The ESOC Challenge Cup – Group Stage Roundup
Event Streamed Every Saturday and Sunday on ESOCTV
Dubbed as one of the most stacked AoE3 tournament in years, the ESOC Challenge Cup hosted this February will undoubtedly be a tournament remembered for a long time to come. One of the first big tournaments of the AoE3:DE era, the Challenge Cup features a cast of players exclusively from the highest peaks of the 1v1 Supremacy leaderboard, with only a handful of top-level players botching participation. Join us every weekend on ESOCTV, where the high-octane Group Stage matches will be streamed every Saturday and Sunday leading up to the Finals bash at the end of the month. If you're a newcomer to the scene and want an inside look into the competitive AoE3 community, look no further. We've gathered a panel of outstanding community members to give us their unbiased insights into the characters of the ESOC Challenge Cup and how they believe the event will shake out.
Without further ado, let's welcome our panelists:
@minimoult21 – I represent a relative unknown. Age 3 has always been my favorite installment in the series. I played over a decade ago. After a long hiatus, returned to an awesome community. I do my part to help share the love for this game. Known for being soft spoken with helpful tips and sloppy Dutch gameplay. Reigning EPL2 Champ! MDS4LIFE!
@Vinyanyérë – Co-host of the AoE3 community's fourth-most popular podcast. One-trick lamer of the community's sixteenth-most popular civ. World record holder of the community's up-and-coming fifth seat pro to casting desk to coaching desk to analyst desk speedrun.
@Aussie_Drongo – A veteran of the game, Aussie_Drongo played AoE3 competitively back in the late 2000's before going MIA. With the release of the Definitive Edition in October 2020, Drongo returned to the AOE3 scene, bringing his experience, his wit, and a much appreciated flurry of AOE3 content to both YouTube and to Twitch.
@Mitoe – Decent player and 12-year veteran of AoE3. Occasionally expresses self-loathing of his own gameplay. Future braggart upon completion of the group stage.
The ESOC Challenge Cup features only the 16 highest-rated players who signed up to participate in the event. The players were ordered sequentially from highest to lowest Elo rating on the 1v1 Supremacy leaderboard and sorted into 4 groups, with 4 players in each group. To make it out of the Group Stage alive, a player will need to win as many of their matches as possible. However, every game counts, as in the case of a tiebreaker, the total # of game wins the player accrued can be the deciding factor of if they move on to the Semi-Finals stage or not.
The ESOC Challenge Cup features Samwise12, Haitch, kynesie, Knuschelbär, Ezad, Lecastete, optibb, Mitoe, Kaiserklein, Kévin, LukasL, SoldieR, miggo1999, kaister, PrinceofKabul, and iamturk. Not every player who signed up made the top 16. Even high caliber sign-ups like H2O_ and Aizamk missed qualification. For those just joining us in the AoE3 community, let's take a deep dive into just who are the challengers in this ESOC event.
Group A features a full roster of tournament-winners. Both Samwise12 and Mitoe have ESOC Championship titles under their belt. Kaiserklein has been the victor of innumerable weekend and minor tournaments. iamturk peaked #1 on ladder some time ago and was the victor of the original Empire Cup held in 2020. This group is blazing hot with AoE3 talent.
Group B includes a more diverse cast of characters. The frontrunner of the group, Haitch, won not only the most recent ESOC event in the Goodhouse Cup, but also won the most recent ESOC Championship, taking gold in the 2020 Winter Championship. Prinz is a choice encounter, a relic against time and the former mentor of Haitch. While a bit of a boomer, Prinz had major success in the New World Championship 2019, being a top 8 qualifier for the LAN event. optibb and Kévin are both dark horses - the duo were actually teammates representing the Cuirassier Management Co. in the recent ESOC Premier League (EPL) Season 2. Optimus is no stranger to purloining games from top players when they least expect it, in addition to being a ladder paragon. Kévin had his breakout appearance in the EPL, finishing the round robin stage of the season with a record of 16 wins, 9 losses.
Group C presents a clash in styles and personalities. Quiet kynesie is back after a tournament hiatus, yet is as threatening as ever with an impressive ladder peak, proving that his 2nd place finish years back in the 2018 Autumn Championship was no fluke. LukasL is also lowkey personality, with no supremacy event wins yet a high degree of top-level proximity. He achieved 4th place in the 2020 Winter Championship, and came out standing when faced with a death roster of opponents in the ESOC Premier League Season 2. Lecastete had a rocky EPL2 but has been making waves on the DE leaderboard, being a feisty challenger for the rest of the top 10. With the help of a recent hardware upgrade, the rambunctious kaister clobbered his way through the ranks to qualify for this event, wielding a formidable Lakota style that manages to strike fear into even the most worthy of opponents.
Group D may be the closest of them all. Knusch stands as the man to beat, another ladder demon with numerous recent tournament achievements, most notably a 1st place victory over fellow groupmate miggo1999 in the Empire Cup 2 Finals. Miggo's hot and cold relationship with AoE3 should not shake ones confidence in his abilities, given his penchant for exceeding expectations and penetrating the later stages of events. Loose cannon SoldieR earned a spot after some admittedly rough first appearances in AoE3:DE events. Eager to perform, SoldieR can't be counted out though after a stellar record in the ESOC Premier League Season 2. Ezad made his way into the Challenge Cup with ease with an impressive #5 ladder position. An underrated asset, this likely indicates in upward trend in his playing abilities from Legacy AoE3.
And that's the event. Check out eso-community.net to stay up-to-date on the event schedule and join us on ESOCTV every Saturday and Sunday of the month of February to catch the action of the ESOC Challenge Cup.