Useful Notes: Professional Gaming

Professional gaming, progaming, and competitive gaming are all blanket terms used to describe the competitive, organized, and often financially sponsored playing of games at a high level. Because the competitive scene varies from game to game, each game's competitive scene should have their own section below.

    open/close all folders 

    Companies that covers multiple gaming scenes 

Professional gaming in the Video Game scene is well established, and many teams and organizations have established popular brands with numerous sponsors dating back to Counter-Strike, Quake, Brood War, and other classic games' roots.

Some of the more popular teams with multiple branches include:
  • Evil Geniuses (With almost more sponsors than they have room to put on their twitter side bar)
  • Fnatic
  • CompLexity Gaming
  • Quantic Gaming
  • mousesports
  • Team Dignitas: An E-sports organization that was started in Britain as a result of a fusion between two clans of the Battlefield 1942 competitive scene, now having multiple team across most of the esports scene, including the smaller ones likes FIFA's pro video game scene.
  • SK Gaming
  • Incredible Miracle
  • Meet Your Makers
  • Copenhagen Wolves
  • Natus Vincere

     First Person Shooter 


Counter-Strike has been played competitively beyond hell and back since its introduction. Here we'll cover its latest installment (as of August 2014), Global Offensive.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive games consist of thirty two-minute rounds (including 15 seconds of time to buy weapons and gear) with each team playing 15 rounds (max) as each side. The game ends when a team reaches 16 points. Ties are possible in online competitive play, but tournaments usually disable ties, and 15-15 results go into a first-to-4-points 6-round overtime period where teams play 3 rounds each as each side.

Competitive games are played in 5v5 format in Bomb Scenario maps (whose map filename prefix is "de_"). Some matches let the teams get first pick of a side (Counter-terrorist/Terrorist) by playing a knife-only round first, others use seeding or flipping a coin.

As of August 2014, the competitive map rotation includes Dust 2, Inferno, Mirage, Cache, Nuke, Overpass and Cobblestone. In best 2 of 3 matches, teams are allowed to ban 2 maps each, with the three games being played on the remaining maps.

In the game's first pistol round, pro teams usually don't buy a better pistol, instead opting for either body armor or a selection of grenades.

The losing team in the pistol round usually opts to enter a "save" or "eco" round where they just go with pistols (and maybe body armor) against the winning team who should have full body armor and helmet, grenades and assault rifles (or rarely, SMGs and shotguns), in the hopes that they will be able to buy better weapons 2-3 rounds down the line. This can make Counter-Strike matches feel like a see-saw battle, where a team gets 3 wins in a row, the opponent comes back with rifles and then takes 3 wins to tie, for example.

Pro teams prefer the standard assault rifles, the AK-47 for the Terriorists and the M4 rifles for the CT's, plus one or two team members using the AWP sniper rifle should funds permit. Some weapons are considered situational, such as SMGs (except the P90) and shotguns for increased money reward per kill (especially when the enemy has no money to buy armor), and armor-piercing pistols in "eco" rounds in the hopes of ambushing an enemy with a headshot and stealing their rifles. Sometimes, a team's sniper prefers the scoped assault rifles (AUG and SG 553/"Commando") or the automatic sniper rifles (SCAR and GSG) instead of the AWP. The low-end assault rifles (FAMAS and Galil) are often only seen in "forced-buy" rounds where a team can no longer afford to lose another round and buy whatever they can with remaining funds.

Notable teams

  • Ninjas in Pyjamas (Sweden)
  • Fnatic (Sweden)
  • Dignitas (Finland)
  • (France)
  • Virtus.Pro
  • Natus Vincere (Ukraine)
  • Cloud 9 (USA)
  • Titan

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2's competitive scene is unique in a sense that their match set-up is vastly different from regular public (or pub) servers. Pub servers usually have 24 player caps with 12 players max on with no class limits with any maps, so things can get chaotic, which is good for casual players who just wants to do what he wants with a variety of maps with a simple yet fun objective. However, that also means strategies and tactics took a backseat and the skills and knowledge of some of the players are...questionable, as a result, very skilled and smart players (dubbed 'pub stars' or 'pub stompers') can crush them easily and rise to the top of the scoreboard.

The competitive scene, on the other hand, offer a much structured gameplay. For starters, the server have lower player count, down to 12, 18 or 8, depending on the team format, restrict most, if not all, class selection to 2 and, depending on the league, and restricted Medic, Engineer, Heavy, and Demoman to one to prevent turtling and certain weapons were banned, though again it varies between league. They also turned off random crit and random damage spreads, like shotgun pellets, to prevent Random Number God from interfering an otherwise fair match and implemented plugins so that it emulates a pickup game, hence why some competitive servers are called PUG servers. Maps are picked for their strategic value and flexibility, though some are edited to be viable, like the 'banana' corridor in CTF_turbine_pro that connects the outer stairs to the inside of the intel for additional path for flanking.

The above allow coordination, teamwork, game knowledge and skills to shine while also challenging (usually) much more competent opponents, giving TF2 a fresh restart for seasoned veterans.

While there is a voice-comm implemented into the game, players use external voice programs anyways, most commonly Mumble.

Remember the player counts and why it varies like that? These are the three main team formats recognized by United Gaming Clan (UGC), each of them played differently. Here's how they go:

  • 6vs6

The most common and serious team format, tw opposing teams, each consisting of one demo, one medic, a pocket (usually Soldier), a roamer (usually Soldier as well), and two utilities (both usually Scouts), play on maps handpicked by the league of their choice, usually 5 control points map like Badlands or Gullywash, whoever gets all 5 control points gets a score and the team with the most score by the end of the time limit is the winner.

You may be thinking to yourself “Why these team set-up? I don't want to play any of the classes, screw the meta, I'm breaking it!” There's a reason for it. In the beginning of the match, the middle point, or mid, have to be captured and the team who arrived there first has positional advantages, among other things, so naturally teams want to arrive there first using various methods called 'Rollout'. While Scouts and Medic are straightforward enough (just run up to the point), Soldiers (more so for the roamer than the pocket as the latter needs to stay with the Medic) and Demomen used both mechanical skills of rocket and sticky jumping respectively and map knowledge to arrive to mid quickly, it's harder than it sounds but considering that this can transfer classes with a lot of firepower to mid quickly, the practice is worth it.

  • Pocket

Defines the frontline of the battlefield along with medic and demo, he is essentially a tank for the team, receiving more attention from his medic than anyone else, his job is to get to the point and protect his Medic. The pocket is usually Soldier for his damage output, flexibility and mobility and swift positional advantage with his rocket jumps, though if any of them is not a priority compare to more tankiness and more power in hitscan weapon like, for example, his team is defending their last point, he can offclass to heavy to solve such problems.

  • Roamer

His role is to get into the enemy team, either by flanking, camping or just straight up jumping into them and cause as much damage as possible (known as bombing). His main target should be Demoman and the Medic, the former for his huge damage output, the largest out of all the classes in fact, and the ability to set sticky traps at key positions and the latter for healing his teammates back to full health plus overheal and the ability to uber or kritz. If he gets either of them, no matter if he lives or dies, the entire enemy team have to pull back because they do not have a main source of damage or/and heals. In order to perform this role more effectively, generally the roamer will use the "Gunboats" as his secondary weapon rather than the shotgun, sacrificing potential damage output for reduced self damage from rocket jumps, allowing for greater mobility.

Note that since both the pocket and the roamer are usually soldiers, they can interchange the role however they see fit, offering more flexibility in their strategy should the situation called for it. For example, if the original pocket goes down, so the roamer should get back to his Medic, defend him, attack the assailant and be a temp pocket till the original one came back.

  • Demoman

As stated above, he deals the most amount of damage to the enemy team with both his grenade launcher (direct hit or lobbed) and his sticky bomb launcher (detonation in mid air or well laid traps), making him a very valuable member of his team. He is also one of the hardest classes to play as none of his weapons, sans the melee, are hitscans and follows an arc path, meaning that he will have a difficult time dealing with scouts with their small hitbox and their double jump unpredictability if the scouts are decent.

His sticky traps added another dynamic in a strategy in that he can deny a route to a control point by laying a sticky trap there or putting them in a clever position that could potentially wipe out the entire enemy team.

Demoknights are rare in competitive, as the loss of a sticky launcher robs him of his long-range potential and effectiveness against fighting multiple enemies at once. A few teams have included Demoknights, though, where they take a role similar to a pick class and hunt down the enemy Medic.

  • Medic

At first, it is somewhat straightforward: heal all teammates, do not let them die, do not get yourself killed, uber or kritz every once in a while, but there are depths that are deeper than that. Since you are not wholly invested into killing the enemy team, he should be the main shotcaller, even more so if you have solemn vow and able to see to opponent's health (although almost every 6v6 league bans this weapon). As stated above, you should be focus your heals onto your pocket but remember to give overheals, something that most pubbers overlooked and you should not, extra health is always helpful.

Medic has two main choices for his types of ubers: regular or kritz. Kritz has a lot more kill potential when his patient played properly and has a faster ubercharge rate than the stock's, allowing the team to kill the enemy without a full protection to deter it and already having a higher ubercharge advantage. Henceforth, it is good as a surprise tactic. If the medic decided to keep the medigun, however, he has to be on his toes because the enemy team will know and will attempt to adapt to their strategy. For one thing, the kritz does not matter much if the medic either did not pop it by the time the enemy medic has his uber ready or managed to get away during a kritz and keeping his ubercharge progress, it's pretty much rendered useless as now the enemy Medic has uber advantage. Also, it's a kritz, not an uber, the medic is still vulnerable and his livelihood lies on his patient's skills and awareness. So pick at your own risk. The two other Medic healing guns are seen less often in this format. The Quick Fix allows the Medic extra mobility and quicker healing rate at the cost of lessened overheals and an uber that heals the target at 300% the normal rate but does not grant invulnerability. The weapon is controversial in the community due to its nature to cause stalemates and has been banned in some leagues. Finally, The Vaccinator allows the medic's pocket to be resistant to a certain damage type, but the weapon is almost never seen in any level of competitive since the overheals are much slower and the uber does little to protect teammates from focus fire.

