Esports News Weekly Brief: May 1 – May 8, 2019

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Esports News Weekly Brief: May 1 – May 8, 2019

Welcome to the ESTNN Esports News Brief! Here’s your rundown of all the esports news for the past week on May 8th, including a Riot Games' employee walkout, the TI 9 Battle Pass breaking records, and TL taking home their first IEM Grand Slam title at IEM Sydney. Let's dive right in.

League of Legends

Riot Games Diversity

It’s not all rainbows over in League this week, but that’s more on Riot Games then the game itself. According to several reports, over 150 people staged at walkout at Riot Games’ Los Angeles headquarters on Monday. They did so to protest how Riot has used forced arbitration to settle their sexual discrimination lawsuits.

As reported by Kotaku several months ago, many employees described a weird, fraternity house-esque work environment that several were uncomfortable with. Along with those allegations, several stories of sexual discrimination also surfaced. So far, it seems like the walkout has been unsuccessful. Riot Games has that it would not change its policies while the discrimination lawsuits are pending.

In game news, however, MSI is fully underway. The Group stage for this year’s Mid-Season Invitational is all set, with Flash Wolves, T1 (SKT), G2 Esports and Team Liquid taking their expected places in the stage. Vietnam’s Phong Vu Buffalo was the only unseeded team to make the group stage. The MSI 2019 Group Stage kicks off this coming Friday with G2 Esports vs. T1 in a best-of-one, which is probably one of the most hyped matches of the tournament.

In other, completely random-yet-awesome news this week, Faker fans bought out space on several billboards to celebrate the GOAT midlaner’s 24th birthday. Check it out. 

faker times square billboard


Dota 2

Dota 2 TI9 Battle Pass

Hot diggity dog, the TI 2019 Battle Pass is upon us. The brilliant crowd-funding scheme for Dota 2’s premiere tournament comes in three price tiers just as normal, but also includes several other new items and features not present in older battle passes.

One of the most interesting new features included in this year’s Battle Pass is the “Coach’s Challenge,” which allows players to effectively coach teammates of lower MMR for Battle Points. Pretty nifty. Additionally, MVP Voting, the ability to avoid a player, and a brand new party finder are all included this year.

As of this morning, the TI 9 Battle Pass has raised over $7,400,000 USD towards the prize pool, breaking the record for the most money raised for the pool in a single day. At this rate, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this year’s TI raise the most money ever raised for Dota 2’s premier tournament.




We’ve got a brand-new map to play in competitive Overwatch, as a patch yesterday brought Havana to Overwatch’s competitive mode. You may remember Havana from the recent Archives event Storm Rising, but this time you won’t be facing off against AI. Havana is an escort map, and I’m sure we’ll find some surprises on the map that point to a new hero – we always do, don’t we?

In Overwatch League news, the Dallas Fuel announced last night that they have promoted Team Envy Contenders Main Tank Ashley “Trill” Powell to the Dallas Fuel. The DPS-turned Tank player impressed during his time with Team Envy Contenders and the Fuel expects him to be in LA and ready to play at the start of Stage 3.

Dallas Fuel Sign Trill From Envy Contenders

Is there an Overwatch spinoff coming soon? Well, possibly. Last week on an earnings call with investors, J. Allen Brack, President of Blizzard, cryptically referred to “other work” on the insanely popular franchise. While we literally have no other information other than Brack’s mysterious words, Blizzard seems to be doubling down on their existing franchises like Overwatch, Diablo, and World of Warcraft.

Inb4 Blizzard announces Overwatch: Mobile. You all have phones, right?


Counterstrike: Global Offensive


In Counterstrike: Global Offensive news, Team Liquid finally overcame their Grand Finals troubles and took home the trophy at IEM Sydney this weekend. They faced down a resurgent Fnatic in a best-of-five series that went the entire distance, ending in a 16-9 win for Team Liquid on Inferno. This marks the first win at an IEM Grand Slam tournament for the boys in blue. That said, Astralis wasn’t in attendance, so there will be an asterisk by this one for TL.

In other news, Valve hotfixed a lobby bug that allowed exploiters to crash the lobby. That’s good! Vertigo is still in the map pool though, so I don’t really know where Valve’s loyalties lie. Have you ever tried to watch a match on Vertigo? Let me save you the time and tell you. It's rough.

And finally, in CS: GO news, the Danish Prime Minister apparently stopped by an Astralis practice session and played some Counterstrike with Zonic. It’s clearly a PR move, but the Danes have really stepped up their support of the esports ecosystem, so it’s good to see. Plus, it gave us this photo, so…

DanishPM Zonic



Fortnite Esports

Oh boy, where do we start with Fortnite this past week? Let's see, we've got:

  • An exploding volcano
  • The widespread devastation of Titled Towers

Fans chose the Drum Gun as the vaulted weapon that would return to Epic's battle royale after the teased volcano explosion finally happened on Fortnite's map. Players were transported to a strange new world, complete with a really, really nice desk and several vaulted weapons and items locked behind glass cases. Epic went all in with the event, called “The Unvaulting,” and disabled most of Fortnite's other modes.

In reality, Epic Games really makes Fortnite feel like a living, breathing world. Taking all of your players and forcing them into an event can backfire, but it seems as though Fortnite's loyal fanbase took it all in stride.

In other Fortnite news, Season 9 has a new teaser to hold players over until its release. The new season is slated to start on May 9th, according to the tweet. The teaser also features a futuristic-looking skin.

Additionally, all players that participated in The Unvaulting get a free Arcana Glider. Can't complain there.


Apex Legends

Apex Battle Pass Splash

Apex Legends has come down from its release high in the past several months, mostly because the gameplay has been marred by slo-mo servers, character bugs and cheaters. Well, it looks like Respawn Entertainment is taking care of the latter. In a Reddit post last week, Respawn community Manager Jayfresh brought fans up to speed on the work that was happening behind the scenes to combat cheaters. It was a doozy.

Banwaves INC

Jayfresh revealed that Respawn has banned over 770,000 players in total since the release of the game. Additionally, Respawn has prevented over 330,000 accounts from being created, probably through a semi-invasive process called Hardware ID bans. Long story short, when a player or account is banned, Respawn takes note of certain information related to the banned players' systems, including identifying information about processors, video cards, and network cards.

If the banned player attempts to make another account, Respawn checks their hardware against their list of banned players (and hardware) and prevents the account creation if the hardware matches. It's a great system, and Respawn's numbers back that up.

Here's the complete list of information revealed:

  • The recently added in-game reporting tool has had a big impact on discovering new cheats, including previously undetectable cheats that are now being found automatically via EAC

  • Total bans are now at 770K players

  • We have blocked over 300K account creations

  • We have banned over 4,000 cheat seller accounts (spammers) in the last 20 days

  • Total affected matches on PC impacted by cheaters or spammers have been reduced by over half in the last month due to recent efforts

That’s all for the ESTNN Weekly Brief for Wednesday, May 8th! Make sure to head on over to to catch up on all of the latest news and check back here next week for another Episode of The Brief!

League of Legends Photo VIA: Riot Games

Faker Photo VIA: Ran_LPL on Twitter

Overwatch Image VIA: Blizzard Entertainment

Trill Announcement Image VIA: Dallas Fuel


Danish PM and Zonic Photo VIA: RFRSH Entertainment

Apex Legends Image VIA: Respawn Entertainment

Nick Johnson
Nick "Lesona" Johnson is an esports journalist with a focus on CS:GO and the OWL. His interest for esports started with CS:S and grew into a career as both an esports writer and an avid fan, giving him a unique perspective on both the casual and professional scenes. Twitter: @Lesona_