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The 10 Biggest Esports Moments of 2020

Abhimannu Das
26/Dec/2020 11:07 am

2020 had some of the most memorable and controversial events in esports history.
League of Legends shows no signs of slowing down with Riot Games hosting the biggest Worlds event ever.
2021 is set to be even bigger with most esports events set to return to in-person tournament formats.

2020 has been one of the most disruptive years for esports, with events being shifted offline this year, but it did not stop the community from moving forward. With the year coming to a close, we look back at one of the best years in esports history. 

Daigo Is Still A Street Fighter Legend at 39

DaigoImage Credit: Rolling Stone

The “Daigo parry” is one of, if not the most iconic moment in esports history, and the esports player behind the iconic play, Daigo Umehara, has not strayed from his winning ways. The Street Fighter legend won the CPT 2020 Online Event Asia East 1 tournament, one of the biggest tournaments in his region's fighting game community. He made his way to the Capcom Cup and has proven to the world that age is just a number. The six-time EVO championship winner still has it in him, and he will go down in history as one of the greatest esports players of all time.  

Valorant Disrupts the World of Esports

ValorantImage Credit: Riot Games

Valorant is one of the most successful game releases of 2020 in not just esports but in all of gaming. Riot's brand-new game had over 1.7 million viewers tuning in to watch the game, almost overtaking League of Legends’ viewership record this year. The game caused multiple high-profile teams to sign professional rosters before Valorant even released. 2021 is set to be a big year for Valorant, with the Champions Tour kicking off next month with the likes of Cloud 9, G2, 100 Thieves, and other esports organizations heading to the global tournament. 

The International 10 Delay Halts OG’s Quest for a Hat-Trick

TI10Image Credit: Valve

OG created history by winning two TIs in a row and but they lost their opportunity to create history in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic. Valve called off The International 10 temporarily, and we will have to wait until 2021 to see OG try to secure a hat-trick of wins at the event. OG has been one of the most entertaining in the world of DOTA2 esports because of its innovation in the game. The team used an Earth Spirit and Morphling combo to earn themselves second place in the Epic League this year, and they are definitely in contention to go for their third consecutive TI win next year. 

Perkz Joins Cloud9 To Compete in NA

PerkzImage by: G2

Perkz has been one of the best players in Europe, and he joined Cloud9 this year to seek out new challenges. He has 13 wins in LCS tournaments, and he will try to prove to the world why he is one of the best players of all time. He has been playing as an AD carry, but he wanted to move back to his favorite position mid-laner at Cloud9. It will be interesting to see how he matches up against the players of NA next year. 

Rekkles Joins G2 Esports Shocking Fnatic Supporters

RekklesImage by: G2

G2 had a fantastic year across all games, but the news of Rekkles joining the team’s League of Legends roster left fans shocked. Perkz’s departure from the team to join Cloud9 meant that the team needed to make drastic changes to stay ahead of the curve. Rekkles’ signing is definitely impressive for G2. He is one of the world's best players, and the move from G2’s arch-rival team Fnatic was definitely unexpected. G2 has an unstoppable League of Legends team for Worlds 2021, and the team’s fans expect them to win Worlds 2021. 

Worlds 2020 Breaks All Records To No One’s Surprise

Worlds 2020Image by: Riot Games

With the global pandemic forcing most tournaments to be delayed or held online-only, Riot Games did not want to give up its LAN event format. They did have to make compromises and host Worlds 2020 in a very controlled environment. Despite not hosting any major stadium events or a full crowd, we saw the biggest viewership numbers the game has ever seen. With a peak concurrent viewer count of 45.95 million worldwide and a 23.04 average minute audience, this year’s event broke World’s 2019 staggering numbers with ease. With proper LAN events hopefully returning next year, Worlds 2021 might be even bigger!

Blizzard Retires Starcraft II’s World Championship Series

SC2Image by: Blizzard

In January 2020, Blizzard announced that the World Championship Series for Starcraft II would no longer be held. We have had eight WCS events between 2012 and 2019, and despite its age, Starcraft II continues to have a loyal esports community, especially in Korea. ESL and Dreamhack will be responsible for keeping the community alive with a three-year contract by Blizzard introducing a new pro tour for the game. The new format will feature two Intel Extreme Masters competitions, four Dreamhack tournaments, and Masters Championship finals at Katowice 2021 and over $4.6 million in prize pools for the tours.

EVO 2020 Marred by Sexual Harassment Controversy

EVO 2020Image by: EVO

The Evolution Championship Series is one of the most prestigious in gaming, and EVO 2020 was going to be no different. With a physical event scheduled to be held between July 31 and August 2 this year, organizations had to cancel the event due to the global pandemic. The organizers planned an online event instead from July 4 to August 2. But the online event was marred by controversy due to sexual misconduct allegations against Joey Cuellar. Capcom, Bandai Namco, NetherRealm, and Mane6 had decided to pull out from the event forcing the EVO board to offer refunds for the tickets and donating their funds for the event to Project HOPE. 

Team Secret Win Esports Team of The Year Award

Team SecretImage by: Team Secret

Team Secret had an incredible year with Clement “Puppey” Ivanov at the helm. The pandemic put the world of esports in disarray and even caused TI10 to be pushed back. But Team Secret did not let the adversity affect them as they continue to become one of the most dominant teams in DOTA2 history. They won Esports Team of The Year, and as of December, they had a 77.73% winrate across 247 professional matches. They won the OMEGA League: Europe Immortal Division and DreamLeague Season 13 this year, beating the likes of OG and Evil Geniuses. 

SF Shock Become Back-to-Back Overwatch League Champions

SF ShockImage by: Blizzard

San Francisco Shock won the Overwatch League once again this year by beating Seoul Dynasty 4-2. “Profit” put on a commendable display at the grand finals and stepped up when it mattered the most. Shock were favorites to win the tournament this year. Despite 2019 MVP “Sinatraa” leaving the team to join Sentinels’ Valorant roster, the pandemic, and a shakeup to the tournament structure, the team had no trouble sticking to their winning ways without their in-stadium fans. 

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Abhimannu Dastwitter_link

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Abhimannu Das is a part of the content team at AFK Gaming and a lifelong obsessive gamer. He is covering content on esports titles like VALORANT, CS: GO, Call of Duty, Fortnite, PUBG and more. He also writes opinion pieces, cover stories and conducts interviews with esports professionals.