The Best Esports Players and Pros of 2020
2020 was a strange year for the world, and that is an understatement. It affected every aspect of life, including even the esports industry. This extended even to the players, making it so that the top 10 best esports players 2020 list is a bit weirder than you might expect.
2020 Was a Weird Year for Esports
Overall, it would be relatively easy to say that 2020 was a pretty lame or underwhelming year for esports in many cases, but not all. The year will be met with so many different unique events like the Fortnite World Cup to The International and more.
However, none of those happened. It left much of the esports community left without some of the most beloved events to watch throughout the year. This was unfortunate as it made some games less exciting and other leagues different than we expected.
At the same time, there were leagues like the Call of Duty League that could adjust well to the changes in 2020 and benefit from actually being pretty well last year. This allowed it to thrive despite all of the insane developments in life that were going on.
But this also meant that if you were to guess the top 10 best esports players 2020 list for last year, you might be surprised to see that some of the players from past years might not show up this year. This did make it challenging to make a list like this one.
Best Esports Players 2020 List
I am going to go over our top 10 best esports players 2020 list for last year. Making this list was a little bit weirder than usual, as you might seem some exciting names and games represented this time around. But, regardless, these are the players who defined the past year of esports.
While you are not going to see the usuals like some Dota 2, League of Legends, or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players, you will see some other ones that take their place. The general rule of thumb for this top 10 best esports players 2020 list is the amount of money they made.
While money isn’t the sole defining factor of how successful a player was and how good they are, it is the easiest way of determining who the esports players were last year that made 2020 what it was for fans. And in many ways, these were some of the most talented pro players around.
To figure out the amount of money that the top esports players in 2020 made, we are using the stats given by the site Esports Earnings who have gone through and brought together the biggest prize earnings that players have made in the past year.
To make this list a bit more simple, we have compiled the players from the same team into one spot on the list, or else half of the list would be just the same team and its players being listed repeatedly. Without further ado, let’s get started with the top 10 best esports players 2020 list.
Best Esports Players: 10. Spacestation Gaming
Starting off this list is the organization known as Spacestation Gaming. The organization has different teams for games like Smite and Rocket League. In this case, we are talking about the award-winning Rainbow 6 Siege team that they have.
This Spacestation Gaming Rainbow 6 team is renowned for being a strong group of players and winning the Six Invitational, which is known as the cream of the crop event for Rainbow 6 Siege. That event is the World Cup tournament for the game.
It concludes the last season of esports competitions by happening early in the following year afterward. Because of this, it happened in early 2020, before the time in which events like this couldn’t happen. So, in many ways, it is also one of the more interesting entries on this list as the players from Spacestation Gaming made their impressive earnings last year from a uniquely normal event.
Moving away from a team for a moment, we come to one of the solo players on this list. Or at least, someone who isn’t being looped together with the rest of their team, that is. In this case, we have Paraboy, the young 18-year old Chinese PUBG player.
If you recognize the name Paraboy, it is likely for a reason. When it comes to PUBG battle royale, or Peacekeeper Elite, as it is known in China, few names are as famous as his. He earned quite a bit of money during the 2020 season for PUBG, more than rightfully deserving a spot on this list.
He is once again part of the champion team for Peacekeeper Elite for the 2020 season and became the entire year’s MVP player. Many consider him the best PUBG player in the world. He’s most definitely one of the best esports players of last year and very likely will be this year, too.
8. Wesley So
As you will see, the more that we go on in this top 10 list for last year, chess is one of the biggest games to come out of 2020. This might seem weird and strange even to say, but it was one of the biggest games in the entire esports industry.
And for anyone who doesn’t understand that chess is one of the esports games now, it is due to the resurgence of the genre recently. It became a phenomenon once again last year due to players streaming it on Twitch regularly.
One of the most prominent chess players in the world and biggest esports players of 2020 from earning money is Wesley So. The Grandmaster is a world-renowned chess star and earned some massive wads of cash last year for doing well during the 2020 season.
7. Douyu Gaming Team
Now known as Douyu Gaming, this team is one of the best and biggest Chinese teams globally. They dominated the 2020 season as one of the greatest teams ever for one of the largest multiplayer games in the entire world.
That game is none other than Honor of Kings, known as Arena of Valor here in the west, and is a MOBA title largely regarded as potentially the biggest esports game in the world. And when it comes to the massive title, Douyu Gaming is the second-best around.
