Every month STACK takes a brief look at what’s happening in esports, both locally and overseas.

As most people were settling in for holidays and Christmas, the esports world was out to prove that there’s never a gap in the action. We’re now in the New Year, with plenty of exciting things on the horizon, so why not take a moment to catch up on the closing highlights of 2017!

Blizzard led the charge in December, filling the void of regular Oceanic League of Legends action with their own inaugural Starcraft 2 ANZ Pro League. Since late November five teams – Legacy, Downfall Gaming, SYF Gaming, 1F Pro Gaming and OSC Esports – have battled it out for the two grand final spots and a pretty prize pool.

The biggest story of the league was the return of Bradley ‘Tgun’ Seymour, who’d previously competed at a high level in Starcraft 2 before turning to League of Legends. While at the time of writing the finals are a little while off, for now Tgun and Legacy need to push hard for more wins if they hope to unseat either SYF or Downfall – the current top two.

On an international scale, Blizzard’s Overwatch League pre-season kicked off as a taster for what 2018 will bring. With every player in the twelve squads getting the chance to play, it’s a great opportunity to start choosing which teams to look out for in the future. I’ve got my eye on the LA Gladiators (and not just because of the slick purple jerseys), but more than a few squads are looking particularly strong.

Back in Australia, ZEN League looked to fill the gap in League of Legends and CS:GO action. On the Counter Strike front, the up and coming Grayhound squad managed a victory over some seriously fierce competition. Tainted Minds scored second place despite probably the most impressive performances throughout the series, while the 2017 favourites, Kings Gaming Club, fell short of expectations and took third.

On the League scene, the Chiefs Esports Club regained some of their glory during Zen League, felling Avant to take out the whole competition. After failing to secure the Worlds spot despite a dominant gauntlet run during their last split, this was a much needed confidence boost. Mark my words, the Chiefs are going to push harder than ever next split.

While it’s only early days for their pre-season, a final new development in Australia to keep an eye out for is the Gfinity Challenger Series. Gfinity’s a tried and true organisation running a bunch of leagues internationally, and now they’re launching here. One thing’s for sure, their influence is going to be a big deal in 2018!

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