As you all know, our League of Legends -team got a place in NLC. Since dominating the Telia Esports Series and Telia Masters last year, we are extremely thrilled to announce our new roster!
First of all, we would like to thank Elmeri “euna” Mahlamäki, Aleksi “Merza” Meriläinen, Tommi “Toba” Kettunen and Atte “VL” Korpi for all the effort you put in the team and the organization. It was a great ride!
Now we have our roster ready for the next split! The core of our roster remains the same with three Finnish guys: Tatu “tatuy” Jauhiainen, Rami “snurmi” Nurmi and Ilmo “Tiara” Rapeli. With these old dogs you will see some new talent from abroad: Please welcome Sermend “Outlandisch” Alhmawendi, Libor “Proker” Král and Dennis “CastielMid” Hoese!
“Our roster seems very promising, we have connected very well from the beginning. We hope to fight for our spot in play-offs!” – Tatu “Tatuy” Jauhiainen
“Joining KOVA was surprising yet welcomed coincidence. Initially applying for the Assistant Coach role turned through unfortunate circumstances into the Head Coach role. Frankly speaking, we arguably do not have the best roster in the league but I do not think that the level of the league is overly high. Our progress in scrims has been very steady.
We should be able to contest the, on the paper, “better” teams and might end up upsetting one of the big favourites.” – Head Coach Dennis “CastielMid” Hoese.
We started our journey in esports in 2019. We had many plans for 2020 – even thought this has been a strange year, we have achieved a lot. Now it’s time to look back what has happened!
In the beginning of the year we had two streamers and four different games: CS:GO, Fortnite, Starcraft and Hearthstone. We were satisfied how our first year went, but we were looking for growth. At this point, it was the right time to grow our stream team, and we were happy to announce that Tito “Tixtuu” Huovila was joining us!
In February it was time for our CS-players to enjoy some LAN-events. Yeah, at that time we got to meet people face-to-face and not only via computer. Anyway, Assembly Winter 2020 didn’t go as planned, and we could not repeat the amazing win from the Assembly Summer 2019.
At the end of February, we took part in Lantrek 2020. Sadly we couldn’t beat SJ Gaming and we missed the finals, but our guys fought and got the 3th place.
At March we had a LOT going on: We were about to announce two new teams: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege and NHL. Our R6 team had a bootcamp in Jyväskylä and played for a spot in Nordic League. It was quite a rough start for our team as they didn’t qualify, but it didn’t matter: We were more than happy to have new team under our name!
Before the corona break-out we had a chance to meet our fans and play some Fortnite and CS with them, as we and POWER organized an event in Turku. Part of our staff were there with our streamers Sami “FaijaRektaa” Huovila and Tito “Tixtuu” Huovila. It was great to meet you all there!
In March our CS:GO team played in Rio’s Minor Closed Qualifiers. Our guys showed what they can do and played very well – they didn’t win, but they showed that they can be tough opponent to worlds top teams.
Our card player Ville “Keppada” Pääkkö started the year 2020 with a great drive: He qualified to Hearthstone Master Tour Bali and he was the 10th person in Europe to get Masters rank in Runeterra.
The Master Tour was supposed to get place in Bali, but because of COVID19 Blizzard relocated it to Los Angeles. The situation with corona got even worse, and Keppada the tournament changed to online mode. The tournament didn’t go well for Keppada, but he got an great experience
In March we also published our partnership with Leijona Työvaatteet. At the same time we published some cool merch for you to buy!
After busy March, we all had to adapt to the new situation. We could not meet each other as much as normally, but we knew we had to keep things going. Our CS-guys started playing Elisa Viihde Spring Challenge at the end of March, and closed the series in April with victory. Along with the victory they got a place to Elisa Invitational Spring 2020, where they played against North and Nordavind for example. After the tournament our HLTV-ranking was 69 – so we rose 63 places!
In April we also published Fortnite Deathrun competition, which we hosted with POWER. The competition lasted until May, and we saw many cool performances in the map!
In May we had many things to celebrate. Our R6-guys got their silver medals in FEL’s R6-league, after losing to GODSENT. We also heard that Telia will host a new League of Legends -series in Finland and other Nordic Countries. Most of our staff loved LoL already, and we were very exited about new series. We faced one little problem: We didn’t have a team in LoL.
Luckily our GM Timo had some mämmi left from Easter, and with the power of Mämmi it took only couple of phone calls and we had the team. The captain Tatu “tatuy” Jauhiainen told us, that the team is the best team in Finland. Our team also got the invitation to the Telia Esports Series.
Our CS-guys had a reason to party, when they won Telia Esports Series. They took SJ Gaming down with a clean 2-0 sweep and also got a spot in Dream Hack Open Winter 2020 tournament!
With all this joy in competitive side, we were also thrilled to announce our partnership with F-Secure.
In June we announced two awesome partners: Sector Alarm and Lumo Energia. We also had some sad news to tell: We were about to disband our Fortnite players. We and our players Niko “Aistimus” Anttila and Ville “Flowdi” Virtala talked about the scene, and realized that it has not developed as we thought it would. Both of them decided to leave the competitive scene for now. Thank you guys for great time together!
