By Cody Perez
September 25, 2019
Esports is the video game version of organized competitive play that fans watch and bet on each week throughout the year for regular sports like basketball, soccer, and so on. It took a long time for video games to get the widespread recognition, financial support, and fanbase to make esports a reality.
But I’m happy to let you know that esports is alive and doing well, as you likely already know. However, what many esports fans might not know is that competitive games are excellent on mobile, too. The Android and iOS platforms have paved the way for some great additions to esports.
There are plenty of amazing mobile esports games that work well for a number of reasons. Be it the fact that it’s entertaining to watch the game being played by professional players, it’s fun and accessible to play yourself in ranked, or a mix of the two, there are a lot of competitive mobile games worth your attention.
Believe it or not, there are well over 10 mobile esports games that are worth your attention. But for the purposes of this list, I wanted to point out the top 10 mobile esports games, which is a daunting task. After all, there are millions of mobile games available both on iOS and Android.
There are free to play games that you can download and start right away, games that let you play a little for free before purchasing, and games that require an upfront purchase to enjoy anything that it has to offer. Thankfully, though, with esports games, they fall into the free to play category more often than not.
In fact, the following games on the top 10 mobile esports games list are available to play without spending a dime to install them. Of course, they do come with customization, cosmetics, season passes, and so on that are available for purchase but don’t push it into the nasty pay to win category.
A number of factors determined the ranks of the top 10 mobile esports games list. The first and foremost factor is the quality of the game itself, and then from there, it’s how well it lends itself to the esports scene, if it has official esports or not, how committed the competitive scene is, and how fun it is to watch.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 mobile esports games that you need to know about.
Teamfight Tactics is by far the biggest wildcard on this list, hence its placement at number 10. If you don’t know this game by now, I wouldn’t be surprised since it is the latest one here. It is an “auto chess” game, part of a new genre that sprung up this year.
The auto chess genre was created by none other than Auto Chess itself (more on that in a bit), and it features unique gameplay never seen before. It is a bizarre mix of strategy, the MOBA genre, and battle royale. You fight against seven other opponents to see who can select the best group of fighters to fight on your behalf each round.
The game comes from renowned developer Riot Games of League of Legends fame, so you can rest assured they know a thing or two about esports. Riot has brought its knowledge to Teamfight Tactics, already offering tournaments with lots of money on the line despite its newness. With Riot’s commitment to the game, it’s worth your attention for sure.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is the first of many MOBA games on this list that have popped up in recent years. It features the classic five versus five battles that are prominent in popular MOBA titles on PC like League of Legends and Dota 2.
The MOBA genre goes together with esports better than any other game genre, so it’s a natural fit for Mobile Legends. That’s because it is a competent strategic, top-down game where you choose between a wide variety of heroes from across multiple classes to fight online.
The controls, matches, and gameplay are all streamlined to work on mobile devices. Even better, the developer Moonton is making the effort to provide official tournaments for the best players. The only problem with the game is that it hasn’t reached a global scale yet.
Developer Drodo created an entire genre by himself out of a mod of Dota 2 on PC. After its release on mobile devices earlier this year, it garnered popularity in such a way that would make Fortnite have to pay attention to it and caused plenty of copycats like Teamfight Tactics above.
It is a simple but effective game that offers deep strategy unlike anything else. In that way, it takes cues from chess even though it doesn’t play anything like that game. You select your heroes and battle each turn against seven other players to find out who will be on top.
What makes Auto Chess stand out from other games is that it did it first and still in the best way thus far. In addition, it has dedicated esports offering players a chance to win lots of money in multiple competitions. Without a doubt, it’s here to stay as one of the top mobile esports games.
Like Auto Chess, Vainglory was one of the first of its kind. Long before other mobile MOBA games came out (including those on this list), Vainglory did it first. It took the formula established by PC games and translated it to touchscreen devices when no one thought it possible.
Since then, its snappy gameplay has spread around and made it one of the biggest esports games in the world. Having been around for about five years and counting, Vainglory has one of the most consistent professional leagues in the business.
