigo seemingly wasn't phased by the onslaught. He played patiently and defensively, handily winning the final match, and sweeping the British fighter 3-0. Problem X was going to the lower bracket of the finals to face Momochi, while Daigo was going to winner's to face Tokido. 

Playoffs Game 3: Dogura vs. Momochi (Urien vs Cody)

This was the matchup of the awful round-robin fighters; both Dogura and Momochi had gone 0-5 in their respective group's round robin play, only to turn things around in featured play and run the gauntlet to the finals. However, one of them wouldn't be so lucky this time around: this was the night's first loser-go-home match, so tensions were high as the fighters took the stage. 

As things kicked off, Momochi surprised nearly everyone in the studio (perhaps with the exception of the ELEAGUE analysts) by picking Cody over his normal go-to, Kolin.

The effects seemed almost instantaneous. Although Momochi seemed a bit rusty with Cody out of the gate, he quickly pulled things together put Dogura on his heels. As the first game progressed slowly, it was obvious that Dogura wasn't comfortable facing a Momochi-controlled Cody, one he'd not yet seen in tournament play. 

Unable to get his bearings on the character, Dogura struggled to defend against Momochi's attacks and quickly went down 2-0 to his rival. As things moved into the third game of the match, Dogura was out of sorts -- where he even seemed to give up on offensive play, turtling into a defensive stance that never gave him shelter from Momochi's relentless offense. 

Dogura's fate was sealed when he missed several key EX moves and normals in the latter stages of the game. Momochi's pre-match bravado turned into unquestionable arrogance as he toyed with a helpless Dogura. With another win, Momochi sent Dogura home -- and sealed third straight game sweep of the night. 

Playoffs Game 4: Smug vs. Fujimura (Balrog vs. Ibuki)

Smug, feeling like Agent Smith from the Matrix, was his normal trash-talking self before the match. Postulating the possibilities of his future opponents, it appeared he had already started looking past Fujimura -- and had perhaps set himself up for failure in a critical match against a renowned opponent. 

However, it was evident from the first punch that Smug was playing with what would come to feel like divine power as the night wore on. Landing heavy crush damage, Smug pulled off fantastic anti-airs and normals, seemingly having an answer for everything Fujimura threw at him.

Smug's unreal defense -- which helped him block basically every attack from Fujimura's Ibuki -- put the United States fighter in a powerful position coming out of the first game. 

Things didn't change moving forward. Smug continued to completely punish and body Fujimura with a fusillade of blows and reversals. The vibe in the studio went from shocked to frenzied as Smug destroyed Fujimura round after round, exchange after exchange.

Fujimura cam back in the third match with a round-one perfect, but Smug wasn't going to go down. With utter poise, Smug played smart and didn't cave to Fujimura's baits. With the greatest of ease, Smug defeated Fujimura 3-0 for the night's fourth sweep in as many games. 

Fujimura, a player who everyone thought would not only be in the winner's bracket of the finals but perhaps even win the tournament, was sent packing by an up-and-coming star. 

Playoffs Game 5: Momochi vs. Problem X (Kolin/Cody vs. Abigail/M. Bison)

Although Cody had proven a wise choice in his fight against Dogura, Momochi decided to bet on familiarity in his bout against Problem X. On paper, Kolin vs. Abigail was a more balanced match for Momochi, but as things played out, that assumption was quickly called in to question.  

As anyone who's played or watched Street Fighter V knows, Abigail is one of the game's most overpowered characters -- and that fact has never been clearer than in this match. Problem X wasted no time in devastating Momochi's Kolin, outweighing Kolin's tactical prowess with sheer power. 

Problem X controlled the neutral and even though Momochi rarely froze or pulled back his attacks, Problem X was able to take advantage to easily go up 1-0 in the first match.

Moving into the later rounds and matches, it constantly felt as if Momochi was playing from behind. Not only was it difficult to gain any ground in the neutral against such a massiv foe, Kolin just couldn't match Abigail's damage output, forcing Momochi to take several unnecessary risks throughout the game. 

Up 2-0, Problem X oozed confidence as the two fighters entered the set match. But having had enough of Abigail, Momochi switched to Cody. Immediately, it was obvious that Problem X -- just like Dogura -- wasn't as familiar with Cody as he would have liked and quickly went on the defensive. Unable to get a hold on the character, Problem X went down, giving Momochi his first victory of the set. 

However, game four would see Problem X pulling out the big guns with a switch to M. Bison. Going down as the best match of the night to that point, both players took each other down to pixels and less than 10 seconds in two rounds of the match. Despite Problem X's tenacity, Momochi was able to find the small damage to even the set at 2-2. 

But with two matches against Cody under his belt, Problem X wasn't about to give up. He'd seen how Momochi used the character, but more importantly, that Momochi wasn't entirely comfortable with the new addition. Taking advantage of that, Problem X was able to utterly devastate Momochi in the second and third rounds of the final game to take the set 3-2 and send Momochi packing. 

Playoffs Game 6: Smug vs. Punk (Balrog vs. Karin/Cammy)

A loser-goes-home match between two of the most boisterous and animated fighters in the tournament, the sixth game of the night was primed to be one of the most exciting of the tournament. It was also the first U.S. vs. U.S. match of the night, meaning that at least one United States player would go home, leaving only one to take on the rest of the field. 

Throughout the tournament, Punk had almost exclusively relied on strong Cammy play to defeat his opponents. However, Punk knew that Smug had struggled against his Karin before, and in a somewhat surprising move, chose the character going into the game. 

At the beginning, it seemed like a perfect pick: Cammy basically nullified Smug's Balrog. However, Smug's divine provenance shined through -- following a strong start in the first game, Punk couldn't stay out of the corner. Getting utterly bodied by Smug, Punk was quickly overpowered, going down 1-0.  

The second match was more of the same. Smug, playing out of his mind and with only a killer's scowl on his face, bodied Punk to go up 2-0. 

Going into the game's set match, ELEAGUE's reigning champion made a quick switch to Cammy, a move that appeared more desperate than strategic. The change put Smug somewhat on the defensive, but not for long as began dealing heavy damage to take the first round.

