SCUF Affiliate of the Week: Bryan “Apathy” Zhelyazkov

This week’s profile features a member of the reigning world champion Team EnVyUs squad – Bryan ‘Apathy’ Zhelyazkov.

Origins

Apathy’s rise to prominence came first in the original Call of Duty: Black Ops. Having proven he could compete on LAN, he found himself playing alongside Chris ‘Parasite’ Duarte as part of apex.Collapse, a squad that placed second at MLG Raleigh and finished fourth to round out the year at the MLG National Championship in 2011.

After a solid but unexceptional Black Ops 2 season, Apathy cemented himself among the truly elite on Call of Duty Ghosts. Starting the year with Strictly Business, a few early roster changes built a team that would ultimately be the first to deny compLexity a title, albeit the prize-less Call of Duty Championships NA Qualifier.

His first real trophy came within the same year, after strictly Business had separated but still alongside Doug ‘Censor’ Martin. Apathy had moved to FaZe, where the addition of two World Champions – Chris ‘Parasite’ Duarte and Damon ‘Karma’ Barlow – rounded out an elite squad that collected FaZe Clan’s first ever championship victory at UMG Nashville.

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Current team

Since the mid-season of Black Ops 3, Apathy has played for Team EnVyUs. Following his addition to the squad, EnVy rose to become arguably the number one team in the world, appearing in the grand finals of the last three events of the year and winning two, including the Call of Duty Championships.

Since that moment of triumph, however, it’s been a downhill slope for the boys in blue. Though their Infinite Warfare season has seen periodic decent results – a third-place at the CWL Atlanta Open, top six at CWL Dallas – on the whole the team have been unable to live up to their former glory.

The decline culminated recently at the CWL Anaheim Open, where EnVyUs picked up their worst placing in the organisation’s history, a 21st-24th finish. It’s a huge fall from grace and one that certainly raises questions for the team.

EnVyUs defied the expectations of most by escaping a dangerous Group Green in Stage Two of the Global Pro League, assuring themselves a top-eight finish, but there’s still work to do if they are to return to being considered a truly elite team.

However, the source of their recent troubles seems to be largely based in team chemistry – individuals have still shone at times, with Apathy himself having some particularly stand-out series at some events. Whatever the future of the team, nobody is questioning that Apathy remains one of the most dangerous SMG players in the world.

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Greatest achievement

There’s no question as to Apathy’s greatest accomplishment in Call of Duty. He’s part of an exclusive group of players to have won the game’s most prestigious trophy – that of the Call of Duty Championships.

In Apathy’s case, it happened to also be the single biggest prize pool in Call of Duty history, but it’s not so much about that. The Call of Duty Championships has always been more about the competition than the money – the chance to own one of those exclusive rings, and call yourself a World Champion.

To do it, Apathy and co had to go through their toughest opponent – OpTic Gaming – in the very first round of bracket play. Having pulled off the victory, from there the team cruised through the winner bracket, ultimately beating Splyce in the grand finals.

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In-game

Apathy made his name as a fast-paced, high-impact SMG player. For many of his teams, he is the first point of contact, the sharp tip of the spear.

While at times over the years consistency has perhaps kept him out of the conversation for the best SMG in the world, Apathy always has a dominant game in him. When Apathy is on form he’s explosive, capable of taking over single-handedly and dictating the game.

The value of a player who poses such a threat is the room he creates for his team mates. When Apathy explodes, he’s a one-man wrecking ball, but the rest of the time he’s still drawing disproportionate attention from his opponents.

Whether or not they survive his attack, Apathy’s aim is to give the enemy no room to breathe – if he can’t take care of them himself, it still becomes all the easier for the rest of his squad to clean up.

Public persona

Often found with a smile on his face, Apathy often comes across as one of the more light-hearted professional players. Easy-going and likeable, Apathy has built a solid fanbase of supporters.

While he may not match the astronomical numbers of those players who have had extended tenure under the likes of the OpTic or FaZe brands, Apathy nevertheless tweets to more than 211,000 followers, streams to nearly 50,000 followers and occasionally uploads for his 96,000 YouTube subscribers.

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SCUF Affiliate of the Week: Tyler “Ninja” Blevins

This week’s profile takes a look at one of Halo’s most prominent ambassadors, Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins.

