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. 24-29.
Gamescom was big for esports
Halo Infinite’s release date, new footage for Call of Duty Vanguard and a ton of other announcements flooded the virtual halls of the biggest gaming convention on the planet. Gamescom, despite being held online for the second time in a row, was a staunch reminder that the game industry is still booming despite what feels like a near-endless pandemic.
Gamescom is usually held near the Rhine River in Cologne, Germany. This time around it included new games, like the Saints Row reboot, alongside reveals for upcoming games like Forza Horizon 5 and Age of Empires IV; all of which have some sort of competitive element and community.
Sad that the convention is over? Japanese indie show BitSummit kicks off this week.
— Aron Garst
100 Thieves and MAD Lions bring home trophies
MAD Lions took home their second consecutive League of Legends European Championship title after defeating Fnatic 3-1 in the grand finals. For MAD, it means going into Worlds as the first seed for Europe. But, for the other members of the team, it means showing that talent from the European Regional League deserves to be feared. Outside of İrfan “Armut” Berk Tükek, MAD Lions was recruited from European Regional Leagues and took over the LEC in dominant fashion. MAD Lions’ victory is not only a win for the team, but also a win for the European talent breaking into the scene.
Armut was not the only Turkish League of Legends player to lift a trophy this weekend. 100 Thieves’ Turkish Terror Can “Closer” Çelik led his team to victory after smashing Team Liquid in the League Championship Series grand finals. Across three games, Closer racked up 19 kills, 21 assists and only two deaths — that came only from the second game in the best of five. For North America, 100 Thieves became the fifth team in the history of the LCS to raise the trophy. They join TSM, Cloud9, Team Liquid and CLG in sharing the title of LCS Champions.
— Danny Appleford
Riot introduces LCS Game Changers and also announces Game Changers Series 3 for VALORANT
Riot Games announced LCS Game Changers on Aug. 24 as a path to pro for women in the North American region. Just days later, the developer announced its third Game Changers event of the year for tactical shooter VALORANT. The two programs aim to increase the number of women in their respective esport, as well as give those players a chance to show their skills.
The two-week long LCS Game Changers event will see 10 high-ranked women practice and play like professional players through coaching, VOD reviews and daily scrimmages. The program will end with a best-of-five series, with the 10 players slotted into opposing teams.
While it’s not as robust as the VALORANT event, which features over 30 teams ranging from amateur to signed squads, the event shows progress from Riot’s side toward addressing the lack of women in professional League of Legends, specifically. VALORANT, with its $50,000 prize pool and thriving women’s community in Galorants, has already surpassed the decade old MOBA in terms of engagement from that community.
With the new program, Riot gets a win for putting forth the effort to foster some of its women talent, even if the format is a bit derivative of Scouting Grounds.
— Declan McLaughlin
Call of Duty: Vanguard open alpha amounts to huge success
Over the weekend, PlayStation players spent their time diving into Call of Duty: Vanguard multiplayer for the first time. While this was only an alpha that showcased the Champion Hill mode, the feedback from the community was positive overall. Fans enjoyed the varied pace action that Champion Hill introduced, with some players even earning a V2 Rocket in the process.
One of the biggest positives from the weekend was seeing developer Sledgehammer Games take community feedback into account and act on it so quickly. On Saturday, the second day of the alpha, the developers released a patch that addressed a wide variety of concerns players had with the alpha. This included footstep audio, spawn issues and aim assist through walls, among other things.
Once these issues were fixed, players of all calibers enjoyed Vanguard even more. However, one of the players to seemingly enjoy the alpha most was Seth “Scump” Abner. He tweeted, “IT’S MY YEAR” after going on a rampage in Champion Hill. Thus far, Vanguard has gone over well with the professional and casual players alike. However, the open beta in September will truly test the success of the game come Nov. 5.
— Joey Carr
Tweek dethrones the reigning Ultimate Summit champion
So much has changed about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the competitive scene online. New characters like Min Min, Sephiroth, Kazuya and, especially, Pyra and Mythra are making their mark at the highest levels of play. Returning fighters, like Diddy Kong and Sheik, have also begun to reach new heights in Ultimate.
Yet, despite all this change, one thing seemed like an inevitability going into Smash Ultimate Summit 3: Leonardo “MkLeo” Lopez Perez would almost certainly win his third consecutive Summit. Although Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey is the highest-ranked active player behind MkLeo, his odds of winning were hardly stellar. Though he won his first two sets against MkLeo after Ultimate came out, Tweek then lost their next eight offline sets, suffering multiple reverse 3-0s in the process.
Tweek’s chances of winning seemed to dwindle even more after he was upset by Aaron Wilhite and Edgar “Sparg0” Valdez in his round robin pool. Because of his mediocre pools performance, Tweek had to face MkLeo in Round 1 of the final bracket. He went up 2-0, but found himself at a percent deficit in Game 3; a position he had all too often been on the losing end of. But, this time, Tweek took firm offensive control, racking up damage with his Diddy Kong and setting up for a banana into forward smash combo to win the set 3-0.
From that point on, Tweek looked near unstoppable. He defeated Tyler “Marss” Martins 3-0 and Sparg0 3-1. Afterward, all that stood between him and victory was a grand finals rematch against MkLeo — who had won five sets in the losers bracket to get there. Tweek took advantage of Diddy Kong’s ledgetrapping and edgeguarding capabilities against MkLeo’s Pyra and Mythra; a set of characters with exploitable recoveries. This time, Tweek didn’t have to make a Game 3 comeback. Instead, he pulled off a convincing 3-0 to dethrone MkLeo and become the Smash Ultimate Summit 3 champion.
— Dylan Tate