This will be a quick article on how to enter tournaments as an amateur team or player. I get a ton of questions on “how do I become pro and enter tournaments”. So, from a tournaments organizers perspective I’ll provide my thoughts. If you’re just starting out, be sure to also read how do esports teams make money, how to deal with pro teams and other roles you may need for your org in esports.
Follow esports tournament organizers
One of the easier ways to follow the tournament scene is to check out tournament organizers and follow their social media for announcements. Generally a tournament organizer will provide an open qualifier (not always) that you can sign up for. This will be a tough test as there’s gonna be some really good teams vying for limited qualifier spots.
When we did our qualifiers a few years ago, we would get around 200 teams vying for 2-4 spots. As you can imagine, the competition was fierce and spots were limited. This allowed us to have fresh competition in our tournaments while giving a chance to newer teams to make names for themselves.
Join scrim channels
Scrim channels are a good way to test your skills at a scheduled time. There are various scrim channels for games. For example, PUBG had scrim channels to fill lobbies with pro / semi pros. A common issue with scrims is that they may not always be a true indicator of performance. Teams may hide strats or half ass the scrim aka not really try. If you’re bragging about scrim results to TO’s you could be setting up yourself for disappointment when you face that team again and they unleash their real strats.
Be proud of your scrim results but take scrim results with a grain of salt sometimes.
Check out tournament websites for daily tournaments
Websites like FACEIT, smash.gg and other websites that are similar will provide general daily tournaments. It could be a way to test your skills to see if you can consistently win these tournaments. Generally top semi pro / pro teams will not compete in these as the competition is lower. Sometimes a good team will sign up and you’ll get stomped though so sign up for a few.
If you and your team are getting stomped in low pubs then you have to be realistic on what you’re looking to do. If your goal is to become pro there’s a lot of work to be done as the gap between the top 1% of players vs pro players is enormous.
Be real with yourself and your teammates in order to fairly assess your skills. Every pro was an amateur who didn’t quit. Not every amateur will become a pro though and more than 99% will fail at it.
Here’s an interesting infographic from USA today.
Set goals & assess your skill over time
The goal should be fairly simple where everyone understands, be realistic (you’re not going to win The International overnight), achievable and time bound. You can look up SMART goals
A realistic goal for your team can be the following:
We hope to place in the top 3 for 2 amateur or semi pro tournaments within 3 months.
An unrealistic goal would be:
We plan on winning The International within 2 months of forming our team as a team of players with no results.
Success doesn’t come overnight. The path is hard
If you expect to win tournaments overnight and be at LANs the next day you’re going to set yourself up for disappointment. The team space is tremendously competitive with everyone vying for talent + results. Make your results stand out.
Join as much as you can early on but don’t burn yourself out
Join as many tournaments as you can early on to assess how your team reacts to losing, the stress of tournament grind, the grind of reviewing replays etc. This is a test when you’re losing to see how your team will react. Differences of opinion will arise and players don’t handle losing the same. You’ll see where leadership is in the team and how you solve issues. Don’t burn yourself and your team out but also be realistic. If after a loss you’re already at each others throats then it may be time to find new teammates or not play tournaments as seriously. Take breaks and make sure to take plenty of time to review and strategize opponents you may face. It’s not all about out-skilling the opponent but also what strategies can you deploy to give you an edge (especially at later stages in tournaments).
So there’s a few tips to join tournaments, if I missed anything I apologize. There’s a ton of different ways to join and strategize for some tournaments. If you have any questions leave a comment or just contact me!