Most influential people in esports

Wolfe Glick- Competitive Pokemon VGC Player

Glick

Wolfe Glick is an American competitive Pokemon VGC (Video Game Championship) player and is the 2016 World Champion in the master’s division. Glick’s career with Pokemon debuted in 2011 during the DC Regionals tournament where he finished in first place. The VGC player is well known for his interesting move sets and teams, that’s why we believe he is very influential within the Pokemon competitive scene.

During the 2017 international American championships, Glick brought with him an interesting take on the popular ice fairy type Pokemon, Alolan Ninetales, opting for Light Clay as the held item and replacing Blizzard with Disable within its move set. This was a risky decision for the long run but he managed to secure many victories by surprising his opponent with moves that gave the rest of his team an advantage. Wolfe Glick always says, ‘You can’t win them all’, this is one of the key factors behind his risky tactics as he has more enjoyment using sets that are interesting and unique even if it lowers his chance of victory. The support based set gave Ninetales the potential to be a clever asset to his team, or it could give him a disadvantage by giving up offensive strategies.

With the 2018, competitive season just around the corner, Wolfe Glick is likely to return with the interesting additions within Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon (the latest Pokemon game). This will give the player a chance to bring never before seen strategies within the Pokemon Competitive scene and inspire other individuals to experiment with their teams.

Jaimie Ditchfield

Matt ‘MrX’ Morello

Matt-Mr-x

Morello has always been a voice in the community, from coaching, livestreaming and what he’s most known for his commentating. Morello has had a following since 2015 when he coached Complexity and Evil Geniuses, both are now large-scale teams who push for the championships over a wide range of Esports.

Last year in 2017, Morello not only headed up the Call Of Duty World League for casting but also branched in the Overwatch scene, his voice and persona pulling a lot of people into each play made on screen. He’s a trusted and charismatic character and his new-found presence in the Overwatch league arguably has a had a large impact in the amount of following the contenders matches accrued.

From his fast past play-by-plays to his amusing side tracks Matt Morello has made a name for himself in the esports community and will continue to hold a lot of influence of the success of overwatch league, and moreover keeping fans happy and entertained.

Zander Padwick

Dr DisRespect

Dr DisRespect is an outrageous live streamer who wears a wig and sports a questionable moustache but manages to suck up all of the attention on his respective platform. The strange caster is an American gamer who is popular on Twitch with over one million followers and is recognised for his Player Unknowns Battlegrounds (PUBG) streams that popularized the game. He is also known for his over the top arrogant and competitive character, as well as high production quality of streaming.

Also known as Guy Beahm, he created the Dr DisRespect persona in early 2010. Beahm says the creation of the character started by “simply changing my gamertag”.

In 2017, he was voted as ‘Streamer of the Year’ at the Esports Industry Awards due to his exciting streams and excellent skill at Battle Royale games specifically H1Z1 and PUBG. That was not the only tremendous achievement he claimed, he also won the award for ‘trending gamer’ at the annual Game Awards and gave an emotional speech that had the audience captivated. Dr DisRespect can be seen as the driving force behind the current popularity of PUBG, he managed to give the game a boost in sales and interest bringing the title to the forefront of competitive gaming.

Unfortunately, he got caught up within a scandal in late 2017 which he addressed to his fans. He is currently taking a hiatus from streaming so it is unknown if the Doctor will return in 2018, but we are waiting patiently for an official announcement from the man himself.

Jaimie Ditchfield

Michael Grzesiek – C9 Shroud

shroud

Grzesiek has been playing Counter Strike since it first was released and since then has amassed a following through streaming gameplay on Twitch. However, he rose to fame through joining the Counter Strike: Global Offensive team, Cloud 9 on September 1st 2014.  In his career he has won $230,000 in prize money from playing for C9 in CS:GO and is considered the best player of C9. He was the second longest standing member in the team best known for his weapon accuracy and clutching abilities in-game.