Although Punk wouldn't go quietly into the night, playing patiently and defensively to gain a win in the second round, Smug held things together and gave the audience the fifth 3-0 sweep of the night, sending the defending champion home and advancing to face Problem X -- and an Abigail that had given him nightmares the entire tournament. 

Finals Game 1: Tokido vs. Daigo (Akuma vs. Guile)

No one expected two of the very best fighters from the tournament to face each other in the first match of the winner's bracket finals. It was almost unthinkable going into the night that these mythic players would potentially send the other home so early.

Going into the bout, Daigo seemed to be in Tokido's head as he said in a pre-match interview that he wasn't sure if he could beat Daigo and advance to the Grand Final. It didn't help that Daigo had gotten the best of Tokido the last several times the two had met outside of the Invitational. 

Because of that, the game began with extremely methodical play from Tokido to keep Daigo at bay and slowly chip away at his health. The tactic payed off as Tokido took the first match and go up 1-0. 

Strong special play and neutral control defined the next match, with Tokido bullying Daigo's Guile and taking life away in chunks. It seemed like Daigo couldn't get over Tokido's well-placed fireballs and dragon punches no matter how hard he tried.

Up 2-0, Tokido went insane with Akuma in the third match, keeping Daigo constantly on the defensive and always uncomfortable. As his confidence gres, Tokido began taking more chances, ultimately paying off in a lopsided 3-0 victory. Completely shocked, the audience sat in silence as Daigo went to the loser's bracket without winning a single match.

Finals Game 2: Problem X vs. Smug (Abigail vs. Balrog)

With one of the Invitational's hottest American fighters taking on frenemey Problem X, the audience erupted in chants of "U.S.A.", filled the studio a nationalistic fervor that only fed Smug's already overflowing confidence. 

As one of Street Fighter V's scummiest characters took on one of its spammiest, things started out hot with Problem X reminding Smug why Abigail is one of the hardest characters to beat. Dealing  heavy damage and soaking up crush after crush, Problem X threw smug around the arena to body Smug into an 0-1 corner. 

But there was something in Smug's eyes that told us all he wasn't about to go down without a fight.  In Match 2, he came back strong and completely dominated to win both rounds and tie things up 1-1. Putting Problem on his toes going into the third match, it quickly became evident Smug wasn't scared of Abigail after his Match 1 jitters -- Smug took Match 3 to go up 2-1 on Problem X. 

Smelling blood in the water, Match 4 was more of the same. Smug dominated Problem X in every conceivable way, sending the British fighter packing. Winning 3-1, Smug showcased what a jumpback really is -- and why his Balrog was the character to beat.

Finals Game 3: Smug vs. Daigo (Balrog vs. Guile)

Coming off a loss to Tokido in the winner's bracket, Daigo didn't take a red-hot Smug lightly. It was a match between an excellent, nearly flawless Guile against an unbeatable Balrog. On paper, Smug should've had little chance against the Dai-God, but his momentum and ferocity were unmatched, spelling doom for the seasoned pro. 

As things got underway, Daigo knew he had to play it slow to survive against Smug's Balrog. And in the early goings, it seemed like Daigo had a strong gameplan: no matter what Smug threw at Daigo, he didn't lose his composure and kept the attack methodical and patient.

But even patient play couldn't keep him from going down 1-0. 

Emboldened by the American's win, the crowd grew louder going into the second match. Daigo collected himself and pushed forward, using strategic flashkicks and booms to wear Smug down. Weathering the storm, Daigo evened things up at 1-1. 

Going into the third match, each player looked to slow things down, jabbing at each other, playing the neutral, and testing each other. Smug took the first round with a pixel after forcing Daigo into the corner. A flash kick secured the round two for Daigo after a barrage of hits forced him to trigger early. But in a match that would eventually define Daigo's night, the veteran's patience and persistence weren't enough to best Smug, and he went down 2-1. 

As the crowd erupted, the two went into set match, both drilling away at each other, taking off massive amounts of health with reversals, specials, and throws. Here, in what some thought would be a defining moment, the legend of Daigo reared its head to force a fifth game. 

With things tied up 2-2, set match saw insane defense from Smug in the second and third rounds. In what may go down as one of the most critical misses of the tournament, Daigo whiffed an almost certain CA to get punished by Smug. A blocked flashback into a devastating uppercut sealed the match for Smug, sending him to the Grand Finals to face a disciplined Tokido.  

Grand Final: Tokido vs. Smug (Akuma vs Balrog)

Coming into the Grand Final from the loser's bracket meant that Smug had to reset the bracket to take the ELEAGUE trophy home. As if that wasn't difficult enough, he had to do it against Tokido, who was not only the defending EVO champion but hadn't lost a single game during the SFV Invitational. 

Starting things out, Tokido played very patient -- but perhaps too patient. Even dropping a huge combo early on, Smug was able to assert his dominance in with clutch play after clutch play -- with some combos completely mystifying both the audience and commentators alike.  

In many ways, it appeared Smug was destined to win -- as if he was unbeatable. Thinking he would win the second round of the second match, Tokido pulled off what would have normally been a match-ending Critical Art, but leaving Smug a pixel, his opponent pushed back and defeated Tokido with his own CA, riding that momentum into the next round to go up 2-0. 

With much of the outstanding play we'd already seen over the course of the night, Smug reset the bracket by going 3-0. The crowd frothed with excitement, and Smug sat in confident disbelief that he had just swept one of the best Street Fighter players in the world without breaking a sweat. 

However, as it often does with any sport, halftime was the intermission within a tale of two halves. 

In a quick succession of events, Tokido looked like a changed man, coming out extremely strong on both offense and defense to punish Smug in the first two matches of the second set, winning handily -- and not dropping a single round. Smug fought back, taking both rounds of the third match to pull closer at 2-1. 

It what was a flurry of matches -- the second set flew by at breakneck speed -- the two combatants ferociously fought for dominance. In a valiant effort, Smug took Tokido to the line multiple times, only to be defeated again and again. 

It was the end of a Cinderella run. Tokido dominated the second set and took the tournament with the greatest of ease, winning the ELEAGUE final 3-1 and taking home $110,000. 

---

To see all the action from the 2018 Street Fighter V Invitational Finals, head over to ELEAGUE's Twitch channel to see a complete replay. Stay tuned for more news and information on not only Street Fighter V, but next year's ELEAGUE Invitational. 

