Many games are released every year, but some are more suited to competition than others. The most competitive games are usually the ones that get the most airtime on streaming platforms, although some only make the news at major events.
At Changegamer you will learn everything about cyber games whether you’re an esport watcher or a gamer looking for a game to play against tough opponents.
The following 17 games are what you will find about. All have competitive game modes and are popular with tournament organizers.
Call of Duty
Competitive games on consoles are few and far between, and Call of Duty is probably the most popular of them. Activision releases a new opus of its Fps every year, which gives the Call of Duty scene the particularity of evolving regularly. The goal of the game? A war of positions where 2 teams confront each other in order to take or defend objectives, while eliminating the enemies.
On the esport side, Activision offers numerous tournaments, notably the Call of Duty League, which offers a regular season system that is played over several months, the Call of Duty Challengers, and the Call of Duty World League Championship. Recently, Twitch rivals have also organized tournaments on the Warzone version of the game.
Major tournaments: CDL, CDC, Twitch rivals
League of Legends
We start this ranking with one of the most popular games of the decade: League of Legends. The most popular MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) pits two teams of five players against each other, who must choose from over 140 champions to create a complementary team. The aim of the game is to progress through the map, destroying the opponent’s towers. The first to destroy the enemy’s Nexus wins the game. League of Legends offers single-player, dual-player, and team of 5 ranked games.
Riot Games’ game is the most popular in the world, and its flagship competition, the World Championship, is the most followed esport event, with viewers peaking at 3.9 million on Twitch during the 2019 edition. Although this event only takes place once a year, League of Legends also offers major championships, which take place every week and see the best teams from each region compete.
Major Tournaments: LEC, LCS NA, LCK, LPL, World Championship, MSI
Overwatch is a game created by Blizzard, at the crossroads between a MOBA and an FPS. It has the particularity of allowing players to switch characters during the game. The goal of the game is to recover, or defend objectives within a given time. Overwatch is a game where coordination between players is essential, even if some champions are able to unlock certain situations.
Overwatch is the first game to adopt a franchise system, similar to the NBA or NFL. The Overwatch League is a championship that sees the best teams in the world compete each week, with a cash prize of $5 million (for the 2019 edition). The game also offers a tournament by country: the Overwatch Worldcup, which is reminiscent of events such as the football World Cup.
Fortnite is, with 250 million accounts created worldwide, probably the game with the most registered players, notable thanks to cross-platform play. The game from Epic Games is a Battle Royale, which pits 100 players against each other on a large map, which shrinks as the game progresses. The goal of the game is to collect equipment in order to be the last of the 100 players alive. The success of Fortnite comes from its very aggressive gameplay, and the ability to build buildings to protect yourself, or to attack your opponents.
Fortnite is one of the most followed games on Twitch, thanks to the numerous tournaments held every week. It is also the game that has given out the most cash prizes in 2019, with $100,000 online tournaments, or a World Cup offering $30 million distributed among the 200 qualified players. In 2020, a new partnership with Dreamhack was launched, offering online tournaments with $250,000 in cash prizes each month. If you’re not averse to open-world brawling, the game is well worth a look.
Major tournaments: World Cup, FNCS, Dreamhack, Skirmish, Cash Cups
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
The Counter-Strike saga is undoubtedly one of the most famous in the world. Present since 1998, it has greatly contributed to the development of esports, offering global tournaments since the late 90s. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is an FPS whose goal is to plant the bomb, or defend access to sites that allow you to do so. The game is based on aim and teamwork, and you’ll need to master both to climb the ranks of the ranked game system.
Today, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the game that offers the most tournaments each year. Several leagues offer regular season systems like the Esports Championship Series Season or the Mountain Dew League in the lower division. The PGL, Starladder, Faceit, ESL Pro League, or ELEAGUE allow fans to attend matches almost daily, 11 months out of 12. If Counter-Strike is one of the most followed games in the world, it is partly due to its Major system, which takes place once or twice a year, and which offers cash prizes of 1 million dollars.
Major tournaments: ESL Pro League, ECS, ELEAGUE, PGL, Starladder, Major
Apex Legends is a fast-paced battle royale, playable in squads of 2 or 3 players and based on the Titanfall license. The goal is to create a complementary team by choosing from among the 8 available champions, and to eliminate the opposing teams on a field that shrinks over time. You have to use the movements and verticality of the map to gain an advantage over your enemies’ position.
