The esports community is one of the largest, if not, the most epic communities brought together by video games. Everyone’s always thrilled and looking forward to what the scene would entail every other year, or month, or weeks – even. The nature of esports itself was dynamic, to the fact that it always has something different from time to time.
What can we say? esports is a global community of professional players, leagues, sponsors, and fans who work together to bring people the best games in the scene. However, we cannot deny the fact that, indeed, these professional players who work their way on the games with their teams contributed so much in the history of esports.
Their biggest games cost them exceptional talent, determination, and undeniable influence to compete in the highest levels of every esports competition. Something that earned them praises, endless sponsorships, endorsement deals, and huge prizes naturally.
While esports is mainly comprised of different games, one cannot deny that for every field, there’s a star that shines most in every game. With this, we give you five of the biggest esports players of all time – and in the entirety of the esports community!
6. Moon for Warcraft
Jang Jae Ho, also known as Moon, is widely regarded as the greatest Warcraft player throughout the years. He rose to fame for his signature Night Elf strategies that earned him the title Fifth Race – a label made for a pro player who exceeded everyone’s expectations in the game. He has won championships from all over South Korea, the home of eSports, and has then influenced many aspiring players in the scene.
Moon was a natural in the field – he knows his ways through every game, thus, winning each of them. He was a star during his time, and that particular event helped him earn his recognition as a global icon in the esports community. While his competitors, Grubby and Sky, can face him in the games; everyone else can attest to the fact that Moon has made his mark in the Warcraft scene. (See MBCGame Warcraft3 World War 2007 and IEF Finals 2008), thus, becoming one of the biggest esports players in the history.
His success made noise from place to place, which made him receive a number of worldwide recognition in 2008-2009. That’s setting aside his 7-year career track in the world of pro video gaming. In 2008, he received an esports award as the esports Player of the Year for his performance, and later in 2009, he closed a contract of $500,000 with the South Korean team WeMade FOX. He also won second place in China’s 1st 3D Electronic Games and NVIDIA Gaming Festival in 2011-2012 respectively. A concrete evidence of his success in the field and his growing popularity around the globe.
Amidst his popularity and contributions in Warcraft’s growth, teams and leagues still collapsed due to the unstable viewership and attendance during events. As these continued to fail, sponsors decided to cut ties with the field and exit the scene. Meanwhile, Moon continues his track in Starcraft II as a Zerg player in January 2012 with his team Fnatic, where he also parted ways with in December of the same year.
Regardless of the turn of events in his career, Moon continued to play his game and won several major tournaments all over the world. Thus, maintaining his title as Warcraft’s legendary player of all time.
5. Jaedong for Starcraft
South Korean pro player Lee Jae Dong, also known as Jaedong, became a Starcraft legend with his track record as a Zerg player. He’s won several competitions throughout his career while maintaining his mark in the field, thus, leading to earning several personal awards for his performance in every game.
Being a Zerg player, Jaedong has shown fans and spectators on how to beat the most difficult opponents despite the uneven maps. It was a natural gift to which he earned recognition as an important player in the Starcraft history. With his revolutionary signature strategies, he has lifted his team onto various major tournaments and boosted Starcraft’s exposure in the international scene especially during 2007-2010.
Notably, he’s won two MBCGame Starleague, three OnGameNet Starleague, and three World Cyber Games titles from 2007-2011. Thereby, being recognized as the strongest Starcraft player during his time. However, it wasn’t long enough that Jaedong met his prime rival, Lee Young Ho, also named as Flash, who replaced his spot in the KeSPA Ranking in March 2010 after a series of competitions from different tournaments and leagues. The thing is, the most game changer among their games was when they met in the Shinhan Bank Winners League 2010 – where he forgot to research Consume leading to his most significant loss in the trail of his career.
Regardless, Jaedong had his time in Starcraft. A well-celebrated supremacy that has contributed to the popularity of the said game in the esports community.
4. Fatal1ty for FPS games
Johnathan Wendel, also Fatal1ty, was a part of the esports community’s earlier beginnings. He was the most significant personality for first-person shooter games in the history of the United States, a pioneer who conquered Quake and Painkiller in the competitive gaming scene. He also possesses the highest earnings in esports and has been featured in numerous mainstream media such as Time, The New York Times, Forbes, and the BBC World Service during the peak of his career in the early 2000s.
His time in esports began in 1999, where he won Quake 3 tournament and went home with a $500 in his pocket. From there, he started winning games in Dallas and Sweden, and eventually ended with 18-won games that led to a recognition of being the best Quake player at the time.
What’s his secret? Fatal1ty took gaming as a job – thus, he studied and practiced at least 8 hours a day (or more) to beat his opponents and win a game after a game. His notable wins were five world championships from 1999-2005, a price for his hard work. He also sought and closed sponsorship deals himself and built and secured the brand Fatal1ty, to which no esports personality has ever done.
