South African gaming witnessed two firsts this past weekend, and hopefully it is the start of many more for its growing eSports scene.

Blops 2 Championships_SA

On Sunday, Team Xtaz became the first South African team to qualifier for a major international console based tournament.  The team won the ESL sanctioned SA qualifiers for the Call of Duty Championship, which gets them to Los Angeles to compete for their share of a one million US dollar prize packet.   The tournament was dropped on South Africa only a week before the qualifiers were to be completed, and if not for the drive of MWEB Gamezone, Nic Holden and Megarom Interactive, may not have even got off the ground.  Teams who entered needed to have all players over 18 and with a valid passport.  With only a week to ensure all this, many of the teams that ended up entering for the qualifiers were always going to be slightly altered from their traditional competitive line-ups, with some teams being made up of members from multiple clans.

XtaZ themselves were made up of three of their regular players in Ph0bia, Eos and Frostbite with HAzzardZ being drafted in to ensure all entry requirement were met.  The team proved to be on top form considering they had to acquaint themselves to a new member, and went through all challengers in the run up to the final like a team on a real mission.  They faced down an equally rampant F34R Elite team, but when the two met up in the finals, XtaZ just seemed to have a little more hunger and took the match 3-0 to ensure that South Africa gets its first major opportunity to establish itself in the international arena.

We would like to give each team that entered a shout out as they are a credit to South Africa and without them, the tournament would not have happened: 13L, Corrupt Disciples, eVoLVe eSports, F34R, F34R Elite, Hi5 Adios, Hi5 Visceral, IoN Gaming ZA, OAP, RSA Ambassadors, Sector 17 Legion, SYFG The Stand and XtaZ.

Good luck in L.A. XtaZ – we know you will make South Africa proud.

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StarCraftHOTWThis weekend’s second first was a sanctioned showdown between South Africa and Romania in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, making it the first Test Match between the two countries in eSports.  The game was part of the Megarom Interactive launch party for the latest part of the StarCraft II franchise, which also included the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Invitational Tournament.

The match between world number two Silviu ‘NightEnD’ Lazar from Romania and our very own Robert ‘PandaTank’ Botha – ranked number five – was sanctioned by the MSSA, giving the game its Test Match status.  Over the two rounds the match lasted, both players seemed to match each other blow for blow in the early minutes, with each making small assaults in an effort to feel their opponent out.  In the end, it was via some well thought out attacks that the Romanian took the match which was played in a good spirit and streamed live via Polarfluke’s Twitch channel.

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Games On LogoWe will also leave you with the outcome of a “grudge match” style competition which happened between two Cape Town based FIFA 13 teams.  The Liquid Blast sponsored Console Kingz faced the Volt sponsored Born Gamers at the Games On Gaming Lounge in Rondebosch on Saturday.  We doubt anyone will ever claim it was these matches that would settle once and for all who the better team is, because we’re pretty sure they would love to do it again.  In the end, we are told that the Console Kingz took bragging rights for now, but there are plenty more FIFA 13 tournaments coming up, so the rivalry will definitely re-ignite again.

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Just in: The SA MWEB Battlefield 3 team on PC beat the Bulgarians.

The scores were:

First map: Noshahr Canals
RSA 147 – 0 Bul
RSA 236 – 0 Bul
2nd map: Grand Bazaar
RSA 245 – 0 Bul
RSA 220 – 0 Bul