The best pro gaming to watch this weekend

Captains Draft 3

It is the season of greetings cards, gifts, and making something out of Valentine’s Day because even if you don’t feel like you have to you probably should, you know? This is a quiet weekend in the kingdom of electric sports, however, as the majority of the world's pro scenes busy themselves with a variety of first-round qualifiers for tournaments that will inevitably all be held on the same weekend in March. You’re not totally without pro gaming entertainment options, however, as the highly-recommended DotaCinema Captain’s Draft tournament plunges into its playoffs, the League of Legends NA LCS returns, and the Acer Predator Masters Series concludes in Germany. Go on, treat yourself: lie down in a bed of rose petals and watch some teenagers earn thousands of dollars playing a game that you’re terrible at. Happy Valentines!

Dota 2: DotaCinema Captain's Draft 3.0

Captain's Draft 3.0 is a not-so-serious tournament with a serious prize pool: in excess of $120,000 at the time of writing. It stars internationally-renowned Dota 2 squads, but they don't compete in the traditional Captain's Mode format. Instead, the games use Captain's Draft—a variant on CM with a random selection of 27 heroes available to both teams. This means that players are forced out of the current metagame and into parts of the Dota roster that they'd never otherwise venture. This weekend will see a bunch of early playoff matches. On Saturday, the semifinals match between Alliance and Vega Squadron will begin at 15:00 CET (14:00 GMT/06:00 PST), followed by lower bracket matches between Liquid and DC as well as and Mamas Boys. Those matches will determine who plays in the second round of lower bracket games on Sunday, starting at 17:00 CET (16:00 GMT/08:00 PST.) Find more information and the stream at

League of Legends: 2016 NA LCS

The League of Legends Championship Series rumbles on in North America this weekend. It's been a dramatic start to the year, as our LoL correspondent James Chen has been documenting in his column. As pressure mounts, will the Immortals continue to perform? Will the rest of the scene catch up? How long can Chris keep cribbing his LoL notes from James before somebody realises that this bit is being written by a Dota guy? We’ll find out this weekend. Expect full days of play on both Saturday and Sunday, with matches beginning at 20:00 GMT/12:00 PST on both days. Find more information and the live broadcast on LoLesports.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: Acer Predator Masters Season 2

The line-up falls slightly short of top-tier, but there's $40,000 on the line anyway. This weekend will see the remaining playoffs for the Acer Predator Masters Season 2 played in Germany. Tune in for the remainder of the upper bracket and most of the lower one on Saturday from 13:00 CET (12:00 GMT/04:00 PST), with the lower bracket final and grand final to be played on Sunday starting at 14:30 CET (13:30 GMT/05:30 PST.) The English language stream is right here.

Hearthstone 2016 European Winter Preliminaries

Over the course of Saturday and Sunday up to 184 EU-based 'stoners will be battling it out for spots at the European Winter Championships next month. This reddit survival guide thread breaks down everything you need to know, but the key points are that Frodan will be casting alongside Kibler, Savjz and PC Gamer contributor Sottle. It's being streamed in English on the main channel, but the thread also lists other language options. The action starts at 14:00 CET (13:00 GMT/5:00 PST) on both days. May the SMOrc be with you, always.

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Chris Thursten

Joining in 2011, Chris made his start with PC Gamer turning beautiful trees into magazines, first as a writer and later as deputy editor. Once PCG's reluctant MMO champion , his discovery of Dota 2 in 2012 led him to much darker, stranger places. In 2015, Chris became the editor of PC Gamer Pro, overseeing our online coverage of competitive gaming and esports. He left in 2017, and can be now found making games and recording the Crate & Crowbar podcast.