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Call of Duty

Best (and Worst) Esports April Fools’ Jokes 2021

Scott Robertson

It’s somehow the most fun and the most frustrating day of the year for fans of esports and gaming. April Fools’ Day. Every April 1st, the players, organizations, and content creators bring their best jokes and fake announcements to the table. For people who cover esports as a job, it’s one of the worst days ever. There’s usually less news to cover because organizations don’t want their announcements roped in with the fake ones. And sometimes the fake ones do too good a job of emulating the real ones.

ESL esports crowd

Every year, the joke is on esports as a whole on April Fools' Day. (Image via ESL)

But there’s a little light that always shines through on this day. Sure, there are duds like the posts of players and teams “announcing” something and linking to a TwitLonger that says “lol jk.” There’s the typical Rick Roll. There’s an endless parade of products that don’t actually exist. And of course, the joke rebrands. However, there are a few posts that pop off when the creators put in real effort and creativity. We’d like to highlight those today.

VALORANT’s “butterfly knife” and dating simulator

The VALORANT folks at Riot Games have two excellent entries this year. First is their “butterfly knife,” posted by the game’s Premium Content Art Lead Sean Marino. VALORANT is praised for the unique designs for its weapons, and have expanded the knife slot with several unique designs. This has included various iterations of the knife itself, as well as items like an axe or a G.U.N. baton. A popular request has been for a variant of the butterfly knife, a foldable knife that appears in VALORANT’s predecessor CS:GO. Well, here it is.

As you can see, a standard knife with actually butterfly wings flies into the player’s hand. The wings disappear in a flash of flames. Not only is it clever, but they took the time to actually put it in the game, and could realistically be added if people want it. But that’s not the only VALORANT related April Fools’ post that genuinely excited its fanbase. They also posted images of a VALORANT dating simulator “coming to PC soon.”

Screenshots from the game, titled Agents of Romance, show the player having conversations with anime renditions of Reyna, Jett, and Cypher. The heart icon in the top corner is a romanticized version of the Immortal rank badge, because love never dies. They even threw in “Work in progress” watermarks to really sell it. Again, this post really is one of the better ones, because it showcases actual effort, and is something a fair amount of people would generally enjoy. Especially if I can date Omen and he knits me a sweater.

NYSL rubs salt in the wounds of OpTic fans

Just less than a month ago, OpTic Chicago’s run at the Call of Duty League Stage 1 major came to an end, via a 3-0 loss to NY Subliners. OpTic have struggled to get back on their feet after that loss, with their last two matches also being 3-0 losses to both Minnesota and Florida. Just hours before their next match against Seattle, OpTic and their fans got hilariously roasted by NYSL in a newsreel bit.

The clip poses OpTic fans as childish graffiti artists, tagging cars in the Brooklyn area and yelling “GreenWall” at random passers-by. The quote at the end by one of the “witnesses” is especially brutal. “Clay and Asim, they’re here to show what this city can do. And Chicago’s just gotta get used to. I mean I can fix my car, but Chicago can’t fix their team.” The post received lots of praise from people around the CDL and esports, and even from some OpTic fans. Another W for NYSL.

Just The Worst

It wouldn’t be April Fools without some bad jokes, some lazy ones, and some actual announcements that should be jokes. We’re not going to spend too much time on each. First, we have Dignitas. Fresh off of joking about their LCS opponent’s building burning down, they “announced” today they were going back to their owl branding released in 2019. Fake rebrands are a repetitive April Fools’ joke, and this only serves to remind people of the actual rebrand that no one liked.

Then we have the Toronto Ultra, who’ve sent their player Cammy to sensitivity training and had him offer to make a monetary donation to a women’s shelter. Why you ask? Because apparently, he used the word c**t on Twitter. There are a couple of problems with the Toronto announcement. One, a serious announcement like this could easily be saved for tomorrow, a day that isn’t April Fools’ Day. Secondly, Twitter is having a field day responding to Toronto, on the grounds that Cammy is from Scotland, where the word is used more frequently and considered far less vulgar, compared to North America. Essentially, if you have to respond to comments from media by confirming something’s not a joke, you probably shouldn’t have posted it today.