Author: hREDS

Welcome to hREDS, LYNXI!

After Samu “Samppa” Kylmälä stepped down from the active roster, hREDS has been looking for a replacement to complement our new dynamic as Mikko “xartE” Välimaa will become the IGL. To properly do so, we needed to find a new AWP player that met the standards of the rest of the team. The market for such a Finnish player is small as people know, but we had not taken into consideration a man who just came back from his military duty in the Finnish army.

This is where Topi “LYNXI” Kauppi steps in. Ending his tenure in the Finnish defense forces just two days prior he started playing in the roster. At first as a stand-in so we would have the possibility to try and reach the ESEA Advanced playoffs. “My perspective on life has changed a bit now that the military training is done and I think something will also transmit to my playing career”, says Kauppi.

It became clear from the very get-go that Topi’s skills had not dulled and the rest of the team wanted to sign him straight then and there. “We are coming out of the pandemic and want to really step up our game. This is why I am happy LYNXI considered us first and we could sign him for the rest of 2021”, says Christer Kasurinen, the GM or hREDS organization.

“The roster has huge potential and especially now that xartE is getting back to the IGL role, combined with the young talent that is craving for his teachings, I think we will be able to accomplish something special here at the later stages of 2021″ Kauppi adds.

Thank you Samppa.

Together with the player, hREDS is announcing the benching of Samu “Samppa” Kylmälä from our active roster. Samppa was a big part of the organization during his tenure from late 2019 all the way through the pandemic and we want to wish him all the best in his future endeavors. Samppa is now free to look for new opportunities and no contract obligations will hold him down if he chooses to move to a new project.

“Thank you Samppa for all the hard work and effort in a very demanding IGL role”, Christer Kasurinen, General Manager, hREDS

Ahlman yhteistyö syvenee

Hakuaika syksyn opintoihin on käynnissä ja Ahlmanin opisto hakee vuosikursseilleen uusia opiskelijoita. Tarjonnasta löytyy koulutusmahdollisuuksia sekä kilpapelaamisen että striimaamisen saralla.

HAKUAIKA 23.2.–13.5.2021
OPISKELUAIKA 10.8.2021–27.5.2022

Lisäinfoa Ahlmanin esport- ja streaming-linjojen hausta saat alta löytyvistä linkeistä:
https://ahlman.fi/koulutushaku/esport-linja/
https://ahlman.fi/koulutushaku/streaming-linja/

hREDS syventää yhteistyötään Ahlmanin ammatti- ja aikuisopiston kanssa. hREDS on mukana edistämässä syksyllä käynnistyvien esport- ja streaming-linjojen toimintaa. ”Haluamme olla entistä tiiviimmin tukemassa kokonaisvaltaista pelikulttuuria, jossa otetaan pelaajien tarpeet ja hyvinvointi huomioon. Ahlman on tästä loistava esimerkki, koska heillä pelaajista pidetään hyvää huolta, niin pelipalvelimella kuin sen ulkopuolellakin”, hREDSin myyntipäällikkö Eemeli Ikonen kertoo.

Ahlmanilla panostetaan laatuun. Suomen parhaat valmentajat käyvät viikoittain valmentamassa opiskelijoita, ja kokonaisvaltaista kehittymistä tuetaan teoriatunneilla, pelitilanteiden analysoinnilla ja erilaisilla testeillä. hREDSin tarjoama osaaminen on ollut merkittävässä roolissa esport-linjan alkuajoista lähtien. ”hREDS on ollut meille luotettava kumppani jo vuosien ajan. Joukkueiden valmentajat ja organisaation edustajat ovat aina olleet pidettyjä vierailijoita opiskelijoidemme keskuudessa”, kommentoi koulutuspäällikkö Jari Yltävä pitkään jatkunutta yhteistyötä.

Useat kilpapelaajat ovat saaneet uranostetta Ahlmanilta siirtyessään sieltä kotimaisiin ja ulkomaisiin organisaatioihin. Vuosien saatossa myös hREDS on sitouttanut organisaatioonsa kilpapelaajia ja valmentajia Ahlmanin esport-linjalta. hREDSin entinen Overwatch-valmentaja Niklas “Nihvu” Hirvelä on nykyään töissä Ahlmanin esport-linjan valmentajana. Valmentajan ammattitutkinnon suorittanut Hirvelä kertoo valmentamisen olevan mielekästä Ahlmanilla, koska opiskelijat jakavat saman kilpailuhenkisen ajatusmaailman. “Täällä opinnot keskittyvät kilpapelaamiseen. Tarjoamme erinomaiset puitteet opiskelijoille, jotta he voivat panostaa täysillä kohti ammattilaisuutta. Koulupäivän loputtua pelaajat siirtyvät valmennuksen alta omien joukkueidensa harjoituksiin. Peliluokkamme on auki linjan opiskelijoille vuorokauden ympäri”, avaa Niklas koulussa päivittäin tapahtuvaa opiskelua.

Pitkään jatkunut yhteistyö syvenee Ahlmanin ja hREDSin välillä syksyllä käynnistyvän streaming-linjan myötä. Vierailevana kouluttajana toimii mm. hREDSin striimaaja Aino “aippa” Lehtimäki. Striimaajien kehitystä vahvistamassa myös yhteinen kumppanimme Jimm’s PC-Store.

Linjoista lisätietoja antaa koulutuspäällikkö Jari Yltävä:
jari.yltava@ahlman.fi
050 3833 941

Esports Uncut #1: Pandemic and Partnerships

This is the first part a blog series written by the General Manager of hREDS Christer Kasurinen. In the blog, he will go through interesting topics and give his insights on the field of esports. The author with his opinions are his points of view and should never be considered as 100% truth. Although you might notice they differ a lot from the traditional ones.

Before we start going through the first piece, I think introductions should be in order. My name is Christer Kasurinen. I am the operational lead of the Finnish esports organization hREDS and have been so since the end of 2016. Esports has become my primary passion leaving my old career to fully commit to it in late 2018.

I am 43 years old and live a mundane life with a wife, one kid, and a dog. I also drive a Volvo to keep the stereotype alive also when I am not at home. Been a huge video game enthusiast ever since 1983. My father bought me my first device (Atari-2600) and have never looked back since.

The Pandemic

Where else to start this blog series than the pandemic that has lasted for over a year. During this period we have had the chance to experience a world with less stimulus and interaction than in many decades before. This has made the use of technical devices even more of a norm in our lives than ever before as humans tend to drift to social interaction and want to link themselves to something.

We have experienced in the industry that this has shown the strength of esports compared to many traditional sports. The day-to-day operations can continue as most of what we do can easily be done on the internet and the need for a specific space is not required. One could think esports is in a place where we have a very big advantage over the other parts of the sports industry. Yet it is not so black and white as I will explain below.

Where our capability to operate unhinged on the internet continues we are left in a state that makes working in the industry rough. As the business keeps growing globally one of the biggest things supporting its growth, good stabile partnerships have become rarer as time goes on. At the start of the pandemic in early 2020 (EU region) the partnerships were still on their non-pandemic terms where for example live events and activations were a big part of the deal.

Wanting to be an endemic brand, the companies needed to meld into the heart of the countries ecosystems by not being just present in events but also being part of the infrastructure that grows it. As the events have been postponed or altogether canceled now for a year already, many companies have taken a step back and their general consensus is to “wait it out and see how it goes”. We as a business cannot.

As mentioned above, we as a global ecosystem keep on growing. The challenge for us now is to prove ourselves by combining the best practices of old and new to counter the skeptics who think esports is a short-term thing that will fade eventually. This being said the field of new partnerships has become somewhat odd compared to pre-pandemic times.

The Partnerships

Whereas the 2010’s esports was a new and growing sector in sports entertainment, we have reached the point where the “new factor” has started to move aside and the day-to-day business grind has taken the field gradually. Now with that being said the pandemic could have not come in a worse time as the marketing budgets of many companies have declined and reverted back to the “more safe partnerships” leaving the growing organizations in a slump where the expenses keep rising and the available opportunities keep saturating as more and more companies are formed.

On top of this, the bad times have also created a market desperately needing funds, thus growing the interest of parties that might want to benefit out of the situation with less money exchanging hands for more work to be put into the deal. I have heard and also been part of negotiations where the opposing side has merely wanted a content creation subcontractor to create content with a smaller budget than it would normally cost making the partnership a +/- 0 deal where the organization does not gain any resources from the transaction.

Opting to hang tight with the opposing brand and make it a reference case might be the way to go. Sadly in my opinion it promotes the “we will literally put up with anything” mentality, thus strengthening the side of the business that does not want to commit to growing a long and meaningful partnership.

Our organization has been lucky with our current partners. We have already signed new contracts with them or are in the process of doing so. This trend needs to continue as our business needs to grow. With the majority of funds still flowing into the esports economy being investment and partnership deals, it is imperative to find good companies on which we can build on. Not for the upcoming quarter, but for the long haul as well.

For this to happen, organizations need to refrain from taking nonbeneficial deals from companies that don’t want to fully commit. This is of course easier said than done as the resources are hard to come by these days.

In a nutshell: Get partnerships, not companies that only want subcontractors.

Thank you.

Introducing hREDS Academy

This one has been a long time coming and finally, we can shed some light on how our CS:GO youth program is going forwards in 2021.

The original players from our 2019 beginner course have continued to develop and wanted to continue playing together. At the end of 2020 we decided to bring them back together for that, with the exception of the world pandemic situation, they would start their journey safely from their homes and work on their progress delaying it no longer.

It became really apparent from the get-go that players would start needing more outside competitive play and we moved forward with the Academy initiative that had been brewing with Mikael “sotsi” Reenpää for quite some time already.

This been said, here is our first ever competitive Academy roster for the upcoming spring:

Viktor “Vikke” Kulmala
Joel “Joel” Kuhlberg
Nicolas ”mejak” Reenpää
Eero “WeeRo” Weckström
Kalle “hevosmies” Kainulainen

We have plenty of more to tell you about our youngsters and what they will do next so stay tuned in our social media channels!


Nuorisotoiminta startattu!

Maailmantilanteesta riippumatta olemme vihdoin päässeet hetkeen jossa voimme ilolla todeta, että pitkään suunniteltu nuorisotoimintamme, joka alkoi jo 2019 pilotilla on jälleen lähtenyt käyntiin.

Tällä kertaa ryhmiä on kolme. Kaksi näistä keskittyy uusiin kilpapelaamisesta kiinnostuneisiin nuoriin kun taas kolmas ryhmä pitää sisällään ensimmäisen kurssimme parhaimmistoa, jotka ovat jatkamassa tekemistä haastavammilla harjoitteilla.

Alkeiskurssit on rakennettu niin, että pelaajat pelaavat toisiaan vastaan omilla pelipalvelimillamme tehden samalla valmentajien osoittamia harjoituksia omantasoisessa ryhmässä. Iloksemme voimme todeta, että ensimmäiset harjoituspäivät ovat startanneet todella hyvin ja ryhmäytymistä on jo havaittu pelaajien keskuudessa.

Jatkokurssi tuntuu myös onnistuneen hyvin. Aluksi tottuminen etäyhteyksiin, livenä näkemisen sijaan oli haastavaa, mutta hyvä pohja jonka pelaajat rakensivat GLHF tiloissa vuodenvaihteessa 2019-2020 näkyy myös nyt vuotta myöhemmin pelipalvelimilla.

Vaikka vielä emme tiedä maailmantilanteesta kurssien jälkeen on jo nyt jatkoa suunniteilla. Kysymys kuuluu enää tuleeko tekeminen jatkumaan etänä vai päästäänkö takaisin liveympäristöihin.

hREDSin nuorisotoimintaa tukevat pitkäaikaiset yhteistyökumppanimme Telia ja OMEN.

Valorant Discontinued

As the previous contracts end on our players, we in mutual agreement with the players and coaching staff have decided not to pursue future roster plans. As an organization of our size, we still need to see where the games ecosystem is going before we start investing more time and resources in the game.

This being said, we are not renewing the contracts of Jussi “Skipah” Mehtälä, Ilari “Iluri” Puranen, and Santeri “Bonecold” Sassi. We wish them all the good in the future and want to thank them for their time and effort during the last half-year period representing the hREDS organization.

hREDS CS:GO 2021

As one door closes, another opens and that is just what our CS:GO roster will experience going forward. For some, it is time to hop off the roster, and others a time to start climbing the ladder. With a good end of the year behind them, the boys are back and hungry after a short break. They start their training today as this article will be released.

