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 competitive tournaments like PSG’s upset at MSI 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 May 17-23.
RNG win MSI
Royal Never Give Up toppled the reigning world champions DWG KIA on May 23 in an explosive five-game series to earn their second Mid-Season Invitational title as an organization. After going undefeated in the group stage, RNG only dropped five games throughout the entire tournament.
From ending the League of Legends Pro League 2020 Summer Split in ninth place to winning an international title, this revitalized RNG lineup has done the unthinkable. Veteran leader Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao’s role swap from mid to top lane was met with heavy criticism at the beginning of the 2021 season. Now, Xiaohu will return home as the first player in history to win two international titles in two different roles.
RNG can rest easy knowing that their hard work paid off; they were by far the best performing and most consistent team at this year’s MSI. With RNG’s win in Iceland, the LPL locks in a fourth seed for the upcoming World Championship. According to LPL caster and analyst Jordan “Lyric” Corby, that’s a fact that should strike fear into all who wish to contest the region.
“I think other regions have to be scared,” he said. “Any team in our top seven you can send and sure, maybe they don’t win, but they’re gonna contend.”
— Nick Ray
Boston Uprising’s perfect weekend
The Boston Uprising have had a great weekend after a rough start to the 2021 season, with only one win coming into the June Joust qualifiers. The first two games were against the Toronto Defiant and the Washington Justice; two successful teams in the May Melee. Both teams needed to start well in the June Joust to make up for the previous tournament, and they did just that.
With back-to-back 3-0 sweeps of the Defiant and Justice, the Uprising quickly returned to a winning record. Additionally, their game against the Justice set the record for the fastest game of the 2021 season so far. At just 26:04, the surprisingly quick game was proof that one player can change a roster. With the first two starts of rookie off-tank Yun “GaeBullSsi” Young-sun, the roster was instantly upgraded. The core of former Korean contenders team World Game Star Phoenix are clicking together now that they’re all starting. The rest of the team is also stepping up, which means that the Uprising are on the rise after a long time near the bottom.
— Michael Czar
Offline Smash is making its return
Last night, the Smash World Tour had its final online qualifier for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, with Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey beating out the rest of the competition from the Northeast. But the real winners are all the players who don’t have to think about touching Smash Ultimate’s online mode ever again.
Smash Ultimate is notorious for its poor netcode. Even on a good connection, the game adds five frames of input delay on top of the six frames of delay that already exist, even in offline play. This makes the execution of many techniques more difficult and limits players and characters with reactive playstyles. Of course, lag can exacerbate these issues when players have a poor connection.
But, for many, the end of the Smash World Tour online qualifiers marks the end of Smash Ultimate’s wi-fi era. About a month from now, the regional finals will begin, giving areas outside of Japan their first high stakes, in-person tournaments in well over a year. In addition, smaller local events have begun to pop up again in the United States and other parts of the world. When online tournaments aren’t the go-to form of competition, the whole Smash community wins.
— Dylan Tate
NIP win the Rainbow Six Invitational
Ninjas in Pjyamas have officially completed their underdog run to win the Rainbow Six Invitational. In the group stages, the Brazilian team went 4-3, but looked completely different during playoffs. There, NIP conquered each team in their path, including BDS Esports, FaZe Clan and MiBR. The top three teams at the tournament were all Brazilian, showing just how dominant the region is at Rainbow Six. In the grand finals, Team Liquid put up a fight against the Ninjas, but in the end, NIP was able to get ahead and win the tournament along with the $1 million prize.
The 2021 Six Invitational isn’t the first time NIP has been in the grand finals. In 2020, NIP went up against Spacestation Gaming in the grand final. However, they fell short and lost 3-2. Going into future events, expect Brazilian teams and NIP to continue dominating the entirety of Rainbow Six Esports.
— Zain Merchant
NoPing secure Major spot despite Player panic attack
This weekend saw the end of the South American Dota Pro Circuit, and its final day was a roller coaster ride to say the least. The final match to determine the winner was a best of three between NoPing esports and beastcoast. However, the marquee match of the season was cut short in a sudden forfeit by NoPing player Jose “Panda” Padilla Hernandez, despite having a lead in the game. The player experienced an apparent panic attack after misplaying a fight. What was supposed to be a secured spot at the Major turned into a tiebreaker situation where NoPing had to fight their way back in another best of 3 series. NoPing were able to pull out the victory in the end and secure their Major playoff spot at the upcoming Kyiv Animajor.
— Kenneth Utama