WaWa’s Bootcamp: How two friends created Overwatch’s greatest coaching resource

I had the pleasure to sit down with the two founding members of WaWa’s Bootcamp, the fast growing free coaching center on Discord, and get inside their thoughts on the success of their coaching methods and Overwatch’s esports scene in general. We talked about how WaWa’s Bootcamp started, their goals for the community, and some pretty exciting details about Wawa’s Boot Camp Amateur Rising Tournament.

WaWa’s Bootcamp: the Story so Far

I remember how I first came across WaWa’s Bootcamp. My friend sent me a message late at night, which I got in the morning, saying he was super excited because he got invited to a coaching community on Discord. I was immediately intrigued.

I wouldn’t say I’m the most competitive player out there, but self improvement is always my goal. I joined and saw the community completely explode over the span of a few weeks. I wasn’t surprised, to say the least. Free coaching, done through an intuitive model like Discord, with some amazing coaches? It was the perfect storm.

WaWa, founder of WaWa’s Bootcamp, practicing for his second big idea: WaWa’s Doggy Overwatch Bootcamp.

So what brought about WaWa’s Bootcamp? WaWa said it all started among a group of friends. WaWa said he’s naturally a competitive gamer, and when he and CreamPuff (his partner at WaWa’s Bootcamp) started Overwatch, WaWa said, “As we were playing I said, ‘Hey, I really want to get really good at this game. I want to get better.'” From this grew a small, phone based community app of close friends and others they met in Overwatch who wanted to improve themselves too. By working together with others and taking constructive criticism, they rose through the ranks. Wawa’s Bootcamp was officially born.

“By using that structure… let’s give back to the community by helping those who aren’t able to access the resources or don’t know exactly what it takes to get to the level we’re at [Grand Master],” WaWa said.

Most big projects begin with a strong belief in something. For WaWa and Creampuff, it was, “That everyone has the potential to reach at least GMs, all it takes is the appropriate game knowledge, education and sort of someone to mold your path out for you.”

It was with that in mind that WaWa’s Bootcamp began, hoping to connect potential players looking to improve themselves with the right resources to improve their play. From posting VODs of your own play, getting coaches to review those VODs, or just finding yourself a team to play with, WaWa’s has created the atmosphere and environment for players to better themselves. It also gave regular Joes access to some of the best coaches in the scene.

Behind the Scenes

But what is it that WaWa and Creampuff do at WaWa’s Bootcamp, exactly? Well, their roles, like many early projects, are not clear cut. As I was interviewing the two WaWa noted that they had just hit their 1600th member, estimating that when I had joined a month ago they were at 700 members. To hold down such a growing community, the two stick (largely) to two kinds of roles: WaWa manages relations with coaches and pros, the kind of communication with outside members to draw them in. Creampuff, on the other hand, handles much of the ‘internal workings’ of the server.

 

Creampuff, co-founder of WaWa’s Bootcamp, is definitely the professional of the duo.

“We have a system where we work together to handle the internal and external part of the community,” Creampuff said.

 

Of course, in a busy start-up community roles often bleed into each other. Both WaWa and Creampuff have filled in for each other multiple times.

“It’s more like we help each other out, there’s no specific exact roles that we do. It’s just a matter of making sure we keep this community active and engaging with the students.”

As the project grew, so did the staff. In the early stages of WaWa’s Bootcamp, the two were running off two hours of sleep a night. By the second week, they had upgraded to five hours of sleep at most.

While running and maintaining a Discord server may sound easy enough, WaWa’s Bootcamp was more than just a Discord server, but a whole structured community in the making for coaches and students. More staff, they noted, were needed to make it “more sustainable.”

The Community Itself

What are the hopes of WaWa and Creampuff for WaWa’s Bootcamp? ”

“We sort of want to become the central hub for people to access information on how to get better in a free manner,” they explained

While pros and pro coaches are not necessarily always available, the duo believes that the fundamentals should be available to everyone.

“Sort of like how school is free at an elementary level, we believe that the basics of Overwatch and the foundation should be free to the public.”

Given Overwatch’s complexity and depth, it makes sense that some of the fundamentals aren’t self-evident.

The way going forward though? A central website. While a Discord server has its obvious benefits, like easy access to voice communications and a chat for almost any subject related to WaWa’s Bootcamp activities or Overwatch in general, it has its drawbacks. Finding content, like instructional videos and guides, can be difficult to maintain.

“Overall our next step is to work on a website, and from that point on we wanna to see how much we can grow and think more of what we can expand on to make ourselves accessible to pretty much everyone in the Overwatch Community.”

Anyone in the server will notice the long list (92 and counting as I write this article) of pro players on the server, from teams like CLG to Immortals, EnVyUs to Evil Geniuses. I asked the two what the response has been like from professionals within the scene?

In short? Great, but in an indirect way. The two noted that, before fans got too excited, the majority of the pros on the server felt they could not commit enough time to their students with their current busy schedules. WaWa wagered that roughly 20% of the pros he’s contacted were able to coach students, while the remainder found themselves too preoccupied currently with their pro player lives. But, while, “The rest are too busy at the moment… they want to stay so when they have more free time they can actively help more.”

The pros also expressed their interest in taking part in future tournaments and events with WaWa’s Bootcamp, another reason to lurk around the server. The pros that were interested in offering coaching also felt that their students warranted strong dedication and for them to be offering their best to their students, a key reason for some to decline to offer their coaching for now. They felt it would be unfair to their students to not give them a certain amount of hours (some even listing an exact number.) ” I’m really glad that that was the response for why they weren’t able to take part in the tournament. Because it’s just considerate towards the students, and I’m really glad that they had the students in mind above anyone else.”

 

Wawa’s Boot Camp Amateur Rising Tournament: Showcasing the Talent of the Coaches

With the central focus of the community being on coaching and improving players, it’s no surprise that the first tournament from WaWa’s Bootcamp was focused on showcasing the coaching muscle of some of their star coaches.

Creampuff brought up that the inspiration behind the tournament came from the fact that in the scene “right now coaches are brought onto teams as their 7th player to ring, or to kind of hold their place, instead of going in as actual coaches for specifically coaching”. To change that, and show just how much coaches can improve players, they decided to start the Wawa’s Boot Camp Amateur Rising Tournament.

