All right, let’s see what we’ve got! Today I will be bringing you a brand new topic for a brand new year. We will be talking about who made the most money out of all competitive eSports during the whole year of 2018.
I will not be including other sources of revenue and income such as sponsorships, advertisements, and streaming. Today, I will only be going by tournament and event winnings, both for individual and team settings. So without further adieu, let’s get on with it!
First things first, I am going to be featuring the top dogs in Dota 2. You know why? Dota 2 is the Triple A title that features the biggest prize pools in their tournaments, and they have their own pro circuit. This makes the game a viable title for organizations and teams who would want to go professional and play for a living.
Now, with all that said and done, the top dogs who won the most cash in 2018 is no other than OG. The Internationals 8 offered a whopping $25.5 million in prizes and OG, who won the entire thing came out ahead with $11.2 million. Aside from that, they have tournament earnings from playing in the DPC circuit.
The second organization in the list would be the recently acquired Chinese team, PSG LGD. They had an overall great year in 2018 actually. They walked away with $4 million by coming in second during The International 8. Aside from that, they got $135,000 in the Dota Asian Championships earlier this year when they lost to Mineski. They also garnered $900,000 from two tournaments in May when they won both the MDL Major in Changsha, China and also the Epicenter XL event in Russia.
Coming in third is the CIS-based organization of Virtus Pro. Unlike the first 2 organizations I featured earlier however, they did not have a podium finish in The International 8. They were eliminated by Evil Geniuses during the Round 3 of the Losers Bracket. Nonetheless, they took home $1.1 million in prizes by placing in the 5th / 6th place in the tournament. What is most impressive however is how they got to the 3rd place of this list by being successful during the entire year of 2018.
In fact, they won more prize money during the whole year than what they earned in The Internationals. They came in first during the two ESL tournaments this year, which was in Katowice, Poland and also in Birmingham, England. They also won The Bucharest Major in Romania. Those 3 first place wins netted them $1.4 million in prizes. Aside from that, before closing the year, they won The Kuala Lumpur Major. They will be getting $350,000 from it.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Next up are our boys from our favorite shooter game. Although CS:GO does not have an event or tournament that is something similar to Dota 2 like The Internationals, there is a prize pool that teams and organizations can actually chase. The IEM Grand Slam is something similar. It does offer a prize pool of $1 million, however, it is a “winner takes it all” tournament which coincides with the events happening on that same year. The team with the most eSports earning this 2018 was no other than Astralis.
I mean, just with their first-place finishes alone this year, they made $2 million. Those were podium finishes on the ESL and ECS Pro Leagues and also 2 major tournaments, one which was the Face It Major in London. Add the Blast Pro wins in both Lisbon and Istanbul and that is another $250,000. To crown it off, they won the IEM Grand Slam which has the biggest prize of all which is $1 million. To end the year, they also finished in first place in IEM Chicago when they played against Team Liquid.
Coming in close second and trailing behind Astralis is the second best team in the world, which is Natus Vincere. S1mple and the boys were on the trail of Astralis for almost the entire year. They have the most first-place finishes behind Astralis out of all the teams out there. The prominent ones are the Asia Championships, The Blast Pro Series in Copenhagen and also the ESL One in Cologne, Germany. Their total tournament earnings came up to $1.1 million dollars, which is way behind what Astralis won but enough to put them in second place on the list.
Finishing up the podium finish for our CS:GO triumvirate would be Faze Clan. They came in around $990,000 total winnings for the whole 2018, which is only $10,000 short for breaking into a million. I was actually expecting them to be the one in second place at the start of 2018 since they had a great start, winning 3 premier events, which were IEM in Sydney, ESL in Belo Horizonte in Brazil and the Epicenter in Russia. However, the rest of the events they joined in, they were dismal.
Remember the summer fiasco which was the Summer Skirmish that Epic Games sponsored? It was one of the big events that were supposed to happen in summer but it turned out to be a clown fest. However, Epic Games learned from that and by the time that they released the Fall Skirmish, all of the lag issues and other issues that happened on the Summer release were fixed.
The Fall Skirmish was actually successful, and as Epic Games promised, they offered lots of prizes for the winners. The Fortnite player who earned the most this 2018 was Tfue. He came in with 3 top finishes on the Fall Skirmish, which was in Week 2, 4 and 6. Aside from that, he came in 2nd in Week 1 and was also very successful at the time of the Summer Skirmish.
Up next is Tfue’s Faze Clan teammate, Cloak. Together with Tfue, they won the Week 6 Fall SKirmish Fortnite tournament during Twitch Con. That was his only first-place finish during the Fall Skirmish though. However, he was fairly successful during the Summer Skirmish, racking up the prize money during Week 2 and Week 5.
To round it out would be Ghost Gaming’s Bizzle. Unlike his Faze Clan counterparts Tfue and Cloak, Bizzle is not a prolific tournament champion. However, he comes in second the most times, hence racking up the prize pool winnings. He came in second three times during the Summer Skirmish, and also 2 times during the Fall Skirmish. Although he does not win the big pot, he still earns around $50,000 everytime he comes in second place. With all those second-place finishes, this places Bizzle as the third highest earner for Fortnite.
League of Legends
The players of Invictus Gaming which is comprised of Chinese and South Korean players managed to win the League of Legends World Championships that was played in Busan, South Korea. The event had a prize pool of $6,450,000 and was attended by a lot of top tier teams. The Invictus Gaming squad led by Duke went on to win the whole event and went home with $2.4 million.
Fnatic, which is led by the famous YouTube and Twitch personality Rekkles, came in second place. They will be going home with $870,750. To round it out, both Cloud 9 and G2 esports will be going home with $451,000 each for finishing in the third/fourth place.
Other top earners in 2018
SerraL, one of the most successful players to ever play Starcraft 2 on a competitive level, and probably one of the only few non-South Korean players who are widely successful at the game is 2018’s highest earner. Majority of his winnings came from the World Cyber Games tournament in November where he was pitted against other top tier players in the world. Aside from that, he also won 4 Dream Hack events all around the world. One in Austin, Valencia, Montreal, and Leipzig. It is most likely that the Finnish 20 year old continue his streak this coming 2019.
Thijs, the Hearthstone superstar and also the popular content creator on YouTube and Twitch gets the highest earner medal for 2018. Thijs recently won the CN vs EU Hearthstone Championship which was held in Shanghai, China just this September. Thijs walked away with $203,000 in prizes. He also finished in the 2018 Hearthstone Global Games along with team Netherlands on finishing on the 12 to 15th position.
We wish good luck to all professional players in 2019! Hope to see more brilliant tournaments and fantastic prizepools this year!