The core of the team will be making a return for 2021 with the exception of Pasi “VORMISTO” Koskinen leaving the roster to pursue his studies and career IRL. Pasi will stay with the organization as a guiding pair of eyes who will from time to time give his input on the development of the roster.

Mikael “Sotsi” Reenpää will also continue in the organization with the youth program, but will not be part-taking in the rosters day to day operations as of now. We would like to thank Miksu for his hard effort during the second half of 2020.

To introduce a new player to the active team, we are more than happy to welcome Joona “Sm1llee” Holmström to the organization. Joona went through a rigorous try-out period before the Christmas break and we are more than eager to see how he develops during the next year. Eetu “eDi” Astikainen remains as the last player from the original roster and will be taking a bigger role in the team with him losing the junior spot to Sm1llee.

The roster will have its first official game experience this week already as the Elisa Nordic Championship Finland starts on Friday with the group. We have an interesting year ahead of us. Stay tuned for the #hREDSCSGO2021

Valorant roster changes for 2021

First months of our Valorant path have been completed and it is time to reflect and start planning for 2021. A big effort was made to make the rosters start as smooth as possible and also the launch was delayed for few months cause of the global pandemic. Than being said, not everything went according to plan.

As of today, our roster will be shrunk to three players and we are letting Toni “Ube” Häkli and Sami “Haamu” Sutinen continue on their path and look for new opportunities. The decisions have been made mutually and we see it is better to give them a competitive edge on finding a new opportunity as soon as possible and dont want to delay it for a day longer.

The remaining players Ilari “Iluri” Puranen, Jussi “Skipah” Mehtälä and Santeri “Bonecold” Sassi will continue trying out new candidates for the roster starting this week.

We talked with team coach Samuli “Baito” Karppinen and his message was clear: “Even though we have had a lot of tight matches against great teams, our roster has not met the expectations we set together at the very start of the season. Individual consistency and confidence was something that we were missing in a lot of matches during our first months.”

Eemeli “Woomera” Ikonen agrees and wants to emphasize that fast decisions need to be made at this stage of the games development as we believe that the more ready we are to tackle 2021 the better for the organizations success in the long run.

The roster took part in three tournaments during its first months, including clinching a qualified spot to Nice Cactus Fall #2 tournament, part-taking in Valorant First Strike qualifiers, and competing in the Finnish FEL Valorant Cup.

We will keep you posted on the progress of new players being introduced to the organization as the tryouts have completed.

Afterthoughts: Esea Advanced Season 35

The ESEA Advanced season 35 is over and what a season it was. Few afterthoughts from the GM Kasurinen and how he saw the season unfold.

Before the season start, we were coming off a dry streak of sorts as bringing in new players always can either have a boosting effect on performance or then you need to adjust to the changes. The team was going through the latter one and was a bit shaky early on.

Starting off the season we had a normal start and the first 3 games seemed to go as planned as we lost to Project X, which at the time was deemed “not fun, but something you would expect” kinda loss. Scrims were going smoothly and everything clicked, but then something happened and during a span of 1 week, we managed to take 3 losses against our own level teams as we dropped to the ball versus Wizards Club, ECLOT, and Vexed Gaming.

Some might have started to wait for a new season with a record of 2-4 from our first six games, but it was at that moment something really interesting happened. As players age, they tend to start developing manners of tightening their game as the odds get stacked against you and it was here that Mikko “xartE” Välimaa and Pasi “VORMISTO” Koskinen took it upon themselves to carry the team over the hard stretch of not being allowed almost any losses in the last 10 matches.

With a two win streak we managed (once again) to drop the ball against our finnish rival Kova Esports and it started to look that a record of 4-5 was not going to cut it to reach the playoffs.

The team though was not keen on letting the end of 2020 slip by their hands and started to dig even deeper into the tactics side of things and managed to pull off a 5 game winning streak with the newly gained vigor from that time. Still lead by the veterans, even the younger players adapted to the new playstyle, and results followed.

It was the game against Tenerife Titans that ensured us the 15th spot that we still barely clinched going into the playoffs. We were down by 3-12 in the first half of the game (Terrorist side) and somehow managed to reverse our CT side with the same results, making it to overtime barely. It took 3 overtimes to get the game under our wings and we ended it with a 25-23 record. Match MVP as earlier was xartE who recorded a whopping 42 kills, 1 ACE, 1 4k, 88 enemies flashed (34% of whole teams flashes), and a promising ADR of 88,15 which by any standard is a good number for such a long game.