Header image credit: ELEAGUE

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Shaq (Fu) Leads Star-Studded Street Fighter V Charity Tournament https://www.gameskinny.com/yhjsk/shaq-fu-leads-star-studded-street-fighter-v-charity-tournament https://www.gameskinny.com/yhjsk/shaq-fu-leads-star-studded-street-fighter-v-charity-tournament Thu, 28 Jun 2018 13:42:01 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Not only can Shaq ball -- he's a formidable opponent in Street Fighter V. But just like it was in last year's ELEAGUE charity SFV tournament, his path to victory won't be easy. Standing in his way will be his arch-rival and former pro wrestler Natalie Eva Marie. 

In 2017, Shaq pulled off the controversial upset over Marie to win the tournament (with a little help from ELEAGUE's Tasty Steve). And the highlight of this year's celebrity showdown charity event is surely the anticipated rematch between the two avid Street Fighter players. World Series champ Jimmy Rollins and 13-year NBA vet Baron Davis will round out the field. 

However, these celebs won't just be competing for bragging rights for an entire year, they'll also be competing for their favorite charities. The winner will receive the majority of the showdown's prize pool for their charity of choice. 

Here are the charities each player will be supporting in the showdown: 

The one-night tournament will be single-elimination and feature two first-round matches and a winner's match to wrap things up. Analysis of the celebrity showdown will be provided by ELEAGUE staples Steve "Tasty Steve" Scott, Zhi "Zhieeep" Liang Chew, Stephen "Sajam" Lyon, and Reepal "Rip" Parbhoo. Josh Gray will emcee the tournament. 

Tune in to TBS tomorrow night, Friday, June 29, at 11 p.m. EDT/PDT to catch all the action. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on ELEAGUE and Street Fighter V as it develops. 

To catch up on all the action (so far) from ELEAGUE's Street Fighter V Invitational, check the links below: 

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ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Invitational Group D Highlights https://www.gameskinny.com/093uv/eleague-street-fighter-v-invitational-group-d-highlights https://www.gameskinny.com/093uv/eleague-street-fighter-v-invitational-group-d-highlights Mon, 25 Jun 2018 16:25:17 -0400 Jonathan Moore

There's no doubt that Group D of ELEAGUE's Street Fighter V Invitational was the most talent-rich and explosive group of the entire tournament. Appropriately dubbed the "Group of Death", Group D proved to be a veritable gauntlet for all of its fighters -- regardless of their pedigree. 

The group featured not only some of the FGC's most decorated fighters and fiercest up-and-comers in players such as FChamp, Fujimura, Infiltration, and iDom, but it also featured two of the five Japanese fighting game gods: the legendary Daigo and infamous Haitani. 

Going into the night's featured matches, seasoned vet FChamp and relative padawan iDom found themselves on the outside looking in, eliminated in the lower bracket by Haitani. 

Yes, the field was so fierce and full of carnage that even Haitani found himself in the lower bracket to start things off. But would the initial bracket stay that way? Of course not. Here's what went down in featured play.  

Daigo vs. Infiltration (Guile vs. Menat)

Coming into the match, both Daigo and Infiltration had played very well in the group's round-robin play. Daigo had gone 4-1, while Infiltration had found his balance and finally found his balance, beating the field sans Daigo and Haitani. 

Operating a bit out of his comfort zone, Daigo began the match using more normals than specials in order circumvent what could be devastating reflections from Infiltration's Menat. 

Both fighters were slow to use their critical arts, letting each game play out defensively for the early rounds. Each fighter pecked at the other, with infiltration's Menat keeping Guile's power at bay, forcing Daigo to resort to a few booms and a lot of normals in Game 1.

However, Infiltration came storming back at the beginning of the second game to body Daigo's Guile. Employing patience and tight air-to-airs, Infiltration won the second game with an absolutely insane combo into critical art for a whopping 40 hits. 

Moving into Game 3 and Game 4, Infiltration proved a fierce and worthy adversary for Daigo, pushing the legend to the limit and forcing him to adapt his playstyle. Intelligent play put Infiltration up 2-1 going into Game 4. But Daigo wasn't going to go down that easily. 

Tying things up 2-2 going into Game 5, Daigo completely changed the way he played Guile. Going from nearly all booms (so, so many booms) in Game and Game 4, Daigo nearly dropped booms entirely to focus on jump backs and normals. 

The tactic worked in Daigo's favor, catapulting him past a pesky if powerful Infiltration and into a rematch with Fujimura. Infiltration would go on to face Haitani in the lower bracket. 

Haitani vs. Infiltration (Akuma vs. Menat)

Much like Dogura and Momochi before him, Haitani had blazed his way through the first two challengers in Group D's lower bracket. He was on fire coming into his match with Infiltration, and he was going to be a very, very tough opponent for the recently defeated fighter.

If round-robin history repeated itself, we'd see Haitani getting the best of Infiltration. But is that how it would play out?

As things got underway, it looked as if it actually would. Haitani quickly -- and handily -- won the first round of the match's first game. It was a fast, 23-second victory that stunned the crowd, put Infiltration on the defensive, and ultimately gave Haitani the first game. 

Down 1-0, Infiltration wasn't about to get bodied and sent home so easily. Settling in, Infiltration weathered the Haitani storm, making the legend play in the neutral and dodge what seemed like relentless orb volleys from a strategic Menat. Several key reflects and a clutch critical art pushed Haitani to the brink -- and gave Infiltration his first victory of the match. 

Things played out similarly in Game 3, putting Infiltration up 2-1 going into a critical Game 4. Where once it looked like Haitani's choice of Akuma -- a character he had only recently began playing -- would pay off, the chances of a character other than Necalli getting him to the Invitational's playoffs grew smaller by the second. 

Ultimately, Haitani's play just wasn't enough. A slippery Infiltration forced several huge misses from the fighting game god, while an impenetrable defense meant that even the attacks that did land often did minimal damage. 

Infiltration was a changed player in his bout with Haitani. Where he taunted Daigo, showboating with Menat between hits and games, none of that was to be found against Haitani. Infiltration had settled in -- and that was very scary for whoever was set to face him in the coming matches. 