For WaWa, coaches play a very important role “because ultimately I do believe the education aspect of gaming plays a huge part in the improvement of players. Ultimately getting the pros better than they are currently”.

An example of Danny “Atomicgoofball” Nguyen work for Niles Paul of the Washington Redskins. Imagine this, but with Reinhardt charging, or crisp Pharah blue and gold…

Eight coaches were selected, and each given a team of players ranging between Platinum and Diamond to coach over a three week period. After the three week period the tournament begins in earnest, and the teams are pitted against each other to see which coach was able to mold their team into champions.

“You can think of this like the ultimate fighter challenge of Overwatch.”

For those interested in the process of coaching, there’ll be an extra bit of a treat: “We’ll be recording through the videos and their voice channels of what they do and the methods they take to help improve the performance of their students.”

The grand prize for the winning coach? Nothing less than a custom pair of shoes from renowned sneaker artist Danny “Atomicgoofball” Nguyen, an artist who’s current clients include M. Night Shyamalan among many other high fliers, featuring their favourite hero or the hero they main, whichever they’d prefer.

 

The Overwatch Esports Scene

Overwatch as an esport has been all the buzz since its release, coupled with its constant status at the top of PC Bars in Korea many have signaled a bright future for the title. I asked the duo their thoughts on Overwatch’s competitive scene as it is and their hopes and hesitations with the Overwatch League.

WaWa thinks that the scene isn’t done justice currently in either department of the attention and coverage it garners.

“One thing’s for sure, my personal belief is that Overwatch competitive scene doesn’t have the attention that it deserves. Compared to other games like CSGO and League of Legends, I would like the pro scene to have a little more attention from the public,” he said.

Not just public attention, but WaWa also noted the slow start for some bigger organization to dip their toes into the scene. The mystery of Overwatch League’s exact details, mixed with the ups and downs of an esports early stages, the hectic nature of Overwatch have been aspects contributing to the relatively slow growth of the investment side of the scene.

For Creampuff, he sang a more optimistic tune about the state of the scene. Drawing likeness to CS:GO’s explosion, Creampuff is hoping that Overwatch League will help the scene explode too.

“It’s relatively small but it is growing. What I’m hoping for is for it to take off like CSGO. CS was always kind of big, but a lot of companies weren’t really invested, but now it’s growing like crazy, with bigger companies going in,” he explained.

While CS was always a force within esports, CS:GO brought the FPS into the limelight of esports and easily a top contender for viewership at any tournament. While Overwatch doesn’t have the history that CS had behind it, it does have the hype around a bold new approach to esports leagues, one that hopefully will become more concrete in coming months.

The two also felt that recent ventures by non-endemic groups into the scene is a sign the times are changing for the better. Creampuff noted recent expressed interest in Overwatch League by the New England Patriots.

For WaWa, “I think it’s awesome that sports teams are taking an active role in the esports scene because it’s starting to mean people are taking esports a little more seirously.”

While traditional sports and non-endemic sponsorships have been on the rise in recent months within the esports sphere, esports has also seen increased public awareness.

WaWa brought up his first experience seeing esports on TV. “When I first went to Buffalo Wild Wings and started seeing esports games on TV, it was like [a] mind blown moment.”

Overwatch League: The Ups and Down for the Scene

If you hadn’t heard enough speculations, commentary, or opinions from pundits on the upcoming, mysterious Overwatch League, well… I don’t know what rock you’ve been hiding under. From rumours of prices to bid into the franchised league, to teams dropping their rosters in fears they can’t match these prices, it’s been a buzz in the esports media field in the past few weeks. So I decided to ask the two their thoughts on the Overwatch League that’s already made ripples thoroughout the esports scene before even really… concretely… being much.

Photo: Overwatchleague.com

For WaWa, there’s only two ways the Overwatch League will go: “I think it’s either going to be a huge hit that changes and revolutionizes esports across all games, or it’s just going to be really painful. I can’t see an in between.”

With the steep rumored price tag of slots in the league and the relative radio silence on some key details, WaWa also feels this points to the reason for many orgs to drop their current Overwatch rosters. Staple names like compLexity and Splyce recently dropped rosters, with Denial esports and just this week the announcement that Dignitas also dropped their roster.

Another possible reason for the recent exodus of medium sized esports organizations leaving the scene? Real sports teams investing into the esports scene.

“I think that’s probably why smaller tier gaming organizations are starting to feel a little threatened and wanting to back out while they can. In a war of attrition there’s no way they could win, they don’t have the backings or the finances in order to keep up.” While many look to traditional sports teams investing into the scene as only a positive, WaWa noted the kind of bittersweet nature of the move, saying, “I think it’s sad because you see organizations like compLexity all the time in different games, but they’re leaving one of the more rising popular games.”

Closing Statements

As our interview came to a close, I asked the duo for any final comments. WaWa highlighted how amazing it has been for himself watching the coach/student interactions.

“Everyone involved has knowledge that we spent hours and days and days of trying to retain so that we can reach the ranks that we are now, in terms of our coaches and pros. If feels good, it’s as much fun for the coaches as it is the students. You finally have somewhere to dump it all, it’s not just in your head, you can pass it on. I think it’s really nice seeing how our students look up to the pros and coaches and how the coaches enjoy communicating with the students, it’s just really nice to witness and students,” WaWa explained.

For Creampuff, it’s been the shear growth that WaWa’s Bootcamp has seen.

“It’s been a very interesting growth period for us. It’s crazy seeing all the students come in, and then the coaches, and then the pros, and then all the coaches fanboying over the pros coming in. The pros have been really good about it too, interacting, keeping in touch with us. It’s really crazy right now. Our main goal is to provide free coaching to anyone willing to learn. It’s crazy how that small idea became what it is right now. I’m very happy for where we’re at right now,” he said.


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Interview with Nomy and Aythen: Recent Wins, Thoughts on Overwatch League, and World Cup

Overwatch as an esport title stormed onto the scene before it was even fully released to the public, with a few minor tournaments and leagues being run during the closed beta. Since then, we’ve come a long way. Putting the Overwatch League aside, Overwatch’s esports scene has seen a steady growth since its full release.

