Wrapping up India’s pinnacle year in Esports – 2016

In the year 2016, I employed a couple of precarious things to my life. I quit my regular business routine. I devoted full time to TalkEsport and writing. Not sure which is more supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

The Esports fraternity of India is on the verge of creating a presence globally. The interference of sponsors for right has led the people of this country towards a rough yet equitable path. And that is for the better tomorrow. Esports is not your regular daily soap or form of boring entertainment forced on you. Esports, rather, is your daily dose of entertainment which you chose to be a part of. And India, exceptionally, welcomed this revolution in the year 2016.

India witnessed a lot in the year 2016. Regarding a new line of gaming events, and with the rearrangements of available players in the spectrum, we welcomed a couple of new esports team franchise which seems to have a broader and farther vision. The players doubled, even tripled in figures of the few games. We take a comprehensive approach towards the development and the formation of this enthusiastic community.

What was so special about 2016?

India’s wealthiest year regarding electronic sports and digital gaming. The year 2016 brought e-sports festivals defying the regressive thoughts about online gaming and video games in general.

SoStronk ended it’s beta phase and organized Valve’s official minor qualifiers. India’s mainstream beverage brand ventured into esports. MoS and senior politicians participated in an esports festival. A sum of ₹ 74,50,000 approximately were distributed among gamers. Although IeSF turned out to be a blunder, there’s still hope for a regulatory board in India. Flipkart hosted their first Esports event. Zowie entered the Indian market with BenQ. NVIDIA entered into the market willingly. International teams had a pleasant experience. Overwatch is an accepted Esports. And yeah, cosplay is a thing now.

In more than seven noteworthy gaming exponentials in India, which attracted the general crowd of over 11,00,000 people. According to the data compiled by from website statistics, searches and the impressions generated by the events, the highest number of people, MountainDew’s DewArena had the most impactful results.

The gaming events

Mangima 2016

The year started with a bang when a group of IITians decided to host a gaming convention in Pune. The event attracted a massive crowd. The best part of the event was the diversified audience at the venue. Mangima, the brainchild of Kanishka Singh, who is also supposedly the founder of Invisible Wings, offered a stupendous prize pool of Rs. 4,50,000. Invictus clinched the victory at the year opener Esports event.

ESL India Premiership

Photo courtesy: ESL India

If not the largest, but the longest and the most consistent gaming event in India in the year 2016 was ESL India Premiership brought by NODWIN Gaming. ESL hosted multiple segments of their premiership which further categorized into different sets.

ESL India Premiership consisted of six starter cups conducted online and two challengers, were the LAN events. The winners of challengers were invited to the pinnacle event, Masters, co-hosted with Delhi Comic Con.

Indian Esports Championship

Although IeSc had a muted start to the event, it was well received by the winners of the qualifiers and eventually, the event was a huge success as far as the gaming community is concerned. Huge prizes were given away at the event, and it marked the notable acknowledgment of the non-gaming crowd at the venue. We expect to see a lot more from IeSc in the coming year and hope it grows even bigger!


DewArena was one of its kind event, the largest and the largest India had ever witnessed. The event brought to the Indian community by ESL India & Nodwin, and it concluded remarkably well having said that the winners got valuable prizes with them assigned as ambassadors of the beverage company Pepsi Co., for a marketing gimmick.

At the event, the representatives of the brand and organizers confirmed the next installment of the festival, which returns next year with a bang!

Zowie eXTREMESLAND CSGO Championship

It all started when Zowie announced their championship partnered with LXG. The special reward of winning a paid trip to China and competing with the best was what Zowie had to offer to the community. Unfortunately, the event dates clashed with DewArena, resulting in Invictus failing to be present at both the events, in spite of being qualified.

Next to follow was ASUS ROG Masters and later WESG. India welcomed too many opportunities to represent in foreign lands. Not only Asia but even in Europe.

NerdMeet 2.0

Not another CSGO or DotA 2 event, but NerdMeet was the epicenter of the revolution of the digital era in the Eastern region of the country. They didn’t offer fancy prize money. But the nerd culture was enough for people to make their way to this Calcutta event. NerdMeet is the brainchild of Aman Biswas and Sumon Pathak. The event follows a pretty odd yet successful mode of operation; you won’t find online registrations, nor will you be annoyed by their social media spams. But at the event, people will still turn up. The exclusive hardware and overclocking session are the zeniths of NM.

Brands like NVIDIA India, HyperX India, Quickheal, MSI India, D-Link India and XRIG supported NerdMeet.