Original photo by David Doran (www.daviddoran.net)

Origins

There are likely very few people who have played quite as much Halo as Ninja. Having picked up the very first game in the franchise on the day of release and dedicating almost every available minute in the years since to the series, it’s not outlandish to suggest that Ninja might have played more Halo than almost anyone else on the planet.

Despite falling in love with the game on day one, it wouldn’t be until Halo 3 that Ninja discovered team competition. GameBattles would open the door for him, and through it he would eventually start competing at Major League Gaming LAN events.

It wasn’t until Halo: Reach, however, that Ninja really began to make a name for himself. He would place fifth at the MLG D.C. Combine, a tournament specifically geared towards exposure for up-and-coming amateurs. Not long after, Ninja would find himself playing alongside some of Halo’s most legendary names, competing for Final Boss, playing alongside Dave ‘Walshy’ Walsh in Turning Point, and playing for Str8 Rippin’. Today, Ninja can count himself among them as one of Halo’s most prominent players.

 

Current team

Having closed out 2016 with Evil Geniuses, at the start of the new year Ninja found himself a new home under Luminosity’s banner. A staple of the upper echelons, the squad have picked up consistent top-eight and top-six placements since Ninja’s addition.

One such top-six finish came at this year’s Halo World Championship, where the squad were unfortunate to fall in the path of both eventual champions OpTic Gaming and runners-up Team EnVyUs.

Halo isn’t the only game in which Ninja has competed for Luminosity, however. In recent years he’s also turned his hand to H1Z1, participating in several of the game’s more high-profile events, such as the H1Z1: Fight for the Crown at which he placed third as part of a Luminosity team, and the H1Z1 Invitational in 2015, where he won one of the solo games.

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Career highlight

Ninja’s first championship, and his most successful season, would come during Halo 4. The inaugural event for the game would take place a few days before official release, at the MLG Fall Championship in 2012. Playing for Warriors, Ninja would win the tournament, taking down future OpTic Gaming Call of Duty star Matthew ‘FormaL’ Piper’s Ambush in the finals.

If there were any doubts about the legitimacy of the Ninja’s first win, given that it came so early into the new game’s lifecycle that it hadn’t even been released yet, Ninja would put those doubts to rest over the rest of the season.  

With several different rosters, Ninja would continue to collect high placements for the game’s duration, appearing in several grand finals and collecting two further titles.

In-game

Every player has a unique perspective on how they play the game and Ninja is no different, with a recognizable and distinct playstyle. An incredibly talented player mechanically, he doesn’t shy away from risky situations or avoid conflict. Instead he seeks it out, pushing the pace of a game and forcing the opposing team to constantly be reacting to his movement around the map.

This forces the other team to focus on him and play his game while freeing up space for his teammates to get to the positions they’d like to control.

He has the ability to completely dominate a game against even some of the highest-level opponents when he is performing at his peak. His ability to use the sniper rifle is comparable with any of the greats currently in the game while his aggression with the weapon can catch opposing teams off guard.

While such a play style naturally comes with its risks, it makes Ninja one of the most entertaining players to watch on the circuit.
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Public persona

Many professional players stay away from regular match-making, fearing the development of bad habits by playing against less skilled opponents that won’t punish mistakes in the same way as fellow pro’s. However, as Halo’s most popular streaming figure for the past half a decade, Ninja has done the opposite. Instead he has always taken his role as an entertainer and ambassador of Halo very seriously and dedicated himself to streaming and making content.

It is incredibly unique to be such a popular figure amongst casual fans while simultaneously being a legitimate professional talent, yet that is the position Ninja is in. Thousands of people tune in to support his matches and it’s no wonder why. His engagement with the fans outside of the game has helped build a community around Halo, while his exciting play style in game makes him a very enjoyable player to watch.

As a result Ninja has thrived, building up a Twitch following of more than 475,000, while amassing nearly 100,000 Twitter followers and over 130,000 YouTube subscribers.

SCUF Affiliate of the Week: Sam “Octane” Larew

This week’s profile takes a look at one of the best players in the world right now – Luminosity super-star and CWL Anaheim MVP Sam ‘Octane’ Larew.