We’ve already had multiple teams rise and fall. Players with big personalities and a World Cup that was, to say the least, an interesting ride. Now that Overwatch League is starting to grow into something that people actually know about, it is set to make its real step into the burgeoning esports world.

I got the chance to sit down with some of the players leading this charge into Overwatch’s bright future, Tank player David “nomy” Ramirez and Support player Athen “Aythen” Zhu from Immortals.

From discussions on their recent win in the Overwatch Carbon Series, the on-the-horizon Overwatch League, World Cup, and some changes to the game they’d like to see, the duo took the time to give their thoughts on the scene from the inside.

Carbon Series Win

Courtesy of Liquidpedia.

Immortals as an organization are a staple in the North American esport landscape, hosting teams in League of Legends, CSGO, Vainglory, two Smash players, and Overwatch.

While many fans will be familiar with NRG and EnVyUs, Immortals’ Overwatch squad may have flown under the radar of NA viewers until now. With a surprise win over tournament favourites LG. Evil in the Overwatch Carbon Series, the team cemented themselves as a top tier North American squad.

The biggest tournament showing for Immortals recently was taking it all at the Overwatch Carbon Series. With a lot of hype around LG. Evil, Immortals may have been feeling the pressure; but Nomy says the boys felt confident going into the series. “Personally we felt that we were confident, we were practicing and scrimming a lot… it just gives you more confidence and you just play better overall. I felt we had a big chance for winning a tournament.”

Aythen also commented on the team’s overall impression of the tournament, noting that the format and length threw him off slightly. “We didn’t really keep track, we were like, ‘Hey, we’re in the upper brackets for this.’ ‘Ohh, we’re in the grand finals for something,’ and I’m like okay. And then we all tried super hard and we won it and it was like, ‘holy crap.’” Going into the finals, Aythen noted too that the expected winner wasn’t them, but LG. Evil. “LG Evil was on a tear, and all of a sudden they just didn’t show up for the grand finals.”

A win is a win, but winning a premier tournament like the Overwatch Carbon Series isn’t just another feather in the cap for the team, it’s an added boost to their confidence. “We just came off a win at Overwatch Winter Premiere before that, and then we came off Carbon, and now we’re like ‘holy crap, we just won two majors in a row I guess.’ It felt good, we all were super happy with our performance.” With the up and down aspect of a young esport scene, it’s hard to place teams in a power ranking system. But given their recent performances, Immortals looks to be a stable force in the NA OW scene.

Overwatch League

Let’s face it, in comparison to the hype around any Overwatch tournament to date, Overwatch League easily takes the cake for having the most hype (and mystery) around it. From pundits in the scene curious to see how a franchised, city based system will work for esports, to fans eager to see some more stability in the scene, everyone is excited.

With that in mind, I asked the boys their thoughts on Immortals’ preparations going into Overwatch League. Nomy said that, “What we’re trying to do right now is grind a lot. We’re doing the boot camp as well… [we are] trying to make a similar Overwatch League experience.” While no one is sure how the Overwatch League will take form exactly, Nomy stressed that the team is doing their best to prepare and to make the transition as easy as possible. The one thing we all know is it’ll involve good Overwatch, and that’s something teams can prepare for in the now.

Another aspect that we do know about Overwatch League is that players will not be locked into their native region. This means we could see a full team of European residents represent an American city (looking at you, mysteriously-moves-to-Las-Vegas-Rogue).

With that in mind, certain regions may represent stronger talent than others. Aythen feels that, “the Koreans are going to be dominant seeing how strong they are in Korea right now, with our top NA teams going over and them getting smashed.” It seems that Korea, the esports juggernaut, is looking to dominant another esport title. Aythen feels that this is because, “They just respect everyone, and they all play on LAN as well right now, so they’re just getting that much experience over us.”

Is that doom and gloom for the West’s home grown talent though? Aythen isn’t convinced of this either. “Once the Overwatch League comes out and everyone’s on LAN, I feel like the Koreans are just going to start off super strong. Eventually we’re going to start catching back up, that’s how I see things going though right now.” The wildcard in the regional discussion? China. Aythen commented on the relative radio silence on the region, saying, “I don’t know about China. Nobody has really said much about China in general actually. Except for APAC, that was like a year ago so, so we really have no clue about them.”

It’s one thing to have big plans for the league, but it’s another to deliver on those plans. While Overwatch League has been touted as having a model more akin to the (now) quite prosperous North American style leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB), whether it’ll succeed in esports is another thing. Nomy is confident that it’ll do well though. “I’m not sure how fast the Overwatch League is going to blow up, but it looks like Blizzard is doing everything they can to make sure this is going to be the next big thing.” With Blizzard’s backing and its long tenure (however up and down for fans) in esports, it seems that all cylinders are firing for the Overwatch League to burst onto the scene.

Aythen sounded a more somber tune to the question though. “With spectating right now, I feel like it’s going to be a bit for the Overwatch League to blow up… That’ll definitely help viewership. I don’t know if it’ll blow up as much as LCS, actually I don’t see it blowing up as much as LCS and CSGO the first year. Probably until they fix spectating issues… It’s kind of hard to watch right now.” Spectating in Overwatch has been a concern for the game since its inception, with some fans finding it difficult to follow the action. Others have been concerned with the rather abrupt, shifting nature of the camera work.

FPS games occupy a unique space where spectator mode is a much more nuanced art rather than an intuitive science like in MOBAs. It’s not just about adding indicators for viewers to keep track of key information, but finding ways to properly capture the action accurately and easily for viewers is a big issue. An issue that, hopefully, will be fixed and fine tuned with time.

Nomy, Tank player for Immortal’s Overwatch team. Courtesy of Immortals.

For fans of League of Legend’s Korean league, the LCK, the departure of Erik “DoA” Lonnquist and Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles from the broadcast was a saddening blow to the scene. For Overwatch fans, it turned out to be the best thing confirmed for the Overwatch League to date.

