2018 Bold Predictions in Esports

I started this article last year, loved it, and could not wait to continue it in 2018. If anyone was wondering how the idea came to mind, I was huge into fantasy sports since 2007.

My prime in fantasy sports… like sports then, lovin’ esports now.

During my time at university, my cousin and our friend that we met in IRC played on Yahoo’s Fantasy Sports site. Playing fantasy sports made me feel devoted to it that I would not study for my classes and instead read fantasy sports articles all day on ESPN and Yahoo. I felt addicted and craved for more.

Source: ESPN Photo Gallery

One day, I was sifting through the podcast directory on my iPhone and learned about ESPN’s Fantasy Focus Podcast with Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) and Nate Ravitz (@NateRavitz). During the preseason, Matthew often made a bold predictions piece for fantasy football and baseball. Some came out true, while others were farfetched and false. I was inspired to transfer this piece to esports, which would encompass the entire year rather than a season of a specific esport.

Let’s take a look at the predictions I made last year and what came out of it. If you want to look at last year’s piece, it is featured on my old blog here.

League of Legends:

  • SK Telecom T1 will make it to Worlds; however, they will not repeat as LoL World Champions and an NA team will eliminate them from contention.

SKT made it to Worlds. Unfortunately, their opponents were not from NA. They were Samsung Galaxy (now KSV Esports) and took down the giants.

  • Team SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming will not contend for a Spring and Summer Split championship. At worst, one or both of them will face relegations.

Neither team faced relegations; however, CLG did not advance to either split championship finals. TSM won the Spring and Summer Splits in 2017.

  • A superteam will form in NA composed of a combination of NA, EU, and KR players so they can be a serious contender for Worlds.

No team was close to forming a super team in NA.

  • Some sort of scandal will come out where a player or two are using drug enhancements.

Fortunately, there were no drug scandals in esports.

  • Worlds will be broadcasted on a major television network (ie. ESPN, FOX, NBC, or CBS).

No deals struck as of yet, but with the standard of production rising, esports is inching closer to the mainstream audience.

Starcraft:

  • Neeb will win a major tournament defeating ByuN and InNoVation in the process.

While Neeb was the strongest foreigner, he did not make it into the main stage at Blizzcon.

  • SC2 and Brood War resurrecting with support from teams, players, and fans. Its viewership will have the biggest increase in all eSports.

ASL had a great 2017, but Brood War’s popularity remained stagnant.

  • NA teams such as Team SoloMid, Cloud 9, and Counter Logic Gaming will acquire ByuN, InNoVation, Scarlett, Neeb, SoS, and soO.

Wishful thinking on my end. I still believe Starcraft will rise again in popularity someday.

  • Prize pool at Blizzcon will be $500,000.

Hurray! I kind of got this right. The base prize pool was $500,000. Rogue, who won the championship took home $280,000.

Overwatch:

  • Overwatch will overtake Counter-Strike in viewership, leading to a more prominent role in TBS and ELEAGUE.

CS:GO is still high in popularity. I will discuss about Overwatch’s popularity in this article.

  • Overwatch League will become a standard for how leagues in other eSports operate (ie. player salary, benefits, regional teams).

Riot Games announced a franchise model for the NA LCS, which you can argue, was inspired by the Overwatch League.

  • Championship finals for Blizzcon or Overwatch League will be held at the Staples Center with mainstream coverage.

The Overwatch World Cup took place at Blizzcon in the Anaheim Convention Center.

Street Fighter:

  • Justin Wong will return to prominence and win EVO and/or Capcom Cup 2017.

Justin Wong had a solid year but did not win either EVO and Capcom Cup.

  • More eSports teams crop up and acquire players to challenge Echo Fox to be the best eSports team in Street Fighter and fighting games.

The closest to this is probably Panda Global. They raised homegrown talent Punk, who had a strong 2017 in Street Fighter V.

  • The prize pool at Capcom Cup will be $500,000, or possibly, 1 million dollars for first place.

The prize pool was $600,000 with MenaRD, Capcom Cup 2017 champion, taking home $250,000.

  • Street Fighter will get more popular and events will be held at bigger venues such as Hammerstein Ballroom, Hollywood Palladium, etc.

The biggest venue that Street Fighter was held was at the Mandalay Bay for EVO. There are no announcements concerning any FGC events held at a larger venue.

General:

  • More investors will buy out eSports teams like other professional sports teams, Google, and Microsoft.

There are no corporations that bought out any endemic esports teams. However, corporations such as Disney, Jack in the Box, etc. are starting to invest into esports.

  • The prize pool for every eSport will go higher by crowdfunding and/or Riot, Valve, or Blizzard will put in more money for their games.

Riot allowed crowdfunding during Worlds 2017 thru summoner icons, Valve did the usual for TI and the prize pool increased from 2016, and Blizzard allowed crowdfunding for the WCS Global Finals with a similar format that Valve did.

  • New eSports teams will emerge and possibly dominate top teams like Cloud 9, Team SoloMid, Team EnVyUs, OpTic Gaming, etc.
    The narrative stays the same, but with more investment going into esports, more teams established in 2017.

As more investors put money into eSports, more opportunities will arise for people to get into eSports.

Throughout 2017, more teams pop up with more opportunities for people to get into esports. If you want in, invest your time now, tell yourself how you can make a difference in esports, and make sure this is what you love to do.