Shroud has always had a love for streaming and it had shown in august 2017, as Shroud stepped away from the main team of Cloud 9 they put out a statement saying: “Michael would prefer to take a back seat in the team, he wanted to instead become a streamer for C9 rather than a pro player.” He gave his reasoning on his livestream: “I would much rather everyone enjoying my content not just the eSports viewers”. Michael spends his days streaming PUBG & Fortnite on his channel which has gained over 2.1 million followers which is the sixth most-followed twitch account of all time.

Interestingly Shroud has become a large reason for the movement of the esports scene of Player Unknown Battlegrounds predominantly streaming that game on his Twitch with an average of 60,000 viewers at regular times, Michael was the first esports player to be nominated for The Game Award for trending Gamer in 2017.

Tom Wise

Andy Dinh – TSM Reginald

dinhAndy Dinh, otherwise known as “TSM Reginald” is the founder, owner and CEO of one of the most popular League of Legends Team in the world. Especially in North America.

Team Solo Mid has reached levels of popularity such that their name is chanted even when they are not even playing. Andy Dinh has been able to elevate his team by switching the roster when need be and bringing on coaches, analysts and other caretakers of the team.

With Dinh in a managerial position on the team they have come first in 20 tournaments both in North America and Worldwide such as the “IEM Season IX – World Championship” despite expecting to lose. Andy has always seen the odds for what they are and always tries to bring his team’s confidence up when they are not playing as well as they could be and humbles them when they win. This can be seen in Team Solo Mid’s online series “TSM: LEGENDS” which has now hit its third season. He consistently proves in this backstage look the series offers that he is a huge part of the success of his team, even when comparing the amount of effort his players put in.

The reach of Andy’s influence is not just in League of Legends but it has also spread to other games in the e-sports world such as: Super Smash Bros, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Vain Glory as well as the more recent Playerunkowns’ Battlegrounds. With the constant ambition to push his team and brand forward who knows where TSM and Andy Dinh will turn up next with the growing popularity of e-sports. Remember the team name “Team Solo Mid” as you’re likely to see it a lot in the future and expect for Andy Dinh to be right there next to it.

“In the world of competitive video gaming, Dinh may be the next Michael Jordan or Nolan Ryan–a professional player turned team owner and sports icon.” – Forbes

Luke Morgan

Kenny ‘KennyS’ Schurb

Kenny Schurb or better known to his peers and adoring fans ‘KennyS’ it a French popular esports player and named the best Esports Sniper with his then team ‘Team EnVyUs’ in the Video Game Awards in 2015. He has worked on teams like Titian, Verygames and Team Mystilk, but he was at the top of his game and popularity while he was in team EnVyUs.

As all stories start, we start with the underdog, like a pure-blooded Spartan, he started to kill and claim victory over his enemies at a young age, six-years-old to be exact, as told on his Steam account like an old tale forged on a stone table. He started his journey playing Counter Strike: Source on his brother’s computer, he used video games like many of us as an escape from problems from the outside world. He later transferred his abilities to the newest Counter Strike called Counter Strike Global Offensive in 2012 and won second place ESWC 2012 in his then current team VeryGames.

He was invited to tournaments and started his career to become the greatest sniper Counter Strike and esports would know: “They are better in regards to their individual skill so it feels good to know that if I don’t reach 30 kills we can still win the game and I can get carried by my teammates.” Kenny said this in 2015 when then current team mates NBK, Kio awere on the top of their game. This is what we like about him, he started from the bottom and at a very young age and through hardship he worked his way up to become the very best at what he does.

He has help YouTube make content with him and NBK turning up in a video by SovietWomble. In 2017, he is still very popular with the popularity of Twitch and YouTube, he might not be the best sniper now but I’d like you to say that while he’s got you in his sights.

Lewis Pell

Jeff Kaplan

JeffKaplan

Jeff Kaplan is a video game developer for the publisher Blizzard entertainment and head director for the video game phenomenon OverWatch.

