2019 has been quite a year for esports. There were a lot of firsts in the ever-growing esports scene, both local and international. As a recap for everything that has happened, we’ve put together a list of five of the memorable moments in esports this year.
We’ll open this list with a history-making moment for Dota 2 esports, the first The International held outside North America, but more importantly, the first two-time The International champions. This, of course, is OG winning The International 2019 with the same roster.
OG was considered the underdog when they won The International 2018 but this year, everyone had their eyes set on the defending champions. Up to this point, eight different teams were crowned champions with no repeats.
The Europeans had a seemingly shaky start to the Group Stage but looked to be on a different level as they took the top of Group B and tore through the entire Upper Bracket. In the end, OG cemented themselves in the history books after they raised the Aegis of Champions a second time following a 3-1 victory over Team Liquid in the Grand Finals.
From Dota 2, we go to League of Legends. They may be different MOBAs but both esports titles had historical moments this year. European team G2 Esports made history for League of Legends as the first western team to take home the Mid-Season Invitational championship.
G2 Esports solidified its title as Kings of Europe after dominating the regular season and the playoffs. The addition of mid-laner Rasmus “Caps” Winther and G2 mainstay Luka “Perkz” Perković moving to the AD Carry position gave them strong laners across the map.
Joined by defending World Champion Invictus Gaming, three-time World Champion SK Telecom T1, and North American super-team Team Liquid, G2 had their work cut out for them. The Europeans settled for third in the Group Stage and surprised the world when they took down SK Telecom T1 in the Semifinals. G2 went on to sweep the North Americans and bagged the first international title for Europe and themselves.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang has quickly grown in popularity since its release in July 2016. With its growth came its own strong esports scene.
In the region, it all began with the launch of the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League (MPL) in Malaysia/Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines along with the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Southeast Asia Cup (MSC). The success brought upon by the leagues led to the question of what’s next for the highly popular mobile MOBA. This was answered with the announcement of the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang World Championships or simply M1.
Of course, a world tournament was the answer and the inaugural event took place in Malaysia and featured 16 teams from 14 countries.
Indonesia stood above the other countries with both EVOS Legends and Rex Regum Quom (RRQ) securing their respective spots in the Grand Finals. The bout between the two Indonesian teams went down to the seventh and final game and in the end, it was EVOS Legends that was crowned the first MLBB world champions.
If there’s one thing that we’ve seen in the past years, there’s just something about MOBAs and their international events like The International or League of Legends World Championships that just brings the community together. For a game like MLBB, this will definitely bring the ever-growing player base together at least once a year for their very own spectacle for MLBB.
From international events, we move to local esports newsmakers. We’re, of course, talking about The Nationals. The Nationals was announced last year but launched this year and has since concluded the two conferences in the three titles, Tekken 7, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and Dota 2.
The tournament is franchise-based and was initially launched with five teams (Bren Epro, Cignal Ultra, HF Emperors, PLDT-Smart Omega, and Suha-XCTN Punishers) competing but has since added two new teams (STI EOlympians, and Laus AutoGroup Playbook Esports Eagles).
The Nationals not only gives players more stability it also gave more players the chance to show their abilities in their respective games. It also opens opportunities for casters and courtside reporters. In addition, the tournament gives fans a more steady pace of competition in the respective titles.
We’re excited to see if new titles will be added to the already solid selection for the tournament as well as if new teams will join the mix.
Last, but definitely not the least, is perhaps the biggest for esports in the region and as a whole. Esports was announced as a medal sport for the first time in the 30th Southeast Asian Games which was held in the Philippines. The esports event featured six titles or disciplines (Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Arena of Valor, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, and Tekken 7) with which three medals per discipline was up for grabs.
Nine countries competed across the six titles, namely Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. They played in a span of six days at the San Juan Arena in San Juan City.
The Philippine national esports team, Sibol took home a total of 3 gold medals (Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Dota 2, and StarCraft II) and a silver and bronze in Tekken 7.
Seeing esports alongside some of the biggest traditional esports at the biennial event is as epic as it comes. We hope that it opens the door for esports to be announced as a medal event in the Olympics and at other multi-sport events.
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