Let's talk about the mind tricks and psychological warfare being waged by cheaters, hackers, and RMT vendors in Tarkov, and what we can do about it. This is a long post, but Tarkov is worth it, and a TL;DR is provided at the top.
Edit: There's obviously big money at stake as I started receiving death threats the moment this post hit the front page on hot. Be careful with your personal info and probably best to avoid commenting here if you have doxxable details on your reddit account. Stay safe, it's just a game and not worth it. TL;DR:
Tarkov is a crazy wild game with a bunch of people running around trying to do weird things. Remember that bizarre outcomes are just as likely (if not more) to be happenstance than suspicious behavior. Don't let others gaslight you into thinking every encounter is a hacker or cheater.
Cheat sellers, RMT vendors, and their customers, all want to push the narrative that rule-breaking is far more common than it actually is, and that the game developers are ruining the game so you may as well just hack/cheat yourself to level the playing field. It's great for business as a seller, and it helps rationalize malicious actions as a customer. Spreading paranoia, mass outrage, and undermining the developers are CIA-level tactics to sow chaos and anarchy that benefits bad actors at the cost of everyone else.
The best thing we can do is silence attempts by bad actors and focus on productive, positive discussions in Tarkov and let BSG (who are the only people who can do anything) do their jobs. They spend 65% of their resources on crushing bad actors and their profit margins, so this isn't an issue that's flying under their radar. As a community, the best voice we have against malicious behavior is deafening silence to starve it of attention and free publicity, minimizing the chances that they can sow enough fear and angst to radicalize players to get more customers.
--- First off, the point of this discussion is not to debate how prevalent cheating in Tarkov is. This sub already has more than enough speculation on that topic and as you read further along you'll see that letting fear and paranoia fester is exactly what bad faith agents in Tarkov want. Wherever you have competition, you're going to have cheating. Whether it's Tarkov, Olympic sports, or the stock market. As long as there is competition, there will always be someone who looks to gain an unfair edge, and it doesn't even matter if it's something as mundane and trivial as online chess, there's always going to be that guy who runs their opponents moves into a grandmaster-level AI because their enjoyment comes from that win at any cost. However, despite the fact that bad faith competition exists in nearly every facet of life, it seems like the Tarkov community is far more paralyzed by fear, anger, and suspicion than any other competitive forum. Why is this?
The game design makes it exceedingly difficult to discern bad faith actions from legitimate play. A naked level 1 with a TT pistol can accidentally get a lucky hipfire shot that instantly kills a fully kitted veteran who is highly skilled in the game. The incredibly punishing nature of the game also makes it so that deaths are highly impactful, which makes it difficult to "let go" of trying to figure out what went wrong. All put together, it means that players are forced to simply accept highly punishing deaths without being given any insight or explanation on how they were killed. 20 headshots with an R99 SMG in Apex Legends is incredibly obvious aimbotting. But in Tarkov, the fight is over with just 1, which leaves a lot of unanswered questions with no satisfying answers.
Because the shared raid map system that Tarkov uses, players have a wide variety of objectives that lead to very differing goals, resulting in bizarre interactions where the original intentions of other other players is unclear. Someone who's hiding in a raid to wait for the violence to die down could be stumbled upon by some other person who is completely lost trying to find a quest objective, or wandering around exploring an obscure area trying to find easter eggs. From the vantage point of the hider, it seems suspicious they were hunted down by someone who had no reason to legitimately to hunt in the location that they were. In other words, players will frequently run into other players acting in inexplicable ways that can be easily misattributed to malice when it was just as likely to be happenstance.
The lack of SBMM (skills-based matchmaking) means that all players are drawn from the same pool when forming raids. This means a complete new player to FPS genre entirely could be running face first into the most skilled players in the entire game. When the competition spans the entirety of the skill curve, it's incredibly difficult to know what is going on because player actions are often contrary to expectations of others. Chaos makes it easy to be suspicious about bad faith play because nobody is acting "logically" from each perspective. Naive players may charge in aggressively in silly ways that end up working by sheer luck that more experienced players will assume would only be as a result of unfair information. A very high skill player can take fights that they win with superior mechanics that most would assume you would only engage because of unfair aim.
The point is, this game is designed to breed suspicion, paranoia, and fear. Which is great in one way, because it's what makes it so exciting and fun to play. However, when channeled in the wrong way, is a serious problem because it's exactly what bad faith actors want. Let's think about various actors in Tarkov, and ask the question, "do they want people to believe that rule breaking is more or less prevalent than it actually is?"
CHEAT SELLERS: MORE
Because the narrative is, everyone is cheating, the game is unfair no matter what, every raid you load into has someone that is map-hacking, every fight you take is against someone who is aim-botting. Therefore, you should consider picking up some little helpers yourself to make it fair again, or be a naive idiot that willingly plays at a disadvantage while everyone else is using hacks. The idea that literally cheaters and hackers are infesting every single raid is probably the best possible sales pitch a cheat seller could have. The few instances of cheating leads to fear and paranoia festering, prompting more people on the fringe to consider cheating themselves, leading to more cheating, more fear, more paranoia, more business.
RMT VENDORS: MORE
Because the narrative is, this game is filled with cheaters anyway, half the lobby is people who bought stuff with mom's credit card, and Nikita is setting out to personally reduce your happiness in life and the game is unrewarding and unplayable for a normal legitimate player that doesn't hack or make a full-time job out of Tarkov. Why bother doing all the pointless stupid grinds while you're dying 50 raids in a row to hackers or someone who bought all their gear with their credit card, when you can just buy a few little cheeki Roubles from the side and get to having fun in the game? Negativity and toxicity toward both the existence of other bad faith players, as well as toward the game design itself, is inherently the best possible environment for a thriving RMT system. This is especially perfect for Tarkov because unlike other MMORPGs, it's much more likely that incremental changes will be more brutal rather than having power creep / loot creep / money creep, which fuels despair and more interest in RMT.
CHEAT/RMT USERS: MORE
This one is simple. If they can convince everyone that it's more common than it actually is, the more they can rationalize their own behavior. It's not that bad, everyone else is doing it anyway! Besides, it's not even that big of an advantage, some other cheaters cheat even harder! Some of you may have seen a recent thread where one individual texted "lmao I'm gonna turn off cheats for this group though, cuz these guys play legit." As if playing legit was actually the minority situation for a massively mainstream FPS game. Zzz.
THE AVERAGE PLAYER LIKE YOU AND ME: ?
It is human nature to rationalize defeat. When you face down failure with no explanation on why like in Tarkov, it's tempting to blame cheaters, hackers, etc. Different games often have different ways of rationalizing defeat. In team games like Overwatch or League of Legends, teammate-blaming is common to offload the burden onto random strangers. In solo matchup games like Starcraft II, race balance is often used by players who are frustrated that they lost. What's even more, these other games do an excellent job of explaining where you could have done better, but players will still look for ways to blame someone other than themselves. It's no surprise that in Tarkov, fear and suspicion of bad faith gameplay exists. The problem is, if we allow ourselves to be tempted to err toward the side of suspicion, to blame negative outcomes on the belief in rampant cheaters, hackers, etc., then we are aligning ourselves to the same narrative that bad faith actors like cheat sellers and RMT vendors want to push. We allow ourselves to be corrupted with the idea of "this game is bullshit, everyone else in the game is not playing fairly, why do I even bother trying?" This is a dangerous mindset because it fuels a toxic narrative that "this game is never going to be fair to me, the devs don't care, the game is becoming less and less fun for me, I should just quit if I'm not going to cheat myself." Let me be clear, I'm not saying that toxicity itself will convert an entire playerbase into cheaters. In fact, I think it has a minimal impact at a high level perspective because there just aren't that many people that are willing to traverse to the disreputable ends of the internet and take risks just to gain some internet points. However, even a 1% cheating rate to 3% cheating rate is a 300% proportional magnitude in the profitability of selling cheats or RMT vending. And more importantly, it significantly damages the enjoyment and integrity of the community at large. You can see clear evidence of bad faith actors in this subreddit. There have been several threads in this subreddit just in the past few days that have reached the front page claiming 1) false bans are rampant, Nikita should just let RMT be 2) hello I am bob, I am hacker all day, you should hack too because literally it's everywhere you don't even KNOW, btw PM me for cheap hacks 3) xyz devs are ruining the game, why stop RMT/hacks, just let it go, you're DESTROYING THE GAME, STOP DOING THAT BSG!. I'm not going to say any individual thread (even though many examples have been debunked) are complete bullshit. I'm just going to say that the narrative of these threads is completely aligned with individuals who are lobbying to protect their interests in making a profit out of bad faith play.
What can you do to stop this?
It starts with the self.
When you get an incredibly lucky clutch/kill, remember it for yourself, and use it as a reminder as to how fickle this game can be. Think about how your opponent must be so confused/suspicious about what you got away with.
When you yourself are on the receiving end of that ridiculous death, remind yourself of all the times where you were on the other side. Make your default reaction be "damn, Tarkov is crazy" rather than "I bet that was hacking 100%." Remember how easily flukes can occur, and how easily luck could be conflated with cheating.
Focus on learning and improving in a game where there is endless room to get better, something that is irrelevant to whether some minority of players chooses to play unfairly.
Encourage productive discussions, positive mentalities, and discourageDESTRUCTIVE SPECULATIONand toxic attitudes.
Upvote threads that discuss legitimate aspects of the game, whether it's discussions on strategies, advice on how to get better, or general productive discussions that are within our control as regular players.
Downvote threads that revolve around discussing cheating, hacking, or a bullshit "Reddit expert panel" of trying to speculate whether gameplay footage was legitimate or not, especially when there is a lack of context on user lag/latency, frames, system specs, server issues, date stamps, etc.
Upvote threads that explain technical nuances known to impact Tarkov gameplay, e.g. desync bullets resulting in apparently unkillable players, etc.
Downvote threads that attempt to sow paranoia in masses of players that have nothing to do with anti-cheating efforts. At best, they are attention-seeking threads made by users to profit infamy at the cost of community integrity. At worst, they are propagandized pieces designed to undermine faith in the developers and increase the temptation to use black market cheats/services and perpetuate a death spiral.
Downvote threads that attempt to induct mass outrage against developers. When someone says "they nerfed X, this is bullshit, we should all just RMT now," it could be from legitimate upset players, but keep in mind that it's also perfectly aligned with exactly the type of agenda that bad faith actors have. Remember that the best thing that malicious actors can do is to pit the player base against the developers so they can create a lawless wasteland to do business undisturbed.
BSG has shown an exemplary degree of interaction with this community. Always wait for an official response before jumping to conclusions.
Go try making a thread about cheating/hacking/boosting in Overwatch or Apex Legends and see how much official response you ever get from developers. This subreddit has been gifted with probably one of the best levels of community engagement from devs you could ask for.
When someone tries to hit the front page with a thread like "I've been falsely banned," track that thread carefully and wait 3-4 days for the official response. If it's anything like 90% of the threads we've seen in the past few days, you're going to see the truth hammer get dropped, providing the poster doesn't delete their own threads/accounts when they're exposed to be full of lies.
Upvote threads that make grandiose claims that are worthwhile for an official response. Then mercilessly scrutinize how events unfold, because 99% of the time, it's always liars that are hoping they can incite a riot as "punishment" for the developers interfering with them than anything else. This is a common occurrence in other communities that have high developer interaction like Old School Runescape, where banned players are known to make top-page threads about being falsely banned, before evidence is provided showing that they are completely full of shit and memes ensue when the truth hammer is dropped.
-- BSG spends 65% of its resources fighting cheaters and RMT and is a developer that has shown endless passion and commitment to its install base. As beta players that are trying to help them develop the best possible game, the best voice we have against bad faith actors in the Tarkov community is deafening silence. Starve them of attention, free marketing, free publicity. Demonstrate that just because they can infect one player, that will not tilt the hundreds of legitimate players into letting themselves surrender and be infected themselves.
