Welcome to This Weekend in Esports, a brief overview of what to watch in the world of competitive gaming for the coming weekend.
For this weekend, it's the latest Intel Grand Slam event for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. But this is a noticeably different CS:GO landscape than the last major.
DreamHack Masters Marseille
Game: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
When: April 20-22
Where to watch: Twitch.tv/DreamHackCS
When we last checked in on the CS:GO pro scene, Fnatic stood tall at IEM Katowice, while FaZe Clan got another hard luck second place finish. A few things have changed since then.
The first big change is a temporary one. The aforementioned FaZe Clan is going in without Olof "Olofmeister" Kjaber temporarily, as he attends to some personal issues. FaZe has not been affected by this just yet, still trucking through the group stages with little trouble, bopping Team EnVyUs 16-1. But they ran into a lot more resistance from Cloud9, who sent them down to the Decider Match.
Speaking of Cloud9, let's discuss Cloud9 for a second. The much bigger change to the CS:GO landscape involved ELEAGUE Major: Boston winners, who lost star player Jake "Stewie2K" Yip to hated rival SK Gaming. While SK Gaming is playing at a high level, as one would expect, Cloud9 is clearly still hanging tough with replacements Pujan "FNS" Mehta and Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham. Meanwhile, SK lost its opening group match to Ninjas in Pyjamas and now have their backs against the wall.
As for Fnatic, they were stunned early Thursday by a close 2-1 loss to Natus Vincere. Fnatic will have already played its Decider Match just prior to this feature's post, so it remains to be seen whether they'll throw their hats into what's already a packed playoff field for this weekend.
Saigon Cup 2018
Game: Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Tekken 7
When: April 21-22
Where to watch: Twitch.tv/SaigonFGC
The best fighting game players in the East are making the trip to a place that's not normally considered an FGC hotbed. But Saigon has hosted the Saigon Cup since 2014 and they're also a Capcom Pro Tour ranking event.
For Street Fighter V, that means Hyungsuk "Verloren" Kong, Bruce "GamerBee" Hsiang, Li-Wei "Oil King" Lin, and Hiromiki "Itabashi Zangief" Kumada are among the top-level pros attending this event. It's always exciting to see Asia's best players clash, especially as they adjust to the evolving SFV meta and to each other.
There is one American player in attendance and that's Vietnam resident Marn Pham. Marn will obviously go in as a heavy underdog, but he's been a wild card at tournaments like this in the past. Keep an eye on him as the weekend goes on.
H1Z1 Pro League Premier
When: April 21
Where to watch: Facebook.com/H1Z1ProLeague
Alright, so take a wild guess. Which of the battle royale games is first to get its own professional esports circuit? You're guessing PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds based on its Intel Extreme Masters appearances, aren't you? Or are you guessing Fortnite, based on its massive popularity? No, the answer is actually H1Z1, which recently came out of Steam Early Access.
Despite flying under the radar, H1Z1 has attracted a number of major esports organizations, like Cloud9, Luminosity Gaming, The Alliance, Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming, and more. It's going to be hard to pin down who's going to stand out, but this opening weekend should be quite the educational experience, in terms of seeing how these pro teams coordinate with one other and respond to their opposition on the battlefield. The action is set to kick off in Las Vegas this Saturday night.
So what will you be watching this weekend? Join the conversation and let us know in the comments.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, This Weekend in Esports: What to Watch from April 20-22
RLCS regional championships are this weekend.