Let’s welcome our South Korean overloads that have now proven themselves they can dominate in Overwatch, like most e-sports games they are playing. The Overwatch World Cup top 8 saw South Korea emerged out of the groups without dropping a map. And they continued their dominating run to the finals maintaining that record.
USA did as best as they could to stop South Korea, possibly the best team to give them a run for their money and they still lost 2-0. The top stars of Sweden, which managed to held down China, could not make a dent to South Korea’s defences in the semi-final match. Sweden’s captain IDDQD singles out tank player Miro and his Winston plays being the main problem for the Swedes. His Winston plays is on another level, intelligently jumps into the opposition and drops the shield to harass the opposition- and stopping healing to come through due to the shields, and jump off and disengages when he knows he couldn’t push as much.
The other side of the bracket we saw battle-hardened France giving Russia some trouble by taking one map. Despite Russia eventually winning, France’s efforts were something more than one would expect from the team, and their struggles in the competitive Group D where they had to go to tiebreakers with China and Thailand, made them stronger than ever. Spain in hindsight got unlucky for getting top seed as they face Finland, which the Spaniards lost to. The semis saw Russia taking over Finland, sending them to the 3rd place match against fellow Scandinavians Sweden. The battle of the two most stacked teams ended with Sweden coming on top.
The finals between Russia and South Korea is a best of seven affair, and while Russia showing some signs of brilliance against South Korea, they still could not take the first map at Temple Of Anubis. A first point hold on King’s Row and Dorado made South Korea to lead 3-0. Russia’s star Genji player Shadownburn got shut down plenty of times and team captain slash Ana player Rubikon was the prime target to be taken out early in each team fight. South Korea’s Ryujehong on the other hand was pumping out heals consistently as Ana and landed many clutch sleep darts to stop Russia’s offensive push and keeping himself alive. Map 4 at Lijiang Tower comes to no surprise who would take it, as the South Koreans emerge victorious, dominating the competition without losing a single map throughout the exhibition tournament.
The South Korean overlords have finally arrived.
They could have arrived sooner. During the APAC Premier, South Korean team Lunatic Hai was poised to take the win in the finals, but Rogue, despite losing to the same team twice in the group stages, managed to overcome them and take the win due to them deploying unorthodox comps and strategies to throw them off guard. The South Korean lineup here is made of Lunatic Hai players (Ryujehong, Miro, Esca), Afreeca Freecs Blue (Arhan, coach Tairong) and Zunba of CONBOX T6. The combination Lunatic Hai’s star players, Tairong’s coaching and leadership and the rest of the lineup filling up the gaps plus the South Korean’s trademark discipline and dedication to study their opponents made this roster a force to be reckon with, and surely they have proven themselves to be a major threat with this perfect run to lift the World Cup.
Throughout the top 8 matches, there’s an open voting for MVP of the match. But the MVP of the finals have something more to take home: a trophy as well as the first invitation to the Overwatch League combine, where players get to show off their skills in hopes of getting drafted into a team for the Overwatch League, starting in Q3 2017. And that MVP goes to Miro, whose effective Winston plays remained to be of another level.
Congratulations to South Korea for finally proving their potential. Congrats to runners-up Russia, who we mentioned earlier to be a sleeper team that could potentially reach the finals, and they managed to do just that. Will we see another nation-based exhibition like this next year? Who knows. But the Overwatch World Cup managed to reach a wider audience to watch Overwatch e-sports, and with the upcoming Overwatch League, Blizzard needs a huge fanbase to support this endeavour.
(Video archives of matches of the Overwatch World Cup are available for free on the Blizzcon site)