Esports Make Historic Debut At The Southeast Asian Games 2019 Including Dota II and Hearthstone

Esports Make Historic Debut At The Southeast Asian Games 2019 Including Dota II and Hearthstone
Credit: SEA Games 2019

The Southeast Asian Games comprised of 11 countries make waves across media for debuting eSports as part of its biennial celebration of sports. With the event held this year in the Philippines, the eSports genre makes up six medals to earn putting it on the pedestal of any other competition. Held at the FilOil Flying V Center, the booming industry has taken a much generous chunk of prize pools along with a bigger stage.

National athletes will be competing in video game titles such as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Arena of Valor, Tekken 7, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, and Dota II.

Sibol, the Philippines’ national team, is poised win big in the first iteration of eSports in the said event. Their five-person lineup for Dota II consists of James Guerra, Jerico Manalaysay, John Anthony Vargas, Bryle Alvizo, and Marvin Rushton. Sibol trailed behind Thailand in the gold medal game but managed to collect themselves and claim victory, 3-2.

Philippines’ Caviar Acampado also claimed the gold medal in StarCraft II after defeating Singapore’s counterpart in a 4-1 fashion.

The heavily-favored Indonesia couldn’t hold back the Philippines either in Mobile Legends. After shocking Indonesia in game 1 of the gold medal, Sibol lost its second and third games making the series unpredictable. The Indonesians did not ban Esmeralda in game 4, giving the Philippines a free-pass to pick the hero. Esmeralda had a triple kill in the first team fight and giving the Philippines game 4. Carrying over momentum, the SEA Games host claims gold in Mobile Legends against the most decorated Mobile Legends team to date.

Karl Nepomuceno of Sibol said in an interview on why Indonesia chose not to ban Esmeralda in game 4, “Maybe they weren’t scared.”

In Hearthstone, Dr. Yew Weng Kean took the gold medal for team Malaysia after beating Thailand’s Popian Werit, 3-1. In an interview, the Heriot-Watt University professor said, “Esports is a trend now and will stay regardless of what we do. Parents should look at it from a positive side because gaming can actually improve your thinking, critical, and strategic skills.”

In Tekken 7, Philippines’ AK bowed to Thailand’s Book in the gold medal match, 3-2. In Arena of Valor, Thailand’s Workpoint Fighting Fish trumps over Indonesia in their final game, 3-0.

The organization partnered with Razer in delivering eSports live streaming via their Twitch channel.

The Asian Games 2022 will also be including video games as medal events. The Olympic Council of Asia said that the eSports involvement is to demonstrate vast development and the popularity worldwide of this new form of sports.

Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee, stated last year that eSports is “too violent” to be included in the Olympics line-up of sports. He added that every combat sports have “its origins in a real fight,” but the modernized combat sports are the “civilized” versions we see in Olympics.

The Southeast Asian Games is participated by Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. The sporting event spans from November 30-December 11.

For total medals results, visit the official SEA Games website here.