This is a paid guest post.
Gaming is becoming more integrated as huge sponsors are coming onto the scene to bring together the top gaming talent into organised teams. The question as to why they are doing this is easy enough to answer – the audience for game streaming is huge – you just need to look at the success of the live streaming platform Twitch to understand this fact. Betting on such gaming is also huge, meaning top tournaments are now streamed on sportsbooks too. All in all, being a member of one of the top teams makes you pretty much a rock star.
So, with the strength and depth of Esports established, who are the top teams you should be watching out for in the coming years?
At the top of our pile of Esports teams is Team Liquid. First, they get top ranking because they play in more titles than any other group. The problem with Esports at the moment is that most of the focus is on a handful of tournaments. Many of the top teams only roll out competitors for these headline events. Team Liquid supports a lot more tournaments by entering a quality team and so drawing a crowd.
Second, the team has a roster of more than 60 top gamers. They have had a lot of recent success in Counter-Strike and they are showing some promise on League of Legends. Sure, the League of Legends team just fell out of the World Championship group stage but they won the North America season and playoffs.
Finally, they top the list because they have a depth to their achievements. They won the world finals of Clash Royale and placed in the top ten for many of the Fortnite events. They are in the top five for PUBG in the Europe leagues. In short, they are a significant threat in all the competitions they choose to play in.
Where Team Liquid has a degree of name recognition, FaZe Clan is still a growing force. In 2019 they had a standout year that gives them the right to sit next on our list of top teams. They did well with Dota 2 and they have picked up titles in Counter-Strike. The Rg team, which is made up mostly of Australian talent, also won the Asia Pacific Division twice and they were semi-finalists in the overall competition.
Although the big wins are yet to come, FaZe Clan has shown a growing class in the Esports world.
Astralis might seem an odd choice for our list, as they have mostly had success in Counter-strike. However, it is important to recognize that teams can follow two strategies. They can offer depth, pushing forward teams in most games in a lot of tournaments, or they can specialize in one or two games. Astralis is a force in Counter-Strike that has them feared by anyone else playing alongside them in a competition.
Yet, we think they deserve a mention for branching out into the League of Legends, where they have had some real success – getting to the finals of some top tournaments. Therefore, they are starting to cement their legend as a top team by looking to add another string to their bow.
The obvious highlight for 2019 for this team was their victory in Overwatch. They became Overwatch league 2019 champions! Had it not been for some personnel turbulence and some ups and downs in the business, they would have come much higher on the list. Yet, maybe they deserve some kudos for signing EpikWhale for their Fortnite team. Shane Cotton has to be a significant boost to the roster.
The organization deserves much recognition for their dominance in the Rocket League World Championship.
A team that very nearly grabbed the grand slam of tournaments in League of Legends deserves to place on our list of top Esports teams. If they had gone one better in the World Championships they would have become real legends of this league. They have also done pretty well CS: GO – so they have a solid foundation from which to smash 2020.
Finally, we offer a place to this Finnish team – mostly for becoming a team spoken about widely in gaming circles. They gave a massive underdog performance in a CS: GO tournament, losing out to the mammoth Astralis in the finals. For punching so comfortably above their weight – the team deserves a top spot in Esports teams. However, they also did well in PUBG and Starcraft 2, proving they have some strength and depth in their roster. Joona Sotala is a standout amongst the talent, making many finals and taking multiple trophies throughout the 2019 season. A few more signings like this one and the roster of players at ENCE could be a force to be reckoned with.