Esports sees success at recent tournaments


Nicole Hasek

The gaming room is located in 1312 Beyer Hall and is open to all students.

Esports competes in tournaments where they send their best players to compete against other colleges in games such as Valorant, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege, Overwatch and more. This semester, Iowa State has won two of these tournaments.

At the Battle for the Midwest tournament Oct. 22 in Chicago, Iowa State’s Overwatch team took home first place, their first win of the year. On Nov. 17, their Varsity Apex team went on to win the Inner Nerd Gaming Showcase, beating 16 other teams.

For these tournaments, players bring in their own computers and gaming setups. Competitors typically play from midnight to 9 p.m. on each competition day. Derek Patel, esports president, prefers in-person tournaments over any online tournament.

“When you’re in person, you can, like, look at your competition, and you can kind of see their facial expressions when they’re losing,” Patel said. “That’s always fun if you’re beating them.”

This style of tournament has risks, and Iowa State has previously been accused of screen cheating. This is when a player looks at their opponent’s screens, giving them enough information to find them and win the game.

Teams within the club are based on games, as competitions are typically only focused on one game. The members who go to compete depend on the game, and the Varsity team of that game will be prioritized.

“Varsity ideally practices at least six hours a week, whether it be scrimmages, games or just playing together,” Patel said. “JV is only four hours and academy, the team below, pretty much if they can practice, that’s great.”

The benefits of in-person play are why esports has its own game room, located at 1312 Beyer Hall. The game room is open to any Iowa State student, even if they are not a part of the club.

“We played a couple of games here, and being able to give someone a high five, or give quick knocks or being able to complement them in person goes a long way,” Patel said.

During tournaments, spectators can come in and watch the students compete. Often when a team is eliminated, they join the spectators and watch the rest of the tournament. When Iowa State hosts, they stream their games to a viewing area.

“We have all the computers hooked up to the same internet, and that’s hooked up to a master PC in a classroom on the second floor of Howe,” Patel said. “We’ll do a full production setup as best as we can by renting equipment from the library.”

Iowa State is the largest esports program in Iowa, with around 150 registered members and 2,500 Discord members. Their Discord is where they play games online and share club and tournament information. Member dues cost $15 a semester, making it one of the most affordable clubs on campus. In order to play on teams, players must be members.