ESTNN highlights some of Fortnite's best players of 2021 and crowns one player of the year.
Competitive Fortnite has grown astronomically in 2021. The players are much more talented currently, and there's a clear gap between the top players and the rest. Success in Fortnite is challenging to come by—even for the best. Nonetheless, the year 2021 showed everyone precisely who is the cream of the crop.
Like last year, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced Epic Games to hold all events online. As a result, the developers hosted multiple Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS) tournaments. The lack of offline events did not prevent players from showcasing their skills in the name of million-dollar prize pools and the glorious Axe of Champions.
Over the last 12 months, a lot has occurred in competitive Fortnite, and ESTNN is here to spotlight top contenders that broke through or elevated their names to the next level. So, please sit back and enjoy as we recognize the best before crowning the 2021 Fortnite Player of the Year.
Image via Falcons Esports
Slovenian player TaySon is currently the reigning Fortnite Player of the Year after winning the award in 2020. Last year, TaySon collected two Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS) victories back-to-back, putting himself on another level than his peers. The year 2021 continued unquestionably one of the most impressive track records in Fortnite history.
TaySon started the year off with an eighth-place finish in FNCS Chapter 2 - Season 5 alongside Trio teammates MrSavage and IDrop. TaySon split from them in Season 6, where he and new teammates — 4zr and Nayte — achieved a third-place result in the FNCS Finals.
One month later, TaySon triumphed in the first-ever FNCS Solo All-Star Showdown against Europe's cream of the crop, netting him $150K USD and his first marquee victory of the year. The Slovenian found new teammates Veno and Rezon ay in Chapter 2 - Season 7, where they finished fifth in the FNCS Finals. He then rounded out the year claiming 16th in FNCS Chapter 2 - Season 8 before bringing home his second major win in the inaugural FNCS Grand Royale.
It's not an understatement to call TaySon one of, if not the, best players in the world. Competing in the European region isn't easy, but TaySon sure makes it look that way. He won two FNCS tournaments again in one year to complement a slew of Cash Cup and Cash Cup Extra victories. Not one person can deny what TaySon has managed to accomplish in such a short time.
Image via Team New Age
NA East player Mero belongs in the player of the year discussion without question. While TaySon won two FNCS tournaments in the most challenging region, Mero collected three in the second-most difficult, including two back-to-back. Here are Mero's results in 2021 FNCS competitions:
- Fourth in Chapter 2 - Season 5 with Reverse2k and Deyy
- First in Chapter 2 - Season 6 with Reverse2k and Deyy
- 26th in All-Star Solo Showdown
- 15th in Chapter 2 - Season 7 with Reverse2k and Deyy
- First in Chapter 2 - Season 8 with Bugha and Muz
- First in Grand Royale with Bugha and Dukez
Those results calculate out to an average placement of eighth in the Fortnite Champion Series alone. Like TaySon, Mero has a mind for competitive play that puts him in the upper-echelon of the world's best players. What's more, he works diligently on his craft and places in nearly every tournament he enters. Success follows him regardless of the format or his teammates. To put it simply, Mero is just different.
Image via Sentinels
Fortnite World Cup Champion Bugha has not slowed one bit since his career-defining win back in 2019. Some players would take the money and be content, but not Bugha. He continues to compete at the highest level while placing impressively in most of his tournaments.
Bugha added another layer of accolades in 2021, winning two Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS) tournaments back-to-back to close out the year. Both triumphs occurred after a fifth, 21st and eighth leading into Chapter 2 - Season 7. Capturing first in the final two FNCS tournaments of the year boosted his accomplishments significantly.
It was the storybook ending in 2021 for Bugha—a year in which he also joined Fortnite's ICON Series as an in-game skin and received his own mode geared toward competitive players. He continued to show that — despite not competing in every Solo Cash Cup and third-party event — his mind and skills for the game allow him to achieve greatness.
Image via Reet
The entire Fortnite world witnessed the come-up of an NA West player named Reet this year. This controller phenomenon ascended to heights no one expected. He established himself as a sure-fire prospect in 2020, but 2021 was the year of Reet. This player knows nothing more than hard work and dedication.
Reet streamed countless hours of everything from tournaments to Zone Wars and more. Nothing impressed the competitive scene more than when he won two Solo Cash Cups in one day in two different regions. Reet took down the Asia Solo Cash Cup on 130 ping before breaking the all-time point record on his home region.
Reet had a banner year in the Fortnite Champion Series as well. His results included a tenth, sixth, third, second, first and first for an average finish of just over third. He bounced from team to team before joining the dynamic duo of four-time FNCS winners Arkhram and EpikWhale in Season 7 before winning the FNCS Grand Royale.
Reet's talent level should horrify anyone who finds themselves in his lobby. He has mastered nearly every possible mechanic that Fortnite has to offer to this point. There's no limit to what he could accomplish based on what we saw in 2021.
Image via Somebodysgun
The final mention on our list goes to three players instead of just one, as it was challenging to choose only one of the three kings of NA West. For that reason, EpikWhale, Arkhram and Rehx all secured a spot on this list. These three players effectively operated as a cohesive unit throughout most of 2021.
NA West's kings started the year, winning FNCS Chapter 2 - Season 5, and went on to repeat as Trio Champions two times before splitting in Chapter 2 - Season 8. While EpikWhale and Arkhram separated from Rehx, no one can remove what they achieved. No matter the circumstances or tournament, the three players would always find some remarkable way to come back and win.
Competitive Fortnite fans will look back at the entire year or Trios and talk about EpikWhale, Arkhram and Rehx. Their dominance over NA West is something worth celebrating as Fortnite prepares to switch gears in 2022.
Winner — TaySon
A case can be made for any of the players on this list, but it ultimately came down to TaySon, Mero and Reet. These three players performed consistently throughout 2021, qualifying for multiple FNCS Season Finals and achieving high placements. Another factor to consider is stamina and the desire to improve and win. All three players put hundreds of hours into Cash Cups, cross-region tournaments and third-party competitions to stay at the top of their game.
However, for the second straight year, TaySon deserves the nod. The Slovenian phenom's thirst to be the best shines through every tournament. TaySon swapped teammates, searching for the perfect combination, which he eventually found before winning the FNCS Grand Royale. Let's not forget his remarkable All-Star Showdown performance.
The proverbial cherry on top is that TaySon regularly achieves greatness in Fortnite's most populated and challenging region. He remains atop the throne as player of the year until further notice.