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Trailblazers: the women who are taking the esports world by storm

(Image credit: Blizzard)

There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the inclusion or lack thereof, of female professional players in esports.

With sometimes eye-roll inducing questions like ‘are there women that play games at a professional level?’ or ‘are women good enough to play at a professional level?’ still being asked. That’s not what we’re going to discuss.

Instead we’re going to highlight a few of the female (out of many) pro esports players that are making waves, and have been doing so for some time.

Li “Liooon” Xiaomeng

Game: Hearthstone Team: VK

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Liooon is a professional Hearthstone player from China. She is the second highest-earning female esports player in the world, having earned $227,010 in her career so far.

She is also the first ever woman to win at Blizzcon in Hearthstone.

After winning BlizzCon in November 2019, she gave an inspiring speech, recounting a story of the sexism she experienced when she first came on the pro Hearthstone scene and encouraging other women who love playing games to not be discouraged from the pro scene.

Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn

Game: SC2, Dota 2 Team: Newbee

(Image credit: Intel/ESL)

Scarlett is a professional Starcraft 2 (SC2) player and winner of numerous SC2 titles. Winning against some of the highest-ranked male players in SC2 history, Scarlett carved out a name for herself on the esports scene after beginning her career in 2011.

She is a Zerg (one of the three races playable in SC2) player, and the only woman to win a major SC2 tournament after winning first place at IEM (Intel Extreme Masters) Pyeongchang in 2018.

In October 2016 Scarlett was inducted in to the Guinness Book of World Records for having the highest career earnings for a female competitive video game player, a title previously held by fellow pro player Mystik.

With her total earnings to date being a cool $372,727, she still ranks as the highest-earning female pro esports player in history, four years after breaking the record.

Rumay “Hafu” Wang

Games: League of Legends, Team Fight Tactics, World of Warcraft, Bloodline Champions Team: G2 Esports

(Image credit: G2 Esports)

Hafu is a professional League of Legends, TFT and Hearthstone player from the US, and is the sixth highest earning female pro esports player in the world, with a total of $31,975 earned so far.

Hafu is also a popular Twitch streamer, with almost 800,000 followers on the platform. Known originally for playing World of Warcraft, she has more recently focused on Hearthstone and TFT.

Tina “TINARAES” Perez

Game: Fortnite Team: Gen.G ESports

(Image credit: DominicKal747)

TINARAES is a pro Fortnite player from Texas and is the seventh highest female esports pro player in the world, raking in $64,813so far.

She placed first at Twitch Rivals: TwitchCon Fortnite Showdown and plays for Gen.G Esports North America.

She and fellow female pro player Madison “Maddiesuun” Mann, are also the first female Fortnite duo to play for Gen.G Esports.

TINARAES is also a Twitch streamer with over 15,000 followers, and including TikTok has over 113,000 followers across all her social media accounts.

Janet “xChocoBars” Rose

Games: Fortnite, League of Legends, Hearthstone, Apex Legends Team Team: EZ Clap

(Image credit: Janet Rose)

xChocoBars is a Canadian professional Fortnite player and the ninth highest earning female pro eSports player in the world, having earned $54,375 from her professional career in total and $28,350 from playing Fortnite alone.

Of the other games she has earned a lot in include Apex Legends, Hearthstone, League of legends, Teamfight Tactics and Chess.com.

In 2019 she placed first in Twitch Rivals: League of Legends tournament as part of team EZ Clap. xChocoBars is also a successful Twitch Streamer, with over 588,000 Twitch followers.

Katherine “Mystik” Gunn

Games: Halo: Reach, Dead or Alive 4, Hearthstone

(Image credit: Katherine Gunn)

Mystik is an American professional esports player, presenter and cosplayer. Her highest earnings as a pro player was for Halo: Reach, where she earned $100,000 after competing on US reality TV show WCG Ultimate Gamer.

She is still ranked today as that game’s number one player.

Mystik was once the Guinness book of World Records highest-earning female competitive video game player, but lost the title the following year to pro SC2 player Scarlett.

Mystik’s career earnings in total are between $122,300 and $160,000, making her the third highest-earning female pro player in the world despite only playing a few tournaments.

Kim “Geguri” Se-Yeon

Game: Overwatch Team: Shanghai Dragons

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Geguri is a South Korean female professional esports player and the first female player in the Overwatch League.

So far she has made $32,798.68 from Overwatch, making her the twenty fourth highest-earning female eSports player in the world.

Due to Geguri’s exceptional aim she was accused of using automatic aim software to cheat, but was proved to be innocent after investigation by Blizzard. This highlights the difficulties women who play games have to face.

In 2019 Geguri would go on to be named Time Magazine’s Next Generation Leaders for being one of the most successful esports players in an otherwise male-dominated sport.

Siobhan “HaganeNoTema” Bielamowicz

Games: Attack on Titan Tribute Game, Super Smash Bros.

(Image credit: Siobhan Bielamowicz)

HaganeNoTema is an Australian professional Attack on Titan Tribute game (AoTTG) and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate player.

Her current total career earnings $33,933, placing her at number 21 of the highest-paid professional female eSports players. Plus, $33,900 of that was from ten AoTTG tournaments.

In 2018 she placed first in AoTTG securing her highest prize money of her career so far: $20,000.

Imane “Pokimane” Anys

Games: League of Legends, Fortnite, Team Fight Tactics Team: EZ Clap

(Image credit: Daily Star)

Pokimane is a Canadian-Moroccan professional League of Legends player and has so far raked in $20,775.00, making her the 43rd highest-paid female esports player in the world. She has earned $11,800.00 from playing League of Legends so far.

Pokimane is also the most popular female streamer on Twitch and one of the top ten Twitch Streamers of all time with over 5 million followers in total. She has 5.5 million subscribers on her main YouTube channel.

In 2019 she placed first in Twitch Rivals: League of Legends tournament as part of team EZ Clap.

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