ASU's Dream Team pave the way for the future of eSports

ASU has always had an active fanbase, from the Inferno at football games to basketball’s 942, but on Sunday night, ASU fans were cheering for a different Sun Devil sport premiering on ESPN2.

ASU has always had an active fanbase, from the Inferno at football games to basketball’s 942 Crew, but on Sunday night, ASU fans were cheering for a different Sun Devil sport premiering on ESPN2. eSports made its debut on national television with “Heroes of the Dorm,” a collegiate tournament for the not-yet released game “Heroes of the Storm."

When the tournament was announced, team captain akaface used a free agent Skype channel and Reddit to form the team. He found kotang and electrical engineering sophomore Parham Emami, who plays as pham. On Reddit, he was able to pick up melkor and business communication freshman Michael Udall, who plays as michaeludall. To prepare for the tournament. ASU's Dream Team, which consists of seven players, scrimmaged against professional teams 2ARC and Beyond Reason.

"I wasn’t even going to consider doing this tournament because I didn’t know anyone at ASU that played," Emami said. "I met Michael after we made the team but the other three, we didn’t meet until the day before the trip to California. The weirdest thing is seeing everyone’s voices compared to what you expect them to look like."

The Dream Team flew to Los Angeles to compete against Boston College’s Boston Eagles in the Heroic Four at Shrine Auditorium. After a 2-1 win in the semifinals, the Dream Team moved on to compete against the undefeated UC Berkeley’s Golden Bears.

The best-of-five series went to a deciding fifth game which ASU held a huge advantage. ASU had map control, and at one point, the Dream Team found themselves three levels ahead of the Golden Bears. With UC Berkeley picking Illidan once again, ASU countered with Emami picking Sylvanas as his hero and Udall playing as the Lost Vikings. The Dream Team led for most of the game, but a late mistake cost them the finals.

"We got caught where some of the teammates, me and pham, recalled before the rest which means we were back at base when the other team engaged on the other three,” Udall said. “That was the momentum shift. The other team kind of took control.”

While “Heroes of the Storm” is incredibly similar to other battle arena games, the popularity it has gained during beta has shown that it will be able to stand alone against the popular League of Legends and DotA.

“From other games in its own genre, it’s a lot more dynamic in terms of how the characters interact with each other,” Emami said. “When you’re drafting a team, there’s a lot more synergy with the characters you picked than who’s really strong necessarily.”

With the tournament over, the team is able to reflect on what it would change. Heroes of the Dorm made economics senior Kyle Noble debate switching from support to a warrior position. As support, his hero choices are limited to Tassadar and Tyrande. Switching roles would allow him to be more outgoing on the frontlines.

“I now understand how it feels to be an eSports professional because anybody and everybody will f---ing slam you for anything you do,” Noble said. “You kind of look at it and go, ‘Yeah they’re right to an extent.’ They still don’t know what they’re talking about but at the same time, they kind of get the general idea of what happened and that’s all that they need to know, which sucks, but at the same time, you understand what you did wrong a little bit better."

With the tournament over, the Dream Team is able to focus on playing with other teams. Team captain akaface and Emami compete with amateur team Kappa Wolves with hopes of competing at Blizz-con, while Noble recently announced that he joined the team PSISTORM.

ASU athletics will be honoring the Dream Team before the baseball game against UCLA on May 8. The team will be brought onto the field and introduced with a short clip with highlights from their game against Cal.

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