Cata's Ultimate Guide to Being a SINoALICE Noob Version 1.2
EDIT: Thanks for gifting me gold! I would have thanked whoever did that sooner, but I don't use Reddit much so I had no idea I even got it. I would update this post too with Version 1.31, but my post is actually beyond the Reddit character capacity. If you want to look at the updated guide which includes even more beginner questions, it is located at https://pastebin.com/wUz0G8cQ . My name is Cata. Like you, I am a new player (I started playing this game yesterday). I understand you have a lot of questions. I'm here to share what I've learned. Gacha Q) Should I roll the gacha? A) Not unless you're a whale. The weapons we have available right now aren't that great. Don't let me stop you from rolling for waifu, though (if you were going to do that, I would perhaps recommend just re-rolling for her, though). Q) WHEN NIER A) July 16th Q) GIB TIER LIST SO KNOW WUT DO A) https://xant.netlify.app/tierlist.html Q) REROLL? A) You don't need to, but if you really insist, then go for classes. 1-2 classes would be a good start. Why? Look at the next section! If you know what class you want to play, try to get a few SR weapons that are your classes specialized use. Q) The gacha is where I get new weapons, right? A) Yes. Events may also give them out occasionally. Classes Q) What is class mastery? A) Click on the upgrade/sell button at the bottom of your screen, then click on upgrade classes. You'll see all your classes. There are two types of class mastery; one is common, the other is specific to the class. Common buffs go to everyone, class buffs go specifically to the UPGRADED class, not all classes of that type. Q) So, getting a lot of jobs for those permanent stats would be a good thing, right? A) Absolutely! Every job you get is permanent stat additions to your unit once leveled. You can powercreep weapons, but permanent stats will always be useful. Q) Should I use those books the game gave me? A) Yes, there's no reason not to use the books immediately. Q) How should I be spending my SP? A) Keeping in mind that we have common mastery bonuses (which are global boosts to stats) and class mastery bonuses (which are associated only with the class you leveled), your first move should be to max the class that you're currently using. Then, you should spread the rest of your SP evenly to the rest of your classes to pick up common mastery bonuses, prioritizing stats that are useful to your class first and firemost. Q) How do I know what class to choose? A) Right now, you don't. You don't have the resources to make that sort of decision. Just play around with what you have and see what you like. Maybe do some research on the game and see how they play? Q) Are some classes better than others? A) With the exception of Mage, which is fine in PvE but not good in Colosseum, all classes are important and useful. Later on, the main distinction between classes is going to be available specialized weapon pool, but that's not a matter of better or worse, that's a matter of available options. Q) What does my classes specialized weapon do? A) It buffs everything the class does with that weapon. A Cleric will heal more with staves, a Minstrel will buff with instruments better, a Sorcerer will debuff better with tomes, that kind of thing. Q) How does healing work? A) Your healing power scales based off your DEF + MDEF. Q) How do debuffs and buffs work? A) Debuffs and buffs scale off of the stat that they are buffing. An example is buffing physical defense would scale off your character's physical defense. Q) Which DPS are physical based? A) Crusher (Hammers), Breaker (Swords) Q) Which DPS are magical based? A) Gunner (Bows), Paladin (Polearms) Q) So what's up with the support classes, then? A) Cleric: Healing (uses Staves) Sorceror: Debuffs (uses Tomes) Minstrel: Buffs (uses Instruments) Mage: Damage (uses Orbs) Q) Say I have a Red Riding Hood/Cleric, and an Alice/Cleric. Which one should I use? A) The only thing that would possibly make a difference here is if you had one of them leveled and the other wasn't, because the leveled one would have the class-specific mastery bonuses. Otherwise, there is currently no difference in gameplay (just waifu differences). Q) How do I limit break classes? A) You need a rare resource known as an Arcana. For story classes, Arcana is distributed freely through things like missions, medal exchanges and event shops. For event classes, you'll get Arcana through the event medal shop or just playing the event. For gacha, you have to do 50 rolls on the banner, then you can exchange for an Arcana with the medals you got from doing so. Q) How many Arcanas do I need to max Limit Break them? A) Currently, just one. Later, you may need more. Gear Q) So what do weapons do? A) Weapons have a skill associated with them. In combat, using the weapon will use the associated skill. It ranges from support effects like buffs, debuffs and healing to just normal damage dealt to the enemy. Weapons have an elemental affinity of Fire, Water or Wind. On top of that, weapons just generally increase your stats. Q) What is the affinity triangle? A) Fire > Wind > Ice > Fire In other words, that means Fire beats Wind, but gets beaten by Ice. Wind beats Ice, but gets beaten by Fire. Ice beats Fire, but gets beaten by Wind. Q) Should I buy the starter 150 gem weapon packs? A) Yes. You will need them to get stronger and push more content. You don't need to buy multiples; you can't equip the same weapon twice in a grid. If you're not sure what role you'd like to play, then buy both and experiment with different classes. Q) What's the difference between the Vanguard and the Rearguard packs? A) The Vanguard packs are for DPS classes such as Crusher, Gunner, Paladin and Breaker. The Rearguard packs are for support classes such as Sorceror, Mage, Cleric and Minstrel. The distinction between these classes is important for Colosseum content. The vanguard is constructed of 5 people in the front, who are your DPS roles, while the rearguard is constructed of 10 people in the back, who are your support roles. The rearguard also has a 90% damage penalty; this is why Mages aren't so great in the Colosseum, as their specialized weapon type is DPS based. Q) Should I use less weapons in my grid for better rotations? A) Absolutely not, because weapons give you stats, and if you do that then you won't be hitting very hard. Plus, reloading your deck costs 20 SP. It's better to do that less frequently so you can spend more SP on attacking or supporting. Q) What kind of weapons should I be using? Are A weapons okay? What about S? A) A weapons are not a good long-term investment, and are not recommended. S weapons are good filler for now. Ideally, your class should be using all SR and S of their specialized weapon, but right now you probably don't have enough stuff to even fill your grid. Just use the recommended button! Q) So, just level S and SR weapons that my main class can use for now, right? A) Yes! Even if they're not your specialized weapon, they'll still give you stats that will be helpful for pushing content. Q) What is weapon cost? A) Each weapon has a cost, depending on its rarity. The higher the rarity, the higher the cost. Your cost raises with levels. Q) What is the sub-grid? A) The sub-grid will accept any gear and give you 10% of the gears stats. You can just use the recommended button here. You can find the sub-grid button next to the recommended button, incidentally. Q) If I have two of the same weapons, can I equip one in my grid and one in my sub-grid? A) No. Q) So, the weapon gives me stats...but what about leveling the weapon? Does that increase the damage the weapon does? A) Leveling the weapon will increase your attack stats, which will indirectly make you deal more damage, but it won't increase the damage of the weapon itself. For example, two weapons with the same skill would deal the exact same damage even if one was level 1 and the other was level 60. Otherwise, damage is affected by skill levels on the weapon and the elemental affinity of the enemy. Q) How do I level weapon skills? A) You feed either weapons or gems to the weapon as experience. This is a precious commodity, and currently the weapons available in the game are not so good, so it's recommended that you save them for now. A further note is there is a mission available for limit breaking weapons, so before you use weapons as fodder, you should limit break them!~ Q) How do I get L rarity weapons? A) Evolve SR weapons. Keep in mind that it will reset the weapon's level to one, so you shouldn't do this unless you have enough EXP to get it to a comparable point (this point is around level 40). Q) Where do I get the stuff to evolve weapons and armor? A) Click on Story, then click on Event. You'll see the place where you can farm said resources. Higher is better. https://sinoalice.game-db.tw/timer There's a schedule; depending on whether the item is red, blue, or green, that's what evolution materials you'll need. Keep in mind that later events are going to have a lot of these resources, so you should save your AP and tickets for grinding those instead of grinding your dailies, but if you have some excess stamina to spend right now, here's where you should be doing it. Q) Should I limit break my gear before I evolve it? A) Let's say that your weapon is level 59, and you feed it an A EXP item. You may waste some of the EXP going over the cap. However, if you evolved your gear first, then it would push the threshold later, and as such as you may save some experience doing so. You can also try to be careful about over-feeding experience by using different rarities of EXP. All that said, there is no difference between limit breaking and evolving or evolving then limit breaking otherwise. Q) Where do I find new armor? Should I level it? What about evolving it? A) Currently, you can't. If you want to level your B armor, it will give you some additional power to help you push content and it's not that expensive to do so. Evolving it is NOT recommended. Later on, there will be armor events, and that's where you're going to get new and better armor from. Q) What nightmares should I be using? A) Just use whatever you have. Q) Can I combo nightmares together? A) You may not use a nightmare while a nightmare is currently active. Gameplay Q) What's this purification thing I can do infinitely? A) Purification gives you experience per enemy killed, as well as AP. At the start, you have no limit, but after rank 20, you will no longer be able to do it infinitely; instead you will be able to do it once every 8 hours (4 hours with Royal User Service). At the start, there is no point in spamming it, you should use it only when you run out of AP. Q) What should I be doing as I'm leveling? A) Spend AP in the Event realm, as the Event realm has chapters with a lower EXP to AP ratio. Once you're out of AP, you can go to Purification to get more AP. Rinse and repeat. This is the basic gameplay loop of SINoALICE, and it's one you should adhere to if you want to be efficient. Q) Why am I burning my AP? A) There is a cap to how much AP you can have; you can only have two times your AP's limit. So, if you level up while you're near that cap, you wasted AP. Spending stamina like this ensures minimal waste. Q) Game is hard, how to win? A) Upgrade your gear and upgrade your classes. Play manually, since the AI is not that efficient. Use nightmare summons to aid you. Get a friend to carry you. Q) How should I progress through the story? A) Picking up all the jobs (for the aforementioned reasons of class mastery bonuses) is a good bet, but it doesn't matter that much in the end. Just play how you'd like. Q) What are guerilla events? A) Guerilla events are where you farm EXP for your gear. They run on limited time-slots throughout the day, so make sure you get a chance to hit them up! Here's a schedule: https://sinoalice.game-db.tw/timer Q) To get story participation rewards, must I use the associated character? A) The only thing the associated character matters for is a statistical boost within the node, plus bonus missions may require you to use the associated character. Q) What are my priorities for the event currency? A) This is somewhat opinion based, and it depends on how much you're going to play, too. Getting the EXP and the evolution materials to boost your power may help you do later nodes in the event faster, which is worthwhile. The most valuable things are the skill gems, the crystals, and the level 4 evolution materials. Picking up the 100 medal S Nightmare is also worthwhile for more stats. Q) What's up with those story participation rewards in the event? A) For each time you clear the event node, you get a "checkmark". As such, you need to clear each node 6 times to get full story participation rewards, and yes it's worth the AP. Q) Do guilds have a cooldown between leaving and joining them? How does this work with regards to Colosseum? A) There is no cooldown for leaving guilds. There is a reset-based timer for being able to participate in Colosseum after joining and leaving a guild. If you leave your guild right after doing Colosseum for your starter mission, you should be fine as long as you quickly join another guild after that. Q) What is the rate of AP refill? A) You get 1 point of AP every 3 minutes. Q) Are there any bonuses for co-op? A) Just getting carried, and there's a few missions associated with doing co-op as well for crystals. You also get friend medals. Q) How do friend medals work? A) You can get 3 friend medals a day by co-oping live. They must be following you and you must be following them, or they must be in your guild. You can go to Story then Co-op Battle to find these faster if you wish. Q) Should I buy the crystals with friend medals? A) Absolutely, and you should buy it every day. The excess, just save for now. Q) What does rating correspond to? A) Roughly speaking, 1 rating = 1000 combat power. Q) Do critical hits exist? A) No. Spending Money Q) What's worth it? A) The best value is the Library Wisp pack, as it gives you a very good Nightmare. The Royal User Service pack gives you Purifications every 4 hours instead of 8, which is huge gains in stamina for people that are actively playing. It also gives you medals that you can exchange for useful things like SR Nightmares. Other than that, the paid classes are always a great value; you can't go wrong with permanent stats. That said, Red Riding Hood/Cleric is on the weaker end of paid classes in terms of bonus stats, so if you're a conscientious spender, you may want to wait for later paid classes. The 150 gems Beginner pack is also a good value. Feel free to ping cataclysmical#2221 on discord for further questions and suggestions on what to add. For live updates as I gather more information and answer more questions, here's the pastebin I work from. What's posted here is just the current version of the guide. https://pastebin.com/wUz0G8cQ
McKamey Manor, a “haunted attraction,” is a participation event “where you will live your own horror movie.” Critics have argued that McKamey Manor is not a haunted attraction, but a torture chamber. Founder Russ McKamey denies these claims, and maintains that the Manor has an element of mystery.
“The reason why the manor is so controversial is because nobody is saying what’s actually happening in here and that’s out of respect for the manor and myself and what we’re trying to produce here. If the people who go through the haunt want to spill all the beans and say everything that happens, they certainly could but they don’t and that makes the haters crazy because they don’t know what’s happening. That’s why you hear all the insane rumors because they’re just making things up in their mind of what is happening.” - Russ McKamey
What is McKamey Manor? McKamey Manor, founded by Russ McKamey, is known as the most extreme “haunted attraction” in the United States. However, what separates this attraction from the rest is the fact that there are no zombies or ghosts. Rather, there are actors who are legally allowed to bind you, gag you, and push you to your mental and physical limitations. Of course, the experience isn’t for the average person. To even get the chance to experience the Manor, you would be required to be at least 21 years of age (or 18 with parent’s permission), pass a physical exam, a background check, and a drug test. The tour, which operates year-round and can last up to 10 hours, offers participants the chance to earn $20,000 upon full completion. According to McKamey, not a single participant has ever successfully endured the full 10 hours. Just a handful of patrons are permitted to enter each weekend. There is no entrance fee, though McKamey asks that participants donate a bag of dog food upon their arrival. Besides meeting the necessary qualifications, McKamey requires that his participants refrain from swearing and physically engaging with the actors. Violation of these rules would be grounds for subsequently ending the tour. Now based in Summertown, Tennessee, and Huntsville, Alabama, the Manor bills itself as “an audience participation event in which YOU will live your own horror movie.” However, others describe it as a “torture chamber.” McKamey Manor has received criticism from the public, the “haunt” industry, and even some participants. Critics have branded McKamey a “psychopath” who found a “legal loophole” to fulfill his sadistic tendencies. Frequently asked questions range from “Is this legal?” to “Is this a hoax?” McKamey assures the public that not only is the attraction 100% within its legal rights of operating, it is also not a hoax. Waiver If all goes to plan, prospective participants are required to sign a 40-page waiver prior to the tour. The waiver asks that the participant understands and agrees to:
“19. Participant was warned numerous times about the intensity of MM and by the Owners and other members of the crew that YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO DO THIS.” “20. Participant agrees and understands that your life in reality is not in danger and this is just a game.” ”21. Participant agrees and understands that during the Tour and Participant is in the van, they will not be secured by a seatbelt or other safety device.” “22. Participant understands and agrees that they are not being tortured and this is just a game.” “23. Participant understands and agrees that they are not being beat up, kicked, slugged, or actually physically harmed. You will be roughed up but no one is there to hurt you. Knowing that, MM is very rough and not for the meek. Participant will have bumps, bruises, possible black eyes, swelling of the face, etc.” “24. Participant understands and agrees that they are never being held against their will.”
