In 2021, we enjoyed an esports calendar packed like never before. Throughout a 12-month period, we transitioned through the Call of Duty League, LoL Worlds, The International 10, and so many more events. We witnessed the return of Halo esports, saw the comeback of LAN events, and placed millions of dollars worth of esports bets. Today, we’re here to sum up the best esports moments of 2021, covering off the greatest scenes in the last year.
Toronto Ultra Goes Unfazed in the Call of Duty League
At the second Major Tournament of the 2021 Call of Duty League, Toronto Ultra stunned the world. From the opening fixtures of the tournament, Atlanta FaZe was easily shown as the most dominant team in the League, but that didn’t seem to bother Toronto Ultra. In a remarkable turn of events, Toronto Ultra pushed through the $500k Major Tournament, securing a huge win and beating every top-tier team in the League.
Between entering the Major and winning it, Toronto – an underdog side – beat OpTic Chicago, the LA Thieves, Minnesota Rokkr, Dallas Empire, and Atlanta FaZe. They’d battled up through the loser’s bracket, smashing down every team by a considerable ratio, before scooping the $200k grand prize and immeasurable bragging rights.
EDG Devastates Reigning Champs at LoL Worlds
EDward Gaming came into the League of Legends World Championship 2021 event as something of an underdog side. This Chinese-based squad hadn’t ever got close to winning the biggest esports tournament in League of Legends, but their fortunes were destined to change in 2021. However, to get through to the grand prize and the trophy, they’d need to contend with reigning champions, DAMWON Gaming.
And contend they did!
EDG pushed out of a deficit to devastate DAMWON and secure both a massive victory and an enormous upset. It was a win that nobody saw coming, but for those backing EDward Gaming in their esports bets, it was a huge payday.
S1mple Finally Wins A CSGO Major
If you’re expressing any kind of interest in CSGO esports, you’ll know the name ‘S1mple’. For many, the Na’Vi player, whose full name is Oleksandr Kostyliev, is considered the greatest player in CSGO today. However, despite his unparalleled skill, he hadn’t ever claimed a victory on the biggest stages in CSGO esports – a Major Tournament.
In case you didn’t already know, these CSGO tournaments are considered some of the most major esports events in the entire industry.
In 2021, one of the best esports moments came when S1mple finally won a Major, dominating the field at the PGL Major Stockholm 2021 event. It was a tough ascension for S1mple, who has always been beaten to the post wherever a Major has been concerned in the past. This year, he was resolute in his determination, and alongside his Natus Vincere comrades, he secured a massive (and first) Major victory.
Only time will tell how S1mple will fare at the CSGO tournaments in 2022.
Cloud9 Becomes First-Ever Halo Infinite Major Champion
According to statistics, the return of Halo’s esports scene was the most-viewed event in the history of the franchise. In December of 2021, the Kickoff Major event was held in Raleigh, North Carolina, marking the opening of the Halo Championship Series. It was a return to form for one of the oldest competitive scenes in gaming today, with the last HCS event having taken place back in 2019.
It was Cloud9 that secured the crown at this opening event, dominating every other team on the board. This was easily one of the best esports moments of 2021, with Cloud9 pushing past the likes of eUnited, FaZe Clan, and OpTic Gaming to secure an extremely prolific win. They were the first team in history to secure a competitive victory on the Halo Infinite platform, doing so in remarkable fashion.
The highlight of this moment comes in a round of Strongholds against XSET, wherein Cloud9 won with a count of 250 – 0.
Paluh Lands Memorable MVP Award at Six Invitational
In a heartbreaking turn of events, Luccas ‘Paluh’ Molina received word that his father had been taken ill just days into the Six Invitational event. As a starter for Team Liquid, Paluh’s position was pivotal, but his father, over the phone, pleaded for him to push on and play as well as he knew he could.
However, shortly after a massive win over FaZe Clan, Paluh was given devastating news – his father had sadly passed away. But, rather than allow this news to break him, Paluh gained a sense of resolve, ultimately deciding to honor his father with a ferocious performance. While Team Liquid didn’t secure the grand prize, Paluh was named MVP of the Six Invitational event, securing one of the best esports moments of 2021 – and one of the most emotional.
TenZ Becomes the Star Player of Valorant
Back in January of 2021, TenZ, considered one of the best Valorant players in the world, announced his retirement from the esport. However, following a controversy regarding another player in the industry, TenZ was offered a fresh, lucrative opportunity with Sentinels. It would ultimately become the best decision the young player could have made, with Sentinels absolutely storming ahead following his listing on the roster.
Once TenZ had shown what he was worth, Sentinels offered him a permanent, seven-figure contract. Although TenZ was already regarded as one of the most dominant gamers and one of the best esports players from Canada, his 2021 season cemented him as a true legend of Valorant.