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WePlay AniMajor playoffs: The crunch time

WePlay AniMajor is still days away for six teams that came in first in their respective DPC regional leagues.

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WePlay AniMajor is still days away for six teams that came in first in their respective DPC regional leagues. 

The action is set to begin on the 2nd of June, but for the teams that claimed the first spot in their respective Dota Pro Circuit regional leagues, the big battle starts a week later, on the 9th of June, when the playoffs kick-off.

The six major regional winners will be joined in the playoffs by the top six teams of the group stage battle.

WePlay AniMajor playoffs seed #1 teams

  • Alliance
  • Quincy Crew
  • T1
  • Virtus.pro
  • Team Aster
  • NoPing Esports

Although the Major format might sound right, it’s actually a rather punishing one for those who now have to wait on the sidelines for the first two stages of the tournament to complete.

One of the rewards for finishing first in the DPC seasonal league is 500 Dota Pro Circuit points, which for some of the teams attending this second and final Major of the DPC has already secured their presence at The International 10. The other reward should be the comfortable playoffs start at the Major.

However, while the six regional winners start the event a week later, with no official games played in over three weeks, those who will join them from the group stage will be warmed up after a minimum of 10 games played in the group. There is a possibility that at least one team might get to the playoffs from the wild card matches and that would mean 20 games played versus no games played by the seed #1 teams.

At the Singapore Major, PSG.LGD came from the wild card and made a playoff upper bracket run reaching the finals days, where they got eliminated in the top three. This time around, the wild card is even more stacked than it was in Singapore and those who are the regional winners of this season should be aware of the wrath that can be unleashed upon them by a competitor like Team Secret, Vici Gaming, or Nigma, who might come to the playoffs with all their strategies fine-tuned in the 20 games played prior to this stage.

More so, looking at the teams that made it this time around to the playoffs from the seasonal league play, it’s almost like each and everyone has actually something to prove.

Alliance stirred the biggest controversy of this season and took a lot of heat from their competitors and the community as a whole when it became public that they had coach Peter “ppd” Dager in the voice comms during some of the matches. Alliance didn’t break any rule, in fact, they were the only ones who read through a whole email, noticed a rule change made by the EU league organizer, and took full advantage of it. Nonetheless, the “6 man Dota” debacle became so big that ESL and DreamLeague, the EU and CIS league operators, were forced by Valve to undo the rule during the competition.

By the time the rule was reverted back, Alliance was already 5-1 in the league, guaranteed for a first or second-place finish. They won their final series and took the top seed.

Drama aside, their run was nearly perfect, only Brame Esports being able to win versus them.

During the six-week league schedule, Alliance went through 47 different heroes, the only constant being  Linus “Limmp” Blomdin Dragon Knight. He played the hero eight times in the 20 games Alliance fought in total and won six times with it. Although Limmp has always given a headache to his mid-lane adversaries with Tiny, and despite the fact that this hero is one of the meta flavors, he played just three games on it.

Team fight discipline is something Alliance excelled at this season and one of their aces in the sleeve was Simon “Handsken” Haag’s Shadow Demon. Not many other teams have this hero as one of their most picked, but Alliance has made the most of his great team fight control tools and always paired it with Centaur Warrunner to have multiple initiations, disengage options, and overall the upper hand in any engagement.   

Alliance is determined now more than ever to prove that they are a fierce contender for the title. They need only a top-eight finish in Kyiv to make sure that they will step on the TI10 stage in their home country, but they come into the WePlay AniMajor after a big drama and after many games where their coordination and map awareness was top notch. So, all eyes will be on how they will perform in the playoffs stage, which might add a lot of extra pressure on their shoulders.

Aster is also a team that improved on its season one result. If in the previous season they came second, only to attend the Singapore Major with a stand-in, now they are China’s first seed team and with the full roster set to play at the AniMajor. This should be the event where they can prove that they are indeed China’s finest team heading into TI10, and judging from what they showed in the league season, they might come prepared with a lot of hidden strategies.

