All photos provided by Blizzard Entertainment
Semi-Final: Sweden vs Canada
Despite the delays to the semi-finals, there was no shortage of hype moving into the first game of Sweden vs Canada. Nepal was the opening stage, with Mangachu’s Junkrat once again proving to be a force to be reckoned with. The unstoppable rain of damage, well defended by Orisa and Roadhog, guided Canada through both the first and second maps on Nepal for a confident game win. A back and forth game on King’s Row dominated by Agilities’ Roadhog seemed to be set to ensure another Canadian victory, but Manneten and Snillo’s potent Graviton Surge/Pulse Bomb combos managed to hand control of the game back to Sweden.
Canada came back kicking on Hanamura, with Roolf’s Zenyatta sniping multiple kills to break open the Defense on the first point.
Seemingly recognizing the threat posed by Surefour’s Soldier 76, Snillo and Tviq aimed to paint him as the high priority target and force him out of the fights. Despite Canada’s double support Ultimate use, Tviq’s Genji managed to continue squeezing out kills, and Surefour’s pressure was diminished despite the best efforts of xQc. Chips Mercy allowed Sweden to hold the second point against all odds, and Tviq’s warpath against Surefour allowed Sweden to claim victory and put them only one map win away from the Finals.
Canada’s hope to remain in the tournament depended on winning the next map, Gibraltar, and xQc’s Winston picked up an impressive triple kill to give momentum to the Canadians that allowed them to stay ahead for the rest of the round. An impressive defense from all members of Team Canada gave them a convincing victory in the second phase, after forcing Sweden to lose most of their time on the first point.
With Oasis lined up as the tie-breaking game, Canada went on to claim an easy first point after a stellar performance from Agilities, but Tviq decided to fight the battle of the skies against Mangachu with a Pharah mirror-match.
After impressively winning the duel, Mangachu is forced on to DVA, resulting in a grind match that Sweden narrow close out. As the final map of the series began, it seemed Agilities. Following Agilities example, Surefour demonstrated his Tracer skill, and Canada manages to gain control despite Tviq’s amazing play. With one final fight set to decide the fates of these two teams, Canada managed to claim the life of Chips only seconds before he had access to his Valkyrie Ultimate, securing a place in the Grand Finals for Canada.
Semi-Final: France vs South Korea
Moving into game number two with France vs South Korea, it was once again to see whether the previous World Cup winners could be defeated. The teams opened up on Oasis, with Korea pulling out a dominant first map. France wrestled back control on the back of aKm’s Pharah, which drew respect from South Korea’s Fl0w3r who is known as being one of the best Korean Pharah players.
The tie-breaker saw Soon applying insane pressure to the point, giving France the first cap in this extremely close game.
A clutch Mercy killed from aKm seemed to give France the boost they needed to push for the first game in the series, but South Korea managed to stall enough for Mercy to return, resulting in the win for Korea. The move to Numbani saw France demonstrating a well-practiced attack strategy, surging forward until the final stage where South Korea managed to start mounting a full defense. France eventually claimed the final checkpoint, but with no time left. Mano’s Winston antics helped South Korea once again build momentum, allowing them to match France and capture the final point.
Both teams showed strong defensive play on the tie-breaker rounds, but a Sombra-powered South Korea managed to push through and claim another map win.
The team’s encounter a similarly close game on Hanamura for Game 3, but a stalwart Orisa composition helps the French side dig their heels in and claw back a game win. With the series win in sight, South Korea pulled out the snipers on Watchpoint: Gibraltar, using Fl0w3r’s Widow and Ryujehong’s Ana to pressure the enemy team while SBB terrorized Team Frances backline and lead the way to victory. South Korea advances to the finals.
Bronze Medal Game - Sweden vs France
The ever-popular Nepal was the first map on which these teams duked it out for third place, with France coming out of the gate looking dominant, with Sweden showing no way counter to aKm.
Tviq’s Junkrat provided Sweden with an opportunity to fight back, but France hold on thanks to aKm’s huge damage output and take the first game. A strong start from Sweden in the second game on King’s Row allows them to force their way through the entire map with time to spare. France’s coordinated push seems to be giving Sweden a rough time once again, but a strong final defense allowed them to starve France of time.
The last glimmer of hope was found in aKm’s McCree, picking apart the Swedish defense to secure the point in overtime.
With only 33% on the first point required to secure the map win, Manneten stepped back into the spotlight, pulling out Widowmaker to force France into a corner and set Sweden up to successfully equalize the score. In a testament to how close these teams performed, the third map of Hanamura ended in a draw after some intensely close rounds, putting their team any closer to the Bronze medal.
With at least two games required to progress, aKm pulled out his Widowmaker on Watchpoint: Gibraltar only to be shut down by Sweden who allowed him no opportunity to find the much-needed picks. Sweden’s impressive first point defense was followed with a clinical attack round, securing the first point and putting themselves only one win away from the Bronze Medal.
