The Overwatch World Cup Group Stage for Groups E and F is not far away now. With Group D’s Spain and Japan displaying unexpected prowess, Finland, one of the favored winning candidates, failed to make it to the Playoffs in the Sydney Qualifier on July 21st. The Overwatch community was abuzz when Australia dramatically won the intense match against Japan in the Semifinals.
Now the 8 teams: South Korea, Netherlands, Poland, and Austria in Group E, and Canada, Russia, Singapore, and Turkey in Group F will be competing against each other in Katowice. Aside from South Korea, the rest of Group E is expected to aim for 2nd place, and all teams from Group F will fight fiercely for 1st place in order to not to play against South Korea in the Playoffs.
Will South Korea proceed to the Playoffs by being placed 1st in the Group Stage like everyone expects? And if so, which national team will survive along with South Korea in the Katowice Qualifier? Here is our analysis on the 8 national teams playing in the Katowice Qualifier.
■ Group E
▶ South Korea - Aiming for 1st place once again
South Korea was placed 2nd with 4,522 points in the average skill rating of the country’s top 100 players, and won with perfect straight victories and no losses.
ryujehong and ZUNBA from Lunatic-Hai played in last year’s World Cup, and will be playing for this year’s national team along with tobi, who is also from Lunatic-Hai, Mano from AF.Blues, and Saebyeolbe and Fl0w3r from LW Blue.
Unlike last year’s roster, which was determined by user votes, the Competition Committee selected pro players based on their performance in the Overwatch APEX for this year’s national team. South Korea has some of the best players from several pro gaming teams. Thus, many believe that they will proceed to the Playoffs and claim victory at the Finals. Actually, the excellence of Korean Overwatch pro gamers was once again proven in the Overwatch APEX Season 3 Finals and the South Korea Showmatches.
Now the fans are all debating whether South Korea will be able to win with perfect victories again or not. Of course, fans should not be rash with their predictions, as the other teams entering this year’s World Cup have better players compared to last year, and South Korea did not have enough time to develop their teamwork.
Considering how some predictions did not come true in the Sydney Qualifier, thorough preparation for each match is necessary for this year’s World Cup. Of course, South Korea is expected to be preparing to prevent any unexpected surprises as they aim for their 2nd perfect victory.
▶ Netherlands - Players from different teams gathered to play for the national team
Netherlands was placed 15th with 4,147 points in average skill rating, and 2nd in Group E. They entered last year’s World Cup as part of Team Benelux, and while they made it to the Group Playoffs, they were eliminated by Finland.
It is notable that each player on Netherlands is from a different pro gaming team. From pro teams with good results in Overwatch Contenders like Laser Kittenz and eUnited to disbanded teams like Tempo Storm and Movistar Riders, Netherlands has players from various major pro teams. This shows how serious the Netherlands is about this year’s World Cup.
Meanwhile, TwoEasy, Morte, and Dante took part in appointing the team players as part of the Competition Committee. Morte and Dante have been playing as healers in each of their teams, and will be playing as supports, while TwoEasy, who is known as a skilled Tracer and Widow Maker, will be their DPS. It seems that they have selected players for the main tank, flex, and sub-DPS roles.
Trivia: To the question, “Unlike some other World cup squads, Team Netherlands is made up of a varied mix of players with differing team histories, do you think this will be a major challenge for you and the team at Katowice?” Morte replied, “Not really, initially I figured we would struggle quite a bit, but somehow everything seemed pretty ‘normal’ from the start. On top of that, I think with the dive meta it just comes down to people making good and decisive calls while everyone else just listens and reacts instantly.” in the interview before the Katowice Qualifier. It will be interesting see how this team will work out and display good Dive comp plays.
▶ Poland - Do they have the home team advantage?
Poland was placed 18th out of 32 in the Qualifiers average skill rating with 4,093 points. They did their best in the Group Stage for Group A in the European Qualifier, but failed to make it to the playoffs.
All the players on Poland’s national team are not playing for any pro gaming team at the moment, though setrox, matth, ślepajstos and Tank117 have some teamwork experience from their past team, OW.QQ (matth and ślepajstos later transferred to Owly Six together), and Matwoj and DANYE played for SUPERKLAN. Thus we could say that it’s a team collaboration of OW.QQ and SUPERKAN for Poland’s national team.
These two teams played against each other in the Fantasy Expo Challenge, a league in Europe, and have an advantage since they know each other well. Many fans are looking forward to witnessing how this synergy will play out in this year’s World Cup.
In addition to this, Poland has the home team advantage. Seeing how Australia performed well in the Sydney Qualifier, this is not something that can be overlooked.
▶ Austria - Too many obstacles to move forward
Austria was placed 31st with 3,900 points in average skill rating. They failed to proceed to the playoffs, scoring 1 win and 3 losses in the European Qualifier Group Stage.