Daigo vs. Fujimura (Guile vs. Ibuki)

Fujimura had proved his dominance over Daigo earlier in the night during round-robin play to secure the number one seed. Calm and collected, Daigo sought revenge -- and a straight path to the Invitational's playoffs on July 13. 

Playing on the training stage, it looked early one very much like a training match with Daigo bodying Fujimura in Round 1 of the first game. Continuing that dominance through the second round, Daigo easily took the first game, with Fujimura looking like a shadow of his recent self. 

However, it was a tale of two games. Not to be sent home so easily, Fujimura collected himself and entered the second game of the match with a renewed fire in his eyes. It what proved to be an exact mirror of the first game, Fujimura this time bodied Daigo to even things up 1-1 going into the third game. 

As play went on, the respect each player held for the other began to shine through with surgical defensive play and even a few crouching stare downs where both Fujimura and Daigo sized up his opponent before moving in with fierce, calculated attacks. 

Not to be outdone by his opponent, Daigo mixed things up in Game 3 to throw off the surging Fujimura. Where he once was using booms and baby booms to cause confusion and ward off his opponent, Daigo tweaked his strategy to employ devastating EX flash kicks and precision air throws to go up 2-1. 

I'm not even going to try and describe the match's epic fourth game. You'd be better to watch it right here.  

Ultimately, though, Fujimura's rally wasn't enough to push him past the Daigod. The latter moved into the Invitational's playoffs while the former dropped down to the lower bracket to face Infiltration. 

Fujimura vs. Infiltration (Ibuki vs. Juri/Chun-Li)

For the second time in the tournament, a 5-0 round-robin one seed found himself in the lower bracket -- and on the brink of elimination. Fighting for his life, Fujimura had his work cut out for him as he entered play against Infiltration. Despite his win over the South Korean player earlier in the night, nothing was a given in the Group of Death. 

Things started fast and furious with Infiltration's Juri wreaking havoc on Fujimura's Ibuki right out of the gate. But the surprise pick by Infiltration wasn't a match for the tenacity and superior play of Fujimura and Ibuki. Well-timed neutrals and a ravaging shuriken stunned Infiltration and put Fujimura up 1-0. 

In what some saw as a desperation move -- and one that was ill-advised considering Infiltration's acuity with other characters -- Infiltration switched things up going into Game 2 by picking Chun-li, a character that he hadn't had much success with earlier in the night. 

Much like it had proven to be a bad decision against Fujimura's Ibuki in round-robin play, the choice was a bad decision once again. Having only been playing Chun-li for three days, the unfamiliarity with the character showed as Fujimura obliterated Infiltration in the second game of the match. 

Despite getting utterly destroyed in the previous game, Infiltration chose to stick with Chun-li and show why he was so committed to the pick against Fujimura by netting two victories in a row to take game three.

But the power of Fujimura ultimately proved too much for Infiltration. Like a toddler still learning to walk, Infiltration simply made far too many mistakes that left him wide open to boomeranging shurikens. 

Fujimura advanced to the playoffs, breaking the one seed 5-0 curse that dethroned Luffy in Group A. 

---

ELEAGUE'S Street Fighter V Invitational is a five-week competition that pits some of the world's best Street Fighter pros against each other for $250,000 in prizes. Now that the Invitational's group play is finished and the playoff bracket is complete, be sure to watch the final matches on ELEAGUE's Twitch channel, as well as TBS, on July 13. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more coverage of the tournament, as well as Street Fighter V, as it develops.

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ELEAGUE's SFV Invitational Prepares for the Group of Death https://www.gameskinny.com/ficbl/eleagues-sfv-invitational-prepares-for-the-group-of-death https://www.gameskinny.com/ficbl/eleagues-sfv-invitational-prepares-for-the-group-of-death Thu, 21 Jun 2018 15:45:38 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Prepare yourself, fighting game fans. The time has come for ELEAGUE's Street Fighter V Invitational Group D round -- otherwise known as the Group of Death. 

The Invitational's previous three rounds featured some truly scintillating play from household FGC names such as Tokido, Problem X, and Punk -- but what we've seen so far might very well pale in comparison to what will go down in the ELEAGUE studios in less than 48 hours. 

And the action will start right out of the gate. 

Two living Street Fighter legends in Daigo Umehara and Haitani are set to face each other in Match 2 of round-robin play(!), while Fujimura, Infiltration, FChamp, and iDom will round out the star-studded field while vying for the group's number one seed. 

Stakes are high, the competition is fiercer than ever before, and anyone could win -- or go home.  

"Group D stands for the Group of Death. It was clearly constructed with entertainment top of mind, with it bringing such heavyweights as EVO Champions Daigo, Infiltration and Filipino Champ. Get your popcorn ready."

-- Zhi "Zhieeep" Liang Chew, ELEAGUE Analyst

 

Starting tomorrow, Friday, June 22 at 3 p.m. EDT on ELEAGUE's Twitch channel and B/R Live, Group D round-robin play will get underway, with competitors facing each other for a chance at two spots in the Invitational's playoffs -- and a prize pool worth more than $250,000.

Fans can see the entire round-robin schedule by visiting ELEAGUE's website

Following the livestream, be sure to tune in to TBS at 11 p.m. EDT/PDT to see the group's strongest world warriors square off in the upper- and lower-bracket Group D finals. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and info on ELEAGUE and Street Fighter V as it develops. Make sure to check out our ongoing coverage of the tournament here

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ELEAGUE CS: GO Premier Takes Aim at High-Profile Matches https://www.gameskinny.com/d6gfx/eleague-cs-go-premier-takes-aim-at-high-profile-matches https://www.gameskinny.com/d6gfx/eleague-cs-go-premier-takes-aim-at-high-profile-matches Wed, 20 Jun 2018 14:28:39 -0400 Jonathan Moore

CS:GO is one of the most intense competitive shooters to ever hit the eSports scene -- and that intensity is sure to be on full display during the CS:GO ELEAGUE Premier starting July 21. 

That's where the world's Top-8 CS: GO teams will face off in what's sure to be a war of the worlds. All eight teams competed in last year's tournament, with FaZe clan looking to repeat -- and be crowned Premier champion two years in a row.

