Overwatch World Cup 2018 | Day 1 Recap - Upcomer

Overwatch World Cup 2018 | Day 1 Recap

In the Overwatch World Cup (OWWC), teams compete all around the world in group stages in order to narrow down the final 8 countries who will battle for the championship title at BlizzCon. In day 1, the eight teams duked it out in the quarterfinals. In day 2, they will finish out the tournament with the semifinals and grand finals.

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A day filled with upsets and surprises has made this one of the best World Cups thus far. Huge upsets, unique strategies, and clutch plays kept me on the edge of my seat every match. Not to mention, all of these matches can be viewed through the new Overwatch World Cup Viewer Beta, allowing you to see exactly what you want to see, when you want to see it, and how you want to see it.

Series 1: USA vs. United Kingdom (1-3)

Even before the group stages, one of the most common predictions was that Team USA would be in the top 3. Everyone took it as a given. That narrative held up in the group stages too. USA was stacked. With only one player on the team who wasn’t in the Overwatch League, and a coach with a reputation for effective, unpredictable strategies, the team seemed unstoppable as they barreled through their opponents in the group stages. Everyone watched as this team put their star DPS player, Jay “sinatraa” Won, on Reinhardt and played around letting him swing his hammer like it was Mjolnir.

The UK, on the other hand, were seen as a mediocre team. A pushover. A nonfactor in the competition. The only Overwatch League player on their team was Isaac “Boombox” Charles, the League’s silver medalist support player. No one could have predicted how much that negative reputation would drive them.

The first map, Ilios, had everyone believing that this was exactly the one-sided affair it was expected to be. With the USA taking the first round 100-0, the UK were completely shut out. The second round, they fought back hard, but to no available. The round was a teeter-totter, going back and forth, until the USA won it 100-99.

The next map is when things started to get interesting. On King’s Row, Team UK would overcome every strategy thrown at them. On their defense, USA would form a brick wall, and after trial and error, UK would pull the right brick out and topple it. The USA seemed strong at times, but never strong enough to stop the UK, until the last fight. When the round ended, and it came time for Team UK to defend, they built the perfect brick wall. Team UK completely shut out the supposedly unstoppable American squad.

King’s Row was a sign of things to come. The following maps were Volskaya Industries and Route 66. On both maps, things played out quite similarly, the key difference being that USA’s attacking rounds were better. It was a competitive couple of maps. Both teams fought tooth and nail, but eventually the United Kingdom simply played more cleanly. Team UK’s main tank, Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth, dug his boots deep in the dirt and pulled out the win for his team. Fusions consistently outplayed his USA counterpart, Austin “Muma” Wilmot, by simply having more confidence in making his plays, and utilizing more risky opportunities for Earthshatters. In doing so, Fusions played a pivotal role in the USA’s loss to the UK, 1-3.

Series 2: Canada vs. France (3-0)

With this series, it’s hard to say the winning team was a surprise because it was such a toss-up. Some people believed France would win, some believed Canada would, but no one predicted how much of a sweep it would be. Both teams put up solid performances in group stages, and both rosters seem to have equally skilled players and team synergy. So when the scoreline ended at 3-0, everyone was shocked.

The first map was Busan, Overwatch‘s most recently introduced map. Each team struggled to maintain control for the most part, and in the end it simply came down to who won the last fight, a simple back-and-forth that one often sees in the ranked ladder. It just so happened that through a couple clutch plays, Canada won.

The second map, Eichenwalde, was short (and sweet, if you’re a Canada fan), and was a true testament to Team Canada’s strength under head coach Jayne. The Maple Leaf crew played a measured style, making sacrifices as needed in order to secure the end win. Even if those sacrifices were two points, they knew that their best bet was to stall out France’s timer and get a clean team kill in to stop them from getting further. In being so methodical, they made their own lives easier by not having to push the payload all the way to the end, and they got their win that much easier.

At the end of it all was Temple of Anubis. Whatever you might want to pin it on, the 5-4 scoreline was too close for comfort for Canada fans. I think it was a result from poor defenses on both sides. No matter the reasoning, the match went on long, but it went in the favor of Team Canada, giving them the 3-0 victory over Team France.