The waiver continues to stress that the experience is just “a game” several times. By number 28, the waiver starts to detail what the participant may be subjected to:
“28. Participant fully understands that by signing this waiver that they are giving MM permission to keep nothing off the table (except sexual or inappropriate situations). Everything else imaginable can and will happen inside of MM. You are aware of this and are giving full permission for any action that may happen inside of MM.” “29. Participant agrees to and has full knowledge that if selected to visit the barber, Participant may leave MM completely bald, including eyebrows.” “30. Participant agrees and knowledges that mousetraps are used within the Tour which may result in bruising, cutting, or breakage of fingers.” “31. Participant agrees that if selected, they could be buried alive under 12 feet of dirt and rock to which they will have a limited amount of air and that they will have to figure out how to escape and they could possibly breathe in a significant amount of dust, dirt, or foreign objects that may cause death if Participant does not breathe properly or hold their breath at the right time.” “32. Participant agrees to partake, if selected to participate, in a height stunt that involves walking a plank 25 feet above ground without a safety net.” “33. Participant agrees that if selected they will come in contact with a variety of live poisonous animals. It is the Participant’s responsibility to not panic or agitate the animals. If Participant is bitten, it is because the Participant made a sudden movement within a confined secured environment.”
The waiver continues for several more pages, the intensity increasing with each page. Consenting Participants or Victims? One San Diego participant, Amy Milligan, says that experience was more than “just a game.” According to Milligan, she suffered several injuries beyond “cuts and bruises.” Milligan was waterboarded during her tour. Milligan claims that, while exclaiming she could not breathe, actors laughed while they continued to waterboard her.
“My hair is wrapping around my neck and I start freaking out. I’m telling them I can't breathe and they’re just laughing and doing it more.”
Despite the “traumatic” experience, Mulligan spoke highly of the tour during her exit interview, going as far as adding that she did not feel like she had been “tortured” and treated it “as a game.” However, Mulligan claims that the only reason she left a positive review was to ensure that McKamey would upload the footage of her tour to YouTube. Mulligan had intended to use the footage as evidence of her excessive abuse. However, Mulligan found herself disappointed when she watched the video. According to Mulligan, the most distressing portion of her tour had been edited out of the footage. In an interview, Mulligan says that she begged to go home but was forced to continue to tour. “I’m like ‘I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I need to go home let me out, let me out,’ and they’re like ‘you’re not done.’” Mulligan adds, “[They] shoved my head back in the water and I was like, ‘They’re not going to let me out. I’m going to die in here.’” Another San Diego participant, Laura Hertz Brotherton, shares a story similar to that of Mulligan’s. Like Mulligan, Brotherton left the tour with more than just cuts and bruises. Prior to Brotherton’s scheduled tour, McKamey sent Brotherton tasks that she would have to complete in order to prove her loyalty to McKamey. Brotherton was required to purchase an adult onesie that she would wear on her tour and videotape her visit to a nearby Halloween store. Brotherton described her initial interactions with McKamey as “fun,” and was looking forward to the day of her tour. McKamey instructed that Brotherton upload her assignments to Facebook. While navigating McKamey Manor’s Facebook page, Brotherton became romantically involved with another fan on the other side of the country, despite the fact that they were both in, albeit estranged, relationships. To Brotherton’s surprise, her affair had struck a nerve with McKamey. So much so that upon Brotherton’s arrival to the Manor on October 23, 2016, McKamey publicly exposed Brotherton, who was in the company of her boyfriend. While Brotherton’s boyfriend was aware of the affair, her online partner’s wife was not aware. According to Brotherton, McKamey was cold to her for the remainder of the tour. Despite that Brotherton had just been humiliated, she was determined to power through. Brotherton had traveled to San Diego from Colorado and felt that it was too late to turn back. According to Brotherton, her experience was more extreme in comparison to others. Brotherton believes that McKamey was particularly harder on her. Brotherton believes that McKamey’s knowledge of her affair factored into the excessive abuse, noting that he appeared to be “personally offended” by it. Speaking of her experience, Brotherton says,
“I was waterboarded, I was tased, I was whipped. I still have scars of everything they did to me. I was repeatedly hit in my face, over and over and over again. Like, open-handed, as hard as a man could hit a woman in her face…” More graphically, Brotherton adds that she was blindfolded with duct tape and submerged underwater by her ankles. According to Brotherton, she was submerged underwater for so long that her body started involuntarily thrashing. Brotherton was later forced to dig a hole in dirt with nothing other than her bare hands. Brotherton was then forced to lie in the fresh hole while they covered her and her face with dirt, giving her only a straw to breathe through. “[The dirt] started to go into my throat, and I started to swallow it. I’m coughing and I keep saying ‘I need water,’ and they would just splash water in my face. That went on for, I want to say, 20 to 30 minutes.”
Brotherton repeated the safe word for several minutes before the actors finally relented. Like Mulligan, Brotherton had to record an exit video. In the video, Brotherton also spoke positively about her experience. Though according to Brotherton, it was because she was “forced” to.
“Before Russ turned the camera on he said to me, if I do not say good things about McKamey Manor and I start telling what actually happened, he’s going to sue me for $50,000. I signed a waiver saying this could happen. So Russ forced me into saying all these great things, like, ‘Oh my God, my tour was so amazing, it was exhilarating,’ blah, blah, blah.”
After her experience, Brotherton went to the hospital but refused to tell the hospital staff who or what caused her injuries. As a result, the hospital staff called the police. Brotherton, however, was discharged and left before the police arrived. Brotherton says that she later worked up the courage to report the incident to the police, but was told that she didn’t have a criminal case because of the waiver she signed. Brotherton took photographs to document her injures. According to journalist Megan Seling, who interviewed Brotherton for her article, Tennessee's McKamey Manor: Torture on Demand, the nature of Brotherton’s injuries included:
“In one photo, Brotherton is in a neck brace and a hospital gown and her face is markedly swollen. She has scrapes on her cheeks and a lump on her forehead, her lips are red and puffy, and there are small cuts at the corner of her mouth. In another image, you can see a large, bloody wound on Brotherton’s left knee. She says that’s an old surgery scar that opened up after McKamey’s actors cut off her knee pads and made her crawl on the ground. Her legs are covered in scratches, and there’s a large purple bruise on top of her left foot. There are also two pictures of her torso, showing large purple bruises that stretch across her hip and stomach. She says X-rays showed a hairline fracture in her foot, and the inside of her mouth was so scratched up from the hitting and “fish-hooking” (“Where they take their two fingers and they put them inside your mouth and they stretch your mouth open”) that the hospital sent her home with medical mouthwash, which she had to use every two hours for three days.”
According to Seling, McKamey didn’t deny Brotherton’s claims, though he did shed doubt on the fracture in her foot. McKamey also admitted to exposing her affair but claimed that it didn’t affect her tour in terms of increasing severity. Rather, according to McKamey, “Any personal information we have, we’ll use it against you in the tour.” Towards the end of the article, Seling states, “Here’s the thing: There is no $20,000. There’s no caiman named Ralphie, there’s no quicksand-like mud that will swallow you whole, and McKamey will certainly never slather your body in flame-retardant gel and lock you in an incinerator somewhere in Huntsville, Ala. None of that is real.” McKamey himself commented on the article, suggesting that Seling reported her opinions rather than facts. The comment read,
“Russ here, I'm posting this FB post here because I think it's worth mentioning. There really is only one part of your story that I have an issue with. Sure the way you went on and on about Laura B. without having the real facts was to be expected. Clearly if things happened the way you suggested in the piece...I would be in jail. I can assure you, Laura's tour was no tougher then other "Chamber" tours in San Diego. If you would have spoken to other contestants who have taken multiple tours (up to 5), including the same tour that Laura took...you would have received a balanced take on the San Diego shows. I offered you their names, but you decided to go with the most salacious participant. The person who has been banned by all other extreme attractions. Why...because she causes trouble and she does not speak the truth. The bottom line Megan Seling is this. Why did you feel it was important to get one final (unsubstantiated), dig in at myself and the Manor. Would you top off a story about a magician or illusionist with a statement about what is real or nor real? But for some reason you felt it necessary to do so covering the MM story. It may have been understandable to include your final paragraph if for some reason you really felt inclined to complain because I wasn't giving away my secrets, but you did so much more then that. You left your readers with the impression that what you were saying was fact. And that's were I have a big issue with what you presented to your audience. You deceived your readers by presenting your "opinion" as a factual statement. You even admitted to other FB readers that you you knew what you did was going to upset me, but you went full steam ahead nonetheless. In hindsight, that's probably the effect you were looking for. As you and I both know, I called it from the first phone call and several hours working with you on your story, how you would eventually spin the article. And as usual in these cases deal with the media...I was correct. But let's get back to the actual statement you presented to your audience as fact...not opinion. You wrote the following: "Here’s the thing: There is no $20,000. There’s no caiman named Ralphie, there’s no quicksand-like mud that will swallow you whole, and McKamey will certainly never slather your body in flame-retardant gel and lock you in an incinerator somewhere in Huntsville, Ala. None of that is real." That is not an opinon...you're stating this as fact. I would like to offer this challenge to you publicly here in your papers comment section. I have already done so numerous times as you're well aware. Because you're so keen on exploring what is real and not real at MCKAMEY MANOR, and because you're so inclined to make that the final impression of your story, I have a very simple way to bring this to a very exciting conclusion. All you have to do Megan is to actually take the tour. I would think as a professional journalist you would be more then happy to participate in this little adventure. If for no other reason just to get the actual facts correct. Unfortunately we all know you will never do that. Instead you'll sit behind your desk in the comfort of your safe space, writing about second hand information instead of actually seeking the truth from your own experience. I understand that there are those that are "participants" in the world, and others who simple watch from the sidelines. In your case I'm offering you a chance to actually become an active player and not just a computer warrior. If you would care to sign up for the tour, I'm pretty sure you would change your statement. What do you have to loose? Don't just toss opinions out as fact. Maybe you're absolutely correct that MCKAMEY MANOR in not real in the faintest, and that nothing is what it seems. My challenge to you is to be a real real journalist and find out the facts. Imagian the great story you would have, and I know your supporters would love to see you get away from your desk and safe space to show us all what MCKAMEY MANOR is real all about. Is MM just "Smoke and Mirrors," or it it something much more exciting and magical. This would make an excellent follow on piece for your paper. Do you have what it takes Megan to actually find out the truth? If anyone would like to participate in the MM experience, please fill out the contact form at www.Mckameymanor.com. Be advise you must be able to meet all basic requirements and you must provide a doctors letter stating your mentally and physically cleared to participate in our little adventure called MCKAMEY MANOR. And no matter what you may have read in this article, the chance to win 20,000.00 is absolutely real. Do I believe that will ever happen...not on your life ladies and gentlemen. MM is looking forward to meeting each and every one of you. One final note, I'm the most transparent individual you'll ever have the opportunity to meet. If anyone one of you reading this comment have any questions for me, feel free to call me directly at (omitted by u/BubbaJoeJones). I will answer any and all questions...concerning anything. Thank you for reading my little rant :-). Russ McKamey”
Questions and Theories
Real, or Staged?
McKamey, who is a fan of filmmaking and acting, uploads footage of participant’s tours to YouTube. Or, he used to. McKamey has since stopped uploading to YouTube, presumably because of backlash. However, McKamey hasn’t stopped uploading footage of the tours entirely. According to Facebook users who are in McKamey Manor’s private Facebook group, McKamey still privately uploads, and occasionally live streams, the tours. The tours, which resemble movies backed by professional editing, lighting, and props, raise questions as to whether or not what we’re seeing is staged. In one video, the footage shows three individuals reading the waiver aloud prior to signing. During the reading, McKamey repeats the Manor’s tagline, “You don’t really want to do this.” While the individuals are attempting to read the waiver aloud, they are having their hair pulled out of their scalps, being smacked in the face, and being choked with rope rung around their necks. Footage later shows the individuals having their eyebrows and hair shaved off (and later being forced to eat it), including other sadistic acts such as having drills forced in their nose and mouth, being locked inside a freezer, and being forced to eat raw dead animals. These acts lead some people to theorize that it’s “just a movie” and that the participants themselves are actors. People speculate that not only what is shown on camera real, neither is the alleged waiting-list. According to McKamey, there is a waiting list totaling about 27,000 prospective participants in 2015. However, there is no evidence to support the claim that there are 27,000 prospective participants on the waiting list. There are also people who question the existence of the $20,000 prize upon completion. According to McKamey’s comment, “the chance to win 20,000.00 is absolutely real.” However, some people, including Seling, find it suspicious that nobody has ever been able to claim the prize. McKamey has said on record that though the prize exists, it’s “impossible” to attain. Though, as Seling pointed out, it’s not due to being unable to complete the tour in its entirety, it’s by design. According to some participants, McKamey decides when you’re through, even if you never withdrew your consent. As a result, despite what McKamey claimed, many believe there was no $20,000 prize.
How Does McKamey Afford it?
One question that remains unanswered is how McKamey is able to fund the Manor. McKamey, who is a US Navy Veteran, does not profit off the Manor. As mentioned before, McKamey accepts his payment in the form of dog food, which is later donated to Operation Greyhound. Additionally, McKamey invested $500,000 out of pocket into the establishment of the Manor in San Diego. According to McKamey, he was shelling out about $250-275 a night for an on-site EMT and somewhere between $15,000-20,000 per year on specialty insurance. McKamey estimates that it cost around $500 per haunt. How is/was this experience bankrolled? Theories and rumors have ranged from believing that McKamey sells the entirety of his footage on the Dark Web, to taking a cut from a betting pool who watches the live streams from Las Vegas. Though according to McKamey, he doesn’t profit off the Manor “at all.” McKamey admitted to struggling financially after having lost his job as a Veteran’s Advocate. As a result, he found that he had to move the Manor where it would be more affordable. As a result, McKamey moved San Diego home and purchased property in Tennessee and Alabama. According to McKamey, his only source of income is his $800 monthly retirement check.
Is it Legal?
