On the first day of the 2019 Fortnite World Cup, Karim "Airwaks" Benghalia and RL Grime were crowned as the Fortnite World Cup Celebrity Pro-Am champions. The duo also won the Celebrity Pro-Am at the Fortnite Summer Block Party in Los Angeles, CA, earlier this summer, making them the first two-time Celebrity Pro-Am champions in the history of Fortnite.
Airwaks, a former professional League of Legends player, has opened a new chapter in his professional gaming career with Fortnite. Representing Solary, Airwaks qualified not once, but twice, for the Duos Finals at the World Cup with fellow Solary player Nicolas "Nikof" Frejavise.
RL Grime, born Henry Alfred Steinway, is an American music producer who first teamed up with Airwaks at the Fortnite Summer Block Party. The duo took the Pro-Am by storm, coming out of nowhere from behind favorites such as 2018 Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am Champions Tyler "Ninja" Blevins and American DJ Marshmello.
While plenty of talented, electrifying pairs participated in the Fortnite World Cup Celebrity Pro-Am, the duos to watch were the two previous Pro-Am champions. With both duos having a title under their shared belts, the largest question looming on the day was whether one of the pairs would elevate themselves with a second title, or if a third pair would rise to the ranks of champions to join them.
Ninja started off the first round securing a handfull of kills with his signature Infantry Rifle, and Marshmello managed to show up Rogue's Benjamin "DrLupo" Lupo in a close-quarters duel. Airwaks and RL Grime secured high ground on Dusty Divot by building a giant tower and securing kill after kill with a superior vantage point.
The second half of the game shifted entirely around Dusty Divot, but it was not either champion pair who secured the Victory Royale. T1 professional Fortnite player Jung "SinOoh" Sin-woo and Oh.King, a South Korean streamer, secured the first victory royale. SinOoh secured a whopping 11 kills, but Airwaks was able to stay alive into the last ten players, and with the amount of kills he secured himself, Airwaks and R.L. Grime took second place after the first map.
Marshmello showcased in the second map that his individual skill has improved, securing an impressive snipe headshot early on and lasting far longer than Ninja. However, Marshmello was eliminated by Turner "Tfue" Tenney. Airwaks stayed alive into the top 10 before going down to Tfue, but not before chunking out a good amount of his health to slow his rampage. Airwaks and Ninja were eliminated in the top 5, and a mexican standoff ensued between the three remaining players.
Tfue was arguably the favorite for the second Victory Royale, but after Airwaks efforts to chunk him out, he would have to settle for top 5 alongside Ninja. In the final 1v1, Fortnite youtuber Jacob outlasted Dennis "Cloakzy" Lepore as the latter fell to the storm to secure the second Victory Royale.
The third round showcased a much slower pace, with Ninja and Marshmello returning to a more posted-up style of long range play. Despite being considered a favorite after coming in 2nd place behind Airwaks and RL Grime at the Summer Block Party, Ghost Gaming's Aydan "Aydan" Conrad and Lost Kings DJ Rob Gainley found themselves out early for the third map in a row in a relatively forgettable performance. Cloakzy again made the top two, but fell to Timbers Gaming's Jelty.
The final round proved integral to the success of Airwaks and RL Grime and showcased the duo's improved synergy since the Summer Block Party. After securing dominion over the northernmost Sky Platform by Lazy Lagoon, Airwaks and RL Grime were able to add to their kill counts while remaining safe late into the game.
However, the final round was highlighted by a phenomenal performance by Counter Logic Gaming's Nick "Marksman" Overton. Marksman secured 10 kills, and his partner NHL pro J.T. Brown secured two of his own, the second of which secured the fourth and final Victory Royale.
Despite not securing Victory Royale, Airwaks and RL Grime ended the World Cup Celebrity Pro-Am in 1st place with 52 points — a whopping 12 points ahead of the 2nd place duo.
While Airwaks certainly is the superior player of the two, RL Grime showed impressive adjustments in his play since his performance at the summer block party, often coordinating with Airwaks at a high level of play. The consistency and synergy of the duo saw them run away with the competition with kill points and placement points, not even needing a single Victory Royale to defend their Pro-Am title.
While every competitor had a portion of the donation prize pool, Airwaks and RL Grime won $1 million to donate to a charity of their choice. Host and caster Alex "Goldenboy" Mendez interviewed the victorious duo, mentioning that their play looked far more fine-tuned pairing than a celebrity-pro mish-mash. "Airwaks is just a really incredible player," RL Grime said. "He taught me a lot about the game at the competitive level and rotating around the map...he's a great mentor."
The next Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am has yet to be announced as the 2019 Fortnite World Cup is still underway, but if Airwaks and RL Grime end up enterting into whatever the next event ends up being, they are the absolute favorite as the first two-time Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am champions in history.