The game offers a complete competitive mode, and many tournaments are organized at amateur and professional levels. Several of them take place at TwitcCon and Twitch Rivals, while a new league took place in 2020: The Apex Legends Global Series. With 4 majors and 3 million cash prizes distributed, the competitive scene of Apex Legends seems to have a great future ahead of it.
Major tournaments: The Apex Legends Global Series, TwitchCon, Twitch rivals
Dota was originally a fan-made game mod based on StarCraft: Brood War. It was born in 1998, and very quickly, a community formed around this mod, which will be later integrated into Warcraft 3. Today Dota 2 is owned by valve, which has developed a real universe with more than 110 champions. Like League of Legends, the aim of the game is to destroy the opponent’s stronghold by knocking down the three lines that make up the map. These three lines are fed by waves of minions that you will have to kill in order to collect gold, in order to improve your equipment and gain an advantage over your opponents.
The Dota 2 community is not the largest on the scene, with around 400,000 registered players, but the game is still very competitive. Professional players come from all over the world and compete in tournaments such as the EPICENTER and the DreamLeague, although the main focus of the top teams is The International. This tournament is one of the most followed in the world, especially because of the incredible cash prize.
Major tournaments: EPICENTER, Dreamleague, The International
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a battle royale with realistic graphics, which takes place on a very large map, which players can navigate using vehicles. The game is based on survival in a dark and gloomy environment, far from the universe of Fortnite or Apex Legends, for example. The gameplay is also quite realistic and it will be very difficult to get out of a bad position. PUBG has a large community and tournaments are commonplace.
The developers also organize several professional tournaments throughout the year, such as the PUBG Global Championship 2019, the PUBG Europe League or the PUBG Nations Cup 2019, which sees the best players compete under the flag of their respective countries. Finally, a few independent organizations such as FACEIT also keep esports alive on PUBG, whether professional or amateur.
Major tournaments: PUBG Global Championship 2019, PUBG Europe League, PUBG Champions League, FACEIT Global Summit: PUBG Classic, PUBG Nations Cup 2019
The youngest game on the list got an incredible amount of buzz after RIOT games announced that an Fps was in the works in the studios. The game is a mix of Counter-Strike and Overwatch, and the goal is to plant the bomb, or defend sites, using champions with spells in addition to basic weapons. It is possible to create, for example, a game wall to obstruct the opponent’s visibility, or to use an arrow to reveal the enemies in an area.
The competitive mode is based on the League of Legends system, with 7 ranks offering 3 divisions each, plus a rank for the best players: the Valorant rank. You will have to play as a team to find the spell combinations that will lead you to victory. The scene is still under construction even if some structures like SKT T1, G2 esport or Vitality organize tournaments to make it grow.
Major tournaments: WePlay! Invitational, Vitality European Open, G2 Esports Invitational, T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Showdown
A card game developed under the Warcraft licence, Hearthstone is a game that brings together a wide range of players, as evidenced by the average age of the players, estimated at 28 years. The aim of the game is to perform combos with the cards in order to inflict maximum damage on the opponent. The first player to fall to 0 hit points loses the game. These cards are obtained by opening decks, or as a reward for winning games. With numerous expansions, Blizzard regularly adds content and new cards.
The community is large and the ranked game system is well thought out, which will delight competitors. It is also possible to find online tournaments, from amateur to professional levels. Blizzard organizes several major events each year, notably during BlizzCon, or through tournaments called Masters Tour, which take place all over the world.
Major tournaments: Hearthstone World Championship, Masters Tour, BlizzCon
Rocket League is a football game where players are replaced by cars. The main difficulty is in understanding the physics of the ball and the trajectories. The cars can temporarily fly away in order to perform acrobatic tricks that will allow you to gain an advantage over your opponents. The game requires a few hours of practice, and it will take some time to fully master your vehicle.
Rocket League is not the most followed game on the streaming platforms, but the competitions have the community buzzing. The Rocket League Championship Series brings together the best of the best, and is run as a regular season, qualifying the best teams from each region for the finals. Some organizers, such as the ELEAGUE and Dreamhack, also offer regular tournaments.
