When competitive Fortnite was first announced, fans imagined Team Liquid going up against TSM and FaZe. Tfue and Cloakzy were battling Chap and 72hrs for the win. TSM boasted Myth, Daequan, and Hamlinz – three of the best players in the world at the time.
Those were the old days of competitive Fortnite, and they are way behind us. There’s been a massive changing of the guard, partially due to the open qualifiers for major tournaments.
These qualifiers were fantastic for unknown Fortnite players who have since grown their brand. Would people like UnknownxArmy or even Bugha have been invited to the World Cup if it was an invitational? We’re not sure.
From a viewership perspective, however, it can be difficult to keep track of the constant turnover in the competitive scene. The leaderboard might be filled with names you’ve never heard of in any given tournament. It’s a double-edged sword that leaves some longtime Fortnite viewers behind.
Now, we have Ninja Battles: an invitation-only tournament that also features some of the biggest names in the competitive scene. Sure, there were a few content creators thrown into the mix, but winning the tournament was no small feat. Many of the household names in competitive Fortnite took part in the event, and the prize pool was a large one for an online tournament.
Ninja Battles Week 1 was an unquestioned success. The best news coming out of the event is that we have five more weeks of competition. After one week, it’s already shown us the version of competitive Fortnite we expected to see, all along.
Of course, there was some controversy during the tournament. ZaxRow has been banned after his cuss-filled post-game interview, and Clix issued an apology after leaving early. On top of that, the lack of Arena Mode caused each game to end in a heal-off.
These pros have seen the error of their ways, however, and Ninja Battles will take place in Arena Mode going forward. Ninja stated that the tournament gave him “old competitive Fornite” vibes, and he was dead-on. This was what many of us wanted competitive Fortnite to be.
The participants, largely, loved their experience as well. Nearly every competitor praised the tournament on Twitter. There were no complaints, no in-game controversies, no accusations of teaming – nothing that’s been plaguing the mainstream competitive scene for over a year.
We have several more weeks of Ninja Battles to look forward to, but hopefully, it doesn’t end there. Ninja Battles has shown us that invitational tournaments might be the best format for Fortnite – at least from a viewership perspective.
The FNCS and all other Fortnite tournaments will have their place, but the true ceiling of competitive success may lie in private, invitational tournaments.
Let’s hope that organizers, teams, and companies take note of this success and support this version of the competitive scene going forward. If we get more of what we had last night, then competitive Fortnite has some massive potential.