Notable events

Best squads of 2016

1. Invisible Wings

Invisible Wings’ noticeable fleet in the year 2016 was commendable. The carrier which loaded following amounts of experience and firepower was the most successful and on point organization of the previous year.

  • Simar ‘psy’ Sethi
  • Mithil ‘MithilF’ Sawant
  • Ritesh ‘RitZ’ Shah
  • Akshay ‘Kappa’ Sinkar
  • Manan ‘Manan’ Bhatt

Not only did they win the maximum number of events, but they also glued together for the longest period compared to the shuffles in the recent years. IW, led by Simar ‘psy’ Sethi should be an inspiration of how diversity worked in their favor as being a strength for the Delhi-Mumbai squad.

2. Team Brutality

Stirring up the controversy by naming Brutality the second-best in India in the complete year, they did their best by maintaining the consistency. They were the favorites at most of the tournament, not only due to their performance but also because of their certainty of attending events all across India.

  • Ankit ‘V3nom’ Panth
  • Aakash ‘RiX’ More
  • Arun ‘Kundya’ Kandpal
  • Ayush ‘Astarr’ Deora
  • Jay ‘Fox’ Shah
  • Aditya ‘Ad1’ Shah

Team Brutality had a great year, their dedication towards participating in every event shows how much they want to learn rather earn. Perhaps, 2017 will seem to be difficult for the Mumbai squad, as they have two empty slots.

3. Dare2Dream

The youngest of all, Dare2Dream marked their entry into the professional scene by signing up players of their great existing squad MxB. Their achievements spoke for them. D2D were technically the team with the minimum amount of experience comparatively. Although they played most of their tournaments with stand-ins, D2D didn’t fail to impress the Indian audience when they beat Risky Gaming of UAE at ESL India Masters. D2d conquered the championship of Challengers 2 and ASUS Rog Masters, throughout the year.

  • Bhavin ‘HellRanger’ Kotwani
  • Sabyasachi ‘antidote’ Bose
  • Sailesh ‘Blackhawk’ Dalvi
  • Mohit ‘SpawN’ Wakle
  • Kavish ‘Kav1sh’ Chauhan (Stand-in)
  • Karan ‘Excali’ Mhaswadkar (Stand-in)
  • Sharan ‘Busterr’ Dave

D2D not only beat Risky but were also able to beat almost all the top teams currently in India. NVIDIA FPS Battle was also conquered by MxB (D2D).

4. Entity Esports (Invictus)

India’s most promising lineup at the start of the financial year when it was making the news about its acquisition by Beyond Infinity, which already had their successful run in the DotA 2 segment. Entity Esports signed ex-Invictus players to form their identity in the FPS giant.

  • Tejas ‘Ace’ Sawant
  • Bharat ‘Ribbi’ Kiran
  • Karan ‘Excali’ Mhaswadkar
  • Gokul ‘dnm’ Shyam
  • Agenya ‘Marzil’ Kausik

The then supposedly best players in the country were roped in by the management, which further merged their organization with an existing establishment, Invisible Wings. Entity Esports were the frontrunner in the Indian Esports for the entire year. Although they had the firepower, they got the honor only at Zowie eXTREMESLAND India qualifiers.

5. Overcome

It appeared from nowhere; Overcome made their way into the top four teams in India during mid-year events. By participating and making most of it through gaining experience, Overcome, at one point of time were so much charged up that they were able to beat every participating team in ESWC India qualifiers and made their way to ESWC Paris, representing the nation.

  • Vivek ‘Shabby’ Patel
  • Anuj ‘Amaretsu’ Sharma
  • Aaqib ‘Bababiceps’ Dingankar
  • Shoeb ‘Minato’ Shaul
  • Divesh ‘Monster’

Things didn’t work well from there onwards as they were unable to continue their consistency. Although the fields were leveled, Team Overcome’s performance at Indian Esports Championship was a huge disappointment.

6. D5 – Destructive 5

If you are an old school Counter Strike fanatic, you probably have come across d5, or their players certainly. D5 had their greater performance after they recently started trying out their combination of the CSGO squad. They were among those teams who were far from being inactive.

  • Ishpreet ‘Hunter’ Singh
  • Pranay ‘WuZz’ Bhatia
  • Kunal ‘PeXxer’ Bhatia
  • Jay ‘Fox’ Shah
  • Jigar ‘smx’ Mehta
  • Ayush ‘Astarr’ Deora (Stand-in)

Although, they didn’t bag any big fish, their substantial presence in most events subsequently strengthened their lineup.

