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. 30 through Sept. 3.
YouTube takes a swipe at Twitch
Twitch is the current king of the livestreaming world with its massive base of nearly 10 million streamers. YouTube Gaming, however, came for the throne this week and poached two of the Amazon-owned platform’s biggest names, Tim “TimTheTatman” Betar and Ben “DrLupo” Lupo. The two brought in tens of thousands of viewers in their first broadcasts on YouTube, marking another milestone in the platform’s goal of overtaking Twitch as the home for live streaming.
We’re a long way away from any sort of meaningful change in the streaming industry; Twitch still has a stranglehold on viewership and streamers themselves. These moves could point to change, though. Twitch management is struggling to handle yet another controversy while YouTube Gaming expands in global markets that Twitch hasn’t made an impact in yet.
In a hypothetical world where other platforms grow to compete–or even beat—Twitch at its own game, we could look back on last week as the first of many big moments in the YouTube vs. Twitch battle.
– Aron Garst
LA Call of Duty League teams cash in on free agency
The 2021 Call of Duty League offseason is in full swing, and all 12 teams are making moves to try and take down the newly cemented dynasty of Atlanta FaZe. Upcomer was able to verify a majority of the reported moves, and there are two clear winners from the supposed finalized rosters: the LA Guerrillas and LA Thieves.
The cross-town rivals both reportedly swung for the fences with their moves for the 2022 season. The Guerrillas reportedly signed former LA Thieves players Austin “SlasheR” Liddicoat and Cuyler “Huke” Garland, pairing them with veterans Pierce “Gunless” Hillman and Obaid “Asim” Asim. This roster, on paper, looks like a nightmare to play against talent-wise. The lingering question with this roster is how they’ll all mesh together, as there are some huge personalities on this reported team.
Speaking of the LA Thieves, they went out and supposedly signed two of the biggest fishes in the free agency ocean. After keeping Kenny “Kenny” Williams and Zack “Drazah” Jordan, LA is planning to pair them with “Octane” Larew and Dylan “Envoy” Hannon. It’s a homecoming for Octane, who played for the LA Thieves in 2018-2019, winning one event and finishing second at CoD Champs. Envoy, on the other hand, was surprisingly cut by OpTic Chicago but was immediately scooped up by former OpTic member and 100 Thieves CEO Matt “Nadeshot” Haag.
Both LA teams look like a force to be reckoned with on paper, but we won’t know if they’re capable of being a top team until the 2022 season lands.
– Joey Carr
New VALORANT map arrives
VALORANT continues to impress fans with intricate map designs, and the latest addition with Fracture does not disappoint. Fracture follows an “H”-shape pattern: The defenders are spawned in the center of the map with the attackers spawning on the outer edge. This means that the attackers get to pinch the defenders from both ends, forcing separation and difficult decision-making on defense.
The map layout is an interesting departure from traditional competitive first-person shooter setups. This is the reason why Fracture has become one of the most talked-about additions in Episode 3 Act 2. In addition to its interesting layout, it also features multiple zip-lines that allow for players to reposition themselves at new angles. As the first map that doesn’t resemble something from Counter-Strike, it’s a welcome change in the VALORANT community.
Fracture won’t be in the map pool for the upcoming Masters international event in Berlin, and we won’t get to see the map played professionally for at least a month. We could, however, potentially see Fracture in October during the last-chance qualifier for VALORANT’s first world championship.
– Danny Appleford
Three Overwatch League teams qualify for playoffs
The odds were stacked against the Fusion when they decided to move over to the Eastern division for the 2021 season. The team started off strong, but just couldn’t beat the top teams in the East to make it to offline events in Hawaii this year. At the same time, the former back-to-back champion San Francisco Shock were in the same position, never making it to Hawaii in the regular season. However, both teams, along with the Washington Justice, peaked at the right time and qualified for the season playoffs last week in surprising fashion.
After beating a downsized Hangzhou Spark 3-1, the Fusion faced the Seoul Dynasty on Sunday and confidently beat them 3-1. They now have the final playoff spot in the East, using players Daniel “FunnyAstro” Hathaway and Niclas “sHockWave” Jensen’s arrival to help reinvigorate their team. Later on that day, the Shock, off the back of Charlie “nero” Zwarg, swept the Toronto Defiant 3-0 to keep their slim hopes of a threepeat alive.
The Washington Justice faced the toughest path. After choosing and sweeping the Paris Eternal, Kim “Assassin” Sung-won stepped up and upset the Houston Outlaws in a five-map thriller.
– Michael Czarnowski
Former Griffin teammates will reunite at League of Legends Worlds
In 2018, five young South Korean talents climbed from Challengers Korea and took the region’s premier league, League of Legends Champions Korea, by storm.
It’s been two years now since that roster disbanded, and the players have all endured their fair share of struggles and gone their separate ways. Now, at the upcoming World Championship, three of the core members will reunite for the first time since the team’s disappointing run in Berlin, Germany at the 2019 World Championship Group Stage.
EDward Gaming bot laner Park “Viper” Do-hyeon, LNG jungler Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong and Hanwha Life Esports’ ace mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon have all fought hard to qualify for the event, and now they’ll meet in Europe after years of hardship.
– Nick Ray
Honorable mention: FaZe Clan snatch up Firstkiller
Jason “Firstkiller” Corral is currently one of North America’s greatest Rocket League players. After the conclusion of Rocket League Championship Series Season X, FaZe Clan parted ways with Jirair “Gyro.” Papazian, but it was up in the air who was going to replace him. Firstkiller was rumored to have had several options, but ultimately it was FaZe who revealed they had signed the mechanical monster from Rogue.
The news is fresh, and RLCS Season 11 is not even announced yet, but FaZe have got a W in the pocket already. However, they shouldn’t count their flip resets before they’re scored. Firstkiller may be an individual talent with mechanical prowess, but that alone is no guarantee for a successful team.
– Michael Kloos