Esports Arena: Coronavirus Derails Multiple Tournaments

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Blizzard Entertainment

Elsewhere in competitive gaming, the Premier League takes the 'FIFA' tournament to Philadelphia and a 7-year-old girl from Singapore is the newest 'Pokemon' champion.

Esports Arena is a curated weekly roundup of the biggest stories in the world of online competitive gaming.

The coronavirus outbreak has severely affected multiple esports organizations around the world, with leagues in many different games announcing changes to their schedules due to the growing pandemic. 

The League of Legends League Championships Korea saw host Kim Mina removed from this weekend’s broadcast due to fear of being infected. The entire broadcast team was forced to take precautionary measures. However, tests would eventually show Mina was not carrying the deadly virus. 

Also in League of Legends, the Legends Pro League in China has only played one week of official games after the Chinese government called for all sporting events taking place before April 30 to be postponed until further notice. The call went into effect after the LPL played its first week of matches and there has been no word yet on when the league may resume its matches. As such, the LPL may have to sit out the 2020 Mid-Season Invitational, which began last year on May 1. The dates and times of the Mid-Season Invitational have not yet been announced.

Finally, The Overwatch League, one week after announcing makeup matches in Seoul, South Korea, for Weeks 5-7 of the season, has decided to cancel those events as well due to the coronavirus disease. The official OWL Twitter account announced the cancellation, saying, “In order to protect the health & safety of our players, fans, & staff, we are canceling plans to host #OWL 2020 matches in South Korea in Weeks 5, 6, and 7, including the @SeoulDynasty home event.”

Elsewhere, the 2020 Tekken World Tour has been officially announced, with the full schedule of events being laid out for the coming year. The 2020 campaign, presented live on Twitch by members of the Tekken 7 community and series head Katsuhiro Harada, will include 31 events of differing ranks around the world. Major events included in the World Tour schedule include Combo Breaker in Schaumburg, Illinois, May 22-24; Collision 2020 in Lima, Peru, July 17 and 18; and EVO 2020 in Las Vegas, July 31 to Aug. 2. The tournament will finish at the 2020 Tekken World Tour Finals in New Orleans, Dec. 12 and 13. Also announced were the return of Dojo events, smaller tournaments to which organizers can apply for a chance to be a part of the full tour complete with tour points to the winners. The 2020 Tekken World Tour begins at Tokyo Tekken Masters on April 4.

Here’s what else is happening in the world of esports.

Premier League to Bring FIFA Tournament to Philly

The Premier League soccer organization has announced it will bring its Premier League Mornings Live Fan Festival to Philadelphia in early April, and with it will host the ePremier League USA Finals in FIFA 20. The free-to-play tournament, according to the press release, will host winners of online qualifying competitions on both Xbox and PlayStation, with the top teams on each console being flown to Philadelphia for the USA Finals. Sign-ups for the online events have already begun on the ePremier League website, and the online qualifiers will kick off March 5.

Hometown Team Tops CoD League Atlanta Home Series

The Call of Duty League descended on Atlanta this past weekend with eight teams vying for top honors, but in the end the hometown Atlanta FaZe overcame all obstacles and took the Home Series crown. The tournament culminated in the FaZe defeating the Florida Mutineers, who shocked the Chicago Huntsmen one round prior to make the Home Series finals, in a clear three-games-to-zero sweep. With the win, Atlanta jumps to second place in the league’s standings with 70 points, while Chicago maintains the first overall position with 90. The next Home Series will be co-hosted by the Los Angeles Guerrillas and Los Angeles Optic Gaming teams, held at the Shrine Auditorium in downtown L.A. 

Seven-Year-Old Simone Lim Wins Pokemon Junior Championships

The Pokemon Oceania International Championships took place over the weekend in Melbourne, Australia, and a brand-new star was born in the Junior Division. Simone Lim, a 7-year-old player hailing from Singapore, defeated the older and heavily favored Justin Miranda-Radbord at the end of the decisive third game to take home the championship. In the post-match interview, when asked why she made the decision that clinched her the title, Lim simply responded she "knew”' what Miranda-Radbord planned to do. Lim was the seventh-ranked player coming into the final match, whereas Miranda-Radbord was the No. 1 overall rank. The next major Pokemon competition will take place in Collinsville, Illinois, beginning Feb. 28.

Rocket League Intel World Open Schedule Revealed

The Intel World Open will bring esports right to the doorstep of the Olympics later this year and, for the first time ever, Rocket League will be one of the games featured in the competition. The game’s official website has full details on how players can sign up, the rules of the Intel World Open matches and the full schedule of qualifiers, which break down as follows:

– Qualifier #1 (Africa, Asia Mainland, Japan, Middle-East, Latin America): May 2-3

– Qualifier #2 (Australia, Brazil, Asia Maritime/Oceania, China): May 9-10

– Qualifier #3 (Canada, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Europe, USA): May 16-17

– Live Regional Final (Katowice, Poland): June 11-14

– Intel World Open Finals (Tokyo): July 22-24

All matches for the qualifiers will be played online except for the Live Qualifier in Poland in June, leading up to the World Open Finals in late July. Sign-ups, according to the Rocket League site, begin March 2.