  • Utilities

Those two guys help support the rest of the team with whatever their class can offer. On rollout and on offensive, they usually go for scouts, as the class has the highest running speed and double jumps which offers wide variety of utility such as clean up of low health enemies, ambush, able to deathmatch against Demoman and soldier with their double jump jukes and backcap, so on and so forth. However, since they are there for utilities and not straight up frontline damage class like Soldier or Demoman and have no obligation to switch to those classes since it already reached its class limits, they have the most freedom to offclass among them all. The most common off class is Sniper, since playing scouts requires moderate amount of skill in aiming with a hitscan weapon, this skill can transfer well to sniper. Snipers are useful in breaking the offensive or defensive enemy team by picking off targets from afar. The second most picked offclass is heavy, for the same reason why pocket switch to the class. Of course, they do not have to conform to these two classes, they can switch however they want as long as they do not exceeds the class limit. Engineers and Pyros are generally used situationally in defensive holds, and spies are used as an unexpected trick play to try and get a kill on a priority class such as the Medic.

  • Maps

5 control point maps are the most used and most popular map types among the 6v6 community due to most of the map designs encouraging advanced strategy and numerous flanks, like cp_granary, cp_badlands and cp_gullywash. It's not limited to that, though, as leagues tend to mix the formula up by using King of the Hill Map like KOTH_viaduct_pro for its similarity with 5cp and even attack/defend map like cp_gravelpit because, while a very different change of pace and hence why some team does not favor it, the map is still well designed anyways.

  • 9v9 aka Highlander

THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE... player per class. Each team has nine players, each playing each of the nine unique classes, allowing a unique role, diversity and tactics to each of them. Due to every class being up for grabs, this mode is more accessible to those who are good at some class (Heavy, Spy, Pyro) but not good at the main staple of 6v6, thus acting as a gateway into the competitive scene. This is the scene where it can get experimental as well because it has all nine classes and and thus having a larger variety of weapons to use with, without the banned weapons of course.

  • Scout

Essentially fulfills his original 6v6 utility duties with a little bit of spychecking and rushing down enemies, with a bit more emphasis on deathmatching.

  • Soldier

Since the Heavy has the pocket role, Soldier is almost always the roamer and should be attempting to bomb the enemies in any opportunity he could take.

  • Pyro

Pyro's job varies greatly depending on the team composition and their weapons, the map types and whether he is on offensive or defensive. With his ability to spycheck easily and reflect projectiles, he is usually a bodyguard for the heavy-medic combo against spies and projectiles, same goes with defending his team's sentry nest, even more so if he has a Homewrecker to desap while the engineer is not available. Of course, with a Flare Gun and/or Axtinguisher crits, he can be a close ranged pick class as well.

  • Demoman

While the Demoman is essentially the same that he does in 6v6, he also has the burden of getting rid of sentries, either level 3 or a mini, as he has the best arsenal to take them out. Though this can be problematic since now he has to decide how he use his stickies for deathmatching, traps or sentry busting on a fly.

  • Heavy

Becomes a very good candidate for a pocket as he is very tanky and his minigun can mow down enemies or suppress them away from a route, plus his sandvich can be used to heal his teammates, especially his Medic, as well as himself should the source of health be inaccessible for some reason.

  • Engineer

With the introduction of the Wrangler and Gunslinger, the Engineer has become more versatile in his movements as he does not need to sit down with the sentry and level it or even wait for the sentry to set-up as the mini sentry's set-up time is halved, making the Engineer more relevant in a fast paced game type like KOTH or 5CP. The Wrangler allows the Engineer to control his sentry manually to poke or clean up enemies which is beyond the sentry's range and also allows the Engineer to set it up in places that are otherwise not viable. Sometimes some Engineers prefer to switch that one out to pistol on several maps for a more deathmatch emphasized style.

  • Sniper/Spy

The two major pick classes, making plays by assassinating the enemy players, creating opportunities for their mates to take. Harder than it sounds since they are usually up against better players who knows which area to shelter in and move in ways that are unpredictable to make it hard to get a clear headshots and knows most trickstabs the Spies usually do and usually coordinated enough to track him down. Regardless, with enough skills and knowledge, they can cripple the enemy team effectively.

They can also recon the enemies and calling out their positions that their allies could exploit, with snipers using their scope to take a peak at his opponents that he could not sniped or spies with their ability to go invisible for a moment, or forever if he's using the cloak and dagger, and going behind the enemy lines.

  • Maps
Since there are more players in this format, Payload is a pretty good choice to play on as a more structured slow paced games, like pl_upward and pl_badwater basin along with KOTH and 5CP maps.

  • 4v4

A very recent addition to UGC's official team format type, an extremely fast paced and intense game mode that combines the elements of 6v6 and highlander.

It has highlander elements by limiting each class to one and banning the Heavy-Medic combo by not allowing both of them in one team due to its extremely high health and close ranged firepower, that means they can have a higher variety of team composition than 6v6 in that, while you can bet that Demoman and Medic will most likely be picked since they are still powerful, the other two can pick whatever suits their skills. The 6v6 elements came from the fact that it's a small team comp and every member of the team has more importance since they are carrying other duties as well, such as a soldier who should alternates between a pocket and a roamer, so if that Soldier dies, the team's has lost its main pocket and roamer, which the enemy team will exploit such disadvantage.

Each class has the same roles that they have in 6v6 or highlander. Unless a new meta can topple that since, after all, this is a recent game type.

  • Map

It is fitting for a small team format to be placed in a small map type like KOTH maps though this mode being new, we could be seeing other maps as well.

  • How to join the competitive community

For more information on competitive TF2, check out [[ UGC League]] for general details. If you're interested in joining the scene, there are websites and communities that will help you get into the competitive scene. Don't worry if you're bad, they won't bite(usually), just follow the rules and use Mumble. Remember, No Mumble, No Rumble.

One of the best introduction into the competitive scene for North Americans and Europeans is for its easy usage and accessible skill level.

For Asian players, check out Asiafortress and their Steam group, they also have in-depth tutorials as well as a good place to look for teams if you haven't got in one and here's r890's server groups for Southeast Asia players. While he does own a pub server, he has a secondary competitive server as well.

There is also a Pay-To-Play league run by ESEA which offers the highest level of competition in 6v6, with the top teams competing for cash prizes at a LAN in Dallas.

Quake Live

Arena shooters has been considered the pinnacle of competitive FPS gaming by many players. No customizable loadout. No regenerative health. No level up. No support airstrike or anything of sort. Just you, your opponent, the map, and weapons and items scattered around it ready to be fought over and used. Everything is stripped to bare fundamentals. Only skill and skill alone will win the fight.

One such games, Quake Live (itself a free-to-play multiplayer derivative of popular Quake III: Arena ), while few in player count compared to FPSs nowadays, still remain very active since 2010.

Expect all sort of glitches abuse and tricks ranging from bunny hopping, walljumping, strafejumping to spawn-killing and chat taunting in full force.


Weapons in Quake Live have zero spread and recoil unless noted. If you miss, you miss. Ammo are stored in a single pool for each weapon without reloading. They also have infinite range (statistically, minus Gauntlet) and no damage dropoff at distances. Note the nature of weapons in Quake Live that they have no definitive roles, and it's not uncommon for a competitive player to develop a particular style on them.

  • Gauntlet (GT/G) - Starting weapon that spawns with you. Basically melee punch. A common source of humiliation kills.
  • Machine Gun (MG) - Another starting weapon. A hitscan weapon with bullet spread and low damage. Mostly used in emergency and when it is used, it comes down to who can bleed the other's armor faster.
  • Shotgun (SG) - Short range hitscan pellet weapon.
  • Grenade Launcher (GL) - Launches timed explosive projectiles that affected by gravity. Commonly used to discouraging opponents from entering an area.
  • Rocket Launcher (RG) - Medium range projectile weapon with splash damage. Usually the go-to weapon for medium range combat and Rocket Jump. Also main source of impressive/spectacular airshots.
  • Lightning Gun (LG) - Medium range weapon that fires continuous beam. One of the main source of damage. Players usually rely on it to bleed health and armor out of the opponents. Lightning Gun duels are common.
  • Railgun (RG) - Long range hitscan weapon. High damage. Useful for sniping but has long delay between shots. Its ammo are rare to find.
  • Plasmagun (PG) - Rapidfire projectile weapon that boast highest DPS in the game and small splash damage. But due to its projectile nature it is usually used for area denial spamming.

  • Instagib - Only exist in a game mode with the same name. Basically a OneHitKill Railgun.

Pick-up items

  • Health pickup
    • Megahealth
  • Armor pickup
    • Yellow/Red armor


Duel (1v1)

The most popular game mode in Quake Live. Two players fighting each other to get most frag (kills) under time limit. Each of them trying to gain advantage by gathering weapons, ammo and item pickups while denying the enemy from doing the same. Not only the players has to account for enemy movement, they have to time the item respawn too.

Team Deathmatch

Capture The Flag

Notable Leagues

Notable Players

  • Rapha
  • Cooler

     Multiplayer Online Battle Arena 

League of Legends

The first game to overtake Starcraft 2, in terms of viewership, in Korea. League of Legends was crowned the most-played PC game in the world, beating out World of Warcraft, and the first game to get its pro players visas. There is no doubt that League of Legends is leading supremely well in the E-sports industries. The largest and most anticipated tournament every year is the end of season World Championship, where the winning team goes home with a Summoner's Cup and a million dollars.

