Lately, it has become popular for professional esports players to start streaming on Twitch, YouTube and other content platforms. They will often stream when they are playing “scrims” or “pro scrims”. This has caused a rise in the interest for the concept scrims, or pro scrims. Naturally, most casual gamers do not know what a scrim match is, or how it works. In this guide, we will try to shed some light on this topic.
What are scrims?
The word scrim is actually an abbreviation for a scrimmage, which again is an alteration of a skirmish. A scrimmage or exhibition game is not only used in esports but also professional sports like soccer. Scrimmages are also known as preseason games, a warmup game, a preparation match or simply a friendly game. It is a match between competing teams outside of tournaments. A way for professional teams to practice against each other without anything on the line.
Esports has since taken the term from the professional sports world and incorporated into their jargon. When professional esports teams play scrims, they are simply practicing against other professional teams outside of tournaments or other competitions. When you are competing on the highest level of esports, most matchmaking system in place is simply not enough. The whole meta and dynamics of a match in games where teamplay is a big part changes a lot when the whole team knows each other and play on a professional level. To be able to keep improving, professional teams need a way to compete against each other (the best of the best), and this is most easily done by arranging scrim games.
Scrims in CS:GO
In CS:GO, scrims are very often played amongst pro teams since the competitive matchmaking system in place is far from enough for professional teams like Astralis, Fnatic and so on to practice in. Therefore, they will arrange scrim matches against other professional teams on a regular basis. Another way for professional teams to practice is by going into so-called bootcamps. This article is not meant to go into details about bootcamping, but a bootcamp simply means that the team will meet in real life and sit together and play. This way communication is easier, and the teams can discuss strategies with each other before and after matches.
Scrims are not only reserved for professional players. Non-professional teams and clans also use scrims a lot in their practice and preparation for tournaments.
Scrims in other games like Fortnite and League of Legends
The term scrims are not reserved for a particular game. Therefore you will often see it used in many other popular games like Overwatch, Fortnite, League of Legends, Dota 2, Rocket League, PUBG, Rainbow 6 and so on… The format, of course, varies depending on the game, and it can be difficult to arrange scrims in games like Fortnite, where players can not freely join into games with each other.
This has caused rise to another term – “snipe matches”, “snipes” or “pro snipes”. The word snipes are probably related to the term stream sniping, where viewers try to get into games with the streamer by queuing up for games at the same time as the streamer. Snipes is especially used in the Battle Royale genre (e.g. Fortnite), where you do not choose your opponents yourself. In Fortnite, scrims are therefore often arranged in the snipe format, where players meet in Discord servers and queue up for games at the exact same time by coordinating in chat rooms and voice countdowns. There is however no guarantee that players will land in the same game, but often the chat rooms have more than a hundred people and a lot of the players will end in the same games.
The future outlook for professional players in Fortnite is looking better though. EPIC Games, the creator of Fortnite, is working on a matchmaking system for players. Besides this, Discord servers are now more often being given custom matchmaking keys to make life easier for them. A custom matchmaking key, or a private key, makes it possible for players to join into private matches with each other. So if you have a bunch of pro players, the key will be shared among them and they can go into a private server to play. This is still not common though, and players are still left to do snipes if they want to practice on a regular basis.
Other terms in battle royale games like Fortnite includes solo scrims, duo scrims, squad scrims, solo snipes, duo snipes, and squad snipes. This just refers to the number of players in the teams. In solo scrims, everyone plays against each other while in duo scrims there will be many teams of two players.
What is pro scrims?
There is really not much of a difference between a scrim and a pro scrim. It is and means the same, but where everyone can set up and play a scrim game, you usually refer to pro scrims when professional teams from renowned esports organizations are practicing against each other. So when you see Ninjas in Pyjamas practicing against Virtus.pro, you can say that is a pro scrim.
How do I join scrims?
Since CS:GO doesn’t require people to play a certain mode, setting up a scrim in CS:GO is fairly simple. All you have to do is set up a community server or joins someone else’s server made for the purpose. Clans often have their own servers where they can practice against other clans and teams.
In other games, like Fortnite, Discord is often used to coordinate players. Dedicated Fortnite scrim Discords have been made, where both competitive and casual players join to compete against more serious players. Especially the lack of a matchmaking system has forced players that want to improve their skill to seek alternative ways of queuing up against better players. These scrim Discords often also attracts a lot of fans, that wants to play against their favorite streamer like Tfue or Deaquan. However, they will often be disappointed, since the top level professional players often do not participate in public scrims. Instead, they play in closed Discord servers, where only a select people are invited into. Tfue has even gone so far to make his own scrim Discord called the Peencord, where he hosts “Tfault scrims” regularly. This is done with his viewers and requires people to be subscribed to his Twitch channel to be able to join. Whether or not this is a clever way of making people subscribe to his Twitch channel we don’t know (remember he received money every month from Twitch for each subscriber).
We hope that this article has helped in explaining the term scrim. If you have any further questions, please feel free leave a comment here and we will try to our best and answer.