2020 is behind us, and the eSports world is raring to jump back into the major tournament circuit. 2021 has major world championships on the docket for just about every major game. With gaming leagues becoming more commonplace, the professional circuit dominates the calendar, with many of them running almost the entire year. Most leagues still only have a few years under their belt, so returning/continuing play through these distanced times is crucial for keeping the brand steady, and capitalizing on the huge eSports interest. Let’s take a look at the headlining events on the calendar, and some storylines that are fueling the hype surrounding these championships.
The Overwatch League weaved it’s way to the Grand Finals last year despite holding it’s season between two conferences. The North American and Asian playoffs whittled down the field to the best of the best, and the double elimination final bracket held in Korea pitted the best against the best until the final. The North American San Francisco Shock won the trophy from the hometown Seoul Dynasty, and will enjoy the crown until the fall.
With this year’s OWL being compressed to starting late in April every game is going to matter more, giving this season plenty of intrigue. The top 3 finishers from last year experienced some roster changes, so they’ll be re-tooling in the new year. Plus, many of last year’s challengers had almost complete roster turnover, and perhaps that big shakeup could lead to a big swing in fortunes, teams like Dallas Fuel and Paris Eternal come to mind. When April comes around, grab some popcorn and watch the best in the world duke it out.
Call of Duty
The CDL is also in its infancy, and it’s seeing a ton of changes in 2021. There’s a transition from Modern Warfare to Black Ops: Cold War, and switching from 5v5 to 4v4. In its second year, the League didn’t have any expansion teams sign up, but saw some internal shake-ups that will give a fresh feel to the new season. The drop to 4v4 led to some tough roster decisions, with defending champs Dallas dropping a featured player in Clayster, who then signed in New York, or Chicago getting a boost from Dashy switching teams.
With a kick-off event completed in late January, and the season underway since early February, games have begun and teams are already starting to establish a hierarchy. There are teams from coast to coast, so kickstart your fandom and start watching!
League of Legends
North America got shut out of last year’s bracket, none of the 3 LCS teams made it out of the group stage. LCS is clearly holding a chip on their shoulder, with lots of branding about putting the past behind them. Lots of roster turnover, new coaching, new logos, and a new focus on competing at a higher level than the previous year should lead to some success. However, the European and Asian divisions are going to try their best to keep them out, specifically the reigning champs out of Germany, G2. Worlds will take place in China in the fall, giving every team some time to strategize and work together to get the best out of this year’s squads.
eSports is soldiering through the early years leagues, figuring out kinks and optimizing their leagues to increase competitiveness and viewership. While the stakes increase, the leagues don’t want to lose the core of the gameplay, the sportsmanship, and the watchability, so we have a lot to stay tuned to as another year plays out. Follow along on the League’s websites, and jump on board early, eSports are gonna be big!
The Street Cred Team