Touted as some of the best casters in the game, not just for their understanding of the game itself but for adding colourful commentary, both Nomy and Aythen seemed hyped for their arrival. For Nomy, “Bringing them over [Doa and Monte] to cast it, I think they’re one of the best currently right now for Overwatch casting. They make the game very entertaining, very easy to watch. That’s something that a new audience really needs.” For a game as complex and multilayered as Overwatch to succeed, casting is going to be key, and who better than some of the most veteran casters around.

Aythen echoed Nomy’s praise for the duo. “In OGN, Doa and Monte, they put in work casting the game and everything, learning about the game. Them transitioning from League to Overwatch, they’re putting in just as much effort. They’re really good at their job, and that’s going to definitely help.” Doa and Monte’s transition from League into Overwatch seemed a smooth one, and Aythen rightfully points to their work ethic in a lot of ways. The effort the two put into their casts and knowing their games in and out, as well as the players and larger narratives is what sets them above other casters.

Regional Esports Teams

NOTE: Image of potential teams for the Overwatch League, this image was already confirmed to not actually indicate which cities they had in mind. In case anyone missed that.

The other aspect Overwatch League has going for it? A unique approach to engaging fans. By basing teams in geographic locations and locking them in for that area, Nomy feels that casual fans or new fans to esports will be drawn to their local teams. Citing his own experience, “Me for example, I don’t watch soccer that much, but my city in particular has a soccer team. So it’s impossible for me not to get hyped when they play, so that’s just going to help normal viewership get familiar with the game.” While the current reach of soccer to a more casual crowd is probably quite high compared to Overwatch, Nomy’s point stands for more casual esports fans too. We could see fans of esports in general flocking towards their local Overwatch teams when they’re playing, and it’s a smart move to create an easier engagement for more casual fans to choose their teams.

This doesn’t mean for Nomy, though, that fans will give up long standing commitments to teams or players to jump ship to regional teams. “Of course certain organizations already have their own particular fan base, so they’re always going to follow their organization no matter what. Some fans will just come because of the players individually.” While this will probably be the case, it isn’t bad for the regional model either. It’s good for both sides, as more casual fans or new comers to esports have ways to find their favorite teams (local, regional teams) while more established fans can still cheer on their favorite organizations or players.

Courtesy of Blizzard.

World Cup Talks

Of course, the biggest event for Overwatch (ok, maybe debatable, but easily the biggest/only from Blizzard themselves) was the World Cup. Last year was a mix of expectations and well… memes.

Korea formed a team. That team won. Nobody really batted an eyelash. They also went undefeated. So there’s that. And while the teams themselves weren’t filled with no-namers, there was a definite random feel to some of the national rosters.

What did the Immortals duo feel about the World Cup? They loved it. Aythen only lamented that he wasn’t apart of the first USA team, but hopes to be one day. “It’s really cool in my opinion. Seeing what regions are strong, who has the best players, and seeing like your favourite players playing on a team with your other favourite players.” On top of that, he noted how it’s a lot of fun for fans of the scene. Seagull on a team with Liquid members? It could happen. “Now you [see] it’s happening on stage at World Cup, and now they’re fighting for their country. It’s super cool.”

Courtesy of Blizzard.

Nomy was equally hyped for World Cup, but for different reasons. Having been chosen for Mexico’s team last year, he noted that the new format of fans voting on a national committee will legitimize the competition a bit more. “This year it looks there’s a lot more organization, it looks like right now it’s just going to be who is the best of the best to see which region is the strongest so this year is going to be a lot better than last years in my opinion.”

This will be in stark contrast to last year’s national team for Mexico, Nomy noted. “The first World Cup, the people who got into the team were the people who had a lot of fans on Youtube or Twitch. We couldn’t say that they were the top competitive players if that makes sense.” The move to voting being restricted for fans will hopefully see a shift away from it coming down to a popularity contest. It sounds like that would be a step forward for certain national teams. I mean, unless you were Korea, who probably don’t need any help in that regard anyways.

Some changes to the game 

Let’s face it, we’re not perfect yet. Overwatch still has a long way to grow, and that’s largely to be expected. I asked the duo what their thoughts were on some possible directions of change that Blizzard could address to improve their experience with the game.

Of course, being pro players, one would expect a comment on the matchmaking system in Overwatch. Aythen didn’t hold back in his comments on the system as it is, saying, “I feel like matchmaking is inflated to all Hell right now, and it’s just… it should be a grind like it is in League. You shouldn’t be able to get top rank in a day or two. That’s insane.” Aythen found that the ability to climb so quickly in Overwatch’s ladder made play at the higher levels feel less consequential. Once you reached Grand Master, there wasn’t much room to grow, and for players at the top tier of Overwatch, that wasn’t hard to get to.

Aythen, Support player for Immortals. Courtesy of Immortals Twitter.

Outside of just the relative ease of climbing the ladder, what else did they feel needed to be changed? Saying goodbye to Flex Queue and bringing a more stable format like Solo Queue and Duo Queue. Both players agreed on this being a big issue, with Aythen saying, “We really don’t want to see 3-6 stacks anymore. I don’t think anyone wants to play against that when you’re solo. It’s just not a fun experience, and I don’t think it does much competitively in a game like that.”  While it may be fun to queue up with multiple friends in competitive, it isn’t necessarily fair to players trying to hone their skills.

Nomy felt the same way about including Solo Queue in Overwatch’s competitive scene. “If you really want to be the best competitive experience, Solo Queue is the way to go. That way you will get the fairest matches possible, everyone is focusing on their character and their role. I think that will really help and boost the game in a competitive aspect for the ladder.”

Nomy also highlighted a reoccurring theme of concern over the spectator mode in Overwatch, particularly for newer fans to the scene. While he didn’t know exactly how to go about it, he had one suggestion that was close to heart: Reinhardt. “Seeing the shield of the other Reinhardt is kind of important. There’s like a shield management battle for example, so adding some cooldowns or ability cooldowns to the thing so that there’s something you can see to track that.”

 

For the memes

Nomy

If you could remove one hero from the game forever, who would it be?

It’s hard to say this but removing one of my favorite heroes, Roadhog. Getting hooked feelsbadman

If you could BE one hero from the game in real life, who would it be and why?

Reinhardt, I like how he protects people that are close to him, I try to do that with my family and friends IRL, but being a big dude with huge armor would kick ass!