There has been some debate regarding the legality of operating McKamey Manor. As mentioned before, Brotherton reported the incident to the police and was told that there was nothing that can be done as she had signed a waiver. Moreover, the police were called to McKamey Manor on more than one occasion. According to Seling, police arrived to find one woman in a basement, shivering and bruised with duct tape over her mouth. When police asked the woman if the interaction was consensual, the woman said yes. Police had no option other than to leave. According to the Brent Cooper, District Attorney of Lawrence County, Tennessee, McKamey Manor is legal. Cooper says that as long as McKamey participants are there voluntarily, no crime is being committed. However, Cooper does add that a participant can withdraw consent in the state of Tennessee at any time. If McKamey were to disregard the withdrawal of consent, a participant would then be classified as a victim who is being held against their will. McKamey Manor Today McKamey Manor’s Tennessee location is, according to McKamey, far less physically involved than it was in San Diego. According to McKamey, the experience in Tennessee and Alabama is more of a “mental game.” Rather than being physically tortured, the participant is manipulated into believing that torture is being inflicted upon them. In response to an online petition demanding that the alleged “torture chamber” be “shut down,” McKamey clarified, “There’s no torture, there’s nothing like that, but under hypnosis if you make someone believe there’s something really scary going on, that’s just in their own mind and not reality. If you’re good enough and you’re able to get inside somebody’s noggin like the way that I can, I can make folks believe whatever I want them to believe. I’m like the most strait-laced guy you could think of, but here I run this crazy haunted house. And people twist it around in their little minds. It really is a magic act, what I do. It’s a lot of smoke and mirrors.” However, that isn’t to say people escape the Manor unscathed. McKamey stands by the possibility that one may leave with cuts and bruises, as stated in the waiver. Despite people having attempted to shut down McKamey Manor by signing petitions and filing police reports, McKamey Manor is still operating year-round in Tennessee and Alabama. According to McKamey, some people have grown so defiant to his presence that they have sent death threats and shot through his windows. Out of the hundreds of threats that McKamey has received over the years, McKamey recalls the one time that he was involved in a potentially life-threatening incident. Shortly before McKamey moved to Tennessee, a single bullet flew by his head while he was working outside in his yard. However, McKamey never reported the alleged incident to the police, claiming that he didn’t want to bring any more attention to himself. Conclusion
“I’m not going to open it to the masses–I like keeping it a secret. I like the mystery of the manor. If you saw everything it’d be like any other haunted house. That’s my goal, even when I’m dead and gone, to make sure people are still talking about McKamey Manor. That’s why nobody is really going to ever see behind the wall.” - Russ McKamey
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUSLY:
We open with a ton of details on Steve Austin walking out on WWE last week, and the story took a darker turn this week when Austin was accused of allegedly beating his wife Debra. Looks like Dave is just going to run through the whole last couple of weeks first though, before we get to all that. No wrestler in the history of the business has generated more money than Austin has in the past 5 years, leading the way for WWE to become listed on the New York Stock Exchange and valued at more than $1 billion. Hulk Hogan, Antonio Inoki, Gorgeous George, Jim Londos....no one in the history of wrestling, even adjusted for inflation, has been a bigger money-maker than Steve Austin. Throughout it all, he had a reputation as a pro's pro, always working hard and being unselfish in trying to help the company and his co-workers grow. But over the last few months, things had changed. The company is nose-diving, Austin had become paranoid and distrustful of the locker room, particularly when the NWO guys were brought in. He refused to work with Hogan at Wrestlemania and wasn't happy about working with Hall either, and insisted on decisively winning their match and blowing off the feud. He went home after Wrestlemania, no-showing Raw the night after, but things seemed to be patched up soon after. When he came back, he still wasn't happy and spoke out publicly against the brand extension and the overall creative direction of the company. A lot of people in the locker room supported Austin, feeling he was completely justified in his complaints because everyone realizes the wheels are falling off the company lately. The Sunday night before Raw last week, Austin was told by Jim Ross that the plan was for him to face Brock Lesnar, with the idea that Eddie Guerrero would cost him the match. Austin pointed out the obvious: him vs. Lesnar is a huge money match that should be built up for months on PPV. Lesnar should go through the whole locker room before he gets to Austin last. No first, on free TV, with no build-up. Austin hated the idea and said he wasn't coming if that was the plan. Ross told Vince, who called Austin and left a voicemail. He told Austin to call him back, no matter what time. Austin did call back, at 2am, and they discussed the plan. According to Vince, Austin had reluctantly agreed to it. Austin evidently felt otherwise, because he showed up to Raw that day, found out the Lesnar match was still booked, and decided, "fuck that", got on a plane and went home with Debra.
Raw that night was mostly built around the angle where Ric Flair would have to be Austin's personal assistant after he lost their match last week. Because much of the show was written around that, they had to re-write the whole show at the last minute in a panic, abruptly turning Flair babyface again and ending the huge dual-ownership angle with no build-up (it really sounds like Vince was determined to give away something huge on TV that week without building it up. "Ok, fine, Austin walked out. What else can we ruin this week and throw away a perfectly good PPV money opportunity?"). Meanwhile, Austin was ignoring all phone calls until he finally answered one from Jim Ross, who told Austin he was being unprofessional and to come try and talk it out with Vince. But Austin refused, saying he refused to work with McMahon anymore, and hung up.
So then came the burial. Vince McMahon and Jim Ross taped interviews for this week's episode of WWE Confidential in which they completely buried Austin, with Vince vowing to never bring him back. Basically everything you can imagine: Austin turned his back on the fans, he betrayed the little kids with Stone Cold shirts and all the fans who made him rich. WWE invested so much in Austin only for him to turn his back on them and so on and so forth. Jim Ross in particular dumped a lot of dirt on Austin's grave here, which Dave seems taken aback by. Austin saved Jim Ross' announcing career by insisting that JR be brought back for his Wrestlemania 15 match with Rock. At the time, Ross was still suffering from Bells palsy and Vince had no intention of ever bringing him back, but Austin insisted and the crowd reaction led to Ross being brought back permanently. So for Ross to be burying his good friend like this seems to rub Dave the wrong way (for what it's worth, it rubbed JR the wrong way too. He's gone on record a million times since then saying he wished he hadn't done it and he's apologized to Austin profusely for it). Ross talked openly about some of Austin's personal business, like his previous divorce or when his kids went to live in England, and hinted that Austin's issues were more than just professional burnout. At the time this was being filmed, nobody knew just how true that was.
The night before WWE Confidential aired, at 4am, Austin's wife Debra called 911 to their home in San Antonio, claiming Austin had attacked her. Austin drove away in his yellow Corvette before the police arrived. When they showed up, they found Debra crying with a large welt on her face. She said Austin had hit her several times after an argument then left when she made the 911 call. She said she was worried about the call because of how famous Austin is and knowing word would get out. She also showed them several marks on her back where she said Austin hit her. Austin called the house twice while police were there and they spoke to him and advised him to come home. Austin was cordial to the officers on the phone but refused to come back home while they were there. Debra declined to press charges and because she refused to seek medical attention, under Texas law, the police pretty much consider it a dead issue unless she changes her mind. Austin later returned home after they left. The national news media didn't pick up on it until Monday, at which point it became a huge story. They even had a news helicopter following Austin driving around town (with an open beer in his Corvette), talking with his neighbors in his yard, and also showed him flipping off the news cameras (I can't find footage of any of this). Because Austin is a wrestler and play fighting is what they do, the media treated this very serious issue as if were almost a joke, which Dave seems disgusted by.
With Austin being all over the news that day, this led to the unannounced surprise return of The Rock on Raw, after they spent the whole show teasing that Austin would show up. Rock wasn't scheduled to return until next month, to build for a match at Summerslam, but knowing the company was in a tough situation, Rock agreed to come back early. The plan appears to be for Rock to challenge for the WWE title at Fully Loaded next month. There's also been talk about Rock winning the title and then dropping it to Brock Lesnar at Summerslam, which is a surefire way to create a new superstar (indeed, that's exactly what happens). Rock's return, since it came as a complete surprise, was a flop in the ratings. If they had built it up just one week, they could have made some money on it, but not building up anything seems to be the M.O. for WWE these days. Between the Shawn Michaels return, the FlaiVince blow-off, and now this, that's 3 Raws in a row where they gave away major moments that should/could have been built up for bigger ratings or PPV money. Dave calls WWE a junkie pawning its $2,500 ring for $500 just to get a quick fix. And that's not even getting into the smaller details, such as the fact that Rock is a Smackdown guy, so why the fuck is he returning on Raw anyway? But again, the wheels are totally off the WWE train here in 2002. It's clear to see in retrospect how WWE was falling from their peak and Vince was desperately clawing at any idea he could think of to stop the bleeding.
So back to Austin. Even after the story broke, Vince went on Raw and changed his tune, saying he hoped Austin would some day come back to WWE but time would tell and for now, he's gone. Dave says if you think this is going to end Austin's career, look at Mike Tyson, Jimmy Snuka, Invader I, and Chris Adams. All of whom did even more heinous things than Austin and their careers were just fine. Dave is pretty sure he'll be back. Rock came out on Raw, gave a big rah-rah speech in which he also pretty much buried Austin for "taking his ball and going home" and did the whole "get the F out" tagline. And that's it on the Austin saga for now.
It's officially super-duper extra official now: the World Wrestling Federation is dead. WWE lost its final appeal in the UK's highest court in their battle against the World Wildlife Fund. Vince McMahon had already thrown in the towel and the company has already been renamed to WWE, but the final appeal was never dropped and was still going through the system. In the highly unlikely event that they somehow won the case, they planned to revert back to the WWF initials. But of course, they didn't win. Just like every single lower court before them, the court handed the wrestling company its final defeat. So WWF is dead. WWE it is.
Motoko Baba officially announced that she will be retiring as AJPW president at the end of September. It's expected that Keiji Muto will take over the role, which has been heavily rumored ever since he jumped ship from NJPW.
A rookie named Trevor Rhodes, who was trained by Harley Race, will be working the upcoming tour for Pro Wrestling NOAH (this would be future WWE star Trevor Murdoch).
NJPW held its annual stockholders meeting and Antonio Inoki couldn't even be bothered to attend. Masa Chono and Tatsuo Kawamura were named to the board of directors, to replace Riki Choshu. Speaking of, Choshu was also there and sold all his stock in the company and left without speaking to reporters.
In a radio interview, Jesse Ventura announced that he will not be running for a second term as Minnesota's governor. Ventura didn't go into all the reasons why, but he did acknowledge a recent controversy as playing a part. There's been some news stories this week noting that Ventura's 22-year-old son used the governor's mansion for a late night weekend party awhile back. Cleaning crew members of the mansion went public saying that when their parents are gone, this kid basically throws wild parties there that they have to clean up after. Ventura shot back, basically claiming his son is being slandered and denied it, but said the attacks on his family made him not want to run again. The news stories talked about some of the alleged damage and Dave actually sides with Ventura here. The damage doesn't sound that bad (some empty beer cans, a broken pool cue, and some tables that were scuffed up. "Geez, that's my house whenever there is a fight night," Dave writes. Doesn't sound like that wild of a party. A 22-year old brings his friends over to watch sports and drink some beer. Dave doesn't think that should be a huge controversy or anything. Neighbors near the mansion have said there's been no issue with noise or disturbances.
Major League Wrestling had its debut show at the old ECW Arena and the MLW championship was won by Shane Douglas. They did an angle where they basically tried to re-create the famous Shane Douglas/NWA title incident, where Shane was gonna throw the belt down, but they did an angle where he was told he'd be fined and suspended for life from wrestling if he didn't defend the belt. Angle didn't get over at all and most people there hated it and it led to pretty mediocre reviews for the show overall. Bam Bam Bigelow was supposed to work the show, but when he arrived, he found out they wanted him to do a job to AJPW wrestler Taiyo Kea in the first round of the title tournament. Bam Bam said fuck that and bounced. Steve Corino also managed to get a "fuck Paul Heyman!" chant going, in the ECW Arena nonetheless, which is an interesting note.
Sandman will be doing a celebrity boxing match in Philly soon, going against Tony Luke, who owns a bunch of sandwich shops in the area and is known as "The King of Sandwiches" in Philadelphia. Sure, why not?
There was a recent news story about Sputnik Monroe from a reporter who was in Memphis for the Tyson/Lewis boxing match. The reporter went to the Memphis Rock 'n Soul museum and saw the big display they had there for Monroe, including his ring jacket, trunks, boots, etc. Dave recaps the history of Monroe, who is credited with desegregating wrestling in Memphis during the Jim Crow days of the 1950s. Monroe was a white wrestler who hung out in the black part of town and, as a result, became the black fans' favorite wrestler. He was a huge draw in Memphis at a time when black fans weren't allowed to sit in the main seats, only the nosebleeds in the balcony. Monroe's popularity was so big that one week, they turned away more than 1,000 black fans even though they had room in the arena. Just not in the "colored" section. So Monroe told the promoter he was quitting if they didn't let in his black fans. And since Monroe was such a huge draw, the promoter caved, and just like that, black fans were allowed to sit with white fans anywhere in the arena. It actually had a domino effect, because it was the first sporting event in Memphis to desegregate and it led to other sporting and entertainment events in the city following suit. In the 50s and 60s, Memphis was one of the only wrestling territories in America that was desegregated like this (fun fact: I used to live in Memphis and just went to that museum back in 2018. For starters, I highly recommend it if you're ever in town. In fact, I have a million recommendations for anyone who ever visits Memphis. That city is my heart and soul. Also, the Sputnik Monroe exhibit is still there).
The TNA debut show hasn't happened at press time, but Ken Shamrock is expected to win the NWA title in the battle royal gimmick. If he doesn't, it's because there was a last minute change, but as of now, it's absolutely going to be Shamrock.
Good news for TNA, the company reached an agreement with Dish Network, which adds another 7-8 million potential homes to their exposure. The only PPV provider in the U.S. not carrying them now is Cablevision.
