eSports roundup: Overwatch, Magic and League

JACOB MADDEN, News Editor | [email protected]

The past few weeks have seen some major developments in the world of eSports, and it is becoming increasingly clear that these games are not just for geek and nerd culture anymore — or, for that matter, just games anymore. Here is this week’s Northern Iowan eSports Roundup:

Magic the Gathering

On Jan. 15, a new banned and restricted announcement came down for the standard format. The ban became effective Jan. 19, banning Attune with Aether, Rogue Refiner, Rampaging Ferocidon and Ramunap Ruins. According to the announcement, Temur Energy and other energy variants are seeing some bans for three reasons: the length of time that the decks have been dominant (nearly five months), a lack of change from the most recent standard rotation and a lack of proven counterplay despite the metagame having months to adapt.

The Temur energy deck, with or without black, had an average match win rate of 51 percent — excluding the mirror match — according to data from Magic Online Competitive Leagues.

Ramunap Red also had targeted bans this announcement. Ramunap Red, while not the most played deck in the metagame, was the most winning deck in Standard, according to the Magic Online Competitive League data, with a match win rate of nearly 60 percent — excluding the mirror match.

The next banned and restricted announcement is scheduled to come out on Feb. 12.

League of Legends

The North American League Championship Series (NA LCS) kicked off on Saturday, with CLG v. Cloud9 and Liquid v. TSM headlining the event. Cloud9 won the best of one against CLG in a rematch of the NA LCS regional qualifying final last fall, where Cloud9 edged out CLG in a close four-game series. Liquid also took home a big win against TSM on Saturday. Other winners included Echo Fox over FlyQuest, 100 Thieves over Optic Gaming and Clutch Gaming over Golden Guardians. As of press time, none of the Sunday matches have started.


Over the weekend, Overwatch League (OWL) continued its intense takeover of the eSports community, dominating in the ratings over the last two weeks. OWL beat some NFL games in viewership, with over 400,000 viewers last weekend. This past weekend, OWL beat out the LCS in viewers as well, dethroning the long-reigning eSport in coverage and viewership.

Beyond the views, however, OWL is shaping up to be a spectator-friendly and intense league, with teams garnering support from across the country and around the world for stage one, which began on Jan. 10.

The notable winners of stage one week one included the LA Vailant and the LA Gladiators, as well as the Seoul Dynasty, London Spitfire, Boston Uprising and New York Excelsior. After week two, the Seoul Dynasty, New York Excelsior and London Spitfire are in the top three, with Shanghai Dragons falling into last place, tied with the Dallas Fuel at 0-4. Florida Mayhem and Boston Uprising also fell hard, moving to 1-3, as OWL heads into week three starting Wednesday.

Pine, a flex player for the New York Excelsior, saw a breakout performance as McCree, where he dominated and quickly became the player to watch for much of the coverage and community. xQc, a tank player for the Dallas Fuel, also quickly became news after making a homophobic remark on his Twitch steam about an openly gay fellow OWL player, Muma, of the Houston Outlaws.

xQc apologized on Twitter but was fined $2,000 and suspended for four matches by the Overwatch League team.

After the OWL team ruling, the Dallas Fuel decided to suspend xQc for all of stage one, stating that they would be providing him resources to work on his professionalism and conduct.


These past few weeks have seen eSports come back in a big way setting the stage for an exciting and competitive year in eSports, both between the teams in each game, as well as between the leagues themselves.