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IPL 5 Day 2: a bloodletting in StarCraft and League of Legends

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IPL 5 Day 2: a bloodletting in StarCraft and League of LegendsNo matter how good the tournament, I always find the first day and the early rounds a bit sad. In no time at all, the competition field, with all its potential for amazing matchup and great stories, is whittled down to a handful of contenders as possibilities give way to results. Plenty of great stories come out of it, but there are inevitable disappointments as fan favorites fall short with the spotlight on them, and underdogs don’t rise to the occasion. Then they’re gone, watching the tournament from the sidelines or vanishing altogether.

Today was elimination day at IPL 5, and for the most of the entrants still in play, the championship is now a tantalizingly close possibility. All they’ve got to do is beat the best players their sports have to offer.

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IPL5 preview: the biggest weekend for League of Legends since the Season 2 playoffs

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IPL5 preview: the biggest weekend for League of Legends since the Season 2 playoffsWith a $100,000 prize pool and $50,000 promised to the first place finisher, IPL have gathered an incredible sixteen-team competitive field for this weekend’s League of Legends tournament. A lot of familiar names return from Riot’s Season 2 playoffs, including the world champion Taipei Assassins, along with some less well-known teams that qualified through IPL’s extensive regional qualifiers.

Group play begins on the 29th at 6 PM GMT / 1 PM Eastern with Azubu Blaze v. Team Dynamic on the primary IPL LoL stream while World Elite take on newly-crowned DreamHack champions Fnatic on the secondary stream. Things get serious on Sunday with the winners’ bracket finals at 6 PM GMT / 1 PM Eastern, followed by the losers’ bracket finals three hours later, culminating with the Grand Finals best-of-five at 12 AM GMT / 7 PM Eastern.

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Taipei Assassins leverage their new star power to lobby for eSports recognition from Taiwan's governing sporting body

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Taipei Assassins leverage their new star power to lobby for eSports recognition from Taiwan's governing sporting bodyFollowing a heroes’ welcome upon their return to Taiwan, League of Legends world champions Taipei Assassins called on Taiwanese lawmakers to push Taiwan’s Sports Affairs Council to recognize gaming as a national sport, according to Focus Taiwan. Recognition from the SAC would make progaming eligible for government assistance, and could provide other support services to eSports professionals, such as career counseling and assistance in balancing eSports and education.

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The best games from the League of Legends Season 2 playoffs

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The best games from the League of Legends Season 2 playoffsWith so many matches occurring during the workweek, and on west coast time, it was hard to catch all of the action at the League of Legends World Championship. It’s not always the easiest game to watch, either: with single games routinely stretching well beyond 40 minutes, few viewers can book the time to watch a whole tournament.

So if you didn’t see all the great games from the playoffs, we’ve gone through and linked some of the very best for your enjoyment.

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Profile: League of Legends Season 2 champions Taipei Assassins

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Profile: League of Legends Season 2 champions Taipei AssassinsTaipei Assassins were not a favorite to win the League of Legends Season 2 championship, which may have worked in their favor as they stunned Korea’s NaJin Sword, Russia’s Moscow 5, and finally Azubu Frost. Their relative anonymity may have helped them live up to their name as they used their opponents’ strengths against them. As they explained in the post-match press conference, “It’s not really about [Azubu Frosts’s] weaknesses. It was more about finding the spot where we could exploit them and counteract them."

In practice, that strategy could be summarized as, “Let Stanley bully everyone."

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League of Legends World Championship Final recap: Taipei Assassins crush Azubu Frost

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League of Legends World Championship Final recap: Taipei Assassins crush Azubu FrostUnderneath a small galaxy of LED spotlights, with the silver Summoner’s Cup sitting tantalizingly close at center stage and shining like a diamond, Taiwan’s Taipei Assassins and Korea’s Azubu Frost met on the main stage of USC’s Galen Center to decide a million dollar prize and the Season 2 League of Legends world title.

Somewhere around 10,000 League of Legends fans packed into the arena, wearing Teemo hats and carrying signs with League of Legends inside jokes scrawled on them. “Jax walks into a bar... but there’s no counter" and “Asians OP", for instance, and after this tournament, you’d find few who didn’t agree with the latter sentiment. Even within League of Legends, these two teams (and the pro-gaming cultures they represented) were in a league of their own.

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League of Legends World Championship Finals today, Azubu Frost and Taipei Assassins fight for $1 million

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League of Legends World Championship Finals today, Azubu Frost and Taipei Assassins fight for $1 millionThe world’s two greatest League of Legends teams do battle tonight in a million-dollar best-of-five match for the League of Legends World Championship title. While Azubu Frost was a heavy favorite coming into the tournament and is still the favorite tonight, Taipei Assassins have shown a knack for beating the odds, taking out Korea’s fearsom NaJin Sword before beating the other tournament favorite, the renowned Moscow 5.

Tonight’s final streams live on Twitch, with the broadcast starting at 1:30 UK / 8:30 Eastern.

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League of Legends Season 2 semifinals recap: Moscow 5 v Taipei Assassins and CLG EU v Azubu Frost

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League of Legends Season 2 semifinals recap: Moscow 5 v Taipei Assassins and CLG EU v Azubu FrostThe much-delayed League of Legends Season 2 playoffs concluded last night at LA’s Galen Center, where CLG’s quarterfinal series against World Elite finally reached its end prior to a long semifinal round. With the main stage still under construction behind the casting booth, teams were forced to play from separate backstage locations without a live audience, an arrangement that may have lacked the grandeur of the LA Live outdoor arena, but which at least eliminated any chances for more of the cheating that troubled the playoffs’ earlier matches.

It was an odd night of uneven games and close-fought series, with each of the two semifinal matches going to three games.

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