The first Overwatch World Championship ever is about to take place in BlizzCon. Unfortunately for many fans of the new eSports kid on the block, the tournament will feature national teams instead of the eSports teams we’re used to seeing in professional competition. The idea of national teams competing to represent their country pride in eSports tournaments is not new, CS:GO’s World Championship has concluded recently; however, Overwatch is a much more fertile scene for such events.
Why? It’s simple. Overwatch is a new game, the scene is just forming, players are still enthusiastic, big tournaments are still a novelty. That’s what makes it possible for the Overwatch World Cup to succeed where the idea failed in CS:GO. Of course, the fact that the tournament is organized by Blizzard and will take place at BlizzCon, the Event of the Year for any fan of games made by Blizzard Entertainment, also plays a huge role.
Anyway, sixteen teams made it into the Group Stage of the tournament, which will start on October 29. In Group A, there will be Sweden, Spain, Canada, and Brazil. USA, Russia, Germany, and Chile will play in Group B. South Korea, Finland, Australia, and Chinese Taipei will make up Group C. Group D will have China, France, Singapore, and Thailand.
Let’s see which teams from each group should be the best candidates to make it into the Top 8. From Group A, Sweden and Canada are probably the best bets. Why Swedes? That country is one of the best breeding grounds for CS:GO talent in the world. While Overwatch is a different game, there should still be a lot of players with stupendous aim. That’s theory. In practice, looking at who is on the Swedish national team, their opponents should be very scared. Why? Kevyn “TviQ” Lindström, Sebastian “chipshajen” Widlund, Christian “cocco” Jonsson, André “iddqd” Dahlström, and Sebastian “Zebbosai” Olsson. So, two EnVyUs players, one guy from Rogue, one from Misfits, one guy who used to play on Fnatic. Not bad.
The second team, which should make it out of Group A is probably Canada. They don’t have as many big names, but Randal “Roolf” Stark, Lane “Surefour” Roberts, and Adrew” id_” Trulli should be enough. They COULD have trouble against Spain, represented by Sergi “Winghaven” Torras, Jose Antonio “BromaS” Ramos, and Jonathan “HarryHook” Tejedor.
The overwhelmingly best team in Group B, at least on paper, is definitely USA. Why? Well… Brandon “Seagull” Larned, Daniel “Gods” Graeser, Ronnie “Talespin” DuPree, Adam “Adam” Eckel, and Adam “MESR” De La Torre. To be honest, Seagull and Talespin would be enough to convince us. Even though Surefour might not be the BEST in the world anymore, he is probably one of the most FAMOUS. Let’s pity those poor sods who have to face them.
As for the rest, the second place should go to either Russia or Germany. While the Russians don’t have any supremely famous players, they did trample the competition when trying to get into the World Cup. The Germans are led by the captain of Team EnVyUs, Dennis “INTERNETHULK” Hawelka, while also having a couple of Luminosity players and Artur “art1er” Bischof, who used to play in Dignitas.
There are two favorites in Group C: South Korea and Finland. The way you rank the both teams depends on how much of a Korean League of Legends fanboy you are. If you project the nation’s strength and work ethic from that game onto their Overwatch colleagues, South Korea looks very strong indeed, even though you might not know the players’ names exactly. They might even look to be the strongest.
Finland, however, have three members from NiP, Timo “Taimou” Kettunen from EnVyUs, and Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin from Team Dignitas. Basically, the preference between these two teams boils down to your level of admiration for Koreans and how many names from the Western Overwatch scene you recognize on the Finnish National Team.
The final group to be looked at, Group D, provides us with some hard choices to make. Out of Singapore, Thailand, China, and France, the last two definitely look like they should be the strongest. China has A LOT of people, making it easier to find enough talent to fill out National Teams, that’s what China’s Olympic success in specific sports is based on. France, however, is a better-known quantity. Jonathan “Kryw” Nobre from Misfits and Jean-Louis “KnOxXx” Boyer are the two best known players from that team. Chances are, you heard of them more than any player from the Chinese team. Still, it’s hard to tell which team is going to come out on top in the group. Both should make it into the Playoffs, though.