Notable teams and its current players in their Region

  • North America

    • Team Solo Mid (TSM): Originally a fan-made team representing created by Andy 'Reginald' Dinh and Dan Dinh, it has since evolved into one of the most popular Lo L teams in the world and one of the most dominant teams in North America, to the point of securing a spot of all 3 previous World Championship series, a feat easier said than done as other accomplished older teams (CLG, CJ Entus Frost, World Elite) could not achieve it.
      • Top: Marcus "Dyrus" Hill While originally a support for Reginald's previous team, All or Nothing, he later joined Dan Dinh's former team Epik Gamer as a top laner where he received recognition for both the moderate success of Epik Gamer and being one of the few pro Lo L player at the time to stream his games, at one point he managed to rake in around 30,000 viewers at one time, essentially popularized the idea of streaming among the Lo L community. Loved for his iconic laidback attitude with tons of funny moments in his streams. He was selected to be North America's All-Star top laner in 2013.
      • Jungle: Maurice "Amazing" Stückenschneider: Amazing was imported from the European team of the Copenhagen Wolves to replace the retiring Odd One. He is a consistent, if a tad predictable player, but he sets up many of TSM's plays.
      • Mid: Soren "Bjergsen" Bjerg: A European player who was handpicked by Reginald to take his place in TSM's mid lane position. Bjergsen is one of the most, if not the most, famous Syndra players in the world, and was one of the premier mid-laners in the EU scene. He has transitioned well into a shotcalling role, something he did not have to do with his previous team Ninjas in Pyjamas, on top of everything he is currently doing.
      • Marksman: Jason "WildTurtle" Tran: Known for his ever-present smile, Wildturtle joined TSM in the spring of 2013 and instantly made his mark by scoring a Pentakill with Caitlyn. Ever since, he has become a formidable bot lane force.
      • Support: Jang-Sik "LustBoy" Ham:
      • Owner: Andy "Reginald" Dinh: The co-founder, owner, coach, and former mid-laner of the team, known for his iconic playing of Karthus. Reginald was the competitive heart of TSM for three years along with HotShotGG. After the conclusion of the Season 3 World Championships, Reginald retired from competitive play to settle into a coaching role and focus on his responsibilities as owner of the team.
      • Coach: Brian "TheOddOne" Wyllie: He was one of the most dominant jungler in League of Legends in season 1 for his accurate buff steals and effective counterjungling, especially with Nunu. He is also a very competant streamer by being informative, skillful and funny during his streams.
      • Coach: Choi "Locodoco" Yoon-sub

    • Cloud 9: Formerly under the Quantic Gaming banner, this squad took the NA LCS by storm in the summer of 2013 with their Korean style of objective-focused play and relentless aggression. They broke the record for the most wins in a single split, going 25-3 in their first appearance in the LCS and easily securing their spot at the top of the NA mountain.
      • Top: An "Balls" Le: While at times overshadowed by Meteos' jungling and Hai's assassin play, Balls is steady as a rock for a top laner and is a master at playing Rumble, which was not only his most played champion of Season 3, but also his most successful.
      • Jungle: William "Meteos" Hartman: NA's KDA king, Meteos is well-respected for his farming ability in the jungle and the ability to transition into a carry jungler. A Zac specialist, Meteos made magic happen with the Secret Weapon, but has shown to have a wide champion pool outside of that. He is far and away the face of Cloud 9.
      • Mid: "Hai" Lam: Hai is well known for his likelihood to play assassin-style champions above all, and was frequently seen handling Kha'Zix and Zed during Season 3. He is more than capable of playing other champions, as seen in the opening match of the 2014 NA Spring Split, where he proved Teemo to be quite the Lethal Joke Character.
      • Marksman: Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi: Known for his spot-on Ashe ultimates in Season 3, Sneaky was considered by many to be the weak link in Cloud 9's lineup during that time due to his liking for playmaking AD carries like Ashe and Varus instead of hard carries like Vayne and Caitlyn. He has shown a very diverse champion pool as of the start of Season 4 and is looking to prove he can carry the team as much as anyone else on the team.
      • Support: Daerek "Lemonnation" Hart: Known for always having a filled notebook handy, Lemonnation is a major shotcaller and strategist for Cloud 9. He is oftentimes the first to start making plays among the team.
      • Coach: Dan Dinh: Co-founder of TSM, Dan parted ways with his brother Reginald after the Season 3 World Championships to officially become the coach of Cloud 9.

    • Counter Logic Gaming (CLG): One of the oldest teams in North America's scene and the original NA powerhouse, CLG has a long history in e-sports. Several of the members who were at first part of CLG would go on to become part of Team Curse.
      • Top: WooYeong "Seraph" Shin:
      • Jungle: Marcel "Dexter" Feldkamp: Another EU player migrating to the NA scene. After long-time CLG member bigfatlp stepped down to substitute, CLG picked up the German jungler from Lemondogs to fill the spot. He is known for having a very aggressive playstyle, and is credited with turning CLG from a more passive, farming team to a more fast-pushing, hard-hitting team.
      • Mid: Austin "Link" Shin: Originally a substitute, Link was promoted to starting Mid-Laner after bigfatlp left briefly in 2012. He was known for being a very consistent player, but not so much a play-maker. However, he has improved steadily and since become a shot-caller and driving force for the new CLG line-up.
      • Marksman: Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng: Easily one of the most outspoken players in the NA scene, if not the entire world, Doublelift is known for being brash and at times blunt with several of his statements, and takes clear pride in his skill. It's not all for naught: Doublelift is widely considered to be the best AD carry in North America, and has had that status for a significant amount of time. He's mainly known for playing Ezreal and especially Vayne, even helping to create the concept of "Vayne mechanics." He was selected to be North America's All-Star Marksman in Season 3.
      • Support: Zaqueri "Aphromoo" Black: Originally an AD carry who played for many teams before switching to CLG. He and Doublelift are known for their close friendship and bot-lane synergy, earning them nicknames such as "Rush Hour" or "Aphrolift". He is a fairly popular streamer as well, and is known to be a big fan of anime. He is also a master of Alistar, and partners with mid laner Link on Orianna to create the "Ball Delivery Cow".
      • Owner: George "HotshotGG" Georgallidis: One of the celebrated veterans of the sport, HotshotGG retired from being top lane player to being CLG manager and coach. As of the Spring 2014 LCS season, he is serving as temporary mid laner for CLG with Link in the jungle position due to Dexter's visa problems. Best known for his Nidalee and LeBlanc play, to the point that Season 3 World Champion mid player Faker of SKT1 has claimed that Hotshot's Leblanc is better than his.
      • Coach: Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles

    • Team Dignitas See 'Companies That Covers multiple gaming scenes' folder above.
      • Top: ZionSpartan: The rising star of the LCS, while he was introduced into the scene by Team Coast along with Shiphtur, it was not until they left Coast and joined Dignitas that they started to shine. For Zion, instead of being forced to playing tanky top which he was not good at, he was allowed to play carry top, most notably with his signature champion Jax, and dominates the top lane with relentless aggression and constant pushes, even Dyrus admitted that he never won the lane against Zion Spartan in solo queue because of that.
      • Jungle: Crumbzz: One of the biggest shotcallers for Dig, Crumbzz is a very vision based jungler. He combines high ward usage with dive-based champions to ensure a clean 2v1 for his ganks. Crumbzz is a smart player, but often struggles if behind.
      • Mid: Shiphtur : Originally for Team Coast, Shiphtur had several moments of brilliance throughout LCS, but once transferred to Dignitas became one of the most dominant mid laners in North America. Known to be a safe player who goes all in when he knows he can come out on top, Shiphtur preforms best on siege-type mages like Ziggs and Syndra, however he generally does well on all characters he picks. Has one of the highest KDA ratios in the LCS.
      • Marksman: Imaqtpie: In season 2, he used to be very destructive with his Corki, Graves and Ezreal, then in season 3 he fell off the radar when the first 2 got nerfed, though he managed to make Ezreal work when his infamous blue build was good but then his one trick pony was easily banned out in tournaments. That changed in mid-season 4, with a change to a strange mindset that he imagine that everything he shoots at is a turret, which somehow managed to work, and made him the most improved player in the LCS. He is also notable for once being a shotcaller for Dignitas, which was a tough job considering that, since he is the ADC, he needs to focus on last-hitting and not dying. He is vastly popular in L0L community for his hysterical streams with his happy go lucky attitude and his deapan snarker humor and was responsible for chat spam like kappa and FrankerZ, as well as coining the word 'Donger', a nickname for Heimerdinger when he plays him in stream, and its variations.
      • Support: KiWiKid: As Qtpie's ever-smiling support, Kiwi is a big playmaker for his team, if a bit over zealous at times. Kiwi is very good at champions that can get in enemies faces, like Braum and Annie.
      • Coach: Scarra: Formerly the heart of the team, Scarra was known for being very knowledgeable about the game and his high creep score, even gotten the highest CS in a competitive game in season 1 before the record was beaten by Froggen in season 2. He is also highly regarded among the LOL community for his humble demeanor, his ability to teach his viewers on the stream about mid lane and his oddly photoshoppable pictures. He was voted to represent North America for the All-Star tournament.

    • Team Curse
      • Top: Quas
      • Jungle: IWillDominate: Was infamously banned for a year by the LoL Tribunal.
      • Mid: Voyboy
      • Marksman: Cop: Known as a very safe player, Cop almost always has a high KDA ratio regardless of how his team is preforming.
      • Support: Alex "Xpecial" Chu: The most iconic support player in the North American region, Xpecial's wide champion pool, good game sense, and mechanical skill made him a staple in the TSM roster since day one. He joined Team Curse after leaving TSM due to complications with the team.

