Karim “Airwaks” Benghalia and record producer RL Grime won the second annual Fortnite pro-am competition, sailing to an easy overall victory after Airwaks racked up a staggering 14 eliminations and victory royale in the first round of play. Their strategy involved, to some extent, teaming up to take down Ninja early on.
Competition occurred Sunday, during the second day of the Fortnite Block Party, Epic Games’ annual celebration of all things Fortnite that occurs the same week as E3. The competition pitted 50 teams of two — each with a pro player and a celebrity amateur — in a series of four Duos battle royale matches, with the $3 million overall prize pool all going to charities chosen by the winners.
“It was easy,” Airwaks boasted after winning Game 1 during the livestream. “Simple as that. I don’t know if it was 50 pros and 50 amateurs but I only saw 98 bots.”
Contestants played four matches, accumulating points depending on performance. A victory royale awarded the winning team with 10 points, 7 points went to teams placing in the 2-5 range, 5 points to those in 6-10, and 3 points to 11-15, with an additional 1 point for every elimination. Therefore, Airwaks earned 24 points for himself and RL Grime in the first round of play, and because RL Grime himself got 2 kills, as a team they reached 26 points total after round 1.
By comparison, second place at that point had 11 points and third through sixth place only had 10. Did anybody else even stand a chance?
Ninja won with Marshmello at last year’s competition, and the world’s most famous Fortnite steamer was a constant threat and focus for Airwaks and RL Grime.
In a recap for the first match, @xSundown noted how Airwaks and RL Grime both paid special attention to Ninja during competition, teaming up against the Fortnite star early on after Airwaks eliminated Ninja’s partner, former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. (Watch the full recap at the top of this article.)
In the final standings, RL Grime and Airwaks won by a small margin of four points compared to Aydan and Lost Kings. Ninja didn’t even place in the top 10. Did enough pairs target him directly that he never stood a chance? Was Marshawn Lynch so much worse at Fortnite compared to Marshmello (who won with Ninja last year)?
Even Ninja noted that Airwaks was, to put it simply, “a beast.”
Another possibility is that Ninja went easy during this competition. In May, Ninja complained during a livestream about how this year’s pro-am competition took place during the same week as Fortnite World Cup qualifiers. For all of the pros that want a shot at the $30 million prize pool, participating in the pro-am tournament could’ve set them back.
This is further proof of the inherent identity crisis that plagues Fortnite as the publicity-oriented events and seasonal map changes disrupt the game’s lucrative competitive scene in ways that don’t always make sense.
It’s almost as if the teams at Epic Games that manage these different aspects of the game don’t even communicate.
Watch the full stream of the event right here: