With how wide the esports world is, it’s tough to pin down every marquee matchup and bit of esports news each week. Sometimes, those moments go beyond the competitive sphere and dip into streaming, general gaming and the business world, too. Esports is bigger than just the games we watch every day and the big thing that you should take away from each week could pass you by if you’re not careful.
That’s where we come in. Every week, Upcomer’s staff comes together to select the five biggest W’s of the last week, whether they be a player’s performance, a new game release or something else. The goal: To get you caught up on esports news this week and get you ready for everything that comes next.
Here are our Five W’s for the week of April 26-May 2.
Bubzkji steps up for dev1ce-less Astralis
On April 23, Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz announced his departure from Astralis after being bought out by Ninjas in Pyjamas. With dev1ce gone, the sixth man for Astralis, Lucas “Bubzkji” Andersen, took the field in DreamHack Masters. With dev1ce gone, Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen took over AWPing and Bubzkji assumed dupreeh’s role in the team.
Bubzkji started off with a fantastic T-side against Extra Salt and posted the most kills for Astralis on that side. His best match, however, was against Complexity. Bubzkji topped the scoreboard with 58 kills in the series and had the most opening kills and total kills on the server.
DreamHack Masters marked Bubzkji’s first time playing his true role as an active rifler with Astralis. If he continues to be a great player on the roster, Astralis may have hope to win their fourth consecutive major at PGL Stockholm.
– Zain Merchant
London Royal Ravens upset New York Subliners in CDL
The London Royal Ravens have had a rough go of it for the first two stages of the Call of Duty League season, only winning 3 of the 16 matches the often-swapped roster played. The team started the year 0-6 before picking up rookie Paul “PaulEhx” Avila, who helped them to their first two wins of the year.
The mixture of Americans and Europeans pulled off one impressive upset against the New York Subliners this weekend, though, with a 3-2 W against one of the best teams in the CDL. New York might have dropped the ball in a winnable match, but the Ravens went on to barely lose to the Atlanta FaZe, the No. 2 team in the league, later on in the Paris Home Series. Who knows how things will go moving forward, but whatever does happen one thing is certain: London played with fire this weekend.
Maybe it was London’s coaching change, or maybe Zach “Zed” Denyer felt he had something to prove. London will need to harness whatever drove them for a high finish in Stage 3.
– Aron Garst
Teamfight Tactics scene continues growth with new set and pro signings
After a short stint on Riot Games’ Public Beta Environment, Teamfight Tactics: Reckoning went live last week, and with it came a ranked reset and sizable shift away from TFT’s last season. While there are always a few kinks to work out at the beginning of a set, the game’s latest iteration is a fun, thematic way to play that replaces Set 4’s Chosen mechanic with the much more flexible Shadow Items.
On top of that, the professional TFT scene just gained a bit more legitimacy, with Team Liquid signing both Robin “robinsongz” Sung and Aleksey “Grandvice8” Tvorogov. As more and more players get the support they need to compete full time, the game’s esports scene can grow alongside the casual player base.
Still, a good launch is a win for the development team and players across all skill levels. Fingers crossed the set stays balanced enough throughout the first half of its lifetime so everyone can enjoy some fierce competition and whatever Riot has up its sleeve regarding new lab modes.
– Jason Krell
RLCS show matches fill void for fans
With RLCS Worlds canceled this year, no one will know how the regions stack up against each other for real. Team BDS dominates Europe, but can they do it against the giants of North America? Guild Esports’ Joseph “noly” Kidd thought so, but SpaceStation Gaming’s Slater “Retals” Thomas doubted his claim. Well, one thing led to another and suddenly a call out was made. Guild Esports versus Retals and two other east coast NA players, to settle the debate once and for all. What followed was one of the most enjoyable and funniest Rocket League events in years.
RLCS caster John “Johnnyboi_i” MacDonald was joined by fellow RLCS caster Demar “Dazerin” Williams, recently-retired pro player Dillon “Rizzo” Rizzo and the greatest Rocket League player of all time, Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver. The stacked panel hosted a series of show matches with commentary that had the audience in stitches.
The three best-of-7 show matches featured a host of superstars from the RLCS to defend their respective regions’ honor. In the end, the event proved that a mish-mash of superstars simply cannot keep up with the synergy of established teams. Each region won their respective matches on home turf and with full rosters versus all-stars.
At the end of the day, it was the Rocket League community that came out the true winners.
– Michael Kloos
ECI goes back to the drawing board
What initially started as a big L for the week pretty quickly turned into one of our five big wins. In case you simply did not exist on Twitter this week, a new esports company announced their launch on Tuesday, but it didn’t quite pan out how they expected.
The Esports Certification Institute launched as a Public Benefit Corporation that aimed to provide the scene with a new certification for those trying to find work in the industry. And while ECI claimed their intent was to promote diversity, keep out unwanted grifters and better develop the scene, their business model was criticized as doing the exact opposite in many ways. For starters, they charged $400 for a standardized test that many online found questionable, at best. They were so heavily memed on Twitter that #esports started trending, furthering the ridicule.
With how often esports orgs and personalities choose to double or triple down in these types of situations, it was a relief to see ECI react immediately. The company refunded money to anyone who had purchased their certification, apologized and paused all operations until the company could come up with a better game plan. So, while their initial launch was potentially bad for the larger esports community (especially young people trying to break in), their pause is absolutely a win for everyone.
– Parkes Ousley