In June we met our LoL-team for the first time, when they started their journey in Telia Esports Series. Our players told us, that they would win the whole thing, and the beginning looked great: They won their opening match.
July was a good month for us. Our CS:GO-team faced HAVU in Finnish Esports League finals, and we were very excited about the final, and our game plan was clear.
Well, as expected, they did won the whole thing. They also got a place in Telia Masters tournament, which took place in August.
Our Starcraft 2 boys ZhuGeLiang and Mixu competed in Fuzers Shelter Gameroom Open. They managed to get to the podium: ZhuGeLiang got the brightest medal, and Mixu got the 3th place.
In June we announced a new team to KOVA: We were happy to welcome our sim racing team!
August started well. Our new sim racing team competed in Digital sim racing eSM. We knew they were fast, and at the end of the very hot day we got to celebrate Tuomas Tähtelä and Valtteri Alander, as Tuomas got the first place and Valtteri the third place!
Tuomas Tähtelä on Digital Racingin vuoden 2020 Suomen mestari! 🥇
We also had some sad news to tell you. During player break, our young AWP-player Nikita “Derkeps” Sirmitev had decided that it’s time to focus on his studies. Because of that’ he stepped down from our active CS:GO-roster.
But it didn’t take too long after we announced the new fifth player: we were ready to welcome Jarkko “spargo” Rahja to our team!
As our CS:GO roster was practicing after changes, our LoL team continued their journey to Telia Masters.
It didn’t take too long after we were sure that they were going to dominate this tournament as they did in Telia Esports Series. They won the whole thing, and with the win they got a place to NLC relegations!
WHAT DID WE JUST WITNESS???Another series in the bag LETS GOOOO🔥🔥🔥 We are the @TES_Nordic Masters champions🏆 Watch out @NLClol, we wont be stopped…
NLC relegations didn’t go as well as we hoped for. Our guys lost to Singularity Esports 3-2, and our journey ended there.
We also had some other action! Our streamers FaijaRektaa and Tixtuu hosted a 24 hours stream, and during the stream they opened 1000 CS:GO cases. Also we had our first KOVA Starcraft team league tournament!
In September we faced HAVU once again, this time in Elisa Finnish Championship 2020 -tournament. Unfortunately this time HAVU got the biggest prize.
What a final it was, @HAVUgaming was just better this time. We won our map pick but could not close other maps, GG&WP!
Our League of Legends team had another tournament ahead of them in November. NLC Fall Open tournament took place in November. We faced some great teams, and unfortunately we couldn’t perform as well as before.
As our teams kept playing, we were ready to announce something new. We now have our own academy team in CS:GO, as we started co-operation with JAMI. If you don’t know what to study next year, be sure to check kovakatemia.fi!
Finally it was the last month of this strange year! We thought that we didn’t have much you tell you at this point at the year, but oh, how wrong we were.
We had a BIG surprise to our League of Legends team. As one NLC team had to step down from the league, they offered the spot fo us and of course we took it! So next year instead of dominating Telia Esports Series, we will be dominating NLC!
This year The Finnish Starcraft 2 community celebrated its 10th anniversary with an online tournament for the Finnish players, and our player ZhuGeLiang showed his skills and won the whole tournament!
As @NeridanGG requested. This year hasn't been kind to me when it comes to covid but fuzer shelter room#3 and @starcraft2fi 10v cup wins more than make it up. That being said we are very lucky here in Finland because of our amazing healthcare workers in the frontline. #KOVANApic.twitter.com/muJrEtFe9n
We also made first Gaming Sohva episode together with Lumo Energia. Our first guest was NHL goalie Ville Husso!
Also our League of Legends team competed in League of Legends ESM-tournament. It was the last tournament for our team with that roster. In finals they lost to Isänmaan Toivot (ex-ENCE), and got the second place.
THANK YOU ALL FOR THE YEAR 2020 – WE ARE READY FOR 2021!
We want to thank all our fans and partners. Even thought there was some hard times, we are happy how this year went for us! We also want to thank all players who are with us now and who have left us: You have made our journey amazing!
Etelä-Pohjanmaalle aukeaa Suomen ensimmäinen vastuulliseen kilpapelaamisen keskittyvä e-urheilulinja – opetussuunnitelmassa mukana elämänhallintaa, ravitsemustietoa ja etiikkaa
Järviseudun ammatti-instituutti (JAMI) kehittää kilpapelaamisopetustaan luomalla vastuulliseen pelaamiseen keskittyvän linjan yhdessä e-urheiluorganisaatio KOVAn kanssa. Yhteistyön myötä aiempi kilpapelaamisen linja laajenee kattamaan vastuulliset pelaajapolut, ja tuo alan tämänhetkisiä kärkinimiä koulun asiantuntijoiksi.
Peliopintojen rinnalla opetussuunnitelmaan kuuluu muun muassa fyysistä harjoittelua, kilpapelaamisen etiikkaa sekä terveystietoa käsittelevät kokonaisuudet. Yhteistyö peliorganisaatioiden ja koulujen välillä on vielä Suomessa uutta.