    • Complexity Gaming: One of the newest teams in the LCS, Complexity is generally a team that does either really well or really poorly. They have been called the "Complexity Blue Shell" for their curious habit of stomping the first place team.
      • Top: Westrice
      • Jungle: KOR Kez
      • Mid: Pr0lly
      • Marksman: ROBER Tx LEE
      • Support: Bubbadub

    • LMQ : The other new kid on the NA block, LMQ was a Chinese team that transferred to NA to general success.
      • Top: Ackerman : Also known as Go D Like, Ackerman was top laner for the S3 runner up Royal Club.
      • Jungle: Noname
      • Mid: Xiaoweixiao : Memetically cute, he is considered one of the best mid laners in NA. He is a master of Yasuo, and farms very well in all of his games.
      • Marksman: Vasilli : Coined the term "lomo" when he mispronounced "lmao".
      • Support: Mor

    • Evil Geniuses
      • Top: Innox
      • Jungle: Helios
      • Mid: Pobelter
      • Marksman: Altec
      • Support: Krepo

  • Europe

    • Gambit Gaming: Formerly known as Moscow 5 before their CEO was arrested and the team got released due to lack of funds, the roster was picked up by Gambit Gaming organization to represent them. The only team to represent Russia, they dominate the European scene, to the point that 4 of them got voted to represent Europe in the All-Star tournament, the only reason there was only 3 of them is because Riot only allows 3 of the players from the same team to be in the team. Famous for being unconventional, especially for mid and support.
      • Top: Darien A top laner so dominant that junglers have to camp him in order for him to not destroy his opposing laner and now thriving well with the new tanky top meta in season 4 with Doctor Mundo and bringing back Warwick in the competitive meta, to a point where Supa Hot Crew actually ban Warwick against Gambit. You've may have know him better as The Stoner though.
      • Jungle: Diamondprox
      • Mid: niQ
      • Marksman: Genja
      • Support: Edward Formerly Gosu Pepper back in Moscow 5, he was responsible for making a support Nunu popular, especially with a play dubbed 'Empire' note . Today, he's famous for being a top support player in the European scene, particularly his Thresh plays and being one of the first European player to transfer from EU LCS to NA LCS by joining Curse's lineup in mid-2013, he got back with Gambit near the end of the year though, and picking unconventional support like Elise(before her nerf negated the advantage) and Amumu against XDG in the Battle of the Atlantic. He was voted to represent Europe in the All-Star tournament.

    • Fnatic Gaming: One of the oldest teams in the League of Legends scene, and the first season's World Champions. Fnatic have a long and storied rivalry with SK Gaming, and every time the two have met, the EU casters and fans have dubbed it "El Classico" due to its high likelihood of producing incredible moments. Hands down one of the most feared teams in the EU scene.
      • Top: Paul "sOAZ" Boyer
      • Jungle: Lauri "Cyanide" Happonen: One of the remaining two members of Fnatic's original squad, Cyanide is known as an innovative jungler, and will often use champions otherwise thought unviable in the jungle. To wit, he is considered the pioneer of jungle Gangplank and, more recently, Karma. Not only does Cyanide have a Season 1 world title under his belt, he has ten other tournament gold medals, making him among the most prestigious players in any scene.
      • Mid: Enrique "xpeke" Cedeńo Martínez: Perhaps one of the best players in his entire region, if not the world, Peke is the other remaining member of the original Fnatic squad. His legendary assassin play, as well as a world-class Kassadin, helped shape one of the greatest moments in League of Legends' competitive history: the now-famous IEM Katowice nexus backdoor against - who else? - SK Gaming. Since then, he has become the de facto face of Fnatic and helped lead the team to a deep semifinal run at the Season 3 World Championships, where they lost to Royal Club. His deep champion pool, which is not limited to assassins, mind you, make him impossible to ban out and a force to be reckoned with no matter the opponent he's facing. Since he casually happens to be Spaniard, xpeke is especially famous in Latin America.
      • Marksman: Martin "Rekkles" Larsson : Rekkles played in the amateur leagues in 2013 due to being too young. Once he hit seventeen, Rekkles made his explosive debut in the 2014 Spring Split of the LCS with a league-high 19.3 KDA ratio on the first week.
      • Support: Bora "Yellow Star" Kim: He was recruited as marksman for the team in 2013 while Rekkles was awaiting his seventeenth birthday. After their former support nRated left the team, he was shifted to support role, teaming up with temporary marksman Puszu.

    • Alliance (formerly Evil Geniuses)
    • SK Gaming
    • Roccat (formerly Kiedys Mialem Team)
    • Supa Hot Crew XD
    • Copenhagen Wolves

  • Korea

    • SKT Telecom T1 - Season 3 Champions
    • CJ Entus Frost (formerly Azubu Frost)
    • CJ Entus Blaze (formerly Azubu Blaze)
    • KT Rolster Bullets
    • Najin Black Sword
    • Najin White Shield
    • Samsung Galaxy Ozone (formerly MVP Ozone)
    • Samsung Galaxy White - Season 4 Champions
    • Samsung Galaxy Blue (formerly MVP Blue)
    • Xenics Storm

  • China

    • Invictus Gaming
    • Positive Energy
    • Royal Club
    • World Elite

  • Southeast Asia

    • ahq e-Sports
    • Bangkok Titans
    • Gamania Bears
    • KL Hunters
    • Mineski
    • Saigon Jokers
    • Taipei Assassins - Season 2 Champions
    • Taipei Snipers

Dota 2

The sequel of largely-popular Warcraft III custom map, Defense of the Ancients. Developed by Valve with two of the original creators of Dot A (Icefrog and Eul) behind it, Dota 2 became an e-sport title as early as it's beta phase. The first look of the game is shown on Gamescom Germany 2011, with a world tournament that pit the eight best Dota teams in the world at that time and largest e-sport tournament prizepool of one million United States dollars. After that, Dota 2 entered beta phase for two years... even then, online and LAN tournaments are organized. In a beta game. Dota 2 has an annual world tournament named The International that boast a prizepool of US$1,000,000 for the winner. The International 2012 pitted the sixteen best teams in the world and The International 2013 had the same format. The International 2013, however, boasted the biggest prizepool of entire e-sports history with US$2,800,000, with more than one million dollars that came from Dota 2 players with Compendium system. This year's The International boast almost 10 millions!! The trophy of The International is called Aegis of the Champions. So far, only three teams have it. Natus Vincere (a.k.a. Na'Vi) from Ukraine (The International 2011), Invictus Gaming from China (The International 2012), and The Alliance from Sweden (The International 2013).

Notable teams in their region

  • Europe
    • The Alliance: the rising star of the Dota 2 scene that won The International 2013 a mere seven months after its formation, formerly "No Tidehunter" (actually they picked him once). Based in Sweden, The Alliance is basically a Swedish all-stars team. Their playstyle is centered at non-common hero picks and split push... the term "Rat Doto", a playstyle based on split push and evading teamfight, is born after their winning of The International 2013. Their playstyle and usage of jungle is so potent that Icefrog nerf some of the basical aspect in Dota (jungle tweaks, buyback, Roshan respawn time, etc).
      • Mid: s4: Dubbed "Son of Magnus" by community based on his magical performance with said hero and his actual name (Gustav Magnusson), the captain and drafter of The Alliance. His play with Puck that won his team The International 2013 title was dubbed "One Million Dollar Dream Coil". His specialty is a "playmaker" solo mid hero.
      • Carry: Loda: Dota legendary player that created many playstyles and helped many heroes enter the competitive scene with a wide hero pool thanks to his experience in the scene. Sometimes, he was the drafter of the team. His signature hero is very rarely seen on the competitive scene: Phantom Assassin. Dubbed "L-god" by the Chinese community.
      • Offlane: AdmiralBulldog: Formerly a pubstar with his signature hero Lone Druid (that he played more than 1000 times), Bulldog entered the competitive scene as stand-in for many teams before The Alliance recruited him. Now he is regarded as one of the best offlaners in the world and one of the most prominent Nature's Prophet player on the scene. Often carries the team to victory with his signature "Rat Doto" playstyle. Often criticized for his limited hero pool, which has become much less of an issue as of late.
      • Support: Akke: Loda's long time friend. He is one of the best micro player in the world with his signature heroes Chen or Enchantrees. Like Loda, his experience in the scene gave him a huge hero pool to work with. Also a very handsome player that have many fangirls.
      • Support: EGM: Abbreviation of "Enter God Mode", also Loda's long time friend. A down-to-earth superb support player, he played superb Io.

    • Natus Vincere: Abbreviated "Na'Vi", they are an Ukrainian team that were in The International grand finals three times in a row and the winner of the first International in Germany. To sum their playstyle in a sentence: they will do things that make you wonder, enough said (or: they fight you under your tower, they kill you under your tower, they destroy your tower), a hyper-aggressive team. They're also the most stable team in the world, having their three core players (Puppey, Dendi, XBOCT) stayed together for many years, a very rare thing in Dota 2 scene. One can say that they are the most popular team in professional Dota, but of course there will be haters.
      • Support: Puppey: The captain and drafter of Na'Vi, he is considered by many as one of the best captains in the world due to his knowledge of the game and strategic plans that won them many games fantastically. As a player himself, he is one of the best micro player in the world with his signature Chen and Enchantrees. His "Puppey Pause" in 2013 are famous. A cool and very smug person offline, with deep game understanding, also a good caster if he wants to. His name comes from a miss type, actually he wanted to have the name "Puppet".
      • Mid: Dendi: Regarded as one of the best mid players in the world... and he has the skill and guts to prove it. A very aggressive player in-game and very friendly person offline, he has many, many fans. His signature hero is Pudge, which always made spectators jump from their chairs if picked. His playstyle is one of aggression and teamfight control, with high-mobility heroes such as Puck and Templar Assassin. One of the three subjects of the Valve-produced documentary, Free To Play.
      • Carry: XBOCT: One of the craziest carry player in the world, be it his farming skill, positioning or overall aggressiveness... and his attitude offline. His signature hero is Lifestealer, Weaver, and Faceless Void. His YOLO playstyle is either epic or epic fail... coined the term "XBOCT Throws" because of it. XBOCT means "tail" in Russian (you read it as "hvost").
      • Offlane: funn1k: Ukrainian rising star that joined in 2013 from Team Empire. He is popular with his clutch plays with his signature heroes such as Dark Seer, Windranger, and Mirana. Also played very good carry with his signature Clinkz.
      • Support: Kuroky: aka "kky", German legendary player that joined Na'Vi in 2013 from mouz. He is Puppey's long time friend and very experienced. His signature hero, Rubick, is regarded as the best Rubick in the world, called by his fans as "Kurubick".

