What Are Some of the Best Esports Teams to Date?

What Is an Esports Team?

An esports team is like any other traditional sports team – a group of skilled individuals working together to beat their opponents. One thing that makes esports a little different, however, is the fact that each game usually has its own, distinct figurehead team, which can change at any point in the season as the competition progresses.

Some of the most noteworthy teams in esports are DWG KIA, Gambit Esports, Sentinels, and Team CC – we will take a closer look at these later on in this article.

Read on to find out the most popular teams in esports betting!

 

Which Are Some of the Best Esports Teams?

In this section, we will have a closer look at some of the top esports teams around, as well as a few notable players.

 

Gambit Esports

First up, we have the Russian organisation Gambit Esports, owned by telecommunications company MTS since 2018.

Gambit Esports (GMB) was established in January 2013, when the owner Konstantin “groove” Pikiner bought the former League of Legends roster Moscow Five, where he was previously the head coach.

Although they ran into some legal trouble in early 2013, the organisation has found plenty of success since then, particularly across League of Legends and CS:GO. In January 2016, the organisation acquired a roster which consisted mostly of previous HellRaisers players. That year, Gambit took out both Renegades and Cloud9 in the offline qualifiers for MLG Columbus 2016, and placed 9-12th at the main event. There were a variety of roster swaps and changes that followed later in 2016, and the organisation won Acer Predator Masters after defeating Team Kinguin.

The team placed first in four tournaments in 2016, and had a top 3 placement at 5 tournaments the following year. Their most notable achievements, however, started in July 2017, when they became the first CIS team to win a CS:GO Major event, by defeating Immortals in the grand final of the PGL Major 2017 in Krakow.

The team may have had a quiet run since, but they definitely seem set to make a strong return. They have currently spent over 40 weeks in the top 30 standings on HLTV, and 4 weeks in the top positions, with almost double the points of other CS:GO favourites, Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro. If you believe that Gambit Esports can go all the way, polish up your CS:GO betting skills and get ready to place some wagers!

Bring up the name of the former Moscow Five LoL roster to any old-school League fan, and they will easily recall Gambit’s journey as the underdogs who conquered Korean giants Azubu Frost and Azubu Blaze at IEM Season VII – Global Challenge. This tournament win guaranteed them a spot at the IEM World Championship, where they had a perfect group run with a clean 5-0, placing them in semi-finals of the IEM World Championship. Unfortunately, a 1-2 loss to CJ Entus Frost placed GMB in an overall third place for the tournament.

In April of 2013, four out of five GMB members were elected to participate in All Star Shanghai, an inter-regional tournament, where teams are based on fan-favourite votes. This was particularly notable, as GMB were not the team who held the first place spot at the Spring European LCS, showing they truly held the community support and were liked by the fans.

Gambit went on to represent Europe at the Season 3 World Championship organised by the publisher, Riot Games, winning second place after a tiebreaker vs Korean Samsung Galaxy Ozone. However, they faced Korean first seed NaJin Black Sword in the quarter-finals, and ultimately fell to them with a losing score of 1-2.

During 2014, the team had little real success in Europe, and their European LCS spot was sold to Team Vitality in December 2015. From January 2016, the team has been competing in LCL, a newly formed league at the time for CIS teams. Their first season in the LCL was not impressive, and the roster went under a huge revamp in 2017. It was then that every player was replaced but one, and ultimately qualified for the 2017 World Championship, during which they did not, however, make it out of their group. In 2018 the team returned to Worlds, but their Main Event dream was again cut short as they lost in the Play-In stage round 2 to Cloud9.

Check out our guide to esports betting in Russia to find out more!

 

DWG KIA

DAMWON KIA has a surprisingly short history, one that is definitely not reflective of the arc of its achievements. DWG KIA, or, 담원 기아 in its home region of South Korea, currently participates only in League of Legends. In their first year of formation, they achieved nothing, having finished fifth in the regular season in Challengers Korea. The latter is the academy structure for the LCK, one of the highest-regarded LoL regional competitions. For more information on this, check out our LCK betting guide.

In 2018, DAMWON finished second in the spring of Challengers Korea, and first in the summer season. Their incredibly dominant summer performance qualified them for participation in the LCK, and things were starting to look up. DAMWON also participated in Rift Rivals 2019, and went on to win the tournament for the region, beating China’s LPL. Back at home, the team qualified for the Play-In stage of the 2019 World Championship, and became the first ever team to qualify for the LCK and consequently Worlds in the same year.

At Worlds 2019, the team decimated their Play-In Group without dropping a single game, and remained at the top of their Main Event group as well. Damwon’s domination, however, was stopped short in its tracks by G2 Esports, who went on to lose to FunPlus Phoenix in the finals of the 2019 World Championship.