“Haluamme yhdessä kasvattaa vastuullisempia ja ammattitaitoisempia pelaajia. Tulevaisuuden ammattipelaaja huolehtii liikunnasta, syö terveellisesti, opiskelee tunnollisesti ja harjoittelee tavoitteellisesti, kurinalaisesti ja määrätietoisesti. Pelaaminen kasvattaa suosiotaan tällä hetkellä jatkuvasti ja uskomme, että juuri nyt oikea aika tehdä Suomesta edelläkävijämaa tällä saralla”, kertoo JAMIn esports-opettaja Mikko Kalijärvi.
Linjan yhteistyökumppanina toimii suomalainen KOVA Esports, joka tunnetaan muun muassa viimeaikaisesta menestyksestä suomalaisten suosikkipeli Counter-Strike: Global Offensivessa. Yrityksen toinen perustaja, Antti Hirvonen, näkee yhteistyön luonnollisena ja toivoo, että vastaavia hankkeita syntyisi myös muualla Suomessa.
“Yhdessä voimme luoda kestävän ja vastuullisen pelikulttuurin. JAMIn nuoret opiskelijat ovat luomassa itselleen ammattia, ja meille on kunnia olla mukana heille tärkeässä matkassa. Samaan aikaan pystymme viemään koko Suomen e-urheilukenttää eteenpäin ja omalta osaltamme tehdä Suomesta edelläkävijää pelaamisen alalla”, Hirvonen toteaa.
Yhteistyön myötä Counter-Strike: Global Offensive -peliin keskittyviin kilpapeliopintoihin tulee merkittäviä lisäsisältöjä. KOVAn valmennusosaamista tullaan hyödyntämään etenkin henkisellä puolella, jolloin opiskelijoille voidaan tarjota aiempaa kokonaisvaltaisempaa opetusta. Lisäksi opiskelijat pääsevät kuulemaan vinkkejä pelaamiseen ja kehittymiseen omilta idoleiltaan, KOVAn ammattipelaajilta. Kilpapelilinjan opiskelijat tulevat pelaamaan KOVAn nimen alla akatemiajoukkueena.
Esports-liiketoimintaan keskittyvällä puolella yhteistyö avaa opiskelijalle mahdollisuuden oppia esimerkiksi manageroinnista ja kumppanuusmyynnistä vierailevilta luennoitsijoilta sekä suorittaa harjoittelujaksoja KOVAn organisaatiossa.
JAMI: Mikko Kalijärvi, esports-opettaja
KOVA: Antti Hirvonen, omistaja
Järviseudun ammatti-instituutti JAMI on tarjonnut esport-opintoja vuodesta 2014 saakka. JAMI on 500 opiskelijan ammatillinen oppilaitos Etelä-Pohjanmaan Järviseudulla. JAMIn vuonna 2019 perustamaan esportkoulu.fi-konseptiin liittyivät myös Alajärven lukio ja Vimpelin lukio keväällä 2020, tavoitteena saada esports-opintoihin lukio- sekä ammatillinen linja. Aloituspaikkoja kouluissa on yhtäänsä 60: JAMIssa 20 paikkaa kilpapelilinjalle ja 10 esports-liiketoimintaan. Molemmissa lukioissa on 15 paikkaa kilpapelilinjalle. www.kovaakatemia.fi
KOVA Esports on vuonna 2019 perustettu suomalainen e-urheiluorganisaatio, joka tunnetaan erityisesti viimeaikaisesta menestyksestä suomalaisten suosikkipeli Counter-Strike: Global Offensivessa. CS:GO-joukkue on kerännyt voittoja muun muassa vuoden 2019 Summer Assemblyilta, Telia Esport Seriesin kolmannelta kaudelta sekä Finnish Esports Leaguen 8. kaudelta. Viimeisimpänä joukkue sijoittui toiseksi elokuussa pelatussa Suomen mestaruusturnauksessa. www.kova.gg
“There’s no direct reading of what I’m aiming for, but I’m trying to be at the top of the goalies in the stats in every league that I play”.
KOVA goalkeeper Axel “MonkeyHeadAF” Falck, 27, who started playing actively during NHL04, played simulator rally games before his competitive NHL career. However, interest in competitive NHL sparked in the late 2000s.
– The sim racing scene was not very big at the time. The NHL scene has grown steadily all the time, and sometimes around the time of NHL16 I started playing more with competitive teams. Since then I have played 6vs6 games, Falck says.
At the same time, he also tried for the first time the goalie`s spot, which went well right from the start. Falck thinks the goalie`s place is best for him and he also wants to stay there.
Falck has a lot of positive things to say about his current team. The players are tough, and everyone has potential to step up in tight games. When teammates get a chance to attack, goals can be scored against anyone.
– As a goalkeeper, I like to play on this team because our defense is in good shape, Falck praises.
– As soon as I joined this team, I had a good feeling about this group.
If team KOVA does not have own games, Falck may be seen playing for other teams as goalkeeper in training spirit. However, he doesn’t feel that it would be as beneficial as training with his own team.
– Each team has its own style of play, and the goalkeeper must adapt to it. The same thing doesn’t work for everyone, Falck describes.
