Biggest esports tournaments of 2022

by Brian Bencomo

As the calendar turns from June to July, that means it’s esports championship season. The second half of the year is always back loaded with the biggest and most important esports tournaments of the year. Besides the Six Invitational, Rainbow Six’s world championship event which takes place early in the year, most other major esports championship tournaments take place in the latter half of the year. If you’re looking to tune in to the biggest esports tournaments of the year, here’s a primer on what to expect.

Apex Legends Global Series Championship

July 7-10 – Charlotte, North Carolina

The ALGS Championship kicks off esports championship season. The 2021-22 ALGS season concludes in July with 40 of the best Apex Legends teams from around the world dropping into PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. This will be the second international LAN tournament for the ALGS this season following the Split 2 Playoffs. Asia-Pacific team DarkZero (formerly Reignite) won that tournament and will be one of the favorites in Raleigh. Fellow APAC squad Team UNITE is another contender, but the rest of the favorites are teams from North America, including OpTic Gaming, Team Liquid, TSM and NRG.

Read more: Everything you need to know about the ALGS Championship

Photo credit: Psyonix

Rocket League Championship Series World Championship

Aug. 4-15 – Arlington, Texas

After Majors in Stockholm, Los Angeles and London, the RLCS 2021-22 season will conclude with the RLCS Championship in Arlington, Texas. Europe’s Moist Esports are the favorites after winning the Spring Major and finishing second (as Team Queso) in the Winter Major, but there are plenty of other contenders. Team BDS won the Fall Major and have maintained a high level of play, and G2 Esports won Winter Major and had a strong spring split.

Read more: Moist Esports win RLCS Spring Major filled with shocking results

NA and EU teams have always been the strongest contenders in the RLCS, and that is the case again this year, but unlike previous seasons, there are a couple of teams outside those regions that could make a run. Brazilian team FURIA will be one to keep an eye on after back-to-back top six finishes at Majors, and London runners-up Team Falcons from Saudi Arabia are another contender. For the first time ever, there also will be a couple of teams from Sub-Saharan Africa at an RLCS international competition. How those teams perform against international competition will be the biggest wild card at Worlds.

Call of Duty League Championship

Aug. 4-7 – Los Angeles, California

COD Champs will bring together eight of the 12 CDL teams in a double-elimination bracket to determine the 2022 CDL champion. A different team has won every Major so far this season, with one more Major taking place in July. However, the same team has finished second at all three Majors: Atlanta FaZe. It’s odd that FaZe have yet to win a Major this season despite winning multiple Majors last year and reaching the final of all three so far this season. They’re also the defending champs, so they’re a good bet to repeat and win it all this season.

Read more: OpTic, FaZe rivalry takes center stage at Call of Duty League's OpTic Major

But there’s a lot more parity this season than there was last year, so it doesn’t feel like FaZe’s coronation is a given. If you’re looking for another team that could rise to the occasion, OpTic Texas won Major I and have been the next most consistent team in the league after FaZe. Plus, Scump, Dashy & Co. have plenty of experience in big tournaments. The Los Angeles Guerrillas and Seattle Surge also have won Majors this year.

Photo credit: Riot Games

VALORANT Champions

Sept. 2-18 – Istanbul, Turkey

The VALORANT Champions Tour 2022 season ends in Istanbul with Champions. So far, six of the 16 teams have qualified: OpTic Gaming, XSET, LOUD, DRX, Paper Rex and XERXIA. Another four will be determined based on the results of Masters: Copenhagen which takes place in July. Last Chance Qualifiers for several regions around the world will finalize the field of 16 in August.

Read more: Ranking all the teams at VCT Masters Copenhagen

Right now, the favorite has to be OpTic Gaming after they won Masters: Reykjavík. With a Masters win and a Masters runner-up finish last summer, OpTic have been one of the best and most consistent VALORANT teams in the world. However, no team has won multiple international VALORANT events yet dating back to last year. With so many upsets at Masters: Reykjavík earlier this year and Masters: Copenhagen yet to play out, there will probably be a new favorite come September.