There are multiple leagues that are established in several regions around the world, including North America, Europe, and various parts of Asia. Where Vainglory falls short of making it higher than this is that its gameplay is too standard and doesn’t do enough to stand out from the rest of the games on this list.
Developer Com2uS knows quite a bit about making successful mobile games, but Summoners War is by far its most impressive yet. It isn’t often that a strategy RPG mobile game becomes engaging enough to amass hundreds of thousands of Twitch followers, but this game has done it.
Summoners War, from a glance, looks like many mobile games where you build a town, collect monsters to fight alongside you in cartoony graphics, and then battle in real-time against enemies. What’s different about it, though, is that it has a strong PvP focus.
So much so that it has spawned an esports scene in recent years that continues to grow. The World Arena Championship is now a mainstay each year with the Americas Cup happening for the first time last year. That’s all before mentioning the World Finals in South Korea where a large prize pool is on the line.
Trading card games have experienced a resurgence in recent years in the video game industry. Competition has always been a huge part of Magic: The Gathering and other card games, but now it has spread to video games as well.
Though Hearthstone has popularized digital card games, its esports focus is almost entirely on the PC version. As such, it leaves Shadowverse to promote the possibilities of professional competition on mobile. The game features a dark anime aesthetic with several classes to choose from.
In many ways, its gameplay is similar to Hearthstone, but it expands upon that game by featuring a more serious tone and classes that feel much different. Each class has its own quirks that distinguish them from one another. Shadowverse esports are fantastic, too, offering numerous events each year, including the million-dollar World Grand Prix in December.
A list of the top 10 mobile esports games wouldn’t be complete without the global phenomenon that is Fortnite. This game took the battle royale genre established by other games and amped it to a whole new level.
The game is available on every modern platform, and they can all play with each other if they want, including mobile. What’s even better is that the same ranked mode Arena is available on iOS and Android devices along with the other versions.
Developer Epic Games takes its competitive scene seriously. Whereas other developers might dumb a game down and remove the ranked aspects for a mobile port, Fortnite is not like that at all. Where the game falls short, though, is in its commitment to mobile esports alone.
If you were to play Arena right now on mobile, it’s likely you would run into other players on different platforms where you would be at an unfair disadvantage.
The king (no pun intended) of mobile MOBA games is without a doubt Honor of Kings, or as it’s known here, Arena of Valor. The Chinese-developed game was a massive success in Asia alone before it came to the West and other markets.
Whereas other MOBA games are copycats of the design and controls of other similar titles on PC, Arena of Valor has its own hand-crafted gameplay that is built from the ground up for handheld devices. Matches are the right length of time, and there are no unfair advantages here.
That’s all before bringing up the larger than usual number of classes and a huge roster including familiar heroes like Batman and Wonder Woman. Beyond that, it’s excelled at the esports scene with a massive push all around the world. The scale of esports for Arena of Valor is impressive, to say the least, considering one particular player was able to sign a deal for over a million dollars alone.
PUBG was the game that made the battle royale genre what it is today. Sure, games with a close vibe existed before it, but it put the genre on the map that brought out other games like Fortnite and so on.
It’s a battle royale in its purest form with no gimmicks. You drop into a map with 99 other players and scavenge, drive vehicles, and fight until one person (or squad) is left standing. It’s addicting for a reason, with a far more dedicated esports scene than Fortnite.
Though it did take time to happen, there is now esports just for the mobile version of the game. There are several tournaments around the world in multiple regions, including North and South America, Europe, and Asia that offer large prize pools for professional mobile players. PUBG has set a standard for mobile esports that other games like Fortnite should follow.
Much like Fortnite, the original Clash of Clans became an unprecedented sensation in the mobile community. Its successor Clash Royale takes what made Clash of Clans so loved and gears it solely towards the competitive esports scene.
Clash Royale is a game made for competitors for the purpose of pushing esports, and it works wonders because of this. Not only is it fun to play, but it’s a joy to watch on streams as well. The game takes pieces from card games and MOBAs and wraps them in a tactical tower defense match.
It’s even gone so far as to have its own professional league with over 40 top teams that compete in consistent competition every year. There’s no doubting the impact that Clash Royale has had on the mobile esports community, making it number one on this list.