Before his own games, Falck does not have any special routines, no voodoo dancing or meditating. The most important thing is to be ready.
– It`s all about being ready for games in the best possible way. There is nothing special about that, Falck says.
The new NHL 21 will be released soon, but Falck does not think that it will be much different than the current one. Of course, there will be new stuff in the game that teams need to learn, but more he believes changes will be found when NHL22 is released.
– We got to try the NHL21 test version for a few days. I think that bigger changes will come when the PlayStation5 and NHL22 are released, Falck says.
As for Falck`s own favorite NHL version, the choice is difficult. For him, every version has had something good and something bad, but compared to his era, the best game has been NHL14.
– Every version is good in their own way, but NHL14 was good for its era. NHL09 was also a big step forward, with a lot of new things coming into it. That’s when the game started to be played in a slightly different style, and it’s memorable, Falck recalls.
Falck`s dream hockey lineup would consist only Finnish players.
– Miikka Kipprusoff as a goalie, Miro Heiskanen in the defence alongside Jere Karalahti. In the offence I would pick Patrik Laine, Sebastian Aho and Teemu Selänne, Falck reflects.
Couple of quick choices:
Selänne or Kurri? – Selänne Laine or Aho? – Aho Koivu or Koivu? – Koivu Juti or Tiki? – Tiki
KOVA X Lumo Energia: KOVA STARCRAFT TEAM LEAGUE TOURNAMENT CONTINUES
This autumn KOVA and partners bring some action to Finnish Starcraft 2 scene. We are happy to announce that the second KSTL will take place on 27.9.2020!
Initially we wanted to broadcast on the entire weekend for two days for 26.-27.9. This shortening of the broadcasts means that we can improve the quality of production. The good news here is that Fraktio is coming onboard to help us with production. PKjedi from Fraktio has been an integral part of Finnish Starcraft 2 tournaments for the past few years.
Format changes: We will be adopting the NationWars 2019 proleague into all-kill format. In NationWars each team has 3 players, but we will keep our 7 player teams. This means that the first team to reach 8 map wins secures the match victory. In addition each team will have a single ace player. In other words the initial proleague section for the tournament will look exactly the same to our first KSTL edition except now the continuation of all-kill will give the potential for surprises and comeback potentials.
Prize pool changes: We want to commit to our intention to support the players nearing grandmaster rank. The majority of the prize pool will be put into the proleague format with each match now worth 25€ from the 15€. In addition the winning team will receive 70€ which means the total prize pool for the tournament will be 245€.
Invites and ladder qualifier: The 7 invited players of course include our ZhuGeLiang and Mixu who will return as captains. Four invites go to players at the top of the Finnish ladder which include PuPu, Alluton, TheMusZero and WoodedMicrob. In addition two invites go to the legendary players Welmu and Naama. The ladder qualifier is found here: http://starcraft2.fi/tournaments/tournament.php?id=549 and will run until the 16.9. which will qualify the remaining 6 players.
Broadcast schedule: The tournament will take place on 27.9. at 15:00 CEST. Main broadcast for the tournament on Saturday will be in Finnish at: https://www.twitch.tv/starcraft2fi. In addition we will have an international stream broadcasted by WarCraft 3 Champion and legendary caster RotterdaM at: https://www.twitch.tv/rotterdam08 in English. Nordic Starcraft League tournament runner Robzki will once again join in but covering it in Swedish at: https://www.twitch.tv/robzki.
Future prospects: If we decide to hold 1 more KSTL for 2020 it will be after ESL Dreamhack Masters Winter in November.
“I have always been into ice hockey, in real life or virtually. When there was no opportunity to get on the ice, it was to play a video game.”
Captain of NHL team Kimi “ZipPlayer” Nordberg, 31, has been playing NHL games since NHL94. It was a great way to spend time when there was no ice hockey practice.
– It didn’t take much to get excited about the video game when I was already in real life interested in hockey, he smiles.
At first Nordberg played 1v1 tournaments during NHL07. He remembers one tournament where he got to the finals and then suffered a bitter defeat. Much later, in 2015, he started playing 6v6 game mode competitively. At the time of NHL15 Nordberg was playing in “Finnish national team”, where played the best players from different platforms.
– We played against the Swedish team which was made in the same way. The event was very cool; first we flew to Sweden and played there and the next day they came here, Nordberg recalls.
NHL games aren’t the first video games that Nordberg has been playing competitively. At first, the NHL was always a second choice.
– I took different COD series very seriously. One year we won every tournament held in Finland. I played it a lot, but lack of time became a problem.
After the release of the team, there have been some roster changes. Nordberg is satisfied with the current team: All players like to play together and they are having a good time, which is important to the captain.
– Playfully we are quite a defensive team. I could say we don’t score a lot of goals, but we won’t let them in either, Nordberg describes his team.
As a game, NHL is very different from Counter:Strike or LoL. In those games teams can make strategies and plans, but in the NHL you have to think fast and react to what the opponent is doing.
– For example, if I’m a free player and I call it out, it’s too late, Nordberg notes.