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Origins

Octane’s is one of the more interesting origin stories in Call of Duty. The star of today might never have realized his potential, had a friend not asked him to join their team for UMG St Louis in 2013. Octane had never considered playing competitively before, but decided to give it a go.

It was an inauspicious start to his career. An unexceptional event ended in a top-17 placement, and Octane was summarily dropped – while still at the event. Hardly the explosive arrival you might expect of a player who would one day be considered one of the best in the world.

Nevertheless, it was enough that Octane evidently caught the competitive bug. It would be in Advanced Warfare that his career would begin to gather momentum, working his way into the ranks of the elite. He’d close out the season as a member of a formidable Team EnVyUs squad, but with the dominance of the OpTic Gaming, Denial and FaZe Clan rosters throughout the season, Octane was unable to find his first championship win.

That would be rectified quickly on Black Ops 3. Joining up with a new team under Rise Nation, Octane’s first trophy was technically at the often-dismissed Totino’s Invitational. To prove they could do it in a more competitive environment, Octane and Rise would win the next event of the season as well, UMG South Carolina.

For the first half of the year, Rise went toe-to-toe with the formidable OpTic Gaming, the two teams a clear step ahead of the rest of the field. During this time, Octane was praised as one of the best players in the world, but the success wouldn’t last. Both Rise Nation’s results and Octane’s personal performance began to dip a little, and it wouldn’t be until the second half of Infinite Warfare – now playing under Luminosity – that he returned to full strength.

Now, however, we’re seeing Octane at perhaps his greatest ever, a huge factor in Luminosity’s success of late and a strong contender to be the best player in the world.

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Current team

Due in no small part to Octane’s form as one of the best players in the world, his current team – Luminosity – are arguably the strongest squad in the world right now.

The team still features three of the four members of Octane’s Rise Nation roster from Black Ops 3. At the start of Infinite Warfare, Josiah ‘Slacked’ Berry, Nicholas ‘Classic’ DiConstanzo and Octane parted ways with Rise to join Renato ‘Saints’ Forza under the Luminosity banner.

On paper, it was always a fearsome proposition, but the squad stuggled to find the success their roster should have been capable of early in the season, notably underperforming in Search and Destroy.

Finally, nearly six months after Infinite Warfare’s release, Luminosity began to figure out their deficiencies – and at perhaps the perfect time. Coinciding with a surge in form for Octane himself, the team made it all the way to the grand finals of the Global Pro League Stage One Playoffs – the biggest event of the year so far.

They would ultimately fall to Splyce at Stage One, but Luminosity would take their first trophy just a few weeks later at the CWL Anaheim Open, with revenge against Splyce in the grand final as a cherry on top.

Now, Luminosity are one of the most formidable teams in the world as the season hits its apex. With the $700,000 Stage Two of the Global Pro League underway and the $1.5million Call of Duty Championships to follow closely, Octane and co might have peaked at exactly the right moment.

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Greatest achievement

Octane’s greatest achievement is also his most recent – victory at the CWL Anaheim Open.

For Octane, the win at CWL Anaheim didn’t just mean a trophy. It meant a triumphant return to the top for a player who had been too long without a title. It meant pushing his team into the number one spot by the rankings of most observers.

In picking up the MVP trophy, it meant establishing himself as arguably the greatest player in the world right now. In their fortune to face Splyce in the grand finals once more, it meant revenge for the Stage One title that Luminosity were denied.

Critically for Luminosity, Octane’s phenomenal form hasn’t come exclusively in respawn modes, the more typical domain for exceptionally talented slayers. In fact, Octane has also been the driving force behind Luminosity’s surge in Search and Destroy results, the change which has taken them from a good team to perhaps the best in the world.

In Anaheim, Octane led the way for the team in SnD, putting up a 1.38 kill/death ratio across the event and an immense 0.90 kills per round on average. The performance helped Luminosity to a 64% win rate in the mode – their highest to date. It’s no accident that such a performance coincided with the team’s first trophy on Infinite Warfare, and it’s yet another reason that Anaheim stands as Octane’s greatest accomplishment to date.

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In-game

Octane’s rise came initially as a stereotypical Assault Rifle player – turret-like, with impeccable aim and at his best when set up and offered a shooting gallery of opponents to eliminate.