Here are the teams competing in this year's tournament in order of their HLTV ranking as of May 21 this year: 

  • Astralis 
  • FaZe Clan
  • Natus Vincere
  • mousesports
  • FNATIC
  • Liquid
  • Cloud9
  • SK Gaming

Each team will compete for a piece of the $1 million prize pool that's up for grabs. The Group Stage of the competition will be held from July 21 to July 25. In this phase of the competition, teams will be split into two groups and vie for supremacy in best-of-three matches.

The double-elimination bracket will then seed two teams from each group to compete in the Premier Playoffs, which will be held July 28-29. 

What's more, some familiar faces will round out the Premier's analysis and commentary team. Returning from last year will be Anders Blume, Daniel Kapadia, James Bardolph, Jason O'Toole, Janko Paunović, and Sue Lee. Seasoned commentator Alex Richardson will be this year's host, bringing his expertise from ECS, ESL, and more. 

Fans can tune in to ELEAGUE's Twitch channel, B/R Live, and ELEAGUE's multi-angle Game Command at 2 p.m. starting July 21 to see the action as it unfolds. 

Make sure to stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and info on CS:GO and ELEAGUE as it develops. 

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Street Fighter V Invitational Group C Highlights https://www.gameskinny.com/xjg8d/street-fighter-v-invitational-group-c-highlights https://www.gameskinny.com/xjg8d/street-fighter-v-invitational-group-c-highlights Mon, 18 Jun 2018 15:55:16 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Another Friday meant another raucous melee at ELEAGUE's Street Fighter V Invitational. This week, the story was all about the good ol' U.S of A: four home-grown fighters entered the arena to vie for the chance at the ludicrous first-place prize money. And while only Smug made it out for NA unconcussed, his victory means we will see at least one more North American representative in the Invitational's finals on July 13. 

Coming out of the vicious preliminary rounds, the story line of Friday's featured matches was the intense play of Snake Eyez, who had blazed through the competition's round-robin play with only a loss to Nuckle Du. Going into featured play, he was the number one seed -- and he was playing at the very top of his game. 

But what may have been of even greater note going into the featured matches was that Justin "JWong" Wong, a name synonymous with Street Fighter and a living legend, had been eliminated from contention by a plucky Brolynho in the first game of featured matches. We'll be seeing him on the analysis desk next week -- and any of us rooting for him will have to go to our backups as the tournament moves forward. 

In a group where none of the players made it into the playoffs for ELEAGUE's Invitational 2017, things were chippy throughout the night. Here's what happened.     

Problem X vs Smug (Abigail vs Balrog)

The first winner's bracket match of the night was a struggle between two super powers in Great Britain's top-ranked Problem X and North America's confident (and dangerous) Smug. The two had faced off at NCR back in April, with Problem X using strong Abigail play to come out the victor.

Friday's first bout would end in similar fashion. 

Calling Problem X a cheater just before the match, Smug added fuel to Problem X's fire, none of which he needed to win with a powerful Abigail. 

The beginning of the game was all high intensity, with Abigail and Balrog both landing massive hits on each other. The crowd quickly came alive with the frenetic play and heavy combos lighting up the screens in the ELEAGUE studios -- and the first round went down as one the most intense matches in 2018's Invitational.

But as things calmed down and the two fighters settled into more defensive stances, Smug fell victim to several high-damage normals and EX moves to lose the first match of the game.

Not matter what Smug tried, he couldn't overcome the strong play of Problem X and Abigail. Vicious hit after vicious hit gained screen advantage for Abigail again and again, pushing Smug into stun after stun. Pushing hard, Smug didn't give Problem X much to work with, but Problem X was so focused and knew Smug's tendencies so well that the U.K. standout was able to easily body Smug for most of the game. 

Despite a Smug win in the second round of the third match, Problem X handily won the game 3-0 to move forward and face Snake Eyez.

Smug would move down to the lower bracket to take on NuckleDu. 

NuckleDu vs Smug (R. Mika vs Balrog)

NuckleDu and Smug had already faced off in Match 13 of round-robin play, with Smug coming out on top. A.) And going into this lower bracket match, it was clear that although Smug had just come off what could have been a demoralizing loss to Problem X, he was focused and ready to redeem himself.

Smug immediately showed the power of Balrog as he pushed NuckleDu's R. Mika into the corner to gain screen advantage and win the first round. With NuckleDu flipping the script in the second round for the win, he parlayed that small energy into a huge stun/K.O. combo in Round 3 to take the first match from Smug. 

As the game continued, each combatant traded heavy blow after heavy blow while sprinkling some truly stellar defense in between. Clutch command throws and Nadeshikos placed NuckleDu in the position to win early, but Smug wouldn't go away, taking the second match and evening the game 1-1. 

Extremely smart plays by Smug, as well as some well-placed combos, kept him well in the game as the two combatants went into Match 3, but NuckleDu's insane defense and clutch Critical Arts pushed the game to an elimination round where Smug stalwartly defends a flurry of attacks to a  push the game to a final match. 

Channeling that energy into pure focus, Smug quickly pushed NuckleDu into the corner to gain screen advantage. Relying on V-trigger, patience, and fundamentals to take control of the final match, Smug completely bodied NuckleDu, sending NuckleDu home as Smug advanced to the last game of the lower bracket against an unlikely opponent. 

Snake Eyez vs Problem X (Akuma/Abigail vs M. Bison)

With the 2018 Street Fighter V Invitational being the first time these players had faced each other in either Street Fighter IV or Street Fighter V, the x-factor in the duo's round robin match was Snake Eyez' willingness to take risks against Problem X's Abigail. 

So the question going into the match was: would he be able to do it again? 

Early on, that seemed the case as Snake Eyez quickly bodied Problem X with v-reversals and huge combos to take the first round of the game. However, Problem X wasn't going to let the European curse keep him out of the winner's circle. Quickly falling in stride after his first round loss, Problem X punished Snake Eyez to win two rounds in a row and finish off the match with a perfect. 

Realizing that his Akuma wasn't going to work against the savage offense brought on by Problem X's M. Bison, Snake Eyez changed to Abigail going into the second match. But like a true master, Problem X didn't get phased. Instead, he used his knowledge of Abigail against Snake Eyez, punishing him over and over with catastrophic EX moves and v-reversals. Against Abigail, Problem X made M. Bison look like a god. 