Even though it’s not so simple to make clear strategies for the games, KOVA’s team has some tactics in their pockets. The best way to surprise the opponent is to have creativity.We don’t have one strategy we would use all the time. Everyone can build the game with their own skills.
– There are some teams always using the same tactics. I could stand at one spot and I would know where the puck goes next, Nordberg describes.
According to Nordberg, the Finnish Championship league which they are playing right now is a test for the team which has gone through a lot of changes. Even though there are many new players in the team, they are going for a block win.
– The block victory is a realistic goal for us as long as we play our own game. It would be cool to get in the top four, but it would take a little luck. There are many great teams against us and they have played together for a long time, Nordberg ponders.
Later NHL team will play in the new ECL Elite season. It will be played with new NHL21, so it brings many changes. Every team has to learn new things.
– Elite is a very hard series. Losing one game can cost a lot. As long as you steal some points from top four teams and win those who you think are not as good as your team, you should be doing quite well, Nordberg describes.
This autumn KOVA and partners bring some action to Finnish Starcraft 2 scene. We are happy to announce that there will be Starcraft 2 team league tournaments, and the first one will be on 15.8.2020!
The philosophy behind the tournament is to reinforce the strong community we have here in Finland for Starcraft 2. After 10 years of the game, the players who have stuck with it have shown incredible dedication and this is a celebration for all of us. We bring innovation to the tournament format in the sense that the traditional group stage and double elimination format that we have had for past few years in Finnish tournaments have lacked variety in terms of storylines.
For every tournament, team selection will be done through our Starcraft2 players Wenlei “ZhuGeLiang” Dai and Mikael “Mixu” Helenius. They will be captains of each team. This allows for a different combination of players competing against each other every time. For our kick off edition players will be invited based on their recent performance in Fuzer Shelter Room 3. In future we will have 6 invites including ZhuGeLiang and Mixu. The rest of 8 players will compete in a ladder competition to qualify for the tournament. Total player count will be 14 players.
The initial kick off event will take place on 15.8. with a single bo7 being played. Future editions of the tournament will take place on two days with a bo7 being played on each of those days. Teams remain the same for both bo7.
Price pool for each bo7 and the kick off event will be around 140 € and future editions of this tournament will have two bo7s with around 280 €. More information on the distribution will be detailed later. It will try to encourage the team to work with each other while individual matches will not lose importance even if one team has already won the overall team match.
Broadcast schedule: Team selection will happen on 10.8. Monday and the tournament on 15.8. Saturday at 16:00 CEST. Main broadcast for the tournament on Saturday will be in Finnish at: https://www.twitch.tv/starcraft2fi. In addition we will have a international stream broadcasted by the Nordic Starcraft League tournament runner Robzki covering it in English at: https://www.twitch.tv/robzki
Next edition of the tournament will most likely be played on 26.-27.9. or 3.-4.10. which is after the EPT fall ends. It is subject to change depending on tournament schedules of bigger tournaments.
”If I perform at best level in Finland, I can be satisfied.”
Tuomas Tähtelä, 23, has been playing racing games since he was a child. Now he studies computer science at university and attempts to drive as good as possibly. He started taking sim racing more seriously in 2014.
-Pretty quickly I noticed I was at the same point as the drivers who have been doing this for years. Soon I noticed I had gifts for this, Tähtelä tells.
Tähtelä thinks the best thing in sim racing is competitiveness and that you can be better than anyone else. Races can be very different from other, one can be 2 hours long, other 24 hours. Tähtelä doesn’t think it makes any difference to his personal preparing.
– It doesn’t matter how long the race is. The pace must always be found just as quickly, Tähtelä emphasizes.
Tähtelä doesn’t have any specific training routines. He drives when it feels good.
– I practice when I feel like it, because then it is the most effective. Practically I drive every day from one hour to couple hours, Tähtelä tells.
Results aren’t the most important thing to Tähtelä even though he likes competition. He wants to develop as a driver and drive better than others.
– It’s more important to drive as well as I’m supposed than look at the results. It doesn’t matter who I win, Tähtelä laughs.
One of the best moments in Tähtelä’s career happened over ten years ago. He played some racing game and got gold price from every test. Best sim racing moment happened last year when he was driving at Petit Le Mans.
– We were driving against Max Verstappen, we fought hard and finally we won, Tähtelä sums up.
As an organization, KOVA Esports is bigger than any other where Tähtelä has been in. It’s a big step forward and the fact that all his teammates are Finnish is important to Tähtelä.
– I am proud to represent Finland!
Tähtelä also has great confidence with his new team. In his former teams all drivers haven’t always been at the same page but now the situation is different.
– All our drivers are smart and drives at the level they should, Tähtelä sums up.
We are happy to announce that we have signed Jarkko “Spargo” Rahja to our CS:GO roster and he is our new AWP player. Before joining KOVA, Spargo has played in hREDS. At the same time we announce that all our CS:GO players have signed new contracts with the organization.
“Spargo was the only player we really considered and had the needed skillset to fill the spot Derkeps left after going inactive. We thank Christer Kasurinen and hREDS for good negotiations.” – Timo Tarvainen, General Manager
Nikita “derkeps” Sirmitev has decided to step aside from active CS:GO roster. As of now he wants to focus on his studies and we support his decision. He will still be under our contract but as an inactive player.