It was not just our own goodness that got us to the playoffs, but we managed to pull off a greater later half of the season, with the knife on our throats, which shows good signs of things to come.

As expected, we fell in the first round to Lyngby Vikings and took our spot in the lower bracket where the actual magic started happening. At this point, we knew that going up against The Dice looked easier than it was. A promising french lineup that had almost exactly the same map pool as we did and it could rotate either way. This being the case, we were relieved to come out of it on top with the end score of 2-1.

Making it to the next round, the roster started realizing that we still had more juice to go with and that there was elements of surprise we could use against Project X, a team we had lost to in the earlier rounds of the season, and who had won the whole series. And so it was that on a rainy November evening we beat an opponent we “should have not beaten” with a clear 2-0 and the maps even were not that tight, making the team realize that we can if we set our mindset where it should be.

Making top 8 was an achievement on its own, but one always starts to get more hungry when an opportunity to get to the MDL qualifiers presents itself and the roster started pushing for top 6 and this is where our season ended. With a seemingly more easy team with Budapest 5 compared to Project X we overthought our strategy and fell to an opponent pretty much like The Dice (same map pool as us), but with better individuals to execute them.

All and all the experience of ESEA Advanced 35 was a good one for us, setting the tone for future tournaments and 2021. We now know even better what parts of our game we need to practise and develop more and now that we are showing improvement in international games, the players are hungrier than ever to break into the bigger scene and start climbing the HLTV ladder.

hREDS CS:GO to ESEA Advanced Playoffs

ESEA Advanced Season 35 has concluded and we are happy to announce that we made it to the playoff stage in the EU region.

The start of the season was a hard one for us, but we managed to pull through after 3 games losing streak against Wizards, Vexed Gaming, and ECLOT. With the added confidence boost brought in by the experienced Mikko “xartE” Välimaa, the team was able to pull off few nice upsets over higher ranked opponents.

The deciding factor on the season’s success was the five-game winning streak late in the season versus Aalborg Rebels, Enable, Gaminate, Smoke Criminals and Tenerife Titans.

The arrival of our newly aquired Olli “oopee” Piispanen also added to the offensive value of the roster providing hard, continuos performance throughout the series with hard clutches when they were needed.

Welcome hREDS Valorant!

The Helsinki based esports organization hREDS expands it’s operations to a new competitive game. hREDS announces a roster in Valorant, coached by Samuli ”BAITO” Karppinen and managed by hREDS Valorant team manager Eemeli ”Woomera” Ikonen. The squad joins an emerging Valorant scene with a whole new ecosystem.

Building the team has been a long and thorough project, delayed by the ongoing corona situation. The players were picked after practice squads and tryouts. We have been working hard with the team for several months now. Now as the big tournaments approach, we felt it was time to release the roster, said team manager Ikonen.

Together with Samuli “BAITO” Karppinen, our goal was to form the most balanced and competitive team possible through personalities and, of course, skills. We feel that we have succeeded in this goal. We have a very hungry and talented team willing to do the necessary grind to reach the top ranks.

Our Valorant team players are:
Santeri ”Bonecold” Sassi
Toni ”Ube” Häkli
Jussi ”Skipah” Mehtälä
Ilari ”iluri” Puranen
Sami-Petteri ”Haamu” Sutinen

Several players participated in practice squad play and tryouts. The hREDS thank everyone of them for their effort and interest in the team.

“I would like to thank all the players that were involved in the tryout process. There are a lot of young and talented players in this country that will surely come a long way in their careers, if they just choose to invest their time and effort in Valorant”, said Woomera.

hREDS new web page is here!

After working tirelessly during the last few months we are finally ready to reveal our new web page to the world. The web page was originally meant to be put up as a part of the brand rework, but the global pandemic and the financial insecurity it brought set us back several months.

We were able to keep the design of the page really close to the vision of Miika Kumpulainen (see his other work at Kumppari web site) and still have plenty of space to add more features in the upcoming times.

The web page incorporates more graphical elements than the previous one and we will be working vigorously to keep it up to date, so from here on out, there will always be something new for people to view.

Thank you for your patience. hREDS is back!