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What are the main Esport games and who are the main teams?

New to Esports? Find out everything you need to know

With many sports on hiatus, Esports are keeping the flag flying.

While there have been several major event cancellations, the ability to take leagues and tournaments online means that for the time being, many games will continue to be played.

If your Esports knowledge isn’t quite up-to-par, here’s what you need to know:

League of Legends

What is it?

A MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena), League of Legends (or LoL) sees two teams of five players do battle on a map called Summoner’s Rift. The objective of the game is to destroy the opposing team’s base or ‘Nexus’.

To do so, first they need to level up their selected character or champion (there are a huge 148 to choose from), by killing weak AI-controlled minions, destroying enemy defensive towers or fighting over neutral objectives. They also need to collect gold to power up their champion, while pushing their own minions toward the enemy base and towers.

Typically a game will last from 20-40 minutes, with teams coming together from across the map to engage in tactical team fights around objectives, with the winners able to push toward the enemy base to try and destroy the nexus.

Why should I watch it?

The huge selection of champions to choose from ensures masses of variety and the game never stays the same, as teams discover new strategies for every major update made by the developers Riot Games.

The game also has a huge skill-cap – it’s relatively easy to play the game once you get your head around it. However, being good at it requires an athlete’s level of devotion and not inconsiderable talent. The biggest teams in the world often train in excess of 50 hours a week per player.

There’s also considerable strategy and tactical depth that goes into every game. From the team composition, to controlling vision on the map, down to team fight initiation – there are an awful lot of variables that teams need to consider.

Who are the biggest teams right now?

Each year culminates in a huge event called the World Championship or simply ‘Worlds’. In 2019, Chinese team FunPlus Phoenix emerged victorious, with Europe’s G2 Esports placing second.

Korea’s SKT 1 are the game’s most legendary team and are the only team to have won the Worlds three times. In the North American region, Cloud 9 have been the strongest side in recent years.

What’s on:

Many of the major leagues were temporarily suspended after the coronavirus outbreak. However, most are starting to resume in online format (usually the games are played in a studio).

As a result, the Spring ‘splits’ (or seasons) from all major regions are set to resume this weekend.

That means action from Korea (LCK), China (LPL), Europe (LEC) and North America (LCS).

Dota 2

What is it?

Much like League of Legends, Dota 2 is a MOBA, where two teams of five battle to destroy each other’s base and the ‘Ancient’ housed within (Dota stands for Defence of the Ancients).

Both Dota 2 and LoL can appear similar, the main difference is that LoL has more ‘skill shots’ – aimed attacks, while Dota 2 has slightly more complex mechanics, and tactical gameplay.

Why should I watch it?

While League of Legends has a comprehensive league structure, Dota 2 is more geared towards major and minor events. The biggest of which – The International – boasts a huge partially crowdfunded prize pool every year (in 2019 it maxed out at $34,330,068).

Watching teams battling for these life-changing sums can be thrilling.

Who are the biggest teams right now?

European side OG have won The International (or TI) two years running for the first time in the history of the game. However, their roster has undergone significant changes for 2020, with players retiring, taking a break or moving into coaching positions.

While Chinese team Vici Gaming head the rankings in terms of Pro circuit points this year, they lost 3-0 to rivals PSG.LGD in the WeSave Charity Play tournament earlier today.

What’s on:

Unfortunately, two ‘Major’ events have been delayed due to coronavirus already. With ESL One Los Angeles and ESL One Sao Paulo both being postponed.

The fate of TI is still up in the air at the time of writing.

However, some regional leagues are continuing including the South American Aorus League and the CIS region’s Sigul Pro League.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

What is it?

A competitive FPS (first-person shooter), where two teams are split into Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists (CTs).

Fighting across a selection of classic maps, matches take place across 30 2-minute rounds. The terrorist’s objective is to plant a bomb at one of several bomb sites, while the CTs split their resources to defend the sites. A round can also be won by eliminating every member of the opposing team, the bomb going off (terrorists win) or the CTs defusing the bomb (CTs win).

Why should I watch it?

Each player only has one life per round and if a player is eliminated, their team has to continue without them. This can lead to intense situations, where players are outnumbered and outgunned, battling to victory for their team, with clutch plays and genuinely exciting moments aplenty.

CS:GO is also a very strategic game, understanding the maps, weapon selection and being able to predict and counteract the enemy team’s plans all come into play. Although pure skill and talent can derail even the best-laid plan.

Who are the biggest teams right now?

While they have something of a reputation for falling flat when it matters most, CIS side Natus Vincere are having a storming 2020 so far, after victory in the IEM Katowice tournament.

While they only made it to the Katowice semi-finals, Astralis are considered perhaps the greatest team in the history of the game, with a string of high-profile 1st place finishes in 2019.

What’s on:

The ESEA Pro League sees the biggest teams from across the world competing in a global league. There are four groups, each with six teams, with the top sides progressing to a play-in and play-off bracket. Currently Astralis lead the way in Group A, with forZe, Fnatic and Natus Vincere tied at the top of Group B.

The German ESL Meisterschaft league is also ongoing, with the Unicorns of Love, Berlin International Gaming (BIG) and Alternate aTTaX the stand-out performers so far.

One-off events

Along with the established Esports tournaments above, in the wake of real-life sports cancellations, a raft of replacement events have appeared, attracting major attention from sports fans from across the globe. Here are a few that are definitely worth a look:

FIFA – Ultimate Quaranteam

Organised by Leyton Orient, the FIFA Quaranteam event will see 128 professional clubs play for bragging rights on FIFA. We’re currently in the round of 64, with the round of 32 set to begin on Thursday from 7pm.

Some sides like Man City and Roma already boast professional Esports players in their ranks, while others will be letting football pros represent them in the tournament. As such, Middlesbrough are current favourites to take the trophy.

Tonight’s matches include two north-east hopefuls in action, with Fortuna Sittard playing Sunderland, while FC Nantes take on Newcastle.

Fight Night Legends – eWBSS Heavyweight Legends Tournament

Using EA’s Fight Night Legends, the eWBSS pits heavyweight boxing legends against one another in a battle for simulated supremacy.

Yesterday saw something of an upset, as Joe Frazier knocked out British former-heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis in the 7th round, setting up an enticing Ali-Frazier IV in the semi-finals.

Tonight’s bout sees ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson take on Eric ‘Butterbean’ Esch. Tyson is the heavy favourite at 1/12 to progress.

View the latest Esports odds.

All odds and markets correct as of date of publication