Overwatch World Cup 2018 Recap: South Korea dominate for the three peat, China take second place
Over the weekend, the top eight Overwatch National Teams competed for international supremacy as South Korea won the World Cup for the third straight year. This year was more competitive than most with several teams like China and the United Kingdom playing well above expectations as seasoned teams like United States and Finland faced uneventful early exits. Despite the heroics from China to decimate their competition en route to the finals, South Korea once again established their dominance as the best region in the world with another devastating 3-0 performance.
The East reigns supreme
Although countries like Finland and France were hyped up to make a splash this tournament, the majority of the plaudits for World Cup success fall at the hands of South Korea once again as they dispatched their opponents without dropping a single match during the weekend.
While South Korea are no strangers to success on the Blizzcon stage, this year was a little extra special for the region as this title marked their third straight gold medal for World Cup competitions. Many critics mused on whether or not South Korea would still be at their full potential given their roster moves late last month. Korea switched out ArK, MekO and Saebyeolbe in favor of Fury, Anamo and Fleta during scrims.
The changes ended up being fruitful as Fury and Fleta became star figures in their fixtures against China and United Kingdom. As a team, South Korea always seemed one step ahead of their opponents and their Finals trouncing of China proved they were the only region worthy of the ultimate prize. JJoNak rightfully earned his place as the T-Mobile MVP for his performances on Zenyatta as he proved he is several steps ahead of the competition in more ways than one.
Asia’s other powerhouse team came from an unlikely source as China rose well past expectations in this year’s World Cup. One could argue China’s road to the final was more difficult than Korea’s given Canada and Finland’s stature at the tournament. China dominated the competition through stellar individual performances from guxue and Shy. Top to bottom they seemed to overwhelm their opponents as they subjected Finland to some of the most one sided defeats they have ever endured as a nation.
Looking forward, the four new teams that joined the Overwatch League may have a good omen lingering over their heads given the level of play from China in this World Cup. Much of the headlines coming into this tournament were centered around Europe and North America, but Asian dominance has once again asserted itself on the international stage with this World Cup.
Canada and United Kingdom share the spoils
With the introduction of the World Cup this year, Blizzard also implemented a new way to spectate all the action from multiple points of view. This method was coined as the Overwatch World Cup Viewer that allowed any viewer to access each World Cup match from any players perspective through the Battle.net App.
This new method of interaction allows inquisitive players to see frame by frame how the pros map out their picture perfect plays. Whether it’s breaking down Fleta’s insane Widowmaker snipes or figuring out how to outplay the competition like JJoNak, every angle in the game has now been made available through this amazing initiative from Blizzard. Although you don’t get the commentary provided from the World Cup broadcast, the ability to track each facet of a teamfight through player windows is a great source of research and entertainment for players and fans alike.
When looking at the ‘lower level’ competitors at this World Cup, its hard to ignore the upsets that occurred with regularity during the competition, namely with the United Kingdom in their trouncing of Team USA in the quarterfinals. United Kingdom punched above their class with a dominant performance over one of the more established teams in the World Cup. WIth Team USA littered with Overwatch League talent, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Team USA would walk away with this series after game one of the series.
As the series wore on, United Kingdom started to find their groove and it came down to expert performances from Boombox and Fusions as the tank lineup became the saving grace for the UK team. Fusions performed admirably this World Cup, so much so that his name has been called by the Boston Uprising as he looks to be just the third player from the United Kingdom to compete on the Overwatch League stage.
Even with United Kingdom and Canada bowing out in the semifinals, both teams arguably put on the most entertaining series of the tournament in their third place match. Canada walked away victorious but United Kingdom once again proved their worth as they took Canada to a five game series and easily became the revelation of the tournament as they rose well above expectations.