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.

Also see Fighting Game Community for Fighting Game Tournament Play.

    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
  • Virtus.Pro

     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 rounds lasting 1 minute and 55 seconds each (with 15 seconds of time before each round to buy weapons and gear), with each team playing 15 rounds (max) as each side (Counter-terrorist/Terrorist). 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_"). As of February 2017, the competitive map rotation includes Inferno, Nuke, Mirage, Cache, Train, Overpass and Cobblestone. For standard games, the teams usually alternate banning maps until only one remains. In best-of-3 or best-of-5 matches, teams are allowed to ban respectively 2 and 1 map each, with the games being played on the remaining maps.

Depending on the tournament rules, teams pick their first side based on seeding, result of a knife-only round played before match, or flipping a coin. In majority of best-of-3 and best-of-5 series, team gets to pick side on the map they haven't chosen, and the knife round is reserved for the final map.

In the game's first round(or "Pistol Round"), pro teams usually buy a 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 only buy pistols (and maybe body armor) against the winning team (who should have full body armor and helmet, grenades, and an assault rifles/SMGs/shotgun). The purpose of an Eco Round is to be able to buy better weapons 2-3 rounds later. 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 or shotguns for increased money reward per kill (especially when the enemy has no money to buy armor), and armor-piercing pistols in "eco" rounds. Sometimes, a team's sniper will use 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): The most dominant team in early days of CS: GO scene, famously going on 87-0 win streak. Unfortunately other teams caught up to them just as the CS: GO majors were introduced. In major tournaments they always looked strong before losing in the finals, with the exception of ESL One Cologne 2014 where won. They tend to play a very standard style, with a strong emphasis on rifles (except when Maikelele, and later allu, were part of the team) and very good team play. Unfortunately, their results gradually worsened over time, and at ESL One Cologne 2015 they failed to make it to the major finals for the first time. Interestingly both this loss and the 87-0 streak were ended by (although with completely different lineups).
    • Richard "Xizt" Landstorm:
    • Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund: Young star in 1.6 and the greatest player in the first years of GO. He was the first one to truly master the game and practically codify the role of lurker, going alone, away from the rest of the team, trying to create distractions and get kills on players rotating into the other site.
    • Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg
    • Fredrik "REZ" Sterner
    • William "Draken" Sundin

  • Fnatic (Sweden): One of three teams to win more than one CS: GO major (Dreamhack Winter 2013, ESL One Katowice 2015 and ESL One Cologne 2015, also first time in GO a team won back to back majors). Ever since picking olofmeister and Krimz from LGB they've been widely considered one of the best team in the world, to the point of being one of the most hated teams in the scene.
    • Dennis "dennis" Edman: Former G2 player who took Markus "pronax" Wallsten's spot after he left the team for an undisclosed amount of time. Played with olof and KRIMZ, when they first broke through in LGB Esports.
    • Robin "flusha" Ronquist
    • Jesper "JW" Wecksell:The main AWPer of the team, who is well known for his aggressive play-style.
    • Freddy "krimz" Johansson
    • Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer: The best player of 2015. Incredibly skilled with both AWP and rifles, with pinpoint aim and great gamesense.

  • Astralis (Denmark): The top Danish lineup, which used to be famous for looking very strong online and choking in big games. However in 2015 they seemed to improve on that and became the most likely team to beat Fnatic on any given day, and their victory at the ELEAGUE Major 2017 solidified their status a top team.
    • Lucas "gla1ve" Rossander:The newest player on the team, and currently the IGL.
    • Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye:
    • Andreas "Xyp9x" Hojsleth
    • Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen
    • Nicolai "device" Reedtz:The star player of the team.

  • EnVyUs (formerly (France): One of the two teams that emerged from mid 2014 French scene shuffle. Envy are (in)famous for their aggressive play and aiming talent, often running the same strategy time and time again and putting themselves in infavourable situations just to come out on top thanks to their sheer skill. They are also probably the best team in the world at winning pistol and eco rounds. Won majors at Dreamhack Winter 2014 and Dreamhack Cluj-Napoca 2015. But their less than stellar results after that led to a second French shuffle.
    • Vincent "Happy" Cervoni: In-game leader, favoring loose, aggressive style, which favors very aim heavy team like Envy. Unusually for an IGL, Happy himself is a very capable fragger, often AWPing or lurking away from the rest of the team (most leaders tend to play more of a supporting rifler role).
    • Christopher "SIXER" Xia
    • Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom: Famous for impeccable aim and having probably the worst luck in CS: GO history. His accuracy and insane headshot percentage led to him being called the "Human Aimbot". Unfortunately for him, Valve nerfing the ADAD spam badly affected his playstyle, which led to a performance slump. He got fired from Titan and replaced with rising star KQLY, who later turned out to be a cheater. He joined the lower tiered Epsilon team, which collapsed soon after in a match-fixing scandal. Since then he's been a free agent until he put together Kinguin(which became Fa Ze Clan) with Maikelele, which he later left due to team communication issues to rejoin Titan(which became G2) for the record buyout of 150,000$. He joined En Vy during the second French shuffle.
    • Cedric "RpK" Guipouy
    • Alexandre "xms" Forté

  • Virtus.Pro (Poland): Team built from remains of the Golden Five, the most decorated (7 majors) lineup in CS 1.6 history. After floundering in early days of CS: GO they added two new players and almost immediately won a major in front of the home crowd at EMS One Katowice 2014. Since then they've been dangerous (especially in big tournments), but inconsistent, hence the fans refering to them as either Virtus.Plow (stomping even the strongest teams) or Virtus.Throw (losing upsets against tier 2 teams). Some of it may be a result of constantly rotating shotcaller duty (between Taz, neo and Snax). They are also known for being an "old" team, and haven't changed their lineup in years.
    • Filip "neo" Kubski: The man most responsible for those 7 majors. Widely considered one of the best players in 1.6. Lauded for his versatility, aim, intelligence and perfect command of various movement tricks that were possible back then. In Global Offensive he never reached the same level (mostly since the new physics engine made 1.6 style movement impossible). Still, he is a pillar of the team, consistently performing on a good level and rarely making big mistakes.
    • Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas: The Lancer to neo and very much a red Oni to his blue. While neo was always quiet and analytical, Taz is a loud, charismatic, trash-talker.
    • Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski: Joined the team in the only lineup change in 1.6 era (whether they were still Golden 5 after that depends on who you're talking to). In Global Offensive he became a star player in his own right, with 2014 being his best year ever. Very popular in the scene for his Keet tendencies and kindness, which combined with his imperfect grasp of English made him a Fountain of Memes in the community. For Starcraft fans, imagine WhiteRa, except Polish and way more muscular.
    • Paweł "byali" Bieliński: First of the two new players that joined in Global Offensive era. Initially got recognition as very aggressive entry fragger, but with time he became very adept at more passive, defensive play.
    • Janusz "sNax" Pogorzelski: Second of the two new additions and one of the smartest and sneakiest players in the game. His positional awareness and ability to abuse smokes for his advantage make him very hard to play against. In recognition of that, having a flashbang explode inside a smoke in order to go through it is refered to as "Snax flash".

  • Natus Vincere (CIS): Another team built from a legendary (winning 4 majors in a row) 1.6 lineup. Famous for their methodical play and slow late round executes. They used to be middle of the road team, carried by incredible AWP play of GuardiaN. After adding flamie, they became a serious contender for top positions.
    • Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev:A young star, whose toxicity made him a difficult teammate on Flipsid 3. He has since improved his attitude. His time on the American Team Liquid led to the most successful results from a North American team at a major. Has a odd friendship with former Liquid teammate Hiko.
    • Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev
    • Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovacs:The main AWPer of the team, and amongst the best in the world.
    • Denis "seized" Kostin
    • Egor "flamie" Vasilyev

  • Cloud 9 (USA): American team that used to do well at home, but struggle against European lineups. After catastrophic start of 2015 when they couldn't get a single map off Europeans, they changed two players and had a dramatic resurgence, going to multiple LAN finals and beating top teams. They've had multiple roster changes since, but are still usually the best North American team.
    • Jake "stewie2k" Yip: Young pubstar, brought in after sgares unexpectedly left the team. His propensity for running through smokes has already reached Memetic Mutation levels.
    • Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert:One of the two original members, the other being Shroud.
    • Mike "shroud" Grzesiek: A slightly controversial player from Canada. Some consider him the "hope of NA", while others think he spends too much time streaming and not practicing.
    • Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham: First came to prominence as the AWPer in the IBUYPOWER team, which stood at the top of North American CS scene until 2014. In early 2015 IBP disbanded in one of the biggest matchfixing scandals in CS history, with only Skadoodle remaining unbanned. He was supposed to make a North American dream team with Hiko (former C9 player), before Cloud 9 hired him for a supposedly record price as far as CS scene goes. Since then he's been a crucial part of Cloud 9 resurgence, consistently putting amazing performances and establishing himself as one of top AWP players in the world.
    • Timonthy "autimatic" Ta:The addition to the team, and currently the IGL.