Knowing his hopes of moving into the playoffs were dwindling -- and that Abigail wasn't the answer to M. Bison -- Snake Eyez switched back to Akuma in the third match seemingly out of desperation. And initially, it seemed to work as Snake Eyez quickly gained a first-round perfect. It was almost as if Snake Eyez was a different player, showing complete focus and patience to body Problem X. 

Unfortunately, that power wouldn't last long. Problem X returned in rounds two and three a ferocious predator, crushing the Euro curse to win 3-1 and move into the playoffs. 

Smug vs Snake Eyez (Abigail vs Balrog)

Again it was Smug vs an Abigail. And by the look on Smug's face, he had had enough of Abigail, falling to Snake Eyez in round-robin play and having faced the same from Problem X just an hour before.

But with Snake Eyez in danger of being eliminated from the tournament despite coming into the featured matches as the number one seed and having played like a freak for the entire day, it was no one's surprise when he chose Abigail going into the game. 

Playing great neutrals and landing some stellar jump ins gave Smug hope early on -- and it showed in his play. Slowing things down, Smug made Snake Eyez play at his pace and by his rules, using surgical normals and ex moves to slowly whittle Snake Eyez down. 

However, that didn't mean Snake Eyez wasn't able to get the best of Smug from time to time. Trading matches, the fighters went into Game 3 bodying each other, landing heavy body blows and doing hefty damage. Smug again slowed the pace to get the better of Abigail early in the third game, gaining screen and pushing Snake Eyez into the corner for victory.  

With things tied up 2-2 going into the final match of the game, the tension in the ELEAGUE studios reached a fever pitch. The crowd cheering for Smug to pull off the victory, both players traded blow after blow, neither relenting to the barrage inflicted by the other. And just as it looked Smug was about to achieve victory, Snake Eyez viciously countered ... and in fact, I'll just let you see what happened to send Snake Eyez packing and Smug into the playoffs. 

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ELEAGUE'S Street Fighter V Invitational is a five-week competition that pits some of the world's best Street Fighter pros against each other for $250,000 in prizes. This week, Group D takes the stage. You can watch the matches on ELEAGUE's Twitch channel, as well as TBS, each Friday through June. 

Want to know what went down in Group A and Group B? Click here and here to find out.  

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more coverage of the tournament, as well as Street Fighter V, as it develops.

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Street Fighter V Invitational's Group C Features Top American Fighters https://www.gameskinny.com/w7jjb/street-fighter-v-invitationals-group-c-features-top-american-fighters https://www.gameskinny.com/w7jjb/street-fighter-v-invitationals-group-c-features-top-american-fighters Fri, 15 Jun 2018 11:26:07 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Over the past two weeks, ELEAGUE's Street Fighter V Invitational has showcased some of the very best fighters in the world. The matches held inside the ELEAGUE studios at TBS have been fast, furious, and at times, straight up mind-bottling with both champions and underdogs alike showing why they're the cream of the FGC crop. 

But heading into tonight's Group C matches, it's the tournament's American stars that are set to punch their ticket to the Invitational's playoffs on July 13 -- and truly light the competition ablaze. 

In a change from recent weeks, four of the six world warriors set to face off tonight hail from the United States:

  • Justin "JWong" Wong
  • Du "NuckleDu" Dang
  • Bryant "Smug" Huggins
  • Darryl "SnakeEyez" Lewis

Early predictions from ELEAGUE's Sajam and Zhi have "NuckleDu" making it through winners and into the playoffs, but as we've seen, literally anything can happen when fists start flying. 

Group C's preliminary round-robin matches start at 3 p.m. EDT today on both Twitch and B/R Live.

Group C's featured matches -- which will showcase the group's final four -- will air on TBS at 11 p.m. EDT/PDT tonight

The American hopefuls will not only have to compete against each other but also against a Top-20 Benjamin "Problem X" Simon and a plucky Thomas "Brolynho" Proenca, who's strong Necalli play has led him to upsets over championship players such as Infiltration at 2016's Brooklyn Beatdown. 

To catch up on the Invitational's previous rounds, be sure to check our coverage for Group A here and Group B here.  Stay tuned to GameSkinny for complete coverage of Group C following tonight's bouts. 

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Street Fighter V Invitational Group B Highlights https://www.gameskinny.com/o5qd0/street-fighter-v-invitational-group-b-highlights https://www.gameskinny.com/o5qd0/street-fighter-v-invitational-group-b-highlights Mon, 11 Jun 2018 13:04:06 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Over the past two weeks, ELEAGUE's Street Fighter V Invitational has turned out to be a phenomenal and continuously surprising tournament. In last week’s Group A bouts, we saw a reigning EVO champ in Takido, as well as a tenacious Group A underdog in Dogura, make it to the playoffs. It was a night full of comebacks and shocking twists. 

Friday’s Group B matches provided more of the same. 

Moving out of round-robin play and into the bracket finals, Punk, Phenom, Momochi, and Commander Jesse were the four contenders left standing. In an almost perfect mirror of Group A's standings, Momochi went winless in round-robin play but ignited going into bracket play to defeat both 801Strider and Fuudo in the first two matches of the lower bracket. 

What’s more, Jesse "Commander Jesse" Espinoza, a contestant on ELEAGUE's The Challenger: Street Fighter V found himself in the Top 3 entering bracket play -- much like Jonathan "JB" Bautista did the week before in the Group A round.  

However, the primary storyline going into the night was the rematch between Punk and Phenom. Earlier in the afternoon, the two world warriors had faced off in the very first match of round-robin play. There, Punk bested Phenom just as he had in ELEAGUE’s 2017 finals — Phenom even had a similar nightmare drop. 

So going into the bracket finals, both analysts and fans alike desperately wanted to know if Phenom had truly gotten over “the drop heard around the world” -- and if he would get one more shot at Punk. 

Everyone would soon know the answer, but Phenom first had to get past Commander Jesse.