Courtesy of… having too much time on my hands, and MS Paint Skillz.

What’s your favorite skin for any hero?

Safari Winston, you can’t beat that mustache.

If you were stranded on a desert island, which teammate would you want with you and why?

I would choose Verbo, being the main shot caller of the team, he always has a play before the gates open. We would survive on that island, eazy peazy.

 

Aythen

If you could remove one hero from the game forever, who would it be?

In the original headshot, Aythen actually had his arms crossed just like Lucio. It’s fated.

Mmmm, that’s a hard question. If I had to choose it would probably be Mei because I hate her ability to stall out points with Cryo-Freeze. I hate how much health she has and I also hate her ability to slow people into a stun for a free headshot.

If you could BE one hero from the game in real life, who would it be and why?

I’d probably want to be Lucio. Speed boost in real-life would be sick and skating on walls would be so much fun! Hahaha.

What’s your favourite skin for any hero?

It would have to be the new Blackwatch Genji skin. That skin is super cool in my opinion. I hope the heroes I play get awesome skins like that 🙁

If you were stranded on a desert island, which teammate would you want with you and why?

It would most likely have to be Hyped. He’s like our team mom and he is really smart about a lot of things, so most likely he knows random stuff about survival.

Integrating Chess Theory into Overwatch

With origins going back to the early 1200’s, it’s quite clear that chess is one of the most historical games of intellect the world knows. At its core principals, chess has a relation to almost any sport or esport.

I am an avid student of game theory, and ever since I was offered to coach my university’s Overwatch team, I have been fascinated in discovering the beauty that lies deep within strategical decision making in Overwatch. Initially, I never thought about comparing chess to Overwatch. But some chess theories can be used for other games, so I decided to take a more in-depth look.

In this article, I will go over the use of some chess theory in any sort of capture point maps.

 

Opening Theory

In chess, every top player has a variation of an opening. They look to develop their pieces and have an initial game plan to move themselves into the mid-game. Just like chess, a structured Overwatch team will have an initial opening. We will define an opening in Overwatch as the initial team comp and path to point a team decides on. Their opening might have to change due to the other teams defensive opening, but their goal is to develop all of their players to be able to make a play on point effectively.

(image from Kingsrow.uk)

Openings can counter other openings and put a team into a bad spot for the mid-game. A great example is the recent Lunatic-Hai (attacking) vs. Kongdoo Panthera on Volskaya.

Lunatic-Hai started off with a pick, hoping to corral a three-tank from Kongdoo and use a damage boosted Widow to gain a numbers advantage. Kongdoo, knowing that Lunatic-Hai likes to play Zen on short maps with a Soldier 76 on offense, played a defensive full-dive comp with a cheeky Sombra. Lunatic-Hai lost their Widow and 76, and then switched to the dive comp.

Note: Up until the start of the initial fight, a team is in their opening. Once bullets start to get traded, the teams enter the middlegame.

 

Middlegame Theory

Chess’ middlegame is known as the least developed portion of the game. In Overwatch, this is when a team starts to adapt to what their opponents are doing and can set up a better plan than their initial opening. Pieces and heroes will have different values at this part of the game. How can we use this theory in a situation?

(image from Kingsrow.uk)

Let’s take Reinhardt, DVA, and Lucio defending on top of hotel on Numbani. The attacking team is going up short to push top of hotel. Let’s say we know the defending Rein has more ult charge then the attacking Rein. The attacking Rein can look for a point-blank charge onto defensive Rein and get a 1 for 1 trade. The value has shifted dramatically on this trade because of three things: The defending team lost a higher valued character, the attacking Rein will gain value because he can get back to point faster, and he can gain positioning on top of hotel if he wants.

In the middlegame, a team is setting themselves up for the big attack to end the game on either the second capture point or the last payload checkpoint. This could involve strategies such as dry pushes, switching of resources, and many other examples. Once they feel they can end the game, they move to the endgame.

 

Endgame Theory

Just like the endgame in chess, one team is going to have more resources than the other during the final moments of the game. Chess has theoretical endings, such as rook and bishop versus rook, queen versus rook, queen versus rook and pawn, and rook and pawn versus rook. Overwatch has its own theoretical endings such as Nano-Rein with hammer, Nano-Hog, Beyblade, and literally anything with Graviton surge. After those combos have been set up in middlegame, a team proceeds to close out the game with those major resources.

(image from i.ytimg.com)

 

Conclusion

Chess theories were written regarding how the game should be played in these different phases, with the main emphasis on the opening and endgame. The concept is similar for Overwatch and very easy to understand. What should you take back to your team with this discussion on theory?

Opening: Have a game plan and a good composition.

Middlegame: Trade resources and set up to finish out the game.

Endgame: Use your ult combos you previously have set up to end the game.

Sitting down and analyzing all these phases of the game separately will improve your structured team a good amount. If your team gets snowballed, go back to your mid-game and see what could have happened differently. If you stopped a team on their initial push, go back and look at their opening compared to your defensive opening.

Theories are what form structure, a meta, and strategies to a game. When EnVyUs was running their double sniper comp on the first point of King’s Row, they had a theory that it was a strong opening and did what they needed. Meta Athena has their theory that Mei should be valued higher for her ability to create positioning value with her wall. If you have a feeling about something, come up with the theory and then play it. All theories at some point are just speculation, until you act on them.


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OGN Apex Overwatch Season Three Pre-Season Power Rankings

OGN Apex Season three is quickly approaching. Now two seasons in, it’s clear who the favorites are and which teams will have to work their way up. Lunatic-Hai are the defending champs, but it’s not out of the question to see a meteoric rise from a team similar to the upstart RunAway.

However, with little player acquisition during the offseason, more teams will have better chemistry and familiarity with their teams. Look for more consistent results this season as teams continue to grow together. Here are my preseason Power Rankings before the season kicks off on April 28th.

1. Lunatic-Hai
The defending Champions bring back a full roster to begin their title defense. Lunatic-Hai will still have the matchup advantages, with two of the best supports, and possibly the best player in all of competitive Overwatch, Lee “Who.r.u” Seung Joon. They’ll look to be the first team to repeat as Apex champions.

