Welcome to This Weekend in Esports, a brief overview of what to watch in the world of competitive gaming for the coming weekend.
Who's ready for the start of group play at Worlds? That's leading the way in the esports world this weekend, but there's also something to watch for fans of Overwatch and Super Smash Bros. Let's get a look at what's coming up.
World Championships 2017 - Group Stage
By the time this story goes up, the Worlds group stage will already be well underway from the Wuhan Sports Center Gymnasium in Wuhan, China. And as expected, the Chinese and Korean squads have gone to work, while North America and Europe have fallen into early holes.
It remains to be seen whether teams like G2 Esports or Cloud9 will be able to bounce back. It certainly won't be easy when Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok is on his game the way he is.
The most thrilling game of the weekend looks to be a clash of titans between Worlds 2016 runner-up Samsung Galaxy and Royal Never Give Up. Meanwhile, TSM will look represent the NA region against Team WE and Misfits, while Cloud9 faces Edward Gaming and Immortals faces GIGABYTE Marines. The road to the finals has officially begun.
Overwatch Contenders - Season 1 Playoffs
When: October 7-8, 10AM PT
Where to watch: Twitch.tv/OverwatchContenders
The playoff field is officially set for the Overwatch Contenders Season 1 playoffs and a champion for both the North American and European regions will be crowned before the end of the weekend.
Team Envy remains the gold standard in this tournament, having finished with a 7-0 record. They haven't dropped a single game, meaning their 4-3 opponents, FNRGFE will be walking in as serious underdogs. And as if Team Envy wasn't already enough of a juggernaut, they also bring in a trump card in former NRG Esports powerhouse Brandon "Seagull" Larned, who was recently added to the Envy's roster.
Over on the EU side, it's hard to find better than Misfits. The DreamHack Winter 2016 champions are also entering this playoff weekend unbeaten, facing off against a Cloud9 that appears to be running on fumes.
This weekend is also a momentous occasion for Blizzard, who will be opening the doors to the Blizzard Arena. Look for an electric atmosphere to eminate from Blizzard's all-new esports facility.
Super Smash Bros. - The Big House 7
The action at last week's GameTyrant Expo exceeded every Smash fan's wildest expectations. On the Melee side, Juan "Hungrybox" DeBiedma came out on top in a truly wild Grand Finals against his archrival and consensus #1 player in the Melee world, Adam "Armada" Lindgren. It was their most epic clash since their Evo 2016 meeting. And on the Smash 4 side, was that a Luigi in Grand Finals? Yes, Matt "Elegant" Fitzpatrick took the mid-tier plumber and showed why he's the best Luigi player in the world, riding him all the way to the winner's side of Grand Finals and coming within inches of beating Leonardo "MkLeo" Perez to cap off his best tournament ever.
That leads to The Big House 7, considered one of the big-time majors in the Smash Bros. scene, with major storylines set to unfold across both Smash games.
On the Melee side, The Big House has historically been Joseph "Mang0" Marquez's tournament. He's won three out of the four years in which he's competed and he'll be one of the heavy favorites to win. But Hungrybox is riding all the momentum coming off an adrenaline-fueled GTX win, while Armada is looking to bounce back and further cement himself as the best Melee player in the world. Oh, and it should be noted that Armada has a Big House victory under his belt, as well.
On the Smash 4 side, this may surprise some people, but Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios is really, really good at this game. He's the two-time defending Big House champion and will look to ward off a crowded field that includes the top 15 players on the Panda Global Rankings. But if the last year of Smash 4 action has proven anything, it's that massive upsets can happen at any time and it often doesn't take long for the stars to start falling.
Also be on the lookout for other fun events, like the Melee Crews battle on Friday night. The Smash 4 Crews battle is taking some time off, but hey, we'll always have this call from last year.
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.