Overwatch League Grand Finals

No date has been set for the Overwatch League Grand Finals, however, it’s safe to say they’ll probably take place in October like they usually do. The season started in May, so it’s way too early to say with any certainty who the favorites might be to win the OWL 2022 championship. So far, the Los Angeles Gladiators and Seoul Dynasty have emerged as champions of their respective regions after the Kickoff Clash, the first tournament of the season. The Midseason Madness tournament which takes place in July will pit the best teams from both regions against each other. That will be the first indicator of which teams are truly the best in the league regardless of region. Other teams that appear to be contenders this season are the San Francisco Shock, Dallas Fuel and Shanghai Dragons.

Read more: Gladiators dominate in winning Overwatch League’s Kickoff Clash

Photo credit: Riot Games

League of Legends World Championship

October – Mexico City, New York City, Atlanta and San Francisco

The biggest esports event of the year is the League of Legends World Championship with thousands showing up in person and millions viewing online. For the first time since 2016, Worlds will take place in North America. After a couple years of relatively small-scale Worlds, this year’s edition will look more like the 2019 version, with the tournament taking place across multiple cities. The play-ins are scheduled to take place in Mexico City, the group stage and quarterfinals in New York City, the semifinals in Atlanta and the final in San Francisco.

Read more: RNG defeat T1 to win 2022 Mid-Season Invitational and third MSI title

South Korea’s T1 and China’s Royal Never Give Up met in the Mid-Season Invitational final. South Korea and China have typically produced the strongest teams every year, so whichever teams from those countries make it to North America will be the favorites. Europe’s G2 has seen a resurgence this year, so they should be in the mix too. As for North America … it’s possible whichever teams qualify from NA will benefit from a small home region buff. Evil Geniuses were NA’s representative at MSI, but it’s hard to say which teams will play on the Worlds stage this early in the summer.

The International

Oct. 15-30 – Singapore

One of the biggest annual esports tournaments of the year is The International, and it will take place in Singapore this year. Casual viewers might not watch Dota 2 throughout the year, but a $20+ million prize pool is an attention-grabber. Last year the prize pool eclipsed $40 million for the first time. Chinese and European Dota 2 teams have tended to be the strongest in recent years, and it was indeed Europe’s OG that won the Stockholm Major earlier this year. Chinese teams were not able to travel to that tournament due to COVID travel restrictions. The upcoming Arlington Major should be a good opportunity to see how Chinese teams stack up if they’re able to attend the tournament. China’s PSG.LGD is a perennial contender that will likely be one of the favorites in Singapore alongside OG.

Halo World Championship

Oct. 20-23 – Seattle, Washington

After Majors in Kansas City and Orlando, the HCS season will end with the Halo World Championship. The Orlando Major which takes place in September will have a big impact on the teams that will be in Seattle. The top 12 from Orlando will automatically qualify for the world championship. The other eight spots will go to the top teams in the HCS points standings from North America, Europe, Mexico and Oceania. North American teams are the strongest in Halo esports, and Sentinels are the reigning Major champions, with Cloud9 and OpTic Gaming also among the strongest teams.

Photo credit: PGL

Rio Major

Oct. 31-Nov. 13 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This isn’t actually a season-ending championship event, but Majors are the most prestigious events in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. With only one or two Majors every year, these $1 million dollar events are the closest thing in CS:GO to world championship events in other esports.

Read more: FaZe Clan win CS:GO PGL Major Antwerp with international roster

Earlier this year, FaZe Clan beat Natus Vincere in the Antwerp Major, and the second Major of the year will be the first one ever held in Brazil. FaZe will likely be one of the favorites given how good they’ve been so far this year. NAVI are having another strong year after being the best CS:GO team in the world last year. G2, ENCE, Team Vitality, BIG and Cloud9 round out the field of potential contenders in Rio.

Lead photo credit: Riot Games

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