From humble beginnings in small local tournaments, modern eSports has become an international phenomenon worth billions. Driving this success, as in any sport, are the players. Coming together from many walks of life, they band together to make teams of incredible skill. We want to explore ten of these games and their best eSports teams in 2023.
An eSports team is a collection of players who work together to achieve victory in their game of choice. Like in other sports, each player has a specialty and a role to play, though some players can excel in multiple positions.
Most popular of all the first-person shooters, CS: GO has a long history dating back to a mod for the game Half-Life in 1999. Undergoing multiple updates and sequels since then, modern Counter-Strike is a game where precision comes first. While Counter-Strike 2 will soon cause a shift of eSports teams to a new title, Global Offense remains king for now.
The original Overwatch was a revelation in ability-driven FPS gaming, where some of the most famous eSports teams started. Today, Overwatch 2 is experiencing some complications, but the players remain dedicated to their craft. Whether pushing a robot or holding a capture point, the eSports teams in Overwatch need to balance abilities, look after their teammates, and most importantly, equip the right voice lines to taunt their opponents.
League of Legends was one of the games that proved free-to-play titles could succeed, helped by the game's roster and fierce competing eSports teams. Even a decade after its launch, League of Legends remains among the most popular games with eSports teams, so being the best isn't easy.
Rockets and cars seem like a deadly combination, but this game adds these elements together to create one of the least violent titles on this list. The eSports teams in this game compete to knock balls into the goal. Imagine soccer with the players replaced by acrobatic and rocket-boosted vehicles, and you get what Rocket League is about.
Set in the Titanfall universe, Apex Legends arrived with a surprise launch and even bigger surprise success. This game focuses on mobility and abilities over an enormous battleground-style map while delivering a growing roster of imaginative characters.
Online strategy games used to dominate the eSports world, but these eventually morphed into the original MOBA, Defence of the Ancients. Dota 2 is the sequel to the original Warcraft 3 mod, which has now become the game with the highest-paid eSports teams in the world. If you're wondering which eSports teams make more money than many professional athletes, Dota 2 is usually the answer.
Rainbow Six: Siege built on the longstanding Rainbow Six series in a way few eSports teams saw coming. This entry added a lot of speed and character into the game, and in doing so reached a level of success the prior entries could only dream of. Whether blowing in doors or smacking down with shields, Siege continues to deliver.
Many games tried to emulate the success of Counter-Strike and Overwatch, but only Valorant achieved a perfect balance of the two. The eSports teams in this game fight to balance abilities and precision as they plant or defuse bombs and try to outmaneuver their opponents and their often-fantastic skills.
World of Warcraft is the game that catapulted MMORPGs into the mainstream, and with its success comes an active arena for eSports teams. Games for MMO enthusiasts are famous for PvP combat, and WoW accomplished this with legendary maps like Alterac Valley, Arathi Basin, and Warsong Gulch.
Rounding out our list is Arena of Valor, formerly known as Strike of Kings. This MOBA is less known in English-speaking countries but maintains enormous popularity in Asia. Arena of Valor is so popular that the tournaments featuring the game rank fifth in the total prize money they've offered.
eSports teams can be found by checking online tournaments and rankings in your area. The best eSports teams will be very visible, but even smaller teams will be easy to find thanks to the online nature of eSports.
Before we go, we need to reiterate just how quickly the rankings of eSports teams can change. This article was written in August 2023, so odds are these positions have changed since then. It’s possible that some teams even shut down completely, or moved onto the sequels! Think of this more like a snapshot in time. No matter what happened to the team, we wish the players the best, and we’re sure they’ve gone on to do great things.
To join an eSports team you first have to prove yourself. This is achieved online, in local tournaments, or even through colleges with eSports teams. Prove your ability and that you can work with others, and you'll be able to apply for a career alongside others.
We can’t name a top eSports team because the best depends on the game and quickly changing rankings. So even the teams in this list might not be the best by the time you read it!