The 2020 season began for DAMWON in the same way their 2019 did: fifth in regular season, and fourth in playoffs. In summer, however, DAMWON decided it was time to unleash their full potential, placing first in the regular season having only lost two series. DWG claimed their first LCK title just over a year after qualifying for the tournament, and 8 weeks later they became the World Champions by defeating Suning 3-1. Just like that, DAMWON became the best League of Legends team in the world!

Shortly after their win, the organisation rebranded as DWG KIA, having come into a partnership with automotive brand Kia Motors. Other notable teams within the LoL competitive scene include Royal Never Give Up, Top Esports, T1, Fnatic and Cloud9, among others.

 

PSG.LGD

This LGD Gaming Dota 2 team was founded originally in 2009, and is one of the oldest esports organisations to hail from China. They score a notable mention here due to their cross-title presence and success: they have rosters competing in DOTA2, Honor of Kings (王者荣耀), League of Legends, Overwatch and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

If you know a bit about Honor of Kings (known as King of Glory in the West) or PUBG, you may want to check out our King of Glory betting or PUBG betting guides.

Partnered with French football club Paris Saint-Germain, the team won two Dota Pro Circuit majors, and advanced to the grand finals of The International 2018, falling to winners OG in a close battle which resulted in a 2-3 series loss. Currently, PSG.LGD are on a 6-win competitive streak, and have earned over 16 million dollars in prize money from Dota 2. It may be a good idea to watch out for their future success, and see if they make it back to the grand finals of The International this year with some DOTA betting.

Other notable mentions in Dota 2 esports include Virtus.pro, Team Aster, Team Secret and Invictus Gaming.

 

Team CC

This Chinese team is prominent within the Overwatch esports scene, even though it has been through many rebrands. In 2016, the team was known as VETERAN and was acquired by Invictus Gaming in 2016; in 2017, both its divisions – iG.Fire and iG.Ice – were acquired by Chinese live streaming platform NetEaseCC, which merged the two into Team CC. The organisation is responsible for the Shanghai Dragons of the Overwatch League, and TeamCC which competes under the same name in the Chinese division of the Overwatch Contenders.

Team CC underwent something of a slow burn to get where they are now, and were actually knocked out of the semifinals of the first season of Contenders China by our previous mention, PSG.LGD. Since 2018, the team has been consistently top four in Contenders China, and in 2019 Season 2, Team CC made it to finals. In 2020 Season 1, the team claimed its first Overwatch Contenders title, and thanks to a phenomenal 2020 run, the team qualified for The Gauntlet Asia. Here, they defeated Korean Gen.G 4-1, and claimed their first inter-regional title in the same year as championing OWC.

If you want to place your bets on the highly promising Team CC, check out our detailed guide to Overwatch betting.

 

Sentinels

You might already know that Fortnite pro ‘Bugha’ has been with Sentinels since March 2019. In July of that year, at a mere age of 16, he went on to win the 3 million dollar prize money, some of the highest esports earnings ever gained for a single player. The Fortnite scene oversees many tournaments taking place almost constantly, and a lot of money can be made from Fortnite betting.

Sentinels is the first esports team on our list to be based in America – more specifically, Los Angeles in California. The organisation launched in 2018, and currently holds rosters in Fortnite, VALORANT, Apex Legends and Halo. Apex Legends in itself is a huge game that offers multiple betting opportunities, many of which you can read about in our in-depth Apex Legends betting guide.

VALORANT may be a pretty fresh esport, but that has not stopped Sentinels from engulfing any tournament they enter. Although the competitive side of the game is still developing, Sentinels have done amazingly in both stages of the NA VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT), coming in first place out of 128 in the first and second Stages. They are currently on a 9-win streak in VALORANT pro play with an all-time win rate of 81%, and have already amassed 195,000 dollars’ worth of tournament winnings. Not bad, eh? The team is also set to take part in Masters: Reykjavik, facing off against 10 of the finest international teams from the entire global VCT circuit. As far as VALORANT is concerned, Sentinels truly know what they’re doing, and are definitely a team to look out for. For a deeper read into the game and its esports scene, check out our article on VALORANT betting.

Other notable VALORANT teams are X10 Esports, Crazy Raccoon, NUTURN Gaming and Team Vikings.

 

Bren Esports

Based in the Philippines, Bren Esports has rosters in 10 esports titles, which is nothing to laugh at, considering they have only been around three years. During this time, the organisation has amassed over 30 total championships.