Major tournaments: RLCS Europe, RLCS NA, RLCS Finals, Dreamhack, ELEAGUE
Rainbow Six Siege
A real fiasco when it was released, notably due to faulty servers, Rainbow 6 Siege has since become one of the best known games on the esport scene, with no less than 20 million players. The game is a strategic FPS that takes place on asymmetric maps where the environment is partly destructible. You will have to be coordinated to be able to play in the competitive system.
On the esport side, the game offers a Pro League system that is played in the form of a championship, qualifying the best teams for the playoff phase. This competition takes place over several months, and offers no less than 290,000 dollars in cash prizes. Finally, the Rainbow Six Invitational brings together the best teams in the world, and offers one of the biggest cash prizes of any stage, with no less than 3 million dollars at stake for the 2020 edition.
Major tournaments: Rainbox Six Pro League, Six Invitational
EA SPORTS FIFA
Another game where the majority of the competition takes place on consoles, FIFA is a football game developed under the licence of the same name. A true phenomenon since its first opus in 1993, the game now has an esport scene that is among the most competitive in the world. The Ultimate Team mode allows players to create their own team via maps, representing the majority of the world’s professional players. Players then compete in a league system to determine their ranking.
In addition to these traditional leagues, the game offers a FUT Champion mode, accessible via weekly qualifiers. This mode allows the player to take part in 30 matches, with the aim of earning rewards based on their final ranking. The top players in this mode then compete in LAN competitions to win a cash prize, which reached $200,000 in 2020.
Major tournaments: FUT Champions Cup, Fifa World Cup, E league 1
Starcraft 2 is a real-time strategy game where the games are played in 1 vs 1. You start in your base and your objective is to destroy your opponent’s base. To do this you will need to collect resources and create an army. There are three races available: Terrans, Protoss and Zerg and each race has its own gameplay mechanics. The game is very demanding, and you have to really invest yourself in evolving.
The competition is dominated by the Koreans, although a few foreigners have already managed to outwit the masters of the discipline. (Stephano, NaNiwa, HuK). Following the end of the Korean league in 2016, the game has bounced back with the arrival of the Dreamhack in 2020, in addition to traditional tournaments such as the IEM or the GSL.
Major tournaments: Dreamhack, IEM, GSL
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
A true fighting game legend, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a true fighting game legend, creating a major contrast to other games in the genre. There are no complicated combos or mechanics here, the goal is to get your opponent out of the arena. The many characters available are licensed by Nintendo, although partnerships have been signed to include champions from other universes, such as Konami’s Snake for example.
The game is designed for competition, whether it be with the family or during the many tournaments organized online or in LAN. The game is also present at the highest level, and large tournaments are organized, such as the Smash Ultimate Summit or the Dreamhack. Although the biggest fighting game tournament was cancelled in 2020, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was not scheduled for the EVO, which is a step backwards for the licence.
Major tournaments: Dreamhack, Genesis, Smash Ultimate Summit
Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition
A true religion in the land of the rising sun, the Street Fighter license is probably the best known fighting game license in the world. A fixture in every self-respecting arcade, the game has been present on the competitive scene since 1987. A far cry from the arcade tournaments of the time, Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition nevertheless has a strong community.
Featuring over 35 different champions, the game offers fights that are as spectacular as ever, using the most emblematic techniques of the saga. Between the tournaments organized by Capcom, the ELEAGUE and Gfinity, the best players from all over the world train to win the event of the year: the EVO, which is considered THE gathering of fighting game enthusiasts.
Major Tournaments: Capcom Cup, EVO, ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Invitational, Gfinity Elite Series, Tokyo Game Show
Magic: The Gathering Arena
Magic The Gathering is a card game based on a huge license of the same name, which has millions of fans worldwide. The announcement of the game has created a huge buzz in the Magic community, especially because of the possibility of competing against players from all over the world online. You will need to build a deck of 60 cards to prepare your terrain, which will allow you to summon creatures of all kinds. The aim is to inflict damage on the opponent until he no longer has enough life points to continue the game.
Numerous tournaments are organized in parallel with the tabletop card game events, which makes the Magic: The Gathering Arena esport scene very active. The Dreamhack events are in addition to the many tournaments offered by the developers, and we’ve also seen a few competitions taking place during Twitch Rivals.