The best players in the world, however, have never quite been “stereotypical” anything – it takes something special to earn that distinction, something beyond what even other great players are capable of.

Even amongst other greats, Octane can still distinguish himself by his aim – right now, his gun skill is at a peak matched by maybe no other player. Perhaps the more important factor, however, is the impact Octane is capable of making as a play-maker – a role usually reserved for SMG stars.

As a primary AR, Octane’s position is traditionally a fairly static one, but he has managed to add a dynamic element to his repertoire that makes him even more dangerous. While he undoubtedly benefits from and utilizes well strong positioning, Octane’s ability to go on the offensive, or improvise to deadly effect when a perfect set-up isn’t possible, are part of what has separated him as one of the best and most dangerous players in the world.

 

Public Persona

Being the best player in the world is usually a sure way to earn at least some grudging respect, but there’s no guarantee that in-game success translates into popularity. When you represent one of the largest barriers standing in the way of the immensely popular OpTic Gaming, it can be even harder to find fans.

Even in such a circumstance, Octane manages to be an immensely popular star. Easy-going and humble, he’s earned nothing but support during his time in the spotlight, while his willingness to interact with fans and the general community arguably makes him one of the more relatable players in spite of his super-star status.

Having never played under the likes of OpTic or FaZe, and never having dedicated large amounts of time to content creation, Octane boasts a relatively modest 52,000 Twitter followers. As he continues to shine at the biggest events of the year, however, it seems inevitable that Octane’s fanbase will only continue to grow.

Watch Octane Tell His Story On SCUF’s Living Esports

SCUF Affiliate of the Week: Jeremy “StuDyy” Astacio

This week’s profile takes a look at Jeremy ‘StuDyy’ Astacio. Once a young talent looking to break into the established elite, StuDyy has now competed at the professional level for four years, and made his mark on the game along the way.

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Origins

Though his career wouldn’t hit full swing until the following year, StuDyy first began to draw attention on Black Ops 2. Most notable was his performance at MLG Anaheim in June 2013, one of the few events he attended in the season, at which he played for the Conquer squad that eliminated Call of Duty Championships finalists EnVyUs in 9th-12th place.

His real breakout season, however, would be Call of Duty: Ghosts. At the very first event for the new game, MLG Columbus in November 2013, he played for a JusTus squad that ultimately placed 3rd/4th, eliminating both OpTic Gaming and EnVyUs along the way.

Having been eliminated twice by a rising star, EnVyUs would ultimately decide that, as they apparently couldn’t beat him, they would join him – or rather, ask him to join them. Having landed a place under the prestigious organisation, under the tutelage of Raymond ‘Rambo’ Lussier, StuDyy would become the tip of the spear that led the team to yet another Call of Duty Championships grand final.

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Current Team

Recently, StuDyy has found himself presented with a new challenge. Having parted ways with Evil Geniuses following Stage One of the Global Pro League, StuDyy may once again have to work his way back into the elite.

To do so, he’s joined up with a roster of similar intentions. Richard ‘Ricky’ Stacy is in a similar position, having played on Cloud9 in Stage One. Jonathan ‘SinfuL’ Baez started Infinite Warfare strong with a fourth-place at CWL Vegas under Team Allegiance, but failed to replicate the result going forward. Finally, Brandon ‘Dashy’ Otell is a young talent, much like StuDyy was earlier in his career, looking to break out for the very first time.

For their crusade to break into the upper tiers of Call of Duty, the team are representing a historic name from Halo – Str8 Rippin.

The team’s first outing at CWL Anaheim was a moderate success. Although a top-20 finish might not have been ideal, for a brand-new line-up starting in the increasingly tough open bracket it’s certainly a sufficient start.

Anaheim was, however, a mere warm-up for this squad. Now, they’ll be looking to the tournament that really matters – qualifying for, and performing at, the Call of Duty Championships.

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Greatest achievement

For StuDyy, it’s easy to pinpoint a greatest achievement – it is undoubtedly the role he played in the epic run of Team EnVyUs to reach the Call of Duty Championships grand final in 2014.

The placement itself is one that few will ever manage – second place at the most competitive and prestigious event of the year is an impressive achievement in its own right. What makes EnVy’s second-place particularly memorable compared to the stories of other runners-up over the years, however, is the nature of their path to do so.

