Six of the Best: esports players

Six of the Best: eSports Players

6 top gamers fbeSports has grown so much that today many thousands of players bring impressive skills to the table, and walk away with hard-earned prize cash. Some, though, are in a league of their own, whether you're considering them based on talent, earnings or impact on competitive gaming's evolution. 

As such, we've picked six of our favorites. There were many to choose from, of course, and it took some tough decision making to reach our final list. Each of the below is an icon of competitive gaming and demonstrates what is possible with dedication, hard work and perseverance.

The Six Best eSports Players in the World

• FalleN

Early on in Brazilian player FalleN's CS:GO career, he almost didn't have the courage to play in a competitive setting. He was invited by his friends in the team Firegamers in 2009 to give it a shot and join them on stage. In his first bout with the team he got a taste of victory in the WCG 2009 Brazil Finals and found his confidence. He went on to become the world's most financially successful CS:GO player, and to date he has claimed $769,139 in prize money. Not content just to play and win, FalleN also founded the Brazilian eSports organization Games Academy, and he continues to be devoted to supporting and growing competitive gaming in his home country.

 FalleN, Twitter.
FalleN, Twitter.

• Fatal1ty

In 2018 Jonathan 'Fatal1ty' Wendel may not be the most prolific player, but he remains an icon of competitive gaming, and was arguably the first celebrity player to reach household name status. His first taste of success came in 1999, with a $500 prize secured by coming third at a Quake III Arena competition. He went on to win around $450,000 in prize money through his eSports career, while also enjoying life as a successful entrepreneur selling Fatal1ty-branded gaming hardware and merchandise. He was inducted in the International Video Game Hall of Fame in 2010, and remains one of those most well-known players there is, even if he may have logged out some time ago.

Fatal1ty Gaming hardware
Fatal1ty Gaming Hardware

• Daigo

Purists might not consider arcade gaming to be true eSports by any modern definition. But arcades are where the competitive gaming concept was first forged, and to date they are where some of the most skilled gaming exists, as well as being where the most riveting live events take place. And if there is one moment of competitive gaming that is more famous than any other, it is from one of those live arcade clashes. Daigo Umehara began visiting arcades in 1991, and six years later he reigned as Japan's national Street Fighter champion. Then, in 2004, he sat down to play Street Fighter III Third Strike against another arcade legend, Justin Wong. Backed into a corner and about to lose the match, Daigo demonstrated absurd skill to make one of the most dazzling comebacks seen across arcade and eSports gaming, assuring himself the status as a truly magnificent player.

Diago. Twitter
Diago, Twitter.

• Scarlett

For now, at least, eSports is dominated by male professionals. There is, however, a vast army of talented, successful and ambitious female players, and the best of those must surely be Sasha 'Scarlett' Hostyn. Currently 24 and a member of Team Expert, the Canadian is the only female to have won a major international StarCraft II tournament, and she has thus far banked $272,000 in prizes. StarCraft II remains the game that she dominates, though she did dabble with DOTA 2, before returning to her first love. And to prove that she remains entirely relevant, in February 2018 she won the Intel Extreme Masters tournament, which was hosted as part of the build-up to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

scarlett, Wikipedia.
Scarlett, Wikipedia.

• Faker

League of Legends master Faker was only 17 when he rose to fame in 2013, having been scouted by the globally respected SK Telecom professional team. Many credit him with pushing his team to compete in LoL, and as a result of their success with the game he has emerged as perhaps the most well-respected of the game's millions of players. He is one of only two competitors to win the game's world championships three-times, in one of the most dramatic finals ever seen in eSports. He was also the first eSports athlete to grace the cover of the magazine of traditional sports broadcaster ESPN. Having made $1.1 million from prizes, he is one of the highest earning LoL stars of all time, and without doubt, stands as a player with a huge global fan base.

Faker. Twitter
Faker. Twitter

• KuroKy

Demonstrating that DOTA 2 is where the really big bucks of eSports are earned, German player Kuro KuroKy Salehi Takhasomi has to date banked a staggering $3.5 million from tournament play. Currently a member of Team Liquid, he is the defining eSports player of the modern age; committed, professional and flexible. He is known for getting consistently better year-on-year, and as quite possibly the most successful professional gamer of all time. Should you ever need a case study to prove that eSports stars are today absolutely comparable to athletes from traditional sports, KuroKy is your man.

KuroKy, Facebook.KuroKy, Facebook