Notable squads

  • tMg
  • Elements
  • A2G
  • Goutfits

Best performers of 2016

1. Simar ‘psy’ Sethi

Arguably the most consistent player of 2016. There is no rough form for this soldier. Simar ‘psy Sethi rose with the amateurish lineup from Kolkata. With his leadership and in-game skills, he took charge of the roster and rode them through their transition phase. After a strong start in Team Brutality, Psy made his way to the newest franchise in which he leads his team with conviction. Invisible Wings was to psy, as Manchester to Ronaldo.

Not to forget his performance at DewArena, Psy was one of those players who had the competency to turn the tables. Sethi originates from Delhi but has been able to keep up with most of the top players pretty well. Although Invisible Wings had players holding more experience than him, they eagerly follow their young leader when it comes to captaincy.

2. Ayush ‘astarrr’ Deora

The brutal star, who has the temperament similar to what psy holds. Ayush stays in the second position on TalkEsport’s Wrapup 2016. Ayush who started his year with Team Brutality was among few of those who can destroy the opponents courageously, unassisted.

Widely known for his target-oriented confident gameplay, Ayush never leaves hold of his sight when it comes to shooting the enemy in the head. Having said that Psy also peculiarly holds the same values, Ayush comparatively edges above him slightly due to his aim duels.

If there were a counter to mark headshots from this Mumbai fellow, he’d surely beat most of the players not by limited numbers. In the year 2016, Astarr spent most of his time with Brutality, with his aggressive playing style, he steered the team to victory through difficulties most of the times.

3. Sabyasachi ‘antidote’ Bose

It would have been a disaster to not consider this rising star in the top three best players. Sabyasachi, who has been the Voyager in his career, is an inspiration to the umpteen numbers of people. You can not only learn from him on “How to be a star player?” but this junior assassin can also give you lessons on “How to continue being a star?”

Sabyasachi has played this year mostly under the guidance of HellRanger. Starting his journey from MxB to now being playing under the reputed Dare2Dream, Antidote has all the therapy to evict mistakes. If this is not enough, Saby is also lucky to have been played under the guidance of both the prominent leaders, Simar ‘Psy’ Sethi and Bhavin ‘HellRanger’ Kotwani. Assaults or a sniper rifle, Saby can adjust his grip according to the state of requirements for his squad.

4. Karan ‘Excali’ Mhaswadkar

No bias, but this youngster from Mumbai has always been my favorite when it comes to playing style. There are not many gamers whom you’ll want to spectate continuously for hours, but Excali is rightly on the other side of the fence. Karan, who has played earlier in MxB, and Brutality, started his journey professionally through Entity Esports when he was picked up by Tejas ‘Ace’ Sawant. Although they couldn’t win in numbers, Excali’s performance was outright the best in his team.

Not only he is known to have best rifle shooting, but teammates of this youngstar can also depend on him even during pistols and economic rounds. Karan makes to the third best player in my list of the best players.

5. Bhavin ‘HellRanger’ Kotwani

Introduced above as a visionary leader, HellRanger is the man who believes in not picking up the players, but making them. He is in the scene from quite a long time and has been the reason why most of the players playing in his team have turned professionals. Bhavin is known as manufacturers of players! India’s supposedly and undoubtedly best leader.

You won’t find him top fragging in every game, but he is the reason why most of his players play out of their minds without having to think about the execution of the next and following rounds. In our list of players and leaders, Bhavin surely deserves a spot!

6. Mithil ‘MithilF’ Sawant

Beginning his journey with his patronymic duo, Tejas, Mithil had a range of consistent performance in the year 2016. Slightly downwards compared to his amazing figures in 2015, Mithil has been cut straight loyal to Invisible Wings. Not worrying about what comes next, he is known mostly for his perfect play of style with sitemate, Manan.

Despite not at his best, the year 2016 was the most successful year for Sawant, as far as lifting trophies are concerned. From winning India’s largest gaming festival DewArena to beating Brutality at the ESL Challengers #1, Invisible Wings blazed the trail at their boot camp.

7. Tejas ‘Ace’ Sawant

If we take Indian Esports a year back, you could name him undoubtedly the best player in the country, not only aim wise, but also because of his selective mind. Tejas ‘Ace’ Sawant started his year playing for Scorchers, then midway decided to join Invisible Wings, only to bounce back and revived Invictus, which was later bought by Entity Esports.

Tejas Sawant has always been the first choice for the businessmen and team franchise owners when it comes to building a professional CSGO team. This 22 yo’ from Mumbai has represented India in most of the international events. Despite the rivalry at every edge of the corner, Tejas professionally represented Team Brutality at ESL Masters as a stand-in.