2. RunAway
Season two was the coming out party for one of the most talented teams in Overwatch. Future stars like Ryu “Kaiser” Sang Hoon and Kim “Haksal” Hyo Jong made their presence known on the national stage. Despite blowing a 3-1, the underdog team will be a heavy favorite to make another deep playoff run in season three.

3. LW Blue
LW Blue, after another solid season, have cemented their place as a top-three team in Overwatch. The full roster is back for season three, and this could be the season LW Blue finally puts an entire season together to win it all. The only losses on their record last season: Lunatic-Hai (3-0), KongDoo Pantera (5-4 in overall games), and barely losing to RunAway in the semifinals (3-2). This team is close to breaking through.

4. MetaAthena
Similarly to RunAway, MetaAthena surprised the Overwatch world in season two. First by taking out the season one champions in group A (Team EnvyUs), and then making it all the way through to the playoffs. MetaAthena is a true threat to win the whole thing, and in my eyes, one of the best rosters in the entire league. Keep an eye on Chou “Hoon” Jae Hoon to have another big season.

5. KongDoo Panthera 
At certain points during season two, the Panthera squad looked like the best team in the league. The 9-0 in the group stages (including 3-0 over RunAway), only to be halted in the second group by MetaAthena, and eventually LW Blue. It was a disappointing end to their season, but with their DPS centered roster, it will be a tough draw again in season three. That said, Pantera did add two needed tank mains, which will change their approach.

6. KongDoo Uncia
The other side of KongDoo Tuesday is the exciting Uncia squad. The favorite heading into season two looked strong early on, but then got a bad break with their group two draw (RunAway and Lunatic-Hai in group). Now this team made some changes, moving one of the top DPS mains, in Kim “Birdring” Ji Hyuk. It’ll be interesting to see if the new faves will make the same impact.

Graphic is wrong: INTERNETHULK is not on EnVyUs

7. Team EnVyUs
The best non-Korean team is back after failing to repeat as champions. After a fairly dominant season one, EnvyUs struggled to make it out of the group stages. The perception around the league is that this is one of the weaker teams in Apex. EnvyUs did lose Dennis “INTERNETHULK” Hawelka, but he was one of the main reasons this team struggled in season two. A stronger support main will be a huge help to their front end players.

8. Afreeca Freecs Blue
The Blue squad surprised people by making it into group stage two, but that run didn’t last long. This team’s ceiling is still plenty high, especially with the addition of KongDoo Uncia’s support main, Yoo “Lucid” Jun Seo. Look for this team to be a threat in group stage one.

9. BK Stars
BK Stars were one of the most efficient teams in season one, but after a disappointing season two, this team looks to get back to the playoffs. This team was close to winning it all in season one, but that’s ancient history now. With little changes made to the roster, this team will have plenty of familiarity with each other.

10. Rogue
Rogue is back in Apex after sitting out season two. The second best foreign team in Overwatch will have to readjust to a league that made huge strides in season two in terms of skill. Even with a successful season one, this team will have their hands full.

11. X6-Gaming
In terms of sleeper teams, X6 could be the team to watch in season three. Sweeping through challenger with little hiccups shows this team’s potential. There’s no doubt this team deserves to be in the premier league.

12. ConBox Spirit
Similarly to BK Stars, ConBox has been around since season one, and has been good enough to stay in the premiere league. It took them winning on super week, but they showed they were in a class above the rest as they easily took care of business to avoid relegation.

13. Mighty AOD
After missing out on making the premier league in season two, Mighty AOD stormed through super week to finish second in their group. AOD took out FlashLux twice in challenger with relative ease. This could be another surprise squad in season three.

14. MVP Space
The sister squad, MVP Infinity, was relegated out of the premier league, and now it’s MVP Space’s turn. They even blew out Infinity 3-0 to make it through. But the 3-0 loss to ConBox raises some questions.

15. FlashLux
The most underwhelming team in season two barely makes it back by winning the losers group to qualify. The one promising aspect in season two was playing as a team in tournament. More familiarity in season three might do them some good.

16. Rhinos Gaming Wings
After being relegated in season two, Rhinos Gaming Wings is back. The wins over MVP Infinity and AfreecaFreecs Red pushed them over the top. It’s going to be an uphill battle for Rhinos as they look to avoid relegation in season three.

Photos courtesy of http://wiki.teamliquid.net/overwatch/Overwatch_APEX/Season_3

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Lunatic-Hai Coming Back from 3-1: One of the greatest moments in Overwatch history

Amidst the legion of screaming fan-girls, Lunatic-Hai stayed composed enough while falling behind 3-1 in games to come back and win an epic Grand Final that will be remembered for a very long time. Doing so, Lunatic-Hai launched themselves into stardom as the best team in a new burgeoning esports scene.

The run from the start of OGN Apex Season Two for the Korean based squad wasn’t easy. The two group stages netted them a 5-1 record, but overall Lunatic-Hai had closer games than expected. The struggle really began when they faced off for the first time with the upstart free agent team, RunAway.

The story of Season Two was all about RunAway’s improbable run to the Finals, putting Lunatic-Hai’s consistency in the back seat. It’s incredible what momentum can accomplish, and after RunAway took the group over Lunatic-Hai in round two, the pink sweaters looked unstoppable. The momentum from that win carried over into the playoff stage and into the Finals.

The actual match was truly an epic one that deserves to be looked at as one of the most exciting Grand Finals ever. It not only provided fans with close games, but also set up a collapse on par with the Cleveland Indians and Golden State Warriors. RunAway continued the trend, going up 3-1 in sets, only to fall back down to earth in the most soul-crushing way imaginable.

Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/OGN_OW

Game 1

RunAway got the early lead, winning on Oasis, a map they went 6-3 on during the regular season. It went to game three but Lee “Stitch” Choong Hui and Kim “Haksal” Hyo Jong outplayed their DPS counterparts while Ryu “Kaiser” Sang Hoon controlled the defense with Reinhardt and Winston.

Game 2
Game two was an instant classic. Lunatic-Hai and RunAway are both known for their excellent play on hybrid maps. Lunatic-Hai is especially good on these maps, fronting a 7-2 record with the only losses coming to RunAway in group two. RunAway, on the other hand, finished the season 3-0 on Hollywood.