Team Aster is one of the squads to have played the least amount of heroes through the league season, just 35. Their overall strategy relied on fast objective taking heroes such as Leshrac, which is their most picked and most successful one.  Zhang “LaNm” Zhicheng’s Abaddon is also an Aster staple by now, while Lin “Xxs” Jing’s sets himself apart as one of the finest of China’s Broodmother players.

Foto crdits: Perfect World

They fizzled out of the Singapore Major after two consecutive losses in the playoffs, but most people attributed their subpar performance due to having to play with a stand-in.  The AniMajor is where Aster will look to show the world that they have more in store.

Much like Team Aster, who come from a dominant league run, Virtus.pro must be taking this Major as the last chance before TI10 to prove that they are more than the best team in their region.

Virtus.pro come for the second time in a row to the Major with a clean 7-0 seasonal record and if fans were willing to forgive their failure in Singapore, where the young roster has actually made its Major debut, now they expect them to show up.

VP paid a lot of attention to the meta trends and have crushed the CIS league with Tiny, which they play in both mid-lane and on the carry position.

Danil “gpk” Skutin went 4-0 on Tiny, while Egor “Nightfall” Grigorenko has a 3-1 record on it, making the hero VP’s most picked one this season. They often pair it with Ancient Apparition or Windranger, but their most picked support hero is Lion, which they play with cores that don’t have lockdown spells such as Lifestealer or Timbersaw.

Regardless of how VP wants to approach the AniMajor, one thing is sure: they will be at TI10. They secured their spot by placing first in the CIS league both seasons and other than making sure that they won’t disappoint again when pitted against the best teams outside their region, VP has nothing else to worry about.

Despite showing consistency and always being in form, it always feels like the Quincy Crew boys still have to prove themselves. That’s mainly because they are still without an organization behind, despite actively looking for one since 2019.

This season they even dethroned Evil Geniuses in the NA region to come to the AniMajor as the seed one team.  They did it with their own interpretation of the meta and heroes that almost no other team has in their pool right now.

Viper is Quincy Crew’s most picked and most successful hero. They play it in the mid lane, Quinn “CCnC” Callahan being 4-0 on it, and in the offlane, Rodrigo “Lelis” Santos also being undefeated on it. Among QC’s specialties is Hoodwink, with which they have a 5-1 record. The two heroes are usually paired with strong meta picks. Mars, Warlock, Leshrac, Nyx Assassin have all found a place in their drafts and are boasting positive records.

During the season, Quinn “CCnC” Callahan even pushed himself through pub games to become one of the very few pros to reach 12K MMR. But, no matter how stellar Quincy Crew are, it seems to never be enough for an organization to sign them. That might be because of the lack of interest from NA orgs to get involved with Dota 2 anymore. That can change if Quincy Crew secures a spot at TI10 via WePlay AniMajor. They need just a top-eight finish and this time around arriving with the full squad, they have a good chance to exceed all expectations.

Since the organization signed Park “March” Tae-won and let him assemble a roster, T1 has made incredible progress. From failing in the qualifiers a year ago, with a different roster, now they are Southeast Asia’s best team. Reaching the Singapore Major wild card stage was the best result for the organization at that date. Fast forward to two months later, they are the SEA playoff representative.

Their growth registered at an insanely fast pace and without a doubt, it has a lot to do with coach March and the team captain, Carlo “Kuku” Palad, but the hard task for them now is to show the world that they can also stand strong in international competition.

T1’s controversial decision from the previous season to replace their carry after they qualified to the Major seems to be fully paying off now. Nuengnara “23savage” Teeramahanon is known for playing illusion-based heroes and in the current meta he dismantled his regional adversaries with Phantom Lancer and Medusa.

Much like Execration, who are in the wild card leg, T1 also has Doom as one of their most picked heroes. They mostly pair it with Snapfire and Lion, giving no chance to anyone affected by the Doom ultimate to survive. The three heroes are also lane dominators that give T1 the option to stay in an aggressive stance, despite having 23savege playing late-game-oriented heroes.

T1 couldn’t make it with the whole team at the Singapore Major, but this time around they have all landed in Kyiv safe and sound. They arrived at the AniMajor about two weeks before their first matches and will have all the time needed to get rid of the jetlag and get fully accommodated before the playoffs, and it will definitely be interesting to see how far they can go in this Major.

