Matt Pryor
Matt Pryor
Matt is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University. He appreciates all esports titles but primarily focuses on Fortnite and Call of Duty. Matt continuously analyzes gameplay and plays the games himself to better understand in-game decisions by the best players in the world.

Fortnite: Player of the Year 2019

Fortnite POTY 2019
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The Fortnite World Cup has made 2019 a big year for Epic's popular battle royale.


With a $30 million prize pool, the World Cup has skyrocketed a lot of young Fortnite players into millionaire status. It's also shined a light on previously unknown players who continued to have a lot of success since this past summer. Let's take a look at three Fortnite players who really shined in 2019 – one of which is Player of the Year.

Aqua

Aqua Fortnite POTY

One of the three Fortnite World Cup Champions from 2019, David “aqua” Wang deserves mention in any best of the year list. What aqua managed to accomplish this year is nothing short of spectacular. This Austrian-born professional player made his presence in the European region known early in 2019.

He won the European Solo Gauntlet tournament and soon began preparing for the Fortnite World Cup. Aqua and his duo partner Emil “nyhrox” Bergquist Pedersen took fourth in the Week 4 qualifier to secure them a spot at the World Cup. Aqua also managed to earn a solo World Cup qualification. His Week 7 victory during the qualifiers made him one of the few players who would participate in both the solo and duo tournament.

With talks of a breakup between aqua and nyhrox, the two decided that the World Cup would be their last rodeo. The story wrote itself as aqua and nyhrox bounced back from three terrible matches to start the tournament. What transpired after the shaky start will go down in history as one of the most monumental comebacks in competitive Fortnite history. After managing to accumulate just six points through their first three matches, aqua and nyhrox stuck with their plan and executed it with near perfection.

The European duo proceeded to earn Victory Royale in games five and six of the Fortnite World Cup. In their final match, aqua and nyhrox racked up six eliminations and an eighth-place finish. This last match was just enough for Aqua and nyhrox to make history as the first duo Fortnite World Cup Champions and winners of $3 million.

Aqua went on to play in the solo tournament at the Fortnite World Cup and finished in 94th place. After the World Cup came to a close, aqua joined forces with Klaus “Stompy” Konstanzer and Thomas “Tschinken” Horak to tackle the Season X Fortnite Champion Series. These three flew quietly under the radar through the qualifiers, but still performed well and ultimately qualified for the Season X Finals. Aqua, Stompy and Tschinken stole the show at the Season X Finals, where they came out victorious.

At this point in the year, the only tournaments taking place were the Solo Cash Cups. Aqua further exhibited his skill by performing exceptionally well in many of these competitions. He displayed consistency when participating in the Solo Cash Cups and won three of them. These tournaments can be particularly tricky due to the amount of talent in the lobbies.

The year 2019 closed with yet another high placement for aqua. He traveled to Sweden for the DreamHack Winter 2019 Fortnite Open. Aqua made it the distance after several heats and wound up finishing in sixth place. With some of the best European and North American Fortnite players in attendance, aqua continued to add to his list of accomplishments in 2019.

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Aqua teamed up with Tschinken, Stompy and Ivan “X8” Travanov for the Chapter 2 Season 1 Fortnite Champion Series. This competition was the last major of the year and aqua was looking to add another high placement to his resume. Unfortunately, aqua and his teammates did not reach the Grand Finals. Nevertheless, aqua had a stellar year that included two major championship victories and several high placements to boot.

Benjyfishy

Benjyfishy Fortnite POTY

Benjy “Benjyfishy” Fish evolved arguably more in 2019 than any of the other top professional players. He started the year free of any organizational ties, and then NRG Esports picked him up well in advance of the Fortnite World Cup. Benjyfishy saw some early success in smaller Fortnite tournaments and gained significant recognition in early-April.

Both he and Martin “MrSavage” Foss Andersen formed an NRG duo and took first in the EU World Cup Warmup. This victory was just the beginning as the two went on to triple-qualify for the Fortnite World Cup as a duo. They achieved a first-place finish as well as two second-place finishes in three of the five weeks. Benjyfishy also managed to qualify as a solo for the World Cup.

