With several of the best Western teams participating, Overwatch APEX Season 1 is giving us a great opportunity to see how well Korean teams match up against their international counterparts. While there are still many more games to be played, EnVyUs caught our eye with their outstanding and often overwhelming level of play. We decided to take a closer look at EnVyUs' strategies that were showcased in APEX as to figure out what Korean teams could learn.
Flexible Strategies from Wide Hero Pools
Let us first look at EnVyUs' match against Mighty Storm. In Set 1 (Nepal), the team had a rather stereotypical composition, but in Set 2 (King's Row), EnVyUs' support HarryHook picked Soldier: 76 instead of Lucio. This so-called "self-heal composition" consisted of Roadhog, Mei, Soldier:76, Ana, Reinhardt, and Zarya. Everyone except for Reinhardt and Zarya could heal themselves, a deviation from the traditional meta in which there are designated healers.
With such a setup, EnVyUs was able to maintain decent frontline presence while Soldier: 76 stayed back and suppressed enemies from distance. nV did not allow flankers to get through, and Mighty Storm was constantly outnumbered as their flankers were helplessly shut down.
It must be noted that HarryHook, who played Soldier: 76 on this map, is actually EnVyUs' support. Although his main role is support, we can see from his profile that he actually plays a lot of DPS heroes. He might not be quite as skilled on various attack heroes as Talespin and Taimou are, but Harryhook's hitscan aim is absolutely top-notch, even compared to other elite professional players'.
Taimou Behind the Scope
EnVyUs' team composition in Set 3 (Volskaya Industries) saw more dramatic position changes as the team's tank - cocco - played Lucio, while HarryHook played Tracer. What surprised everyone the most, however, was that the team selected only one tank. The remaining slots were filled with two healers and three DPS heroes. Even the OGN shoutcasters were dumbfounded and confused.
To Mighty Storm's dismay, EnVyUs swept through the frontal arch into point A as Talespin's Genji and INTERNETHULK's Winston drew all of Storm's aggro, allowing Taimou to comfortably snipe the team down from afar. It took nV only a single push to capture Objective A.
Taimou's Widowmaker is far from a surprise pick, of course; we have seen it many times in other tournaments. Widowmaker's recent buffs only gave Taimou more reason to pull out the pocket pick whenever the situation allows.
Unlike Mighty Storm, CONBOX T6 looked to be quite prepared against Widowmaker, using Gamsu to man-mark the sniper. However, Gamsu playing hide-and-seek against Taimou opened a window for HarryHook's Tracer to wreak havoc on T6's backline and break through points. The OGN casters were astounded at HarryHook's aim, asking why on earth was he maining Lucio.
Pharmercy + Tanks
In Set 4 (Dorado), Talespin's Pharah, powered by HarryHook's Mercy consistently poked T6 as the rest of EnVyUs moved the payload down the Mexican streets. TheHell's Ana successfully put her daughter to sleep multiple times, but that was not enough to stop Pharah's DPS while the rest of EnVyUs ruggedly pushed forward with Reinhardt, Zarya, and Roadhog. Conbox T6 had their health bars continuously shaved off by Talespin's rocket launcher, and whenever their health bars dropped low, they were either killed by Taimou's Chain Hook or INTERNETHULK's Graviton Surge.
nV's Pharmercy combo was not as efficient lategame, so with 40 seconds remaining, EnVyUs made the critical decision to swap to McCree and Tracer as to push into the final point. Taimou recording a triple kill with his McCree was enough for nV to end up victorious.
A Group of Flexible Strategists
Team EnVyUs is a very flexible team with vast hero pools and six excellent individual players. The former in particular is the sharpest point of difference between the top Korean teams and EnVyUs. Most Korean teams have a certain team strategy already set up, with most players fixed on certain heroes, and rarely deviate from it lest they end up far outside their comfort zone. In contrast, nV is capable of swapping to an entirely different composition between sets and even within sets; it is hard for Korean teams to deal with such a wide array of styles on-demand.
It should be stressed that EnVyUs' flexible strategies are only possible due to the players' individual skill. Using Widowmaker as the team's main DPS is not something other teams can easily do, for example. Due to this, EnVyUs is able to heavily deviate from the "standard" pacing of the current metagame - namely, waiting for several ultimates to charge, then bursting through a point by using most of them - and disarray opponents at whim.
Is Volskaya Industries EnVyUs' Kryptonite?
EnVyUs has fared very well so far in APEX, but not entirely without bumps. As they have mentioned themselves, nV are prone to looking much worse on Volskaya Industries and Hanamura. Against CONBOX T6 and Mighty Storm, EnVyUs kept pushing closer towards the enemy's respawn when defending Objective A. We are not sure if this was because they were confident about their aim or just because they felt closing in would allow a cleaner defense. While it is true such an aggressive position allows the defenders' attack heroes to play with height advantage, leaving Objective A completely bare is often fatal. EnVyUs failed to defend Objective A in both matches.
Silencing Shimada's Dragon: Genji Shutdown
While EnVyUs may struggle a lot on Volskaya industries, on other maps, the team always shows up and dominates, whether it be an escort, assault, or hybrid mission. We already discussed the team's flexible strategy sprouting from individual skills, so let us move on to discussing another one of nV's strengths: how the team reacts to Dragonblades.
Whenever EnVyUs feels the enemy Genji is ready to pull out his katana, the team spreads out to stay away from Graviton Surge and Dragonblade. While most teams understand the theoretical value of reacting as such, few execute it nearly as well as nV. Even when Genji gets to a target with blade drawn, Projected Barrier and Bionic Grenade usually are used perfectly to negate his power. nV's level of reactionary play effectively discourages many teams from even utilizing Genji against them, in turn freeing nV to choose from a wider array of compositions.
What should Korean teams learn?
EnVyUs is regarded as the world's strongest Overwatch team for a reason. Looking at EnVyUs' two matches against Mighty Storm and CONBOX T6, we could see all of nV's strengths on display: strategic versatility, individual skill, exceptional counterplay, tournament experience, and teamwork.
EnVyUs knows how to move as a team, does not hesitate to be experimental, and understands how to utilize the full potential of having a broad hero pool. Korean teams should definitely look to learn from and adapt nV's flexible and creative approach to the game.
Conbox T6 vs EnVyUs
Mighty Storm vs EnVyUs
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