    • Fnatic: Hailed from Heroes of Newerth scene, Fnatic quickly become one of Dota 2's best European teams. They are known for popularizing split push playstyle dubbed "Rat Dota" by community, also a very stable team with the same roster since... forever. Also considered as the most attractive team in community, because all of its members are... handsome.
      • Support: Fly: Team captain and drafter.
      • Carry: Era: His signature hero is Tiny; he is so good at it that he plays it even without its usual support partner of Io.
      • Mid: h4nni
      • Offlane: Trixi: Formerly mouz.
      • Support: notail: Famous for his Meepo plays, as one of the very very few professional players who use this hero. His casts with h4nni are EPIC.
      • Mid: Xcalibur: A stand-in that plays in place of Era when he got medical issues. He brings Meepo into spotlight and played him AMAZINGLY. Most casters consider him one of the best Meepo player in the world just after 4 or so games with Meepo! Also very good with Tinker, or any mid hero with gold and item dependence.

    • Virtus Pro: A Russian powerhouse team, but often fall short of expectations.
      • Mid: God: Team captain.
      • Support: ARS-ART: Dota legendary support player. Ex-Na'Vi.
      • Carry: Illidan Stormrage: aka Illidan.
      • Support: JOTM
      • Offlane: NS: Abbreviation of Night Sniper, an ex-Counter Strike player.

  • United States
    • Team Liquid: A down-to-earth US team and (former) crowd favorite.
      • Mid: Bulba
      • Carry: TC
      • Offlane: qoqjva
      • Support: waytosexy
      • Support: Demon/Pegasus Community favourite Jimmy Ho, known for his dedication to the gym and his use of the hashtags #hardwork and #dedication.

    • Evil Geniuses: The premiere North American e-sports organization, boasting highly successful player across each competitive game. EG's Dota teams also bear some Dota legendary players.
      • Support: ppd
      • Carry: Fear: Dota legendary player that made a splash in the competitive scene with his orthodox heroes and playstyle. One of the subjects of the Valve-produced documentary, Free To Play. During the 2011 recording of Free to Play, he was a member of the European multinational team, Online Kingdom, despite still living in the United States. He is absent in this year's The International due to injury.
      • Offlane: Universe Possibly the best Dark Seer player in the world, and the most consistent of all the players in his team. Winning game or losing game, Universe will deliver.
      • Mid: Arteezy: Youngest Dota 2 competitive player that play in highest tier with HUGE potential. He is a mid player with farm-oriented playstyle, with heroes like Naga Siren and Tinker. The community created the phrase "too ez for artz" because he is often carry the game for EG.
      • Support: zai
      • Carry: mason: Fear's stand-in.

  • China
    • LGD Gaming: Chinese powerhouse.
      • Carry: Yao: Team captain
      • Support: dd
      • Offlane: xiaotuji
      • Mid: Maybe
      • Support: ddc

    • Team DK: Often considered as the "Real Madrid of e-sport", DK almost always have an all-star team with different results. This year's team is considered their best formation ever, based on three cores of Burning, Mushi and iceiceice. They are having BROAD hero picks and their ability to play the game from behind.
      • Carry: Burning: Legendary Dota carry player. His nickname is used as Anti-Mage's fun name, his signature hero. Dubbed "B-God" by the Chinese for his insane farming ability and speed - if he is ignored by his opponents for even a short time, he will reappear with two or more expensive items.
      • Support: Dai Also known as MMY or X!! (which was Tinker's fun name in Dota 1). An amazing support player who used to be one of the best mids in China.
      • Support: Lanm Ex-Carry player of Rattlesnake, and member of the dominating EHOME squad of 2010-11.
      • Mid: Mushi: If the Western scene has Dendi, the Eastern scene has Mushi as the best mid player. His heropool is ENORMOUS. Also can play a carry role. Kuroky from Na'Vi has commented that laning against Mushi left him feeling like he was a noob (newbie).
      • Offlane: iceiceice: A cool guy offline like his nickname, iceiceice is one of the best offlaners in the world. He also can play mid with equal perfection, in fact, he won the Mid Tournament in The International 2013. His Invoker is considered as the best in the world. A fan favorite for his hilarious replies during interviews... and also epic casts.

    • Invictus Gaming: Chinese multi-platform organization that won The International 2012.
      • Mid: ferrari_430: Dubbed as "The Pianist", Mushi's rival as best Eastern mid player and iG's new captain. His Templar Assassin is legendary. In fact, give him any hero with a high skill requirement, and he will blow you out of the water.
      • Carry: YYF
      • Offlane: Faith
      • Support: Luo
      • Support: Chuan: One of the most popular players from the East, based on his attitude offline and his interaction with Western players. Back from iG after a nearly one year hiatus.
      • Support: Banana

    • Vici Gaming
      • Fenrir
      • Fy Up-and-coming support player, who plays an especially brilliant Rubick. Also amazing at 1v1 matchups, having won 1v1 tournaments both in China and in the USA.
      • rOtk: Regarded as legendary player by many based on his trash-talk attitude in LA Ns.
      • Super!
      • Sylar: Formerly LGD, a carry with insane farming speed.

    • Team Newbee: an all-star team that recruited by son of a Chinese conglomerate, can be called "Manchester City of e-sports". Boasted some of the best Chinese players; three of them brought team TongFu to fourth position in The International 2013.
      • Xiao8: Called "Director 8", a charismatic captain. Formerly in LGD.
      • Hao: Rising carry player, formerly of iG. Widely considered to be the second-best carry behind the B-God himself. However, he is (wrongly or rightly) accused of being very nationalistic and against non-mainland Chinese.
      • Banana
      • Sansheng
      • Mu

  • South East Asia
    • Titan: Malaysian new powerhouse, regarded as all-star of SEA scene.
      • Xtinct
      • Ohaiyo
      • Ky.xy
      • Yamateh A legend from Dota 1 days.
      • Net

    • Orange e-sports
      • Winter
      • Sharky
      • SXCOXS
      • Insidiousc
      • Ysaera

  • International Squad
    • Cloud9: One of the most popular team in community based on their plays and player's personality. Formerly Speed,, and Kaipi.
      • Carry: Eternalenvy: Called by community as "EE-sama", a hugely popular carry player. On the way to become "EE-god". One can argue that he was the founder of "Blinkz" build, aka Clinkz with Blink Dagger.
      • Mid: Singsing: One of the most popular mid players because his hilarious stream and epic plays. Also an insane person offline. His Kunkka plays are epic.
      • Offlane: bone7
      • Support: Aui_2000
      • Support: pieliedie

    • Mousesports: The organization from Germany is back with new squad from the former Team Dog.
      • Misery:
      • FATA One of the few mids who regularly plays Troll Warlord. Ex-Sigma.
      • pas: Ex-Sigma
      • Pajkatt:
      • Mojo Storm Stout

  • Prominent Community Members
    • Tobiwankenobi: A shoutcaster that very popular with his energy and constant shouting at casts, he made an epic game more epic.
    • Ayesee: A shoutcaster with most manly voice in the whole Dota 2 scene. He was the main caster for The International grand finals two years in a row.
    • LD, Luminous, Draskyl, Capitalist, Sunsfan: Prominent casters.
    • 2GD: Leader of "GD Studio", a Dota 2 cast team. Popular for his snarky comments and high skill plays.
    • Bruno: Dubbed "Statsman", is all about tournament stats. Hero picks and bans, win rates, etc. Also made some hilarious commentary as a caster. His "Leg Strat" quote at The International 2012 was legendary and made him popular. Also a swag with his choice of suits everytime he casts.
    • Cyborgmatt: A blogger that post in-depth analysis and explanation per Dota 2 patch. Community joked that he is actually "Icefrog", Dota's original developer. He denied it.
    • Anuxi: Dota 2 item creator. Her item sets are very popular.
    • Pyrionflax: A Dota 2 streamer with hilarious comments and voice, his voice became a Dota 2 Announcer Pack!
    • Merlini: Dota legendary mid player that became a caster after his retirement. Now dubbed as "Merlini Police" by community based on his investigations of suspicious in-game pause in a tournament play. His nickname became Zeus' fun name.
    • synderen: An ex-Dota 2 player with extensive game knowledge. Now a caster alongside Sunsfan at a Dota 2 fan video project (which also streams some tournament plays). His casts with Tobiwan is EPIC.
    • Maelk: A Dota legendary player that became project manager of a Dota 2 tournament site. He is famous for the "Maelk Awards" against Mousesports in 2011, killed and feed twenty times with Venomancer and STILL won.
    • Icefrog: The original Dota's main developer. No one knows how he/she/it looks like offline... but according to some pro player, he/she/it is a funny guy/girl/frog (kill me). But nowadays you can find what he looks like, thanks to fans at The International that managed to spot him (with guides from players).
    • Eul: One of the original Dota's main developer before Icefrog. He now joins the frog in Valve. Unlike the frog though, everyone in community knows him.
    • Kunkka, Mercurial: Dota's loading screen artist. Their nickname became the name of Dot A hero, Admiral and Spectre.
    • 820, 2009, QWERTY-: Legendary players, their nickname became Dota's fun hero names.
    • Meepwn: Legendary Meepo player that now works in Valve.