The team made it out of their group in first place – albeit slightly fortuitously, having come out on top of a three-way tie – but in the very first round they would come up against Strictly Business, the number one seed out of the North American qualifier. The team were sent to the lower bracket immediately, and an early exit seemed inevitable.

Their first two series of the lower bracket would be against Team Kaliber and Epsilon, both incredibly formidable opponents and both of which went to a fifth map before EnVy clinched it. Having survived that challenge, StuDyy and co stormed all the way back to the grand final, taking the longest possible route and going through both Strictly Business and OpTic Gaming along the way.

Despite their ultimate loss to the indomitable compLexity in the grand final, EnVy put on one of the greatest lower bracket runs of all time, and their performance remains one of the great stories in Call of Duty to this day.

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In-game

As with many players who have competed over multiple years – and particularly those whose breakout came prior to the paradigm shift that Advanced Warfare brought – StuDyy has played multiple roles over the years.

During his time with EnVyUs, and arguably at his peak, StuDyy was a fast-paced slayer, the first-point-of-contact player who made space for the rest of his team. A particular trait of that era was his sniper specialism, often opting for a scoped weapon in Search and Destroy and wreaking havoc with first bloods.

In more recent years, however, StuDyy has stepped back from the primary star position he occupied in his prime. As the game shifts, so too must players, and StuDyy has learnt to become a more supportive player, reaping less individual glory perhaps but nevertheless playing a vital role and helping his team to victory.

Public persona

Like the vast majority pro players, StuDyy is no stranger to social media. Over the course of his career, he’s amassed a sizeable Twitter following of more than 185,000.

In a recent profile by MLG for the Call of Duty World League, StuDyy opened up about a tough childhood, and the impact the game has had on his life, giving a little more insight into the man behind the screen.

Unlike some, StuDyy has not opted to focus on developing a YouTube channel, instead focusing solely on streaming to some 51,000 Twitch followers. On air, StuDyy typically comes across as lively and energetic, a player who genuinely loves and revels in the fact that he is able to play Call of Duty for a living.

Scuf Gaming’s GuardianCon Wrapup!

GuardianCon

GuardianCon is a celebration of Destiny for a good cause, and last weekend marked SCUF’s first appearance there! Destiny’s community is one of the biggest in the world, and TeamSCUF was excited to meet every Guardian we could.

GuardianCon is one of Destiny’s most popular conventions, with thousands of attendees, countless exhibits, and an impressive amount of donations going to charity. In addition to some amazing live gameplay, there were countless YouTube and Twitch guests, including Gothalion and Professor Broman, both of whom chose this moment to unveil their new SCUF controller designs!

The excitement was in the air from the very beginning, and the crowds of fans were huge. The SCUF Booth was right up front to meet the massive party of Guardians, with a gaming booth used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the new SCUF IMPACT during sessions of Destiny. Needless to say, that booth was crowded from morning to night. Gothalion and Broman’s designs have been requested by fans for a long time, and the enthusiasm at their unveiling caused Gothalion’s to sell out in a matter of hours.

Between exhibitions, Q&As, and some incredible cosplay, convention attendees could head over to a Meet & Greet to get autographs from some of the biggest authorities in the Destiny world, including Gothalion, Broman, Kraftyy, Triplewreck, Luminosity, and the hosts of Crucible Radio.

GuardianCon is probably best known for its partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, with some of the best Destiny players in the world exhibiting their skills for donations that will help some very deserving people. This year, GuardianCon raised a staggering 1.2 million dollars: and that was before the doors even opened to the public!

It was an amazing weekend full of excitement and good will, and you can bet that Scuf Gaming will be there in 2018!

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Scuf Gaming, Gothalion and ProfessorBroman Partner with Charity Gaming Event, GuardianCon 2017, in Support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

ATLANTA, GA – June 29, 2017 – Scuf Gaming is pleased to announce its official partnership with GuardianCon 2017 taking place June 30 – July 1 at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Tampa, Florida. GuardianCon, now entering its third year of operation, is a charity gaming event benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital whose mission is to eradicate children’s cancer. SCUF will donate $15 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for every SCUF controller purchased at GuardianCon or 5% off on scufgaming.com using code STJUDE at checkout.