NoPing is undoubtedly the biggest surprise of this season and the ultimate underdog of the playoffs stage. They delivered a big upset in the SA region after overcoming a dramatic moment on the very last day of the league play to finish in the first place.

Interestingly enough, NoPing have the least unique heroes played this season from all the teams attending the AniMajor. If Team Secret are the ones with the most played heroes, drafting 52 different ones, NoPing are at the opposite pole with just 31.

They do, however, have a few tricks of their own. Tiny is their most played hero, having been picked 9 times in the 18 matches they had. The trick is that they are playing it more in the support 4 position rather than the mid lane. Their second most used hero is Winter Wyvern, which fits their team fight oriented playstyle like a glove. 

Tiny-Winter Wyvern and Tiny-Centaur Warrunner are two of their most successful duos. Along with their smaller pool of heroes compared to all other competitors, this can mean that they might get heavily countered on the Major stage. Even though they are starting the Major run from the upper bracket playoffs, it is rather hard to believe that they will accomplish a top three finish, which is what they need for a TI10 ticket via DPC points.

All NoPing Esports players have already arrived in Kyiv, Ukraine and have about 10 days of practice before the playoffs. That alone might make the difference for them and for the SA region as a whole.

WePlay AniMajor format

  • Teams
    • Majors feature 18 teams from among the six regions
  • Wild Card
    • Six teams
    • Bo2 round robin
    • Top two teams advance to the Group Stage
    • Bottom four teams are eliminated
  • Group Stage
    • Eight teams
    • Bo2 round robin
    • Top two teams advance to the Upper Bracket of the Playoffs
    • 3rd to 6th placed teams advance to the Lower Bracket of the Playoffs
    • Bottom two teams are eliminated
  • Playoffs
    • Twelve teams, Double Elimination bracket
    • Four teams start in the Lower Bracket
    • Eight teams start in the Upper Bracket

Prize Pool and DPC Point Distribution 

Majors award $500,000 USD and 2,700 DPC points among the top eight teams as follows:

Place Prize DPC Pts
1 $200,000  500
2 $100,000  450
3 $75,000  400
4 $50,000 350
5-6 $25,000 300
7-8 $12,500 200

Source: https://www.gosugamers.net/dota2/news/54448-weplay-animajor-playoffs-the-crunch-time

Blockchain

Christine Lagarde Is Not a Big Fan of Digital Currencies

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Christine Lagarde – the president of the European Central Bank – has issued a warning about cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum, calling them highly speculative and saying that they are “suspicious.”

Lagarde: Crypto Is NOT Cash!

Bitcoin and digital assets have shot up like crazy over the past year. The idea is that these assets are becoming hedge tools against inflation and other economic problems caused by the current presidential administration and ongoing coronavirus fears. While many people have garnered newfound respect for these assets, Lagarde feels very differently, and says that they are not cash and should not be treated as such.

In a recent interview, Lagarde commented:

I think we have to distinguish between cryptos that are highly speculative and suspicious occasionally, and high intensity in terms of energy consumption assets, but they’re not a currency.  Cryptos are not currencies, full stop. Cryptos are highly speculative assets that claim their fame as currency, possibly, but they’re not. They are not.

Among the big price highlights to occur for digital assets over the past several months include bitcoin reaching a new all-time high of approximately $64,000 per unit in April. In addition, Ethereum also experienced a new high of about $4,000. Other assets, such as Solana, Ripple’s XRP and Binance’s BNB, have also incurred triple-digit gains.

These currencies – and many others like them – are not garnering affection from Lagarde, though she was rather praising of stable currencies in her interview, claiming:

You have those stable coins that are beginning to proliferate, which some big techs are trying to promote and push along the way, which are a different animal and need to be regulated, where there has to be oversight that corresponds to the business that they’re actually conducting, irrespective of how they name themselves.

Many banks and governments across the globe have been looking at stable coins as of late, recognizing that cryptocurrencies are becoming much more prominent and that they need to stay current to compete. The ECB itself ultimately launched a digital euro project earlier in the year under Lagarde’s direction and guidance. She continued her praise of the stable currency space with:

And in all that, you have the central banks who are prompted by a demand of customers to produce something that will make the central bank and central bank digital currencies fit for the century we are in. I was keen to push the issue, the CBDC issue, on our agenda because I believe that we have to stand ready for that.

