Welcome again, fellow viewers, readers, and game fans. This is Day Two of our first-ever awards feature. Head here for Day One. Otherwise, keep reading, friend.
Day Two’s theme is esports-centric. Which esports game sports is the hardest & fastest & has the most “competitiveness”? Is “competitiveness” even a criteria? Find out the results right after these screencaps of 2016’s finest Malaysia sports film Ola Bola.
Best Overwatch League Team
New York Excelsior
Yes, people would point out that the London Spitfire are the Overwatch League Grand Final Champions but the best team should be the one which is consistent throughout the year, and the Excelsior is my team. They’ve proven from start to finish (of the regular season) that they’ve got what it takes when it comes to prolonged performance at the highest level.
While they did stumble in the semis to the Philadelphia Fusion, it was more due to the meta change, than overall team strength. This team boasts the most balanced team roster in any pro-Overwatch scene and needless to say, the team to beat heading into Season 2 of the OWL.
Runners-Up: London Spitfire, Philadelphia Fusion.
Best Overwatch World Cup Team That Isn’t South Korea
Honestly, it’s a tie between UK and China. We love the underdogs; UK came through and are determined players who gave US hell with a 3-1 victory. Their Earthshatters and in-time Sound Barrier plays are also nothing to scoff at.
In the end, we have to go with China. Ignore the travesty which was the Shanghai Dragons and their notorious 0-40 record. Team China vindicated the Chinese Overwatch scene with a stellar performance at the 2018 World Cup, eliminating heavyweights in the likes of Finland and Canada in the playoff stages.
Rising stars Guxue, Yvetal, and Lateyoung are sure to give the Koreans a run for their money once Season 2 of the OWL kicks off, and you’d be wise to NOT underestimate any of the Chinese-based franchise next year.
A close second would still be the best team in NA in Canada. Like typical Canadians, they aren’t as loud as their brash neighbours but still, manage to get the job done. Sadly crashed out against a very impressive China team though.
Runner-Up: United Kingdom, Canada.
Best Overwatch Buff Of 2018
In Arcade Play, you either pick Symmetra or Torbjörn to troll newbies who can’t get the hang of Overwatch’s PvP mechanic and characters. So naturally Competitive players can see through tactics like these and mow through them pretty quick.
So to shake things up, lead producer Jeff Kaplan and his team reworked the two of them into tournament-viable characters, and we’re digging Symmetra’s new kit and playstyle. It’s like she’s a completely different character now.
With her new giant-ass Barrier ultimate, her new method of placing turrets, a more practical teleport kit, and her charged shots, she is now a legit badass who has a ton of use in the pro scene. The fact that she’s out of the troll pick category says a lot about this much-needed update.
Runners-Up: Torbjörn, Pharah.
Best Overwatch Esports Moment
Runaway finally winning the big one.
This is a team that’s gone through a lot these past few years and nothing tastes sweeter than seeing all that hard work paying off after multiple failures. The boys in pink showed everyone that while they aren’t the most successful team outside of the Overwatch League, they are the most consistent performers with highly underrated corps of players.
With funds from their streamer-slash-mom-manager, Flowervin & fans, Runaway continued to try hard since 2016 to become champion. But they always fell to the “number 2” curse, never winning any championship. But they never gave up.
They tried their best. They went through ups and downs. Players come & go. Runner (founder of Runaway, also husband to Flowervin) almost disbanded Runaway. And yet Runaway stood tall. A lot of sacrifices has been made to bring Runaway to the Finals of Korean Contenders Season 2.
And in a very heated 7-maps match between Runaway & Kongdoo Panthera, Runaway finally, finally able to stand on the stage, holding the winning cup high and above. The players, fans & Flowervin were in tears. It was a moment that everyone was waiting for. It was a beautiful moment for fans who kept it on their saved Twitch clip/video playlist if they want a jolly pick-me-up.
Winning Contenders Korea Season 2 was the icing on the cake; it’s really awesome that these talented players are finally noticed by OWL team owners. We daresay that The Vancouver Titans, who are pretty much the 2018 Runaway team reskinned, will set the Overwatch League on fire in 2019.
Runner-Up: London Spitfire winning OWL.
Best EVO 2018 Moment
Lil Majin Giving His All In Tekken 7
The underdogs are always the ones you root for because they can inspire others to rise up to the challenge. In Tekken 7, a game dominated by South Korean experts like Knee, JDCR, and Qudans (the Daigo of Tekken), along comes Lil Majin who tells them to stick it where the sun don’t shine.