This year’s hosts include SCUF affiliates and Twitch sensations, Gothalion and ProfessorBroman, who are two of the world’s best Destiny players. Also hosting is Kevin Murray, owner of RareDrop, organizers of GuardianCon. On June 30, SCUF will launch new controller designs for Gothalion and ProfessorBroman available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Gothalion and ProfessorBroman available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.  Controller pricing starts at $169.95, € $169.95, £134.99, for SCUF IMPACT for PS4 and PC, and $159.95, €159.95, £129.99 for SCUF Infinity1 for XB1 and PC.To purchase the controllers or for additional information, please visit www.scufgaming.com.

Gothalion said, “It means a lot to go from consumer to affiliate to partner with SCUF, a company who’s product I’ve used for years. And now, I’m proud to put my name on one of their controllers, as I’ve used SCUF on stream for years. The partnership means a lot to me but, I’m even more proud that they’re helping us make the world a better place.”

Gothalion custom professional Xbox and PlayStation controllers

ProfessorBroman stated, “I’m unbelievably proud to announce the ProfessorBroman SCUF controller. I’ve used a SCUF for years and it’s improved my game and my wrist health immensely. Without a doubt SCUF is the best in the controller business and I’m so excited to be working with them on this controller and partnering to promote gaming for good this year at GuardianCon.”

Professor Broman custom professional Xbox and PlayStation controllers

GuardianCon’s goal for 2017 is to raise over $1 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Activities range from a week-long broadcast marathon featuring various content creators, game developers, and community members to the convention show floor with artists, discussion panels, vendors, live music, gaming stations, PvP tournaments and much more.

Among the SCUF affiliates who are participating in this year’s event include; Gothalion, ProfessorBroman, Kraftyy, Triplewreck, Ninja, Gernader Jake, Lucky & Buttwipe, Crucible Radio, Luminosity, MTashed, Versus and True Vanguard.

About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food–because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. https://www.stjude.org

About GuardianCon
What began as a meetup for a couple of Twitch broadcasters has evolved into a massive two-day community convention and force for charitable giving. GuardianCon, now entering its third year of operation, is a charity gaming event located in Tampa, FL. In 2016 the event raised over $560,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Activities range from a week-long broadcast marathon featuring various content creators, game developers, and community members to the convention show floor with artists, discussion panels, vendors, live music, gaming stations, PvP tournaments and much more. https://www.guardiancon.com

About Scuf Gaming
Scuf Gaming®, global leader and innovator of gaming peripherals and winner of eSports Industry Awards for “Best Hardware” in 2016, provides tactical gear for elite gamers where over 90% of the top professional gamers in the world use SCUF. Selling high-end accessories and customized gaming controllers for console and PC, SCUF offers a number of functional and design features custom built to increase hand use and improve gameplay. Built to specification, SCUF controllers cater to competitive and casual gamers who recognize that one size does not fit all. The SCUF controller has features, which are covered by 30 granted patents, and another 65 pending; protecting 3 key areas of a controller; back control functions and handles, trigger control mechanisms and thumbstick control area. For additional information about Scuf Gaming, please visit www.scufgaming.com.

SCUF Affiliate of the Week: Alastair “Ali-A” Aiken

This week’s affiliate profile takes a look at the man behind the largest and most-viewed Call of Duty YouTube channel in the world – Alastair ‘Ali-A’ Aiken.

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Origins

Like many who explode in popularity on a given platform, YouTube included, Ali-A worked years to become an “overnight success”, of a sort. Uploading his first videos as far back as 2009, it wasn’t until 2013 that he reached his first 1 million subscribers.

That proved to be something of a critical mass for Ali, however, and within the same year he had more than tripled that number. Less than two years later, it had doubled again to a massive six million subscribers.

Today, Ali-A is one of the biggest gaming channels on YouTube, boasting an audience of 8.8 million subs. Frequently found on social media, Ali-A also tweets and posts Instagram photos to more than two million people on each site.

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Call of Duty fanatic

When Ali-A was on his own rise to popularity, Call of Duty was the game to play. At its peak, Call of Duty was one of the biggest entertainment franchises on the planet, and it didn’t just dominate gaming itself, but gaming content as well.

