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 24-31.
Sentinels win first international title in VALORANT
Sentinels became the first team to win an international VALORANT event on Sunday, May 30 in Reykjavík, Iceland. The first seeded North American team went through the upper bracket of the tournament without dropping a single map. That includes the grand final where Sentinels beat Fnatic in a 3-0 sweep. Throughout the upper bracket, Sentinels faced titans in competitive VALORANT such as NUTURN Gaming, Team Vikings and Fnatic twice.
VCT Masters 2 was the first international tournament for the title and featured 10 teams from seven different regions. These regions included Europe, Latin America, Japan, Korea, North America, Brazil and South East Asia. This was also the first offline event that any European or North American team had been to. With Sentinels’ victory at Masters 2, they now qualify for the Champions event at the end of the year and have their eyes set on attending Masters 3 in Berlin.
— Danny Appleford
VCT Masters 2 grand finals breaks 1 million viewers
The grand finals of VALORANT Champions Tour Masters 2 broke over 1 million viewers as Sentinels defeated Fnatic. After five days of international matchups and viewership around 700,000 for the lower bracket, VALORANT hit it big as North America and Europe clashed in the games first international LAN tournament. The event broke VALORANT records before the final. Regional Masters events garnered around 300,000 peak viewers before the teams met up in Reykjavík, Iceland.
The fledgling esports has yet to have its marquee end of the year tournament and already it brings in 1 million viewers. Around this time in 2020, VALORANT tournaments pulled viewers in the thousands as Riot Games just started its first tournament series. The esport has come a long way in a short time. As more people give the game a shot at home, the viewers and the fans should continue to trickle in. Ranking second in Upcomer’s Five W’s, is this viewership the peak for VALORANT? Possibly, but the numbers dwarf other early esports tournaments. They also signal to the wider esports landscape that Riot may have another hit on their hands.
— Declan McLaughlin
NA contenders is actually good
The Toronto Defiant announced, last week, that there were “three positive Covid-19 cases” within the organization. The team didn’t specify which members of the org had tested positive, but they announced shortly after that they had signed American damage player Luka “Aspire” Rolovic on a 30-day contract while the sick members recovered.
Aspire has been playing in Contenders North America since 2019. He was signed from Contenders team American Tornado and started for the Defiant all weekend. Though the team dropped both games, Aspire had a star-making performance; playing a huge role in the team’s victory over defending champions San Francisco Shock on Junkertown.
His individual success in his debut match reflects positively on the level of competition in Contenders North America, a region that’s typically been more difficult to break into the Overwatch League from. Aspire will only be playing for the Defiant for a short while. But, if he continues to perform the same way or even scores a full contract, it may bode well for North American Contenders players in the future.
— Bonnie Qu
Winthrop University win the League of Legends College Championship
Winthrop University put a cap on their collegiate season with a 3-1 victory over Maryville University in the 2021 League of Legends College Championship Grand Finals. Dethroning the reigning collegiate champs earned the school its first LCC title.
Out of 381 teams in the entire circuit, Winthrop came out on top against all odds. Before this win, they’d only secured one other placing above top five in a major tournament this year.
Since Riot Games doubled down on their investment in alternative pathways to pro play at the start of 2021, all eyes have been on the North American amateur League scene and its talent. Winthrop’s run gave the spotlight to some of those players, especially top laner Younes “HyBriDZz” Tafza and mid laner William “Doxa” Lee. Doxa has already been signed on to TSM’s amateur team.
Winthrop bot laner, and now three-time collegiate champion, Tony “Saskio” Chau felt the historic win was the perfect cap to his college career.
“It definitely feels really good being in collegiate for the past six years and coming on top and having something to show for it,” he said. “I’m really happy that I graduated, I won collegiate, I put all the hard work in with me and my team and we came out on top.”
— Nick Ray
Neptune and the Florida Mutineers go 2-0 at OpTic Chicago Home Series
After a disappointing finish at the Stage 3 Major, the Florida Mutineers opened up Stage 4 with a 2-0 start. Florida has had perhaps the rockiest season of any team in the Call of Duty League this year. But, it seems the roster may have finally steadied themselves. The Mutineers took down Toronto Ultra in a huge upset to start the Chicago Home Series and finished off the event with a crisp 3-0 sweep over the London Royal Ravens.
Joe “Owakening” Conley and Cesar “Skyz” Bueno anchored the roster as always. However, it was rookie SMG player Travis “Neptune” McCLoud who stepped up in a major may. The rookie finished with a 1.20 KD across both matches; the second highest on the roster. However, it was his clutch plays, especially in Search and Destroy, that made the biggest impact on the map.
In the 2021 CDL, Florida has been one of the most inconsistent teams thanks to their huge reliance on Owakening and Skyz. If Neptune continues his high-level play, this might not be the last time we see Florida rattle off an upset or two.
— Joey Carr