Derkeps has been a part of our CS:GO roster from the very beginning, starting as a rifle player and entry fragger. This spring he took a big role as an AWP player.
“In our opinion this is exceptionally mature decision and it describes Nikita as a person. We support him fully with this decision and we now give him the room to focus on studying.” – Timo Tarvainen, General Manager
“When you have the right car and track combination, it’s so enjoyable that you just drive lap after lap and suddenly notice how four or five hours have passed.”
21-year-old Valtteri Alander has raced on a competitive level in sim racing since 2018. Before that, he has played different games on both PC and console.
– I play many different simulators and games, for example, Farming Simulator. Simulation titles, in general, are the games I play the most. They are ”the thing” to me. I want my games to be as realistic as possible, even though it is not in line with it that I’m a big fan of Star Wars, Alander laughs.
During 2018, while racing on his first year on the PC, he managed to qualify to the Finnish sim racing championship finals and noticed that he has enough speed and talent to compete in sim racing on a high level. Two of his best performances are winning the Finnish sim racing championship qualification series in 2019 and qualifying to the Porsche Tag Heuer Esports Supercup in 2020, which meant that he got to drive in a world championship series.
– I drove on pole in two different races in the Porsche qualification series even though my laps were not very good on both occasions. It kind of surprised me that I had driven so well, Alander tells.
Alander studies engineering and because of his summer job, he can’t give as much time to sim racing as earlier. When there is a race in sight he tries to practise 2-3 hours per day but also makes sure that he has time for rest.
– You have to take breaks. If you drive too much and it doesn’t go well you just get frustrated and you can’t get any better.
When he’s getting ready for the race, Alander doesn’t mind who is going to be driving against him. For example, drivers get to know their opponents for special events, such as The 24 Hours of Spa, just before the race, so it is better to focus on your own driving.
– Sometimes we might observe other drivers on training servers just to see what kind of times and car choices others have done, Alander admits.
This year Alander hopes to be at least inside the top 20 in Porsche Tag Heuer Esports Supercup so he wouldn’t need to do the qualification series again. In iRacing special events he hopes the team to get a top 5 result. Another different kind of benchmark is to win his good friend.
– Matti Sipilä is my good friend and a driver whom I want to win. We were in the same league already back in 2014 and we have always raced against each other in various series and leagues. I always want to win Matti, it doesn’t matter if there are 10 drivers in front of me. All that matters is that I win Matti, Alander tells with a laugh.
Although KOVA’s sim racing team has driven just one race together, Alander has a lot of confidence in his team.
– Everyone has good racecraft and are able to do the right calls during a race.
”The most memorable situation in sim racing for me, so far, happened last year in the VRS GT iRacing Series’ 4th round, when I was catching 2018’s champion Maximilian Benecke, and the driver behind, trying to catch me, was Greger Huttu, a legend in the sim racing scene. When I realized that whole scenario while driving, it put a smile on my face.”
25-year-old Antti Ahola started sim racing in 2017 and a year later he noticed just how good he was. Long before that he was interested in sim racing but when you want to be a top driver, you need more than a PlayStation.
– I have always been a motorsports fan but unfortunately I have never been able to properly test my skills in a real race car. About ten years ago I saw a video about iRacing. I started to search more information about it and when I saw pictures of different sim racing equipment, I got the feeling that I want to do that too. Back then I didn’t have money or space for such equipment, but in the autumn of 2017 everything aligned perfectly and, well, the rest is history I guess, Ahola reminiscents.
Even though Ahola’s short career in sim racing, rounding up his third year in the sport later this year, he has ranked up quite a bit of success in different series and races. He isn’t always the driver you would bet on to win, but because of smart driving and consistent results, he has always been fighting for the overall victory in different series.
– I see myself as a dark horse and that is fine by me, Ahola laughs.
In every sport it takes lots of practise and time to stay at the top. So it does in sim racing. Ahola practises several hours per day, sometimes even for a whole working day or more.
– Of course you want to get good results in races but you can’t forget normal life. Sometimes it is hard to keep a balance between them. I have to practice a lot but also want to give time to my relationship and our dog. On the other hand it is good when you realize that you can’t just practice from the moment you wake up till you go back to sleep, Ahola tells.
– It took some time to realize and adapt my routines to accommodate both, sim racing and real life. Thanks to my lovely girlfriend, I believe I’ve learned how to balance both, he admits.
Despite his relatively short sim racing career, Ahola has been on the top-step of the podium more than once. Just to name a few, in January this year, he won the ”Rengas Turku 24H Simrace” alongside fellow KOVA Esports driver Valtteri Alander and just before joining KOVA Esports he also won the “Vauhdin Festivaali 6h Imola” race with Tuomas Tähtelä, who is also driving under KOVA’s name.
– In sim racing, it’s best to be able to race honestly against others and know that the respect is mutual, so the racing is fair but tough. No one wants to knock others out. It’s amazing when it happens, Ahola sums up.
Before KOVA, Ahola was part of a international esports organization Altus Esports together with Tuomas Tähtelä. He is also familiar with other KOVA’s drivers and members, because in Finland everyone knows each other in the sim racing scene.
