Welcome eSports fans! The main focus of this article is to go through the setups that many professional gamers have and use to compete.
We will try to cover as many games as possible, so if you’re a MOBA, FPS, RTS, Battle Royale fanatic, keep reading and you might bump into information about your favorite players and teams (unfortunately, some pros don’t disclose what kind of gear they use, so we won’t be able to provide info about those).
Nowadays, most (if not all) of the full time electronic athletes are sponsored by one company or another – so we can also use this article’s information to analyze the market a little bit: which companies are spending more of their revenue on marketing and sponsoring more teams and which aren’t. I am positive that as an eSports fan, you probably already have a few names on your mind – we will check back on this a little bit later.
For reference, the setup we are talking about consists of Monitor, Mousepad, Mouse, Keyboard, Headset (keep in mind that we might not find info regarding all 5 items for all players).
Counter Strike: Global Offensive
CS GO, as you all already know, is the eSports leading title of the FPS genre. Played by millions of guys, the game attracts a lot of sponsorships and big events.
So let’s kick things off by comparing CS GO professional players, as it is a game that demands lightning quick reflexes alongside pinpoint accuracy – this means the peripherals have a lot of impact on a player’s performance (and you’ll even see their skill decay a lot if they’re playing with a different setup).
Let’s take a general look and see the biggest trends in the market right now, one peripheral at a time, starting by the mice:
This data was taken from the top players in the HLTV rankings, a pretty trustworthy source for any content related to CS GO (with the help of other research resources such as Liquipedia)
As you can probably conclude on your own, Zowie dominates the ‘mouse scene’, with 4 products in the top 5 most used gaming mice across the best current (this is a very important fact, these guys are at their peak right now) eSports players. The only outsides in this list is the Razer Deathadder, which is also considered by the majority of the pros and casual users as a very solid product, one of Razer’s finest accomplishments.
Now, onto mousepads, which are also extremely important for CS GO pros:
Zowie again is at the top of the rankings, but this time, the most used products are made by SteelSeries, with the 2nd and 3rd positions on the list. Razer again manages to slip one of their products into the top 5, and we see Logitech closing it out with a minor share of the market.
Things are a lot more balanced when we look into the keyboard usage, with 1 product per company making up the top 5. What we can draw from this is that maybe the keyboard doesn’t affect gameplay as much as a specific mouse or mousepad (where we saw less diversification between the players).
And finally, let’s check the percentages for the Headsets:
Here we can that the athletes have a preference for HyperX when it comes to Headsets, with spots 1 and 3 on the list. They’re also almost unanimously acclaimed by the community as the best gaming headsets on the market. Sennheiser is a very known brand, but they’re still making their way into eSports and right now their products are more aimed towards high end users (their prices are way higher than the standard price for a gaming headset).
Now that we’ve seen the trends of the top players, let’s take a look at some of the pros (1 per team because teammates usually use the same peripherals due to sponsorship contracts) with the biggest fanbases (maybe he’s one of your favorites) and see what their setup looks like:
We picked 5 of the most popular guys currently competing at the highest level – if you want to find out about the setup of anyone else, you can find it without much effort by going through Liquipedia or the player’s twitch page (or social medias).
Let’s take a look at the player’s setups from a MOBA standpoint now. As with CS GO, Dota 2 requires the gamers to act fast and with extreme accuracy and perfect timing, so a good setup is needed in order to perform at the highest level. Dota 2 competes directly with League of Legends (we’ll talk about this one a little bit further down) for the #1 spot in the MOBA genre.
The gaming peripheral market in Dota 2 is pretty much dominated by two big companies: Razer and SteelSeries – you’ll see below which teams they sponsor and which products the team has agreed to use on their competitions.
The North American powerhouse is sponsored by SteelSeries, and all their players have the following setup:
The Fan favorite team from Eastern Europe is sponsored by Zowie and HyperX. Each player can choose the product they like better, as long as it’s one of those 2 brands (Zowie for mouse and pad, HyperX for headsets). They also use BenQ as their monitors.
Like EG, OG is also sponsored fully by Steelseries, and their gear is as follows:
The last International 7 champions are sponsored by Razer (and HyperX). Their setup looks like this:
To show you the real global reach of these 2 companies, here’s a Chinese organization example: LGD Gaming is sponsored fully by Razer.
One thing we haven’t mentioned earlier is the fact that BenQ completely dominates the gaming market for monitors. Across all genres and titles, most (if not all) of the professional eSports athletes use their monitors, and they are also highly praised by the majority of the community.
Overwatch was the biggest gaming tendency of 2016. Blizzard’s first venture into the FPS genre was a major success in sales (they reported over 25 million copies sold as of last semester) but has yet to hold a candle to CS GO in terms of electronic sports.
Blizzard is trying to kick things off with a strong NA scene with a similar model to the NBA and NFL (traditional American sports leagues), and there are already quite a few teams being sponsored by big companies. We’ll take a look at a few below:
The American organization (present in pretty much all genres and games) has Logitech as main sponsor (it’s one of the few teams sponsored fully by Logitech – and their brand has some great products) for their Overwatch division. The players right now are using the following gear:
This is another North American multi-genre organization. Their Overwatch division is sponsored by HyperX (for headsets) and Zowie for the mouse plus mousepad combo. They don’t have any keyboard sponsors, so players are free to choose the one they like the most to use.
