Trailblazers eSports-team line up made public
The line up for LUT's and IPV's eSports-team Trailblazers has been revealed on Monday 23rd of July. The core of the team of ten persons is based on the members of Team Nemesis, an eSports team that has been running for about a year. The game played is Overwatch, Blizzard Entertainment's fantasy shoot-em-up.
LUT's and IPV's eSports project, publicized in May, drew interest from players, manager candidates as well as full-formed teams. Negotiations with Team Nemesis opened fast because of the team's ready-built organization and potential for success.
"There were plenty of good candidates and contacts from all around the world. Team Nemesis is an operational team, which has ready-built strategies and good personal chemistries", comments IPV's sports director Jani Valkeapää.
For six days in late July, the team has camped in Lappeenranta and Imatra to train. The training camp's games have been played at the University.
"We've been positively surprised by the quality and functionality of the accommodations, says the teams manager", Topias Rantala.
For IPV (Imatran Pallo-Veikot), taking part in eSports is a way of diversifying their organisation outside the pesäpallo game season. The aim is also to reach new focus gropus, particularly younger sports fans, that are harder to reach with traditional sports. The future plans also include opening trained junior activities.
For LUT, Lappeenranta University of Technology, involvement in world-widely followed and trained electronic sports increases recognition and allows possibilities to reach potential students.
"The new organization brings support to our activities and makes it possible to evolve to the next level. It is now possible to work even more professionally. Earlier we have been funding ourselves, but in the future, we can have a higher quality of training and working", sums Topias Rantala.
Team Nemesis consists of six players, three coaches and a manager. The core of the team has already played together for a year. The latest addition to the team is Armas "Farmas" Kantola, who joined Team Nemesis about a month ago.
Despite its young age, Team Nemesis is already in the Finnish Top-3 of Overwatch teams. Due to its status, the team is invited to tournaments all across Finland and Europe. Team Nemesis has some very strong individual player skills and tough know-how for the background of playing as a team, due to the merits of its coaching and managerial team.
Team Nemesis' players are Lauri "Kouhia" Kouhi, Kalle "Cali" Ylönen, Petteri "Haxwaffels" Salo, Samuli "Bobii" Vento, Henry "Hepa" Parviainen and Armas "Farmas" Kantola.
The managerial and coaching team includes head coach Juha-Pekka "ZeiZei" Joutsenlahti, analyst Joona "Ice" Pöllänen, assistant coach Jaakko "Zagaz" Nippala, and manager Topias "Kuhnu" Rantala. IPV's organisation has also been assisted in the project by Ville "Ikilol" Suutari since May.
Overwatch as a sport
Around Overwatch has currently formed one of Finland's biggest and most competitive electronic sports communities. Many traditional sports teams have started to train their own Overwatch teams in cooperation with electronic sports teams.
Blizzard Entertainment's game Overwatch first opened a league for players in November 2016 and the first league season started in January 2018. League streams have had in average about 150,000 viewers and at the playoffs, it has reached up to 400,000 viewers at the same time.
In Europe, the Overwatch scene is dominated by the Contenders league, which has gathered up to 15,000 viewers at the same time. Over a thousand European teams take part in the league's Open Division tournament, of which Team Nemesis is at the very top. That's why after the backing of an organisation, the next step is to compete for the championship of the Open Division.
The biggest Finnish tournaments include Assembly Winter, Vectorama, LanTrek and the greatest of all, Assembly Summer. The latter is next held from the 2nd to 5th August 2018.
Team Nemesis has previously placed 3rd in the Overwatch tournament at Assembly Winter, losing only to European Champions 2017 Team Gigantti, and Finnish Champions 2017 Ence esports.
Team Nemesis also competes in weekly online tournaments. Depending on the week, they usually have about 25-50 participants. The team also won their first online tournament about one week ago. It is something their closest rivals have not managed to do.