  • G2 (France): The second team formed in the French shuffle, along with remnants from the defunct Titan. Back then, it was home of kennyS, the most dominant player of late 2014 to early 2015. In this period his AWP play single handedly carried the team to great results. Unfortunately Valve nerfing the AWP movement hit kennyS more than any other player, leading the team to a drop in performance. While they were still famous for great Terrorist side play (especially in the days of Ex6TenZ, considered one of the smartest ingame leaders in the scene), they were also the only team to rival Virtus.Pro in terms of inconsistency. After the second French shuffle, their results improved, and they are now considered the top French team.
    • Alexandre "bodyy" Pianaro
    • Richard "shox" Papillon:A star player, who and can use both rifles and AW Ps. He is also currently the IGL of G2.
    • Nathan "NBK" Schmitt: Young star in the CS: Source scene, transitioned into a support player in GO. He is the primary example of the "modern" support, focused primarily on helping the other players shine, but is still able to carry the fragging load when it's neccessary.
    • Kenny "kennyS" Schrub: His run in Titan from mid 2014 to early 2015 featured probably the best AWP play in CS:GO history. Unfortunately even him getting upwards of 30 kills almost every other game didn't translate to anything more than an occasional upset. To make matters worse, the AWP movement nerf hurt his playstyle, since he was famous for very aggressive play. After some adjusting, he seems to be getting back some of his previous form. Leaving Titan for En Vy didn't hurt, since the team wass less reliant on him carrying. He rejoined Titan (now called G2) during the second French shuffle.
    • Dan "apEX" Madesclaire: Another former player from Titan, where he was the other carrying player. When he is on form, he is capable of tearing sites wide open with his aggressive entry fragging style. Unfortunately he was plagued by inconsistency, especially when Kenny fell off in form and apEX became the linchpin of Titan. On EnVy he became more consistent, since the more agressive style of the team gave him more backup in entry duels.He rejoined Titan (now called G2) during the second French shuffle.

  • FaZe Clan (Europe): There have been multinational teams before in CS: GO, but they usually consisted of players speaking the same native language (e.g. Belgians and Swiss in French teams, players from the former USSR). But FaZe currently consists of a Norwegian, a Frenchmen, a Finn, a Dane, and a Bosnian. All of them were famous in the CS scene before, making it the first international superteam in CS:GO. Obvious communication problems and lack of a proper ingame leader led to wildly inconsistent results initially, but they are still capable of pulling upsets against top teams. They've gotten better, and are now amongst the top teams.
    • Havard "rain" Nygaard: His pinpoint aim with rifles and ability to both open up and clutch rounds made his old teams Norwegian LGB and London Conspiracy prone to upsetting higher ranked teams.
    • Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey:Used to play for EnVy.
    • Aleksi "allu" Jalli:The main AWPer of the team, from Finland. Played for Ninjas in Pyjamas for most of 2015.
    • Finn "karrigan" Anderson:Played for Astralis during their rise to the top. Is currently the ingame leader.
    • Nikola "Ni Ko" Kovač: Used to play for mousesports, where he pretty much carried the team. The team's slump took an evident toll on him, but he seems much happier after joining Fa Ze.

  • mousesports (Germany): Top German lineup that took its current shape when the core of old mousesports (gob b and chrisJ) were joined by three best players from PENTA Sports. The merger worked, and the team managed to string together some great results from mid-2015.
    • Tomáš "Oskar" Šťastný
    • Chris "chrisJ" de Jong
    • Christian "Lo We L" Antoran
    • Robin "ropz" Kool
    • Denis "denis" Howell

  • LA Renegades (formerly Vox Eminor) (Australia): The most dominant team in Asia/Australia scene. They became popular among the fans for their humorous POV streams and being able to occasionally threaten much better teams despite being a non-salaried team from by far the weakest of the continental scenes. Their move to Renegades looks to change this as they are now full time players and plan to move to the US to play in North American leagues.
    • Noah "Nifty" Francis
    • Aaron "AZR" Ward
    • Justin "jks" Savage
    • Karlo "USTILO" Pivac
    • Nemanja "nexa" Isaković

  • SK Gaming (formerly Luminosity, Keyd Stars) (Brazil): First South American to make an impact in CS: GO. Despite not having many occasions to play against more established teams, their tactical approach allowed them to regularly scare top teams and get some upsets. After getting out of the group stage in ESL One Katowice 2015 and getting a map off Virtus.Pro in quarterfinals, they started playing in North American leagues. Late 2015 and early 2016 saw them consistently able to beat the best teams in the world. Won the MLG Columbus 2016 major.
    • Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo
    • Fernando "fer" Alvarenga
    • João "felps" Vasconcellos
    • Epitacio "TACO" Pessoa
    • Marcelo "cold" David

  • Team Liquid (USA): Formerly known as an underwhelming hodge-podge of NA talent, their pickups of Hiko and s1mple in late 2015 made them one of the strongest non-European teams in the world. Well-known for their double-choke in the 2016 MLG Columbus Semi-Finals.
    • Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken
    • Nick "nitr0" Canella
    • Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski
    • Lucas "Steel" Lopes
    • Keith "NAF" Markovic

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 up to 12 players on each team, no class limits, no item restrictions, and all maps available. They can get chaotic, which is good for casual players who just want to do what they want in a variety of maps with a simple yet fun objective. However, that also means strategies and tactics commonly take a backseat, and the skills and knowledge of some of the players can be...questionable. As a result, very skilled and smart players (dubbed 'pub stars' or 'pub stompers') can crush the enemy team easily and rise to the top of the scoreboard.

The competitive scene, on the other hand, offers a much more structured gameplay. For starters, the servers have lower player count, depending on the team format; class limit restrictions (specific restrictions depend on the leaguenote ); and a weapon blacklist for items that are deemed unbalanced. They also disable random critical hits and random damage spreads, like shotgun pellets, to prevent the Random Number God from interfering with an otherwise fair match. Additionally, they implement 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 alterations above allows coordination, teamwork, game knowledge, and skill to shine while also challenging (usually) much more competent opponents, giving TF2 a fresh option for seasoned veterans.

While there is a voice-comm implemented into the game, players often use external voice programs instead for their lower latency, the most common choice being 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: two opposing teams, most commonly consisting of one Demoman, one Medic (whose primary healing target is their "pocketnote "), a pocket (usually Soldier), a roamer (usually a Soldier as well), and two utilities (both usually Scouts). They are pitted against each other on maps handpicked by the league of their choice, usually on a 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.

There's a reason for this setup. In the beginning of the match, the middle point, AKA the "mid", have to be captured and the team who arrives there first has the advantage, so naturally teams want to arrive there first using various methods for their "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.

As the healer, the Medic is an essential piece for any team. As for the others? The Scout, Soldier, and Demomen all possess both high mobility and high damage output without sacrificing one or the other, so the standard team roster naturally fell into place.

  • Pocket

Defending the frontline of the battlefield along with Medic and Demoman, he is essentially the 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, though if there is need for more defense and less need for mobility, he may off-class to a Heavy.

  • 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 targets should be the enemy Demoman and 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 his ability to heal and overheal his teammates and deploy Uberchargenote  or Kritzkriegnote . If he gets either of them, no matter if he lives or dies, the entire enemy team will be at a disadvantage because they do not have a main source of damage and/or 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 his only hitscan weapon 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, the roamer can defend the Medic as a temporary pocket until the main pocket returns from respawning.

  • 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 (can be detonated in mid-air or be laid out as traps), making him a very valuable member of his team. He is also one of the hardest classes to play since none of his weapons, sans the melee, are hitscans and and are instead projectiles thrown in an arc, meaning that he will have a difficult time dealing with Scouts who are already difficult to "lead" if they are competent.

