The Standout Players of Fortnite 2019 So Far

by Staff & Contributors

Fortnite has taken the world of esports by storm this year after developer Epic Games stumped up $100 million in prize money for various tournaments. It culminated in the $30 million Fortnite World Cup in New York in July and the event turned a number of gamers into overnight superstars.

Teenagers are now millionaires as a result of their prowess at this outrageously popular battle royale title, and the ensuing media blitz has given Fortnite’s popularity a timely boost. The World Cup also turned the professional scene on its head, unearthing a new group of superstars. Here are the top Fortnite players of 2019 so far:

Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf

Bugha blazed a trail of destruction through the Fortnite World Cup. He raced into an early lead in the solo tournament by securing victory in the opening game, and he never looked back. Fans marvelled at his magnificent consistency, his aggressive style and his rapid build speeds as Bugha maintained a healthy lead over the competition throughout the tournament. He ended up with almost twice as many points as his nearest rival, and that sort of dominance should be unheard of in such a high-profile event.

Yet Bugha always appeared to be on a path towards greatness. He eschewed the celebrity lifestyle pursued by the likes of Ninja, Tfue and Myth and spent his time knuckling down. The 16-year-old spent up to eight hours in his bedroom playing Fortnite every day in a bid to become the best in the business, and it paid dividends in New York. He had shown signs of his promise by finish top of the pile in Week 1 of the North American qualifying campaign, but he really thrived under pressure at the main event.

The most remarkable aspect to Bugha’s success is his build speed. The precise, intricate edits he pulls off at high speed while fighting off rivals is a joy to behold, showcasing phenomenal concentration, precision and dexterity. He was also rewarded for bold, aggressive play, which delighted the viewers at home. He is now the highest-earning Fortnite player of all time and the future looks extremely bright for this teenage prodigy.

Harrison “psalm” Chang

Los Angeles native Harrison Chang was a prominent Heroes of the Storm pro before he gave it up to fully dedicate himself to Fortnite last year. The decision proved to be an inspired one, as HotS crashed and burned and psalm ended up placing second overall at the Fortnite World Cup solo tournament. He went to bed $1.8 million richer on July 28 after mixing it with the finest talent in the world and holding his own.

“I just stopped at one point and thought to myself, ‘dude, I’m a millionaire,’” psalm said. “It just hit me at that moment. It’s crazy what I just accomplished.” He is 24 years of age and he was one of the oldest players at the tournament, meaning he had to endure a fair few grandpa jokes. But psalm had the last laugh at the World Cup.

Shane “EpikWhale” Cotton

EpikWhale is also just 16 years of age and he earned more than $1 million for finishing third in the big solo tournament. An astonishing 40 million people entered World Cup qualifying, so finishing third is a considerable achievement. He also displayed his versatility by finishing 12th in the duos event alongside 4DRStormOG.

EpikWhale signed with NRG Esports on the eve of the tournament and the team must have been delighted with his performance. NRG now boasts one of the best line-ups within the scene, leaving EpikWhale well placed to continue his development in the burgeoning Fortnite esports arena.

He plans to juggle Fortnite with his studies in future, while banking most of the cash he earned at the World Cup. “It’s a great relief for me,” he said after his performance in New York. “I’ve been putting in hours every day. Just trying to get better and prepared for this tournament.”

Aquav2 and Nyhrox

European duo Nyhrox and Aqua delivered a superb performance to clinch victory ahead of 49 other teams from across the globe at the Fortnite World Cup duos event. The Cooler Esports stars displayed great teamwork throughout the event and they eventually finished four points clear of Rojo and Wolfiez to seize the $3 million top prize.

Back-to-back wins in games four and five ultimately carried them to victory, but they were consistent throughout the event. Aqua2v comes from Austria and he took home an extra $50,000 for his performance in the solos event. Norwegian Nyhrox had made less than $15,000 before the World Cup, but now he is a millionaire after sharing the first prize pool with his teammate.

Turner “Tfue” Tenney

Tfue has emerged as the world’s most famous player over the past year thanks to his magnetic personality, his braggadocio and his controversial antics. He backed up the hype by becoming the only celebrity streamer of note to qualify for the Fortnite World Cup and he turned up in a leopard print vest, ready to “ttv dunk on these fools”.

Tfue dominated the build-up to the event, but the result was a bit of a damp squib as he was continually eliminated early on in games and ended up nowhere near the top of the leaderboard. However, it is impossible to deny what a great year Tfue has enjoyed. This summer his YouTube channel reached 11 million subscribers, and he has done wonders for Fortnite’s popularity. He also showed he can still mix it with the best in this business when he wiped out Bugha, Bizzle and Dubs in an insane 1v3 play during this month’s pro scrims.

Thiago “King” Lapp

King is just 13 years of age and he is already a superstar after embarrassing Tfue at the World Cup this summer. He eliminated the American in brutal fashion, making Tfue look like a novice and causing social media to blow up. “Who would have thought that King would have been the man to show up today?” said the official Fortnite commentator. King ended up fifth in the solos tournament, earning a cool $900,000, and his potential is immense.

Timothy “Bizzle” Miller

Bizzle was the highest earning Fortnite player in the world before the World Cup began. He had displayed great consistency throughout 2019 and he became one of the very first pros when he signed for Ghost Gaming. He could only finish 23rd at the World Cup, and that sent him all the way down to 16th in the money rankings, but he was extremely disparaging of the tournament anyway.

Yet he has promised not to quit Fortnite and said he will continue to avoid the limelight in order to train hard and succeed at tournaments. “I’d rather not be focusing on streaming or casual play,” he said. “I want to be the best. I’ve always been a competitive player. I want to be the best player in the world and play against the best in the world. I don’t know whether [Epic Games] will make that happen for me, because I don’t think that’s the case at the World Cup.”

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