Times change, however, and in recent years many of Ali-A’s contemporaries have moved on from Call of Duty, playing it sporadically at best and producing more content around alternative titles or real-life videos.

A cynical viewer might see such evolution as view-chasing, the more charitable may recognise that tastes change, and that includes content-creators themselves – either way, it’s not an accusation that could ever be levelled at Ali-A.

A genuine love of the game that made him famous is as evident today as it ever was, with his primary channel still providing daily Call of Duty content to his enormous audience.

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Above and beyond the Call

That said, naturally Call of Duty isn’t Ali’s only pass-time. As a gamer, he naturally enjoys a variety of games, and as an entertainer his audience are naturally interested in the man behind the content.

To share these sorts of things with those that are interested, Ali-A has created a second channel which has developed its own sizeable following – more than 4.5 million subscribers. There, Ali posts a variety of content, frequently including Pokémon GO, vlogs, and appearances from girlfriend and fellow YouTuber Clare Siobhan.

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Outside the game

Though gaming takes up a significant amount of Ali-A’s time and content, the platform it’s given him has allowed him opportunities beyond his natural field.

As a Call of Duty personality and internet celebrity, Ali-A has appeared at a number of events, including those in esports. As well as appearing at a handful of tournaments over the years as part of a broadcast, Ali presented an award at the inaugural Esports Industry Awards last year.

Ali’s popularity has even brought him opportunities beyond gaming entirely. It was announced this year that the YouTube star would be writing a graphic novel, starring himself as the chief character, to be published by Puffin and Random House Children’s Books.

The SCUF Destiny Game Guide

Blurring the lines between the MMO, RPG and FPS, Bungie’s Destiny sends you through an elaborate space opera to save humanity from ruthless alien forces that want to see us extinct.

In this game guide, we’ll be showing you how to get the most out of your SCUF controller when playing in the massive online world of Destiny.

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Paddle configuration:

There is always a reason to keep an eye over your shoulder in the world of Destiny. Your foes aren’t above getting in a shot when you’re trying to loot ammo crates or even when you’re reviving a teammate.

For maximum efficiency, set your controller configuration to Puppeteer and map your left paddle to Square (for the PS4) or X (for the Xbox One). This setup will allow you to revive teammates or loot crates while keeping your thumb on the thumbstick: letting you keep aiming to avoid an enemy who’s trying to get the drop on you!

In addition, map your right paddle to X (for the PS4) or A (for the Xbox One). Jumping and aiming in Destiny can be quite difficult, but players who make use of abilities like Icarus will be very happy to have the ability to do both at once.

Trigger Stops:

Single fire weapons only shoot as quickly as you can pull the trigger, and that’s where SCUF’s trigger stops come in. By activating these stops, a Guardian can put down more fire in a shorter amount of time, making that Scout Rifle even more deadly. And if you’re looking to hop on your Sparrow and cruise to the next zone, turning off your trigger stops takes seconds, and doesn’t require a game restart.

Thumbsticks:

Thumbstick preference is a personal choice when compared to SCUF’s other customizable features. However, TeamSCUF prefers using regular concave thumbsticks for the ability to really dig in our thumbs when running and gunning. This is particularly effective in extended game sessions, where you’re more likely to lose that grip over time.

Destiny is one of the biggest games in the galaxy, and with Destiny 2 on the horizon, we hope to see every Guardian in TeamSCUF gearing up to take down that Wizard from the Moon.

Let us know what configuration has worked best for you! Follow SCUF on Twitter and Facebook and tell us what you think.

The SCUF CWL Sheffield 2017 Recap!

It was a weekend to remember as some of Europe’s finest Call of Duty players met up in Sheffield to prove who was the best on their side of the pond! After a 3rd place win at Anaheim last week, the general consensus was that Epsilon was the favorite to win, and they did not disappoint. One stunning victory after another, Epsilon brought all their aggression to the grand final, taking down Red Reserve in a 3-0 finish that came down to the final few seconds of an Uplink match.

With this victory fresh in their mind, it’s become clear that Epsilon is ready for the opportunity to prove themselves stateside. With Splyce also making their name known this season, it’s clear that the CoD Championship is going to have more than just American teams set to make a splash.


