Tempo Storm acquire Games Academy

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Tempo Storm has returned to competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive by picking up the Brazilian squad, Games Academy.

The entirety of Games Academy's roster will be moving over to the North American organization, which includes the brothers, Henrique "hen1" Teles and Lucas "lucas1" Teles, the team's AWPer and entry fragger respectively, Gustavo "SHOOWTiME" Gonçalves, the team's lurker, and João "felps" Vasconcellos, the team's secondary entry fragger.

Last but not least is former Luminosity Gaming player Ricardo "boltz" Prass, a Majors veteran and the team's support player. The team will also keep their in-game leader and coach in Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu.

The team formerly known as Games Academy recently clutched the Americas Last Chance qualifier and will be competing in the upcoming qualifier for the MLG Major Championships: Columbus.

Tempo Storm's first foray into CS:GO was on March 31 when they picked up the North American squad Ascendancy, a team that was full of unknown but promising players. They ended the ESEA Season 18: North American Premier Division with a flawless 16-0 standing, however they were outclassed when they entered competitions with the top tier teams. They went through a number of roster changes before dropping the team on Aug. 13, following poor performances.

Ahead of the MLG Major qualifiers, the team took the time to speak to theScore eSports, talking about how being part of Tempo Storm will motivate them, their expectations at the MLG Major and their continued connection with Luminosity Gaming's Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo.

For those who may not be familiar with your lineup yet, can all five of you introduce yourselves and tell us what your role is on the team?

Henrique "hen1" Teles and Lucas "lucas1" Teles: 20-years-old twin brothers, has been playing Counter Strike professionally since 2014 and they are former players of Kabum.TD. Hen1 is the main AWPer and Lucas is our main entry killer.

Ricardo "boltz" Prass: 18-years-old, has been playing Counter Strike professionally since 2015, former player of Keyd Stars and Luminosity. He's the support on our team.

João "felps" Vasconcellos: 19-years-old, has been playing Counter Strike professionally since 2015, former player of Keyd Stars. He's our secondary entry killer.

Gustavo "SHOOWTiME" Gonçalves: 18-years-old, has been playing Counter Strike professionally since 2015, former player of Games Academy. He's our lurker and also secondary support.

Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu: 27-years-old, has been playing Counter Strike professionally since 2010 and is a former player of Team Yeah and ProGaming.TD. He's the captain in-game and our coach.

What made you choose Tempo Storm to be your new home? Why not stay with a South American organization?

After a couple months of hard work in the USA, leaving our family and friends behind in Brazil, we found a “new home” for us and it's a huge pleasure to represent a well known and big organization as Tempo Storm, together with all their sponsors.

Unfortunately the CS:GO scene in South America is not as huge as it is in NA and Europe nowadays. There are not many organizations that could give us the support that we need to play at a high level and compete against the best teams in the world.

That's why we have been with Games Academy since 2015 and we are very thankful for all the support that they gave to us until today, because without Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo, Ricardo "Dead" Sinigaglia, Camila and all the Games Academy staff members, nothing of this would have happened.

We are very prepared and motivated for the upcoming events to show all our potential with our new organization.

Now that you are represented by Tempo Storm, what are your chances of being invited into Turner’s ELeague?

Playing Turner's ELeague would be a dream coming true for us, just like it is nowadays to qualify for the upcoming Major. Being invited to big tournaments depends on our next results as a team, we know that we still have a lot of work to do with this new lineup and we are already working hard to be able to compete at these important tournaments.

Turner's ELeague will be the first televised league for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

What changes, if any, will come to the team now that they are part of Tempo Storm?

We always took the game seriously and played as professionals and being part of Tempo Storm just gives us a lot more motivation and more support to play.

We know that now being part of a professional organization means that we have more responsibilities and we need to represent them well. That's also a big part of our goal now, show Tempo Storm that they made the right choice on picking us and that we will give our blood to represent them well and to achieve our goals.

Can you describe to us in your own words what Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo brought to the Games Academy team? Will he remain as a mentor now that you guys are part of Tempo Storm?

FalleN is important and means a lot to us. He's the owner of [Games Academy] together with Ricardo ("Dead") and Camila (Ricardo's wife), they are the ones that gave us the opportunity to grow as a team and to be professional Counter-Strike players.