The TNA cruiserweight title has been renamed the "X" title. The idea is that it's not necessarily going to be limited to just small guys and will act more as a secondary title to the NWA belt, not exclusively a cruiserweight thing.
Disco Inferno turned down an offer to join TNA because they wanted him to change his name to Ad Man and have a gimmick where people print/draw ads on his body, like they do in boxing sometimes. Or like a NASCAR. The idea is he would be covered in ads and every week, he'd lose a match and a "sponsor" would drop out and eventually, he'd have no sponsors left because he keeps losing. Gee, hard to see why he turned that gimmick down.
Random other TNA notes: Ed Ferrara is involved in writing the shows along with Jeff and Jerry Jarrett (and, let's be honest, Vince Russo, though that's still top secret. Shhhh, don't tell anybody). Jeff Jarrett was in the pits for the recent NASCAR Kroger 300 race with Hermie Sadler, who is scheduled to be at TNA's debut show. Former ECW manager Sinister Minister will be part of this company, using his real name James Mitchell. K-Krush (Ron Killings, aka R-Truth) is expected to be one of the main heels in the promotion.
Okay, fine. Let's talk Russo. Officially, he's still not involved, but he has submitted a bunch of ideas, many of which are expected to be implemented on the debut show. But "officially" he's not part of the company (he's still gotta have a quick cup of coffee in WWE before they kick him to the curb again, at which point he finally decides to join TNA for real).
The WWA promotion is in deep trouble. They have a show scheduled for Ireland soon and ticket sales for that show are pretty decent. But every other show on their books looks to be dying. They have 3 shows scheduled for Germany next month and all 3 shows have less than 500 tickets sold each. The German promoters are wanting to cancel the tour but WWA promoter Andrew McManus has a contract that will result in a lot of financial penalties for him if the shows are canceled, so he's fighting it. Lex Luger is booked for the tour, which would be his first time wrestling since WCW went down. They're also still promoting names like Jeff Jarrett and other TNA contracted talent, but with their new plan of running live every week, it's going to be hard for any of them to get overseas, work the tour, and still do the TNA tapings.
XWF is making one last grasp to survive. Even though they've been saying this for almost a year now, the promotion is claiming once again to be very close to getting a TV deal. If it goes through, the plan is to hold a press conference to announce it and then tape 5 weeks of TV to air in Sept. and Oct., with plans to air a PPV some time in late-October. Dave says this sounds like desperation to him and he's not buying that a TV deal is close. Especially since they lost all their top stars, like Hogan, Curt Hennig, and Jerry Lawler, all of whom were involved at the beginning but have all since returned to WWE (though Hennig has since been fired by WWE again, so he's available). But even if this miraculously happens, most of the marketable names left out there have already signed short-term deals with TNA that will last through October, so they wouldn't be available either. So XWF will be struggling to fill a roster with names anyone even cares about (obviously this never happens).
UFC will make its TV debut as part of a 30-minute segment on Fox Sports' "The Best Damn Sports Show Period." It will be hosted by Fear Factor host Joe Rogan, who is a huge UFC fan and has a lot of martial arts experience himself. The idea is to show one full fight in its entirety (Robbie Lawler vs. Steve Berger), with highlights of other fights to fill out the rest of the time. Dave criticizes them for not putting Chuck Liddell vs. Vitor Belfort on the show, or at least airing highlights, but that's not the plan as of press time. Obviously, that's a strong PPV draw and that's where the money is, but you only get one chance to make a good impression and Dave thinks it would be in UFC's best interest to give TV viewers a taste of their best foot forward and try to get somebody like Liddell over with a new, large audience.
Dave says the Bob Sapp fight in K-1 that was talked about last week, in which Sapp basically mauled his opponent in such a way that he got DQ'd, was at least partially a work. Had it not been, Sapp would have been immediately fired, not given a rematch with the same opponent 6 weeks later. There's a pretty good chance that his opponent didn't know and that the people who ran in to separate them after the fight didn't know either, but Dave seems pretty confident that Sapp was instructed by someone higher up in K-1 to do what he did.
Rock's next movie, "Helldorado" is expected to film between September until around Christmas. WWE is hopeful Rock can make some appearances on TV during the those months in between filming dates, but that's going to be difficult to pull off (indeed, he never shows up during this time).
Speaking of Rock, he worked the Honalulu, HI house show over the weekend, which drew an easy sellout crowd, the first sellout for a house show in a long time. Due to Rock being on the card, tickets sold out in 2 hours and scalpers were making a ton of money. In fact, the show was such a big deal that a local radio station was giving away tickets for the craziest stunt fans could pull and 2 fans walked through downtown Honolulu completely naked in order to score tickets. Rock beat Jericho in the main event in a great match. It was WWE's first time there in 8 years (Dave corrects himself from before, when he said 14 years in a previous issue and someone here on Reddit called him out on it haha). Rock got a reaction like Antonio Inoki in Japan, he was basically a god in this city. A lot of his friends and family were there as well and backstage, Rock told people that the show was bigger to him than even his 4 Wrestlemania main events and called it the biggest night of his career. When talking about his grandfather, Rock got emotional and began crying and talked about his history promoting in Hawaii. Bruce Willis, for whatever reason, was in attendance, and during the match, they did an angle where Rock held Jericho for Willis to punch him which got a huge pop. Genichiro Tenryu and Motoko Baba were there as well, meeting with John Laurinaitis (Johnny Ace, who spent much of his career in AJPW). They were there to discuss doing business with WWE as well as to get some photo ops for the magazines back in Japan so they can get that WWE-rub. (Sure enough, here's an article from just a couple months ago where Rock says once again, to this day, that the match with Jericho in Hawaii was the most meaningful match of his career. I can't find any footage of the damn thing though, which is a shame).
Notes from Raw: X-Pac lost in a King of the Ring qualifier match to RVD and Dave says it's a good thing nobody in WWE pays attention to their own storylines because just a week or two ago, the story was that if anyone in the NWO loses a match going forward, they're out of the group. But of course, that wasn't even acknowledged or remembered here. Raven lost to Jeff Hardy in 3 minutes and Dave's not sure that Raven made the right move by giving up his safe commentary job because they sure don't seem to see much in him as a wrestler. The "Molly Holly is fat" storyline continued because fuck this company. Lawler even tried to get a "She's a fat ass" chant going. Backstage, X-Pac was shown crying after his loss, "sort of like real life," Dave jokes. They teased Austin showing up by playing his music and having Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit come out instead. They did a thing with Jackie Gayda teasing her being on the WWE Lingerie Special that airs next week and had Vince hitting on her backstage, making it very apparent why she was chosen to win Tough Enough over the obvious most deserving finalist, Kenny. And in the main event, Nash and Shawn Michaels were on commentary burying the match, making fun of Jim Ross, etc. And of course, the show closed with Rock doing his surprise return and promo where he pretty much buried Austin for leaving.
Coming out of Raw, a TON of fans still seemed to think the Austin thing was an angle. Vince's first promo, which was a total shoot about Austin being gone, didn't get over that way, with most fans in the arena expecting an angle and waiting for him to show up. There were constant "We want Austin!" chants and many people that Dave has heard from even thought the Confidential episode was all a work.
Notes from Smackdown: all the mentions of Austin on commentary weren't done live during the show, but were later dubbed in. Mostly it was just an effort to plug the Confidential episode about him, and it was such a last minute decision to do that episode that they had to edit the plugs in after the show was taped. The wall of security guards in the ring during the Triple H/Undertaker contract signing was copying the same thing they did before the Tyson/Lewis fight because it's a pretty cool visual. Nidia is doing a hillbilly gimmick now. Hurricane seems to be dropping his gimmick and going back to Gregory Helms. Word is most of the agents hated the Hurricane character for whatever dumb reason.
Dave talks about the upcoming Hogan vs. Kurt Angle match at King of the Ring and is curious to see how it goes. He thinks the most likely ending is Vince costing Hogan the match and Angle pinning him, but he's curious to see if Hogan is really going to try to put Angle over or is it gonna be another Kidman situation. That being said, WWE is protecting Angle and there's serious talk of giving Angle a run as the top guy, in the wake of Austin and Rock leaving and Undertaker and Triple H being so banged up. The idea is to put the belt on Angle and have him take on all comers, heel and face, like an old-school Lou Thesz-type champion. Either way, this Hogan match is going to be a test of how good Angle is because if he can't carry Hogan to a good match, then no one can. It's also going to be a test of whether Hogan is really the team player he claims to be now (yeah Dave's gonna be shocked at how this one ends I bet).
At the latest WWE tapings in Atlanta, Dusty Rhodes was backstage visiting and introducing his 16-year-old son Cody Runnels to everyone. Cody has been training with his father to be a wrestler. Good luck kid.
Former 50s-80s promoter Jim Barnett was also backstage at Raw and since it was his birthday, the McMahons got him a cake and orchestrated everyone singing happy birthday to him. Barnett was there because he was just hired as a consultant, which is curious timing. Barnett hadn't been officially hired by TNA or anything, but he had agreed to appear at their debut show as part of an angle with old NWA champions. So when WWE swooped in this past week and hired him, it got a lot of people talking but Dave says there's nothing to it. If Vince McMahon was trying to poach people from TNA, he wouldn't start by hiring a 78-year-old guy to be a consultant.
The local FOX station in Los Angeles, like everyone else, covered the Steve Austin/Debra story on the "Good Day L.A." morning newscast. The story was presented as a big joke, even using the headline "Smackdown At Home." Well, one of the anchors, Jillian Barberie, refused to play along, presenting the story as the serious issue it is and afterwards, criticized the station's writing team live on the air, calling them low class for making light of a woman being beaten by her husband.
Random WWE news and notes: Bubba Ray Dudley missed the UK PPV and TV this week due to the death of his mother. Edge and Chris Jericho have joined Kurt Angle as part of the Get Tough on Angina campaign that Angle has already been doing commercials for. A commercial for Summerslam was filmed this week with a bunch of guys chasing Trish Stratus in an ice cream truck.
Rey Mysterio made his WWE debut at a house show in San Diego, beating Chavo Guerrero. Mysterio was wearing his mask again and was said to be more impressive than anyone else on the show. The mask actually did come off by accident at one point though. Mysterio also looked substantially bigger than he did in WCW because, well, he's coming to WWE and you know how that goes.
NEXT WEDNESDAY:Bret Hart injured in bicycle accident, WWE re-hires Vince Russo, King of the Ring fallout, and more coverage of TNA's debut than you could ever possibly want, and a ton more...