Phenom Vs. Commander Jesse: (Necalli vs. Dhalsim)

Ahead of the match, the atmosphere inside the ELEAGUE studios was tense — especially between Phenom and Jesse. Both were hyper-focused, dedicated to moving on to the impending match against Punk. Jesse told the audience he was just happy to be on such a great stage, but the look in his eyes said otherwise: he wanted to take down Phenom, too. 

The first game of the match started off clean for Phenom as he landed early heavy attacks to put Jesse into stun. A quick commando throw from Phenom took Jess down and secured Phenom's first-round victory in only 19 seconds. 

Although it wasn’t looking good for Jesse going into the second round of the first match, Jesse buckled down and set into focus. More composed, Jesse played very defensively and stretched out the second round. Both fighters went down to (crazy) low health, with Jesse pulling off the round victory with 39 seconds left on the clock.

However, it was one of the rare highlights for Jesse in the game. 

With Phenom up on Jesse 2-0, the third match of the game set the stakes high for Jess. Despite his every counter and adjustment, Jesse simply couldn’t get a consistent bead on Phenom. Not only was the concern palpable from the audience — it was written on Jesse’s face as the fighting resumed. 

Turning into a huge offensive battle between both players, Jesse pushed and brought Phenom to the brink in an excellent show of patience and poise, stealing another round from Phenom. 

But Jesse’s success would be short-lived. In the subsequent rounds, Phenom came out swinging, pulling off punishing command throws and completing clean jump-ins. In what proved far too much for Jesse’s Dhalsim, Phenom was able to cover incredible distance and activate clutch v-triggers to win the game 3-0 and advance to face his arch nemesis Punk. 

Jesse would move down to the “loser’s” bracket to face Momochi. 

Momochi vs. Commander Jesse (Kolin vs. Dhalsim)

Despite the veritable battle he had just fought against one of the best Street Fighter V players in the world, Jesse’s next loser-goes-home matchup would be one of his hardest of the night … and perhaps his last. 

Momochi had already proven a powerful bracket competitor by defeating 801Strider and Fuudo in the first two matches of the lower bracket. And that was after he had gone 0-5 in round-robin play. However, based on matches between the two earlier in the day, Jesse had gotten the best of Momochi, so it was anybody’s game going into the first round.

Just as the game between Phenom and Jesse had started off slow, so did the first match between Momochi and Jesse. Each player played neutral, attacking intermittently to test the other before jumping in with bigger prods.

Ultimately, it was Jesse who gained first damage and a win in the first match.

However, the confident look on Jesse’s face would soon fade. 

Despite the fantastically patient play from Jesse, Momochi’s Kolin played very aggressively, mauling Jesse for huge multi-hit combos. In the second match of the game, Jesse pulled off some incredible normals, specials, and throws, but got slammed into the corner after badly faltering. Where he was able to weather Momochi in the first match, Jesse dropped both rounds of the second. 

With the bout tied 1-1, it was obvious that Momochi had flipped a switch as he stared across the stage into the very fabric of Jesse’s soul. 

From then on, Jesse had rounds where he showed echoes of his former brilliance, but nothing he did could stop the onslaught that was Momochi. At times, Jesse looked petrified, locked in place by Momochi’s viciously relentless attacks. In the third game, Momochi landed multiple consecutive throws to go up 2-1 in the game. 

Things only got horribly worse for Jesse. In the following match, Momochi straight bodied Jess in the first round. And although Jesse fought back valiantly, taking Momochi down to a tic of health, it was too little too late for the Southern California hero. 

Jesse lost 3-1 -- and Momochi put himself in position to make it to the playoffs. 

Punk v. Phenom (Cammy v. Necalli)

This was the match everyone had been waiting for. Going in, Punk talked a ton of smack to Phenom, letting him know that he wasn’t going to be bested — no matter what his opponent threw at him. Phenom took it in stride, but from his body language, it looked as if Punk’s pre-match smack talk had (perhaps) gotten under his skin. 

Phenom started the game aggressively, pummeling Punk with normals and specials, interspersing a few throws for good measure. Phenom pulled great v-triggers, too, defeating Punk in first round. 

Into the second round, Phenom once again started strong, quickly putting Punk in the corner.

As Punk missed a crucial anti-air, Phenom jumped in again, pummeling Punk to gain screen advantage. But as the first match wore on, Punk leveled the playing field with a clutch critical art and disciplined, yet terrifyingly powerful normals to come out on top 1-0 in the match. 

Despite Phenom’s aggressive play throughout the next two matches, masterful blocking and defensive play from Punk kept the Norwegian player from connecting just about anything consequential at all. In the second match, Phenom struggled to connect anything early, with Punk utterly devastating him in all aspects of the game. And although Phenom started to come back in the later rounds, Punk firmly put him in his place with a completely dominating Match 2 performance -- and one that would inform the rest of the game.

Ultimately, Phenom couldn't overcome the sheer will of Punk, the alpha. Winning the game 3-0, Punk quickly forgets Phenom and issues a warning to Tokido, his first matchup in the upcoming Invitational playoffs: 

I don't really care about many opponents. I just care about the one that I play next and that's the only guy that I feel like has haunted me -- and he's the only guy I have to beat to regain everything. And that's Tokido. I just want Tokido to know that I'm coming for him next time and it will not be as free as last time. 

Momochi v. Phenom (Kolin vs. Necalli)

When these two fighters had faced each other earlier in the day, Phenom had completely disrespected Momochi with four consecutive throws and a savage win. The crowd was ready to see if Momochi would finish his Dogura-esque lower bracket run and redeem himself against Phenom or cave under the pressure of securing so many consecutive high-profile wins.

The winner would go on to fight Dogura in the playoffs. 

As the first match of the game began, both fighters started fierce. Both immediately jumped in each other’s faces, trading normals and specials to come even in health. The intense fighting eventually subsided into more cautious approaches by both players, with each only unleashing in short spurts of violence. 

Momochi secured the first round, and the second began more freely than the first, with both Momochi and Phenom trading places in the right corner — and trading rounds. 

As Kolin neared, stun in round three, Momochi pushed Phenom across the stage and the two played in the neutral before erupting into a hail of attacks from both sides. Ultimately, Momochi won the first match to go up 1-0 in the game. 

