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Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am

Fortnite wasted no time in getting serious with their eSports prize pools, offering up a $3 million prize to the winner of their Pro-Am celebrity tournament. This competition comes hot off the news that Fortnite has dedicated $125 million to their World Cup series launching in the fall with their 2019 season.

Hosted at the E3 convention in Los Angeles, the first annual Pro-Am was the biggest Fortnite competition to date, and by far the largest tournament that game creators Epic Games have organised. The tournament consisted of 50 teams, each with one professional streamer/gamer, and one celebrity to comprise the 100 players needed for a Fortnite Battle Royale game. The line-up featured streamers like Ninja, Myth, and Ali-A, alongside celebrities like Marshmello (EDM Artist), Tarik Cohen (NFL player) and Paul George (NBA player).

Pro-Am Tournament

The tournament consisted of three games, but only the last of the three held the incredible $3 million prize to be donated to charity. The first game was a solo game where every player fights alone in a bid to win the victory Royale. The second game was the first duos game and served as a warm-up game for the main competition. Here we first saw the duos in action and got an idea for who was working well together, and who was carrying their partners. The third and final game was the main event in which we saw the tempo ramp up a notch as the gamers and celebrities alike took things a whole lot more seriously.

Game 1 – Solo

The first game made for very interesting watching for a lot of fans because there has never been a competition like this before. This likely contributed to it being the most watched of the three games on twitch, and actually broke a twitch record by surpassing 700,000 active viewers towards the end of the round. Most of the players interviewed commented on how they have never played outside before (as the tournament was in an open-air stadium), and how cool it was to have all 100 players in the same place at the same time.

Notable performances came from Sypher who made the top 10, Kinstaar who would become a consistently high finisher by coming second, and the relatively unknown Noahj456 who won the round. Ninja, widely regarded as the best player on the planet and the original holder of the twitch streaming record, left the competition uncharacteristically early, succumbing to his first duel and losing a build battle. Fans of Ninja will know how unusual this was for him and could potentially cast doubts over his suitability to this format of competition. Doubts he would soon expel.

Game 2 – Duo Round 1

The first of the duo matches was where we started to see some of the true colours of the players. Ninja, who had previously said in an interview that he would “have some fun” in the first rounds, actually took this game to practice tactics and built up in the middle of the map with his partner Marshmello. A very conservative tactic, and one he would then use again in the final. This proved to be their downfall in this round however, as their structure attracted a lot of attention and drew in most of the final 15 players.

The round ended with a tense battle between some big names in the streaming world, with the likes of Kinstaar, Gotaga and Ninja all facing off in one tower. Ninja managed to take out Kinstaar’s partner Sean 0 (UFC fighter), but ultimately lost out to Kinstaar in a very tense one on one.

Game 3 – Duo Round 2

Game three is the only game which really mattered in the tournament and watching the stream it was easy to tell that all the players were taking the game a lot more seriously. After all, there was $3 million at stake.

There was no playing around, and a lot of pairs took to hiding in one spot and hoping to ride out the game by staying safe. The mid to late round was dominated by CourageJD who managed to rack up 7 kills on the game with the help of a tall tower base and a grenade launcher. It was also the first game where YouTube superstar Ali-A made any kind of impact. He managed to survive late in the game despite his partner Pete Wentz (Fall out Boy) being knocked out early.

The round came down to a full blown 2 v 2 between CourageJD and Kenneth Faried (NBA player) against Ninja and Marshmello. Ultimately it all culminated in a head to head between CourageJD, and Ninja, the exact kind of finish all fans wanted to see. (Side note: Ninja and CourageJD played together as a duo in UMG Fortnite tournament a week earlier.)

The climax too place just outside Shifty shafts, with Ninja dropping down and capitalising on CourageJD’s low health with a one-shot kill to take the round, perhaps using his knowledge of CourageJD’s gameplay to gain an advantage. With the victory Royale, Ninja won $1million for both his and Marshmello’s charities, with the other $1million in the prize pool going to other players’ charities.

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