     Real Time Strategy 

StarCraft I

Starcraft: Brood War was the first RTS game to establish a lasting professional footprint, albeit in a tiny corner of the world - Korea. True professional play came in with the Tooniverse Progamer Korea Open at the end of 1999. This is classified by most as the first tournament of the OnGameNet Star League (OSL), the most coveted prize in professional Starcraft play. It continued, with several "seasons" a year, through 2012 when it converted to the sequel game Starcraft II.

Other tournaments included the rival MBCGame Starcraft League (MSL) and the short-lived GOM Classic, each managed by competing media organizations. A Korean team league, simply called Proleague and sponsored often by the Shinhan Bank, began play in 2003 as the KTF EVERCup Proleague. It also ran through 2012, with many changes in format and included teams.

Over a thousand players recorded a game in these thirteen years. These are twenty-five of the most important:

The Beginning

  • Lim Yo Hwan / SlayerS_`Boxer` note , "The Emperor": Boxer did not quite invent micromanagement - the use of units and spells to maximum effect, contrasted to simple "attack move" commands - but he made it his trademark style. In comparison to Boxer's brilliant tricks, clever attacks, and outright "cheese" note , earlier play looks slow and stilted. Boxer won two OSLs in 2001 among various other minor medals, and defined the minimum standard for good play. His influence - from his simple knack for the game to his dominance - earned him his moniker "Emperor". He is often included in the list of "bonjwas", although he never got that accolade during the prime of his career.

The Bonjwas

  • Lee Yoon Yeol / NaDa: Boxer gave the spark to an unimaginative scene, but NaDa's brand of dominance was a well-rounded, thinking man's game. The OSL had acquired a challenger league, the Korean Professional Gaming Association Tour (later the MSL), and in 2002 NaDa won three in a row, and capped the year with an OSL win: he would win a total of three OSLs, first player to achieve the Golden Badge (3 MSL wins) and Golden Mouse (3 OSL wins). NaDa never had a single style that could define his legacy, but outlasted his then-rivals with adaptability and drive, playing in a first team spot in Proleague for years and continuing to qualify for the major individual tournaments up to 2009.

  • Choi Yeon Seong / iloveoov, "Cheater Terran", "Gorilla": The "v" was for victory. oov was Boxer's hand-selected protege, and if Boxer had introduced micro to the scene, oov taught it perfected macromanagement and timing - the art of building more stuff faster, and using it at exactly the right time. At the end of 2003, oov won an MSL, beating NaDa; he won two more in 2004 along with an OSL - he would win another OSL in 2006. Fans debate whether NaDa or iloveoov first earned the "bonjwa" title, but oov defined it, compiling a list of devastating series wins against top players - and most stunningly, achieveing an improbable 25-0 streak against Zerg players at one point.

  • Ma Jae Yoon / sAviOr, "The Maestro": sAviOr, nicknamed "Ma Bonjwa" for his dominance, also became competitive Starcraft's greatest scandal. He disrupted Terran dominance in an era when "balance" had been all but written off as dead. His play did much to reveal the complexity possible in the strategic and tactical game. NaDa had foreshadowed this kind of game, but sAviOr perfected it. In 2005 and 2006 he won three MSLs, beat iloveoov in another MSL in which he eventually took silver, and won an OSL over none other than NaDa. At the same time as he was winning his OSL title, though, he took an 0-3 upset drubbing in the MSL final at the hands of Bisu. The OSL would prove his swan song; an apparent comeback in 2009 was cut tragically short when it was revealed that he had masterminded a matchfixing ring in Proleague.

The Greatest

  • Lee Yeong Ho / Flash, "The Ultimate Weapon": Flash broke on to the scene in 2008 with an upset victory over Stork in the OSL final. He was immediately hailed as a new great talent, his victory credited to ingenious play that disrupted and took advantage of his opponent's style. But his real breakthrough would wait until 2010, when he won two more OSL titles and two MSLs; in 2011 he would win his third MSL, making him only the second player to win the Golden Mouse and Golden Badge. Due to the expansion of the scene, his dominance had never been as pronounced as his bonjwa predecessors, but in the light of the titles, and his performance anchoring an otherwise lackluster Proleague team, public opinion bowed and has awarded him the title. Flash did not have a particular style; his dominance was based on practice and analysis - sAviOr's intellectual game taken to its height, and combined with mechanics much better than NaDa and macro iloveoov could only envy.

The Challengers

  • Hong Jin Ho / YellOw: A fan favorite, YellOw was destined to forever play second fiddle to Boxer. He won various minor tournaments, but repeatedly took silver in the majors - including losses to Boxer by 2-3, 1-3, and 0-3 scores. He played into 2011, a second-rate player by the end of his career but scoring some notable wins, most stylishly against Bisu in a Proleague match in 2009.

  • Park Jung Suk / Reach: Reach grabbed an OSL win in 2002, but is notable mainly for being one of the few players to challenge iloveoov's macro head-on, with some success. His aggressive style (and good looks) earned him the nickname "Man Toss".

  • Kang Min / Nal_rA: An unconventional Protoss player and one of the strongest to play the game in its midlife, Nal_rA was well known for his creative play. He was one of the players who began experimenting with the fast expanding style that Bisu would eventually codify. He won two major titles, an MSL in 2003 and an OSL in 2004.

  • Park Seong Joon / July, "God of War": July's hyper-aggressive Zerg style challenged NaDa and iloveoov's dominance. Unlike YellOw or Reach, July won three OSLs - the Golden Mouse - himself and complemented them with two silvers. Despite brilliant games played against his Terran rivals, his defining moment was his third OSL win, a 3-0 beatdown in 2008 handed out to the promising Protoss BeSt.

  • Lee Jae Dong / Jaedong, "The Tyrant": Some would say that as YellOw was to Boxer, Jaedong was to Flash: arguably just as good, but never quite as successful. Jaedong faced another problem YellOw never had to deal with: his peak was in the golden age of Korean Brood War, with superstars almost a dime a dozen. Jaedong was incredibly successful in his own right - even more than July had been - winning a Golden Mouse and two MSLs as well, including a victory over Flash in his second MSL win. Jaeong's trademark was his group micro of the Zerg mutalisk - occasionally beating opponents with no other units, and dominating the Zerg against Zerg matchup so dependent on the flyers.

  • Jeong Myeong Hoon / fantasy: fantasy was the successor picked by Boxer and iloveoov - and the second best Terran player during Flash's career. He made five OSL finals, but won only one. His signature was harassment and unique builds reminiscent of Boxer, but with a touch of precision timing more influenced by iloveoov. Fans argue whether his two mentors - especially iloveoov - over-coached him, never quite allowing his full individual potential to develop.

The Six Dragons: Protoss has always been the "weakest" race in competitive Brood War play. But for a while, starting around 2006 through about mid-2009, there were six players who seemed to be particularly competitive against the best of other races. They are:

  • Song Byeong Goo / Stork, "Supreme Commander": The grand old man of Brood War, Stork ought to belong to the second generation of greats with iloveoov, but like NaDa has outlasted them - unlike NaDa, he continues to play, and at a high level, in the new game as well. Rumored to be a promising Terran, he switched for professional play to Protoss, the "newbie race" in some eyes - Stork never seemed to have the same drive as his rivals, cheerfully admitting to wasting practice time on other games. His lackadaisical style has perhaps kept him from fulfilling his full potential - only one major title (though enough silver to rival YellOw and fantasy) to show for his efforts - but likely also kept him fresh while playing successfully for years on end.

  • Kim Taek Yeong / Bisu, "The Revolutionist": A star in the making from his early days, Bisu made his biggest mark in 2007 with his stunning 3-0 victory over the then-dominant sAviOr, using an aggressive style to counter Zerg advantages rather than the passive play common among Protoss players who would attempt to outlast the waves of cheap units. Relatively weak against Terran until a revival near the end of Brood War's competitive life, he nevertheless won the Golden Badge with his third MSL win in 2008.

  • Do Jae Wook / BeSt: BeSt's defining talent was the ability to make more units than anyone else, and even with his often shoddy micro was able to simply overwhelm opponents. Matches against similarly minded players - particularly Flash and fOrGG - were looked forward to with great anticipation. Stereotypically weak against Zerg, BeSt is also remembered for losing 0-3 in the OSL to July; he would never make another final. Ironically, he was also responsible for spearheading a new style of Protoss play that would disrupt the Zerg dominance established in 2009: rather than relying on harassment as many Protoss did following Bisu's lead, his massive armies controlled the center of the map and forced Zerg to challenge him head-on.

  • Heo Yeong Moo / JangBi, "The Almighty": Playing on the same team as Stork, and a year younger, he seemed destined to play second banana... well, forever, and his silver medals (and not even as many as Stork) seemed to bear it out. His nickname was earned early by his prowess with Protoss' favorite spell, "Psionic Storm" - he always seemed to have more than anyone should, and he laid them down with uncanny precision. But it turned out to be prophetic: he won the last two Brood War OSLs, in dominant and dramatic fashion - over fantasy, the other "best player" of the tail end of the era.

  • Kim Koo Hyeon / Kal: In comparison to the other four dragons, Kal was unremarkable: but with a dearth of Protoss talent, he was one of the handful of players who could go up against anyone with a good chance to win. His best finish was a single MSL silver; he was best known for a relatively trivial talent: keeping his Shuttles note  alive with ridiculously low health.

  • Yoon Yong Tae / free: Even less notable than Kal, and with no medals to show for his efforts, free's claim to fame lies almost entirely in being able to play evenly with Jaedong and Bisu - two players acknowledged as their race's best representatives.