Stable Currencies May Provide Solid Answers

One figure sharing this sentiment is Benoit Coeure, the head of innovation at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). He recently stated of stable currencies:

CBDC (central bank digital currencies) will be part of the answer. A well-designed CBDC will be a safe and neutral means of payment and settlement asset.

Tags: bitcoin, Christine Lagarde, stable currencies
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Source: https://www.livebitcoinnews.com/christine-lagarde-is-not-a-big-fan-of-digital-currencies/>

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Blockchain

Ethereum, Solana, VeChain Price Analysis: 22 September

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The entire cryptocurrency market has been facing severe bearishness over the past few weeks. The king of altcoins, Ethereum broke down below crucial support levels and would incur selling pressures from all around. That effect would automatically trickle down to the other smaller altcoins in the market like VeChain.

However, thanks to its recent rally, Solana seemed to be in a relatively better place to continue its upward trajectory if market sentiments improve.

Ethereum (ETH)

ETH/USD | Source: TradingView

Ever since the correction that happened on El Salvador’s Bitcoin Day ETH/USD has been trading in a very narrow range between $3100 to $3500. It had briefly broken out of the range, only to fall back down into it, before correcting even more.

This was a worrisome signal since it broke down (white arrow) below the descending triangle pattern on the chart as depicted by the pink lines. Ethereum prices also broke below the next support level of $2990 as depicted by the yellow trend line. So unless the prices are able to rally back from current levels to the range of $4000-$4400, the short term future for this counter remained bleak.

The Relative Strength Index dropped below 40 mark which would add to the selling pressure in this currency pair. The MACD, which suffered a bearish crossover a few weeks back entered the negative territory too. The prices have also moved significantly below the 20-day Moving Average line (marked in green) to further add to the bearishness.

Solana (SOL)

SOL/USD | Source: TradingView

Solana has been one of the best performing coins in the past month and a half and its rally propelled it to the seventh biggest coin by market capitalization. Since mid-August, 2021 it rallied nearly five times in price (blue channel), before correcting sharply a month later in line with the entire market and that correction turned into a bearish trend ever since.

Due to the nature of the recent rally, the only logical level of support for the prices would come near $20. However, if Solana prices are able to breakout of the white channel from current levels to above $160, the earlier rally may resume.

Despite the major correction over the past few days from $200 to current prices, indicators had turned extremely bearish yet. The Relative Strength Index remained near the 50 mark so there was still some bullishness.

The MACD which suffered a bearish crossover still remained well within the positive region as well. The prices however, broke down below the 20-day Moving Average (green) but again, it isn’t too far away to retest those levels. So overall, bullish sentiment in this particular coin still persisted.

VeChain (VET)

VET/USD | Source: TradingView

The VET/USD currency pair was extremely volatile and fell significantly from its all time highs. Since then it was trading within a very wide range however, a promising chart pattern was beginning to emerge for this particular coin.

A bullish cup and handle pattern was seen (white lines) and a breakout over $0.12-$0.16 can result in a major rally. The level of support for VeChain was around $0.06 and that should hold fine based on historical data.

Although, the indicators did not show as much enthusiasm on the bullish side. The Relative Strength Index touched 30 levels and currently was around 37 which was very weak. The MACD too breached the zero line and crossed over into the negative territory.

The prices also dropped below the 20-day Moving Average (green) over two weeks ago and were not able to break out of it ever since. So overall, this coin, much like many others in the market, faced the heat of extreme bearishness in the market and would require a convincing breakout over $0.16 to be bullish again.

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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/ethereum-solana-vechain-price-analysis-22-september

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ConsenSys Backed Virtue Poker and Binance NFT to Launch “Mystery Box” for Celebrity Tournament on Sept 23

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Source: https://www.newsbtc.com/news/company/consensys-backed-virtue-poker-and-binance-nft-to-launch-mystery-box-for-celebrity-tournament-on-sept-23/

The crypto and blockchain space is maturing at a rapid pace. Most financial industry experts agree that this nascent industry is here to stay because there are many different use-cases emerging for blockchain-enabled platforms.

