The 5 most iconic female characters in esports

·5-min read
(Photos: Capcom, Blizzard Entertainment, Netflix, Riot Games)
(Photos: Capcom, Blizzard Entertainment, Netflix, Riot Games)

In celebration of International Women's Day today (3 March), we here at Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia want to give recognition to some of the most iconic female characters that helped turn a number of video games they came from; namely Street Fighter, StarCraft, Dota 2, League of Legends, and Overwatch, into the esports titles that we all know and love.

Chun Li (Street Fighter)

(Photo: Capcom)
(Photo: Capcom)

First up is one of the most iconic female characters in all of gaming, Chun-Li from the Street Fighter series of fighting games. She first appeared in Street Fighter II: The World Warrior in 1991, becoming the first female character to become playable in a mainstream fighting game.

As one of the faces of the foremost title in the fighting game community, Chun-Li is also known as a trailblazer for female characters in all of video gaming. Chun-Li's relentless pursuit of vengeance for her father's death gives her both a backstory and motivation rarely seen in previous female video game characters, letting her stand on her own strength and virtue. 

Not only that, she also remains one of the strongest fighters in the entire Street Fighter series, making her a character capable of becoming the female face of an esports title.

Sarah Kerrigan (StarCraft)

(Photo: Blizzard Entertainment)
(Photo: Blizzard Entertainment)

Sarah Kerrigan, also known as the Queen of Blades, is arguably the most memorable character from the StarCraft series of real-time strategy games. She is praised for the depth of her character, as she went through some serious character development over the course of the series and turned from one of its villains into an antihero.

In the original StarCraft, Sarah Kerrigan went from being an agent of humanity betrayed by her allies to a human-Zerg hybrid under the control of the latter race's ruling entity, the Overmind. In the expansion pack Brood War, she escapes the control of the Overmind and begins to assert her dominance over the Zerg race. 

The Queen of Blades would then turn into StarCraft's antihero over the course of the StarCraft II trilogy, as she took full control over the Zerg, got her revenge over the humans who betrayed her, and defeated the true villain of the series.

Sarah Kerrigan is both feared and respected as the Queen of Blades, cunning and brutal in her time as a villain yet remaining complex and sympathetic throughout her entire character arc. There is little doubt that she is the face of the StarCraft series, one of the longest-standing titles in esports, and one of the best female characters in all of video gaming.

Mirana (Dota 2)

(Photo: Netflix)
(Photo: Netflix)

Mirana, the Princess of the Moon, is one of the most iconic heroes in Dota, with her popularity lasting from the days of the original WarCraft III mod all the way up to Dota 2 and the present day. She will also be starring in the upcoming Dota 2 Netflix anime, DOTA: Dragon's Blood, further elevating her status to one of the game's faces in mainstream media.

One of the reasons why Mirana is a popular hero in both casual and competitive play is her versatility, as she can practically play in any of the five roles in a Dota 2 match. 

What's more, she has one of the most rewarding skillsets in the game largely thanks to her signature ability, Sacred Arrow. If you ask any Dota player what is the most satisfying play they've made in the game, then landing a full-duration Sacred Arrow without vision of their target would be an answer you'd hear very often.

While Dota heroes don't often get the chance to have the spotlight shone on their characterisations in regular matches, Mirana getting a prominent role in the game's upcoming anime adaptation should be cause for excitement for any Dota fan looking to know more about one of the game's most iconic characters.

K/DA (League of Legends)

(Photo: Riot Games)
(Photo: Riot Games)

K/DA is a virtual pop group consisting of female League of Legends (LoL) champions Ahri, Akali, Evelynn and Kai'Sa. Since their debut in 2018, they have become the most popular group of champions in the game and their influence has even expanded into mainstream consciousness. With three singles, one album, and even three musical awards, K/DA is proof that gaming and esports truly has a place in the mainstream.

Despite being originally created to help promote the LoL 2018 World Championship, K/DA quickly took on a life of its own and even started a craze of video game characters creating their own music groups. 

While the group's popularity is mainly because of their catchy music and eye-catching designs, that doesn't mean they're slouches in-game. Kai'Sa remains one of LoL's most picked champions, boasting a 32% pick rate — being picked over 10% more than the second most popular champion in the game.

Tracer (Overwatch)

(Photo: Blizzard Entertainment)
(Photo: Blizzard Entertainment)

Lena Oxton, more commonly known as Tracer, is one of the most recognisable characters from Blizzard Entertainment's character-based shooter, Overwatch. She first appeared and featured prominently in the game's cinematic trailer, immediately endearing herself to fans due to her peppy and kind-hearted demeanour.

Tracer is also arguably the face of Overwatch, as she has made many appearances in the game's trailers, animations, tie-in comics and merchandise, as well as other forms of media. 

While her spunky personality and fast-paced play style make her one of the more exciting characters in Overwatch, Tracer is celebrated more for being one of the most foremost icons for the LGBTQ community in video games after her sexuality was revealed in her comic debut.

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