FalleN always helped us, especially at hard times; he always believed in us. We hope that he's still gonna be able to keep helping us because he has a lot of experience together with his team and since we live close to each other that helps a lot so we can share experiences and practice together.

Luminosity Gaming's Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo, as the CEO of Games Academy, has served as a mentor to the players and may continue to do so

When Lincoln "fnx" Lau and Tacio "TACO" Pessoa left the team to go to Luminosity Gaming did you foresee their success?

Definitely yes. Both have a lot of talent, love the game and wants to get better and better everyday. TACO is really dedicated and he's going to improve even more in LG, with some time and more experience he's gonna be a key player for LG.

Talking about fnx, he's a guy that never gives up on his wishes. Everyone knows he has a lot of talent since CS 1.6 and once he says that he wants to be the best, you have to believe this guy because he has a lot of passion for this game and he is already proving he is very important and responsible for LG's great performances recently.

What does Luis “peacemaker” Tadeu as a coach bring to the team? How does he compare to Wilton “zews” Prado?

Peace, as we call him, brings a lot of confidence for our team by releasing pressure on us and studying our opponents since he is not only coaching but our in-game leader as well so we trust him a lot. He's been a player for a long time with a lot of experience so he's helping us a lot to improve our game style and to calm us down during our matches.

Comparing him to zews is pretty hard, both of them know a lot about the game and it’s just a matter of time till [peacemaker] becomes as great a coach as Zews already is; peace is already on his way more quickly than we thought.

Ricardo "boltz" Prass is a veteran of the Luminosity Gaming lineup, how does his experience (having attended and placed Top 8 at the Majors) play into your team’s confidence and what kind of leadership does he bring to the squad?

Boltz is a key addiction to our team, he's a young talent with a lot of potential and after all that happened to him he seems more motivated than ever to work harder for our team. His Majors experiences, together with a lot of practice against the best teams in Europe, helps us a lot to improve our game play. It's like taking a shortcut to success and we are very happy with his attitude and performances lately.

Former Keyd Stars and Luminosity player, Ricardo "boltz" Prass, now finds himself representing Tempo Storm

Many consider your lineup as one that has the potential to rise to the top of the Americas CS:GO scene. Do these expectations put any pressure on you guys to perform immediately?

These expectations don't affect us at all, we know where we are and where we want to be in the next months.

Put some hard work together and find chemistry in the team and you will achieve your goals sooner or later, that's how it works with us.

How strong do you think your team is when comparing yourselves to the top North American lineups?

Even though this is a new lineup, we don't fear any of them and we think that we are very prepared to compete against any of them. In the next tournaments, we will show what kind of damage we can do to them.

How does the team feel going into the MLG Major qualifier? Do you believe you can achieve a Top 8 finish to compete in the Major itself?

Honestly, nobody ever thought or believed that we would win the Last Chance Qualifier, not like we care about it, but we feel good that nobody believes that we can do things, just gives us more motivation to achieve our goals.

We are feeling confident and working hard to compete against any of those teams at the qualifier, but we also know that it’s gonna be a lot harder than any other tournament that we ever played before, so we have to play our A game and then we will see what happens.

What preparations are being made for the qualifier? Are you guys trying anything new?

We are practicing around five hours a day against teams and the rest we watch our demos together, discuss new tactical things, study our possible opponents and the rest of the time we take care of our individual performances and relax some. We will always have an ace up our sleeves to try to surprise our opponents.

What is the one team you don't want to face in the qualifier?

We don't fear anyone, all the teams have a lot of potential and deserve to be there, but based on the recent events, Dignitas proved to be playing their A game, winning against some of the best teams in the world, so if we have to face them I think that it would be a hell of a match!

Team Dignitas's Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye at the ESL ONE Cologne European qualifiers

Luminosity Gaming has been one of the "Legend" teams at the Majors since ESL One: Cologne 2015, does that motivate you guys to achieve the same?

Of course, they shared with us their experiences about how they became challengers since the beginning with Keyd Stars. That helps us to know how we should act and what we need to do to succeed as they did.

Your team is the only South American team in the MLG qualifier, but if you achieve top 8, there will be two SA teams (along with Luminosity) at a Major for the first time ever. Does that motivate the team also? What could that achievement bring to the SA scene?

