After four qualifying stages in four different countries; China, Australia, Poland and the United States, eight best national Overwatch teams converged in Anaheim, California for BlizzCon in pursuit of the right to be called the best and what a day it was. The day went according to plan for the favored teams – Sweden and Canada – early on before France pulled off an epic win against top seed China to turn the form books upside down. Then came in hosts the United States against defending champions South Korea to close off the day with what was easily the match of the day. Here’s a quick roundup of Day-1 of the 2017 Overwatch World Cup.
United Kingdom (6) vs Sweden (4): Swedes WIN 3-0
First up earlier today was the United Kingdom who took on the favored Swedes. While the UK managed to give out a respectable fight against the stacked Swedes, they were nowhere close to the European giants whose all six players will be featured in the upcoming Overwatch League. A 2-0 win on Oasis for a 1-0 lead was followed by Sweden out-playing the Brits on Numbani and Volskaya to roll out comfortable winners.
Canada (7) vs Australia (13): Canada WIN 3-2
While the Canadians started strong on Oasis with some early, flashy kills, they were stunned by the resilient Australians who bounced back to overcome the setback to win Oasis in three maps and outsmart the North Americans on King’s Row for a shock 2-0 lead. The Canadians bit back with a win on Hanamura after overtime and evened the score with a win on Junkertown thanks to a strong start and surprise Bastion tank maneuver by Surefour. They completed their superb reverse-sweep comeback with a convincing win on Nepal for 3-2 overall score and a date with Sweden in the semis.
China (1) vs France (8): France WIN 3-1
It was match of epic comebacks as France pulled off a reverse sweep against the top-ranked Chinese after not only going 0-1 down, but also managing a full push on the final map on Junkertown while on overtime to secure the 3-1 overall win. The ‘pirate ship’ strategy was implemented by both squads but the French managed to pull it off better to deny Eileen and Leave from being as effective they would have liked. AKM was easily the MVP of the match where he pulled off some clutch kills to send France into the Semis.
South Korea (2) vs USA (3): South Korea WIN 4-2
They saved the best for last as the loud spectators were treated with competitive Overwatch of the highest quality with the United States showing that they are no pushovers, dealing the Koreans their first map loss in Overwatch World Cup to take a surprise 1-0 followin a win on Nepal. The Koreans bounced back and showed everyone why they are the favorites of the tournament with a convincing win on Eichenwalde to tie the score. Viewers were then treated with a marathon of clutch plays and timely kills but none even came close to the highlight reel known as Flow3r as he displayed an epic Widowmaker performance to cut down the Americans. Score on Hanamura ended 6-6 with no winner and both teams head to the fourth map on Watchpoint Gibraltar which saw the Koreans take the lead thanks to another world class Widowmaker play by Flow3r. The Americans, clearly drained from the marathon on Hanamura earlier surrendered the deciding map on Oasis without much resistance, going down 0-2 and losing the match series 4-2.
The semi-final matches scheduled for today were retimed to tomorrow which sees Sweden take on the Canadians while the French face South Korea in the other match. Losing semi-finalists will then compete in the third-placement matches just prior to the Grand Final. Tentative schedules for tomorrow’s matches are as follows:
Semi-Final 1: Sweden (4) vs Canada (7): Overwatch League Preview #1 1230AM Nov 5 2017 (KUL/ HK/ SG)
Sweden and Canada last met in last year’s World Cup during the group stages which saw the Swedes winning 2-0, effectively ending the Canadians’ hopes of qualifying for the playoffs. Revenge is surely in the minds of the North Americans this year and viewers can expect to see at least ten players who are set to feature in the Overwatch League in this match set.
Prediction: Sweden by 3-1 Sweden have shown great chemistry from the get go in their match against the Brits while the Canadians took more time to warm up when playing against the Australians before scraping off a reverse-sweep. Either the Australians improved a lot in such a short period, the Canadians ain’t as good as we expect them to be or a combination of both, the performance today suggests that there are definitely chinks on the Canadians’ armor and unlike the Ozzies, the Swedes are much less forgiving to any mistakes and weaknesses.
We favor the Swedes to go all the way here, winning 3-1.
Semi-Final 2: France (8) vs South Korea (2): 230AM Nov 5 2017 (KUL/ HK/ SG)
The teams have never met in the Overwatch World Cup stage and it would be interesting to see how one of the most decorated teams in Europe fare against the Koreans. This may also be the last match the French players – who are all made of Rogue – play together as a group following the organization’s disbandment following their failure to secure an Overwatch League spot.
Prediction: Korea 3-0 3-0? That’s what you predicted when the Koreans played against the United States Kenn! What are you drinking?!
Well, first hear me out. If you look at the Korean composition against the States, they started with a very off-meta composition with Ryujehong on his comfort pick, Ana. The Americans who were running the Mercy comp capitalized on this and romped to a 1-0 win, but even that, in three maps. After losing Nepal, the Koreans got better grasp of the Americans and slowly but surely came back into the game. Mechanically and tactically superior, the Koreans were in control throughout and only reason the score looked favorable (at 4-2) was due to the surprise score via the first map, and the epic battle on Hanamura. Once the Koreans got their groove, the Americans had no answer which allowed Flow3r all the time in the world to create his own highlight reel on Gibraltar and Oasis.
It’s hard to imagine the French team eking out a map win here. A comfortable win by the Koreans to set a date with Sweden in the Grand Finals.
Schedules for the Third-Placement and Grand Finals are as follows (tentatively)
Third Placement: 430AM Nov 5 2017 (KUL/ HK/ SG)
Grand Finals: 630AM Nov 5 2017 (KUL/ HK/ SG)