– Each of our drivers are really fast. Everyone has their own strengths and our team is strong and well balanced.
Ahola’s goal for this year is to succeed in personal competitions, for example in Finnish esports championship final, held in 8.8.2020, which is organized by Finnish Sim Racing Association (FiSRA) together with AKK and Finnish Esports Federation (SEUL ry). It’s Ahola’s first time in this race. It is also very clear to him who he wants to beat.
– You always compare yourself to your own teammates. You have to believe that when you help your team you will also get help when you need it. We are all at the same starting line so all that matters is your own driving, Ahola tells.
”Traditional motorsport has been admired for a long time and it has been a way for people to show what they are cabable of. Sim racing creates same kind of possibility, but it brings it to everyone. It’s the most woderful thing in it.”
Iku Merikalla, 27, has joined KOVA Esports to help sim racing team with practical matters so drivers can focus on what’s most important: Driving.
In sim racing scene Merikalla is well-known to many, but not as a driver, but as a race and event creator and as a supervisor.
– I think it was 2016 when we were at Assembly creating first races. Sim racing has taken quite big steps forward; this year Yle showed preliminaries in Areena and Twitch, Merikalla tells.
Even thought Merikalla has been competing in sim racing for a bit he realized at an early stage that he can’t give enough to be top driver. He prefers to contribute to other things.
– I can’t practice enough to be a top driver. I choose to put my energy into organizing the races and taking pictures and videos, Merikalla explains.
There are not many esports organizations in Finland where you can find sim racing drivers. When Merikalla talked with team captain Pekka Tuomainen, he thought it is was something he wanted to be involved with.
– I was driving to my cabin when Pekka called me. We talked about for an hour and I got very clear view what drivers want. Everything fell into place.
Developing sim racing to better is very important to Merikalla. He is proud of that fact that he has been part of all the work that has been done while making sim racing more popular in Finland. It is quite easy to get into competing in sim racing because there are so many different possibilities to do it. And because it feels so realistic, it’s not a surprise that many are interested in it.
– In sim racing, there are many things that happen also in motorsports. The same tools are used to adjust the car and all the data what is found in real cars is also in sim racing cars and the data is analysed in the same way. Of course the simulation doesn’t fully comply with the laws of physics, but almost, Merikalla explains.
Sim racing has taken the first spot as a Merikalla’s hobby and he has many good memories with it. One of the greatest memories is last year’s Finnish esports Championship (eSM) which was held during Neste Rally.
– It was great thing to be part of such a big event, so it’s a great memory. Of course Assemblys are always great too, and every year there is some new thing that is greater than any other, Merikalla tells with a smile.
Merikalla doesn’t really care about where the drivers place in races. His most important goals are related to KOVA’s sim racing team and Finnish eSM-broadcast.
– I want this project with KOVA to go forward so everyone can see that sim racing is worth to be involved with. Of course eSM-broadcasts are important and they must be done well.
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”I’ve always been more interested in team races, because when you succeed together, happiness multiplies. Succesfull team race gives me the best feelings.”
KOVA’s new team captain of the sim racing team, Pekka Tuomainen, 30, thinks that one of the most important things in racing is the whole team drives well. He has dreamt about building his own team for long time. This spring the time was right.
– Almost since I started sim racing, I have dreamt of building my own team. It takes lots of time, but in the beginning of the year I felt this is the right time, Tuomainen explains.
At the same time KOVA Esports was planning to step in to sim racing, and it didn’t take long before Tuomainen got the call. At first he didn’t believe, that in future KOVA would have anything to do with his own team.
– When Matti Orava from KOVA called me first time, I was very sceptical. But the more we talked, the more we found in common. It took a while, but then we decided that it’s best to work together.
Tuomainen has always been interested in motorsports, but as a child he had no opportunity to practise it. Three years ago he started to take sim racing more seriously.
– Sim racing has taken many big steps during the last years, and now it’s quite great substitute for motorsports, Tuomainen tells with a smile.
As said, one of the most important things in sim racing for Tuomainen is team work and that the whole team is succesful. At his current job as a professional poker player he has gone trough all sides of working alone. That’s why he’s not currently so worried about his personal stats in sim racing, but more interested in what is best for the team. This affects to his training schedule.
– Training before a race always depends on it how much time I can make for it. Usually when there is a team race coming, I make extra work for it because it’s good for the whole team.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a team race or not, they always prepare for the race together. Of course when they know it’s going to be an individual race, every driver can make own little changes to the car, so it fits them perfectly. In endurance races there is just one car, but many drivers. It means that when set ups are being made, some compromises must be done.
– All drivers have different driving styles, and usually it’s the best situation when the car works as good or as bad as possible for everyone. It poses its own challenges, and that’s why preparation is different from individual races. In endurance races you have to look beyond the first bend, Tuomainen notes.
Even thought Tuomainen is passionate about sim racing, he admits that it’s not always easy to combine esports and other aspects of life, but at the end of the day it’s just a matter of choices.
