The best pro gaming to watch this weekend

Picture credit Sebastian Ekman

Picture credit: Sebastian Ekman

The fall esports season begins in earnest this weekend, as many games return from their post-summer hiatus and shuffled team rosters settle into place. Qualifiers for a number of massive upcoming tournaments, including CS:GO’s final major of the year, are mingled in with the first medium-stakes chance to see some of the new teams in action on a brand new Dota patch. There will also be some last ditch efforts to make it to next month’s BlizzCon, and the action all kicks off today.

Whether you’re in the mood for Brazilian god-on-god action, or some European wizard fumbling, there’s something to suit all your pro gaming needs this weekend. Here’s what we’ll be watching...

StarCraft: 2015 DreamHack Stockholm Open

Unusually for an esports event, DreamHack Stockholm ran much of its course during the week, meaning most of the event is already over. However the StarCraft finals are being played on Friday night, and for one player they mean everything. Being the last event awarding WCS points before BlizzCon, there is a chance for Ko ‘HyuN’ Seok Hyun to sneak his way up from 18th place into the invited Top 16 of WCS rankings. A win today and he’ll relegate Jung ‘FanTaSy’ Myung Hoon, whom he defeated yesterday to make it to the quarter-finals. You can see if HyuN makes it on the official DreamHack StarCraft channel from 10:15 PDT/18:15 BST with the Grand Final at 13:30 PDT/21:30 BST.

Counter-Strike: DreamHack Cluj-Napoca Qualifiers at DreamHack Stockholm

The CS:GO tournament at DH Stockholm is carrying on for another day, at least, so you can expect to catch a bit more of the action if you do something ridiculous like work during the week. The last remaining spots for DreamHack’s next tour stop, Romania’s Cluj-Napoca, are up for grabs and there are still a few familiar names waiting to snap them up. FlipSid3, Copenhagen Wolves and Dignitas, to name a few, will be playing Saturday from 03:05 PDT/11:05 BST until the final match at 12:05 PDT/20:05 BST. You can watch all that on DreamHack’s official stream.

Counter-Strike: Gfinity Champion of Champions

More CS:GO for the top tier teams already invited to Cluj-Napoca as Gfinity holds a four-team invitational. Fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and EnVyUs play a short three-game bracket with the ‘semi-finals’ on Saturday morning beginning 02:30 PDT/10:30 BST, and the Grand Final at the same time on Sunday. If you’re up in time to catch that, you can see it on Gfinity’s Twitch stream but VODs will surely be available for late birds.

Nanyang Dota 2 Championships: European Qualifiers

After last week’s Chinese Qualifiers, it’s the Europeans’ turn, as almost every hot new roster shakes their tail feathers on the road to Nanyang. This weekend should be especially exciting as Dota’s latest patch today means we’ll see the clumsy evolution of a new meta before Frankfurt’s Major next month. Saturday plays host to Kuroky’s 5Jungz squad in a semi-final matchup against the Swedish Ninjas in Pyjamas at 11:00 PDT/19:00 BST, and a loser’s bracket elimination between Team Empire and Vega Squadron before that at 09:00 PDT/17:00 BST. Sunday will feature the result of today’s matches (Na`Vi versus (monkey) Business, and Alliance versus Monkey Freedom Fighters) at those same times. All can be watched on the BTS Twitch channel.

SMITE Brazil Gaming League Season 2

A chance to see the finale of Latin America’s toughest competition this Saturday, as the teams with one remaining game in hand compete in the last week of SPL’s Brazilian league. There’s only one game to look out for here, and that’s the clash between current first and second place in the table, INTZ esports and Keyd Stars. INTZ, formed of SWC 2015 fifth-placers We Love Bacon have a slight advantage over Keyd who were penalised by one point at the beginning of the season for a late roster change. You can see that match play out on x5TV Saturday at 14:00 PDT/22:00 BST

Hearthstone: Abios Grand Tournament

Lastly, a small $5,000 pot Hearthstone tournament with a surprising collection of stars should wile away the time until next weekend’s European Road to BlizzCon. Names to watch for include current world champ Firebat, and European hopefuls ThijsNL, Ostkaka and Hoej. It’s a single elimination event, which should provide some tension, though stakes are fairly low. More importantly it’ll be a good chance to see what decks the European hopefuls are playing with before their BlizzCon qualifier showdown next week. Round of 16 matches start at 08:00 PDT/16:00 BST on Saturday, with the last at 14:30 PDT/22:30 BST, and the finals continue Sunday from 08:05 PDT/16:05 BST until the Grand Final at 15:40 PDT/23:40 BST. You can see them all on AbioTV’s Twitch channel.

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