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 time for the Heroes to clash, the NA LCS to continue sorting itself out, and for Smashers to gather at one of their biggest conventions of the year.
HGC Phase 2 Western Clash
Game: Heroes of the Storm
When: August 10-12
Where to watch: Twitch.tv/BlizzHeroes
With Phase 2 of the Heroes of the Storm regular season halfway finished, it's time for the top teams in North America and Europe to come together and face off. The HGC Western Clash brings in the top four teams for each region and pits them in an eight-team tournament.
In terms of preview coverage, Blizzard has this pretty well covered. The idea is that the skill gap between all eight teams is closer than ever and each match has the potential to be closer than it looks.
Both NA and Europe bring in an undefeated roster, with HeroesHearth Esports and Team Dignitas each boasting a 7-0 record. While North America's Team Octalysis is the only squad entering this weekend with a losing record, they've taken rounds from Team Dignitas in the past. The Dignitas/Octalysis matchup could be one of the most exciting games of the first day and it's set to go down in just a few minutes, with a 9AM PT start time.
NA LCS - Week 8
Game: League of Legends
When: August 11-12
Where to watch: Twitch.tv/RiotGames
The smoke is finally starting to clear at the top of the NA LCS standings. Team Liquid has emerged from the fray with sole possession of first place. But they're just a single game up on the two second place teams: Echo Fox and 100 Thieves.
This weekend's action is set to kick off with...
...Echo Fox vs. 100 Thieves!
Huh... funny how that works.
Lawrence "Lost" Hui has been one of the revelations of the Summer Split thus far. He was promoted to the Echo Fox starting roster around the trading deadline, as the team parted ways with its longtime ADC Johnny "Altec" Ru. While followers of the team were stunned to see Altec let go, it's hard to argue the results. Lost is tied for the second-best KDA ratio in the Summer Split, standing out as one of the best Varus players in the game.
In another happy coincidence, the other person in that tie for second-best KDA ratio is 100 Thieves' Chan-Ho "Ssumday" Kim. We briefly talked last week about his incredible work alongside Liyu "Cody Sun" Sun. Ssumday is looking to bounce back from last week's loss against Team Liquid and will look to help propel 100 Thieves back into a first-place tie.
Meanwhile, the challenges don't stop for Team Liquid. They face off against rivals and NA darlings Cloud9. While Cloud9 hasn't had the Summer Split they've hoped for so far, they're still within striking distance and a win against first-place Team Liquid could give them one last push before the end of the split.
Super Smash Con
Game: Anything Super Smash Bros.
When: August 10-12
Where to watch: Full Schedule
Super Smash Bros. had quite the weekend at EVO. Melee is coming off an incredible tour de force from Leffen, as he beat some of the game's very best players to win his first EVO tournament in front of the Mandalay Bay Events Center crowd.
On the other end of the spectrum, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is coming off one of its most controversial tournaments in history, as a Bayonetta player finished in three of the top four slots. And worse yet, the hostile, antagonistic crowd was met in kind by Bharat "Lima" Chintapall and Zack "CaptainZack" Lauth, who were more than ready to match the crowd's fury with their own. While Lima and CaptainZack played their hearts out, the angry crowd reaction made last Saturday an unforgettable tournament for mostly the wrong reasons.
That brings us to Super Smash Con, the biggest Smash Bros. convention in the country. It also doubles as one of the biggest tournaments in the weekend for any Smash Bros. game. While travel troubles kept them away from EVO, new PGR #1 player in the world Leonardo "MkLeo" Lopez and PGR #2 Gavin "Tweek" Dempsey are both back in action. EVO champion Lima won't be in attendance, but CaptainZack is looking to follow up on his runner-up finish last week. And he's carrying a chip on his shoulder, as he looks to channel the growing hatred from certain sectors of the community for his Bayonetta play into positive results.
Over on the Melee side, William "Leffen" Hjelte is still riding high off of his EVO victory. But hated rival Juan "Hungrybox" DeBiedma and fellow Swedish countryman Adam "Armada" Lindgren are still stinging from their losses. They'll look to avenge last week's performances, as will the other Melee gods. Keep an eye on Justin "Plup" McGrath, as well. He took his 3rd place finish at EVO very hard and is looking for a good weekend to bounce back and keep his 2018 going strong.
What will you be watching this weekend? Join the conversation and let us know in the comments.