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 July 12-18.
The first-ever Rocket League Olympic gold medalists
Rocket League was part of the official 2020 Tokyo Olympics through the Intel World Open, but the offline LAN in Tokyo, Japan was canceled due to COVID-19. Instead, teams played online regional finals for the Americas, EMEA, Oceania+Asia Maritime and Asia Mainland. The four first-ever Rocket League gold medalists are the usual suspects: the United States, France, Australia and Japan.
Each of these countries were the heavy favorites going into their region and none met a lot of resistance. There were little to no upsets in any of the regions and pretty much all results were according to expectations. There were brief close calls in some regions, but the eventual winners clutched out their games when it mattered most. Only France and Australia rode through their region completely uncontested.
And so the first-ever, official crowns were awarded to country-based Rocket League teams. It is a unique accomplishment, but fingers crossed the teams get to play on an offline stage one day.
— Michael Kloos
Chengdu Hunters defy expectations
Another Overwatch League tournament has come to a close with the Shanghai Dragons winning their second championship in a row. The Summer Showdown saw the rise and fall of many different teams, but none rose quite as much or with as much showmanship as the Chengdu Hunters.
The Hunters have always been seen as kind of a “meme team,” but this past tournament, they’ve shown they can rise above that to be a real, formidable title contender. They snuck into the final four after defeating the Seoul Dynasty 3-2, a team they’ve historically struggled to beat, in a tiebreaker. They then stunned fans and pundits alike by felling the highly-regarded Dallas Fuel — twice.
We make it to Summer Showdown finals!!!
— Chengdu Hunters (@ChengduHunters) July 17, 2021
The Hunters were as good as we’ve ever seen them, with support players Zhou “Mmonk” Xiang and Li “Yveltal” Xianyao especially standing out. Though they ultimately fell to the Shanghai Dragons in the grand finals, the future is bright for the Hunters. There’s no telling how much higher they can climb.
— Bonnie Qu
Mid-Set Invitationals brings hype end to first half of Teamfight Tactics Set 5
As Teamfight Tactics says goodbye to the first half of the game’s fifth expansion, the Oceania and North American regions ended off 5.0 with a bang.
Both regions held the finals of their “Mid-Set Invitational” tournaments over the weekend, which had major TFT Reckoning world championship implications. The Oceania Mid-Set Invitational decided the 16 players that would play at the Oceania Regional Finals while the North American “Mid-Set Finale” determined the next four players to punch their ticket to the NA Regionals.
Both events had massive upsets while plenty of fan favorites also emerged victorious. At the Oceania event, TSM’s Jang“Keane” Lae-young and reigning Oceania champion, “Razza,” had their seasons cut short while popular streamer “Escha” and former world championship representative “Oubo” moved on.
On the NA front, it was Team Liquid’s Robin “Robinsongz” Sung who put on a dominant performance along with rising stars “Imissvoidsins,” “SpencerTFT” and “Myucil.” Among the most shocking stories to emerge from the event was the poor performance by Cloud 9’s Micheal “k3Soju” Zhang, who failed to make it past day one of the four day event.
Still, with the TFT competitive season in full swing, the scene will receive a massive shake up as set 5.5 hits live servers on Wednesday.
— Warren Younger
Florida Mutineers continue strong Stage 5
The Florida Mutineers put up another strong showing in Stage 5 of the Call of Duty League. This past weekend, at the Minnesota ROKKR Home Series, the Mutineers managed to take down the Dallas Empire and LA Guerrillas 3-1 in two impressive matches. This kept Florida undefeated in Stage 5 groups and put them in a tie with the Toronto Ultra for first place in Group B.
Budding star Cesar “Sykz” Bueno carried Florida during the Guerillas series. The AR player put up an astounding 1.81 kill/death ratio across the four maps, including a 1.90 KD in Hardpoint. Skyz’s dominance has allowed the Mutineers to control matches in Stage 5 and is the key reason for their success thus far.
However, the clutch factor of rookie Travis “Neptune” McCloud can’t be overlooked. He was the clear MVP of the Dallas series, posting a 1.20 KD overall. Neptune’s shining moment came in the first map, though, where he finished with a 1.83 KD and was the only player to go positive.
The Mutineers’ success this past weekend has set up an exciting matchup with the Toronto Ultra next weekend at the Seattle Home Series. The winner likely takes the first seed in Group B for the Stage 5 Major.
— Joey Carr
FaZe Clan finally reach their potential
On paper, FaZe clan should have always been a top team. They have the experience, the knowledge and the firepower to beat the best teams in the world. However, prior to IEM Cologne, FaZe had yet to show just how hard of a punch they could throw.
But on LAN, at IEM Cologne, FaZe looked like a whole new team. Star rifler Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken looked fully back in form from Liquid’s peak, and the rest of the team was also playing their best. They breezed through top teams Complexity, Vitality and Heroic before going up against the feared beast: Gambit. However, with Helvijs “broky” Saukants in the lead, FaZe 2-1’d Gambit and broky finished the series with 24 more kills than deaths. Although the team did go down to Natus Vincere, FaZe have finally shown off their true potential and further proved Finn “karrigan” Andersen’s statement that this lineup of FaZe is “one of the best iterations.”
— Zain Merchant