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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 June 28 to July 5.

SG esports make underdog run to qualify for the international

Yesterday, SG esports fought through South America’s toughest remaining teams in order to secure their ticket to the International 10. The team was not expected to make a run. Instead, most analysts saw NoPing esports as the favorites for the South American Regional Qualifier. In an unlikely turn of events, NoPing did not even make the final and were eliminated in the lower bracket semifinals by Team Unknown.

The final was a matchup between two unexpected teams — Unknown and SG esports. As the only Brazilian representatives, SG esports were set to make a stand. While Team Unknown won the first game, SG esports made a quick comeback and took the next three games. This win by SG esports marks the first ever time that the International will feature three South American teams, which stands as a testament to the support Valve has given to smaller regions. It also proves that regions like South America always had the talent, and Valve only needed to put the spotlight on them in order for them to flourish.

— Kenneth Utama

Vitality defeat both G2 and MAD Lions

Team Vitality ended week 3 of the LEC Summer Split with wins against G2 Esports and MAD Lions for the first time in 2021. After winning only two of five games played in previous weeks, Vitality silenced several critics with impressive wins over two of the league’s top teams. Last week, the team’s jungler Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek, took to Twitter promising to do better in upcoming matches.

This week, he certainly fulfilled those promises, especially in the game against G2. His Lee Sin, alongside Adam “LIDER” Ilyasov’s Ryze, was just too much for G2 to handle throughout the game. Vitality dominated the match from start to finish, with a 13,000 plus gold lead and no neutral objectives lost. Also, their bot laner, Jus “Crownshot” Marusic, went deathless in both games, with 27 total kill involvements.

With just three weeks of summer season action, Vitality are one win away from equaling the number of wins they obtained in the entire spring split. Their offseason changes seem to have sparked new life into the team. Compared to last season, Vitality’s early game control and team fighting prowess have also significantly improved. While the off-season changes looked excellent on paper, it is great seeing the team synergy finally coming together in practice.

Although there is still a long season ahead, Vitality have shown they have what it takes to battle both reigning champions and old kings in the league. These wins leaves them sitting fourth place in the LEC standings with a head-to-head advantage.

Rashidat Jimoh

Aspire leads Toronto Defiant to two big wins

Following the June Joust, the Toronto Defiant were on a downward spiral. After losing key players on their roster due to illness and injury, they were forced to make an emergency signing. However, those circumstances turned out to be exactly what they needed to regain standing in the Overwatch League. Now in the Summer Showdown, the Toronto Defiant are 2-0 up off the back of Luka “Aspire” Rolovic, their replacement player.

We’ve mentioned Aspire before in our Five W’s category, off of his great plays in his first two games. However, those two games were losses, and the Defiant looked as if they still needed more help. Now, it’s clear that the combination of Aspire, alongside Jeong “Heesu” Hee-su, is paying dividends for the Defiant.

This win is for the amazing development that led him to a massive victory over the Florida Mayhem. The Mayhem team rivals the Defiant, having never lost to them before Aspire joined in. It was a close match this time out, but Aspire helped pull out the win in a close five-map series. Then, the 3-0 sweep over the Vancouver Titans led him to back-to-back player of the match awards. Aspire is making waves as a rookie in the Overwatch League, helping the Defiant make the best out of a tough situation.

Michael Czar

Susquehanna Soniqs take home PUBG Continental Series 4 trophy

The Soniqs fought through another new competitive format and ruleset in order to beat the competition and win the months-long battle royale series. The team brought home $80,000 in initial prize money by winning eight matches throughout the final, which finished on Friday, June 25. They received an additional $5,000 for being named the tournament’s most “insane squad.”

“We stomped the region,” a flurry of voices said in a post-grand final interview with the Soniqs.

There was little question that the Soniqs would win midway through the final, as they pulled ahead of other teams by a large margin. Even with the “winner winner, chicken dinner” format, it was over long before the final circle closed.

While the Americas finished on June 25, the other three regions wrapped on June 27. Virtus.pro took the European crown, Buriram United Esports won in APAC and Petrichor Road won in Asia. These teams will meet again later this year for PCS5 and the championship tournament to close out the season.

— Aron Garst

John returns to CDL after two years away from pro play

New LA Thieves player Jonathan “John” Perez has made his way back to the professional scene after nearly two years. Despite some floating rumors, it’s thought the main reason John was unable to land a spot on a CDL roster was due to health problems. He documented his journey through various doctor’s offices on social media and began competing again in Black Ops Cold War.

After playing, and playing well, in Challengers all season long, the right opportunity arose for John to sign with a professional roster. He was once thought to be one of the top five SMG players of all time. At his peak, he was a world champion who struck fear in any opposing player. John’s decline began a few years ago and ended with him not competing whatsoever in Modern Warfare. Now, he gets another chance to cement his legacy with the turbulent LA Thieves roster. Perhaps his veteran presence is what the team needs to turn their season around.

— Joey Carr

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