However, early on it looked like Lunatic-Hai was going to roll through map two. It took a valiant last point defense spearheaded by Kaiser and strong ultimate usage to hold-off the offense. The hold opened the door for a full RunAway cap and a 2-0 series lead. At that point, the unthinkable started to slowly become reality. RunAway had a legitimate shot to take home the top prize.

Game 3
Despite the series deficit, Lunatic-Hai never seemed down on themselves in the booth. They took a quick 2-1 victory on Volskaya Industries in game three with Gong “Miro” Jin-hyuk playing the aggressive Winston and turning disadvantaged team fights with primal rage. Lee “Whoru” Seung Joon finished off RunAway with two separate three kill nano-boosted demon blades.

Game 4
Once again, game four displayed the pure skill on RunAway’s roster. Without question, the best Reinhardt in season two, Kaiser, stuck to his aggressive style out of shield and propelled RunAway to the final cap. Stitch continues to improve on his Soldier: 76 play and that was apparent once again on Route 66. The win put RunAway one game away from the ultimate glory.

Lunatic-Hai, after a dream season, was on the brink of elimination. The best team had to win three straight games on a two control point map, an escort map, and finally a hybrid. Luckily for Lunatic-Hai, those game types match up with exactly how they like to play. Lunatic-Hai had a 12-5 record on those three map types, but three of those losses were at the hands of RunAway who also excel on them.

Game 5
Lunatic-Hai’s smart strategic, game planning showed through on Hanamura. On the defensive side second point, the upstairs defense with Kim “Esca” In-jae on Mei and Whoru getting three kill team fights with demon blade was a good combo. The best Ana in Overwatch also played an enormous role. Ryu “Ryujehong” Je-Hong landed an immaculate amount of sleep darts, not only on Hanamura, but the entire set. He would get sleep darts to delay spawns and that was a huge advantage for Lunatic-Hai.

On offense, it took Yang “Tobi” Jin-mo holding off a Haksal graviton surge with Lucio’s sound barrier to eventually push RunAway back to win the map. It was a team effort as almost everyone contributed. It wasn’t until this win that momentum started to build for Lunatic-Hai. After the win, I’ve never seen a more excited Lunatic squad.

ESCA and Tobi Celebrating after game 5 win. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/OGN_OW

Game 6
It was only Lunatic-Hai’s second game on Dorado all season. The first came against MetaAthena in the semifinals, a game they lost 2-3. Against RunAway on offense, it was looking bleak. Big ultimate pushes were being held on last point and as we saw against MetaAthena, that’s the area they struggle in. It took chipping away and forcing RunAway into bad situations to barely get the final cap before overtime.

Now in an elimination game, Lunatic-Hai needed a full-hold more than ever. This was RunAway’s first game on Dorado, so strats might not have been as refined as other escort maps. The inexperience showed for RunAway, as the aggressive defense from Lunatic-Hai gave them problems. RunAway couldn’t find a way to damage the back line. Whoru continued to get four kill demon blades and Esca’s hit and run style with Tracer gave RunAway fits on the cart.

A full-hold on Dorado had completely shifted any sort of momentum back to Lunatic-Hai’s favor. The two DPS mains were playing fantastic while Tobi and Ryujehong made it real tough for RunAway with their survivability.

RunAway Looking Gloom after losing game 6. Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/OGN_OW

Game 7
There’s absolutely nothing greater in sports than a game seven. Every play in a game seven is infinitely more crucial and teams have to take advantage of every little opportunity. Lunatic-Hai, with two consecutive wins, knew they were in the drivers seat. It all came down to Eichenwalde. Win and forever be a champion, lose and go home thinking “what if.”

In the round two set, RunAway got the better of Lunatic-Hai on Eichenwalde. A last point Pharah defense was the difference there. RunAway, up until game seven, was the most proficient team on Eichenwalde, holding a 3-0 record. Lunatic-Hai had one last chance to even the score in the biggest moment of their careers.

Lunatic-Hai started on offense first. The first real surprise came with Ryujehong switching off his usual Ana and going Zenyatta. This decision alone carried them on offense. Four team engagements took place and Lunatic-Hai WON ALL FOUR convincingly. It didn’t take much as the discord let Esca and Whoru cause havoc on RunAway’s tanks. The run ended with four minutes on the clock and a very confident Lunatic-Hai heading into defense.

Every championship team has their moment. It’s a moment where it feels and looks like no one is on your level. That moment came on the defensive side of Eichenwalde for Lunatic-Hai. In every way imaginable, Lunatic-Hai took control of their own destiny by outplaying, outsmarting, and keeping their nerves to a minimum.

Finally, Lunatic-Hai is the OGN Apex Season Two champions, the best team in the world at Overwatch. It was a valiant effort from RunAway, but from the start of group one, it was clear who the best team in Overwatch was and now it’s solidified.

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Blizzard Asking Investors to Commit to the Overwatch League With High Priced Entry Fee

https://plus.google.com/+Blizzard

After months of silence from Blizzard since the announcement of the Overwatch league, they’ve finally revealed the entrance fee. Teams will be able to buy-in for the cheap price of anywhere from $2 million to $15 million, according to Sports Business Daily.

Details are still scarce at this point on what buying-in entails for a new team owner. It was reported that the price is set appropriate to the market they’re buying into. For example, to start an Overwatch franchise in Los Angeles, California, a huge esports market, will set a buyer back $15 million. Most markets will even out at $2-$5 million with the large markets going closer to $10m.

With this information, Blizzard has made it clear that they are committed and highly value this new league. If this is what they’re asking owners for at the conception of the league, Blizzard is expecting this to be a highly-profitable venture. In the past, esports leagues formed with franchising in mind, but never had the backing that the Overwatch league will have with Blizzard.

It’s a brand new idea and is not guaranteed to be a success. Blizzard is asking owners to trust in a game that hasn’t proved itself as an esports title yet. It’s also essentially going all-in on one esports title, with the going rate set in the millions. Most major teams can afford the entry fee, but might spread them a little thin across other titles.