We know how important it is for the growth of Counter-Strike in South America, to give them more investments, tournaments and opportunities in general. South America's community is huge and completely loves the game, the fact that [we could be] the second Brazilian and South American team able to qualify for the Major is already very important.

For us it would be a dream come true; we know how important this qualifier is and that's one of the reasons why we're working harder than ever.

What are your goals for the 2016 year? Are there any tournaments/leagues that you would like to be apart of?

Our main goals for 2016 is to qualify for this upcoming Major, then we want to be in ESEA Pro League at next season. We also want to play all the important tournaments around the world like DreamHack's, IEM's, FACEIT Finals, PGL's and every other tournament that we're able to compete against the best teams in the world.

If we got the opportunity to compete at Turner's E-League this season, or in the next, it would be a dream come true for us; we will work hard to get there as well!

Dennis Gonzales is a news editor for theScore eSports who enjoys whiskey, Dungeon & Dragons and first-picking Timbersaw Windranger Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Immortals sign zews

by 2d ago

Wilton “zews” Prado has joined Immortals, where he will resume playing and held to lead the all-Brazilian team formerly known as Games Academy and Tempo Storm.

zews is joining the roster in the spot formerly occupied by Gustavo "SHOOWTiME" Gonçalves, whose contract has been bought out by Immortals. He coached the team when it was known as Games Academy, but this is his first time in a starting role for the roster.

The announcement on Immortals' website included zews' justification for returning as a player after coaching SK Gaming through back-to-back major wins.

"Like most, the dream to play is always there. After getting news that the Immortals players wanted me to lead them, that dream was rekindled instantly," zews wrote.

"Immortals is the kind of organization that doesn't make hasty decisions. Every detail is analyzed before something like this is decided and the fact that they believe in me to lead this team just makes me more confident in myself and what I can do."

zews said in a TwitLonger that he will be taking over duties as in-game leader on the team. He also thanked his former teammates.

"You guys have been my family for an eternity it seems now and the fact I have your support in following my dream means the world to me," zews said in his TwitLonger post. "We cried together. We laughed together. We conquered the world together.

"I leave SK a two time major champion and no one can take that away from me."

The news that zews had left SK Gaming broke on Brazilian TV program Esporte Interativo Thursday night as Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo spoke about his career. At that time, it was unclear where he was headed, though rumors of his move to Immortals persisted.

FalleN later tweeted that instead of finding a new coach, the team's manager Ricardo "dead" Sinigaglia will take on zews' "outgame functions."

Immortals CEO Noah Whinston said that the addition of zews gives Immortals the tools they will need to succeed in the long-term.

“We believe that Zews’ addition brings needed experience and maturity to our team as he assumes a leadership role. I look forward to working with him to develop the young talents on our roster and to demonstrate the strength of the next generation of Brazilian CS:GO," he wrote.

The roster is on a break for the moment, but is expected to return to the team's new team house in early August.

Josh "Gauntlet" Bury ain't a seagull, because when he buys the Deagle he does things that aren't legal. You can find him on Twitter.

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INTZ e-Sports acquire SHOOWTiME

by 1d ago

INTZ e-Sports have picked up the former Immortals player Gustavo "SHOOWTiME" Gonçalves, the organization announced Saturday.

SHOOWTiME comes into the roster as the team's sixth member, and it's currently unknown which players will be on the team's primary roster. The full lineup looks as follows.

  • Raphael's "cogu" Camargo
  • Augusto "gut0" Bertora
  • Allan "invul" Diniz
  • Dener "KHTEX" Barchfield
  • John "horvy" Horvath
  • Gustavo "SHOOWTiME" Gonçalves

Immortals announced Friday that SHOOWTiME was leaving their roster, and that his place would be filled with former SK Gaming coach Wilton "zews" Prado. SHOOWTiME was part of that team through their formative period, when they were known as Games Academy and when they were acquired by Tempo Storm. He was on the roster for almost a year, having joined on August 2.