In addition to the rise of Bitcoin (BTC) as a widely accepted medium-of-exchange and store-of-value, Ethereum (ETH) has become a globally recognized name in the crypto space. Large corporations such as Visa have acknowledged Ethereum’s role in the future of finance and its ability to support a wide range of other applications.

A growing number of online platforms have also been deploying solutions on Ethereum, despite its relatively slow transaction speeds. Even though there are many other blockchains that outperform Ethereum in terms of transactions per second (TPS) and cheaper transaction costs, they do not have the same powerful network effect that Ethereum has been able to acquire. There are also many Ethereum scaling solutions such as Polygon that will aim to make the leading smart contract platform a lot more efficient in the foreseeable future.

Yet Another Ethereum-powered Platform

Virtue Poker, a decentralized platform developed on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, reveals that it will be holding a Celebrity Charity Poker Tournament, which will be taking place on September 26, 2021.

The charity poker tournament participants will reportedly include Hall of Fame (HOF) poker player, Phil Ivey, former NBA all-star Paul Pierce, YouTube’s superstar Mr. Beast, TRON blockchain founder and serial crypto entrepreneur Justin Sun, Hollywood actor and accomplished filmmaker Vince Vaughn, Polygon Co-Founder Sandeep Nailwal, and Ethereum Co-Founder and ConsenSys founder Joe Lubin.

The Binance Mysterybox Collection

To commemorate this special event, the Virtue Poker team plans to launch a Binance MysteryBox collection, starting on September 23, 2021 –  representing each card in a typical 52 card deck. Collectors who possess the winning hand for each knockout during the Celebrity Event will get a chance to win prizes ranging from $2,500 to a $25,000 reward for the top prize.

Participants need to purchase two mystery boxes in order to assemble a hand. The participants can then trade with each other so that they can assemble the best poker hand through the secondary market.

The Mystery box will reportedly include an Ace of Spades that will come with Phil’s digital signature and a $5,000 prize.

Prizes

All participants with completed hands can compete and have an opportunity to win:

A $2500 price for the winning hand for each knockout. If multiple players own the hand, then the $2500 prize will be split equally among all the winners. Furthermore, the player who possesses the championship knockout hand will be able to claim a $25,000 prize.

If more than one player is holding the championship knockout hand, then only 1 player will be randomly selected to claim the reward

Participants are able to collect as many as (50) completed hands (100 boxes). Participants must also HOLD the winning hand in their Binance account to be eligible for the rewards. Winning players should email [email protected] for confirmation.

Freeroll Tournament

Virtue Poker will also hold a freeroll tournament where ALL holders of (2) mystery boxes should be getting exclusive access to participate in a $10,000 free-roll tournament on the Virtue Poker platform.

Virtue Poker NFT holders need to send a message to [email protected] with their UID and NFT screenshot to obtain the Virtue Poker referral code.

Supporting NFT Use-Cases

The Virtue Poker team is looking forward to hosting their Celebrity Tournament and are focused on offering a truly unique NFT experience for their viewers that plan to tune in. Through their partnership with leading crypto exchange Binance, they plan to support the adoption of the Virtue Poker platform and also that of NFTs. They’ve decided to take this step to show that there’s yet another real-world use case for non-fungibel tokens or digital collectibles: interacting through a live event.

The team has also thanked the Virtue Poker community for their support of their platform as they continue to expand their ecosystem in the nascent blockchain-enabled gaming industry.

As noted in the announcement, Virtue Poker is described as a decentralized poker platform that leverages the Ethereum blockchain as well as P2P networking to offer an online poker platform that is safe, “honest” and fun. It was established in 2016 within New York-based Consensys, the leading Ethereum development studio and incubator launched by crypto billionaire and Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin back in 2014.

Backed by Consensys and stakeholder Phil Ivey, Virtue Poker aims to make blockchain or distributed ledger tech (DLT)-powered betting mainstream.

Source: https://www.newsbtc.com/news/company/consensys-backed-virtue-poker-and-binance-nft-to-launch-mystery-box-for-celebrity-tournament-on-sept-23/

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