The best pro gaming to watch this weekend

HotS Championship

It’s a Blizzard-heavy weekend ahead. Most of the company’s games will have a grand final of some kind or another at BlizzCon at the end of October, with qualifiers currently occurring across the world. Blizzard’s latter-day fixation with confusing duplicate acronyms has returned with vigour: both the Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone world championships are called ‘HWC’. That’s right! We live in a world where ‘HotS’ refers to two different games and ‘HWC’ to two different tournaments, and taken collectively this amounts to three different games. By the same studio.

Relieve the headache that this has now given you with some relaxing Counter-Strike in London, or a spot of high-grade Chinese Dota 2. Details below.

Hearthstone World Championship 2015 North America Qualifier

This has been going on for a week already, but this weekend’s play will see it finish. The best players in North America compete for a spot at the Americas Championship in a couple of weeks - the next step on the road to BlizzCon and the world title. Watch for top-level play from Trump, PHONETAP, TS reynad, and more. The stream runs from 12:00 PDT/20:00 BST to 20:00PDT/04:00 BST. Watch it on the official Hearthstone Twitch channel.

Heroes of the Storm World Championship 2015 America Championship

Blizzard’s busy weekend continues in the Las Vegas Convention Center. The Heroes scene is still picking up steam, and this is one of its first high-profile championships and a chance to get on the ground floor with an emerging competitive game. In addition to five North American teams, the lineup also includes Relics from South East Asia, Team Immunity from Australia and New Zealand, and Furious Gaming from Latin America - it’s more of an international contest than you might think. Doors open at 09:00 PDT if you’re attending the live event, with the stream beginning at 10:00 PDT/18:00 BST. Watch it on the official Heroes of the Storm Twitch channel.

Dota 2: ESL One New York 2015 Chinese Qualifiers

There’s not a huge amount of high-quality Dota 2 available this weekend, but you do have an opportunity to get up to speed with the Chinese scene. On Saturday morning at 03:00 PDT/11:00 BST, Vici.P and Newbee Young - both youth teams - will play a best of three. Then, at 06:30 PDT/14.30 BST, there’ll be another between the new TongFu and TeamDK lineups. Watch them on the official ESL stream.

Counter-Strike: DreamHack Open at DreamHack London

The PC is represented at the multi-game DreamHack London event by the DreamHack Open CS:GO tournament. A run of top-tier teams including EnVyUs and Team SoloMid will play for a prize pool of $40,000. The group stages will run on Saturday from 04:00 PDT/12:00 BST to 16:00 PDT/00:00 BST, with the semi-finals following on Sunday on the same schedule (although likely to run a little less long.) You can watch the entire thing at

Smite: Gears of Fate Cognitive Invitational

A chance to see the best North American Smite teams battle outside of the Pro League, Gears of Fate is hosted by the organisation that won the first Smite World Championship. Smite is in a great place right now, and frankly I'm a little mortified that I managed to miss this off the list first time around. You should definitely tune in: there's going to be a lot of high-quality Smite over the next few months in the run up to SWC 2016, and this is a chance to get to grips with the scene that dominated last year. Watch on the official Smite Twitch channel. Shout out to Hunter ErkenBrack for the on-point reminder.

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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.