The "Hidden" MVPs Of the Overwatch League Playoffs: Gesture and Neptuno

The Inaugural Season of the Overwatch League is coming to a close, and as we are nearing the end of the post-season, another player must be chosen for the playoff MVP. Currently, most eyes are on damage dealers like Carpe, Eqo or Profit. However, Overwatch is a team-based game and there are tanks and supports behind damage dealers that ensure their incredible plays become possible.

So, without further ado, I would like to present my two personal picks for the MVPs of the Overwatch League Playoffs: Gesture & Neptuno.

*Ranked out of all main tanks in the postseason of the Overwatch League

Jae-Hee “Gesture” Hong was often cited as one of the best tanks in Overwatch League. However, he fell through the ranks as the Spitfire was having one of their worst performances in stage 4. At this time, Gesture was not even considered for the Korean Overwatch World Cup team as the committee opted to select main tank superstars like Fissure from Los Angeles Gladiators and Fate from Los Angeles Valiant. In a recent video, Gesture, himself, had agreed that he no longer believed that he was the best tank in the League, and mentioned that he was working hard to earn that title again.

And his hard work has been paying off. The difference between his performance in stage 4 and the playoffs have been night and day, particularly his performance with Winston. Not only has he been making huge plays and winning fights single-handedly, he has also been creating space and opportunities to put his team in more favored positions. Here are two reasons why he should be considered as one of the MVPs.

You may have heard of the concept of “making space” before. Making space is a tank makes room for their teammates to push an objective or allow their damage dealer to output damage at an optimal position. This is not a novel concept. In fact, it is the most basic concept a new tank player needs to understand in order to be a functional member of the team.

However, making space as Winston is one of those concepts that is easier said than done. An in-depth knowledge of the game is required, such as incredible map awareness, and the capacity to understand every little intricacy of each hero while continuously keep track of the flow of the fight. Often, Winstons are required to focus on a target to make space, but this comes at a risk because the absence of the main tanker could jeopardize the backline. Winston mains have to understand the risks and benefits of their every move before they initiate it. As a matter of fact, this is a concept that very few have perfected, and it is a concept that even pros have difficulty with.

However, what sets Gesture apart from other Winstons is that he knows exactly when and how to exploit the enemy’s weaknesses to give his team the opportunity to push objectives or win fights. His whole Winston play in Dorado against the Valiant is masterful, and his ability to identify who he needs to be targeted in order to allow his team to have space should be considered art.

Here is a textbook example of making space that Gesture executes perfectly. In this clip, Gesture initiates the fight by cornering the Valiant into a room and allow the rest of the Spitfire to push the objective and aggressively secure kills. After the fight, he jumps up to the right side and waits for the Valiant to contest. Once they start contesting, Gesture aggressively pressures the backline knowing that the Valiant’s front can’t come back to assist them or else they will lose the point. This forcibly divides the Valiant into two and allows the Spitfire’s frontline to win the fight with ease.    

Gesture’s demonstration on how to make space for the team.

“…what sets Gesture apart from other Winstons is that he knows exactly when and how to exploit the enemy’s weaknesses to give his team the opportunity to take advantage of space to push objectives or win a fight."

In this next clip, Gesture is seen jumping straight onto the Mercy that is safely positioned in the middle of the Valiant. This would be nearly suicidal if it wasn’t for his Primal Rage. But, he understood that he has just enough health to jump in, pop Primal Rage, kill their Mercy and back out. This creates opportunities for the Spitfire in two ways: first, it forces the Valiant to focus on him and drives the pressure away from his team, and second, Valiant’s supports have to pocket their Mercy and ultimately give less healing to the other teammates. This gives the Spitfire an opportunity to win fights.  

Gesture creates space by distracting the Valiant.

A dead gorilla is a useless gorilla and Gesture is not a useless gorilla. In fact, Gesture was leading the League with the most amount of damage required to eliminate him in the quarterfinals.

How was Gesture able to survive longer than other Winstons when they all have the same amount of armor and health? He has shown that he has an acute awareness of the game’s mechanics and capitalizes on his bubbles to maximize his survivability. This isn’t anything revolutionary, most Winston mains understand the concept of dancing around the bubble, the difference is that Gesture has mastered it.

