It’s that magic time of year. Blizzard fans were out in force for this years Blizzcon, descending on the Anaheim convention centre for a weekend long celebration of games, cosplay and Murloc onesies. Alongside all the big announcements like the new World of Warcraft expansion Battle for Azeroth and Moira joining the fray in Overwatch, the real highlight was the esports.
The glory of the Overwatch World Cup was the pinnacle of the event, giving fans a look at the vastly improved spectator experience and building hype for the inaugural Overwatch League coming soon. With around three hundred thousand viewers at its peak, the World Cup proved that Blizzard’s hero shooter is about to make a real splash in the esports world. Here’s how it all went down.
The top eight of the Overwatch World Cup really delivered the punch it aimed to. Quarterfinal matches delivered the quality one would expect of a grand final, as Australia and Canada clashed spectacularly and USA vs South Korea kept people on the edge of their seats.
First up on the day one, the United Kingdom team fell to Sweden, a strong looking favourite for the top spot. Stylosa’s squad came in confident, but sadly for them their run was fairly short lived on the Blizzcon stage.
Next, Australia narrowly lost their shot at the semis to Canada. After securing the first two games with confidence, Canada came back and caused way too much damage for the Aussies to deal with, winning with a reverse sweep. Jam packed with tracer duels and hype, this series saw IEATUUP and Aetar doing their best to dismantle Canada’s lineup, but Surefour’s Pharah was a standout that won the day.
Afterwards China kept the match up against France much closer than the 1-3 score suggests, with the last match on Junkertown going 5-6. What started as a simple pirate ship strategy mirror turned into an insane match of skill. The mechanical ability of each side’s players really came through as France managed to complete the whole map on less than a minute of timebank. There was so many quotable moments from the whole event, but strangely enough this moment stands out as one of them.
All that was overshadowed by the last quarter final however; USA vs South Korea. In a stroke of (poor) luck, the best two teams clashed so early, proving their strength by tying up and completing Hanamura twice each. In the end, South Korea pulled out a win, thanks in part to Flow3r’s insane Widowmaker play.
The semis swapped up the tempo, as Sweden and Canada’s clash went down to the wire. Canada pulled a close victory, while south Korea felled France without too much difficulty. Sweden scored the third place overall, while France settled into fourth as they faced eachother before the big finals. While France offered some fight, Sweden managed to create a firm hold on Watchpoint: Gibraltar that gave them the edge after tying it up on Hanamura.
South Korea dominated in the finals best of seven. A strong opening series gave them the upper hand, but Canada won back their crucial match point on Junkertown, unfortunately only delaying the inevitable as they finished it all on Numbani. Bastion and Orisa comps were plentiful, but even that wasn’t enough to destroy the unstoppable beast that is Flow3r’s DPS skill. The crowd went wild with screaming fans in those final moments, stalling out as South Korea pushed it those few metres to victory – and a second Overwatch World Cup title.
Canada should be proud of their efforts – they made South Korea fight for every win they got, forcing tie-breaks and full three round capture maps. It was exhilarating from start to finish, and hopefully with all the Overwatch esports coming soon, next World Cup the skill gap between South Korea and the rest of the world will be even closer.
If you want to check out any of the action yourself, you can catch all the VODs right here!