Series 3: China vs. Finland (3-0)

The China vs. Finland match was nothing short of an enigma. Finland had proven to be a strong team in the group stages, with strong coordination and mechanical skill. A team so confident in their ability to run their strategies, they didn’t care if anyone could predict them. But China? Hardly anyone could tell you a thing about Team China going into this series. All anyone knew, really, was that Xu “guxue” Qiulin, their main tank, was an incredibly key component of their team. Boy, is that an understatement.

Map number one was Lijiang Tower. Aside from the first round, Lijiang was a great debut for Team China. Why? Because China’s strength is putting Guxue in close quarters. On Reinhardt, Winston, and Wrecking Ball, Guxue got the opportunity to show off exactly why Team China relies on him so much. The team funneled constant resources into keeping Guxue alive simply so he could unleash chaos on the enemy team. His chaos then allowed his DPS teammates to go clean up anything he wasn’t killing himself. After the first round, it was a lopsided match, and China won 2-1.

Map number two was a very interesting couple of rounds on Hollywood. The first round started out with Team China attacking flawlessly. Finland left themselves exposed to the point it almost looked like they didn’t have a plan. The European crew seemed to struggle in pushing back Team China consistently, only stopping the payload once on its way to the first of two checkpoints. After an easy push to the second checkpoint, it was China’s turn to defend. This time, instead of taking their usual aggressive approach, the team defended with what some call a “bunker comp,” or an Orisa strategy that relies heavily on defending a key area using Orisa’s shield and the map geometry. This proved effective until they were eventually overwhelmed, moving onto the second part of the map. It was here they stopped Finland dead in their tracks through sheer dominance, leaving behind the bunker comp’s passivity.

Finally, map number three: Hanamura. Finland attacked first this time, and they came out with an unexpected strategy. They had Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin play Symmetra and decided to send most of the team through a teleporter directly to the point. It worked quite well, and actually bought them a huge time bank to work with to grab the next point. That wouldn’t be enough for the Finnish squad though, as Team China would move on to deny Finland the win with a 4-3 score at the end.

Series 4: Australia vs. South Korea (0-3)

Well, there’s not a lot to be said here, honestly. Despite a few last minute roster changes, Team South Korea looked just as dominant as they always have. A full roster of legendary Overwatch League players, coached by a groundbreaking head coach, all on one team? Unstoppable doesn’t even begin to describe it.

The first map played was Busan, which is where Australia had the best chance of winning based solely on the freshness of the map. However, Team South Korea did their homework and learned that map inside and out. South Korea pulled out of a few fights early and let Australia have the point in order to come back prepared and wipe out Team Australia… in the first round. The second round, however, was a dominant, clean 0-100 hold on South Korea’s part.

The second map, which looked the most competitive, was Blizzard World. The match started with Scott “Custa” Kennedy dying as Torbjörn during the preparation phase in order to fake out Team South Korea. Which seemed to work for the first fight, actually. That fight made Team South Korea look completely clueless as they all died one by one. But of course, South Korea came back and took the point cleanly, and they pushed the cart almost all the way to the first checkpoint. There Australia showed more signs of life, wiping the squad once more before they made their push again. The payload got about eight meters from the final checkpoint until Australia shut down South Korea. Australia made their push at about the same rate, South Korea struggling to defend all the way until the home stretch. From there, Australia had no chance of getting that payload moving. Team South Korea decisively boxed Australia out of reaching that cart and took the win.

The third and final map of the day was a rough Temple of Anubis match to watch for Australia fans everywhere. Even in losing fights, South Korea had complete control of the map. Australia was afraid to try to force anything too hard against South Korea, knowing everything was on the line right here. Australia did their best to play defensively and calculated, and South Korea matched it before completely surpassing it. South Korea took the Temple 2-1, and the series 3-0.

With all the sweeps today, I’m personally excited to see the matches tomorrow. I’ll be rooting for China!

The semifinal matches will be South Korea vs. United Kingdom at 9:30 a.m. PDT, and China vs. Canada at 11:30 a.m. PDT. The bronze medal match will be at 1:30 p.m. PDT and the gold medal match at 3:45 p.m. PDT.

The matches on Day 2 can be watched at Twitch or by using the Overwatch World Cup Viewer available in the Battle.net client.