Hi I'm just a scrub and user who loves LCS and wants to see teams improve. I made this write up based on my perspective of watching every game and team in LCS so far and hope that we see these improvements from each team/player. I go through not only every team, but also every player on each team. Starting from the bottom of the standings here we go: Cloud9- I lied I'm going to get this out of the way now. Team is too good to have anything to actually tell until they reach the international stage. Stream the high ping scrims against G2. Licorice- I bet you can't win with Teemo top in the LCS. If you find a way to do it I will make a shrine praying to you every day as my new lord and savior of top laners. Blaber- I bet you can't win a LCS game with Amumu or Warwick whichever one. Just think it would be the ultimate flex to pull it off in the second half. Nisqy- I bet you can't win a LCS game with Annie mid? Do it you coward. Zven- I think you should play a game of Syndra bot against TSM specifically. Just for the lols and to flex that you are a better mage player than DL. Vulcan- Xerath would be fun to see you bust out. I don't know the situation, but take it into consideration? Is anyone else flabbergasted at the fact that this guy has only been around for like 1 full year and is already one of the best supports this region has ever seen? He is better than CoreJJ. I need people to take in this as fact right now. CoreJJ is not a scrub and this young kid comes out of nowhere basically and is already top tier. Dignitas - Shits fucked man. Even games that it feels Dig should have won are losses due to poor decision making as a team. What sucks is that I see them trying to play around their strength of Johnsun and Aphromoo, but it still isn't working. I think at this point you just have to stick with that as a strategy because I quite frankly don't see them winning any other way as far as an avenue for success. Maybe if they are feeling desperate they should start asking Lourlo for any major counterpicks he wants to play for a 4-1 split push set up. Lourlo- It's sad that this guy is actually playing pretty well and won't be able to get the recognition he deserves. He hasn't been poor and just needs a little bit of oomph for the team to pull a win. I watch a ton of Lourlo streams so I'm a bit biased towards him and want him to succeed. I think if they continue to not find success as a team just give him a game with a hard counter for a split push win. Bust out a Nasus if you have to. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Viper- I don't know what happened to here, but this is not the leap we were hoping to see this year from Viper. He has just regressed so much it's kind of crazy. I hope that he is able to come out of his slump because when he is good he is really good. Unfortunately we don't know when he will step back up. Akaadian- Pathing seems wrong. Aggression seems dumb. Decisions seem reckless. I think the epitome of the jungler struggles for this team came when in week 3 against TL I saw Akaadian die bot side 1v1 to Impact trying to make a hero kill as Olaf into Jayce with phase rush. It isn't that heroics aren't needed, but that was definitely not the smartest moment to try and find out. This isn't a problem with just Akaadian however since Dardoch is did the same exact thing except a different team in a different moment. Dardoch- Maybe, just maybe other people trying to tell you how to play certain things is for the good of the team? We have seen you with Graves try and play as if you are Olaf/J4. We have just seen you get outplayed and be overagressive and throw what could be winning fights over and over. The sad part is that you are a slight upgrade over Akaadian so you can't even be immediately replaced. However both of you tend to have the same flaws. Froggen- I like old players like Froggen. I like seeing long standing veterans still having a place in this league. I'm not going to go as far as to say Froggen should retire. More that he needs to go into the lab and refine his style. People will say that Froggen needs to change his style to more of the roaming style that others have gone in, but I think there is a way to maintain his lane dominant style while also adapting to the times. It doesn't need to be Anivia that he uses, but there have been picks like Ziggs showing up in the LCK that offer some of the same zoning and wave clear she does that could be useful. I don't think he is washed, but he should really look at better ways of adapting. Fenix- I'm amazed I can watch the same PROFESSIONAL PLAYER make the same mistakes with vision he made years ago. That's all I got to say about that. Johnsun/Aphro- Bot lane duos count as one unless one is so disproportionately bad compared to the other for an example here think TSM Yellowstar. The only real bright spot on this team. I'm very willing to call Aphro the adc whisperer at this point since he is almost always working with young talent and somehow they all tend to shine when he is working with them. Turnaround season for him and a rising season for Johnsun. Now get these two maybe on to GGS and I honestly think GGS would be at .500. We will get to GGS in a bit. Immortals- The current roster is 1-3 as far as I'm concerned. I like what I'm seeing from Allorim and Insanity so far, and I'm really glad they are getting their shots and showing what they are made of. I am however dissappointed with Xmithie. Soaz- This is going to be a shock, but Soaz... is actually good?! In terms of overall skill I think he is still better than Allorim, however, I will not be putting him as a starter. It's okay to still be good Soaz, but can you be better? The team needs you to be more than what we know of you right now. You shouldn't be catching so much flak for the team underperforming, but all anyone thinks about when your name comes up is how you have been dunked by Ssumday twice. They forget how you make game saving plays because you don't always create the leads needed on your own or through any synergy with your team. This is just my perception from the outside, but whatever weird thing bias you have against NA specifically needs to be put down with your ego. There is something weird that happens to some EU players when they come over in thinking they are overall so much better than the NA players, but then you find out the hard way that the skill gap isn't as big as you think it is and you can't get away with mediocrity. I think you can EARN the spot back. You are great enough to be able to. Allorim- The only thing I really have to say to about Allorim is that I was for some reason expecting you to pull out a Yorick into the Wukong pick since it's a solid matchup for Yorick, but I understand that it pigeon holes the team into a split push team comp that can be risky in the current roam everywhere you can meta. Still at this point picks like Urgot and malph have been great for the team, and he has shown up to play. I really hope this is something that can be sustained by you overall. Potluck- Alright I'm saying it. You have been better than Xmithie this split. I'm a huge Xmithie fan boy. Even when he was on team Vulcan I was a fan. I think this is his worst split ever. Even worse than his last split on CLG and you deserve a shot. Xmithie- I don't think I have ever watched Xmithie be the worst player on a team before, but here we are in 2020. New experiences for everyone all around. Everyone has slumps and since you are a multiple time champion I EXPECT you to pick yourself up. The only argument I have for keeping this guy as the starter is that the synergy with Hakuho is pretty great. Especially because both of you are cerebral players. However sometimes in league you need to be cerebral and other times you have to be able to show you can just press buttons better. It's been a while since I have felt you can press buttons better than the opponent. Eika- I don't want to come across as a bully. I just don't feel you are worth the import slot. You are a good player, just not one for this league right now. With someone like Ryoma, you see those moments where he slides in with Azir and 1v3s with a nice shuffle to bring the game back from the brink and it let's you know there is potential in the guy. Or in his best of series in playoffs last split you see he learned from getting smacked around. When I think of you Eika I think back to game 1 of the split where you have Galio and you are taunting over the wall around the 16 minute mark for at best a terrible looking taunt, then I realize you are trying flash taunt. They took that out of the game man... I just don't see those same sparks of brilliance from you. Sorry. Insanity- Alright everything I said about Eika is opposite here. The fact that you weren't at least given a shot earlier is a blunder and it makes sense why the old GM was fired for not letting you start after game 2 of the split. I really hope that the overall poor standings of the split don't deter your growth, cause kid you got the moves. Gate/Altec- While losses haven't been on this bot lane, what I feel seperates them from the duo of Hakuho/Apollo is that when given a winning match up they seem to flounder it. I do feel as if Gate is the worse half of this duo just due to how much he seems to get caught out, but it definitely doesn't feel like Altec does a lot in regards of carrying either. Sometimes I watch and it's as if Altec is playing for his stats whereas Gate is playing for the win, but making the wrong plays to do it. Just from my eye test. Apollo/Hakuho- About what I expected. That is both a good thing and a bad thing. At this point I feel like these guys are the measuring stick for how good a bot lane should be at minimum to be in the LCS. You are the height requirement for this kiddie ride we call LCS. If you aren't at least as good as this duo, then you aren't good enough to be here. Again, both a compliment and an insult. 100T - Although I understand shake ups had to happen, I'm personally on the side of Stunt in his good bye message. It is a really big shame that he won't be able to prove that they can rally later in the season again like they did last split. I understand that changes had to happen, but who is to say that the group with Meteos and Stunt couldn't do it again. It is now one of my great what if scenarios as well. Ssumday- Right now still a top 3 top laner in this league. Tanks? Got the team. Bruisers? Yeah sure. Carries? Yeah he can do that. I think one thing that urks a lot of fans is the lack of hard carries put in Ssumdays hands, but he is a great tank player as well and for a lot of the scenarios it isn't ideal to have a top lane carry oriented pick for this team. They have been on the side of scaling for as a team for a bit now and players like Cody need multiple big boys in front of them to be the most effective. He just does his best and respects all, but fears none. Meteos- Let's ignore the twitter debacle and really focus on just the gameplay and if Meteos as a player can look at those Olaf VODS and say "yeah I was right to make that decision" with a straight face, then he deserves the bench. Something that I feel maybe him and a few other old guard players are actually not good at is criticism. They are always looking to justify why the play or decision they made was actually the correct one and others clearly don't know what they are talking about. The results however have shown that maybe he isn't always right. Maybe there are things he seems to be lacking or missing. It's okay to be wrong as long as you grow, but there seems to be a lack of growing this split. If he gets another chance in this season to start I hope he is ready to prove everyone wrong. Contractz/Poome- It wouldn't be fair to do an assessment based off what we have seen so far, so I'll give it until the end of the split. Ryoma- As stated above in Eika, I fully understand why any team not just 100T would have wanted Ryoma as a starter. Clearly he is consistent yet, but I believe that he can be. Every once in a while Ryoma will have a play that makes me go " Oh that was really nice" or "That's really clutch" I just wish he weren't making so many of those plays from behind. Cody Sun- Still Lite Doublelift. Both a compliment and an insult. It's sad because he does not win lane as much as DL so I kind of feel like I'm insulting DL by calling Cody a poor mans version of him. I really want to see Cody start separating this label on himself because it will follow him and begin to haunt him forever if he doesn't. Stunt- shrugs You tried your best. Unfortunately it wasn't good enough. Part of me thinks you were able to rally so easily last split because you knew your spot was guaranteed that split no matter how you played. It alleviated that pressure that you always had on you from previous teams and really allowed growth. Unfortunately a slow start this split and not being able to pick up where you left off came and bit you in the ass. Hopefully in the next team you join there is a chance for you to succeed. Good luck man. Golden Guardians- Clear upgrades and there is clearly a diamond in the rough here. Although I'm surprised at not keeping Golden glue for growth purposes. I really was hoping you would be one of the teams to keep the entire roster the same as last split. That way you get an actual full measure of your team. Ousting Goldenglue wasn't the bad, but it's kind of the same situation as Stunt where you really don't know if the team could have grown more from having a stable roster. Hauntzer- Every once in a while Haunzter makes some either really poor decisions or has really poor communication with his jungler. I'm not sure which one it is exactly. The TSM game sticks out to me as one of those times. Why didn't he ask Closer to come and help push the wave in with him when he was by Krugs?! Sometimes his wave management and trade timings are questionable and I'm so confused as to whether he is good or bad because sometimes it's immaculate. Another thing that's super filthy(in a good way) is how he uses vision at times and I wet myself from the big brain moments he can have. They are just ruined by him wearing his headband too tight in some games. Top half top laner, but I don't see Hauntzer pushing this team into the top 4 any time soon. Closer- This may sound like I'm insulting Closer here, but I think GG was under appreciated by him. There were a lot of small things that were done by him that Damonte does not do in terms of vision and positioning that really made Closer look good. Of course no one will care to look back now, but there were plenty of times last split where GG would die for Closer to clean things up and get the highlight, but that isn't happening as much this time around. Although I admit laning wise Damonte is an upgrade there is something to be said about the soft skills bringing up players as well on a team. Still a good jungler and worth the import slot, but I'm going to need a bit more in terms of carry performances here since overall this split has been underwhelming. Damonte- Definitely deserved a starting spot, too bad it's a rough start. I feel like there are too many times I have seen Damonte late to the play when going for a roam. Even when on something that should have priority. Or times when I see that him lose a trade and can't be as aggressive when heading towards objective fights since he made too many mistakes in trades. I need this to be cleaned up so that way the objective fights can actually start on even footing. Too many times this split I'm seeing Damonte walk to the dragon/baron with half health because of a bad trade he took right before it. The prime example of this is against TL where he eats a Jensen shockwave right before drag spawn. The team can't commit to a fight because of how low he is. Overall the lane was played well, but getting shoved out before objectives over and over was not fun to watch. FBI/Huhi- The weakest link of this team is here. There are some points where I see FBI and I'm thinking this guy is Uzi in secret. Then I see him just randomly misposition and I'm thinking "ThIs GuY iS uZi!" However a lot of that flies under the radar because Huhi has far more obvious mistakes. It's clear that Huhi is watching VODS on CoreJJ because it feels like he is lite version. From the way he positions himself to the timings he has for going for vision it all reminds me of Core. It's a good place to start for learning, except there he is still getting caught in crucial moments unlike Core. I think if we give Huhi enough time he will be amazing, but I don't know if GG will give him enough time since FBI seems to be ready right now in comparison. CLG - Already doing better than last split which is a great start. The only place for you guys to go in comparison to last split is up so I'm glad the fruits of your labor is starting to show. There are still major gaps that need to be filled. Ruin- I miss the ruin that played a different champion pretty much every game and showed he is skilled enough to do so. There is just something so deadly about a top laner with a vast champion pool that can reach in and grab a niche pick that his team needs or really abuse red side in some creative way. I was hoping to see a reurn of that version of Ruin. The top lane meta is far more open than people think and I'm just surprised in how underutilized his versatility is right now. If there is one improvement on this team I would want this more than anything. Wiggly- Alright I'm going to be honest. I didn't expect Wiggly to be good this split. I thought he would be replaced, especially after the perfect game for the season opener. However I have been pleasantly surprised. Synergy with Pob has not been bad at all pathing has been solid. Just a good middle of the pack jungler. I'm not expecting a hard carry performance out of Wiggly, but I have come to see him as a reliable jungler who knows what his role is in each game/team comp he is placed in. If he could fit a couple more hard carry performances in that would be really great to make the team more dynamic Pobelter- Funny how this guy couldn't find a team at the beginning of last split. Still the paragon of a great LCS mid. Whereas Hakuho/Apollo are the bar for LCS play I think of Pob as the bar for international play. You have to be at minimum as good as Pobelter to compete on the international stage. At least by NA standards. Still showing that the boomers still got it. Every once in a while a poor decision is made, but nothing that can't be smoothed out. Stixxay/Smoothie- Look which bot lane decided to remember things they were good at. Glad to see a bounce back to more stable form after the terrible showing from both of these guys last split. Smoothie has really started playing around vision well again and Stixxay has finally been positioning properly to take advantage of the opportunities handed to him. I actually would love to see a bit more roaming out of Smoothie. Lately it seems he is super attached at the hip to the lane, wheras when I think of the best of smoothie it is his random roams towards even the top side that I remember most. He seems to be on the same page with Wiggly more this split which has helped tremendously. FlyQuest- The addition of Solo has definitely made this team better than the spring split version. Mash is still up in the air if he improves the team overall, but the team is definitely in position to finish second again this split. Most of the mistakes on this team are very few and far between. Solo- Staying untiltable. The only criticism that has ever really been part of Solo from his career is how he can tilt and not be very good to work with when things are going poorly. I don't think his play is really anything that needs to be worried about. However I fully expect people to start taking away Sett from him at some point. Just been ridiculous on that champ both in and out of laning phase. It's like the champ was made for him in a way. Santorin- I used to be one of the harshest critics of Santorin. I always felt that he was never really the carry his team needed to be, but for the past few splits he has really been putting any haters down. Me included. The little invisible things like simply providing pressure and vision for Solo in top side so he doesn't just get ganked are just huge over sights into what he is able to provide. Most of the mistakes that I see stem from set up around pits during the mid-late game, but that is a team wide issue and not simply a Santorin thing. I imagine if this team is losing it is mostly going to be around the pit area for either drag or baron. PowerofEvil- If C9 did not exist he would be my ballot for MVP. He is just too valuable to what this team needs and has made adjustments in his play to accommodate different styles. The team lives and dies by how he and Santorin are playing. Wildturtle/Mash/Ignar= WT's willingness to play weakside should not be seen as a weakness, what should be seen as a weakness is giving him a winning match up and he doesn't push the advantage. That is a weakness and that is why I can understand why the team felt the need to step back from him a bit. Mash has been solid, but I don't think he has done anything that WT isn't capable of or hasn't shown he is capable of. Ignar has been great and is a top 3 support in the league most likely the 3rd best and ends up second best if CoreJJ is having an off day. Evil Geniuses- This is going to be a banger of a review #Live Evil. Kumo- If it wasn't for the last two games where he got demolished I would have been okay saying Kumo is the 4th best top laner in the league. I really liked the Volibear pick in Kumos hands, but teams seemed to have taken it away. I also really would like to see Kumo on a bit more Poppy. It just seems to work so well for him when he is on it and I don't know why EG seems to shy away from picking it for him when he is so good at executing on this champ. If he is able to force Poppy bans then mission accomplished. Pick it for him more often is all I'm asking for.