And depending on who you ask, they may say that Douyu Gaming is the best team in the business when it comes to Honor of Kings, given the overwhelming number of first-place winnings that they have. But in terms of money, at least for 2020, there is one other team that reigns supreme that we will get to in a bit.
6. Atlanta FaZe Players
The first Call of Duty League team to be on this list is the Atlanta FaZe team. One of my favorite teams and players in the entire esports industry in 2020, the Atlanta FaZe team is the next iteration of FaZe Clan’s Call of Duty that had an exceptional first season of the new league.
With players like Simp, MajorManiak, and Cellium, this team dominated the Call of Duty League for the inaugural season, being at the top of the leaderboard for almost the entire season. For many, it looked like they were the champions of the season, even if it didn’t necessarily end up that way.
But even still, they won several events. They then came in at second place for the main championship playoffs, where they saw their true weakness appear as the only real team capable of taking them down was able to destroy them and prove they were the better team last year; more on them later.
Following up from there, we come to PVDDR. The acronym is mainly for the player himself: Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa who hails from Brazil. This Brazilian player has skyrocketed to fame and become one of the faces of the Magic: The Gathering card-battling scene.
With the rise of Magic: The Gathering Arena during the pandemic, Wizards of the Coast has ensured that players have more options than ever before to compete digitally and online rather than in-person like it was in the past years and decades for the card game.
PVDDR was already elected into the Magic Hall of Fame back in 2012. He hasn’t stopped since then. 2020 was arguably his biggest year yet as he was able to win the world championship for the previous 2019 season and currently reigns as the best player in the world.
4. Hikaru Nakamura
We come back to chess again, but this time for Hikaru Nakamura, one of the most synonymous names for the ages-old game. One of the youngest to ever reach Grandmaster’s highly coveted title, this five-time United States champion is one of the greatest in the world.
While he certainly earned an unbelievable amount of cash in 2020, given that chess is traditionally played in-person, he is one of the main reasons why the game has become an esport. If anyone is to take credit for making Twitch the new home of chess, it is Nakamura.
He has been able to amass an impressive number of followers and watchers quickly and even been able to stream with some of the biggest stars on Twitch. Not to mention, he is without a doubt one of the best chess players in the whole world.
3. Dallas Empire Players
The winners of the Call of Duty League inaugural season was the Dallas Empire team. Though they were in the top five for a long time, it was uncertain how far they would go until the very end of the season. While other teams faltered, the Empire showed they were going to keep growing and getting better.
They ended up right near the top of the leaderboard by the end of the season, and they were the only team to truly destroy the playoffs tournament. They proved that Atlanta FaZe might be the second-best team around and not the league’s deserving winners.
These fantastic five players were able to defeat FaZe not just once but twice in the playoffs to fully cement that they were the best Call of Duty team around. With MVP winners and contenders like Clayster and Crimsix, these five players are some of the very best from 2020.
2. Weibo Turnso Gaming Team
Coming up in the runner-up spot for the second-best team/player for the year of 2020 is the Weibo Turnso Gaming team and all of its players. If I were to make an individual list with just the players not grouped, they would take up about half of the list.
This team is known for the aforementioned Honor of Kings game, but they came above the previously mentioned team for their accomplishments last year. The Chinese team was able to edge past and win the entire Honor of Kings World Champion Cup for 2020.
Through this, the team was able to earn almost $2 million alone from this accomplishment, not including everything earned during the same year. Divided up between the starting players on the Weibo Turnso Gaming team, this puts them all just behind one esports player who ruled the year.
1. Magnus Carlsen
The greatest esports player of 2020 is, without a doubt, Magnus Carlsen. If you can set aside the argument against chess as an esport, there is no doubt that Magnus Carlsen made sure that 2020 was his year. The unbelievably talented 30-year old player has proven that there is no one like him in the world at this time.
Magnus Carlsen has not only taken digital chess by storm in 2020, using chess there to amass a considerable following, but he has also proven that he is the best in the world at this time. With numerous world championship titles held currently and multiple records held, there seems like there is no stopping this magnificent esports player.
Suppose 2021 is going to be anything like 2020. In that case, there is the likely chance that we will not only see a similar situation with Magnus Carlsen reigning over the esports industry as the biggest and best player around, but also rise above what we have already seen at this point.