His career was no joke, thus, any person who took interest in Counter-Strike or Quake during the early 2000s would have been inspired to be like him. If you’re looking for a few samples of his games, you can check CPL 2000 Finals – Quake 3 Arena or CPL 2005 Finals – Painkiller out.
3. Dendi for Dota 2
Danil Ishutin, who owns the tag name Dendi, is among the most celebrated Dota 2 players around the globe. He’s the wholesome solo mid-laner who became a fan favorite for his goofy personality and extremely creative play style. Now, you can’t blame the fans – he’s really a fun person that makes watching DotA 2 pleasing to the eyes.
Dendi rose to fame as the face of Natus Vincere (Na’Vi). He stayed with the team from 2010 to present, and has participated in six Internationals with the same team. With Na’Vi, Dendi won multiple tournaments in the years 2011, 2012, and 2013 – where the first during the International 2011. However, it was during the International 2013 where the craziest gameplay ever existed, thanks to Dendi and his teammate Puppey, who were able to pull off a game-changing trick out of an imbalance game mechanic – a fountain hook – to win the game versus China’s TongFu. Na’Vi took seven fountain hooks to turn the game around, thus, beating the rival in said tournament. Truly, Dendi’s track record with Na’Vi was an inspiration to the whole esports community. His passion was always on point; no one could just deny it.
However, everyone has their own ups and downs, and so does Dendi. In 2015, Na’Vi has disbanded after a bad season. Though not very long after, the team also announced a comeback of Dendi and SoNNeikO to form a new, refreshed DotA 2 squad. Perhaps, there’s more to look forward to DotA 2’s Dendi.
2. GeT_RiGhT for Counter-Strike
Swedish professional player Christopher Alesund, also GeT_RiGhT, has always been an A-type player, thus, garnering several recognitions in Counter-Strike. He’s unique in his own way, and has the right combination of skills to terrify anyone he’d go against with.
His gaming history began with Quake, Doom, AQ2, and then Quake 2, where he was able to develop common skills until he played Counter Strike 1.6 circuit. Indeed, it had also been a rocky road for Christopher himself since the team, Begrip, who first picked him up disbanded. Though, not long after, he met Ninjas in Pyjamas in an unlikely situation which led him to joining the team with RobbaN, walle, face, and Tentpole.
GeT_RiGhT was surrounded with the brightest players of that time, including f0rest, cArn, and Gux. However, he was still able to pick up his own game through ‘lurking’ – an effective strategy to hide in the corner without being noticed, and eventually flank opponents to beat them. His unique ability to make something out of every opportunity provided by his teammates and to always keep an eye on the movement of his opponents makes him a one-of-a-kind foe who can open up bombsites without anyone noticing it. It also helps that he is well-capable of finding a way out of the most puzzling situations in the game.
After being with several other teams, GeT_RiGhT had his greatest moment in esports history with Fnatic. During the IEM III Global Finals 2009 season, the Swede professional player took home his first victory with the team despite being considered an underdogs during the entire tournament. The people’s expectation over the team was nonetheless understandable given that the team was only together for 2-3 months, and that he himself was still 18 years old (which did not work in his past teams). Furthermore, GeT_RiGhT was also awarded with the Counter-Strike Player of the Year/ Esports Player of the Year from ESL which he’s very much thankful about.
From 2009-2017, GeT_RiGhT was able to attain success in a consistent manner. He was among the most looked up to professional players in the esports community – whatever region it is.
1. Faker for League of Legends
If we’ll talk about a mid-laner who has a perfect combination of skills and influence in the esports community, that would be Faker – who goes by the name Lee Sang-hyeok in the the team SK Telecom. He’s the legend amongst legends in League of Legends (LoL), who continues to grow in the scene with his extraordinary performances as the team’s mid-laner. Thus, it made earn various labels from the community, most especially being the greatest professional player of all time.
His career in competitive gaming started way back in 2011 and boomed in 2013, where he was still 17 years old. He was picked up by the biggest esports team in South Korea, SK Telecom, and anyone would agree that that particular deal turned out to be fruitful for the team. Faker is a living, young talented pro player who paved the way through esports for all of South Korea. With SKT, Faker was able to earn six domestic titles, three prestigious World titles, and every other international tournament in League of Legends, namely All-Stars, IEM, Mid-Season Invitational, and the World Championship among others.
Like any other legend in any field, Faker also had his own down moment during the Mid-Season Invitational 2015. The team failed to beat EDward Gaming, thus, failing to qualify for the 2014 World Championship. What’s most notable during that time was when Faker’s iconic Leblanc, which was undefeated for 12 professional games, lost.
Regardless, Faker has marked this era in League of Legends as his. He has the skills that enables him to fight every tournament in a highly-competitive level, and the essence of character for every tournament that makes it enjoyable to watch.
More so, what’s expected is that he will lead the esports community into another era of competitive gaming.
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