Australia's 2018 World Cup roster unites familiar talent and fresh faces

Wednesday morning, Team Australia revealed its 12-man roster for the 2018 World Cup. This year, the final 12 were selected after two weeks of rigorous trials that were streamed for the public, and the team combines the best talent from several of the region’s best teams.

Earlier this year, Rqt and Gunba, both former members of Team Australia’s 2017 roster, were revealed as the team’s general manager and head coach, respectively. The latter also serves as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Valiant. Oasis, a Twitch streamer, was selected as the team’s community manager.

▲ Yellow names indicate Team Australia's final 12 - via @AUSWC2018

Two members of Australia’s 2017 World Cup team,
ieatuup and Trill, have returned for 2018, and they are joined by their four Blank Esports teammates, Tongue, Hus, ckm, and Adam. The revamped Blank roster placed second in Overwatch Pacific Contenders earlier this year, and the previous iteration of Blank took Team Australia to the quarterfinals of the 2017 World Cup.

Custa, perhaps the most well-known Australian Overwatch player, will fill a support role for the team. The Los Angeles Valiant player withdrew himself from consideration for last year’s roster due to his living abroad at the time, but is a stellar addition this year. His leadership capabilities will no doubt make him a shoo-in for the final 7-player competition roster, especially given that, as Rqt said, “across the board, communication in Australian teams is very lacking.”

Punk, a 16-year-old flex tank and team captain for Dark Sided, is one of Team Australia’s fresh faces. He will contend with the aforementioned Adam, the youngest player on the team at 15 years old, for a spot on the roster that competes in Thailand later this year. The team committee had their eye on Adam from the start due to his reputation as the most mechanically skilled off-tank in the region, while Punk’s game sense on D.Va took them by surprise.

“[Punk] was not someone we originally had our eyes on. We made a rough estimate of our final 12 roster and for the most part, we weren’t too far off,” said Rqt, the team’s general manager. “His D.Va game sense is by far and away the best of any Australian D.Va and has the potential to compete with many of the D.Va players in the World Cup.”

▲ Team Australia will send six or seven players to Thailand later this year to compete for a place on BlizzCon stage.

The smart decision-making of
Bertlog, a main support, was similarly unexpected by the committee, and he is joined on the World Cup roster by his Sydney Drop Bears teammate, Quatz. The team placed first in Overwatch Contenders - Australia earlier this year.

“Quatz is the young, up-and-coming main tank in the region,” explained Rqt. “[He is] definitely someone who, given the right tools, would have the potential to compete with most main tanks.”

Yookstah -- otherwise known as Yuki -- is a veteran DPS with roots in competitive Team Fortress 2, and Akraken rounds out the roster as a flex support. Team Australia intends to start scrimming within the coming weeks as they determine which seven will compete in Thailand later this year.

“We plan to scrim with six, rotating players in and out throughout the time we have to decide our final seven. Right now it’s a very open seven,” said Rqt. “Positions are likely to be dictated by the players who are able to learn the most and improve in the time between now and the deadline to submit our seven.”

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