8. Aakash ‘Rix’ More

The second from Brutals, RiX is a name which you won’t find anywhere else but Brutality. With the tendency and propensity to knock the opponents out of the map from his sniper rifle, Aakash has always been a Brutal guy. In the year 2016, his performance was considered as the best passive awper in the country at a point of time. Aakash is also known to share the burden of his team with his long-time duo V3nom.

In the year 2016, RiX’s supremacy with the AWP, Besides his unparalleled mastery with the AK47 left many players shocked. RiX has played a significant role in making Brutality one of the top teams and marking it where it is today.

9. BharatKiran ‘Ribbi’ Reddy

Invictus to Entity Esports, Ribbi has been the extended supportive arm for Tejas. At the Zowie eXTREMESLAND finals, Ribbi’s performance was remarkable. They even conquered the Indian championship and later traveled all the way to China to represent our country.

Ribbi’s famous for annoying the best players in the country by his lurker playing style. Even though players are familiar with his cheeky moves, you won’t always expect him to be at your back.

10. Manan ‘Manan’ Bhatt

Famous and considered to be as the support to Mithil, Manan has similar progressive actions when it comes to sticking to a team and making the most of it. Joining Invisible Wings was his positive start for the year, and from there onwards he is on the beaten track. Best performance for Manan is just being Manan.

You won’t find him top-fragging more often. Similarly, you won’t find him getting carried or being a burden to his team. He always plays support and has been commendable in doing so.

Manan’s DewArena’s performance was the top of his career where he lifted the trophy alongside his fellow teammates, Psy and Mithil.

Readers and critics may or may not agree with me on the rankings, but from my perspective, I arranged the ranking at my finest, closest to perfection. Other than the organizations, players, and events, I will also like to write about some personalities who are just starting to get on board.


I will start by offering a special mention to Ranjit ‘Mamba’ Patel. Mamba started professional shout casting for ESL in the year 2016, from there onwards, he was grouped in by AlienHCasting and there further, Drag2Death. Mamba’s year 2016 proved out to be more than successful; as he, fortunately, had many opportunities where he traveled in different parts of the world and casted with several partners. Eventually, Mamba made his way to international casting scene; he was the commentator of World Cyber Arena in China.


Noteworthy, the concept of girls playing a game was never existent until we came across this Bangalore women. Zerah goes by his in-game nick Angela when she plays DotA and streams for her followers. Apart from the streams and professional games, she is a renowned DotA 2 shout caster.

From casting ASUS Rog Masters live from the venue or being a part of various brands as their brand ambassador Zerah, has everything in her propensity which you expect to see in a girl gamer.

Most of all, she takes gaming so seriously that to experience the arena and the environment of a major event; she traveled all the way to Seatle to spectate DotA II – The International, live from within.


Mostly known as Sid Joshi. Boogie has been astonishing with his performance. Whether it is about reporting a fellow scam or about providing valuable feedback to the community events, Sid has always been at the top of the charts of the most active esports personality. Sid’s contribution to Indian Esports has not only been unofficial, but also through his esports franchise. Not to forget that he is the HOD of management for Entity Esports! If you ever doubt the TRP booster Sid has in his propensity, do check this out.

Drag2Death Community

In no order whatsoever, Drag2Death has alse been on my list of top contributors in the year 2016. The startup, founded by Ayush Garg and Amol Bharti, apart from offering free servers to the community players, Drag2Death has actively supported the Indian esports ecosystem. Not to forget that events like SuperNova, Indian Esports Championship and Asus ROG Masters wouldn’t have been possible without Drag2Death. The team led by Jaideep Sood, D2D’s sister concern Dare2Dream were also among the top in the list of professional esports franchise.

Drag2Death, noteably, organized India’s first ever Overwatch tournament.

AlienH Casting

The previous year, you must have come across the name AlienH Casting one way or the other. An associative club to unite the casters and freelance talents in India. AlienH Casting is unprecedented when it comes to Hindi shoutcasting. They made themselves known to the world when they were named official Indian casters of a Valve Major. MLG Columbus 2016 had AlienH Casting as their official broadcasting partner. Founded by Mohit Rajgaria and Ankit Dwivedi, AlienH Casting is currently taken care of by its general manager, Preet Arora, who is also a renowned community contributor.

I have substantially covered the parts of the affairs from 2016. Esports in India will not remain esoteric for a longer period. With the sponsors having an eye towards this untapped industry, we anticipate seeing the mainstream media and companies participating in this industry with full veracity.

It is, however, arduous yet, sagacious to fully dedicate more time to the development and making the scene better than what it is today. We expect the year 2017 to be the supremo as far as digital gaming in India is concerned.