Among Us makes for a surprisingly decent esport

Competitive lying is a thing now. Last night, Faze Clan put on an Among Us invitational tournament with a bunch of streamers, and despite some light technical jankiness (remotely flipping between Twitch streams is a tough thing to make seamless), it worked pretty well.  

Among Us doesn't exactly lend itself to esports in the way games like CS:GO and League of Legends do. There's strategy to it, and there are clever plays, but it's impossible to control who the imposters are. A major part of the game is random, then, and has to be random for it to work. 

If you haven't played Among Us, here's why that's the case: In each round, two players are randomly selected to be imposters, while the other players are all regular crewmates. The imposters must attempt to kill as many crewmates as they can without being found out. Meanwhile, each crewmate attempts to complete a checklist of tasks. The imposters win if the number of living crewmates is equal to the number of living imposters. The crewmates win if they vote to execute both imposters during emergency meetings (though they might accidentally execute regular crewmates), or if they all complete their tasks.

(Image credit: Faze Clan)

To address the randomness and make Among Us a competition between individuals, a points system was devised. It's much harder to win a round in which you're an imposter, so they get five points for a win, while crewmates get four points for a win. Imposters also get one point per kill, while crewmates get two points when they vote to execute an imposter, and lose one point when they mistakenly vote for another crewmember.

Everyone on the winning crewmate or imposter team gets the points for the win, even if they're dead. However, the other points can only be earned while alive—you can't get kills or cast votes while dead—which affects the metagame. It was funny to watch one imposter chase around a crewmate, realize that he wasn't going to catch him and that it was now obvious he was the imposter, and then murder a different crewmate in front of multiple witnesses just to get a point before being voted out. 

Everyone is competing with everyone else over the long run, so even fellow crewmates aren't necessarily your pals. They might want to trick you into voting incorrectly so that you lose a point, for instance. You can't trust anyone.

That didn't always make things exciting. Crewmates tended to play conservatively, stacking up and moving in a big mob. That often made it very hard for the imposters to do anything early on—just wandering away from the mob made them sus, in Among Us parlance—which could be dull to watch. Still, there was more than enough tension and arguing to make the thing as a whole entertaining, and now and then pro-level plays came out. Here, for example, is a smooth imposter play from Jellypeanut:

He walks away from a stack of crewmates, scores a point with a kill, and then doubles back quickly enough to convince the others that he had no part in it. His imposter teammate ends up getting voted out after that play, and he didn't win the round, but it was still a good move that got him a point and gave him the opportunity to get more.

Ultimately, it was streamer Yetiapocalypse who won the whole thing.

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You can watch the several hour-long tourney on Twitch. I don't foresee a massive future for Among Us esports, but it was fun to watch for an hour, and that's all I ask for from Twitch streams. I'm sure we'll see more tournaments in the future.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.