Tyler “Ninja” Blevins was considered a safe bet to place first at Epic Games’ Fortnite Pro-Am E3 competition, and that’s what happened — but not without some hiccups along the way.
Blevins and teammate Marshmello came in first during the final round of Epic Games’ tournament, securing $3 million for charity. It was an exhilarating match, and by the time the crowd figured out their hero was about to take gold, the cheering had became a thunderous roar. The sound was a combination of elated glee over Blevins’ win, and a sigh of relief that he managed to pull through in the last match.
Nothing in sports is predictable. Everyone has bad days, and sometimes that results in losses that could have otherwise been avoided. That’s what happened here tonight. Blevins lost his first solo match relatively early in the game to Gotaga, and came in a close second during his second game, in which he competed with Marshmello.
It was a shocking turn of events for many people in attendance. Multiple people Polygon spoke to — including Fall Out Boy member Pete Wentz’ son — told Polygon that Ninja was the obvious winner. His loss is a stark reminder that anything can happen in a game like Fortnite and, although Blevins is the internet’s quintessential Fortnite player, he may have suffered a rough day in-game today.
Blevins seemed okay on camera after his second loss, examining what he and Marshmello could have done differently to pull ahead of pro-Fortnite player, Kinstaar. Still, losing isn’t something that Blevins is used to, and he’s admitted in the past that a couple of bad games does psych him out a little.
“My worst days, where I’m also taxed the most, are when I’m not doing well,” Blevins told H3H3’s Ethan Klein while talking about his streaming schedule on Twitch. “I think that’s because it just sucks, but it’s also mentally draining. I’m worried about ‘Oh, I didn’t perform today.’ But those don’t happen often.”
But this is a story of redemption. Blevins stole back the crown, and reminded everyone in attendance why he was their favorite in the first place. And a favorite he was. People swarmed him as he entered the stadium — fans darted across the white floor, carefully avoiding folding chairs set up for the tournament — just to get a glimpse of the Twitch streamer in person. The Pro-Am tournament was a reminder for many people that Blevins isn’t just a funny streamer on Twitch who’s friends with Drake. He’s not just a celebrity touring the world to do appearances and commercials.
Tonight’s tournament turned him into a heroic athlete — he’s Fortnite’s shining kid, and just about everyone wants to see him dominate. Even if that means putting up with a few disappointing losses from time-to-time.
A more detailed breakdown of the tournament can be found in our recap.