Before you read anything else, if you want to avoid a spoiler of the outcome, you should watch the match your self below:
Early in the morning around 1:30 AM PDT, die-hard Western Overwatch fans were tuning in for the most anticipated matchup of Overwatch World Cup Group stages. Fighting to join Russia in the 2-0 club, it was South Korea with their infamous "never-lost-a-World-Cup-map" record vs. Team Finland, the team with the best chance at defeating them.
Twitch chat was the embodiment of anticipation as the OWWC casting talent filled time for about 15 minutes before the match started. ResidentSleeper spam dominated the conversation, but as soon as the match started, it was nothing but PogChamp.
They can bleed
South Korea's first game win was worrying for Finland fans. Fate's Wrecking Ball seemed out of control and Finland didn't seem to have an answer. On top of that, Carpe started snowballing with Doomfist which all but guaranteed the momentum leading into the next match.
But then, thanks to a 2 kill self-destruct by Zappis at the last moments of game 2, Team Finland made it clear that this was a real match. They were now the first team to ever take a game against Team South Korea in the Overwatch World Cup history. Despite being unprepared for Wrecking Ball, Finland proved the rumors correct -- they were South Korea's biggest threat.
The Server Crash
Something must have happened when South Korea suffered their first game loss because they swiftly answered back with a full hold against Finland on Temple of Anubis. Carpe on Widowmaker tore apart Finland with lethal precision and liNkzr's Genji was his primary target.
Game 4 on Rialto was Finland's choice and exactly what they needed to regain momentum. After winning the first half of Rialto, Team Finland revealed a quadruple Tank "spawn-camp" strategy that seemed to take South Korea by surprise.
Things were going well until...
An uncomfortable and painful server crash the moment Finland revealed their all-in strategy. The most obvious question was addressed by the casting talent stalling for the abrupt pause: would this give South Korea the time they needed to return unphased by Finland's strategy?
Thankfully to fans and, frankly, everyone involved, Team Finland ended up winning the game and the potential for controversy regarding the server crash and Finland's lost momentum was avoided. Now, with the series a 2-2 tied, Finland had placed South Korea in a position they have never faced before: the chance at actually losing.
Map 5 on Nepal will very likely go down as one of the most mechanically intense and impressive games of Overwatch played in 2018. The individual decision making of the players, the fluid composistion shifts, the masterful positioning (look out for Libero's high-altitude drops as Pharah), the last 30 seconds: it was everything competitive Overwatch strives to be.
In an absolute nail-biter conclusion, South Korea miraculously managed to take back the point after losing it at 99%. In what could not have been a closer last game, South Korea won 3-2 against Team Finland.
And this was only Day 1 of the World Cup.
The MVPs of Finland vs. South Korea.
If South Korea had to name an MVP, it would likely be Libero with Carpe's Widowmaker as an honorable mention. Libero's performance on Pharah was truly out of this world and his individual plays during the last game were a pleasure to watch.
Finland's MVP should be a toss-up between LiNkzr or Zappis. LiNkzr for his Widowmaker brilliance and intelligent Zarya plays and Zappis for delivering world-class D.Va usage and prophetic Self-Destructs (a 5 kill against South Korea!) that kept Finland in the match.
Most of the usual Overwatch League audience was probably sleeping during this match. But, as if Christmas came in August, they will awake to find the gift incredible series waiting to be watched.
The next Overwatch World Cup match will be South Korea vs. Hong Kong on Aug 17 at 8:00 PM PDT. You can watch the matches live (or any you've missed at Twitch.tv/playoverwatch.
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