Despite managing to claim the first round after a series of close team fights, France began to show weakness against Tviq’s phenomenal Pharah.
Manneten also stepped up to the plate with a high impact Roadhog performance, followed by exemplary Zarya play. A well-timed Graviton held Zenyatta away from contesting the point, putting Sweden only one round away from victory. Once again, Sweden proved themselves to be the stronger side, with Tviq holding the high ground in the final fight with his Tactical Visor, gifting Sweden with third place and the Bronze medal.
Gold Medal Match - Canada vs South Korea
Despite the reigning champions being the favorites to win, Canada kicked things off on Oasis with Agilities putting on a monstrous show to claim the first round. As the Korean overlords began to regain composure, Canada surged forward on the backs of Mangachu and Agilities to prolong the game, although South Korea would not be denied the equalizer. After suffering a blow to their confidence and coordination, Canada fails to put up a good challenge in the third round, granting South Korea a swift 100-0 victory.
A strange map choice of King’s Row from Canada sees South Korea pick up yet another convincing win thanks to their experience with the Reinhardt/Zarya composition, and Ryujehong’s aggressive Ana play.
Trailing by two wins, Canada headed onto Hanamura looking for a way to pull themselves back into the running. Korea’s Orisa/Roadhog snatch and grab composition proved to be a challenge, but a renewed final attempt turned into a methodical grindfest that claimed not only the first point, but the second one too. Agilities proved once more that his Roadhog is a formidable presence, despite Fl0w3r’s attempt to halt the push with a Bastion switch.
With Korea poised to attack, Fl0w3r once again revealed his trademark Widowmaker, smashing open the Canadian defense with early picks onto Mercy and Winston. With control of the game in hand and Ryujehong’s Zenyatta contributing a staggering amount of damage, South Korea wrapped up their first attack with almost 4 minutes left on the clock.
Both teams once more managed to complete a full attack of Hanamura, but Korea managed to reserve enough time for a final tie-breaking attack.
With Fl0w3r drawing xQc’s attention with Widowmaker, Saebyeolbe gained all the space he needed to focus down the enemy supports and pick up the Hanamura map win for Korea. With South Korea sitting only one game away from total victory in this Best of 7, Canada turned to a less conventional strategy and elected Junkertown as the next map. With two shields for defense, Surefour’s Bastion Pirate Ship proved too powerful for Team South Korea and made for easy map progression.
As Canada entered the final phase of Junkertown, they swapped to a more aggressive dive composition that originally encountered mild resistance, but eventually lead Canada to a full three-point push. The initial defense looks equally strong, but a brilliant sleep dart against Agilities’ Dragonblade opens up the first section for South Korea. Canada bought a lot of time with their initial defense, but kills onto Joemeister’s Mercy allows Korea to make short work of the middle segment. With South Korea low on time for the final stretch, the Canadians threw caution to the wind and opted for a hyper-aggressive defense. Roolf, Surefour and Agilities all contribute important kills that allow Team Canada to secure the payload and their first map win.
With a 3-1 lead, South Korea was looking confident out of the spawn on Numbani, securing an early kill onto Roolf that snowballed into a fast first point.
Their progress went relatively uncontested from here, with Zunba picking up a couple of surprise kills with a sneaky DVA bomb. Team Canada made their stand at the edge of the second point, where Surefour’s McCree managed to find a few important kills to deny the push. A tentative push from Korea managed to force Joemeister’s Valkyrie, setting them up for a third and final push to claim the second point—brutally staggering DVA in the process. Fl0w3r demonstrated masterful McCree play once more to finish out their attack with plenty of time left in the bank.
Taking a page from Korea’s book of strategies, Canada pulled out their own Orisa/Roadhog composition which quickly claimed the first point and began the payload stretch.
With Mangachu swapping to a cheesy Torbjorn attack play, Surefour took advantage of the confusion with back-to-back Tac-Visors to dominate Point B. Canada continued their diverse hero strategy with a swap to Zarya, although Mangachu only managed to lock down one target with the Graviton Surge. The precision of Surefour’s McCree and Agilities’ Genji were more than enough to clean up the remaining Korean members, and Canada completed their attack with only a minute left.
With Korea’s time advantage in mind, Canada stormed directly to the point and managed to once again break the defense thanks to the death ball strategy.
However, the Pharmercy switch from Korea proves too potent and Team Canada is halted after only pushing the payload a short distance towards Point B. Electing for a Bastion defense strategy, Team Canada once more aim for an unkillable composition, but South Korea’s dive comp manages to secure enough key targets to break Canada’s formation. With only a few meters to push the cart for a South Korea victory, a desperate Canada collapsed back on the payload, but with a lack of players and key Ultimates, Fl0w3r and SBB pick apart the Canadian side and pick up the win, becoming the Overwatch World Cup champions for the second time running.