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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 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 Aug. 9 to Aug. 15.

Players Cup Invitational winner runs through former world champs

The Pokémon Players Cup 25th Anniversary Invitational featured eight of the most successful VGC players, from old-school World Championship victors to more recent Players Cup champions. Santino Tarquinio, the winner of the inaugural Players Cup, emerged victorious while defeating five former world champions along the way.

The tournament’s Series 10 format allowed players to bring one restricted Legendary Pokémon to the Players Cup Invitational, while banning the Dynamax mechanic that had been so prominent in the Pokémon Sword and Shield metagame. Tarquinio’s team made excellent use of the Triple Axeling duo of Weavile and Tsareena, alongside more commonly-seen Pokémon like Kyogre, Tornadus, Rillaboom and Rapid Strike Urshifu.

Santi’s run featured victories against 2013 champ Arash Ommati, 2016 champ Wolfe Glick, 2018 champ Paul Ruiz and 2017 champ Ryota Otsubo. After winning the invitational, he also won a “final boss” battle against three-time world champion Ray Rizzo. Tarquinio’s performance at the Pokémon Players Cup 25th Anniversary Invitational shows how he and other Players Cup champions can compete with and conquer the very best in the world.

— Dylan Tate

First five teams qualify for Worlds

This week, the five League of Legends teams around the globe became the first to qualify for the World Championship. Two representatives from Europe and North America secured their place over the weekend alongside one Korean representative, so far. For Europe, Rouge and MAD Lions punched their tickets to Worlds after taking down Misfits Gaming and G2 Esports, respectively.

In North America, 100 Thieves and Team Liquid rose above their peers to qualify for Worlds. 100 Thieves haven’t been to Worlds since the organization first entered League of Legends back in 2018. For Team Liquid, this will be their fourth consecutive year representing North America on the international stage. Additionally, DAMWON Kia have also qualified for Worlds after finishing first overall during the LCK Summer Split with a record of 12-6.

Danny Appleford 

Masters 3: Berlin spots filling up

After this weekend’s games, the seven of the 16 slots for VALORANT Champions Tour Masters 3: Berlin are beginning to fill. North America, Japan, and South Korea already have their representatives locked in while the rest of the world finishes settling theirs. Thanks to Sentinels winning Masters 2, North America was awarded an additional slot, meaning three teams qualified instead of two. Additionally, we will see an additional Korean and Japanese team instead of one, as was the case with Masters 2.

For North America, 100 Thieves, Sentinels and Envy have all qualified. This adds two new faces from last time after Version1 failed to qualify to Challengers Playoffs. For South Korea, the two new representatives are Vision Strikers and F4Q after both teams made it to the grand final of Challenger Playoffs. Finally, Japan will send Zeta Division and Crazy Racoon as their representatives. Crazy Racoon will look to post a better showing at Masters 3 after Masters 2 did not go as planned.

Appleford

First trip to Hawaii for two OWL teams

With the last tournament in the 2021 season underway, the final four teams in the Countdown Cup are locked in. Out of them, two are making their first trip to the Hawaii-hosted postseason. One is the Los Angeles Gladiators, a strong team who just couldn’t grind their way to Hawaii in previous tournaments despite coming close in the past. The Atlanta Reign gatekept them last tournament, but this time the San Francisco Shock fought tooth and nail to do so. The series was a back and forth afair, with Gladiators fans sitting on the edge of their seats to see what would happen in map five. But thanks to MVP candidate Kim “Shu” Jin-seo and great team coordination, the Glads pulled out the win.

The other team making it to their first final four is the Seoul Dynasty. With the Shanghai Dragons failing to qualify for the tournament, there was another spot open for an East Division team. With the spot on the line, the proven skill of Park “Profit” Joon-yeong helped the Dynasty beat the Philadelphia Fusion 3-1, qualifying the Dynasty alongside the Chengdu Hunters.

As a final note, no matter who goes all the way, this Countdown Cup will have a victor that has never won a stage or tournament before, which should make for an entertaining end to the Overwatch League regular season.

Michael Czar

Galaxy Racer take Loot Bet BeyondTheSummit (BTS) Pro Series season 7

Galaxy Racer have been a Dota 2 team to look out for ever since the Regional Qualifiers a few months ago. They fell to Boom esports in the second round of the lower bracket of those qualifiers, and have come back with a vengeance.

Galaxy Racer ended the group stage of the Loot Bet BTS second in the group behind Execration. On the way to their inaugural win, they had to get through two Direct International 10 invitees — T1 and Fnatic. T1 have looked extremely strong as of late; their last tournament ended in a win for the team. Meanwhile, Fnatic were the recent winners of the Southeast Asian Regional Qualifier. Galaxy Racer were able to take the series against T1 with a 2-1 victory and reverse sweep Fnatic in the finals. In the last game of the Grand Final, Galaxy Racer mounted a comeback from 13,000 gold down. They used excellent teamfight coordination to do so, with Wilson “Poloson” Koh Chin Wei landing a three man Winter’s Curse to secure the game for Galaxy Racer.

— Kenneth Utama




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