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, trap-laying capability, 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, the Medic is somewhat straightforward: heal all teammates, do not let them die, do everything you can to not get killed, deploy Ubercharge or Kritzkrieg where appropriate, but there are depths that go 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 equipped the Solemn Vow which allows you to see to opponent's health (although this weapon is widely banned in competitive leagues). As stated above, you should be focusing your heals onto your pocket but remember to give overheals to your other teammates; extra health can be vital, especially to the roamer and Demoman when they are rolling out, due to rocket-jumping and sticky-jumping inflicting significant amounts of self-damage.

For their secondary weapons, Medics most often use either the stock Medigun or the Kritzkrieg. The stock Medigun can heal and overheal patients, and doing so fills the Uber meter. When full, the Medic can deploy Ubercharge, which makes himself and his patient invulnerable for eight seconds (although they can still be pushed around by enemy explosions and airblasts, as well as "body-blocked" by enemies). On the other hand, the Kritzkrieg, while it heals and overheals exactly like the stock Medigun, has a lot more offensive potential and builds Ubercharge faster than the stock Medigun. The difference is that instead of Ubercharge, the Kritzkrieg deploys Kritzkrieg, which means eight seconds of guranteed critical hits against enemies instead of invulnerability to damage. However, it does not offer any invulnerability nor damage protection outside of continuing to heal the patient at its normal rate.

The two other Medic healing guns are seen less often in 6v6. The Quick Fix gives the Medic extra mobility (it lets him mirror the blast jumps of whoever he is healing, and upon Ubercharge makes him and his patient resistant to knockbacks by the enemy team) and faster healing rate at the cost of lessened overheals and an Uber that boosts the healing rate to 300% of 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 take reduced damage from 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

These two guys help support the rest of the team with whatever their class can offer. On rollout and on offensive, they usually go as Scouts, as the class has the highest running speed and possess double jumps, making them hard to hit and effective at ambushing. However, since they are there for utilities and not straight-up frontline damage classes like Soldier or Demoman, and have no obligation to switch to those classes since those classes have already reached their class limits, they have the most freedom to off-class among them all. The most common off-class is Sniper. Snipers are useful in breaking the offensive or defensive enemy team by picking off targets from afar. The second most picked off-class is Heavy, for the same reason why a pocket would switch to that class. Of course, they do not have to conform to just these two classes; they can switch to whatever they want as long as they do not exceed the class limits. 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 (often shortened to 5CP) maps such as Granary, Badlands, and Gullywash are the most popular map types among the 6v6 community due to most of the map designs encouraging advanced strategy and numerous flanks. Leagues may also commonly play on King of the Hill (usually shortened to KOTH) maps such as an altered version of Viaduct, for their similarity to the 5CP gamemode. Even less commonly seen are Attack/Defense maps like Gravelpit, which are somewhat like Payload without having to push a really slow cart, although some may not favor these maps due to their difference in pace from the 5CP and KOTH maps.

  • 9v9 aka Highlander

THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE... player per class. Each team has nine players, each playing each of the nine unique classes. Due to every class being up for grabs, this mode is more accessible to those who would like to play a class that isn't often used in 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, with the exception of 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 can 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 deflect projectiles, he is usually a bodyguard for the Heavy-Medic combo against Spies and projectiles. Same goes for defending his team's sentry nest, even more so if he has a Homewrecker to destroy enemy sappers if the Engineer is not available to do so. 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, 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 the 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 main source of health be unavailable 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 up, nor even wait for the sentry to set-up as the mini sentry's set-up time is halved by default, making the Engineer more relevant in a fast-paced game mode like KOTH or 5CP. The Wrangler allows the Engineer to control his sentry manually to poke or clean up enemies that would normally be 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 and creating opportunities for their mates to take. Harder than it sounds since they are usually up against players who knows which area to shelter in, move in unpredictable ways to make it hard to get a clear headshot, know most trickstabs the Spies are capable of doing, and are 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 call out their positions that their allies could exploit, with Snipers using their scope to take a peak at his opponents, and Spies with their ability to go invisible for a while (or forever if he's using the Cloak and Dagger) and going behind the enemy lines. The Spy can also see the health meters of enemy team members, allowing him to relay useful information.

  • Maps
Along with 5CP and KOTH, Payload maps such as Upward and Badwater Basin are often played since the larger team sizes makes it viable for Highlander.

  • 4v4

A very recent addition to UGC's official team format type, 4v4 is an extremely fast paced and intense game mode that combines the elements of 6v6 and highlander.

The Highlander element comes from the limits of each class to one, however with a ban on the Heavy-Medic combo due being hard to counter by a 4-man team (well, without also having to go with a Heavy-Medic combo themselves). This means that 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 team members can pick whatever they feel is best for the situation. The 6v6 elements come from the fact that it's a small team composition, and every member of the team has more weight in both their actions and mistakes.

Each class has the same roles that they have in 6v6 or highlander. As this is a newer game mode, strategies may be subject to experimentation and evolution over time.

  • Map

It is fitting for a small team format to be placed in a small map type like KOTH maps. However, other map types may or may not become more viable over time.

  • 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 gotten into 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 6.7 million dollars (as in 2016).

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 League of Legends 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 (Retired) 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 LoL 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 LoL 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. After TSM failed to escape Group Stage in the 2015 World Championships, he announced his retirement.
      • Jungle: Santorin (Retired): A player formerly from the EU scene, before moving to the NA region with Team Coast, and finally TSM for Season 5. After TSM was eliminated from Worlds 2015, he and TSM parted ways, with him also choosing to retire from Professional gaming to return to school and pick up his studies and live streaming game play.
      • 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: 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. Formerly playing for CLG for a number of years, on the day of the Finals for the 2015 Worlds, CLG, having been eliminated weeks earlier in the Group stage, released Doublelift from their roster due to disagreements in the team's direction. In mere hours after, TSM, who were holding try outs for potential new ADCs at the time, immediately picked Doubelift up.
      • Support (Retired)/Analyst: Jang-Sik "LustBoy" Ham: Hailing from Korea and a veteran from the OGN (now LCK), Lustboy is best known for the memes about him, particularly all the funny things he posts on twitter as well as his use of the "You Can't See Me" wave of John Cena. As with Dyrus and Santorin, LustBoy has "retired" from his Support gameplay role, due to a shoulder injury and ready to move on from pro-play. He has now shifted to being a streamer for TSM, and as a team analyst for them.
      • 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 "The Odd One" 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: Incarnation
      • 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.
      • Manager: "Hai" Lam: Hai was well known for his shot-calling likelihood to play assassin-style champions above all, and was frequently seen handling Kha'Zix and Zed during Season 3. He retired because his previously injured arm could not heal well enough for him, and he couldn't keep up with the amount of practice he demands of himself.

    • 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: 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: Xmithie
      • Marksman/ADC:
      • 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: William "Scarra" Li: Formerly the heart of Team Dignitas, 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 in 2013.

    • Team Dignitas See 'Companies That Covers multiple gaming scenes' folder above.

      • Top: Gamsu:
      • Jungle: Azingy:
      • 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: Core JJ:
      • Support: KiWiKid: 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.

    • Team Liquid: Formerly Team Curse. The change of sponsor allegedly helped break the forever fourth place "Curse Curse" with Team Liquid finishing third place in the 2015 NA LCS Spring Split.
      • Top: Diego "Quas" Ruiz
      • Jungle: Christian "IWillDominate" Rivera: Was infamously banned for a year by the LoL Tribunal.
      • Mid: Kim "FeniX" Jae-Hoon
      • Marksman: Piglet: Formerly of World Champions SKT T1 and known for his team-up with his former support Pooh Man Du and their Hundred Acre Lane.
      • 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.
      • Coach: Peter Zhang

    • Team Impulse : Formerly LMQ, it was a Chinese team that transferred to NA. With some of the Chinese members going back to the LPL, it has become a multi-national team. Unfortunately, after 2016 Spring Split, a Riot investigation and the players on the team at the time had revealed that team's owner flew back to China before the Spring Split, and cut off most communication, effectively abandoning the team. Furthermore, there was a complete failure to pay players and coaches what they were owed and in a timely fashion. Riot also found that despite the team's management claiming they had the players required contracts properly signed by them, that most were not signed, and that despite a grace period to get the paper work in order, they still failed to do so. In response, and partly due to a previous pay incident from 2015 with TIP, Riot fined the team's management $20,000, and forced the sale of the team's spot due to the failure at maintaining the players' welfare. The team's LCS spot was sold to Team Phoenix1.
      • Top: Impact:
      • Jungle: Rush:
      • Mid: Yu "Xiaoweixiao" Xian : 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. In July of 2015 however, he was found to have participated in an elo-boosting servicenote , and the attempted sale of one of his LCS-Unlocked accounts with all champions and their alternative skins that are given by Riot to pro-players. Both actions were grounds for termination of those accounts (which they were), and led to a 7 month ban from competitive play. After his contract expired with TIP and his competitive ban ended, XWX moved to China to play with the LPL team Oh My Dream (OMD) in March 2016..
      • Marksman: Apollo :

