Welcome to This Weekend in Esports, a brief overview of what to watch in the world of competitive gaming for the coming weekend.
Heroes of the Storm is kicking off its playoff season, the ELEAGUE Premier wraps up its group play, and Super Smash Bros. gathers in Utah for a full weekend of competition. Let's get a look at what's coming up in the world of esports.
ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier - Group D
Game: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
When: September 29 @ 3PM PT, September 30 @ 11AM PT
Where to watch: TBS, Twitch.tv/eleaguetv
The field is almost set for the ELEAGUE Premier playoffs. So far it's FaZe Clan and G2 Esports coming out of Group A, North and Fnatic emerging from Group B, and Cloud9 and Team EnVyUs coming out of Group C (with ELEAGUE Season 1 champions Team Virtus.Pro making a shocking early exit).
Group D boasts two of the best teams in the world: defending ELEAGUE Major champions Astralis and #1 CS:GO team in the world SK Gaming. Astralis will face off against Team Liquid, while SK Gaming takes on Heroic. Friday night has the potential to be a barnburner, so grab some popcorn and switch it to TBS. (Or watch on Twitch, if you're a cord-cutter.)
Heroes Global Championship Playoffs
Game: Heroes of the Storm
When: September 29-October 2, times vary for EU and NA
Where to watch: Twitch.tv/BlizzHeroes
The road to BlizzCon begins in earnest this weekend. On the North American side, Roll 20 esports and Team Freedom have clinched spots in the HGC Finals. They'll await the rest of the field, as they sit on the sidelines until October 25.
That leaves Gale Force Esports, Tempo Storm, SpaceStation Gaming, and Superstars to compete for the final NA spot. The first round kicks off Friday afternoon when SpaceStation faces off against Superstars and the field will thin out from there. It promises to be a full weekened of Heroes of the Storm action, freshed up with the latest patch issued earlier this week.
Sentimental favorites Gale Force are expected to emerge victorious, but don't count out the other teams this weekend. Tempo Storm, in particular, are seasoned veterans and could surprise a lot of people.
Game: Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, more
When: September 29-October 1, 9AM-9PM PT
Where to watch: Full streaming schedule
The growing intersection between traditional sports and esports has been fascinating to witness and it looks like GameTyrant Expo will be another major step forward in this crossing of streams. The full weekend will be held inside the confines of Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, marking the first time that a fighting game tournament has been held inside an NBA arena. GT-X will host a range of games, including Street Fighter V, League of Legends, Hearthstone, and Rocket League. But the biggest prize pool is being held for the two Super Smash Bros. games, which is drawing out the biggest names across both scenes.
For Melee, it'll be the best players in the world looking to compete with undisputed top player Adam "Armada" Lindgren. While the usual suspects will be in attendance, the big name to watch will be Justin "Plup" McGrath. Panda Global's own is coming off one of his best summers ever, which included a victory at DreamHack Atlanta and a 3rd place finish at Super Smash Con. Plup has often been just on the outside of Smash godhood, but may finally be ready to break through.
Moving over to Smash 4, the tension over Bayonetta is starting to hit a fever pitch and many of the best Bayonettas will be in the house, including Zack "CaptainZack" Lauth, Tamim "Mistake" Omary, and EVO 2017 champion Saleem "Salem" Young. Meanwhile, Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios looks to continue his latest hot streak, Elliot "Ally" Carroza-Oyarce looks to get back on track, and Larry "Larry Lurr" Holland looks to keep his momentum going following his DreamHack Montreal victory.
That's a small sample of what to watch for in the world of esports this weekend. What will you be watching? Join the conversation and let us know in the comments.