Our honourable mention for Bren Esports stems from their success in mobile esports game, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (无尽对决). Especially significant was their miracle run in January 2021, where they became the champions for the M2 World Championship through the lower bracket run. The team has also won the MPL season 6 championship in October 2020, and placed highly in other Mobile Legends: Bang Bang tournaments in the SEA region. They currently have an all-time win rate of 74%, and will definitely be present for further esports developments in the SEA region.

Other names you will certainly come across in SEA mobile gaming are Aura PH, EVOS SG and Blacklist International.

 

Top Regional Esports Teams – Rankings in Brief

Europe

  1. G2 Esports
  2. Team Vitality
  3. Astralis
  4. Team Secret
  5. Ninjas in Pyjamas

China

  1. Royal Never Give Up
  2. Invictus Gaming
  3. TOP Esports
  4. Newbee
  5. Vici Gaming

Brazil

  1. PaiN Gaming
  2. KaBuM! e-Sports
  3. INTZ eSports
  4. Lowkey Esports
  5. Luminosity Gaming

Korea

  1. DAMWON KIA
  2. T1
  3. G
  4. DragonX
  5. Afreeca Freecs

North America

  1. Team Liquid
  2. FaZe Clan
  3. Cloud9
  4. NRG Esports
  5. Team SoloMid

Southeast Asia

  1. EVOS Esports
  2. Aura Esports
  3. RRQ
  4. Bigeton Esports
  5. Bren Esports

 

Esports Team Recruiting

If you're interested in becoming an esports player, remember that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. After you've put in enough practice, try approach amateur organisations in your region. Or, if you are more interested in the operational side of things, give Hitmarker a look. This site is a great job-ad source used by the entire industry – all and any roles are posted on it, so there's bound to be something there to suit your capabilities.

 

How Do Esports Teams Make Money?

There are various ways in which esports teams make money. The most obvious is through prize winnings, but for a lot of these esports organisations, the majority of the money comes from sponsorships and merchandise. For instance, a sponsor may pay a certain sum for their logo to appear on a team’s jersey, meaning that it does not matter if that team wins or not – their matches will be broadcasted anyway and thus the logo would gain visibility and brand consciousness.

Sponsors can also pay for and request the players to promote their products to their own fanbases, which can be particularly effective with well-known and established figures in the community.

From this perspective, esports teams are the same as those you see in traditional sports: people will buy merch belonging to the teams they support the most. Esports brands create merchandise which doubles up as lifestyle brands, as is in the case of 100 Thieves. The latter have become more than just an esports organisation, having successfully expanded into trendy clothing and influencer figures to create a digital, global empire.

In some cases, an organisation participating in a League, i.e. Overwatch Contenders, may receive a cut of the overall revenue. For instance, the Contenders league may make money from ticket sales and broadcasting rights, and distribute a certain percentage of these to all the teams that participated in it and thus allowed it to exist.

Naturally, prize pools do make up a portion of an organisation's revenue. In the case of Team Liquid and OG, that ‘portion’ is over 30 million dollars, due to their Dota 2 successes. The highest prize pool to least tournaments played figure is that of Wings Gaming, who have participated in 27 tournaments under the brand and made almost 10 million in prize money. The first organisation on the list whose earnings are not mostly from Dota 2 is SK Telecom T1, who have made over 6 million dollars from League of Legends, a game for which they have won the World Championship three times.

 

How to Invest in Esports Teams

Unfortunately, the majority of esports teams are listed privately; however, in November 2020, Fnatic secured over 10 million from internal funding, and followed this with an aim of raising 1 million pounds from a fan-based crowdfunding initiative. This crowdfunding process actually exceeded its original target, raising 1.8million from 3450 fan investors.

The industry may move towards the public investment sector in the future, so for now, the best advice is to keep an eye on your favourite teams' social media.

 

Why Did Some Esports Teams Become Inactive?

One of the main reasons for an esports organisation to leave a certain esports scene is due to licensing and ownership issues. Team Curse, for instance, was a North American LoL team sponsored by Curse Inc. In January of 2015, the organisation merged with Team Liquid, as new Riot rules meant that Curse could no longer sponsor them due to a conflict of interest.

Sometimes, an organisation realises that they do not have the resources to flourish in an esport, or the market has become too saturated. An example here would be Natus Vincere, who are incredibly well-known in CS:GO, but had very little success in the LCL in 2016, where they played for two splits and disbanded. However, with the release of the mobile version of League of Legends, Wild Rift, the organisation has announced their roster for the game with five Chinese players based in Europe.