    • Team Gravity
      • Top: Hauntzer
      • Jungle: Move
      • Mid: Keane
      • Marksman: Altec
      • Support: Bunny FuFuu
      • Coach: Cop

    • Team Dragon Knights

    • Enemy E-Sports

    • Team Immortals: A new NA LCS team that first joined the NA LCS in 2016, yet it's roster of Pro-League veterans and performance has quickly been dubbed by E-Sport casters and fans alike as North America's premier "Super Team". Want proof? Here's their crowning achievement thus far, pulling off the fastest LCS match victory ever, at 18 minutes and 16 seconds against Team Impulse, in a game where average match length is around 30 to 40 minutes. And on top of that they lived up to their name, as it was a perfect match for Immortals, as in they had 0 deaths, 0 towers lost, 0 Epic Monster buffs lost, while scoring 16 champion kills, 11 towers destroyed, and 1 Dragon buff.
      • Top: Seong "Huni" Hoon Heo: Won Rookie of the Split in the 2015 EU LCS Spring Split, former player for Fnatic, and current for Immortals. Well known for his unique laugh of "HORO HORO HORO", Huni has spawned a multitude of followers, meaning that when chants for Fnatic start, they usually end going "HUNI HUNI HUNI!". Huni is well known for his top-lane carry playstyle, leading other teams to focus him, sometimes with all 3 champion bans in lobby and then camping his lane. Huni is well known for his Hecarim plays, and his Cho'gath counter against top lane Ryze players, and has been hailed has having the best teleport plays in Europe. A teleport from Huni generally means his team is about to win a teamfight.
      • Jungle: Kim "Reignover" Ui-jin: Reignover joined Fnatic with Huni and Febiven after the Fnatic overhaul in 2015, and after that, joined Immortals for 2016 along with Huni. Reignover has been known for his quick early-game ganks, along with intimidating Rengar and Rek'Sai play. Reignover is known for not being one to shy away from strange jungle picks such as Olaf, or to play something he isn't as comfortable on, like Sejuani or Gragas.
      • Mid: Eugene "Pobelter" Justice Park: First making his mark in LCS for the 2015 Summer Split with CLG and helping them get to Worlds 2015, and regarded as one of the best solo que players in all of NA, Pobelter has quickly become a name to watch in pro league play. Thanks to his deep champion pool, he's one of the hardest mid-laners to pick/ban against, constantly changing his champion choice virtually every match, as well as offering his team a large amount of flexibility in its composition
      • 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. After Worlds 2015, and the huge NA LCS rosters shake up that followed, with Doublelift moving from CLG to TSM as their main ADC, WildTurtle joined the just forming Immortals. His play style is true to the first half of his name, making wild ultra-aggressive, high risk plays that are just as likely to leave him waiting to respawn, as his targets, if not all of them together.
      • Support: Adrian "Adrian" Ma: Formerly a support for Team Impulse, Adrian is an expert at Skill-shot mechanic based supports, which combined with his ability to quickly notice gaps in the team's defense or over-extensions, is great for setting up easy kill for his team mates, as well as bailing them out of danger when they get a bit too aggressive, not to mention his skills at playing as Janna

  • 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: Cabochard
      • Jungle: Diamondprox
      • Mid: Betsy
      • Marksman: FORG1VEN
      • Support: Gosu Pepper Also known as Edward, he returned to his classic Gosu Pepper handle in the 2015 Summer Split. 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 2013 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, even after their recent overhaul in the 2015 Spring Split that saw various players move to other teams, leaving Yellowstar. Fnatic won the 2015 Spring Split after a 3-2 victory over LCS newcomers, Unicorns of Love. Going to the Mid-Season Invitational, Fnatic performed above all expectations, out-performing TSM and nearly advancing to the finals, losing in the Semis 2-3 against Korean team SKT. Returning from MSI, Fnatic picked up Rekkles and proceeded to dominate the Summer Split, making LCS history as they became the first Western team ever to go undefeated in the regular season, ending 18-0. The only other team in the world to ever go undefeated is SKT back in 2013 Winter.
      • Mid: Febiven: Febiven has earned the nick-name 'The European Sniper' after his incredible Xer'ath plays, able to get double-and-triple kills with just his ultimate, not to mention his incredible use of the Ascended Mage's long range. Febiven is also known for his Riven, which is where his name comes from. Febiven is known for nearly always out-C Sing his opponent and staying in lane until he feels he can impact the game. During MSI, Febiven proved his skills by earning two solo-kills on Faker, the proclaimed best mid-laner in the world.
      • Marksman: Rekkles: Rekkles originally joined the team in 2014, bringing Fnatic to an all-time high and proving himself as one of the best ADC's in the world, performing against Korean teams at Worlds. After xPeke, Cyanide, and Soaz left Fnatic to form Origen, Rekkles joined Alliance, redubbed Elements, the only team that had out-perfomed Fnatic in Europe the previous year. However, Rekkles states that the team enviromen on Elements was far from the family-like one on Fnatic, and Rekkles found himself underperforming on the team. Returning to Fnatic for the 2015 Summer Split, Rekkles states that it feels like 'coming home after a long trip', and has performed far better than he did on Elements, once more starting to prove himself as a truly stellar teammate. Rekkles also is a known 'flirt', always teasing fans in interviews.
      • Support: Bora "YellowStar" Kim: He was recruited as marksman for the team in 2013 while Rekkles was awaiting his seventeenth birthday. The most veteran and winningest LCS player, this 2015 Spring Split marking his 5th LCS chapmionship appearance and winning his fourth title as a team member of Fnatic. Leading his team to an undefeated 2015 Summer Split, Yellowstar is often credited by the rest of the team as the best support player they've ever seen. He is predominantly named as the reason the team works so well and feels like a family.

    • Elements (formerly Alliance and Evil Geniuses)
      • Top: Jwaow:
      • Jungle: Dexter:
      • Mid: Froggen:
      • Marksman: Tabzz:
      • Support: Nyph:

    • Origen: Formed by former Fnatic mid-laner xPeke, Origen won the 2015 Spring Promotion Tournament to join the 2015 Summer Split of the European LCS.
      • Top: Paul "sOAZ" Boyer:
      • Jungle: Maurice "Amazing" Stückenschneider:
      • Mid: Enrique "xpeke" Cedeño Martínez: Perhaps one of the best players in his entire region, if not the world, Peke was best known for his time in Fnatic as one of the original squad members. 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 had 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. He left Fnatic at the end of the 2014 season to form his own team, Origen.
      • Marksman: Niels
      • Support: Mithy

    • SK Gaming
      • Top: fredy122
      • Jungle: Svenskeren
      • Mid: Fox
      • Marksman: CandyPanda
      • Support: nRated

    • Unicorns of Love: Joining the EU LCS since the 2015 Spring Split, UOL are known for their unpredictable playstyle and oddball picks such as Poppy, Udyr, Yorick and Shaco.
      • Top: Visiczacsi
      • Jungle: Kikis
      • Mid: PowerOfEvil
      • Marksman: Vardags
      • Support: Hylissang
      • Coach: Sheepie

    • H2K
      • Top: Odoamne
      • Jungle: Loulex
      • Mid: Ryu
      • Marksman: Hjarnan
      • Support: KaSing
      • Sub: betongJocke
      • Coach: Neil "pr0lly" Hammad

    • Roccat (formerly Kiedys Mialem Team)
    • Copenhagen Wolves
    • Giants Gaming
    • against All authority - Season 1 Runners-Up

