Looking back at 2014 - eSports South Africa

2014 has been, without a doubt, South Africa's most successful year for competitive gaming. From a whole host of new tournaments and long running leagues, to international qualifiers, and new teams on the rise. Raise your glass, we've made it!

Like many of you when I told my parents I'd be seeking a career in gaming they expressed their concerns. I can't help but feel we've all pulled together and made 2014 a year to remember for South African eSports. Let's take a look back on some of our proudest achievements, as well as look at how we can improve in 2015.

Bravado Gaming and MSI Beat IT


MSI Beat IT is a global tournament which takes place every year. The tournament invites the best teams in multiple titles to battle it out in the arena. This year MSI Beat IT spread it's reach to South Africa hosting the very first Dota 2 African Qualifiers for a global tournament. MWEB GameZone was tasked with hosting these qualifiers, and what a rollercoaster it was. With the top eight teams in the country being invited, followed by 32 teams in a qualifier to fill those last eight spots, the 16 teams battled it out to get that final spot and an invitation to MSI Beat IT in Taipei, Taiwan.

Bravado Gaming Emotion took the tournament completely undefeated and were the best team to represent our nation by a milestone. Not only did they have a successful qualifier, but they wow'd a few critics when they went across and yielded above satisfactory results. They made it through to the second round losing to Chinese team LGD, then taking out Southeast Asian team Insidious Idol and finally meeting Team Immunity from Australia for their shot at a place in the semi-final. Surprising everyone they managed to take the first game off Team Immunity, but were bested in games two and three and unfortunately exiting the tournament. What was most fantastic about that is Team Immunity went on to place second, losing to Virtus.Pro, an amazing result for South African Dota 2.

Since MSI Beat IT Bravado Gaming Emotion have remained undefeated and on behalf of MWEB GameZone we'd like to wish them a prosperous 2015.

Bravado Gaming: Twitter | Facebook | Website

MGMS Call of Duty Ghosts Championships


Across the competitive gaming pond, console gaming in South Africa also stepped it up in 2014. The MWEB GameZone Master Series saw the best Xbox 360 teams battle it out in Call of Duty: Ghosts to make it to the LAN final in Cape Town. Personally this was an eye opening experience for me, I had absolutely no idea console gaming was this big in South Africa, and I'm happy to admit that ignorance was in fact bliss when it came to the finals held here in Cape Town. I had a new found respect for console gaming in South Africa.

The grand finals saw the top four teams from the qualifiers take to the stage at the MWEB head quarters here in Cape Town. This was the biggest Call of Duty tournament for MWEB GameZone with a prize pool of R40 000, and the perfect end to competitive Call of Duty year. The final four teams were: F34R Adept, Xero Fracture, Insane Gaming and Vinco Black. The final was an upset as undefeated top team F34R Adept lost out to Insane Gaming in an awesome Grand Final. What a year for console gaming, and we cannot wait for 2015 with the registrations for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare already open.

Energy eSports at ESWC Counter-Strike: Global Offensive


In 2013 Energy eSports sent their Dota 2 team to France to take part at the Electronic Sports World Cup. Carrying on with tradition, this year Energy eSports sent their CS:GO team, eN. Heat, to take part in this global tournament once again. There was unfortunately a lot of controversy surrounding their selection, however the community pulled together in the end and showed massive amounts of support for their local team.

They were unfortunately placed in a "group of death" alongside teams such as Fnatic and Na'Vi (two of the world's best teams) and were unable to make it out of the group stages. However the experience and connections made at ESWC were priceless and the exposure for South African CS:GO was more than we could ask for.

Energy eSports: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Bravado Gaming at Dreamhack Winter - Counter-Strike: Global Offensive


That's right, a third team took to the international stage in 2014. Bravado Gaming's CS:GO team, then ranked number one in the country, took to Sweden for a week bootcamp and a seat at the biggest CS:GO major of the year. Their bootcamp was every gamers dream, where they got to play and practice against the world's best teams. This exposure and experience was more than we could ever have hoped for.

Once again outmatched by the incredible skills across the ocean, Bravado Gaming were unable to make it out of the group stages. They too had an incredibly hard group with teams such as Fnatic and Cloud9, however once again the exposure was more than they could have asked for. All of a sudden people became aware of South African CS:GO and they've even included an African qualifier for E-Frag 2015.

The Telkom Do Gaming Championships


One of South Africas largest and oldest running leagues hosted their annual championships in October  with multiple disciplines attracting the best teams in the country to compete for prizes. The major focus of this year's championships was the aspect of spectators. Both CS:GO and Dota 2 attracted several thousands viewers via their Twitch TV streams, shining a light on South African competitive gaming.

Every year sparks the rivalry between Energy eSports and Bravado Gaming as to who will win the most titles. This year there was a tie. Bravado took Dota 2 and CS:GO, while Energy took Call of Duty: Ghosts and League of Legends. Energy did pick up F34R Adept (winners of Call of Duty on console) so we'll give them this one.

Registrations are open for 2015 with the following titles: Battlefield 4, Dota 2, COD Advanced Warfare, League of Legends, Gran Turismo 6, Counter-Strike: GO, FIFA 15, Forza 5, Hearthstone, Mortal Kombat, Quake Live, StarCraft II Hots, Street Fighter X Tekken & Track Mania Nations Forever.

"Team RiZe ZA" go to the Call of Duty Championships in Los Angeles


After controversial qualifiers for the 2014 Call of Duty Championships, Team RiZe won the qualifiers and their shot at the $1 million prize pool. They headed off to Los Angeles to take on the world's best teams. Unfortunately Team RiZe only had one South African player, despite winning the South African qualifiers, which was caused a bit of unrest withing the community. However, once again we can't take away the fact that this experience and exposure is all we could ever ask for and with that in mind we look forward to the 2015 Call of Duty Championships which should be coming up soon.

South Barbarians win the ESL Nations Cup


The Southern Barbarians, a South African team comprised of the top Battlefield 4 players in the country, took to the global stage in an online Battlefield 4 cup. They faced the world's toughest teams in the 8v8 Conquest Nations Cup, defying the odds and taking down Finland in the best-of-five Grand Final. Although the team was made up from the top players in the country, the majority of which were in Bravado, the South Barbarians decided to go with an all 8 Bravado Lineup for the Grand Final vs. Finland. Undoubtedly this was the strongest team, and Southern Barbarians took out Finland and secured the cup.

The 6th IeSF World Championships


Every year Mind Sports South Africa sends their South African Federation teams across the globe to take part in the IeSF World Championships. Although these may not be the best teams our country has to offer, they are the best within the MSSA. This year the MSSA sent teams in the following disciplines: Dota 2, StarCraft II, Hearthstone and Tekken Tag, with both male and female competitors.

Gaming in South Africa is not the lucrative business (yet) and we can appreciate the effort put in place by the MSSA to get these gamers across the world to take part in championships. Whether you support them or not, they're still gamers like you and I, getting a small taste of the dream.

Mind Sports South Africa: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Thanks everyone!

MWEB GameZone would like to thanks everyone who made 2014 a memorable year for South African gaming. This year could not have been possible without the support of our readers, tournament players and sponsors. Here's to an even better 2015!

Congo's Twitter | Facebook / MWEB GameZone Twitter Facebook

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd

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