With most sports be it football, basketball, and even baseball, most if not all industries with professional leagues often develop a unique activity for fans. Fantasy Leagues. There are often unofficial leagues, organized by fans or companies, in some cases though there are also official fantasy leagues where the organizers themselves pitch in. What about esports though? It may surprise you to know that even some esports have their own official fantasy leagues too.
Unfortunately, Overwatch is not among them. Fans have been crying out and hoping that Blizzard will listen. There hasn’t been any movement from them for this season, as is evident from fan bases calculating their own stats and hosting their own unofficial leagues. Even more unfortunately though, these have been difficult to run and many have dropped off over the season.
The main reason for this, has been that getting hold of official statistical information has been almost impossible. Fantasy leagues need these in order to calculate proper odds, and also so that participants can ensure they’re making informed decisions. That’s not to say everything has been impossible though, tracking pro player matches, kills, assists etc. has been done, and several unofficial fantasy leagues are still going strong.
How do they work?
For those unfamiliar with fantasy leagues, this is different from traditional esports betting. You’re not gambling on the outcome of an individual match, instead you’re selecting a group of players and forming your own unofficial team. They don’t even have to be from the same team or even country.
Many of the current leagues provide guidance on what the make up of your own team should be in terms of numbers etc. Once selected wins, losses, draws, kills and everything in between is tracked with league tables updated and individual pro players scored. The league runs alongside the OWL and participants will receive updates each week so they can track how their team is doing.
How can you run a winning team?
There are many tips and strategies out there, and the esports ones will likely sound familiar if you’ve taken part in any kind of fantasy league for other sports before. Currently the main fantasy league is run by Winston’s Lab and the two rules fantasy league teams must abide by are:
- The team can only include a maximum of four players from the same team
- The team must be made up of at least two tanks, two supports and two DPS
Other than that, the selections are entirely up to the participants and it’s up to them to determine who they want on their team.
Each week participants select six active, starting players from their team. These are the players that will be scored on. No matter what the other four players do, they are considered benched and can’t earn points. So, after the week’s matches the points will be tallied and starting player scores can be added to the participants overall team score. At the end of the league, the participant whose team has accrued the highest score, wins.
As you can see, it’s important to know your team as well as look at their strengths and weaknesses. You’ll need to select your initial player lineup, and here we’d suggest a good mix of players. Strong teams are good to go with, but it doesn’t hurt to cast a wider net and include some less well-known players or those who have shown real promise at other tournaments.
Next it’s also important to know who they will be up against for each match, this will be pivotal in selecting your starting and benched players. There’s no point in starting a player whose had a series of losses against a particular team for instance. This careful balance of benching players for appropriate matches and selecting your strongest players for each match up are key to running a successful team.
Of course, there’s no magical formula and we can’t guarantee anything, but knowing how best to strategically adapt to matches and player performances as the season progresses are vital if you want to come out on top.
What would an Official League change?
The first thing fans would gain from an official league would be greater accuracy and consistency. Right now, fan-run leagues have trouble extrapolating accurate match statistics. It requires a lot of work on the parts of the organizers as the information is not freely given. An official league would give faster and better access to stats and allow for a fairer season tracking player performance.
It would also give fans another activity to keep them interested in the league, it would likely even bring in new fans who like the idea of ‘running’ their own team no matter the sport. Finally, the rules would be clear and easier to enforce. Blizzard backing a official fantasy league would mean participants couldn’t be caught out by sudden rule changes etc.
Fans are eager and willing to participate in an official fantasy league, the question is, when will Blizzard step up to the plate.