– If 24 hours race is at midsummer, there is no time to heat the sauna properly. Some parts of this is easy to combine with other sides of the life, but I think it’s also a good thing to keep them apart. You have to take care of your mental health and rest, and you can’t drive in every race, tells Tuomainen.
Choices were also made when he started to build the team. From the beginning Tuomainen has had a clear plan, that this will be a long-term project. When he was looking for drivers, he knew that even thought someone could be really fast or a nice guy, it wouldn’t be enough.
– I have planned this project couple years ahead. Drivers have to be team players and ready to commit to this. Also their performance must be top notch, Tuomainen explains.
Tuomainen sees himself as a steady and frugal driver. He believes that this team will deliver amazing results. The common strength of the team is also clear for him.
– We won’t take any pressure of results. We have built amazing team where the chemistry meets and we all have the same vision. I know it’s just a matter of time before our pace is realized as a top results.
KOVA Esportsin manageri Timo kävi tehtaalla ompelemassa uusia merchejä. Tuloksena syntyi kolme mahtavaa hupparia, joista on vaikea valita parasta – siksi sinä pääset nyt äänestämään näistä oman suosikkisi!. Äänestys on voimassa 8.-22.5.2020, ja äänestyksen aikana arvotaan kahteen kertaan KOVA Esportsin college ja t-paita. Arvonnat suoritetaan kaikkien äänestäneiden kesken perjantaisin 15.5. ja 22.5.. Voittajan nimi julkaistaan KOVA Esportsin ja/tai Leijona Groupin somessa ja häneen ollaan yhteydessä yksityisesti sähköpostilla. Äänestä suosikkiasi täällä.
Äänestyksen aikana arvotaan kaksi kappaletta KOVA Esportsin T-paitoja (arvo 29,90 €) ja kaksi kappaletta KOVA Esportsin collegeja (59,90 €).
Arvonnan järjestää KOVA Esports yhteistyössä Leijonan Group Oy:n kanssa.
PS. Jos et luota arpaonneesi, tai tahtoisit mielummin vaikka lippalakin, tsekkaa valikoima täältä.
Kilpailusäännöt – KOVA Esports Huppariäänestys
Kilpailun / arvonnan järjestäjä: KOVA Esports. Aholaidantie 3, 40320 Jyväskylä. Yhteistyössä Leijona Group Oy. Facebook, Instagram tai Twitter eivät ole mukana arvonnassa.
Osallistumiskelpoisuus: Kilpailuun ja arvontoihin voivat osallistua kaikki Suomessa asuvat luonnolliset henkilöt pois lukien KOVA Esportstin ja Leijona Group Oy:n henkilökunta ja heidän perheenjäsenensä. Arvontaan osallistumisessa ei ole ikärajaa (alle 18-vuotiaat kuitenkin huoltajan suostumuksella). Kaikki automatisoidut keinot osallistua ovat kiellettyjä. Epäillystä vilpistä tai huijausyrityksestä osallistuja menettää osallistumiskelpoisuutensa, ja KOVA Esportsilla on oikeus poistaa epäilyn kohde kilpailusta ilman erillistä ilmoitusta tai varoitusta. Henkilö voi voittaa arvonnassa vain kerran.
Osallistumisaika ja palkinnot : Arvonnan osallistumisaika on 8.5. – 22.5.2020. KOVA ei vastaa teknisistä syistä perille tulemattomista osallistumisista.
Äänestyksen aikana kaikkien äänestäneiden kesken arvotaan 15.5. ja 22.5. KOVA Esportsin merchejä: Kaksi kappaletta t-paitoja (yhden arvo 29,90 €) ja kaksi kappaletta College-paitoja (yhden arvo 59,90 €).
Arvonnan suorittaminen ja palkintojen lunastus: Voitosta sekä lunastamisesta ilmoitetaan voittajalle henkilökohtaisesti sähköpostitse. Mikäli voittajaa ei tavoiteta 14 vrk:n kuluessa voitosta, on KOVA Esportsilla oikeus arpoa tilalle uusi voittaja. Päätöksestä ei voi valittaa. Palkinto on henkilökohtainen, eikä sitä voi vaihtaa rahaksi tai toiseksi palkinnoksi. Jos lähetys palautuu puutteellisten käyttäjätietojen perusteella, palkintoja ei jälleenlähetetä. KOVA Esportsilla ja Leijona Työvaatteilla on oikeus julkaista voittajien nimet järjestäjän internetsivuilla ja Facebook-sivuilla ilman erillistä suostumusta tai korvausta. Osallistumalla kilpailuun, osallistuja antaa tähän suostumuksensa.
Verot: KOVA Esports sitoutuu maksamaan lakisääteiset verot näissä virallisissa säännöissä ilmoitetuista palkinnoista, jos palkinnon rahallinen arvo sitä edellyttää. Palkintoja ei voi muuttaa rahaksi tai toiseen tuotteeseen. Viralliset säännöt koskevat kaikkia osallistujia. Osallistumalla arvontoihin osanottajat sitoutuvat noudattamaan näitä yleisiä kilpailusääntöjä sekä arvontakohtaisia sääntöjä. Yhteystietoja ei luovuteta ulkopuolisten käyttöön.