  • Korea

    • SK Telecom T1 - Season 3, Season 5, and Season 6 Champions, Season 7 Runners-up
      • First team to win multiple world titles, as well as first team to win two titles back to back. Their winning streak was ended when Samsung Galaxy met them in the Finals for the second straight year and swept them.
      • Mid: Faker: Considered by many to be one of - if not THE best Lo L player in the world. One of his most infamous moment was solo killing a 100HP. He has played many champions - from assassins like Zed to burst nuker like Leblanc - but one of the champion most associated with him is Ryze.
    • CJ Entus
    • KT Rolster
    • Najin eM-fire
      • Originally Najin Black Sword and White Sword, became Najin Sword and Shield, before merging to form eM-fire.
    • Samsung Galaxy - Season 4 Champions as Samsung White and Runners-Up as Samsung Blue, Season 6 Runners-Up, Season 7 Champions
      • Have appeared, in a manner of speaking, in four World Championship Finals, and won their first title against themselves (Samsung White defeated Samsung Blue in Season 4's finals). Season 5 saw them be rebranded and rebuilt from the ground up and make it to the World Championship Finals in Season 6, though they ultimately fell short to SK Telecom T1 despite forcing Game 5 after being down 2-0. Season 7 saw them sweep SK Teletom T1 in the Finals in a result no one predicted, ending SK Telecom T1's undefeated record in Best-Of series.
    • ROX Tigers - Season 5 Runners-Up
      • Formerly KOO Tigers/GE Tigers
    • Jin Air Greenwings
    • Incredible Miracle
    • Sbenu Sonicboom

  • China

    • Royal Never Give Up - Season 3 Runners-Up as Star Horn Royal Club.
    • Edward Gaming
    • Invictus Gaming
    • LGD Gaming
    • OMG
    • Positive Energy
    • Qiao Gu (QG)
    • Snake
    • Unlimited Potential
    • Vici Gaming
    • World Elite

  • Vietnam

    • Saigon Jokers

    • Gigabyte Marines: Relatively new to the world wide scene, the Marines nevertheless made their mark in history when they tear Fnatic apart in their first outing at Worlds 2017, creating of the most memorable game of the tournament. For the record, if anyone mentions the 5:10 Nocturne ultimate, it's this game.
      • Jungle: Levi: While he has moved on to the LCS Academy scene, Levi remains the most iconic members of GAM. His aggressive jungling style, coupled with his mastery on champs like Kha'zix and Lee Sin, made him a formidable opponent.

  • Southeast Asia

    • ahq e-Sports
    • Bangkok Titans
    • KL Hunters
    • Manila Eagles
    • Mineski
    • Neolution Full Louis
    • Azubu Taipei Assassins - Season 2 Champions
    • Azubu Taipei Snipers
    • Azubu Frost - Season 2 Runners-Up
    • Yoe Flash Wolves

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 DotA (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 pitted the sixteen best Dota teams in the world at that time and largest e-sport tournament prize 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 boasted a prize pool 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 prize pool 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. 2014 Compendium helped raise a prize pool of 11 million, with the winning team receiving roughly five million dollars. The prize pool simply kept going up and up, breaking their own records year by year. At The International 2015, the prize pool was about 18.5 million dollars, with 6.6 million going to the winners. At The International 2016, it went up to 20.7 million, with about 9 million awarded to the winners. And at The International 2017, it went to 24.7 million with 10 million going to the winners. Currently, TI7 holds the record for the biggest prize pool in an esports event.

The trophy of The International is called Aegis of the Champions. So far, the Aegis holders are:
  • Natus Vincere (a.k.a. Na'Vi) from Ukraine (The International 2011)
  • Invictus Gaming from China (The International 2012)
  • The Alliance from Sweden (The International 2013)
  • Newbee from China (The International 2014)
  • Evil Geniuses from the United States of America (The International 2015)
  • Wings Gaming from China (The International 2016)
  • Team Liquid from Europe (The International 2017)

Dota Pro Circuit

In July 2017, Valve announced significant changes to the Major Championship circuit which have occurred after the year's International: Major Championships other than TI are third-party tournaments chosen to receive a $500k USD sponsorship from Valve in addition to the event's own prize pool. There are two requirements to be met for this to occur: First, it must have a minimum prize pool of $500k USD, and; Second, there must at least be one qualifier from each of the six regions (EU, CIS, NA, SA, CN, and SEA). In addition to this, Valve will also sponsor smaller tournaments called Minors. While similar in requirements, the prize pool is smaller, requiring a minimum of $150k USD for a $150k USD sponsorship from Valve. Thus, all but one of the eligible Majors had a prize pool of $1,000,000 USD, while almost all the Minors have a $300,000 USD prize pool.

A team competing in these Majors and Minors will award qualifying points to players which will be the sole criteria to earn a Direct Invite to The International. Points will be awarded based on the total prize pool of a tournament, with the Majors giving out more points per prize pool dollar. Only the top 4 teams will earn points depending on their placement, and only the top 3 point earners of each team will contribute towards a team's total qualifying points.

For The International 2018, unlike the 2012-2017 iterations, where it was held in Seattle, Washington note , it will be held in Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada due to renovations at KeyArena. The Battle Pass has been announced, and with that, the contributions to the prize pool have started, already hitting $10 million in just 12 days. Also, with the Dota Pro Circuit, the direct invites to The International have become more clear. It should be noted that as each Major and Minor passes, depending on the results, the point threshold becomes lower and lower as the DPC comes to an end with the last Major in the season, in this case being the China Dota2 Supermajor, which comes in June 2. Immediately after, all 8 teams would then be determined and invited.

Here are the final top 8 teams of the Dota Pro Circuit with their points:
  • 1st: - 12372 points (Earned Direct Invite with their win at The Bucharest Major in March)
  • 2nd: Team Liquid - 9459 points (Earned Direct Invite with their 2nd place finish at EPICENTER XL in May)
  • 3rd: PSG.LGD - 7332 points (Earned Direct Invite with their win at MDL Changsha Major in May)
  • 4th: Team Secret - 5136 points (Earned Direct Invite with their 3rd-4th place finish at GESC Thailand Minor in May)
  • 5th: Mineski - 3150 points (Earned Direct Invite during Supermajor)
  • 6th: Vici Gaming - 2835 points (Earned Direct Invite during Supermajor)
  • 7th: Newbee - 2445 points (Earned Direct Invite during Supermajor)
  • 8th: VGJ.Thunder - 1935 points (Earned Direct Invite during Supermajor)

Notable teams in their region and their current roster

  • Europe/Commonwealth of Independent States
    • Currently the best team in the world, they have won four majors note  in the 2017-18 Dota Pro Circuit, and as a result, have already secured themselves an invite to The International 2018. They are known for their very deep hero pool, and at one time, in a single tournament, they almost never picked the same hero twice in their matches. They won their fourth Major at ESL One Birmingham, going undefeated in the whole tournament, not dropping a single game. While ultimately falling short of a fifth Major victory at the China Supermajor, falling to Liquid in five games, they end in first in the DPC rankings, with 12372 points.
      • Carry: Roman "RAMZES666" Kushnarev: Known for his signature Lifestealer, he's currently considered as one of the best players in the world.
      • Support/Captain: Alexei "Solo" Berezin: Yes, he's that Solo, the player who bet $100 against his own team and threw his match, and his winnings would've amounted to $322. Since then, he's worked hard to regain his reputation, and while '322' will not be forgotten, he's gotten back into the good graces of fans around the community, and he's now VP's captain and drafter.
      • Mid: Vladimir "No[o]ne" Minenko
      • Support: Vladimir "RodjER" Nikogosyan: Ex-Team Empire and Na'Vi, he was traded to VP for longtime VP support player Lil, and since then he's proven himself as once of the best support players in the world.
      • Offlane: Pavel "9pasha" Khvastunov
      • Coach: Ivan "Artstyle" Antonov: The former captain and drafter of Na'Vi, their old teammate from their glory days who came back from retirement in an attempt to drag them out of their slump. Known as a master drafter and the 'China-Slayer', he has now retired from competition to take on a coaching role, now becoming VP's coach.