We’ve already talked about Team Liquid in the Dota 2 section. Their main sponsor (Razer) sponsors all eSports divisions the team has (HyperX has the same deal, they sponsor all divisions) – this means the Overwatch division also gets (and has to use) Razer peripherals.
Since Overwatch is still in its infancy as a true electronic sport, most of the big organizations have yet to assemble their own roster.
This leads to many sponsorless teams with players using every single piece of gear from a different brand. Examples of this are the FaZe and Immortals rosters – even though they are quite big orgs, they still haven’t attracted dedicated sponsors for their OW division, and guys are free to use whatever hardware they prefer.
To represent the Real Time Strategy (RTS) genre, we’ll take a closer look at the Starcraft 2 professional scene. Despite the number (and quality) or sponsors steadily declining over the last few years (Sc 2 used to be the biggest eSports title and now it sits small at #5 or so), there are still a few players we can use as examples.
The Polish Zerg is one of the best foreigners to have ever played the game. Right now he’s using a full Steelseries setup: Sensei RAW (mouse), QcK+ (pad), 6Gv2 (keyboard) and Siberia v2 (headset).
Considered by many to be one of the best players in the world, the South Korean Terran is sponsored by Razer, and uses the following gear: Deathadder (mouse), Goliathus Speed (pad), Blackwidow (keyboard) and Kraken 7.1 (headset).
The ex CJ Entus Protoss powerhouse uses a mix of two brands in his setup: Razer Abyssus (mouse) and Blackwidow Ultimate (keyboard) combined with Logitech’s Gaming Mouse pad and G633 (headset)
Here we have a German Protoss, one of the best foreigners of his race. He is sponsored mainly by Logitech, but also by HyperX’s headsets. He uses: Logitech G303 (mouse), Logitech Gaming Mouse pad, Logitech RGB G810 (keyboard) and HyperX Cloud II (headset)
To finish things off, let’s take a look at another South Korean. Classic is one of the oldest Protoss in the scene, with some very good results throughout his career. He is sponsored fully by Razer, sporting the following peripherals: Deathadder (mouse), Goliathus Speed (pad), Blackwidow (keyboard) and Kraken 7.1 (headset). If you hadn’t noticed, his setup is exactly the same as TY’s, even though they never played for the same team.
League of Legends
League of Legends is arguably the biggest eSports title out in the market right now, if we judge by the number of players and spectators on the official events (held by Riot Games, its publisher). It competes directly with Dota 2 as we pointed out above and has even hired ex-Dota 1 developers to help improve the game.
As one of the leading figures in the Electronic Sports industry, League of Legends has several league divisions around the world (South Korea, North America, Europe, Brazil, Southeast Asia, among others) with many solidly established organizations and brands, attracting a great deal of sponsorships and public interest.
Let’s hop into a list of teams and their respective sponsors
We’ve already talked about Liquid twice in this article (scroll above to the Dota 2 and Overwatch section if you haven’t), and as we pointed out earlier, Razer sponsors all their divisions, therefore their gear is the same for everyone. We’ll list it again just in case you haven’t been interested in reading the other sections of the article and came straight to the LoL part.
Contrary to the Overwatch division, in League of Legends the Immortal roster is fully sponsored by Logitech. The players are using the current gear at the moment:
SK Telecom T1
SK T1 is the best team in the history of LoL. They have completely dominated the global scene with 3 world championship titles (2 back to back) and much more LCK (the South Korean league) trophies.
They have the legendary player Faker (the greatest of all time, or GOAT) in their roster rumored to be getting paid a high 6 figure salary (close to 7 figures per year, excluding eventual event prize earnings).
Razer also sponsors the team completely, providing the guys with gear (plus a hefty amount of money to the organization, of course).
We picked Splyce to be on this list not because it’s a worldwide powerful organization, but to show you that the market isn’t entirely dominated by Razer and Steelseries (with the occasional HyperX on headset sponsorship and Logitech). Splyce is sponsored by Corsair, a smaller company that also produces some good peripherals (and worth taking a look into if you’re researching items to buy).
Fnatic is an organization with a global reach. They have rosters and divisions in all of the biggest titles (and good rosters, always competing at the top). They have developed their own brand of peripherals, and of course their own players use it.
Another honorable mention is due to BenQ’s monitors. Almost 100% of the players and teams are using their monitors (usually 24 or 27 inches with 144 hz), and they are heads and shoulder above any of their competitors on the market.
We were able to take a look at the biggest eSports titles currently and analyze which peripherals the pros are using to compete. If you’re looking into buying something new to add to your setup, these are a good place to start – All products listed here are very good and perform very well (otherwise they wouldn’t be used in tournaments).
Stay tuned for more articles regarding many subjects within the eSports world – if you have any topic suggestions, please let us know through the comment section – Till next time!