The Lone Gameslinger: Top 5 eSports for people who aren't team players

Sometimes less is more, so here's 5 best competitive eSports titles for gameslingers that prefer to go it alone.

If you've tried to climb the Ranked ladder in most modern eSports from League of Legends to CS:GO, you know the question. When your Loki is off doing blue buff while your second phoenix dies fifteen minutes in, your Bard is trying to solo Baron, or your AWP-er is literally spinning in circles shooting at the sky, there's one question we find ourselves asking over, and over, and over:

"What are they doing?

I mean, they know there's a minimap, right? They can see it? It's like...right there. Just look...just look at it! Look at the minimap! One time! LOOK AT I-nevermind, we're dead. Ok. Thanks, bud. Fantastic. Great job. 

You wonder if you'd just be better off playing a game by yourself.

Luckily, we know all too well the feels of the SoloQ blues, and we're here with a solution. These are the top 5 eSports where you can go it alone, and leave the "Wood 5" randoms at home. 


Starting us off is Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcrafta CCG that came out of nowhere as the dominating name in virtual card games. Sporting a fairly robust third party tournament scene as well as its own circuit run by creator Blizzard, Hearthstone has a ton of competitive support for up and coming lone gunslingers like ourselves - clocking in at just over $725,000 in prizes across 31 tournaments so far this year. 

While not quite cracking the massive payouts of more traditional eSports like Dota 2, Hearthstone maintains a reasonable prize pool on the official circuit. With local tournaments firing regularly and a $100,000 payout for the World Champion crowned yearly at Blizzcon, Hearthstone has more than enough opportunities to make a name (and a living).

So break out your Legendaries and fire up your card theory, because it's all 1v1, all the time here -- whether you make it or break it is all on you, Hero. 

Starcraft II

If you're noticing a trend so far, don't worry - you're not imagining things. Starcraft II, Blizzard's RTS offering, is also one of the top scoring eSports games for single players this year. While it's a little less supported than its younger Blizzard siblings, it still managed to rake in a respectable $490,000 on the eSports scene in 2016 -- but did so across an astounding 173 tournaments so far, coming in second just behind CS:GO for tournaments held. 

Simply put, there's a lot of opportunities for glory and conquest in the competitive StarCraft II scene.  

So get jacked up and good to go, because the fast-paced, Actions Per Minute-driven RTS scene is more than willing to welcome it's new rising star - if you've got the guns to handle the brutal space duels it provides, anyway. 

Smash Bros

Dust off those Nintendo systems and get your #Hype ready - it's time to Smash everyone in your way. Driven by one of the most energetic and enthusiastic gaming communities in existence, Smash Bros Melee is keeping near the top of the charts with 75 tournaments already this year, and over $97,500 in paid prizes -- more than enough to keep your happy feet moving. 

While the deep tech and intricacies of smashing faces with a Falcon Punch was already more than enough to keep new players busy, Nintendo's eSports presence is following the smash success of Melee with Super Smash Bros for Wii U -- otherwise known as Smash 4. Giving out over $50,000 in prizes this year across 44 tournaments for Smash 4, the Smash Bros duo is a fierce wombo combo for those good enough to brawl -- and we both know you are. 

So where you at? Where you at?!

Street Figher V

One of the most iconic names in gaming history, Street Figher V is the latest in a long line of competitive games literally built for the 1v1. It existed back before eSports was even a term, in the dark dungeons of something called an "arcade". It didn't have flashing lights, or large trophies, or cheering fans - just you, and the face you were going to punch. 

It also has enough payout on its large tournaments to get anyone Yoga Fired up, shelling out over $46,000 across only two major tournaments in 2016 - and it's only picking up steam on the Fighter circuit. With stiff competition from even old hands that have been at the series for years, it's sure to be a steep, hard climb to the top of those brackets.

Every round, every match rests solely on your skill and understanding against some of the best in the fighting game business. No teammates to fumble it, no minimap to blink at you -- just you and them, Mano a mano, until one of you is OK and the other is KO. 

Think you can handle it? 

Shor yu ken. 

Mortal Kombat X

Where there's smoke there's fire -- and where there's Street Fighter -- there's Mortal Kombat. It's life imitating art, as these two games have been locked in mortal combat ever since they both vied for the hearts (and quarters) of the competitive 1v1 fandom years ago. Even today this rivalry continues, and Mortal Kombat wasn't about to let Street Fighter take the title in single player eSports without a fight. 

Putting up an impressive $74,700 total across only 5 major tournaments so far, Mortal Kombat X offers substantial rewards. They make up for a slight hit in quality with over twice as much quantity as Street Fighter when it comes to tournaments.

Sporting some of the most gruesome combat on the market and competition as hardcore as its Fatalities, Mortal Kombat X is a great place to carve out a name for yourself as a solo competitor - though the bloodsoaked bodies of your enemies are also good. 

So what are you waiting for? Get over here


With these five single player eSports for the loner in all of us, there's a pretty wide space on the competitive field for all of us that aren't exactly team players. 

No teammates that AFK 5 minutes in, no obnoxiously incompetent pug-players that make you wish you had a bot instead. No "food just got here", no language barriers. 

Just you, your opponent, and your fight for glory. Whether you're the best of the best, or your Final Destination is the bottom of the barrel -- in these 5 single player eSports, it's all on you. So come on, hotshot, and show me your moves. 

1v1 me. 


Writer, analyst, conqueror of games, vanquisher of Hard Modes. Can lift an entire car tire over his head. Capable of cooking even the most difficult of TV dinners. Drinks coffee from bowls. Known frolicker. Is a professional pretend wizard.

Published Apr. 27th 2016

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