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Ninja claims he’d “easily” be a top-50 Fortnite player if he tried

Ninja went on Bob Menery’s podcast and claimed that he could be a top-50 Fortnite player if he committed to it.

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Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins made a recent appearance on the ‘Zapped with Bob Menery’ podcast to discuss gaming, his career, and streaming. During the episode, Ninja made a claim about his possibilities in competitive Fortnite.

“Absolutely not,” Ninja replied when Menery asked him if he was the best Fortnite player in the world. “I think I could easily be (a) top-50 player if I’m playing, practicing, grinding in Creative.”

(Topic begins at 22:30 )

There isn’t likely a ton of overlap between hardcore Fortnite players and listeners of the ‘Zapped’ podcast, but those who caught this claim took issue with it.

For reference, FortniteTracker’s unofficial PC power rankings list Zayt at 56, MrSavage at 61, Clix at 64, and Tfue at 100. Reverse2k, who arguably carried Ninja during their competitive partnership, is listed at 345. Ninja currently sits at rank 1,475.

Ninja will likely never dedicate enough time to competitive Fortnite to ever reach his true potential. He’s too successful for that, so we’ll never know whether he’d actually hit that top-50 mark.

Via: Ninja Twitter

Many of the fans who responded to this statement were surprisingly civil – although they disagreed with the streamer. The most common reference was to Ninja’s age. He turns 29 in June, making over a decade older than World Cup winner Bugha at 17.

Fortnite is a young person’s game. Chances are, you won’t find anyone over 20 in the top-50 rankings. The scene is notoriously young, to the point where Nate Hill was the oldest player to qualify for the World Cup at 24.

Via: Epic Games

Ninja is, undoubtedly, an elite gamer. There was a point in time when he was a top-50 Fortnite player, but that time has passed. The scene appears to be far too young, these days.

There’s no question as to whether or not Ninja has the skills to be a professional gamer – he has a history of competing at the top level in multiple games. In a scene where 22-year-olds are called “washed,” however, it seems unlikely that someone as successful as Ninja would break the top fifty.

Crazier things have happened, though. We’d love to see him prove everyone wrong.

Esports

Ghost Gaming signs NA-East Fortnite pro Nanolite

Ghost Gaming adds Nanolite to their growing Fortnite roster.

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Earlier in the year, it seemed like Ghost Gaming was one of the organizations divesting from professional Fortnite. Several organizations let the contracts of their Fortnite pros expire, while others were waiting in the wings to scoop them up.

Now, several months later, it seems like Ghost was only preparing to reload on their Fortnite talent. Most recently, they signed NA-East pro Nanolite. Ghost Gaming’s newest recruit has been rising the ranks, over the past year, putting together a third-place performance in the DreamHack Anaheim 2020 tournament.

Nanolite has, reportedly, earned over $38,000 from 62 events over the course of his Fortnite career. He also sits, squarely, at number 50 on the FortniteTracker NA-East Power Rankings list.

With the signing, Ghost’s Fortnite roster is surprisingly deep. They now boast Kamo, Sean, Trapped, Zarby, Nittle, Clarity, and Nanolite. We’ll have to wait and see if they’ll stay steady here or continue to add to their growing roster of Fortnite talent.

Organizations have been signing Fortnite free agents left and right. It’s clear that Fortnite isn’t going anywhere as an esport, despite the lowering of the prize pool compared to 2019. Who will be the next free agent to fall? Only time will tell.

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Esports

Ninja calls for a dedicated Fortnite pro league: could it happen?

Ninja suggests an official Fortnite league as a solution to some of the biggest problems in the game. Is such a thing realistic?

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Competitive Fortnite is always a topic that we discuss, here, but it’s been in the crosshairs of the wider gaming and esports landscape of late. Pro Fortnite players voiced their disappointment in the Season 4 PC FNCS prize pool, comparing it to similar competitions from a year ago.

The Season 4 prize pool is significantly lower, but Epic are allocating their funds differently, now. They spread their prize pool across several regions and platforms, which lowers the amount that they can give to the most popular platform: PC. They’re also hosting daily and weekly Cash Cups, which comes out of their prize pool budget as well.

You can say what you want about Epic’s distribution of their prize pool; that’s not the topic, here. The real problem – as esports reporter, Slasher, detailed in a tweet thread – is the lack of support that these tier-one Fortnite pros feel that they receive from Epic Games.

This feeling of now being listened to fuels some of the outrage that’s common within the Fortnite community. What’s more is that these high-profile pro players need to continue to prove themselves time and time again just to qualify for paid events – something that isn’t the case in any other top esport.