Without further ado, here are my bold predictions for 2018. Note that these predictions will most likely not come true.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

League of Legends:

  • SK Telecom T1 will not win the Spring and Summer Season championships.

My reasoning: SKT made major roster changes in the offseason including Peanut and Huni leaving, and Wolf replaced by Effort. Thus far in LCK, SKT is struggling to find the same level of success they had in prior years.

  • KSV Esports will repeat as World Champs

My reasoning: No roster changes and strong team synergy. As a matter of fact, they might win the Spring and Summer seasons.

  • Team SoloMid will not win the Spring Split, then revamp their roster for Summer, and qualify for Worlds (they will not go past the group stage)

My reasoning: Major roster shakeups will leave TSM needing to find that synergy again. How soon will they find that synergy? Who knows. Week 1 in LCS does not look promising. With game reviews, communication, and working on their weaknesses during scrims, TSM has potential to show up.

  • Dardoch will sign with another team in the Summer Split

My reasoning: As the narrative goes, Dardoch signs or gets traded to another team each split. I hope he stops that streak and proves his doubters wrong. He has so much potential but has not displayed it at a high level yet.

  • A League of Legends game will air in a major North American TV network

My reasoning: I doubt this will happen this year. The BAMTech deal is a step in the right direction. Yet, we have not seen what Riot will do with the deal.

  • Team Liquid will finish 4th in the Spring or Summer Split

My reasoning: I just want to see this happen so I can LUL in chat. In all honesty, TL is a great team, they will finish Top 3 in Spring and Summer Split, and qualify for Worlds.

Source: Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch:

  • The top 3 teams in Overwatch League will be Seoul Dynasty, London Spitfire, and New York Excelsior in that particular order

My reasoning: These teams are a tier above other teams in the OWL. I will be surprised if another team overtakes one of them during the season. As far as order is concerned, Seoul Dynasty (formerly Lunatic Hai) always crushed the competition from APEX to Overwatch World Cup (when a few members teamed up together) and now. London Spitfire (formerly GC Busan and Cloud9 KongDoo) are an all-around cohesive team; however, their individual skill does not match Seoul Dynasty. New York Excelsior is a greatly skilled team from top to bottom. Saebyeolbe showed he is a monster from the Overwatch World Cup, Pine proved time and time again that he is a highly skilled DPS, especially with McCree. NYXL’s tanks and supports are solid and can carry the team to the top of the standings. When Fl0w3R is eligible to play in the Overwatch League, NYXL will be a first-place team.

  • Los Angeles Valiant will make a run for top 3 in standings

My reasoning: Many people underrated the LA Valiant going into the Overwatch League. However, they detracted their skeptics and showed they deserve to be where they are currently in the standings (currently in 4th place). They have a great team backed up by Soon, Fate, and envy. The Valiant needs to play around these players if they want to stay atop the standings.

  • Mercy will still play a significant role in the meta despite any changes

My reasoning: The current meta revolves around Mercy and her resurrection ability. Unless Mercy gets reworked sometime in 2018, resurrection will always be an issue for opposing teams.

Source: Red Bull

Starcraft:

  • A foreigner will win IEM PyeongChang

My reasoning: There are foreigners like Scarlett, Stephano (to some extent), and SpeCial that can beat the likes of sOs and Zest. However, do not ever count out sOs and Zest to take it all.

  • soO will finally win a GSL and/or WCS Global Finals

My reasoning: Following soO’s lost in the WCS Global Finals Championship, his desire to win a championship probably grew exponentially. If there’s any sign of improvement, look how he dominated GSL last week. He will no longer be the “King of Kong”.

  • Mvp makes his comeback to SC2

My reasoning: This is a very bold prediction. I would love to see the GOAT of SC2 make his comeback in a big way, but I am not holding my breath. On a good note, Polt is slated to make his comeback after his military service.

  • Flash will win every ASL season in 2018

My reasoning: Flash showed in 2017 that he is still a machine in Brood War. His skills did not diminish, no signs of injury, and no mechanical flaws in his gameplay. Flash will continue to be the GOAT in Brood War.

  • The archon duo, Tastosis announce they will cast another esport

My reasoning: This is far-fetched, but if there are unforeseen circumstances within the Starcraft scene, I can see the archon duo moving towards another esport like Overwatch League. Until then, Dan and Nick are a staple within the Starcraft community and I do not see them moving out soon.

General:

  • More organizations, more opportunities

My reasoning: As esports continues to evolve at a faster rate, more small and large organizations start to pop up. They will need assistance from people who are elated about the industry to help push esports towards a positive direction.

  • We will see investments in the $100MM range

My reasoning: With LCS and OWL evolving esports towards a franchise model, other games like Call of Duty, Vainglory, and Rocket League will create a similar franchise model and more money will come into the industry as a result. The reason why I did not include Dota 2 and CS:GO is that Valve did not suggest they will change their format as far as esports is concerned.

  • Most esports events will be held at major stadiums/arenas

My reasoning: Like similar reasons above, the popularity of esports continues to grow. With that growth comes a larger audience spanning across the nation and other countries wanting to see what the hype is about. Thus, I hope to see gaming companies coordinate their championship finals at a stadium like what Riot did in China for Worlds 2017.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.