Welcome to This Weekend in Esports, a brief overview of what to watch in the world of competitive gaming for the coming weekend.
It's a week before Thanksgiving here in the United States, so with most of the esports world set to take that weekend off, this weekend is looking pretty stacked. We start off with...
Intel Extreme Masters Oakland
For CS:GO, the group stages are already in the books. Only four teams remain and some of these names shouldn't surprise anyone who follows the scene. Ninjas in Pyjamas will face off against Brazillian powerhouses SK Gaming, while Cloud9 faces an uphill battle against FaZe Clan. FaZe comes into this tournament on a major hot streak, having taken first place at both ESL One: New York and the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier. A first place finish here would give them a third consecutive tournament victory. Finn "karrigan" Andersen and Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer certainly give them the edge, from a talent standpoint. Cloud9 may be underdogs, but young CS:GO prodigy Jacky "Stewie2K" Yip is the key name to look out for on that roster. Even with Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert and Michael "shroud" Grzesiek releagted to the bench, Cloud9 is a team on the rise and has a puncher's chance against a FaZe Clan squad firing on all cylinders.
Meanwhile, IEM Oakland will also prove to be a banner date for a PUBG esports scene in its infancy. There are 80 pros that will take to the battlefield with a $200K prize pool at stake, including eight teams from the North American and European regions that punched their ticket in through online qualifiers. It'll be interesting to see who cements themselves as the esports squad to watch in the future, so be sure to give this a look.
Rainbow Six Siege: Pro League - Season 3 Finals
Game: Rainbow Six Siege
When: November 17-18, 7PM PT
Where to watch: Twitch.tv/Rainbow6
Eight of the best Rainbow Six Siege teams in the world are flying down to Sau Paulo, Brazil. They will compete for the lion's share of a $275K pot, which will close Year 2 of the Rainbow Six Siege: Pro League with a total of $1.25M awarded.
Penta Sports enters the tournament as the heavy favorites, having won the last two Pro League seasons for Year 2. They will face some stiff competition, though. They draw Mantis FPS in the first round. They are the South Korean representatives, who emerged from the first-ever Asia-Pacific season as the top team. If Penta makes it past them, there's a good chance they'll cross paths with the Black Dragons, the last squad to have taken a round off of them.
Don't sleep on Evil Geniuses, who make their first Rainbow Six Siege Pro League appearance. They're better known to followers of the scene as Continuum and they'll be looking to get their first win since the Six Invitational back in February.
Prior to the tournament finals, be sure to tune in on Sunday at 9AM PT. Rainbow Six Siege fans will get a full reveal of Operation White Noise, the next major add-on for the game. Shacknews will be watching, as well, and report on any new information.
Red Bull Battle Grounds
Game: Street Fighter V
When: November 18-19, 9AM PT
Where to watch: Twitch.tv/CapcomFighters
Capcom Cup is three weeks away and Capcom looks to finalize the field, for good. Red Bull Battle Grounds is a key event in figuring out who's going, serving as the site of the Capcom Pro Tour North American Regional Final. This is where the top seven point-earners will compete in a special Top 8 on Sunday, with the eighth last chance participant being determined on Saturday. In addition to being the last opportunity for the NA region to earn Pro Tour points, the winner gets an automatic Capcom Cup berth.
Steve "AceKingOfSuit" Jurek of Dot Esports eloquently spelled out who stands to gain and lose the most from this weekend's tournament. It's Naoto Sako, who will either qualify or be eliminated, depending on who walks away from Battle Grounds the winner. Sako will basically be rooting for half the field, while the other half winning would leave him out in the cold. It's a strong field of participants, which include Capcom Pro Tour points leader Victor "Punk" Woodley and defending Capcom Cup champion Du "NuckleDu" Dang. This promises to be top-level Street Fighter action, so be sure to tune in.
Also, for anyone in attendance, let us know how that Street Fighter II VR bonus stage looks!
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.