The only real chance we have of seeing what the level of Korean Overwatch is and how it develops to the inevitable point where Korean teams become better than the NA and EU ones and totally take over the scene, just like it happened in League of Legends, is Overwatch APEX, hosted by OnGameNet or OGN. The second season of the League has just started today.
The tournament’s roster of sixteen teams is split into 4 groups of four. Each team will play Best of 5 matches against the rest of their group and the top 2 teams from each of them will go on to play in the Playoffs for the bulk of a prize pool of around $178,000 USD.
Group A has one Western team and reigning APEX champion Team EnVyUs, as well as three Korean teams—Meta Athena, BK Stars, and MVP Infinity. It’s obvious that Team EnVyUs is destined to make it into the Playoffs as the reigning champion, even though they are still using the stand-in they had to get just before the Playoffs of Season 1 started when a player left the team with hardly any notice. That did not stop them. It’s not likely to in Season 2 as well. The next two Playoffs contenders from Group A are BK Stars and MVP Infinity. While BK took 3rd-4th place in Season 1, MVP managed to bring nV to 5 games in the first match of Season 2.
Group B is very strong as well. There, we find LW Blue, Lunatic-Hai, AF.Red, and Misfits. In the second match of the first day of competition, LW Blue made a statement by defeating Misfits 3-1. Lunatic Hai certainly can’t be discounted either. So, if we had to bet, we would wager that Misfits would be able to get back up and finish the group in first place, with either Lunatic-Hai or LW Blue taking second. Though it has to be noted that this is by no means certain.Lunatic-Hai should be a formidable opponent for the Miami HEAT-sponsored Misfits.
Group C is a hard one too. Cloud9, Team KongDoo Uncia, AF.Blue, and CONBOX Spirit were seeded to play there. The two top 4 teams from Season 2 will definitely provide C9 with an ample challenge. It could very well be that they will not manage to get out of the group. If that happens, at least they can be happy to know that they were knocked out by very strong teams.
Group D is finally a little bit easier. Team KongDoo Panthera, RunAway, and Flash Lux are not what one would call the strongest Overwatch teams in the world. Fnatic should make their way into the top 8 easily. If they don’t… well, it will be very embarrassing.
All in all, the Overwatch APEX Season 2 is quite an exciting tournament with many strong teams. It’s just sad that the prize pool couldn’t be higher. It is certainly understandable, however, as the game isn’t at the level of LoL, Dota 2 or CS:GO yet. When Blizzard launch their Overwatch League and it gets going, however, it might very well reach that level. Prize pools should follow suit.