People like Clix, Zayt, BenjyFishy, Mongraal, Bugha, and all of the other household names in Fortnite have to continue to qualify for official Fortnite tournaments. Theoretically, they have the same chance of qualifying as your cousin who has been grinding Cash Cups for the past few months.

This element is part of the allure of competitive Fortnite – that anyone could be a pro player. Several pros have come out of nowhere to win hundreds of thousands of dollars. Morgausse was a prime example of this during the Summer Skirmish. An unknown pro at the time, Morgausse left the event $225,000 richer and as the hottest free agent in Fortnite.

We’ve come a long way since then, however. All of the events are held online, which means everyone who has Fortnite and an internet connection can affect these games. Even players who know they can’t win an event can “grief” a high-profile streamer – landing on them and ruining the streamer’s chances of qualifying.

It feels like, after 2+ years of competitive play, Fortnite finally has an established esports scene. Is it time that Epic Games began working with organizations and developing a league, similar to what other esports titles have done?

During the FNCS Warmup tournament, Ninja took to Twitter to propose just that: an official Fortnite league. In his opinion, a league sanctioned by Epic Games is the only way to avoid some of the common problems we see in nearly every Fortnite tournament.

It seems like nearly every Fortnite pro and passionate viewer would be interested in seeing something like this, but would Epic Games ever back such a tournament? In our opinion, the answer is an unfortunate, no.

A large part of Epic’s marketing strategy with competitive Fortnite seems to be that anyone could be a pro player. They’ve explicitly said this, at times, and used it as a justification as to why they don’t split the competitive and casual loot pools.

After seasons of requests from pro players involving the Fortnite loot pool, Epic have finally begun to make half measures in this regard. Still, there always seem to be a few items that are fine in core modes but completely broken in competitive. If Epic won’t even take the time to completely split the loot pool, would they really back a walled-off competitive Fortnite league?

Sadly, our outlook on this situation is a pessimistic one. A Fortnite league is possible, but we don’t think that it’s how Epic wants to handle the professional side of Fortnite. All of the evidence points to Epic wanting to keep Fortnite esports as an open platform.

There are some positives to this, but from a viewership perspective, we think the negatives outweigh the positives. Anything is possible, though, so we hope that a dedicated Fortnite league is in the cards for the future.

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Esports

Ballatw announces that he won’t be casting Season 4 FNCS

Ballatw has announced his departure from the Fortnite FNCS broadcast, leading fans speculate as to why.

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Longtime competitive Fortnite fans know that Arten “Ballatw” Esa is one of the most authoritative voices within the community. He’s best known for his casting of competitive Fortnite events – both official FNCS competitions and third-party tournaments like Ninja Battles.

To many, Balla has been the voice of competitive Fortnite since he rose to popularity. Recently, he’s expanded by offering his insights in written form on his blog, Ballatw.com. So far, he’s tackled the topic of tournament structure and offered his opinion on why Solos shouldn’t be a featured competitive Fortnite mode.

Last Friday, following the official announcement of the Season 4 FNCS, Balla took to Twitter to inform his fans that he wouldn’t be commentating the event. Pros like BenjyFishy, EpikWhale, Emad, and others took to the replies to voice their disappointment over the news.

Although Balla won’t be a part of the official broadcast, he plans on hosting a viewing party and “launching a number of my own comp fn related individual projects that have taken a back burner, over the next month as FNCS starts.” He may even compete in the FNCS and see if his competitive knowledge will translate to a Finals qualification.

Balla handled his departure from the FNCS broadcast with the class you would expect from him, but he’s remaining tight-lipped as to why he’s leaving. It doesn’t seem like the decision was entirely his own, based on his announcement and the fact that he still plans on commentating third-party events.

ShyoWager, Balla’s longtime casting partner, appeared to be blind-sided by the news as well. “Pain is the word in my mind,” he wrote in one of his responses. “I’ll find that silver lining too, live up to the promises and be more accountable, be better, get my s*** together and work harder. Always.”

We reached out to Balla for additional comment on his departure. He told us that his Twitter statement was as much as he’s comfortable saying about the situation.

Popular speculation has it that Balla may have been too critical of Epic Games and competitive Fortnite for their liking. His recent blogs took direct aim at the company and gave his opinion on some mistakes that they’re making. They may want their official broadcasters to keep their opinions to themselves – something to which Balla probably wouldn’t agree.

It’s disappointing to see one of the most authoritative and knowledgeable voices in competitive Fortnite leave the official FNCS broadcast, but we haven’t seen the last of him. As Balla said, he’ll be using this opportunity to create independent Fortnite content and expand his horizons.

The people who really lost in all of this are the streamers who regularly pull tens of thousands of viewers hosting FNCS watch parties. There’s a new player in town, fresh off of his official casting contract.

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