The Russian-speaking esports community has always managed to surprise the rest of the world by its teams, events, and even the ordinary viewers. As we are finally ready to present the CIS regional results for 2018, this will be the main topic of today's article.
Taking a look at the past, we should note that the five-person team of Natus Vincere was the first team to win at The International. At the same time, the League of Legends scene was graced by a phenomenal team known as Moscow Five. It became so famous that the unusual formations, such as having Kha'zix on the middle lane, are still remembered by the fans even today. That's not all there was to this region's advancement – when it comes to RTS genre, it gave birth to multiple legends of White-Ra's caliber.
Back to the topic, let us start from the teams most popular from the perspective of their home audience. Despite the Virtus.pro’s wonderful Dota 2 season performance, it was only able to take the ranking's second spot with their 49 million viewhours. To rephrase such an achievement, "the bears" have climbed the mountain but failed to reach the top.
The legendary CIS team, Na’Vi, became the leader of popularity rankings. There was even a moment when decent results were shown by several rosters of the team at once. With 55 million viewhours, this has allowed the "born to win" to secure the rank of the most popular team. We should also remind about how Dendi became an essential factor for making this achievement happen, even when he was spending time outside of the Yellow-Blacks main roster.
The "Red Star" team has shown its power in the Continental League, continuing its victory streak and taking hold of both splits. At the same time, the Gambit team's constantly hyped CS:GO roster has caused the fans from this region to stay glued to their matches. Despite all of this, the team has only managed to reach the third place of the ranking.
Unfortunately, there is no reason to boast about anything related to the fourth and fifth ranking places, for both participants have failed to show any kind of spectacular performance throughout the year. The only thing worth mentioning would be the CS:GO roster of HellRaisers. The HR's roster managed to entering the competition of top-8 teams in London, and receiving an invite to the next World Championship.
Regarding the events, we can say that 2018 was quite rich in various championships. When ranked by interest shown by the Russian-speaking community, the top-5 events would only include Dota 2 competitions – such as The International or The Kuala Lumpur Major. And more, the statistics show us that on average, these events owe 47% of their viewtime to CIS-based viewers. This comes off as a great show of region's influence on this particular esports discipline and its popularity rankings.
In case we limit our scope to post-Soviet space events only, the situation would slightly change. The top five would include three CS:GO tournaments. The first and second place are taken by the EPICENTER XL and MegaFon Winter Clash (both Dota 2-based). The next positions would be occupied by the fourth and fifth seasons of the SL i-League StarSeries as well as by EPICENTER 2018.
EPICENTER XL taking the first place was to be expected, as it was the only Dota 2 major in this region. Over half of its viewtime (53%) was generated by the CIS viewers, an impressive figure which is only exceeded by ESL One tournament series. However, the latter's English broadcast was Facebook-based, which resulted into Russian broadcast having figures biased towards excessive influence.
The way Winter Clash turned out was quite unexpected, with Natus Vincere participating in the final match. Starladder's CS:GO events were always known to attract extra interest through their quality and interesting participants. EPICENTER 2018's recipe for success was the event's unusual format with the Wild Card stage.