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, DreamHack Masters takes place in Stockholm, the LCS playoffs begin, and then there's PAX West, which will play host to a pair of battle royale tournaments.
DreamHack Masters Stockholm
Game: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
When: August 31-September 1
Where to watch: Twitch.tv/DreamHackCS
When we last left the world of CS:GO, Astralis had re-asserted itself as the team to beat, having soundly won the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier. But that was just a warmup, because now it's time for the next event in the Intel Grand Slam. As a reminder, the Intel Grand Slam rewards a cool million dollars to the team that can rack up four victories in a ten competition span.
That means the pressure is on FaZe Clan more than ever, because this is their last chance to hit the Intel Grand Slam. If they come up short here, as they have at other tournaments in recent months, their victory count will reset, according to the DreamHack website. FaZe is a hair short of claiming that precious prize, but with Astralis riding a wave of momentum, that crucial victory will be tougher than ever.
Don't look for Astralis to let up, because if FaZe falters, they're next in line with two wins in the current Intel Grand Slam season. But their tournament has already started off in rough shape, having already fallen to North. Their tournament lives are at stake against TyLoo, so stay tuned to see if Astralis has another miracle run in them.
NA LCS Summer Split - Semifinals
Game: League of Legends
When: September 1-2
Where to watch: Twitch.tv/RiotGames
With The International 8 awarding the biggest prize in all of esports last Saturday, Dota 2 competitor League of Legends had its summer playoffs get off to a quiet start. But there will be nothing quiet about the semifinals, where a pair of heated rivalries come to a head.
First, it's Cloud9 facing off against bitter rival Team SoloMid. Cloud9 has arguably seen the most success against the rest of the world in recent years, but even having tripped up on the world stage, TSM has still managed to claw its way to this point. The new-look TSM is still playing at a high level, now led by Soren "Bjergsen" Bjerg. But it's going to take a lot to topple Cloud9, especially with that roster boasting former TSM jungler Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen.
The other semifinal match is a heated rematch between Team Liquid and 100 Thieves. Team Liquid got the better of the Week 7 matchup, with the team managing to answer Chan-ho "Ssumday" Kim's Renekton pick and get the better of a majority of the team fights. There's been ample time for 100 Thieves to stew on this loss, but will they be able to bounce back against Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng and company?
PAX West - Fortnite Summer Skirmish Week 8
Game: Fortnite Battle Royale
When: August 31-September 3
Where to watch: Twitch.tv/Fortnite
Epic Games has been raking in a lot of money with Fortnite, which is part of the reason that it's been able to toss around million dollar prize pools throughout the Fortnite Summer Skirmish. But this last week of the event at PAX West is going to be a little more special. This tournament is open to all PAX West attendees who meet the eligibility requirements and there's now $1.5 million on the line.
The format is simple. Three Stage One heats will take place each day, from Friday through Sunday. The top 32 players from each heat will move on to the Stage Two Nightly Qualifier on that same night, competing against one another and against invited pros. The top 33 players from the qualifiers will then move on to the Grand Finals on Monday. Points are earned through both placement and eliminations, giving players more of an incentive to take an active path towards their Victory Royale.
The Grand Finals will consist of six matches and only one player will stand tall as the ultimate Victor Royale, taking home their share of the $1.5 million prize pool.
But if Fortnite isn't your Battle Royale game of choice, PAX West is also hosting…
PAX West - Twitch Broadcaster Royale
Game: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
When: August 31-September 2
Where to watch: Twitch.tv/BroadcasterRoyale
PUBG has also been carving a path to PAX West, but their tournament will see a cavalcade of Twitch streamers compete for their share of a $300,000 prize pool. What makes the PUBG tournament particularly unique is that while there is a central Twitch stream for the event itself, Twitch users can tune into each individual streamer's channel to get their POV as they attempt to take home the gold.
There are 80 doubles teams from around the world set to do battle, including former CS:GO pro Michael "Shroud" Grzesiek, former Call of Duty pro Damon "Karma" Barlow, and former Mortal Kombat X pro Dustin "Godspeed" Kane. With a packed Paramount Theatre and a broadcasting format that's unlike anything else in esports, this could be one of the most entertaining events of the year, simply from a production standpoint. It will definitely be something to tune into, even for non-PUBG fans that are curious as to how this all is going to work.
What will you be watching this weekend? Join the conversation and let us know in the comments.