The Greatest eSports Tournaments So Far Of 2019
All across the world, eSports are on the rise and from the looks of this year’s main tournaments and world cup finals, that momentum won’t be slowing down any time soon. Proud gamers everywhere have come out of the proverbial closet, joining international leagues and competing against each other to be the best in the world at playing games like Fortnite, League of Legends and DotA.
This year we’ve been treated to some gripping action – eSports history in the making – so here’s a recap of the greatest tournaments so far of 2019 – and quite possibly of the decade.
Dignitas became World Champions in Katowice
The gaming season kicked off in February with an oldie but a goodie – the Intel Extreme Masters. As one of the longest-running tournaments (the IEM was first established in 2007), this Electronic Sports League-sanctioned event always delivers the goods. Unusually, the Masters actually runs as a year-long Grand Slam event, with the final held in Katowice.
Throughout 2019, players have been competing in international events for smaller prizes (well, under $1 million at least) and to qualify for the finals event in Poland. February of this year brought us the 14th Major CS:GO tournament, DotA 2, Starcraft II and, making its IEM debut, Fortnite: Battle Royale events. Astralis beat out ENCE to scoop the CounterStrike Masters title, while Dignitas were the victors in the women’s Intel Challenge event, becoming CS:GO World Champions and scooping a $50,000 prize in the process.
Fortnite fever takes New York City
The hype surrounding the 2019 Fornite World Cup Finals made it out of the gaming and tech blogs into the mainstream media. The world was collectively gagged when it was announced that the prize pool for Epic Games’ newest eSports Juggernaut came to a total of $30 million. Although many established folks within the eSports community were still questioning the game’s suitability for competition, nevertheless the event drew in thousands of competitors from different backgrounds and experience levels.
From the 26th to 28th July, the top 100 solo players and 50 duo players descended on New York City. The main solo prize (worth $3 million) was won by Bugha, a player only born last decade, whilst the duo prize went to the team of Aqua and Nhyrox.
The 2019 Fortnite World Cup has also been credited with having its own “Moneymaker moment”. This, aside from being a glorious pun on the multi-million dollar prizes that were on offer, actually refers to that iconic moment in the early days of online poker when Chris Moneymaker, an amateur player, only went and scooped the main prize at the World Series of Poker in 2003. Given the size of the investment Epic has poured into transforming Fortnite into a legit eSports event (approximately $100 million) and the standing that eSports now has across the world, we’re not even sure whether a Moneymaker moment is needed, but that’s a topic for another article…
OG win The International for the second year in a row
Not even a full month after the Fortnite World Cup tried to set new records for eSports prize pools, Valve’s The International came along and blew all expectations out of the water. The premier DotA 2 tournament, held in Shanghai from 15th to 20th August, has always been one of the best-paid events on the professional eSports calendar, but the 2019 edition officially set the record for offering the biggest eSports prizes in history, with a total prize pool exceeding $34 million.
Team OG were the overall winners and not only pulled in that new record in prize money of $15,603,133, they were also the first team in the history of the tournament to become consecutive winners, having won The International 2018. Team Liquid came in second, raking in a collective and not too shabby prize of $4,458,038.
Incredibly, these prizes were higher than the year’s other major sporting events. Each OG player was awarded around $3.1 million, quite a bit more than what Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep earned for winning Wimbledon ($2.9 million each) and Tiger Woods’ Masters win of $2.07 million.