    • Team Liquid: Formerly an NA region mainstay, after picking up the 5Jungz roster note , they've now moved to Europe. After a disappointing Top 8 finish at The International 2016, FATA- and JerAx left the team, but this left the door wide open for Miracle- and GH to take their place, and the team started winning. A lot. With numerous first place finishes in the months leading up to the 2017 International, the team was considered as one of the best teams in the world, and were the heavy favorites to win it all. And win they did, despite being sent down to the Lower Bracket early by Invictus Gaming. They also became the first team to sweep a TI Grand Final, 3-0 against Newbee. Now, they are once again considered favorites in the Dota Pro Circuit on the road to The International 2018, but other teams have begun to catch up and match to their power, the two foremost being (who may have already surpassed them, if DPC points are to be considered) and PSG.LGD. With a 2nd place finish at EPICENTER XL, they have secured enough points for a Direct Invite to The International 2018. After bombing out of ESL One Birmingham 2018 at 7th-9th, Liquid roared back with a vengeance and finally won their first Major post-TI7, defeating in the finals after five grueling games, dropping only three games from the start of the entire tournament, earning some much-needed momentum on the road to The International 2018. They finish the DPC at 2nd place with 9459 points.
      • Support/Captain: Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi: Ex-Na'Vi and Secret, he has really come onto his own after departing from Secret, stepping down from being the carry of his team to being their support, captain, and drafter. Considered as one of the veterans of Dota 2, he has participated in all 7 iterations of The International, finally winning the latest one. People have praised him for his leadership style and drafting, and his success will just continue, as the team is set for a direct invite for The International 2018.
      • Carry: Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen : A Finnish player, he was one of the original four players that played with Kuro when they were a part of 5Jungz, known for his Lone Druid and Necrophos.
      • Offlane: Ivan Borislavov "MinD_ContRoL" Ivanov: Another one of the original four, he's known for his Nature's Prophet play.
      • Midlane: Amer "Miracle-" Al-Barqawi: Ex-OG, at the start of his career he was a pubstar with the highest MMR in the world, which was part of why former teammate n0tail pursued him to join the team. Just two months into his pro career, he had already won a Major, and eventually became the first person to reach 9K MMR. But after a shocking elimination at the hands of TNC at TI6, he left the team to join this team, and while the team's had moderate results initially, but not to the point of being considered one of the best, it wasn't until the player below this entry joined the team. He's known for his Anti-Mage, Queen of Pain, and even a pocket Earthshaker.
      • Support: Maroun "GH" Merhej: Another former pubstar, he joined the team at the dawn of 2017 (literally; he joined Liquid on January 2, 2017), and subsequently turned the team's fortunes around, as after picking him up, this was when they began their dominance on the EU scene. Considered as one of the best supports in the world, he's known for his Io, Keeper of the Light, and support Earthshaker. And one more thing to consider: he won the Aegis of Champions just eight months into his professional career. It was a very successful rookie year for the Lebanese player.

    • Team Secret: Europe's All-Star team, comprising the best players from some of the best teams around. Were burdened by heavy expectations when they formed and went through a few roster changes of their own. Even then, they continued to fall short of the finish multiple times- however, recent signs have shown them becoming a dominant force equaled only by very few others. Prior to The International 2016, they are the only team not named OG to have won a Valve Major, which was held in Shanghai. Even with their subpar 3rd-4th place finish at GESC Thailand, they've earned enough points to earn themselves a direct invite to TI8. They end the season at 4th place in the Dota Pro Circuit, with 5136 points.
      • Support/Captain: Clement "Puppey" Ivanov: Legendary support player, captain and drafter. Ex-Na'Vi, and led the team to greatness for three years. Known for his spectacular jungle play and genius drafting. One of the most popular players around. He has also participated in all 7 iterations of The International, winning the very first one with Natus Vincere. He is set to participate his 8th International, having secured an invite with the team.
      • Carry: Marcus "Ace" Hoelgaard
      • Mid: Yeik "MidOne" Nai Zheng: Ex-Fnatic. It's in his name. He's considered one of the best midlaners in the world.
      • Offlane: Adrien "Fata" Trinks: Ex-Liquid, after leaving the team to take a break from competitive Dota, he soon returned to play, this time joining Secret as an Offlaner.
      • Support: Yaziel "YapzOr" Jaradat

    • OG: The team was formed after The International 2015 and before the Frankfurt Major 2015, where they went by the name of (monkey) Business before being re-branded as OG before Frankfurt. Known for four things: winning the Frankfurt Major through the entire lower bracket, being swept by the underdogs TNC Pro Team at The International 2016, being 4-time Valve Major winners, note  and having a roster that has usually stayed together for the most part, which was actually the whole point of OG, as stated by team founders and players n0tail and Fly. note  But with Resolut1on's departure from the team during the Pro Circuit, note  Fly and s4's move to Evil Geniuses, and 7ckngmad's return to coaching the team, the status of OG is now up in the air, especially after they have withdrawn from the China Supermajor. It didn't take long for them to reform their roster, with 7ckngmad's going full-time as a player, ana's return to the team, and the pick-up of yet another pubstar in Topson. With this, N0tail moves to the captain and support role, the latter role which he is familiar with in his previous stints with other teams. They finish 14th in the Pro Circuit with 930 points.
      • Support/Captain: Johan "N0tail" Sundstein: Ex-Fnatic, Secret, and Cloud9, he now returns to the carry role, and is still known for his Meepo and Io. During one game, when one of their teammates got disconnected from the match and could not be able to reconnect, he decided to play his teammate's hero, which was Io. Fortunately, he was playing as Tiny, and the two heroes have great synergy, and with his reputation as one of the best Io players in the world, he had no problems playing two heroes. The team won that game despite essentially going 4v5.
      • Support: Jesse "JerAx" Vainikka: Ex-Team Liquid, he had departed from that team to take a break from professional Dota, but soon enough returned to action, this time as part of OG, proving himself as a very reliable support.
      • Offlane: Sébastien "7ckngmad" Debs: Formerly a coach for OG, after Reso's departure he became the team's temporary replacement, but with s4 and Fly's switch to EG, he has now started to play full-time as a player.
      • Carry: Anathan "ana" Pham: A key player in the team's victories in the Boston and Kiev Majors, he now returns to the team as a carry once again.
      • Midlane: Tovias "Topson" Taavitsainen

    • Alliance: the once-legendary star of the Dota 2 scene that dominated the metagame, and won The International 2013 a mere seven months after its formation, formerly "No Tidehunter" (actually they picked him once). Their rivalry with Na'Vi was legendary, now dubbed as the 'El Clasico' of Dota 2. Based in Sweden, The Alliance is basically a Swedish all-stars team, although recently they have allowed a Frenchman in. 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 nerfed some of the basic aspects in Dota (jungle tweaks, buyback, Roshan respawn time, etc). Like Na'Vi, they've become a remnant of their past glory as one of the best teams in the world, the team having went through so many roster changes, having been surpassed by other teams like and Evil Geniuses. While they had reformed in mid-2016, it was short-lived. They didn't qualify for The International 2017.
      • Coach: Jonathan "Loda" Berg: A Dota legend 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. He announced his retirement on June 3, 2018, stepping down from an active role to be a coach for the team.
      • Carry: Maximillian "qojqva" Bröcker
      • Mid: Michael "miCKe" Vu
      • Offlane: Samuel "Boxi" Svahn
      • Support: Aydin "iNSaNiA" Sarkohi
      • Support: Tommy "Taiga" Le

    • 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 used to be the most consistent and best team for a long period; however, like Alliance, they are now a remnant of the glory days in its first few years of Dota 2. None became more evident of it than when they had been unable to qualify for The International 2017, marking the first time in the tournament's history that the team will not participate. Still, many players and fans of the Dota 2 community will remember their time as the best team in the world in its early years. Like 2017, Na'Vi are unable to secure a spot in The International 2018, losing in the Open Qualifiers.
      • Mid/Captain: Danil "Dendi" Ishutin: 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. Now, while he's still playing in his best role as their midlaner, with Sonneiko's departure, he has now become the captain of the team.
      • Offlane: Victor "GeneRaL" Nigrini
      • Carry: Vladislav "Crystallize" Krystanek
      • Support: Fedor "velheor" Rusihin
      • Support: Ilya "Lil" Ilyuk: Longtime VP support, he was traded to Na'Vi for RodjER.
      • Coach: Alexander "XBOCT" Dashkevich: One of the craziest carry players 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 an epic fail... coined the term "XBOCT Throws" because of it. XBOCT means "tail" in Russian (you read it as "hvost"). He has now taken a step back from the competitive game he has played so much to become a coach for the team that he was with in its first few years of Dota 2.