As the game wore on, Momochi continued to bring vicious, unrelenting attacks to bear, mixing in unbelievable range to wreak havoc on Phenom. Two devastating multi-hit combos sealed the first round of the second match for Momochi as Phenom's attacks couldn't seem to find their targets. 

Going into the third match, a seemingly desperate Phenom switched from Necalli to Guile, hoping to force Momochi into a new strategy. Alas, the character change didn't change the tenacity and ferocity of Momochi’s play. The one-sided match played out completely Momochi's favor. 

Phenom went home, and Momochi spectacularly won four straight 3 out of 5 games to advance to the playoffs against Dogura.

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ELEAGUE'S Street Fighter V Invitational is a five-week competition that pits some of the world's best Street Fighter pros against each other for $250,000 in prizes. Next week, Group C takes the stage. You can watch the matches on ELEAGUE's Twitch channel, as well as TBS, each Friday through June. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more coverage of the tournament, as well as Street Fighter V, as it develops.

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Street Fighter V Invitational Group A Highlights https://www.gameskinny.com/fopvo/street-fighter-v-invitational-group-a-highlights https://www.gameskinny.com/fopvo/street-fighter-v-invitational-group-a-highlights Mon, 04 Jun 2018 11:43:27 -0400 Jonathan Moore

It's no surprise ELEAGUE's Street Fighter V Invitational Group A matches were full of thrills and clutch performances. 

With some of the best players in the world facing off for a chance at $250,000 in prize money, all bets were off. And even though the high-energy atmosphere carried with it a sense of camaraderie and respect, it wasn't long before the gloves came off. 

After several hours of round-robin play, where the players fought for a place in the Invitational's Group A finals, there were a few interesting surprises in both the upper and lower brackets. For starters, both MenaRD and PR Balrog found themselves on the outside looking in when the Group A finals began. A feisty Dogura had handed each of them eliminations in some truly inspiring play in the lower bracket.  

But perhaps even more unexpected was that Jonathan "JB" Bautista, winner of ELEAGUE's The Challenger: Street Fighter V competition series, found himself in Group A's Top 3 alongside EVO champions Luffy and Tokido. 

As the combatants prepared to face each other in the finals, stakes were high: Two street fighters would go home, while two would advance to the Invitational's ultimate arena. 

JB v. Tokido (Rashid v. Akuma)

The first match of the finals saw JB taking on Tokido. It was the quintessential David vs. Goliath match: a champion facing an up-and-coming star.

It's true that JB's made a name for himself in areas of the FGC because of his Rashid main and performances at NLBC and WNF, but facing such a tough opponent in Tokido was an almost impossible task from the start.

JB fought valiantly as he and Tokido respectfully duked it out in the match's early games, testing each other with quick normals and EX prods. However, JB's aggressive play led to some missed opportunities and left him vulnerable at key moments -- which Tokido took full of advantage of.

Ultimately, Tokido's Akuma proved too much for JB and Rashid. Tokido's compact play led him to victory in the fourth game of the match as he drove JB into a corner, activating for heavy damage. Tokido followed up with an expert Sekia Kuretsuha to send the relative newcomer to the lower bracket to face Dogura.

JB v. Dogura (Rashid v. Urien)

This was a match that saw some truly great play between two tenacious combatants, with both JB and Dogura showcasing amazing offensive and defensive capabilities. Dogura had already beaten (however shakily) MenaRD and PR Balrog, so he was well warmed up for JB as the bout began -- but that didn't mean he came out swinging. 

Early in the first round of the first match, it was a defensive battle between the two, each feeling the other out with quick attacks and baits. A few clutch plays from JB and misses by Dogura helped JB win two rounds in the match, but ultimately, Dogura proved too much for the youngblood challenger: expert knee drops and throws by Dogura initiated stuns at key moments, leaving JB wide open for devastating combos. 

In the final round of the match, Dogura unleashed a near-perfect Aegis. And although blocked by JB, what appeared to be a missed final block opened him to a Dogura normal followed by a devastating EX counter that secured Dogura's 3-0 win, sending JB home.

Tokido v. Luffy (Akuma v. R. Mika) 

With JB eliminated from play, focus shifted to what would become the bout of the night. Two EVO champions facing off in Group A was surely exciting, but what would happen next was something that may very well be forever etched in Street Fighter's lore. 

In a match that went for five riveting rounds, Luffy's R.Mika utterly devastated Tokido's Akuma in the first two games. In Round 2 of the first game, Luffy was so effective that he gained a perfect victory over Tokido in only 19 seconds, shocking the crowd and commentators alike. 

However, Tokido was undeterred and came storming back. In what might be one of the best examples of focus in all of Street Fighter V play, Tokido recalculated his enemy and tweaked his strategy to land combo after combo on his opponent, effectively using nullifiers, counters, and clutch defensive play (alongside the rarely used dive kick) to best his opponent 3-2. 

Yes, Tokido, down 2-0 in the match, won three games in a row against one of Europe's best players to advance to the Invitational's finals. It was one of the most insanely entertaining finishes in professional Street Fighter

Luffy v. Dogura (R. Mika v. Urien)

Coming off such an exciting match in Luffy v. Tokido, the match between Luffy and Dogura took on new meaning. Going into the match, Luffy seemed to have lost the swagger he had held only half an hour before. It was clear that the loss to Tokido had affected him in both attitude and play. 

As the first game got underway in this final match of the night, both players attacked aggressively, trying to body the other into submission. Much like in the bout between Luffy and Tokido, Luffy proved how powerful R. Mika really is as he employed and landed throw after throw, giant swing after giant swing. He won the first game but struggled in the second. 

There, Dogura took both rounds with patient, methodical play, something that would come to define not only Dogura's play over the next three games but his play throughout the rest of the match. Alongside a few missed Nadeshikos and mistimed throws from Luffy, it was a strategy that saw Dogura best Luffy and advance into the finals, capping a task most thought incredibly improbable at the beginning of the night. 

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ELEAGUE'S Street Fighter V Invitational is a five-week competition that pits some of the world's best Street Fighter pros against each other for $250,000 in prizes. Next week, Group B takes the stage. You can watch the matches on ELEAGUE's Twitch channel, as well as TBS, each Friday through June.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more coverage of the tournament, as well as Street Fighter V, as it develops.

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