The Zerg Revival: Bisu's win over sAviOr, combined with strong play from the dominant Terrans, created a bit of a drop in Zerg success for a few years. This would end, in Brood War's best era, with a crop of strong Zerg players complementing the dominance of Jaedong. Others would follow, but the three originators were:

  • Kim Jeong Woo / EffOrt, "Alien", "Neo-sAviOr", "Messiah": Playing for sAviOr's team, EffOrt came to prominence shortly after the Maestro's disgrace. In talent he rivalled Jaedong - they are the only two players to defeat Flash in a major final - and with slightly different luck might be counted one of the greats rather than just very very good.

  • Kim Yoon Hwan / Calm: Calm was never as successful as the rest of the Zerg greats of the era. Nevertheless, his careful play and unique touch demands mention; as does his MSL title, even though it was considered one of the worst finals ever played.

  • Kim Myeong Woon / ZerO: With no titles to his name, ZerO nevertheless played one of the most important roles in the Zerg reawakening. Reveling in off-beat play, ZerO almost single-handedly established a new style of Zerg vs Zerg play, going for defensive or late-game play if initial attacks looked unpromising. His signature unit, against Zerg and Terran, was the Zerg Queen - a spellcaster almost untouched in competitive play before him.

Ladies of War: Professional gaming has been dominated worldwide by men with few exceptions. However, two women in particular made a lasting mark on the Korean leagues.

  • Kim Ga Eul / January: Her professional record as a player is a lackluster 0-9; but January came into her own as the coach of one of the flagship teams of Proleague, Samsung KHAN - which she continues to manage now that the leagues have transitioned to Starcraft II. The only female coach of a Korean professional team, she guided KHAN to several Proleague championships and other medals. It was also under her leadership that Stork and JangBi developed into perennial starleague favorites.

  • Seo Ji Soo / ToSsGirL: A Terran player despite her alias, ToSsGirL was the only female player to play for any length of time on a major Korean professional team. A superstar in the women's leagues, she found very few wins against the regular major league players and only made the opening rounds of one starleague. Although she ended up as just a second-rate player on the mostly second-rate team STX SouL, and despite almost never appearing in the regular team league lineup, she became something of a fan favorite for her composure and tenacity. (Others, looking at her record, said the manager kept her on the team only as a "novelty" and for publicity; her major accomplishment could be considered simply continuing her chosen career in the face of little success and this negative pressure.) Her career lasted from 2002 through 2011.

The Foreigners: Almost from the beginning, the Korean professionals were a cut above the amateurs and semi-pros playing in the rest of the world. Rare enough that even the worldwide fanbase refers to them as "foreigners", several of those players came to Korea and three particularly deserve mention:

  • Guillaume Patry / Grrrr...: Grrrr... is the only foreign player ever to win a major Korean title. In 2000 he won the first OSL played under that name. He went on to take a third place OSL finish and several minor medals as well.

  • Peter Neate / Legionnaire: Legionnaire was probably the most successful of the "second wave" experimentation with foreign players. He definitely has the most notable accomplishment, being the only foreign player with an "all kill" (four wins in a row: wins the match by himself) in a Korean team league. Although it was a minor league played in the 2003 off season, two of his opponents were major league finalists.

  • Greg Fields / IdrA: Despite being probably the best foreign player to ever make a Korean professional team, and racking up a string of international medals, IdrA's short career mainly demonstrated the vast superiority gained by the Korean pros by the heyday of Korean Brood War in 2008-2010. In two years, IdrA never made it off the B team (in two different organizations) and never passed the preliminary qualifiers for a major league.

StarCraft II

StarCraft II is far more internationalized compared to the insular, KeSPA-controlled Brood War scene, with Koreans and "foreigners" (Western players) competing alongside and against each other in the same teams as well as in tournaments both inside and outside Korea, although Korean players continue to firmly dominate its highest tiers.

The premier tournaments of the StarCraft II scene are the Korean GOMTV Global StarCraft II League (GSL) and the GOMTV Global StarCraft II Team League (GSTL), with KeSPA's Proleague gradually making the transition over from Brood War to StarCraft II and the OnGameNet StarLeague (OSL) soon to follow as of June 2012. Major international events to watch out for include Major League Gaming (MLG), the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM), DreamHack, Iron Squid, the IGN ProLeague (IPL), and the North American Star League (NASL).

In 2013, Blizzard instituted a new "World Championship Series" consisting of three seasons, a Global Finals and a number of non-WCS-but-still-sanctioned ancillary events (such as the ones above). The objective is to gain "WCS Points," which are earned by placing well in said tournaments; the 16 players with the most WCS points were invited to the Global Finals at Blizzcon in November. The spread was fairly wide, with the #1-ranked player, Soulkey, having almost twice as much as #16, NaNiwa (6250 vs 3200). With a few modifications, the system will be repeated in 2014.

  • Prominent teams:
    • SlayerS: Remember Boxer from the previous section? This was his team. Emerging with a roar to win two GSTL titles in a row, SlayerS remained a powerful threat for other GSL teams, and were the first team to exceed oGs in GSL players. Unfortunately, due to embezzlement by the team's manager, it was disbanded on November 2012. A good deal of the players went on to Axiom eSports, a team founded and sponsored by TotalBiscuit.

      Notable members:
      • Boxer (Of course! Still a competitor, though a fairly mid-tier player, and was the primary coach and talent finder. Currently on hiatus from SKT 1 due to injuries)
      • MMA (Heir to the throne of Boxer, handpicked by the emperor after noticing his talent in Brood War. Now on Team Acer.)
      • Eve (First female SC2 pro-gamer; now retired.)
      • Alicia (Actually a male protoss player, now at Axiom)
      • Ryung (now at Axiom)
      • Puzzle (switched to League of Legends before returning to KT Rolster)

    • Old Generations (oGs): An Exactly What It Says on the Tin team, several old StarCraft Brood War players who have switched to StarCraft II have created this team. Formerly one of the highest rankest teams in the world, with many top-ranked players who regularly land in Code-S or get into the top 16 of the GSL, and formerly the strongest Korean team in the beginning. Was one of the first major, established teams to disband.

      Notable faces (Out of over 15 total members, 10 of which have gotten into the top 16 of the GSL at least once):
      • NaDa (Moved to compLexity; now retired)
      • Inca (GSL second place 2011; now retired)
      • Fin (AKA ForGG from the Brood War days; moved to Millennium)
      • MC (GSL winner, 2010 & 2011; now with Team SK Gaming)
      • Zenio (Moved to Liquid)
      • TheWinD (Coach; now teamless)

    • Prime: Once an inconsistently performing team notable primarily for losing sponsors, slumping ace players, a shrinking roster, and struggling just to keep itself afloat, Prime has transformed itself into a ruthless murder machine and one of the greatest threats in both the GSTL and the Korean StarCraft II scene as a whole in 2012. Runs an online fashion store, with Prime's own players acting as its models.

      Notable members:
      • Gerrard (Coach, the other model besides MKP)
      • AnNyeong (Team captain)
      • MarineKing (Three-time GSL runner-up, two-time MLG champion, and main model; now switched to LoL)
      • BBoong
      • Byun
      • Creator
      • Maru (The youngest player in the GSL as of June 2012 at only 14 years old)

    • Team SCV Life (TSL): A team splintered off of Old Generations, founded by Lee Woon-Jae, a former coach for the now-disbanded Brood War team MBCGame HERO, along with FruitDealer, TricksteR, Clide, and Happiness. A subject of a good deal of controversy surrounding the team's structuring and its coach, TSL is just as well-known for losing top-class talent as it is for cultivating it. As of 2013, it has officially disbanded.

      Notable members:
      • Polt (Team captain, winner of the GSL Super Tournament; currently an honorary American attending a Texas college and playing under a personal sponsorship)
      • Symbol (now AZUBU)
      • aLive (now Fnatic)
      • Clide (former, first SlayerS, now coaching for KT Rolster)
      • FruitDealer (Former, now a League of Legends coach for StarTale)
      • JYP (Former, now EG)
      • Killer, now Swagger (Also known as SangHo from Brood War. Former, first compLexity and now MVP)
      • PuMa (Former, now EG)

    • MVP: Not to be confused with the player Mvp, MVP is one of the more laid-back, easygoing StarCraft II teams out there. Formerly one of the weakest major teams in Korea, being held up in 2011's team leagues almost solely (if very well) by their ace player and possible deity DongRaeGu, MVP has improved over time to become one that can hold its own against the cream of the crop with a more-than-respectable roster. Currently partnered with Meet Your Makers.

      Notable players:
      • DongRaeGu, a.k.a. DRG (Captain)
      • Keen
      • Monster
      • Genius (Former, teamless as of June 2012)

    • New Star HoSeo (NSHoSeo/NS호서): The dark horse team of StarCraft II in Korea. NSHoSeo lacks any true stars with the exception of Jjakji, but their well-balanced lineup has allowed them to achieve a good amount of success in team leagues, if not so much in individual ones. Sponsored by the Seoul HoSeo Technical College, the team's players are appropriately characterized by their highly intelligent, reactive play styles.

      Notable players:
      • Sage (Captain)
      • Freaky
      • Jjakji

    • StarTale (ST): Headed by old Brood War legend and 3-time OSL champ Park Sung-Joon (JulyZerg), StarTale's culture of strong work ethic and discipline has allowed them to develop a formidable roster, spearheaded by nerdy Protoss monsters Squirtle and PartinG and backed by the Zerg Curious and Terran Bomber. This work ethic has paid off, as on November 18 2012, PartinG won the Blizzard-sponsored World Championship. (He chose not to return to defend the title in 2013.) In the meanwhile, the team is currently partnered with Quantic Gaming and has had problems with sock theft.