 

Controversies Within Esports Teams

One old-school case is that of MeetYourMakers, a team that participated in League of Legends in Europe until mid-2015. Their manager fell into some controversy after a player wanted to leave the team mid-split, after which the former threatened to seize the house belonging to the player's mother in order to recuperate any financial losses. (The mother had been the one to sign the player's contract, due to the latter having only just turned 18 in February of that year).

Another case is that of Echo Fox, which fell apart due to a case of its core 3 founders essentially suing each other. In 2019, a lawsuit was filed by Jones and Raizada against Fox, stating he had worked against the best interests of the company. In response, Fox filed a lawsuit against Jones and Raizada, stating they had committed fraud, conspiracy and breach of contract against him. Real messy. And, as you can imagine, it’s almost impossible to keep an esports team afloat, let alone successful, in such a scenario.

 

FAQ section

What is an esports team?

An esports team is an organisation which has an active, participating roster in any given esports title (or titles).

 

Which is the best esports team?

This is hard to narrow this answer down to just one name, so instead, we've picked a few of the best: RNG, G2 Esports, Cloud9 and Gen.G.

 

What is the best CS:GO team?

At the moment, Gambit Esports are leading on HLTV with 1000 points – 180 above next spot, Heroic.

 

How many esports teams are there?

There are over 500 registered teams on Esports Earnings, some of which are inactive. However, if you were to count every single esports team in existence, you would find over 500, if not around 1000!

 

Which is the best FIFA team?

In FIFA esports, a ‘team’ consists of one player. Some of the notable players in early 2021 are OliBoli7, HHezerS and Neat.

 

Who are the worst esports team?

This is pretty hard to say, as most teams enjoy their moment of glory at the highest levels of play. Players swap teams a lot, and the bottom seed of a split can suddenly find themselves in the top three in the next split.

 

Who are the best LoL team?

DWG KIA won the 2020 World Championship, so, on paper, they are the best LoL team in the world.

 

What are sponsorships in esports teams?

Sponsorships are a way for brands to gain brand visibility and consciousness among fans and players, often through logos displayed on team gear.

 

Which is the richest esports team?

Right now, the trophy for the highest-valued esports team goes to Team SoloMid, who were valued by Forbes at $410 million for 2020.

 

What esports team has won the most?

This is hard to say, simply because players rotate around teams, meaning it is pretty rare for there to be one winner for a consistent amount of time. G2 Esports, however, stand out as they have won 6 domestic titles, and have come 2nd and 3-4th at the last two World Championships.

 

What kind of merchandise is available for an esports team?

Esports merchandise can be anything, from shirts, to lifestyle apparel, to mice, keyrings, and bracelets.

 

What is the biggest prize won in esports?

The International 9 saw OG take $34.3 million. Talk about a nice payday!

 

Can I get a job in esports?

This depends on what you want to do! If you want to be a player, practise as much as you can and try out with some amateur teams in your region first. If you are more into operations, check out the Hitmarker site for some guidance and list of roles currently available.

 

What teams have become inactive in CS:GO?

In March 2021, Cloud9 announced the disbanding of their CS:GO division, stating that the pandemic of 2020 caused them to face significant difficulties. Some other names that have left CS:GO are Copenhagen Wolves, Moscow Five, Splyce and Vega Squadron.

 

What teams have become inactive in LoL?

Some teams that have withdrawn from or left LoL, for various reasons, are Echo Fox, Complexity Gaming, Alliance and Team Curse.

 

How do esports teams hire?

Usually, social media! Try to get your name out there – you will really benefit from having an approachable online persona.

 

Are there many teams in VALORANT?

This is, again, pretty hard to state definitively, so we will just stick with the following: in the NA stage 1 VCT qualifiers, there were over 120 teams that applied.

 

What are the top EU esports team rankings?

The top EU rankings are G2 Esports, Team Vitality, Astralis, Team Secret, and Ninjas in Pyjamas.

 

What are the top NA esports team rankings?

Team Liquid, FaZe Clan, Cloud9, NRG Esports, and Team SoloMid are the top NA esports team rankings.

 

What are the top Korea esports team rankings?

The top Korea esports team rankings are DAMWON KIA, T1, Gen.G, DragonX, and Afreeca Freecs.

 

What are the top China esports team rankings?

Royal Never Give Up, Invictus Gaming, TOP Esports, Newbee, and Vici Gaming are the top China esports team rankings.

 

What are the top SEA esports team rankings?

The top-ranked SEA esports teams are EVOS Esports, Aura Esports, RRQ, Bigeton Esports, and Bren Esports.

 

What is the best Mobile Legends (无尽对决) team?

This is, of course, Bren Esports! These guys love to win when it comes to Mobile Legends, and we are sure to see them around creating an impact on the future of the region.

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