His character of choice? The Mexican grappler King, who used powerbombs and throws to waylay the South Korean offensive. True, he didn’t win the whole tournament but placing 3rd as the only American proves that anything goes in the Iron Fist tournament.
Runners-Up: Super Smash Bros Wii U Grand Finals “Standoff”, Singapore’s Soulcalibur VI dominance at SEA Major 2018, SonicFox switching seats with Go1.
Best Football Game
If you’re into high-level gameplay, Konami’s PES series is where it’s at. Where they lack in licensing, they more than made up for it in the graphics and gameplay department as they again, kicked FIFA’s butt in almost every category you can imagine.
The gameplay is much smoother than an already impressive offering in 2017. Once you tried PES, FIFA would look and feel super awkward; swear to God. This is how football should be played and with a constantly improved Master League and MyTeam Mode with each iteration of the game – how can you not love it?
If Konami is able to lock in several more license deals in next year’s version, EA Sports can’t keep their noses in front with the tepid offering which is FIFA. This is competitive esports football realized and (close to) perfected.
Runner-Up: FIFA 19.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Never mind the fact that Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode is really fun and, surprise, well-polished. A bigger team of devs and producers are going to make sure the next Activision money-maker is up to par.
What surprised us was the fact that it is anything but a measly cash-grab. A well-made cash grab? Sure, but you can’t deny how well it plays despite lacking any true single-player campaign.
It’s slick, the controls and shooting are just great, and the class/customization system means that you can tweak your avatar to any kind of shooter playstyle you want with no fuss. But most importantly, its touted and hyped-up Blackout mode kicks major ass in so many ways. We’re also bewildered that games like Fortnite and PUBG are still standing amidst this mode’s release.
Give it time, or give it an F2P-only mode of sorts; if Activision and Treyarch can keep up with today’s method of gaming distribution, it may be a contender for “Best Ongoing Game”.
Runners-Up: Far Cry 5, Battlefield V, Warhammer Vermintide 2.
Best Fighting Game
SoulCalibur 6 (Or SoulCalibur VI; Your Call)
It’s a really close battle between the trio of fighters that mattered this year, but SC6 edges out because this series offers flash and substance. A good combination of casual and technical know-how, SC6 combines the old 8-Way Run and fighting mechanic while also sprucing it up with new additions like Reversal Edges and Soul Charges (outside of Nightmare).
Dragon Ball FighterZ was close. Really, REALLY close. DBFZ is the close we’ve gotten to a return to form to the Super Butouden days, but with way better controls and combo-tastic 3v3 fighting featuring a ton of Super Saiyans and despot aliens. Plus, who wouldn’t want to make a 3-man team featuring Cell, Frieza, and Kid Buu?
But network issues lately got in the way; we seem to be getting better lagless fights in SC6 than in DBFZ. Like we said, close call, but there can only be one Kakuchourei fighting game champion this year. Might as well be the one game where you can create your own Cell, Frieza, and Kid Buu but with swords.
Runners-Up: Dragon Ball FighterZ, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Best SoulCalibur 6 Custom Character
It’s one thing to create a video game internet meme featuring Mario characters. It’s another to take a video game fish and make it work in a video game that primarily features humanoid characters.
And on that note, thank you to the designer in Project Soul who came up with Voldo eons ago during the Soul Edge days. Who knew psychopathic contortionist bodyguards can pose as flopping fishes for cockfighting?
Runners-Up: Bowsette, Mercy, Marge & Homer Simpson, Sonic.
“Please Stop This” Award
RGB Lighting/Backlighting On Gaming Peripherals
This award goes to the nonsense trends that need to die in a fire. The most prevalent one this year? The fact that EVERY single gaming peripheral-making company, be it your high-tier folks like Razer and SteelSeries to your China OEM-acquiring garbage product-sellers, love to put RGB lighting onto their keyboards and mice.
As if having RGB on PC casings isn’t tacky enough, when combined with your peripherals, you have a technicolour nightmare that’s sure to keep you awake at night and chase out whatever decent aesthetic your devices had. The golden rule of peripheral lighting: just keep to less than two standout colours. Three or more is just being obnoxious. Peripheral makers: don’t make it a highlight of your product. Let its build and practical functions sell itself.
Runners-Up: Announcements of microtransactions in single-player game, crunchtime humblebrags, mobile game tapping simulators (seriously, why are people still keeping these alive?)