Stephen ‘MrGameTheory’ Takowsky will be Civilization VI’s first professional player. That’s according to an announcement Team Liquid made yesterday stating it has signed MrGameTheory to head up their new Civilization team and was embarking on “an initiative to launch Civilization VI into the world of competitive esports.”

MrGameTheory, who previously competed in Clash Royale, had this to say about his new role,

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“It is an honor to be chosen to lead Team Liquid’s Civilization team. Participating in the competitive Civilization community with Steve Arhancet has been one of the great joys of my life. After we won our first Civilization Championship Cup back in 2007, with a team so small that we could barely participate in two-thirds of the events, I learned that a dedicated group of friends can accomplish the seemingly impossible. Civilization remains the most complicated game in the world, and I am thankful to be part of an organization capable of taking on the challenge. I look forward to continue my contribution to one of the greatest gaming franchises and I wish our opponents the best of luck.”

As PVPLive noted, MrGameTheory is already a well known and highly regarded player in the world of Civilization, currently holding the record for most 1v2, 1v3, 1v4 and 1v5 ladder victories in Civilization IV, as well as being at the top of the leaderboard for the Civilization V International League.

For his part, Steve “LiQquiD112" Arhancet said the series is uniquely situated to showcase high level strategic and analytic play,

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“The strategic depth required in Civilization is beyond compare. Many feel the game is simply too complicated to break into esports. However, as the gaming community evolves, we are witnessing the rise of elite gamers yearning to display the true level of their skill. Civilization provides the perfect platform for players to showcase their gaming intellect and we feel that Firaxis is on the cusp of bringing the franchise to a competitive esports level. It is inevitable that Civilization will take its place alongside the top esports in the world.”

Team Liquid has teams that represent it in a number of different competitive gaming scenes, ranging from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to Rocket League, but Civilization VI is perhaps its strangest new expansion to-date. At the same time, civilizations have been competing with and destroying one another for millennia, so making the epic struggle between societies into an esport seems like a natural next frontier for competitive gaming.  

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According to Team Liquid, the organization will start hosting Civilization VI tournaments as early as next month. You can read Luke Plunkett’s reaction to the game’s opening here, with a full review to follow soon.