22 February 2017 - 15:00

The CW will broadcast a $300,000 H1Z1 tournament

A docuseries following Echo Fox will precede the competition.
Overwatch Staff Reporter
Image via Daybreak Games

Echo Fox's H1Z1 team will see its network television debut in April.

The organization will be featured in a digital documentary series called H1Z1: Fight for the Crown, which follows the Echo Fox players in the lead-up to H1Z1: King of the Kill's first team tournament. Five episodes of the docuseries will be broadcast on The CW's streaming application CW Seed, with the one-hour, team-based tournament airing on network television to top things off. Known for DC Comics' shows like The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Arrow, The CW is a major player in network TV—making this a huge get for esports.

The success of last year's Mortal Kombat X: Machinima's Chasing the Cup documentary—which was also spread over five episodes on CW Seed with a finale on broadcast television—has The CW confident in its esports endeavors.

"The people who watch our TV shows [overlap] dramatically with esports players and esports admirers," a CW spokesperson told Dot Esports. "We have a built-in audience of people who want to see esports."

Fifteen teams of five players will compete for their share of the massive $300,000 prize pool in the tournament, which airs April 20 on The CW. Esports organizations Rogue, Panda Global, and Denial Esports will all field teams in the tournament—all of which have scouted for H1Z1 players using Echo Fox's Twin Galaxies scouting method, which puts emphasis on fielding players based on in-game statistics. Using the Twin Galaxies leaderboard to search for top tier H1Z1 talent, Echo Fox was able to nab five talented players, including Radek Pozler, who took first place in the first of two matches at TwitchCon's H1Z1 Invitational, taking home his fair share of the $267,244 prize pool.

Led by NBA hall-of-famer Rick Fox and Twin Galaxies owner Jace Hall, Echo Fox is among the first in esports to adopt a non-traditional way of scouting players. Looking outside of sheer popularity, Echo Fox puts talent first, using Twin Galaxies to separate the pack. The CW Seed miniseries leading up to the $300,000 tournament will establish how, exactly, the Echo Fox H1Z1 team came together.

"You can have the best five players on the team, but if they don't work together as a team, it doesn't matter," a CW spokesperson said. "So you've got a lot of really interesting conflict and you've got a lot of interesting challenges both in the game and in the team."

For the team tournament, Echo Fox is generously lending its scouting format to other established organizations interested in H1Z1. "If you want to compete to win, it would behoove you to search out some of the best talents," Rick Fox told Dot Esports. "From [the Twin Galaxies] leaderboard they'll be able to go out and sign and draft those players. We've had great success with it, but we can't sign all those players. There will be some guys there that are just as worthy of competing on behalf of the other teams."

Bringing in top-tier talent in essential to esports' growth, particular with an emerging esport like H1Z1. "We're not greedy in any way," Fox said. "We're encouraging other people to go and search those boards and find talent that may make the competitive landscape that much more competitive."

And there's a lot of space in H1Z1 to showcase players that have mastered the game. All 15 teams participating in the tournament will take the field at one time, with only one team able to take the top prize. "Could you imagine the Lakers, the Celtics, the Golden State Warriors, the Knicks, the Bulls," Fox asked, "Take those 15 NBA teams and put them on one basketball court and only one team could win at the end of the day?" That's the equivalent of The CW's H1Z1 tournament for Fox—the best players and teams tangled in one massive space.

"It's going to be very entertaining to view," Fox added. "The fans will enjoy not only competing and playing, but watching it."

A tournament like that is basically unfamiliar in other esports titles, with H1Z1 putting 75 players into a space at one time.

Episodes will begin airing on CW Seed in the spring, with the one-hour tournament airing April 20 at 9pm ET on The CW.

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