SHOOWTiME's acquisition marks another step in INTZ's rebuilding of their CS:GO roster. Both Dener "KHTEX" Barchfield and John "horvy" Horvath were acquired four days ago on July 19.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Bell Canada sponsors Northern Arena 2016

by 3d ago

Bell Canada has been named the title sponsor of Northern Arena 2016, according to the event's organizers. The national telecom and media conglomerate, one of the three largest in Canada, will provide internet for the CS:GO event and cover it on its Canadian sports networks, TSN and RDS.

The sponsorship marks Bell's first appearance as a sponsor at a regional esports event. TSN, one of Canada's top two sports networks, launched an online esports vertical in March. Bell will also be a main partner of Dreamhack Montreal, providing the tournament with internet and having a presence at the event.

"Bell is proud to partner with Northern Arena’s eSports competition and bring to gamers Canada’s most advanced broadband products and services," Bell VP corporate marketing Loring Phinney said.

RELATED: Northern Arena 2016 to feature $200,000 prize pool

The Northern Arena eSports Championship, organized by the Canadian League of Gamers, will have two LAN events, with 14 invited teams and two open qualifier spots.

The first Call of the North qualifier will take place on July 23-24 for the Toronto LAN final, which will take place at Fan Expo on Sept. 1-4. The second Call of the North event will be held Oct. 21-23, with the Montreal Grand Final taking place on Nov. 11-13 at the 8th Annual Canadian Video Game Awards.

Greg Spievak, co-founder of CLG, said esports in Canada and around the world "is exploding with interest." "Our partnership with Bell will accelerate the growth of eSports in Canada and enhance the audience experience," he said.

At last year's tournament, Counter Logic Gaming defeated compLexity Gaming 2-0 to become kings in the north. CLG will have an even larger competition this year, with 14 invited teams versus last year's eight. With a $200,000 split between the two LANs, this year's prize pool is also ten times bigger than in 2015.

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.

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Gambling experts: Decline in skin prices expected, but no long-term damage to premier events

by 3d ago

In the wake of Valve's decision to shut down websites where CS:GO players can gamble with skins, a panel of online gambling industry experts convened by The Daily Dot says CS:GO fans needn't worry about the long-term impact on the popularity of top CS:GO tournaments.

"Interest in low-mid tier CS:GO matches is likely to decrease. However I don’t see it having much of a negative effect on the premier events," Luke Cotton, a UK gambling industry analyst, told the Dot. "It could spark more interest from regulated bookmakers."

However, Cotton said the cease-and-desist notices Valve sent to 27 sites this week, including CSGOLounge, CSGODiamonds and CSGODouble, are already having an impact on the value of skins in the Steam marketplace. "It hasn’t crashed yet but it has declined around 5 percent to my eye," he said. "The decline is likely to continue, and I expect 'Black Friday' will come on the day at which CSGO Lounge is shut down and we will then see fire sales." According to the Dot, Black Friday in this case refers not to the holiday sale, but to the date in 2011 when the U.S. Justice Department shut down PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.

Bryce Blum, general counsel for real-money esports betting site Unikrn, was less optimistic about how Valve's decision would impact pro CS:GO viewership, but wasn't willing to make a hard prediction. "It’s reasonable to expect a dip in viewership," he said. "How big of one is hard to say. It ultimately depends on Valve’s enforcement."

Before Valve's cease-and-desist notices were leaked on Tuesday night, Blum wrote in ESPN that Valve's position on gambling sites using its Steam API leaves room for the sites to change their practices and continue operating. Speaking to the Dot, he maintained that skin betting sites may still have some legroom.

"[Valve is] not trying to shut down the sites based on a legal rationale, but instead for violating the API, terms of use, and Steam subscriber agreement — and this is a huge distinction," he said. "The cease-and-desist raises the question of how we’re going to define commercial use, and if the issue is that the sites use bots and automated steam accounts?...Right now, they’re not shutting down the sites because they’re gambling sites."

RELATED: Esports lawyer says Valve's item-trading policy leaves loophole for gambling sites

Blum also said that CSGO bookkeepers that use skins to take pro match bets — rather than the slot-machine-style gambling sites like CSGODouble and CSGODiamonds — could fall under the regulatory regime that real-money sports betting sites do, so long as skins are legally treated like casino chips or other real-cash-equivalents. If properly regulated, he said, skin betting could even be legal, in jurisdictions where online sports betting is allowed.

