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 26-August 1.
Minnesota RØKKR shock with Stage 5 Major win
Coming into the CDL Stage 5 Major, no one besides the Minnesota fan base gave the RØKKR a chance to win. After all, they were up against perennial juggernaut Atlanta FaZe in the first round of the winner’s bracket. And even if they somehow slipped past FaZe, they had to face the Dallas Empire in the second round. It seemed like too much of a long shot when the tournament began.
However, the RØKKR blew through the finalists from the Stage 4 Major, defeating Atlanta and Dallas in consecutive matches. This led to a showdown with the Toronto Ultra in the winner’s finals, which they promptly won 3-0, vaulting them into the Stage 5 Major grand final.
After the Ultra made it to the grand final through the loser’s bracket, the rematch was set. However Minnesota lost the first four maps of the best-of-nine set in a not so hot start. Losing those maps was a blessing for the RØKKR, though, as they managed to pull off the greatest comeback Call of Duty has ever seen by winning five straight maps to take the Stage 5 Major.
Toronto completely collapsed under the pressure while Minnesota rose above all of their doubters in an epic Stage 5 Major victory. This gives the RØKKR all of the confidence and momentum heading into CDL Champs while the Ultra will need the biggest rebound imaginable.
— Joey Carr
TSM clinches first place in the LCS for the first time since 2017
For the first time in four years, TSM is locked into first place at the end of the League of Legends Championship Series regular season. The team is now seeded into the top of the LCS Championship bracket with a first round bye.
The past few years have been rough for TSM fans to say the least. After missing both the 2018 and 2019 World Championships and then failing to pick up a single win at Worlds when they finally qualified in 2020, the org made massive strides to revamp their roster and coaching staff. The team improved significantly since their third place finish in spring and stayed within the top of the LCS standings for the entirety of summer.
TSM’s victories in summer weren’t always the prettiest, but if anything, this roster has shown they know how to win games. Under the new format, the LCS Championship bracket consists of eight teams and they’re all capable of shaking things up in playoffs.
With the bye secured, TSM is one best-of-five victory from qualifying for the 2021 World Championship and two match wins from adding another LCS title to the trophy cabinet.
— Nick Ray
Br1 AV first Smash World Tour Ultimate global finalist
Ecuador’s Bruno “Br1 AV” Assemany became the first qualifier for the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate bracket at the Smash World Tour Global Finals last week. Unlike all the other upcoming regional finals events, the South American tournament took place online because of the continent’s ongoing COVID-19 situation. However, this was hardly a detriment to Br1 AV, a WWR-ranked wi-fi warrior.
The online setting may have given a boost to the Snake main, and the fact that he never had to play Julio “Anality” Morla, Ecuador’s highest-ranked offline player, helped, too. Even so, Br1 AV won many hard-fought matches against Jhéeremy “Ran” Pradenas, Javier “LinkEa” González, Kenneth “Keen” Hanss and Joseph “jjcat00” Velez. He even scored a win on Julian “Frido” Bastias in the grand final using his secondary, Enderman.
While Br1 AV has entered smaller tournaments in the United States in the past, the Smash World Tour Global Finals marks his most high-stakes offline competition to date. Regardless of how he fares at that event, he seems happy to have made it this far.
“I don’t consider myself a ‘top player,’ more of a ‘high level player,’” Br1 AV tweeted. “Even if I lose early in the final bracket, I’ll feel accomplished with all of this.”
— Dylan Tate
Philadelphia Fusion ending season strong
The Philadelphia Fusion entered the 2021 season of the Overwatch League with high expectations, boasting a star-studded roster of veterans, each with a more impressive career than the last.
However, visa issues for the team’s non-Korean players meant that new ones had to be signed just before the season began, and the Fusion scrambled to make their new roster work. It feels like they’ve been playing catch-up all season as a result as they’ve failed to qualify for any tournament playoffs so far.
As we enter the last stretch of the season, though, it seems like the Fusion have finally found their footing. They defeated the ever-dominant Shanghai Dragons in a resounding 3-0 and took down the Hangzhou Spark 3-1. Granted, we’re only a week into the Countdown Cup and the Fusion have certainly shown flashes of brilliance before without following up on them. But if there’s one thing we know about the Fusion, it’s that end-of-season miracles are possible.
— Bonnie Qu
Giants Gaming qualify for EMEA VCT Challengers Playoffs
Giants Gaming qualified for the Europe, Middle East and Africa VALORANT Champions Tour Challengers Playoffs this past weekend. The Spanish organization has not done much in VALORANT, as this tournament was their first VCT main event, but the team mowed through Europe’s best — including Team Liquid and Fnatic — to qualify for the international tournament qualifier.
The team features two young stars in Adolfo “Fit1nho” Gallego and Aaro “hoody” Peltokangas who bring incredible firepower to the team along with two veterans of Europe’s old VALORANT scene. David “Davidp” Prins, the former G2 Esports and Excel Esports in-game leader, helped bring the squad over the finish line in their winners’ finals match against Team Liquid.
The Belgian notched 37 kills in two maps, averaging 158 damage per round on Omen and Brimstone. Johan “Meddo” Renbjörk, who joined Giants after an early stint on FunPlus Phoenix in 2020, also competed well in his first appearance in a VCT main event on his main Controller agents.
Giants Gaming will follow up their Challengers 2 runner up finish in their first VCT appearance with a trip to EMEA Challengers finals where they will face off against EMEA’s best in a 12-team double elimination tournament. The top four teams from the event will qualify for VALORANT’s next international LAN at Masters 3: Berlin.
— Declan McLaughlin