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5 Professional eSports Teams You Should Know About
The world of eSports continues to grow by leaps and bounds, providing opportunities for serious competitors to build careers as professional gamers. As the scene develops, a number of highly competitive teams are emerging as leaders in their respective genres and games, employing some of the world’s top players. Pro teams attract sponsorships from a range of gaming-focused companies, providing a steady stream of income to allow players to focus exclusively on honing their skills. Larger teams bring players together in team houses to boost team cohesiveness, share learning experiences, and allow for closer personal connections with teammates. Some teams even go as far as to prescribe exercise routines and nutrition plans for members to keep their minds and bodies in top competitive condition. Teams also cover travel expenses to allow players to compete in live events around the world.
As the level of competition in games like League of Legends, StarCraft II, and DOTA 2 continues to intensify, joining a pro team is becoming more of a necessity than an advantage. In no particular order, here are five professional eSports teams on the rise today that you should know about:
Formed in 2000 in the Netherlands, Team Liquid has risen to prominence in StarCraft II and has a growing presence in Dota 2. Team Liquid has arguably done more to support the competitive StarCraft II environment than any other professional team while contracting with some of the world’s best players and hosting its own high-profile events. The Team Liquid wiki, dubbed Liquipedia, has emerged as the go-to destination for all things StarCraft II, including strategy, league stats, history, and information on every large competitive event around the world. According to Liquipedia, “The team roster’s achievements in premier events include winning four DreamHacks, two MLGs, two Assemblies, and one NASL.” The team has also had players reach the semifinals of the Korean GSL four times, making it the most successful non-Korean team in StarCraft II. Recent achievements include taking first place in the 2013 Curse Dota 2 Invitational.
Games: StarCraft II, Dota 2
compLexity Gaming has a presence in nearly every popular eSports game on the market, spanning four genres. Founded in 2003, the team boasts an impressive list of notable achievements. In addition to it’s core games, compLexity has also made a showing in FIFA, World of Warcraft, Heroes of Newerth, and Counter Strike over the years. As a high-profile team, members of compLexity Gaming have been featured on 60 Minutes and in the Wall Street Journal, and the team was the focus of a book dedicated to eSports and pro gamers. This tried and tested team continues to make strong showings in all of its featured games, and is definitely one to keep an eye on in the future. Recent achievements include TheSTC making it to the Round of 16 in the 2013 WCS America Season 1 finals.
Games: Dota 2, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, Street Fighter X Tekken, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, StarCraft II, League of Legends
Evil Geniuses is one of the oldest sponsored North American teams still in existence, supporting top-level players and taking home numerous championships since its inception in 2009. Team EG boasts some of the top players in StarCraft II at the moment, including fan favorite Stephano. Evil Geniuses sees itself as a “new-media agency.” In addition to contracting with top talent in a wide range of games, Team EG is actively involved in broadcasting and marketing competitive opportunities to would-be professionals. The team’s dedication to promoting the world of eSports in addition to its consistent showings on the world’s largest stages make it an indispensable organization, and one to keep an eye on. Recent achievements include taking first place in the 2013 EIZO Cup #1 against paIN Gaming.
Games: Dota 2, StarCraft II, Quake Live, Super Street Fighter IV, World of WarCraft, League of Legends
Incredible Miracle is a newer Korean-based organization focused on StarCraft II. The team is consistently on the top of the Korean GSL, and its players can be seen in competitions around the world. Incredible Miracle officially partnered with LG Electronics as its main sponsor in 2012 before changing the team name to LG-IM. The team doesn’t have the kind of influence over the eSports world that some other notable teams have, but its impressive pool of talent makes it a team to watch as it continues to develop. Recent achievements include members YoDa and First taking the gold at the 2013 Intel Extreme Masters tournament.
Games: StarCraft II
Team Dignitas contracts players in more games than any other in this list, even though it began solely as a Battlefield 1942 clan in 2003. Dignitas is also the only team on this list to support Xbox 360 titles like Gears of War 2 in addition to popular PC franchises. Based in the UK, Team Dignitas is a fan favorite of Europeans across the continent, and can be found in virtually all high-profile competitions throughout Europe, in addition to making appearances in North American and Russian tournaments and hosting their own invitational events. Recent achievements include taking first place in the Ritmix Russian Dota 2 League in 2013 against Virtus.pro.
Games: Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Call of Duty 4, Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike: Source, FIFA, League of Legends, Quake Live, Unreal Tournament 2004, Unreal Tournament 3, Team Fortress 2, Trackmania, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, World of Warcraft Arena, (Xbox 360 Halo 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Gears of War 2), StarCraft 2, Dota 2