The Fortnite World Cup provided a stage for Benjyfishy to elevate his already recognizable name. Benjyfishy’s results did not fulfill him and his competitive drive. He and MrSavage finished in 14th place in duos, and Benjyfishy followed that with a 25th place in solos. Although he did not achieve the results he set out for, Benjyfishy used his performance to improve as a player. He went on to dominate the Fortnite Champion Series with Dmitri “Mitr0” Van de Vrie and Kyle “Mongraal” Jackson. The three were seemingly unstoppable, with multiple victories across the five qualifiers leading into the Season X Finals.

Benjyfishy and his two teammates oozed confidence as they approached the Grand Finals. Unfortunately, they finished in 10th place, but no one can take away how well they played through the qualifiers. Benjy set himself apart from his fellow European players with his performances in the weekly Solo Cash Cup tournaments. He consistently placed inside the top three in several of these tournaments and even accomplished a fifth-place finish on the NA East servers. These high placements portray exactly how well-rounded and fundamentally sound that Benjyfishy is in Fortnite.

The year 2019 ended on a high note for Benjyfishy as he achieved an 11th place finish at the DreamHack Winter 2019 Fortnite Open. This LAN event featured some of the world’s best and Benjyfishy showed precisely why he’s one of the best. Soon after, Benjyfishy joined forces with Mongraal, Jaden “Wolfiez” Ashman and Nathan “Nayte” Berquignol for the Chapter 2 Season 1 FNCS. These four players showed up in the finals and only missed first place by 13 points. Benjyfishy led his team to a second-place finish and capped off a year that saw the young British player improve daily.

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Bugha

Bugha Fortnite POTY

It’s difficult not to consider Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf as the best Fortnite – and possibly even esports player of the year. The 16-year-old phenom was somewhat of an unknown player to start the year. He signed with the Sentinels esports organization in March, and his career took off insanely fast. He qualified as a solo for the Fortnite World Cup and had just a few stable placements heading into the most significant event in Fortnite history.

With a $3 million grand prize on the line, Bugha stuck to his gameplan, and it worked as intended. In his first LAN tournament ever, he mopped the floor with his opponents at the Fortnite World Cup. He earned the often illustrious Victory Royale and racked up 59 points overall. Bugha ultimately ended up a whopping 26 points clear of second place and banked the multi-million dollar grand prize.

This accomplishment elevated Bugha’s name to the top of news outlets and even sports websites. Never before did we expect a Fortnite player to appear on late-night talk shows based solely on an achievement in esports. It was more than just becoming a champion in Fortnite as he continue to grab headlines unlike any other – except for maybe Tyler “Ninja” Blevins.

Bugha’s followers and subscribers increased significantly due to his World Cup victory. He went on to participate in the Fortnite Champion Series with STRETCH and Shawn “clarityG” Washington. The trio played well through the qualifiers but finished in a disappointing 26th place at the Season X Finals. Bugha took part in many of the weekly Solo Cash Cup tournaments, where he won two of them and played consistently in most of the others.

The Chapter 2 Season 1 Fortnite Champion Series was the final big esports event for Bugha in 2019. He struggled to find a roster and settled with STRETCH, clarityG and Zander “Thwifo” Kim as his squad. All four players did their part, but yet again fell below expectations with a 21st place finish in the finals.

Results

Winner: Bugha

Bugha’s accomplishment in 2019 transcends esports because of the icon he became. His hard work and dedication to the game of Fortnite helped him achieve the ultimate goal of winning the Fortnite World Cup. The name Bugha will forever exist in the history of Fortnite. He is unquestionably the Esports Player of the Year.

Overall, aqua, benjyfishy and Bugha deserve recognition for their accomplishments in 2019. All three players have become bigger than the game of Fortnite in different ways. Bugha ultimately deserves the award Fortnite Player of the Year for completely reshaping the view of Fortnite players. His demeanor as a 16-year-old Fortnite World Cup Champion makes him an inspiring representation of the game. In the face of elevated expectations, he continues to achieve high placements in Fortnite. Congratulations to Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf on earning the ESTNN award for Fortnite Player of the Year.

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