( of course when it is more appropriate to do so) Svenskeren- #Live Evil. Svenskeren has been playing really well with Jizuke despite a couple int games here and there for him. I don't know what happened to picks like Xin disappearing for him, but definitely would like to see him on stuff like that again so he can take charge of some games. I appreciate that he has been able to maintain some form of agency despite the focus of the team not being around him at all. #Live Evil Jizuke- Definition of a coin flip player right here. You either get the guy who is able to TF ultimate into the perfect spot every time and the pull Misaya level bait and perfect game a solid team. Or you get the guy who is so tilted and ineffective he doesn't even want the extra damage that Kogmaw passive does because it will be useless. I wish I could tell him to change, but part of what makes him bad is also what makes him so great as well. You want a random play that just basically ends the game? This guy will do it. Just heads or tails as to whether it results in a win or not. Bang/Zeyzal- I'm a fan of this bot lane. I think Zeyzal is the weaker link in this duo, but not by a huge margin or the extent he is holding Bang back like he was held back in 100T. (Sorry Aphro). It's just the only bastion of consistency on this team of what feels like wild cards. When the ball has been passed to them to carry though they seem to handle it so easily. Team Liquid- The best top 3 team in the league right now. I'm not sure whether I should praise Jensen and CoreJJ for keeping this team together and squeaking out wins, but that's exactly what they both have been doing. Although it feels bad and looks bad. The wins column is adding up pretty nicely. Say what you want about their draft choices or the sloppy execution, but good teams find ways to win and despite what people may say this is a good team and likely is heading to worlds if they clean up the early game. Impact- There is a huge misconception that Impact is a tank player and I need it to stop. He is not a tank player. He is an independent type of player who knows when and how to group with his team at the right time so he can ahem have an impact on the game. The picks he is being given in Mordekaiser, Jayce, and Kennan are all proof of that. These are all champs that are able to handle themselves in isolation/side lanes and have great flanks or disrupt the team fight in different ways. He has been great this split and is highly undervalued in what he brings to this team. Broxah- The issue people have in how ugly TLs wins are because they have had to smite fight so often for their objectives lately. On top of that we are not seeing Broxah on picks like Elise or Lee Sin a whole lot either and those type of picks really do make him shine as compared to Trundle with his sick pillar play. Overall what we WANT to see out of him isn't what is needed out of him. He is doing exactly what his team needs and that is to support his solo laners as much as possible so that they can carry the games. If he is going to be playing this supportive style he plays a mean Ivern if I remember correctly. Jensen- I have a love hate relationship when it comes to Jensen. He is really good, but doesn't always back it up in the way we want him to. He still does Jensen things where he is almost always up in [email protected] by 11. It's just that TL early game as a team has been so ugly to watch that we miss the greatness of Jensen and his individual skill. My gripe with Jensen isn't individual talent. It is elevating the people around him to another level and that's where I see his contemporaries(Nisqy, PoE, Bjerg) simply be better at it than him. I'm of course not behind the scenes so I'm not sure what actually goes on behind the scenes, but that's just my perception. CoreJJ/Tactical- It's fair to say that Tactical slots into this team nicely, but it helps having one of the best support players in the world on your side while you come into your own. CoreJJ actually shifted the entire support meta when he showed you can start shrines with Bard and give your mid laner two shrines to start the game. In case people forget the shrines also give move speed so good luck out sustaining and landing hits during any trades early. After he did that almost every single support in NA has copied it. So yes he is still one of the best supports in the league. TSM - This is a good team. Not C9 levels of good, but still a good team. They have integrated Spica so seamlessly into the line up that I'm actually sad there was a split of mediocre Dardoch instead of giving the kid a chance earlier. Bjerg also seems to be on a mission to prove he is still the best as well. This team went from not having an existing early game to being one of the best early game teams in the league. The biggest flaw they have is that every once in a while they make a mistake that throws their lead away. This can't happen on the international level, but I'm all for you guys making as many mistakes now so you can patch it up as time passes. Brokenblade- Synergy with Spica has been nothing short of near excellent. Stats say he is the best top laner in the league right now, but until C9 falls I have to leave it in Licorices hands. Otherwise firmly the second best and it shuffles between Licorice, Ssumday and Impact for this top spot here right now. For improvement the only thing I think of is getting caught before objectives like drag. That's about one of the only noticeable flaws I see from my end. Team fighting and knowing when to sacrifice himself have been great. Almost no death with BB goes without meaning in someway or he simply won't die and reads ganks pretty well. I'm just hoping he gets better at protecting himself in the mid game lane swap. That tends to be the only time he really gets caught out for mid game mistakes. Spica- Look at this spicy kid here. What I'm most impressed by more than the raw mechanics is the ability to manipulate where he is in vision and being in the right place at the right time so often. Once or twice is luck, but when a player is at the right place so often it is just a skill that they have in reading the map and flow of the game. Along with the mechanics and the proper aggression shown the only improvements are things that come with time and experience in decision making, but that is what Bjerg is there for and boy has he lived up to that for the guys this split. Bjergsen- If C9 didn't exist Bjerg would be second in MVP voting behind PoE. Part of the reason I have PoE ahead is because somehow he has come up just a tiny bit more clutch than Bjerg the last few times they have matched up. There is just something so great about watching a great player do their thing and I definitely feel like that is what we are witnessing from Bjerg. Both the eye test and stats are showing he is no less than top three as a mid laner and if you still think he is the problem then God have mercy on your soul. Doublelift/Biofrost- You guys are good, but have had some questionable games along with some really hard pop off games as well. I'm excited to see if you they have a way to break C9's bot lane the way that CoreJJ broke down you guys at the beginning of the split. TLDR I watch too much league of legends. I'll do one for LEC tomorrow.
Welcome to one of the only offline tournaments in 2020 on the planet, it's Ro16 time.
Living Legend with 3 Code S Finals and the reigning defending Champion: TY
Dark Horses and only foreigners consistently competing in GSL: SpeCial, Scarlett
Returning Legend looking to add some more glory days to his already stacked resume: DRG
The cheekily labelled "Group of Life" has become a staple in every GSL Season, as if to prove the top seed in the tournament has way too much power, nevertheless that makes expectations and the preview for it each time quite simple - in this case, TY was the overwhelming favorite heading into tonight with SpeCial trailing not too far behind him, leaving Scarlett and DRG with the challenging task of bringing something extra if they had any intention of making it out alive. Warning: Spoilers Ahead, Obviously Like a Phoenix Mutalisk rising from the ashes, DRG decided today was as good a day as any to remind us what greatness looks like by taking 1st place in convincing fashion with a vintage performance, what year is it. In the fallout that followed, TY then survived a brutal test in the mirror to secure 2nd, keeping the possibility of defending his crown alive as he still enters the Playoffs as one of the clear favorites.
M1 | TY [ 2 : 0 ] Scarlett | ★★☆☆☆ | All It Takes Is A Little Push
Golden Wall | The slowed down third Hatch, early Marine harass and anything else that went down at the start didn't end up mattering nearly as much as the perfectly planned and set up push on the main from the Terran starting around 06:30 and culminating at roughly 09:30 when the Zerg could no longer afford to bleed any more units to the unbreakable siege, resulting in her Lair being taken down and seemingly any real chance of turning this game around went with it. As if to contradict that point, TY then lost a billion SCVs to just Lings running around and the battle did slow down considerably, however Scarlett was still basically stuck without tech until the very end of the game and so kept being suffocated throughout the map and eventually run over all the same.
Deathaura | The decision to go two base Spire already had me shaking my head and it certainly didn't help TY once again opted for a relatively early push and then even ended up baiting out and taking a ridiculous fight around 07:00 to establish a commanding army supply lead, so the writing was on the wall for this one straight away with the back-breaker coming in shortly after.
M2 | SpeCial [ 1 : 2 ] DRG | ★★☆☆☆ | No One's Safe
Ice And Chrome | The early three CCs coupled with a BC rush really made it feel like the Zerg was an NPC about to get dumpstered by an insanely greedy Terran player, so when the Mech followup also came in & the third CC landed undefended and went unpunished, even the fact a whole flock of Corruptors came out blindly to fight a fleet that didn't exist - absolutely everything was pointing to a decisive SpeCial win here. DRG's attempted Roach Ravager attacks also did fuck all, if anything it looked like the Zerg's fate was sealed as soon as they fell flat, and then the inconceivable happened i.e. at roughly 11:15 DRG bet it all on a Muta switch and as 20+ of them arrived and instantly ravaged the borderline defenseless Terran base the game was instantly flipped on its head and SpeCial tapped out immediately, likely in utter disbelief.
Deathaura | From there the tilt was real as three SCVs left the Terran base before the game had even started and the dastardly setup planned and executed perfectly by SpeCial consisting of multiple Bunkers going up around 2:50 thanks to DRG's decision to have his defense consist of a huge Drone squad roaming the map meant by the time the rush was getting remotely close to cleaned up the Zerg was down to 11 workers against his opponent's 18+, meaning the winrate of proxy Barracks in tournaments went up accordingly.
Pillars of Gold | The second attempt to win the game before it started via buildings in the middle of the map didn't go nearly as well when DRG's Overlord secretly flew over the proxy, so thanks to a little finesse around 02:40 the Zerg took control of the game, despite SpeCial's admittedly persistent harass which came in soon enough and the Terran's solid hold on his side of the map when Roaches waddled over there to accomplish next to nothing. The scheduled push from SpeCial with three Tanks then arrived only to find way more units defending than he'd bargained for, so the Terran packed his things and went home, however DRG wasn't interested at all in prolonging this one any further so he geared up for an assault and simply crashed into his opponent's flimsy defenses at roughly 10:10 with a sea of Ravagers and their thirty or so closest friends, trampling over everything for the win.
M3 | TY [ 1 : 2 ] DRG | ★★★☆☆ | Surprise, Surprise, The King Is Back
Ice And Chrome | The cheeky three CC opener with a Blue-Flame Hellion push designed to sell the idea TY was opting for Mech on this map just like SpeCial was very nice, but when his harass got held with relative ease and DRG completely avoided getting duped it definitely felt like the Zerg was then in a great position. Regardless, as you would expect TY came up with an assault on the supposed fourth Hatch all the same and took it out with a mess of Hellbats and Marines at the front, unfortunately for him at that point DRG had around 80 Drones and four more Hatcheries to fuel his forces. The defending Champion definitely had some slick moves here regardless, including a snipe on the crucial Spawning Pool just as he was also attacking on multiple fronts, however all that effort would be for naught as the Zerg absolutely swarmed the map in retaliation at 13:30, overwhelming the defenses with Muta Ling Bane, sniping a base and massacring 30 SCVs, an econ lead that would persist until the very end. TY did everything he could to maintain his army size from there but was never able to get the finishing move off, so when he overcommitted on a particular push around 17:40 and then got chased and gunned down by DRG's flock the gap widened and set up the Swarm's killing blow at 19:15 giving the once upon a time Champion an important lead in the series.
Golden Wall | Without a doubt the Terran motto of the day was "when in doubt, proxy a few Barracks" but when DRG once again spotted the shenanigans coming his way it felt like the upset was already secured, instead TY made short work of the Zerg's questionable defense around 02:50 by killing 11 Drones, giving himself more than enough room to transition and eventually drop off some Hellions inside an undefended expansion that forced the Zerg to move on to the next game, trying things up in the process.
Pillars of Gold | A relatively calm opening in comparison followed here, with harassment eventually killing a good amount of Drones, which was just shy of enough to realistically slow down the Zerg macro monster. In fact, TY's attempts to keep DRG busy instead of opting for a push were backfiring as the underdog engulfed more and more of the map, securing his territory with a surprising switch to Hydra Ling Bane and while some initial fights seemingly went okay enough for the Terran it was at roughly 14:50 when DRG metaphorically flipped the table and just ran his opponent over with a devastating extremely successful assault largely thanks to the addition of the Viper by the notoriously Lair-only player. Technically still alive, TY did what he could to recover yet the knockout blow would land soon enough after that with two bases and 40 SCVs going down around 16:50, making the inconceivable a reality as the once upon a time Zerg Champion secured 1st place over the reigning Code S Champion in 2020.
M4 | Scarlett [ 1 : 2 ] SpeCial | ★★★☆☆ | Heart vs Determination
Deathaura | Aside from some relatively early Raven harassment and a conscious decision to add Roaches to the Zerg comp defensively, an otherwise straightforward macro game unfolded here, with the expected Terran three Tank push arriving at the enemy gates what felt like quite late around 08:40 at which point that assessment could be judged completely void considering SpeCial then simply tore through Swarm territory with ease to pull off the worst bop of the night after the most one-sided fight or lack there of we'd seen so far.
Ice And Chrome | When the Roach Warren appeared in the production tab again, the early Hellion Liberator harassment resulted in 13 Drones going down and then the last hope Mutas were queued up, it genuinely felt like this series was all but done already, so as SpeCial sniped more and more workers along with taking down bases seemingly at will, we were all just waiting for Scarlett to give up at that point as she crumbled under the relentless pressure. Instead, the Zerg's last stand at 14:40 became the turning point of the game, with Scarlett's flock reaching critical mass, allowing her to take back control and chase SpeCial all the way to his production, buying herself enough breathing room to get some Ultras out, which allowed the Zerg to confidently go for the base race around 19:50 with the then superior army, taking us into the final game in impressive fashion with that sick comeback.
Pillars of Gold | Attempting to punish the three CC opener with a side of BC using Roach Ravager immediately put Scarlett behind at the start of this last map thanks to a single Banshee shutting it down cold, after which a bunch of Hellions charged her mineral lines and killed 8 Drones for good measure. Visibly questioning what to do next, the Zerg went for both a Spire and Hydra Den, then bet it all on the Mutas initially and held on against the constant pressure from SpeCial as he sniped bases one after the other again while dancing around all the defense which eventually included Lurkers and Vipers. Basically forced to defend for the entirety of the game, Scarlett never managed to make it across the map even after taking great fights and winning a number of engagements, most perfectly demonstrated around 19:00 where you could see her struggle to contain the Terran aggression despite having all the necessary tools, SpeCial's setup was just rock solid and after making it rain EMPs until the Zerg's Vipers became a complete non-factor over and over you could see the Terran simply couldn't be denied here.
Deathaura | It was all too easy to get excited when a pair of SCVs left TY's base until we remembered this was TvT, so we got to watch the two players throw blows at each other but that's about it, since SpeCial basically passed the skill-check opener with flying colors and had a significant second base lead as the cherry on top. TY wasn't interested in falling behind more and more though, so he took a chance and it paid off with his third CC being way ahead of the enemy Terran and the icing on the cake were the 14+ SCVs his Raven harassment resulted in, basically giving him an incredible econ lead as he went into standard Bio play. SpeCial on the other hand hunkered down hard and went with Mech, so when he cleaned up everything his opponent had to throw at him and maxed out with a terrifying army, it basically looked like all he had to do was stroll across the map to end the game. Ever the opportunist, TY was unwilling to let this one go, so during the chaotic base race when he noticed the enemy Vikings were ever slightly out of position the defending Champion simply dropped everything he had over all of SpeCial's Tanks at roughly 16:05 and turned the game on its head from there, leveraging the more mobile army and some cheeky proxy production to put his protege in an impossible situation and pick him apart for the win.
Ever Dream | The single Barracks proxy from SpeCial, early back and forth skirmishes and both players opting for mirrored Mech was just the start of a game that would turn into what can only be described as a complete bloodbath. SpeCial looked to be in a great position as he sieged up and forced the lift of the third CC early on at 09:30 however from there TY not only held on but continued a worker massacre via his trusty Banshees that would basically never end & even found himself on four bases ahead of the rival Terran while both defending at home and launching attacks of his own, notably around 11:50 as he sniped a CC after a slick runby, snowballing his lead even further. The response from SpeCial was swift and deadly, using his army as a distraction while Liberators murdered every enemy SCV under the sun starting from 12:30 which essentially should have given SpeCial the lead, if only TY himself didn't also pounce on the opportunity to push back so quickly at 13:25 when the Champion's forces dove into enemy territory, netting him over 30 SCV kills for his troubles, basically resetting the game as both players briefly fell under 100 supply. After their collective "recovery", it seemed to be TY's turn to cause pain again, so around 16:15 another wave of worker deaths was kicked off by Banshee harass and finished off with the main army joining in on the fun, scoring an additional 30 SCV kills before he was chased out, giving the Champion yet another impressive supply lead this time in both econ and army. SpeCial impressively held on for a while regardless, in fact somehow bridged the gap numerous times after that, however TY simply would not be denied today, showing incredible fortitude of his own and basically refusing to lose, closing things out at roughly 26:50 when an attempted flank by his opponent turned into a pain sandwich as the Champion tore through the last real army the underdog could afford, depleting both his bank and energy to force the hard earned victory.
If you've followed these rundowns for a while you're going to know I don't say this lightly or often - amazing day of Code S.
Match of the Night - entirely depends on your criteria, I would genuinely recommend M3 where DRG proved he was truly back with some incredible macro especially on that last map and also M4 where Scarlett and SpeCial fought incredibly hard, proving their mettle and showing off their skills particularly on the last two maps and I'm sure we can all agree that M5 might go down as one of the best TvTs of the year especially because of the inconceivable back and forth destruction on that last map.
Finally, here are some of my closing thoughts on each player:
DRG took down the Code S Champion and did it convincingly, no "Group of Life" caveats required for this man heading into the Ro8 and what a comeback story from the returning Legend. I was very careful to temper my expectations considering how much I loved his play back in the day, in that regard his Ro24 performance didn't have me convinced, but today was something else entirely (I'd even argue he played better as the day went on i.e. against the tougher opponent DRG did better). This is so exciting to see in terms of adding another Elite player to the Zerg pool, I can't wait to watch his next match, here's hoping DRG has it in him to keep going at this pace.
TY wasn't at full strength today, that's for sure, and in hindsight it feels like he's created a monster. Nevertheless, the Champion did what was required of him i.e. closed things out in the last match which absolutely could have gone 2-0 either way, so from here we once again enter the master planner's realm. The most impressive part of TY's Championship run last Season was when it came time to focus on individual opponents and longer series, in that regard it's hard to be worried for him based on today, since TY made it clear to take him down you're going to need everything you have and even then it might not be enough, so I definitely don't think this perceived vulnerability means the double crown is off the table by any means.
SpeCial really did everything he could tonight and lost by the absolute minimal margin, if a few things had gone right for him he may have very well been first instead if he'd finished DRG when he had the chance, it's crazy. In any case, I think anyone who watched the games today will understand the label "loser" doesn't really apply to any of the players here when everyone brought the heat sooner or later, so it's very hard to criticize SpeCial too hard when he only lost after pushing his opponents to their limit. Legitimately, in an only slightly altered timeline, TY is eliminated from his own "Group of Life" and SpeCial is crowned the King of Mexico, so here's hoping he's not too hard on himself for the losses here.
Scarlett started so cold in her first three maps that I was genuinely worried she'd be the designated punching bag of the night, only for her incredible display of heart on series point to deliver that phenomenal comeback and then the Zerg showed spectacular resilience in a war of attrition she would ultimately lose. The reality of the situation is that you can't afford to lose a series uncontested at this point of the tournament, but I do think if she'd made it to M5 we'd have seen a completely different match than the opener, so in that regard I also don't feel the need to stress where Scarlett faltered too hard either, thanks to that impressive recovery by the end (felt like she ran out of time and energy in that sense, the skill is clearly there & the Eye Test beats pointing at a scoreboard and laughing any day of the week).
As always, if you think differently or have something interesting to add, feel free to do so in the comments below. Catch you on Saturday bright and early for Group B, where we'll see how INnoVation's plan to pick Dark of all people will be working out, with a rejuvenated PartinG capable of taking both of them down also present and an eager Bunny prowling around to eat them alive if anyone were to stumble. In other words, it's Group of Death o'clock. Thanks as always for reading & see you when I see you! (: -M
Jul/3/2020 News: (1) Anti-corruption reform (2) Polls (3) Stray dogs (4) Constitutional Court (5) Corruption trial (6) COVID news, Loan vacations, Grandma's phone (7) Real estate (8) Beeline ISP (9) This lake belongs to me (10) Soccer league LOL (11) Mayors busted (12) Yerevan's $10mln garden (13)..
Anti-corruption background checks begin for public officials
The govt passed a law to require judges and officials to undergo "background checks" before being hired.
Additionally, asset forfeiture law was passed to confiscate embezzled property. A new prosecutors' department was created to handle asset forfeiture. These new prosecutors are also going through background checks before being hired.
New stray dog shelter and strategy to reduce numbers
In 2018, newly-elect Yerevan Mayor Marutyan vowed to end the practice of killing stray dogs. It wasn't just to be humane. City says mass-killings make the other dogs more aggressive, and research shows they breed faster. Not killing is a long-term strategy.
City took over the task of catching dogs from the private industry, which was mired in corruption. They began neutering, tagging, and releasing the non-dangerous ones.
City's dog-department has just launched its new facility. It has a clinic, surgery, post-surgery rooms, more cages, and soon a disease lab. They neuter 25 dogs per day. 1300 in 2020H1, twice more than last year. 4300 since 2019.
City says equally important is dog owners' behavior. They shouldn't dump pets on the streets. The law requires pet owners to register their pets, but only 400 out of 20,000 have done so.
If they were registered, the owners would less likely dump them, and if they did, the pets' micro-chip would allow City to find and punish the owner.
Parliament asks Constitutional Court to delay Kocharyan hearing...
... because Parliament wants time to discuss the opinions recently received from Venice Commission and ECHR on whether Kocharyan can be charged with the law he's charged with as part of March 1st case. Parliament asked CC to translate and send them the documents.
Kocharyan earlier withdrew his case from CC but that doesn't mean CC won't discuss the topic, especially since another entity had also asked CC to discuss the topic. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191689
ex-CC judge's entrance is blocked
Hrant Nazaryan is one of the three CC judges who was recently fired. Today he tried to return to his office but the security blocked his entrance to the building, citing the law that fired him.
Lawyers complain that NSS violated the attorney-client privilege by wiretapping the suspect when he made a call to the attorney. "The content of the call was later used as evidence," said lawyers. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191750
Healthcare Minister testifies as a witness in bribery case
Months ago the deputy Healthcare Minister Armen Davtyan was charged with accepting bribes. He denies wrongdoing. The person who gave bribes is Razmik Abrahamyan. He confessed.
A trial was held today. Minister Torosyan was called to testify as a witness. He spoke about the anti-corruption fight within the system and how he routinely spoke with directors of various institutes to make sure they don't even try to offer bribes to Ministry officials "because the old way of doing things is gone".
P.S. The bribe giver is the same guy who is also a defendant in a separate case about the extortion and trafficking of dozens of newborn children. He's the director of the Republican Childbirth Clinic. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191691
As of June 1st, banks gave loan vacations to 550k people and 17.4k businesses to ease their COVID burden. They reviewed $2.7 billion in loans.
Bank deposits shrank 1.1% but went back to pre-pandemic levels recently. Interest rates are unlikely to increase, says the president of banks union.
"Unlike the financial crisis of 2008 and 2014, today's situation isn't due to changes in economic fundamentals. This makes managing the problem harder. The parts of the economy that serve as engines are heavily damaged. We hope the govt, businesses, and citizens will succeed in overcoming it." https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191536
Grandma's cellphone / Medical worker disciplined
Context: a grandma's body was lost because of bad handwriting that led to confusion. Then her body was picked up by the wrong people who misidentified her. Her body will be exhumed and returned to the correct family.
St. Gregory Illuminator hospital says they've identified a junior nurse who allegedly took the dead grandma's phone and stole cash from her account, before grandma's family came to pick up her stuff. There is an investigation. He could be fired if confirmed. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191663
Earlier we learned how COVID affected housing purchase/rent market. All realtors recorded a drop in transactions.
One realtor saw a 3x decline in transaction numbers. While the prices remained stable at the beginning of the pandemic, in June it dropped by -5%.
Another realtor recorded a sharp drop in second-hand housing transactions, but no drop in the newly-built housing market. A noticeable drop was recorded in non-residential property lease prices. "Many landlords gave discounts."
Context: UCOM's co-founder was fired. He formed a new TEAM ISP. TEAM wants to purchase the financially troubled Beeline.
300 Beeline workers asked Pashinyan to suspend any merger because they're afraid that TEAM will replace them with TEAM's own workers. TEAM says they won't lay off anyone because they need the existing Beeline workers' experience. "It's a big company. We can't replace the workforce." https://factor.am/265961.html
update: Soccer tournament suspended over match-fixing
Last week we learned how Soccer Federation cooperated with INTERPOL, NSS, UEFA, sports betting agencies, and found that 5 teams were fixing the match results in the secondary league (not the main Premier League).
The entire secondary league is now suspended indefinitely. 45 people associated with those 5 teams are permanently banned. Another 13 are suspended.
In January, Hetq outlet published a report about fishy things going on around a fish business in Ararat province.
Prosecutors say: in 2004 a lease was signed for an 11ha land in Sis. In 2007 the company illegally built fish-breeding pools on 5ha. Sis's former and current leaders knew about this but ignored it. The former mayor cannot be charged due to statute of limitations, while the current mayor qualifies for Pashinyan's 2018's mass amnesty.
Sis was told to either destroy the facility or take it under public control. They chose the latter. The facility was recently sold for $230,000. Free money: https://hetq.am/hy/article/118996
infrastructure and road upgrades
Norakert has a 7km water delivery network. A govt subsidy will repair 2.5km this year, with the rest being repaired last year. It'll also help 60 businesses to get regular water delivery. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191666
Sevan is having 5 of its roads leading to residential complexes repaired. A $316,000 infrastructure project. It'll also renovate the curbs and water drainage. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191665
Top-5 documentary/biography books Yerevan residents read in May
5) Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. (about how other people will get rich but you won't) 4) D'une porte l'autre, by Charles Aznavour. (about why Marvel movies are nothing more than a theme park) 3) A subtle Art of Not Giving F, by Mark Manson. (about helping mark Manson to get richer) 2) Becoming, by Michael Obama. (about being black) 1) The monk who sold his Ferrari, by Robin Sharma. (about helping Robin Shirama to get richer) https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020395.html
$10mln Yerevan project for a new leisure center and park
Arabkir district's Komitas St. has a neglected park. It'll be renovated and a multi-functional center will be built. The works have already begun, with 30 budkas being removed from the area to clear the way. The main construction begins in 2021.
5,000 plants will be installed to close the large gaps. They'll be joined by an amphitheater and a fountain. This will allow concerts and theatrical performances to be held.
The nearby 'Arabkir' shopping area will be brought under a roof and turned into a modern center with food, Armenian wine-tasting, international cuisine, an area for kid's entertainment, and handmade product sales. The center's backside will be made out of glass and face the renovated garden. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020467.html
You've read 1894 words.
Disclaimer & Terminology
1) The accused are innocent until proven guilty in the court of law, even if they sound guilty. 2) Currency in Armenian ֏ unless specified otherwise. 3) NSS/SIS/SOC = law enforcement agencies. QP = Civil Contract Party. LHK = Bright Armenia Party. BHK = Prosperous Armenia Party. HHK = Republican Party. 4) ARCHIVE of older posts by Idontknowmuch: PART 1 ; PART 2 ; PART 3 ; PART 4 ; PART 5. 4) ARCHIVE of older posts by Armeniapedia.
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