He was introduced to gaming through the MMO ‘Everquest’. After he discussed some map ideas he had with his guild mates. The guild leader who worked for Blizzard heard these ideas and invited Jeff to the Los Angeles branch of Blizzard and they showed him a build for the then upcoming Warcraft 3. He was later hired to work for Blizzard while the MMO world of Warcraft was in development as a quest designer. Kaplan was tasked with helping the development of a Blizzard project called Titian. Later down the line the game was cancelled, and he was tasked in to making a new game, and this game became the team shooter OverWatch.

We are inspired by Kaplan in the way he interacts with his fans. He has a jokey personality around him, for example he had a livestream which lasted an hour and it involved him sitting in his chair drinking milk and eating cookies. He then said thanks to all the fans and said he was going to announces a new hero to Overwatch, but when he was about to announce it, the stream had a technical difficulty which was a massive troll for the audience. When Overwatch won best game for 2016 at the video game awards, Kaplan came to get the award and declared that the award was for the fans and Harambe – a meme in early 2016, which shows he was still listening and enjoying the community.  Without him, games like Overwatch would not be as popular as they are now and we thank him, thank you Jeff….as so can you please stop nerfing Mercy. Cheers.

Lewis Pell

Brendan Greene

BrendanGreene

Brendan Greene, the creator of PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, started his career as a DayZ fan whilst living in Brazil. After working on a friend’s server scripting for the game he decided to move back to Ireland so that he could have a steady internet connection, a decision that would change his life forever. After a year of scripting and working on this server he decided that he would try making mods for the game, this is when DayZ gained the Battle Royale mod.

Sometime after, the guys over at Daybreak (H1Z1 Creators) reached out and said that they needed to talk, they had seen his work and they were intrigued. Brendan then flew to San Diego where they asked if they could license the Battle Royale game mode for H1Z1, then with his help they made this game a massive success over the coming years.

Whilst working on mods for H1Z1 and still paying for the Arma 3 server (out of his own pocket to give back to the community) Brendan was contacted by Bluehole, a company who wished to make his vision a reality with a new Battle Royale game. This was the birth of PlayerUnknown’s Battleground a game that sold over 20 million copies on PC within 9 months of release.

The mass success of PubG has spiked a mass of other games to create Battle Royale style game modes. However, these other games struggle to keep up with the ever-expanding player base of PubG. It is for these reasons we believe Brendan Greene is one of the year’s most influential people in gaming.

“We have been working on the game since March 2016, and until we hit Early Access launch, the team size was about 40 persons,” Greene told Red Bull Games. “Since launch, we have been expanding, and now number about 100 plus strong.”

Gianfranco Lagioia

Duncan Shields

DuncanShields

Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields is an esports writer known for his lengthy historical articles, interviews and casting for ESL. He also has multiple popular YouTube series in which he teaches how to competitively play CS: GO.

Thorin has progressed through several jobs in his career, from editor-in-chief of SK Gaming to the voted ‘Esports Journalist of the Year’ in 2012, 2013 and 2017.

We feel as though Thorin should make the list as he has repeatedly been recognised as an award-winning writer. Alongside this, Thorin’s insight into competitive gaming has even impressed the highest tier of players, i.e. being asked to coach Fnatic’s League of Legends roster in late 2014.

We feel as though Thorin’s many video series express his influence on the gaming community. His series ‘reflections’, is a series that interviews the many players, coaches and managers of the eSports community. A concept that isn’t particularly focused on in the current stage of eSports.

We also believe his straight-forward approach to reporting in general is what bolsters his successful career, as a quote from his 2017 eSports journalist of the year award outlined. Thorin said, “I’m supposed to say that there is a lot of peers in the industry deserving of the award, but I’ve always thought in life, it’s better to be thought arrogant than a liar”.

This leads us to why we believe Thorin should make the list. By being an inspiration to games journalists and writers alike, Thorin has influenced the eSports community in a way that very few others have.

Ben Lyons

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