  • United States
    • Evil Geniuses: The premiere North American e-sports organization, boasting highly-successful players across each competitive game. EG's Dota teams also bear some Dota legendary players. The current squad was formed from the team S A D B O Y S, which is one of the most dominant team during 2014 despite Fear's absent from the team. Following Fear's return, and a roster changes, they consistently shows dominant performance in every tournament with a popular rivalry with Team Secret. Won DAC and The International 2015. Also infamous for being a slow starter, they will perform poorly in Day 1 of the tournament only to come back big time in the final days of the tournament which gives them a consistent showing on the Grand Finals. Since then, the team hasn't had much success after TI5, 3rd place finish at TI6 aside, with their lowest point being a 9th-12th finish at The International 2017, upset by Team Empire. With 1335 points to their name, they finish at 11th in the DPC. Just a day after their disappointing run at Birmingham, winning zero games, they shocked the world by removing both Fear and Misery. Who takes their place? OG captain Fly and offlaner s4, now hoping the shift will turn the tides for the most popular NA squad in the world.
      • Support/Captain: Tal "Fly" Aizik: Ex-Secret, coL, and Fnatic, the longest-tenured player of OG alongside N0tail up to this point, a well-versed drafter and captain, results in the Pro Circuit have not gone well for his old team, causing a massive shift that changed both teams. Reuniting with his fellow support teammate Cr1t, he now hopes to lead this team to a berth at TI.
      • Offlane: Gustav "s4" Magnusson: A legendary player as part of the 2013 Alliance team that won TI3, known for the 'Million Dollar Dream Coils' in the grand finals, but since then he's not had much success until he joined OG post TI6, winning two majors with the team. After underwhelming results in the Pro Circuit, he rejoins his old Secret teammate Arteezy in hopes to qualify for TI through the Open Qualifiers.
      • Carry: Artour "Arteezy" Babaev: A player who's known to experiment in his position, he's still considered as one of the best, but not so much anymore. He's known for switching between EG and Team Secret, and is also known for the Babyrage meme. With Fear's departure, he now stays as the carry of the team.
      • Midlane: Syed Sumail "Suma1L" Hassan: Youngest Dota 2 competitive player that play in highest tier with HUGE potential and a crowd pleaser with his mechanical skills and flashy, extremely aggresive performance. Only 15 years-old and from Pakistan, his Storm Spirit is a thing of beauty to watch. Since switching to play in the Offlane to make room for Fear and Arteezy, however, he's struggled. After Fear's departure, he's returned to the midlane to make way for s4 in the offlane, to which he's become good at during his time with OG. Hopefully, Sumail's return to the midlane role will put him back to form.
      • Support: Andreas Franck "Cr1t-" Nielsen Ex-OG, he is a 2-time Major winner with the team. After TI6, he joined the team, hoping for a fresh start.

    • Cloud9: One of the most popular team in community based on their plays and player's personality. Formerly Speed,, and Kaipi. A team known famously for throwing away some games that looked un-loseable, extremely inconsistent performance, creative drafts, and for placing second ten times at ten different tournaments in a single year. Unfortunately, after recent failures and inconsistency, the organization has decided to disband their Dota 2 roster in mid-2017.

    • OpTic Gaming: Formed after The International 2017, under the same OpTic Gaming organization that had huge success in the Call of Duty pro scene, the team is led by former EG members ppd and zai. A Fter their 2nd place finish at Birmingham, they are 9th in the Pro Circuit, with 1800 points, just short of making it to the top 8, as Birmingham was their final appearance...or so we thought. With OG's withdrawal from the Supermajor, the team was selected over Fnatic to compete in Shanghai, which means they have one last shot to secure themselves a direct invite, needing at least a top 4 finish to secure an invite should VGJ.Thunder not finish in the top 4 either. Unfortunately, they finished in 5th-6th, crushed by CIS juggernauts in two games. They must now earn their invite to TI through the regional qualifiers.
      • Support/Captain: Peter "ppd" Dager: Former captain of EG and one of the best Captains in the world. One of the most selfless support player in the scene, often having an obscenely low net worth and known to favor defensively oriented support heroes such as Treant Protector. Known for his 'saltiness'.
      • Support: Ludwig "zai" Wahlberg
      • Carry: Per Anders Olsson "Pajkatt" Lille
      • Midlane: Quinn "CC&C" Callahan
      • Offlane: Neta "33" Shapira

    • VGJ.Storm: Formed in September 2017, they are the North American sister team of VGJ.Thunder. Despite the roster changes after the lock, most notably and recently the addition of Ex-OG player Resolut1on, and thus must qualify to TI through the Open Qualifiers, the team is slowly rising to possibly be the contender for North America, winning the GESC Thailand Minor after upsetting Fnatic in the semis and beating Keen Gaming in consecutive sweeps. However, they must go through OpTic and EG to do so. They have two more showings to prove themselves before the open qualifiers, in the MDL Changsha Major and the China Dota2 Supermajor. At MDL, they put on a hell of a performance, getting all the way to the grand finals before falling to PSG.LGD. This team is certainly on the rise. They finished 10th in the DPC, with 1347 points.
      • Carry: Yawar "YawaR" Hassan: Sumail's brother.
      • Midlane: Roman "Resolut1on" Fominok: Ukrainian prodigy who was a part of the Digital Chaos squad that made their huge dark horse run at The International 2016. Famously, as he was supposed to be an analyst for the following year's International, he was picked up as a Stand-in for Team Empire after Chappie, their carry, was unable to acquire a visa in time. Still, despite a subpar group stage performance by the team, they upset Evil Geniuses in the lower bracket, before falling to eventual champions Team Liquid. Since then, he joined OG, but left for unknown reasons after just six months. He was a Stand-in for Effect at DAC 2018, and eventually joined this team, replacing Timado.
      • Offlane: Jingjun "Sneyking" Wu
      • Support: Arif "MSS" Anwar
      • Support/Captain: Avery "SVG" Silverman

  • China
    • PSG.LGD: Formerly known as LGD Gaming, this is a Chinese powerhouse that somehow never manages to make it to the top at the grandest stage of them all. The 2017-18 Dota Pro Circuit, however, may change that, with their highest point being a 2nd place finish at DAC 2018, defeating to get to the Grand Finals. Since partnering with Paris Saint-Germain, they are now branded as PSG.LGD. At EPICENTER XL, they finally give China their first Major victory, defeating European juggernauts Team Liquid in the Grand Finals. With these two impressive finishes, they've now established themselves as currently the best Chinese team, and a high favorite in The International 2018. They've now won a second Major at MDL Changsha, sweeping VGJ.Storm in the grand finals. With this, they become the fourth team to secure a direct invite to TI8. With Team Liquid and finishing them off in 3rd place at the Supermajor, they finish 3rd in the Pro Circuit with 7332 points.
      • Carry: Wang "Ame" Chungyu
      • Support/Captain: Xu "fy" Linsen: A veritable support, he is feared for Rubick, making a mark for himself at The International 2015, and he's sometimes called 'f-God'.
      • Offlane: Yang "Chalice" Shenyi
      • Mid: Lu "Somnus丶M" Yao: A Dota 2 veteran, he's either called this or his old name of Maybe. He's stuck with LGD since 2015, and has grown immensely as a player.
      • Support: Yap "xNova" Jiang Wei

    • Invictus Gaming: Chinese multi-platform organization that won The International 2012. They haven't been as strong since then, but their (possibly) last grasp of glory came when Dota legend BurNIng returned to lead his team to a huge victory at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017, sweeping 4-time Major winners OG 3-0.
      • Mid: Lin "Xxs" Jing
      • Carry: Sun "Agressif" Zheng: One of the five players from the CDEC Gaming roster that finished in 2nd place at TI5, coming from the wildcards all the way to the Grand Final.
      • Support: Ye "BoBoKa" Zhibiao
      • Offlane: Sun "Srf" Runfa
      • Support/Captain: Fu "Q" Bin: Also one of the five players from the CDEC Gaming roster that finished in 2nd place at TI5.

    • Vici Gaming: In the 2017-18 Dota Pro Circuit, it seems the team has finally returned to top form, contesting with Newbee, VGJ.Thunder, and PSG.LGD. They finished 6th in the Pro Circuit with 2835 points.
      • Support/Captain: Lu "Fenrir" Chao:
      • Support: Zhang "LaNm" Zhicheng
      • Offlane: Ren "eLeVeN" Yangwei
      • Mid: Zheng "Ori" Jiaoyang
      • Carry: Zhang "Paparazi灬" Chengjun
      • Coach: Tong "Mikasa" Junjie

    • 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. They won the International 2014, then went into a huge slump and lost players, until now they are a shade of their old self - but still enough to put up a good fight. They became just the second team to appear more than once in a TI grand final, but unfortunately, become the first team to be swept in a TI grand final, courtesy of longtime rival Team Liquid. In the Dota Pro Circuit, they finish at 7th place with 2445 points.
      • Carry: Xu "Moogy" Han
      • Midlane: Song "Sccc" Chun
      • Offlane: Damien "kpii" Chok
      • Support: Hu "Kaka" Liangzhi
      • Support/Captain: Zheng "Faith" Hongda: A TI winner from the Invictus Gaming roster in 2012, he becomes the latest player (along with KuroKy) to have participated in a TI Grand Final twice. He still continues his role from iG as Newbee's captain and drafter.

