Updated March 23
Last year was big for women’s esports as we saw women competing against each other internationally in VALORANT via the VCT Game Changers Championship and the launch of ESL Impact, a top tier circuit for women’s events in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Game Changers and ESL Impact continue to provide opportunities this year for women to compete, and there also are notable women’s Rocket League and Fortnite tournaments on the calendar for 2023. Here are some of the biggest events in esports for women in 2023.
ESL Impact Katowice 2023
Prize pool: $100,000
Location: Katowice, Poland
WINNER: Nigma Galaxy Female
Photo credit: Michal Konkol / ESL
Nigma Galaxy Female have been among the best women’s teams in Counter-Strike since forming in 2020, and have dominated ESL Impact since the women’s circuit launched last year. Nigma Galaxy win at ESL Impact Katowice was the latest for a team that also won ESL Impact League Season 1, ESL Impact Valencia and ESL Impact Season 2. They only dropped one map in Katowice en route to victory. They beat the NAVI Javelins in the final.
Women of the eRena
Prize pool: $75,000
WINNERS: vanessuh and Sommerset
In honor of International Women’s Day, eFuse held the most lucrative prize pot of the year for a non-CS:GO women’s tournament. The duo of vanessuh and Sommerset won the tournament which consisted of 50 duos and six matches, with the first three games being zero build and the last three in build mode. EFuse also held a $150,000 women’s Fortnite tournament in December that was won by vanessuh, sparkles_qt and Sommerset.
Prize pool: $10,000
Location: Las Vegas (Nevada), United States
Photo credit: Version1
Version1 put the Game Changers scene on notice with their win in Astral Clash. Led by former Cloud9 White stars Melanie “meL” Capone and Alexis “alexis” Guarrasi and a new young star in Ava "florescent" Eugene, V1 beat Complexity GX3 in the final of the eight-team tournament. Florescent led all players in K/D and first kills. Although this wasn't a Game Changers event, it is one of the most notable women's tournaments on the calendar for 2023 outside the GC circuit and featured some of the best teams competing in a LAN setting. Besides V1, Complexity GX3, Evil Geniuses GC and Misfits Black were the top teams at this event.
VCT Game Changers Brazil Series 1
Prize pool: $19,316
Only Paula "bstrdd" Naguil and Natália "daiki" Vilela remain on Team Liquid Brazil from last year. Photo credit: Riot Games
After North America and Europe, Brazil is home to the next best VALORANT team. Team Liquid Brazil dominated the Brazilian Game Changers circuit last year and finished third at the global championship. The team has undergone significant roster change this offseason with only Paula "bstrdd" Naguil and Natália "daiki" Vilela remaining from last year’s roster. Two of the newcomers come from Gamelanders Purple, which was the second-best team in Brazil early in 2022. Two former members of Team Liquid are now with MIBR Female, so expect that team to be one of the contenders this year. So far in 2023, Team Liquid haven’t dropped any matches during qualifiers for the Series 1 main event, so they remain the favorites in the Brazilian Game Changers circuit. The one team that has pushed them so far this year has been LOUD GC. The team was formerly known as jelly e amigas and before that as B4 Angels and finished second to Team Liquid at Brazil’s Series 2 last year.
Ally Women’s Open
Prize pool: $40,000
This event will consist of a North American and European tournament, with $20,000 being allotted to each region’s prize pot. The tournament will be produced by Raidiant, which is a platform that seeks to promote women in esports. There hasn’t been any announcement about the participating teams yet, but the best teams in the latest season of Women’s Car Ball have been Gen.G and Misfits among North American teams, and Williams Resolve in Europe.
VCT Game Changers North America Series 1
Prize pool: $50,000
Shopify Rebellion should be the team to beat in North America this year. Photo credit: Riot Games
This will be the first of three Game Changers series planned for the best women’s and nonbinary VALORANT teams in North America. Cloud9 White dominated this circuit throughout 2021 and 2022, winning every single NA Game Changers tournament. However, the team lost to fellow NA team Shopify Rebellion GC at the global Game Changers Championship, and the roster was released shortly afterward. Shopify Rebellion, led by Benita “bENITA” Novshadian, is now the team to beat. Former Cloud9 White standouts meL and alexis are now with Version1, a team that figures to challenge Shopify all year especially after their win at Astral Clash. FaZe Clan have entered the Game Changers scene with the organization’s first-ever women’s team. The team is led by former Complexity GX3 players Jennifer “refinnej” Le and Madison “maddiesuun” Mann. Evil Geniuses GC and Misfits Black also should be contenders.
VCT Game Changers EMEA Series 1
April 24-May 21
Prize pool: TBD
G2 Gozen are the team to beat in EMEA. Photo credit: Riot Games
The EMEA Game Changers circuit will kick off just over a week after the conclusion of the first NA event. EMEA is the home of the reigning Game Changers world champions, G2 Gozen. They will have to find a new in-game leader this year as Julia "juliano" Kiran has switched back to playing CS:GO, the game where she first became a legend in the women’s esports scene. Juliano, Petra "Petra" Stoker and Michaela "mimi" Lintrup formed the veteran core of the championship roster in 2022. G2 should still be the top team in EMEA this year. Guild X, NAVI Celestials and Acend Rising should be among the teams to challenge G2. Plus, Karmine Corp has entered the Game Changers scene with three players from the now defunct Rix.GG Lightning and TENSTAR Nova rosters that were among the top teams last year.
ESL Impact League Season 3 Finals
Prize pool: $123,000
Location: Dallas (Texas), United States
Dallas will once again host the Impact League Finals this June. Photo credit: Stephanie Lindgren / ESL
The third season of the ESL Impact League will return to North America in conjunction with IEM Dallas. Season 1 of the Impact League took place last year at IEM Dallas too. Nigma Galaxy beat FURIA to capture the circuit’s inaugural season. FURIA Female have proven to be the best team from the Americas since then, and CLG Red have been the best North American team though they haven’t been a serious challenger to win any of the Impact events yet.
ESL Impact League Season 4 Finals
Prize pool: $123,000
Location: Hanover, Germany
NAVI have been the only women's team to challenge Nigma Galaxy so far. Photo credit: Stephanie Lindgren / ESL
The ESL Impact League will hold its final event of the year in Europe. Thus far, Europe’s Nigma Galaxy Female have dominated the scene, and fellow European team NAVI Javelins have been contenders to steal the crown from them. They’re the only women’s team that has beaten Nigma Galaxy Female since last summer. A new European team has entered the competition for 2023 and could be a contender at this tournament too, G2 Oya. Zainab "zAAz" Turkie and Julia "juliano" Kiran, who are two of the most successful women’s CS:GO players of all time, left to play VALORANT with G2 Gozen in 2021 and 2022 but are back playing CS:GO with this team. It wouldn’t be surprising to see G2 Oya competing for a championship in Season 4.
VCT Game Changers Championship
Dates Nov. 28 - Dec. 3
Prize pool: TBD
Location: Sao Paolo, Brazil
G2 Gozen are the reigning Game Changers champions. Photo credit: Riot Games
In March, Riot Games announced details for the 2023 VCT Game Changers Championship. The event will be in Brazil this year after taking place in Europe last year and will have the same regional allocation featuring two teams each from North America and Europe, and one each from Brazil, Latin America, Southeast Asia and East Asia. The only thing that is unknown is how big the prize pot will be. Last year it was $500,000. The defending champs are G2 Gozen, and they should once again be contenders this year.
Lead photo credit: Riot Games