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SCUF Affiliate of the Week: Dylan “Theory” McGee

This week’s profile takes a look at Team Kaliber’s Dylan ‘Theory’ McGee.

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Origins

Theory is one of the few pros that didn’t take long to reach the dizzying heights at the top of the scene. He kicked off the Black Ops 2 season in considerable fashion and almost immediately after finding his way onto the vVv roster, had landed 3rd place at MLG Winter Championship and a top 8 finish at the 2013 Call of Duty Championships.

From there, Theory linked up with the newly formed Team Kaliber where he has spent the vast, vast majority of his Call of Duty career, minus a few brief cameos for other established outfits.

Current Team

While no one would claim that the current iteration of Team Kaliber is the best ever, there’s certainly some potential in the ranks. Having gone into hiding after a bizarre and unfortunate series of events largely contributed to the team unfortunately missing out on last year’s CWL Stage Two, Team Kaliber returned at the eleventh hour of Black Ops 3 to make a notable cameo and snatch top 12 at last year’s Championships.

Heading into the new year and many believed that Team Kaliber would have a launch pad with which to start their new era. Unfortunately, after a decent start where the team achieved top 16, tK’s ambitions have been somewhat thwarted by having begin each Major tournament in the Open Bracket.

Despite tough runs at almost every subsequent event post Vegas, Team Kaliber have continually been knocking on the door but have fallen just short. In Paris the team had two opportunities to break into the Championship Bracket but were defeated in each instance. In both Dallas and Atlanta, Team Kaliber did reach the latter stages but were eliminated by European opposition – Supremacy and Fnatic respectively.

This has all added up to a frustrating season for a team packed with genuine potential. Having just missed out on a spot in Stage One Relegation, the team will look ahead to Anaheim where they’ll make their debut appearance since switching ColeChan for Accuracy.

On current form at least, Theory and Team Kaliber are very much on course to snatch up a place at this year’s Championships, where they’ll look to show the scene what they’re really made of on the biggest stage.

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Career Highlight

While Theory has moved about occasionally, he’s largely been a Team Kaliber player over the course of his playing career. His sustained quality has led Theory to be an ever-present at Call of Duty Championship events over the years, achieving top 8 on two occasions along the way.

Arguably though his career highlight was during the latter stages of Black Ops 2 and the earlier stages of Call of Duty Ghosts. It was during this period that Team Kaliber were at their pinnacle and had it not been for the incredible quality of compLexity – a team whose dominance hasn’t since been matched – Theory would likely have won at least one Major title.

Unfortunately, playing in the era of the most dominant team ever left Theory empty handed on the Major title front; he did however win a Minor offline competition in the form of AEL Dallas 2014 upon return to Team Kaliber after a hiatus with FaZe.

At their peak, Team Kaliber earned second place finishes at the MLG Fall Championship 2013, UMG Philadelphia 2013 and a top 3 finish at Gfinity 2. Had Theory not made the move to FaZe Clan when he did, arguably he could have been a catalyst to finally land a first-place finish for Team Kaliber as compLexity started to run out of steam. Coincidentally, by the time Theory did return, Team Kaliber themselves had gone somewhat off the boil and finished the season empty handed anyway.

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In-game

Theory has long been associated with being an objective player. While he leans towards a more aggressive style of play, his understanding of the fundamentals is what has led him to being a top player for many years and has kept his stock high for such a prolonged period of his career.

His cool and collected demeanor translates to both inside and outside of Call of Duty, helping his team keep a level headedness at important moments in time. Fundamentally, Theory is better suited to boots on the ground Call of Duty, as his career statistics show. Despite still enjoying success during the ‘jetpack era,’ look out for Theory to have a big year when CoD returns to boots on the ground action later in 2017.

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Public Persona

Theory has never been a particularly outspoken pro and tends to remain reserved and professional regardless of the situation. On Twitter Theory has amassed almost 60K followers, but has largely shunned the limelight, despite opportunities to boost his own profile.

As a former member of the Team Kaliber house, Theory regularly appeared in videos with housemates including Sharp and Kosdff, but never used the opportunity to launch his own YouTube channel with regular content. Theory is an occasional streamer but that’s where his content production ends. Theory, unlike many of his counterparts, is a dedicated player first and foremost.

Learn More About Theory In His Own Words With SCUF Living Esports