    • VGJ.Thunder: Formed in September 2016 (then called Team VGJ), it was created after an agreement among China Digital Culture (Group) Limited, Chinese professional e-sports organization Vici Gaming, and professional basketball player Jeremy Lin, who is endorsing the team, hence the VGJ name (with the 'J' named after the first letter in Jeremy's name). In the following year, Team VGJ was rebranded into VGJ.Thunder. They've had moderate success since then, with their highest point being a 2nd place finish in The Bucharest Major. In the DPC, they finished at 8th place with 1935 points. Despite it's recent founding, it is a team not to be underestimated. Despite bombing out of the China Supermajor at 9th-12th, with OpTic Gaming finishing at 5th-6th, they keep their 8th place spot in the DPC, thus earning a Direct Invite.
      • Carry: Liu "Sylar" Jiajun
      • Midlane: Liu "Freeze" Chang
      • Offlane: Zhou "Yang" Haiyang
      • Support/Captain: Pan "Fade" Yi
      • Support: Leong "ddc" Fat-meng (on loan from LGD.Forever Young): One of the veterans of Dota 2, he is one of three players who have participated in all 7 iterations of The International (the other two being KuroKy and Puppey). And just like the two, he's set for an 8th participation, having secured an invite to this year's International.

  • South East Asia

    • Mineski: Years since the first International, the formerly all-Filipino team has gone the full SEA region, boasting some of the best players the region has to offer, and have become a powerhouse on the road to The International 2018. Recently, they were the victors of The Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018, defeating LGD Gaming in a full 5 game series. Could TI8 be the iteration where an SEA team finally wins it? Time will tell. They finish 5th in the Pro Circuit, with 3150 points.
      • Midlane: Chai "Mushi" Yee Fung: One of the best midlaners in the world, Mushi was a part of the famous Orange.Neolution roster that garnered 3rd place at The International 2013. He was also part of the Team DK roster that placed 4th at The International 2014 and the Fnatic roster that placed 4th at The International 2016.
      • Offlane: Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang
      • Carry: Kam "Moon" Boon Seng
      • Support: Anuncha "Jabz" Jirawong
      • Support/Captain: Michael "ninjaboogie" Ross Jr.

    • TNC Pro Team: The team was relatively unknown at the time, failing to win the qualifiers for the three Majors before The International 2016. Once they picked up veteran Jimmy "DeMoN" Ho to guide them, however, they immediately became a dark horse candidate, winning first place in the SEA qualifiers for that year's International. And then their popularity exploded when they won against heavy favorites OG in the Lower Bracket, sending them packing at 9th-12th. Since then, they've steadily held their own in their region, but the now all-Filipino roster has huge potential, having taken a respectable 4th place finish at the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2018. In the Dota Pro Circuit, they finish 17th with 495 points.
      • Midlane: Armel Paul "Armel" Tabios: The recent pick-up for TNC after 1437's departure, he's a talented midlaner who is beginning to really show his own prowess in the scene.
      • Offlane: Sam "Sam_H" Hidalgo
      • Carry: Marc Polo Luis "Raven" Fausto
      • Support: Timothy "Tims" Randrup: A support known for his Nyx Assassin and Sand King plays.
      • Support/Captain: Carlo "Kuku" Palad: A former midlaner, once the organization picked up Armel, he now plays the hard support role for the team. However, like Team Liquid's Kuroky, he has transitioned well into being the team's captain and drafter, and the team has become known for their warding prowess.
      • Coach: Nico "eyyou" Barcelon

    • Fnatic: Since the 2016 iteration of the International, where they placed 4th, which was led by Mushi (now on Mineski), the team has underwent numerous roster changes and slumps, culminating in their disappointing performance at The International 2017, where they bowed out in last place. Since then, they've been considered as a team that has been very consistent in their own region, but haven't been getting much success lately. Also known for kicking out a player during a pizza party after their qualifier victory for ESL One Katowice 2018. Other players have somewhat criticized the team for being considered as an SEA team, since currently, 3 of the 5 players are not from the region, and coincidentally, all three are once teammates from Secret. They finish 12th in the DPC, with 1265 points.
      • Carry: Jacky "EternaLEnVy" Mao: Ex-C9 and Secret, he's now the leader for this SEA squad, and he's still a player who's either delivered when it mattered, or couldn't.
      • Midlane: Abed Azel "Abed" Yusop: A Filipino who was the first to reach 10k MMR, he's known for playing well on complex heroes, such as Meepo, Tinker, and Invoker.
      • Offlane: Saahil "Universe" Arora: Ex-Evil Geniuses and Secret, after leaving the NA team, he was the player that replaced Fnatic mainstay Ohaiyo, who, as stated in the above, was informed of his release by the team during a pizza party. Still, Uni has continued to play well, known for his Tidehunter and Faceless Void, and so far, it seems that the replacement has been worth it, but time will tell if it leads to a qualification for the 2018 International.
      • Support: Djardel Jicko "DJ" Mampusti: Another Filipino (and the only other SEA player for the team), he's a very viable support known for his Shadow Shaman and Enigma, especially Enigma, during Fnatic's match against LGD Gaming at the 2016 Manila Major.
      • Support/Captain: Johan "pieliedie" Åström: Ex-Secret and C9, he still occasionally plays the rare Position 6 role.

  • Prominent Community Members
    • TobiWan: 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.
    • ODPixel: A prominent caster, his popularity spiked when he casted alongside Purge the infamous 200 minute match between SFZ and Cloud9. Since then, he has casted in various Majors, including The International.

     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. Of course, 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 are invited to the Global Finals at Blizzcon in November.

  • 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 (Former 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", and one of the greatest SC 2 players there ever was. Deserves special mention for suffering from a spinal condition that caused extreme pain, sometimes numbness/paralysis in his arm yet still was able to defeat the best players long past his own prime.
      • 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 ever, having earned over $500,000 USD in prize money before retiring in 2015 at the age of 24.
    • 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 one of the best foreigners around. 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. He and Life, who won WCS in 2014, also made history as the second and first (respectively) people ever to play in two WCS Grand Finals rounds. He then made history again by becoming the sole person who has ever won two WCS Grand Finals, winning the 2015 World Champion after a tense 4:3 victory.
    • 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 the very first foreigner ever to earn enough WCS points to make the Global Finals (he was #16 in 2013). He has also been dogged by controversy, and is currently retired from StarCraft in preference to Heroes of the Storm.
    • Lilbow. A French Protoss play for Millenium, he rose to prominence in 2015. For WCS Season 2, he placed second behind Hydra, becoming the second foreigner, after Stephano, to ever win second place in any WCS season (even though, until 2015, they had been split into American, European and Korean regions). In WCS Season 3, he topped himself by becoming the first foreigner ever to win a WCS Season, ever. He also joined NaNiwa on the list of foreigners who have made it into the WCS Global Finals (he's seeded #13).

  • 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.
    • Pomf & Thud is a duo of successful French shoutcasters who rose to fame during Wings Of Liberty when they started posting YouTube videos of random pro games, and quickly garnered a rather large fanbase. They are major actors of the French professionnal scene, and even have some international fame after the organization of the Iron Squid tournaments (two so far, which both featured the best players in the world) and the Nation Wars'', a tournament where teams of three players of a given country fought against each other to see which one was the strongest (aside from South Korea). They know have the rights to comment the GSL and Proleague games, which they do along with a bunch of other commentators on their web TV "O'Gaming TV", and host a monthly tournament called Underdogs between French-speaking (formerly French only, now extended to Belgian and Swiss) players. They also usually comment all the other big events such as the WCS, IEM or Red Bull Battlegrounds.

     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. VGC 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; a near-exact copy of his Metagross was distributed at national-level tournaments in several countries, and his 2012 Worlds team was made into a downloadable opponent for Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. In 2014, he became embroiled in some minor controversy after he apparently 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, leading to memes that Pachirisu is a Glacier Waif and Korea's national Pokémon. In honor of his victory, The Pokémon Company's Korean branch held a celebration in Seoul called Champion's Day, complete with a Pikachu parade. Subsequent years have seen him picking up the TCG in addition to his continued participation in VGC.