Here is an example. In this clip, the Spitfire starts off losing the fight. They immediately lose their Zenyatta and Widowmaker, followed by their D.Va and Mercy. However, Gesture and Tracer go into the backline of the Valiant and eliminate Zenyatta and Widowmaker. From there, Gesture and Tracer proceed to survive a losing fight against two tanks and a Mercy, and Gesture manages to survive the battle by jumping out for a med kit and jumping back in to finish the fight. It’s incredible.

Gesture and Profit survives a 2 versus 3 fight and wins the fight for the Spitfire.

“[Gesture] has an acute awareness of the game’s mechanics and has mastered how to capitalize on his bubbles to maximize his survivability.

All of these clips show that Valiant was unable to punish Gesture for his moves. It could be argued that no team should ever allow Winston to do what Gesture did on that day. However, based on his consistency (and the stats), it might be that he is just really good at surviving and that he has an in-depth knowledge of the game to create space with the least amount of risk.

*Ranked out of all the Mercy mains in the postseason of the Overwatch League. Lucio could be in these ranks.

Alberto “Neptuno” González Molinillo is a support player for Philadelphia Fusion who mainly plays Mercy and Lucio. He is often cited as the deadliest “Mercy” in the League. While, other notable healers, such as Ark, are known for better positioning and surviving, Neptuno prefers a more aggressive Mercy style of play going for risky frags and resurrections.

With his style of play, he was able to save the team numerous times from losing fights and ultimately won them maps and matches. He accomplishes this in two different ways. By eliminating key targets and going for the risky resurrections that turn the tide into Fusion’s favor.

Currently, Neptuno is leading the number of kills as Mercy with 0.69 final blows per 10 minutes compared to Kariv’s 0.52 in second place. He is literally the Jjonak of the Mercys. While Jjonak’s impact on team fights is significantly bigger, Neptuno’s impact compared to other Mercys are higher than others. It is true that he could be criticized for not focusing on heals while he is whipping out his pistol. However, he knows how to balance between healing and dealing damage to win fights. And when he does frags out, he doesn’t do it for the thrill, (well, maybe) he does it to eliminate key targets.

For example, in this clip, Neptuno is seen chasing Note’s baby D.Va after using self-destruct. Allowing Note to re-mech could have been the end for the Fusion. This was a crucial kill for the Fusion, and it seemed like Neptuno was the only person to notice this priority. To top it off, he proceeds to kill 2 more, resurrects his Pharah and heals just enough to keep his teammates alive.  

Neptuno with 3 kills and a resurrect to win the fight.

“[Neptuno] is literally the Jjonak of the Mercys.”

While he may be known for his battle Mercy, his real strength comes from knowing when to resurrect a key player to turn a losing fight into a winnable one. While it is true that the sole purpose of resurrecting is to give a team a second chance to come out of the fight with the upper hand, resurrects are often used in vain or are used without creating a lot of value. Many of the times, resurrects are used slightly before the fights are about to begin (for example, when a team gets picked off by a Widowmaker) or it is used at the end of the fight where the fight is already won or lost.

However, Neptuno understands when to resurrect to get the most value. In their match against the Excelsior in the semifinals, Neptuno was able to resurrect a player in the heat of battle to flip the tempo of the fight. You can check out some examples, here and here. In both of these clips, the Fusion starts off losing the fight. However, Neptuno manages to resurrect key targets in the heat of the battle to win fights.

Probably the nastiest resurrection of the game was when they were at Junkertown and the Fusion started off the fight by losing both Widowmaker, Orisa, and also got their de-meched. It was surely a losing fight. However, Neptuno uses his Valkyrie to fly directly into the middle of the fight, resurrects Sado, and barely makes it out alive to help Fusion with the fight winning their first map against the Excelsior. It was a turning point for the Fusion.

Neptuno turns a losing fight to a winning one by going for a risky resurrection.

“…it is entirely possible that, like Gesture, he was able to develop a skill to accurately assess the risk of such plays and learned to pull it off when the chances of survivability are higher.”

It is true that these risky resurrections do not work all the time. Teams should learn to try and punish Neptuno when he attempts to make plays like this. However, it is entirely possible that, like Gesture, he was able to develop a skill to accurately assess the risk of such plays and pull it off when the chances of survivability are higher. It is debatable.

Although he is found dead more often than other top Mercy mains, when his plays work, they work extremely well and often wins fights by themselves.

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