March 9, 2023
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Who are the greatest esports athletes of all time, and how do we rank them?
These ten players are the best of all time because of their incredible skill, fame, and impact on the development of esports, even though they all achieved their fame in different eras and for different eSports. They have pioneered new ground for their organizations, their titles, and esports as a whole.
To put these individuals against one another would be an exercise in futility, but that's part of the pleasure of an all-time top 5 list. Comparing players from various eras or sports will spark a lively discussion.
Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund rose to the pinnacle of the Counter-Strike 1.6 professional scene in 2009, just two years after he had made his debut.
Within his first year with Fnatic, the Swedish player GeT_RiGhT won 10 tournaments — an incredible achievement. GeT_RiGhT and f0rest played beside SK Gaming for a little over a year and a half in 2011, a year that was less productive than the year before. GeT_RiGhT's achievements up to this point were beyond the wildest dreams of most of his esports rivals. Surprisingly, the Swede was only at the beginning of his adventures.
Within a few months of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's debut, GeT_RiGhT had become the game's undisputed top player. Returning to competition with f0rest, the two became one of the most formidable duos in the history of esports.
GeT_RiGhT has earned a permanent place in the pantheon of esports immortality with his decade-long run of consistently excellent performance.
Daigo Umehara of Japan was an early international superstar in esports and one of the best esports players in the world. When he traveled to the United States in 1998 and defeated Alex Valle in Street Fighter Alpha 3, it heralded the birth of a legendary international rivalry that would eventually define the most famous fighting game series of all time.
Umehara, better known by his moniker The Beast, became obsessed with playing video games in arcades in 1991. It was in 1997 that Daigo won the title of Street Fighter champion of Japan.
The 1998 world championship was the start of a new era of international competition that had far-reaching effects outside the realm of Street Fighter. The win by Umehara in the most hyped game in the fighting game industry at the time marked the beginning of a long reign of domination in the genre.
Daigo has played over a dozen titles at a professional level, from Vampire Hunter to Street Fighter 5. When he defeated Justin Wong in a 2004 bout, he went from being the best Street Fighter player on the planet to a bona fide international celebrity.
You may have watched this video already: Daigo is in his final life, and Wong is prepared to take advantage. Daigo pulls off an unbelievable sequence of blocks to pull off the miraculous comeback.
The American sports magazine GamePro likened the Daigo/Wong moment of 2004 to Willie Mays' iconic over-the-shoulder grab in the 1954 World Series. This moment represented not only a single game but a whole generation in the game.
Daigo's prior achievements are impressive enough to guarantee him a spot here, but they're only the beginning.
Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg was born in Sweden, which has a long history of producing some of the world's best esports players. The 2009 run that F0rest had on team Fnatic, when his flawless performance helped them become the highest-earning organization in Counter-Strike history, is perhaps F0rest's finest achievement. At the time, many onlookers were fearful that the sport was on death's doorstep. Lindberg was undoubtedly the most well-known in esports outside of Asia.
Since his 2005 breakthrough onto the professional scene, f0rest has consistently been a top-tier player. Ex-teammate Patrik "cArn" Sättermon dubbed f0rest the greatest player in the league, and no one batted an eye. f0rest won more than 50 medals in his career. If you do a poll of Counter-Strike gamers and followers, you'll find widespread consensus.
f0rest has an impressive addition to his résumé. In addition to being the best player in the history of Counter-Strike, his brilliance in the successor, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, was a big reason why Team Ninjas in Pyjamas went on their unprecedented 87-0 LAN map winning run — this is the longest winning run in the history of esports.
Five years after Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's release, f0rest is still one of the best players in Sweden. Respect for one of the esports industry's real veterans and one of the top esports players globally.
There was no more competitive Starcraft scene anywhere between 1998 and 2010. Starcraft's wealth and prestige allowed for the development and upkeep of a thriving ecology for more than a decade. The game became ingrained in everyday life in South Korea because of TV coverage and internet cafés. Starcraft blasted into the limelight, never slowing down, while other games cautiously stepped up to the plate.
Flash is a symbol of brilliance and domination for many current esports enthusiasts.. Once known by titles like "Final Boss" and "The Ultimate Weapon," Lee Young Ho's fanbase eventually settled on the straightforward moniker of "God."
Regarding the competitive scene of esports, Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok is like Michael Jordan. Initially given the moniker "Unkillable Demon King" by Cool (a Chinese player who has since retired), it has caught on with the public.
The League of Legends demigod reigns over a scene that has genuinely reached professional athletic levels of competitiveness. He is the esports player in the world in the League industry — the largest and most competitive esport. Faker is not just an anomaly in terms of talent, but he is also enjoying unparalleled success in a game designed to limit the impact of any individual player.
As a team sport, The League places a premium on planning, communication, and cooperation. Unless, of course, your opponent is Faker.
As a 17-year-old in 2013, Faker emerged as a star player in League of Legends after being spotted by the top Korean esports organization, SK Telecom. Despite being a rookie, Faker guided SKT to a third-place finish in the Spring split and is now widely considered one of the finest mid-laners in the world. SKT seized the championship in the summer and rode that success to a victory in the World Championship in Los Angeles's Staples Center.
From that moment on, the name Faker has been associated with achievement.
He is the first esports athlete on the cover of ESPN The Magazine. In a game like The League, the existence of a player like Faker demonstrates the fundamental talent of the effort, why spectators like watching it, and why they respect it as a sport. He has won more cash prizes compared to any other League player.
It is widely agreed upon by enthusiasts, experts, and gamers that Faker is the League of Legends GOAT (or "Greatest of all Time"). At Worlds 2022, Faker not only set several new records, but also showed everyone why he is the symbol of the League of Legends.
Haruki Nakamura, affectionately termed "DataSensei" within the Esports universe, is EsportRanker's resident data wizard. Seamlessly merging his love for Esports with his knack for research, he provides insights and analysis that propel the industry forward.