Wat7 is part of the Competition Committee and has been playing for the national team for 2 consecutive years. Wat7 is a tank who plays for Ninjas With Attitude, a European amateur team that once played in Overwatch Contenders Season 0 EU, and we expect their team plays to revolve around him as he is the main tank in this year’s World Cup.
The rest of the team members are players who played in minor European leagues; Sensotix, Itzeru and Ub3rb1ng0 were once part of Harambe Club, and Iki used to play for WarkidZ Esports. Austria is similar to Poland in the way they have players from the same old team.
The most important point is whether they will defeat South Korea and Netherlands, who are placed in the same group, and make it to the Playoffs. However, there does not seem to be much hope for them. We’ll have to see if this underdog team will counter and bring about a miracle in the Katowice Qualifier.
■ Group F
▶ Canada - Either Surefour’s one-man team or Canada’s dream team for victory
Canada was placed 7th out of all with 4,291 points in average skill rating of the country’s top 100 players. They were placed 1st in Group F, making them the most favored winning candidate. Most notable of all is the presence of Surefour on the team. Being one of the best DPS in the world, he is one of the main reasons the Canada team is so favored.
They automatically seeded to the Group Stage along with the USA in last year’s World Cup, but they were put in Group A, which was supposedly a hellish group, and failed to proceed to the Quarterfinals when they lost to Spain and Sweden. Surefour was outstanding at the time, but it felt like the team couldn’t support him well enough.
It seems like that will not be an issue with this year’s team however. With Mangachu, of the Competition Committee, as their flex player, Agilities, DPS from Immortals, and Roolf, the best sub-healer in NA, on their team, many see Canada as a star team.
There are some worries regarding the team however. Three of the players are known for DPS and they are lacking a D.Va main, which can be detrimental in the current meta. It seems that Mangachu will play D.Va, although his proficiency leaves a bit more to be desired. This may end up being Canada’s weakness, considering how Spain had to go through the same problem in the Sydney Qualifier.
▶ Russia - Will ShaDowBurn’s Genji shine this year as well?
Russia was placed 10th for their average skill rating of 4,221 points, and 2nd in Group F. They had been outplaying other countries until they were defeated by South Korea in the Finals, placing them 2nd in last year’s World Cup. ShaDowBurn’s brilliant gameplay, which earned him the title of the World’s Best Genji, played a big part in leading Russia this far.
It seems that this year’s Russian team will revolve around ShaDowBurn’s Genji as well, although one could possibly call this a drawback, considering how Genji is an uncertain choice in the current Dive meta. ShaDowBurn’s brilliant Genji plays pacified any controversy regarding his limited Hero pool last year; given the magnitude of his skill, some find it hard to claim that his Genji may be a hinderance.
Russia went through a roster change due to visa problems prior to leaving for Poland. During this process, NORGAC was replaced by eUnited’s Sharyk, and Unfixed with 123’s Mistakes. Many fans were worried that this sudden change of roster would affect Russia’s overall teamplay.
However, there are others that believe this change will fortify the team’s overall skills, since both replacement players were from teams that were placed 1st and 2nd in Overwatch Contenders Season 0 EU. Anyhow, Russia is now the team that may have the most play potential in the Katowice Qualifier, so viewers should definitely keep their eyes on them.
▶ Singapore - The most favored candidate if they manage to become a dark horse.
Singapore was placed 3rd in Group F with 4,002 points in averages kill rating, placing them 23rd overall. They were placed 1st in the Asian-Pacific Qualifier but failed to make it to the Quarterfinals when they lost with 3 defeats in the Group Stage for Group D, where the overheated matches between France, Thailand, and China took place.
This year, they have completely new players chosen for the national team, and aside from Cup, the rest of the players are from Singapore’s pro gaming teams, showing that they have the ambition to win. The pro gamers on the team have a lot of experience with each other from facing off in national leagues. If you bond with someone best by fighting them, then this team may be stronger than many anticipate.
It will not be easy for Singapore to defeat Canada and Russia and proceed to the playoffs at the moment. However, if they manage to exploit Canada’s role discrepancy and Russia’s sudden roster change, victory might just be possible.
Since many pros have predicted Singapore to be the new rising star of Asia in the Katowice Qualifier, we will have to see if Singapore can indeed rise above as a dark horse in Group F.
▶ Turkey - Good team comp, but not easy to get even 1 win
Turkey was placed 26th with 3,960 points in average skill rating, which places them at the bottom of Group F. They made it to the Group Playoffs after being placed 2nd in Group D, though they were eliminated by France when they lost 3-0 in last year’s World Cup.
Aside from Nycto and JohnSinan, Turkey is composed of players who once played for SuperMassive eSports, . JohnSinan, h3x, and Yaga are part of the Competition Committee.
Though their players may not be as well-known as others, they are a team that you can still expect to fight with their all.
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