It’s a good time to be a fan of competitive gaming. This week is going to be absolutely packed with things to watch, with a range of competitions spread out across some of the hottest games in the world. In fact, it’s likely one of the busiest e-sports weeks of the year, despite the fact that we’re still only in February. The major events include the debut of the Overwatch League’s second season, a secretive Fortnite tournament that could provide a glimpse at the game’s upcoming World Cup, and the very first Apex Legends competition.
It’s a lot to keep track of. Here’s what’s coming up and how to follow it all.
Twitch Rivals Apex Legends Challenge
February 12th and 19th
Apex Legends just launched last week, but the game has already proved to be a huge hit, carving out its own space in the busy battle royale genre. And while we don’t have anything resembling a professional competitive circuit for the game just yet, you can get an idea of what it’ll be like in the latest Twitch Rivals event. The tournament — a collaboration between Twitch and Apex developer Respawn — will feature 48 streamers divided into 16 three-person squads and a prize pool of $200,000. Big-name battle royale players like DrDisrespect and Myth will be among the participants.
The event will be spread across two days: it debuts on February 12th and then continues on the 19th. According to Twitch, streamers will be representing North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. And much like in Fortnite tournaments, entrants will earn points for winning matches and getting kills. (You can check out the rules in more detail here.) Given that this is the first proper Apex Legends competition, it might be a little messy, but it should provide an early glimpse at the game’s potential for high-level play.
Fortnite Secret Skirmish
Competitive Fortnite has been something of a work in progress since last summer, with developer Epic trying different ideas and formats. It’s almost like an e-sports beta. The ultimate goal, it seems, is the upcoming Fortnite World Cup, of which we currently know nothing. But there’s a good chance we’ll have a clearer picture after this week.
Starting on February 14th, Epic is kicking off a two-day competition called Secret Skirmish. As the name implies, there’s much we don’t know about it. There will be 100 competitors and a total of $500,000 in prizes, but the format is still a mystery. Thursday will begin with a duos competition at 1PM PT before a still-unannounced competition at 6:30PM. Friday will follow the same schedule, only with solo in place of duos for the lead battle.
What makes the Secret Skirmish particularly interesting, however, is that Epic says it will take place “at an undisclosed testing facility.” Aside from an E3 tournament at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, all of the major Fortnite events have taken place online. It seems likely that we’ll see a proper, dedicated studio or arena at Secret Skirmish that could potentially be home to the World Cup.
Overwatch League season 2, week 1
Blizzard’s ambitious e-sports league is returning, and there are a lot of changes in store for season 2. The Overwatch League has expanded from 12 to 20 teams, it features a more condensed schedule to ease the strain on players, and it will begin experimenting with home and away matches throughout the season. For all-access subscribers, there’s also a robust tool for viewing matches from different angles and perspectives.
Just like in season 1, all OWL matches are available to watch for free on Twitch, but the league has also expanded its viewing options quite a bit. You can watch every game within the ESPN app, for instance, and three matches per week will air on Disney XD. Blizzard also says that “select” games will air on ABC and ESPN2, including the stage finals and all-star game.
Kicking things off will be a rematch of last season’s championship game, with the London Spitfire taking on the Philadelphia Fusion at 7PM ET on February 14th, which will be followed by the typically dominating New York Excelsior against the Boston Uprising. The next day, meanwhile, will be a great chance to see some of the brand-new teams, with Toronto, Atlanta, Chengdu, and Guangzhou all in action for the first time.
Over the course of the season, four OWL matches will take place every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening. You can check out the complete schedule on the league’s official site.