These tournaments are shaping up to be some of the most exciting in esports' history.
With many of 2020's tournaments cancelled due to worldwide lockdown efforts, many gamers are looking forward to 2021 and the return of in-person events. Most game developers and esports firms prefer to hold large-scale events in-person, due to the fact that cheating and botting is much easier to pull off in an all-online setting.
As a result of cheating efforts, many tournaments that were set to take place this year were abruptly cancelled. Many tournaments were called off until 2021, which is now just around the corner. Gamers have been waiting for months to face off against their opponents, training during their time at home. With the new year just around the corner, many esports firms and tournament-runners have been announcing their line ups for the 2021 season. Despite some cancellations, things are looking optimistic for the world of esports, as more tournaments are being scheduled and more players are getting hyped.
One of the most devastating tournament developments came from Epic Games, who stated that they would host live tournaments in 2021, but they would be skipping their highly-regarded Fortnite World Cup for the second year in a row. When the 2020 Fortnite World Cup was cancelled, many were looking for a return in the new year. After several landmark victories during the first tournament in 2019, many players had their eye on the tournament, looking to score some prize money and fame after sharpening their skills. According to Epic, players will have the chance to show off their new abilities in 2021, just not at the Fortnite World Cup. Many players are hoping this decision will be reversed, but some aren't too sure.
Despite such a huge event being cancelled, there are still many other tournaments to look forward to in 2021, which involve a plethora of games. Below are the top three tournaments that have just been announced for 2021. More tournaments will most likely be announced at the year's end, but before that kicks off, we wanted to celebrate these three exciting tournaments that will be sweeping the world in 2021.
3. VALORANT Champions Tour
Just in time for the holidays, Riot Games announced a thrilling new tournament series for VALORANT. Starting in February 2021, this tournament will feature three distinct stages: Challengers, Masters, and Champions. The Challengers portion of the tournament begins online in February, serving as a qualifier match for contending players. The Masters tournaments, which will most likely be in-person events, will serve as qualifiers for the Champions' series tournament. The top players from each region will face off for their spot in the Champions' series, and with only a few spots available, the battle will be hotly contested.
The Champions' series will serve as the tournament's final leg, crowning one player as the global champion once all the brackets are finished. This half-online half-in-person tournament is said to continue all the way until December 2021, with the Champions series held off until then. Throughout the year, various Masters and Challengers matches will take place, with each player hoping for a spot in the final tournament bracket.
Riot Games is making the best of the COVID-19 situation, limiting most of their tournament to regional and online play to work around travel restrictions. Their Champions' series will occur when these restrictions are lifted, allowing the best VALORANT players to meet on a global stage once again.
2. ESL's Wild Rift Tournament
League of Legends is getting a Wild Rift Tournament in 2021 - all thanks to ESL and their efforts to keep tournaments going strong. This event is restricted to Malaysia and Thailand for the time being, due to travel restrictions taking place around the world. This tournament is said to take place in April 2021. As of now, the event will be in-person.
This event is taking place due to the huge market for League of Legends in Southeast Asia. During the 2020 lockdown efforts, the League of Legends market has blossomed there, giving ESL a reason to celebrate via a new tournament.
Players can look forward to prizes, fierce competition, and new teams at these upcoming tournaments. ESL and Riot Games' partnership will hopefully bring more aspiring players to the MOBA genre.
In addition to this new tournament, ESL also claims that they will host a collegiate-level Wild Rift tournament in Thailand only. It is unknown when this tournament will begin, but ESL states that they will be hosting multiple Wild Rift Open Cups during 2021, so players should look out for opportunities to show their skills.
1. PUBG's Mobile Esports Tournaments
For players around the world, particularly on mobile devices, PUBG has an up and coming tournament that might turn heads. On Twitter, PUBG Mobile Esports announced that their 2021 tournament line up would yield a $14 million prize pool, which dwarfs their total prize pool from this year.
The tournaments will take place from 2021-2022, starting with the Club Open, then going to the Pro League, and then the Global Championships.
PUBG wants to use these tournaments to celebrate the new milestones that it hit this year. Despite 2020's setbacks, PUBG experienced record numbers, with over 120,000 teams registering for PMCO and 1 million players worldwide watching the Summer World League.
The esports community is excited for these events and the new sense of competition each of them will bring. With more announcements on the way, 2021 is looking to be an extremely exciting year for esports.
Images via Riot Games, ESL, and PUBG.