      Notable players:
      • July (Captain)
      • AcE
      • Bomber
      • Curious
      • PartinG (2012 world champion)
      • Squirtle

    • ZeNEX: Created by a merger of the clans Zenith and NEX, ZeNEX is a team that started out strong but fell far due to money issues: a desperate lack of sponsorship until early 2012 was responsible for a gradual exodus of the team's most skilled players. A partnership with and sponsor transfer from Team Legion helped improve the situation, and ZeNEX began to show signs of life with... Life... as their own 'ace' player. It was merged into StarTale in 2012.

      Notable players:
      • SuHoSin (Aka Line, Captain)
      • Life (WCS 2014 champion)
      • EXTREME
      • CoCa (Former, now SlayerS)
      • Genius (Former, moved to MVP and then became teamless as of June 2012)
      • Puzzle (Former, now SlayerS)
      • TaeJa (Former, moved to SlayerS and now on Liquid)

    • Incredible Miracle (LG-IM): A team formed in 2010 by a band of five ex-Brood War pros. Chiefly notorious for its powerhouse duo of NesTea and Mvp, who have won seven out of fourteen GSL titles between themselves as of June 2012, succeeding in an extremely competitive environment where many players struggle to even continue to qualify, let alone win a single championship. Currently partnered with SK Gaming.

      Notable members:
      • LosirA
      • Mvp (Winner of 4 GSLs. Widely considered the Greatest Wings of Liberty player ever, dubbed by fans "The King of Wings"
      • Nes Tea (Winner of the other 3 GSLs and the "Nestea" award for 10 consecutive seasons in Code S!)
      • Fenix (A Peruvian, one of only two non-Koreans on a major Korean team)
      • GanZi (Moved to SlayerS, now in compLexity)

    • Team Liquid (TLAF-Liquid`): Probably the most well-known foreign team, they regularly compete in the Korean GSL tournament, with a player in every season. Partner by association of TeamLiquid.Net, the most popular StarCraft II community website. They're partnered with team oGs in their team house in Korea until oGs's disbandment. Like oGs, many of their players come from Brood War roots: Nazgul, the leader, team captain, and founder of both the team and the website, was one of the most successful foreigner players in the dawn of Brood War, once playing a televised match against Boxer in his prime. Ret and NoNy were also two of the strongest foreigners of the "3rd generation" Brood War era.

      Notable Members:
      • TLO
      • Jinro (Two-time Code-S semifinalist, still holds the title as "historically best-performing foreigner" with those two semifinals, when no other foreigner has yet to reach it even once)
      • HerO
      • Ret
      • Sheth (People still can't decide if he or WhiteRa is nicer)
      • NoNy (aka Tyler, who reverted his name to his Brood War gamertag)

    • Evil Geniuses: A team with a lot of players and a varied reputation, EG seem to be everywhere—players in every tournament and every event. They are a true Multi National Team, with players from seven nations and three continents on their rosters. They also have a lot of important former members: two foreign Zerg luminaries, Stephano and IdrA; Grubby—yes, the Grubby, the War Craft III legend; and Nicolas "Tasteless" Plott, one of the two "official" English-language casters for Korean StarCraft. Today, they're a little overshadowed by being the home of Jaedong—yes, the Jaedong—but that's a good foundation to start on if nothing else. They are currently based in San Francisco, where they run a team house.

      Notable Members:
      • Stephano, the most successful foreigner in SC 2 history (as measured in prize money); now retired.
      • IdrA, famed for a long career of "We Have Reserves" tactics and Rage Quits; now retired.
      • Grubby, currently free-lancing
      • iNcontroL, also known for shout-casting
      • Jaedong
      • Suppy
      • ThorZaIN
      • Xenocider

  • Prominent players:
    • WhiteRa. He is a bit of an anomaly in the StarCraft II scene: he's not signed with any prominent team, he's married, he was born in 1980. Known for "Special Tactics" (unconventional and sometimes downright-hilarious strategies), particularly his Warp Prism harrassment, for being an incredibly Nice Guy, and for being a Fountain of Memes, due to being Ukranian and having an imperfect command of English.
    • MC. A Protoss player and the only member of the SK gaming SC2 team, MC is one of the most successful SC2 players ever. He has won 2 GSL titles, the 3rd most of anyone, and is one of 2 Protoss to ever win one. He is also the most financially successful player at present, having earned close to $500,000 USD in prize money.
    • Scarlett. A Canadian Zerg player on Acer's roster, she is rising to prominence in the wake of Stephano and IdrA's retirement. The "Queen of Blades" is known for cautious play (typically the opposite of the Zerg style) and massive creep spread, a style that has made her not just the best foreign Zerg, but possibly the best foreign player period. There was also some kerfuffle from the scene when she admitted to being a MtF transsexual, which (for good or ill) can overshadow her career's actual merits.
    • INnoVation. A Korean playing first for STX SouL and now for Acer. Though he has only been playing professionally since 2011, his recent rise has been meteoric, achieving Code S status in the GSL by the end of 2012note . He then won WCS Season 1, and throughout 2013 had the most WCS Points by a huge margin. Since the WCS Points system was all about rewarding consistent play, he was for the most part acknowledged the best player in the world through most of '13.
    • sOs. Another newcomer, playing for Woongjin Stars, his rise to fame was almost as swift as INnoVation's. Basically unknown before 2013, he began tearing it up that year, taking second place in Season 1 and gaining the 12th seed in the WCS Global Finals. There he made it to the top, defeating Jaedong 4:1 to clinch the 2013 championship.
    • NaNiwa. A Swedish Protoss player, he began his career in WarCraft III. He was the first person in history to earn 4000 Ladder Points in SC2, and (so far) the only foreigner ever to earn enough WCS points to make the Global Finals. He has also been dogged by controversy, and is currently retired from StarCraft in preference to Heroes of the Storm.

  • Prominent Community Members:
    • Tastosis is the 'official' name for the "casting Archon" duo of Nicolas "Tasteless" Plott and Dan "Artosis" Stemkoski. Rarely seen casting without the other (hence the Archon partnote ), the two are veterans from the Brood War era as both players and commentators. They serve as the golden example of a caster combo; currently, they are commentating in English for the GSL and living in Korea. Tasteless is a more private individual than Artosis, and is the play-by-play component of the team. Meanwhile, Artosis the analyst hosts "The Artosis Hour", is a pillar of the most popular StarCraft podcast State of the Game, and is the father of a baby girl.
    • Husky Starcraft is a shoutcaster who does commentary at live tournaments and of user-submitted matches on his YouTube channel, which has more subscribers than any other StarCraft II-oriented channel. While he quite clearly loves StarCraft, he claims that his play is not the best (by which we mean, he's "only" in Master League, the top 2% of the region). One funny series of videos on his channel is a best-of-3 match between him and professional player Spanishiwa of Team Under Rated; Husky lost, despite piling handicaps on his opponent.
    • Day Nine is a commentator and educator. In addition to casting at competitions, he runs a web-TV show, the "Day[9] Daily, where we learn to be a better gamer," in which he evaluates current play and highlights new trends in the StarCraft II metagame. He is the younger brother of Tasteless, and played competitively during the Brood War days, including a Pan-American title in 2007; at present he has three "smurf" accounts which are all in the Grandmaster league.

     Turn Based Strategy 


Competitive Pokémon has been around for almost as long as the franchise has existed, but it wasn't until 2004 that The Pokémon Company International began hosting official tournaments for the TCG. Since 2008, the video games have been played in these tournaments as well. The highest level tournament, the Pokémon World Championships (often referred to simply as Worlds), is an invitation-only event held every August. Players from over twenty-five countries are chosen to take part based on their performance in previous world and national-level competitions, as well as overall ratings. The top players every year win scholarships, merchandise, and an automatic invitation to next year's Worlds.

The TCG tournaments use Standard format note , which allows only the use of cards from recent expansions, and any older cards that these may have been reprinted from. The list of legal expansions changes approximately once a year, with the alterations typically being announced between mid-spring and mid-summer, and going into effect a few months after that. In addition to expansion restrictions, players may only use cards that are printed in English or the local language of the country where the tournament is held.

Video game tournaments also use Standard format, which is typically called VGC format among the fanbase. Just like the TCG's Standard, this format goes through yearly rule changes, though major changes typically only come with the release of a new main series game. VCG uses double battles, and each match lasts three rounds, with the overall victory being decided by the best two out of three; players choose four of their six Pokémon to use each round and may choose different Pokémon from the same group of six every round. The banlists tend to be vastly different than those used in fan-created metagame formats, and are usually less restrictive overall.

Although many of the top competitors have earned the fan community's respect, a few players have become particularly notable.

  • Jason Klaczynski is the first and only TCG player to come in first place at Worlds three times, and has also placed well in many lower-level competitions. Strangely, despite his excellent performance at Worlds, he does not seem to have the same amount of success at the national level.
  • Jun Hasebe is a TCG player who entered the Japanese Nationals at the age of seven, and became one of the five Japanese players to be invited to Worlds that year. He became the youngest World Champion, an honor which he still holds today. Although he returned to Worlds in subsequent years, he never placed higher than sixth in these tournaments.
  • Ray Rizzo is a three-time Video Game World Champion, and has become something of a legend in the community, to the point that some have called him the best Pokémon player on the planet. His Pokémon are nearly as famous as he is, with a near-exact copy of his Metagross being distributed at national-level tournaments in several countries. In 2014, he became embroiled in some minor controversy after he unknowingly used an illegal Pokémon at the US Nationals, but this did not stop him from participating in that year's Worlds.
  • Se Jun Park is a Korean player who became Video Game World Champion in 2014. He's drawn a lot of attention for using unorthodox Pokémon, most notably Pachirisu, a Kid-Appeal Character that is commonly thought of as worthless in high-level competitive play.

For the fighting game community, see Fighting Game Community