The regular season of the Trackmania Grand League may have just ended, but now is the best time to start watching the event. The playoffs are right around the corner, and this guide will get you up to speed on Trackmania Esports even if you haven’t watched the season or played the game. This league is one of the peaks of competitive speedrunning, and you don’t want to miss out on the excitement of the final stretch.
What is Trackmania?
Trackmania is the world’s most competitive racing game. The goal of the game is simple, drive as fast as you can to the finish line on any given track. After setting a time, it’s placed into the leaderboards, automatically ranking everyone against each other. Players compete for their own personal bests, challenge the in-game medal system, or compete for world records on the thousands of tracks in the game. The game is free to play, easy to pick up, and offers endless fun for any speedrunners. With tens of thousands of players on the leaderboards, world records are incredibly tough to get. Most of the tracks are under one minute long, so an insane amount of precision and optimization is required to set top times. With this much competition, Nadeo, the developers of the game, decided to host an official Trackmania league for only the best players in the world, the Grand League. This article will be focusing on the 2021 Fall Season.
The Grand League
The Trackmania Grand League is reserved for only the best players in the game. In order to qualify, players had to compete in other Trackmania tournaments to get a spot. Once the sixteen fastest players in the world were decided, the eight-week league began. Each week the players competed against each other in live rounds on five different maps. If you’re a speedrunner yourself then you know how difficult live runs can be. No resets, and only one shot at beating everyone else. Placing high in these rounds earned the players points based on their placements. Think of it as the Grand Prix system in Mario Kart games. Placing high in each race earns you more total points for the whole league. There are twelve total maps in the league that the players need to practice on. The maps played in this league are not easy. Not even close. The tracks were designed to be grueling to drive. Not only that, but each map has what’s called an “identity”. These identities define each map. They require very difficult tricks to master and many races are decided on these sections of the tracks.
The league is played on online servers, but the lag is never an issue. Cars don’t collide with each other in Trackmania, so ping doesn’t affect the players. They only have to worry about driving each track perfectly. The competitors needed to drive with consistency and speed for eight weeks against the best players in the world. Now that the regular season has come to an end, the playoffs are about to kick off. The top eight-point earners all made it into the finals. Let’s take a quick look at the format for the playoffs and the players that have qualified. Picking a favorite player is a great way to watch the finals even if you don’t have much experience with the game.
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The Top 8 Trackmania Racers
#1 Gwen 1134 points – From France, Gwen is the youngest player in the league. He plays a very risky playstyle and has gotten world records during the live competition.
#2 Mudda 1056 points – Mudda is from Australia, and the league competes on European time. He earned 2nd place while playing the league at 3 AM in his time zone, quite impressive.
#3 Affi 1052 points – This Swiss gamer placed 4th in the World Cup earlier this year, and while he is newer to the game, he is proving to be one of the best.
#4 Granady 998 points – From Germany, Granady is a crowd favorite because of his streaming and content creation. This is his first-ever Grand League and he is the only top-level player to drive with a steering wheel, instead of a controller or keyboard.
#5 Aurel 858 points – From France, Aurel had a great start to the league, but he has fallen off the pace towards the end. It will be interesting to see if he can step back up in the finals.
#6 Massa 846 points – Also from Germany, Massa is a Trackmania streamer and long-time player. Through two years of Grand League events, he has never made it to the playoffs. If you’re looking for a dark horse, this might be your guy.
#7 Pac 733 points – From the UK, Pac is one of the all-time best speedrunners of Trackmania. He’s been competing (and winning) in events for almost seven years.
#8 Scrapie 717 points – Scrapie from Belgium is most known for his livestream, where he has great content, great skill, and great people in the chat.
Tune in to the livestream on December 12th (5 PM CET) to watch the last chance qualifier event. Trust me this is going to be crazy, as the bottom eight players have one last chance to claim the final spot in the playoffs, making it a top nine. The following Sunday, December 19th (5 PM CET) is when the finals will be played out. The format is a little confusing, but I’ll help make it clear. There are four phases in the finals. A top 9, which goes to a top 6, to a top 4, and finally the top 2. In each phase, the players need to earn points by winning a lap in a single lap format. Essentially you need to win four laps and you will move on to the next phase. The tracks will rotate every few races, so players need to know every map and bring strategies that can get them 1st place finishes. This format means that no one is ever out of it until the phase is over. I bet we’ll see world record lap times, incredibly close finishes, and some very high-level Trackmania gaming moments. Not to mention the identities on the tracks will always be unpredictable and exciting.
Even if you haven’t been playing or watching Trackmania, this speedrunning competition is worth checking out. A lot of money is on the line, and the top players have been practicing for many hours to perfect their strategies. Take a look at the Trackmania Grand League website if you’d like to learn more. And finally, you can catch all of the action on the official livestream on Twitch.
Sam Rowe is a competitive fighting game player, has been a speedrunner for 12+ years, and mostly speedruns Sega Genesis era classics. You can find Sam using their gamer tag: InceptionKitten