"You’d have to treat it responsibly — like it’s real money," he said. "This would include at the very least account verification, geo-blocking jurisdictions where it’s illegal, anti-money-laundering protocols, and flagging suspect betting activity. There’s so much that goes into it."

Cotton disagreed, saying he doesn't see a way skin betting could be legal and regulated, especially in the U.S. where any form of online gambling involving real money is illegal. Even if the sites could change their practices to follow Valve's terms and conditions, they would still rely on the legally shaky argument that skins aren't equivalent to real money, Cotton said. He pointed out that the U.K. Gambling Commission has already found skin betting to be no different than real-money betting, which could set a precedent for courts in other jurisdictions like the U.S.

Chris Grove, another industry analyst who spoke to the Dot, said that what happens next will be dictated by how far Valve is willing to go to shut down skin gambling. "With significant amounts of revenue under threat, are all skin betting sites going to simply comply, or will they seek ways to circumvent the limitations Valve puts in place?" he asked.

Though some of the sites that have received notices, like CSGOBig and Bets.gg, have said they are temporarily ceasing operations until they can comply with Valve's terms, others are "dragging their feet," according to Grove. They may be waiting to see how far Valve will go, or even considering ignoring the notice and continuing to operate illicitly.

"If Valve is fully committed to eradicating skin betting sites, it will be incredibly difficult for any site to operate as openly and at the sort of scale that a CSGO Lounge operates at today," Grove said. "As long as a trading function exists, there will likely be some universe of skin-based gambling sites, but it is almost certain to be a smaller, secretive, underground affair if such operators hope to stay one step ahead of Valve."

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.

Jeff Fraser is a supervising editor for theScore esports.

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Valve: CS:GO skin gambling sites have 10 days to shut down

by 5d ago

Earlier this month, Valve declared its intention to send shutdown notices to CS:GO skin betting websites that were improperly using the Steam API. According to Wykrhm Reddy, Valve has now named more than 20 sites which have been given 10 days to cease using their Steam subscriber accounts for commercial purposes.

In total, the notice lists 27 gambling sites, including CSGODiamonds, CSGOLounge, CSGODouble and CSGOWild. It also includes Dota2Lounge, a Dota 2 gambling site. The list focuses on jackpot-style skin lottery sites, while pro match betting sites, like Unikrn, Betway and Gosubet, appear to be unaffected.

Earlier on Tuesday night, one of the sites on the list, CSGOBig, posted what it claims is a copy of the notice sent to them by Valve.

The full text of the notice, which contains the same list of affect sites and appears to have been signed by Valve general counsel Karl Quackenbush, reads:

We are aware that you are operating one of the gambling sites listed below. You are using Steam accounts to conduct this business. Your use of Steam is subject to the terms of the Steam Subscriber Agreement ("SSA"). Under the SSA Steam and Steam services are licensed for personal, non-commercial use only. Your commercial use of Steam accounts is unlicensed and in violation of the SSA. You should immediately cease and desist further use of your Steam accounts for any commercial purpose. If you fail to do this within ten (10) days Valve will pursue all available remedies including without limitation terminating your accounts.

theScore esports has not yet been able to independently verify that the letter was distributed by Valve, however the language and terms are similar to those posted by Reddy.

CSGOBig says it has disabled new deposits and temporarily ceased operations to comply with the notice.

In a public statement given on Steam last Thursday, Valve's Erik Johnson said the company was aware that several CS:GO gambling sites were using automated steam accounts to acquire and trade skins as part of the lottery process. Johnson said this practice violated Steam's terms of service, and Valve would be taking action to ensure compliance.

Bryce Blum, an esports lawyer, wrote in an ESPN column this week that Johnson's statement did not explicitly forbid skin gambling, and said that the wording gave the sites the opportunity to change their operating practices to comply with Steam's rules.

However, the CSGOBig letter appears to go further than Johnson's statement, stating that any commercial use of a Steam subscription is forbidden. This new wording appears to close the gap on any form of CS:GO betting that uses Steam accounts to trade skins. However, it does not affect real-money gambling that does not involve the Steam ecosystem, which may be why sites like Unikrn were not affected.

theScore esports has reached out to Valve for comment and will update this story as details arise.

Jeff Fraser is a supervising editor for theScore esports.

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