The idea behind it is to setup an established Overwatch league, similar to the more successful sports leagues in America (NFL, MLB, etc.). Stadium tickets and merchandising will be the main draw for potential investors. Also, to be apart of the worlds firs esports league with franchised teams.

Revenue Sharing 

At this point, there are no details on how the revenue sharing will work between all teams. People have speculated it could look similar to League of Legends LCS, but those are just rumors. This new league will avoid some of the LCS’s pitfalls in relegation , which will allow fans to become more familiar with players and teams. This will drive up profits. Also, getting to cheer for the home town team will instantly give fans a reason to invest in a team.

The issue right now is whether or not esports fans will support this new idea enough to keep it alive. Overwatch has a highly-active player-base, but most competitive Overwatch matches average out at about 15k viewers a stream. Now, that’s not bad for a new esports title, but turning around and asking owners for millions of dollars is a little suspect.

The idea is to tap into this massive player-base and create a fan base through them. There is no guarantee that it will work. Overwatch is a great game to play, but watching can be an entirely different story. The action in a match can be hectic and hard-to-follow for casual fans. It’s hard to get a grasp on which players are the ones to watch.

Ultimately, Blizzard will have to make updates to the UI and add more in-depth statistical data to make it easier on fans. It will take some tweaking to make this work. With Blizzard’s backing, however, it doesn’t seem unreasonable for owners to invest. As a fan myself, I hope this league is the future of esports. A more familiar setup will entice the traditional sports fan to watch. This could be the next step in the evolution of esports.

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Overwatch’s Newest Addition: Orisa

Photo Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch’s newest hero, Orisa, is now on the PTR (Public Test Region), and I highly recommend you get on and give her a try. In the few hours that I’ve had with her, I’ve come to respect and admire her beautifully made kit. Orisa seems to work best with champions that synergize with her abilities and play style. Let’s take a look at Efi Oladele’s newest creation.

Initial Thoughts

While Orisa is not as tanky as current tanks such as Reinhardt or Roadhog, she more than makes up for it with her versatile ability kit. Orisa excels with a team that can support her wide variety of abilities. Characters such as Zarya, Mei, and Reinhardt can enhance her ability to aid her team, by adding additional crowd control, sustained healing, and damage absorption. Orisa falls short to characters such as Genji or Pharah, and will need support from her team when dealing with these threats. Let’s dive into her abilities, see what they do, and how they aid her team.

Primary Ability – Fusion Driver – 200 Round Capacity – Ranged – Reload Time: ~2.5 Seconds. 

Fusion Driver lays out impressive and consistent ranged damage with a 200 round magazine, while slowing her movement speed slightly. Fusion Driver provides excellent ranged support with little spread. Additionally, when combined with Halt!, Orisa can put out high damage from a safe range. Because of the large magazine capacity of Fusion Driver, players need not worry about reloading after every time they fire, as her reload time is moderately high. Think of Orisa’s Fusion Driver  as a heavy assault/support weapon.

Secondary Ability – Halt! – Cooldown: 8 Seconds – Effective Radius: 7.5 Meters

Orisa shoots a graviton charge at a target location, pulling all nearby enemies into a cluster and slowing their movement speed. Halt can be detonated before it reaches the target location, allowing Orisa to provide awesome crowd control for her team.

Note: Halt! can be blocked by both Genji and D.Va, so use with caution against them. For Genji, try to project Halt! either in front of him, or to the side. Remember, the radius of effect is ~20 feet, so you have plenty of room to work with. Also, when combined with other abilities, such as Reinhardt’s Earthshatter, Zarya’s Graviton Surge, or Mei’s Blizzard, you can layer nasty Crowd Control against the enemy team. Everybody loves Crowd Control.

Ability 1 – Fortify – Duration: 4 Seconds – Cooldown: 10 Seconds – Damage Reduction: 50% 

Orisa activates a self-shield, reducing damage she takes by 50%, and becomes immune to ANY action-impairing effects. Fortify is a key ability which enables Orisa to absorb incredible amounts of damage while maintaining her freedom to move around. Fortify has several uses, and is easily one of Orisa’s best abilities. Let’s take a look at a few of the abilities Orisa becomes immune to.

  1. Reinhardts Charge and Earthshatter.
  2. Mei’s Blizzard, and Endothermic Blaster.
  3. Zarya’s Graviton Surge.
  4. Roadhog’s Chain Hook.
  5. Pharah’s Concussive Blast.
  6. Lucio’s Soundwave.
  7. Sombra’s Hack.
  8. Junkrat’s Concussion Mine and Steel Trap.
  9. D.Va’s Boosters knockback.
  10. Ana’s Sleep Dart.

Additionally, Fortify allows Orisa to survive annoying but deadly ultimate’s such as D.Va’s Self-Destruct, or Hanzo’s Dragonstrike. These are just a few of the many beneficial uses that Fortify offers.

 

Ability 2 – Protective Barrier – Absorb Amount: 900 – Duration: 20 Seconds – Cooldown: 12 Seconds  (Starts on use)

Orisa tosses out a stationary barrier which protects her and any allies from hostile fire. Orisa may only have one Protective Barrier active at a time. The barrier will last through her death. Protective Barrier should be used on cooldown, provided there is actually a use for it. Additionally, because it lasts for 20 seconds, it has a chance of being off cooldown when or if you want to place it again. Especially relevant, keep in mind that Protective Barrier is not as strong as Reinhardt’s shield. Effective placement of Protective Barrier is important, because it is stationary. Once it goes down, you can’t move it, and must wait for the cooldown.

Ultimate Ability – Supercharger – Health: 200 – Damage Increase: 50% – Radius: 25 Meters – Duration: 15 Seconds

Orisa places down a device which increases damage inflicted by her teammates who are within her line of sight. This device has low health, and needs to be protected. Also, Supercharger works well with heroes such as Winston or Reinhardt, who both have protective abilities. Furthermore, Supercharger has incredible offensive capability, and shines brightest when defending or attacking a point. Overall, with a nice buff, yet fragile health pool, this ability seems pretty balanced.

That’s all for now on Orisa! I hope you find some useful information here in this guide and review. Therefore, Orisa seems to be a very versatile hero. She is already more than proving her worth on the PTR. With that, I’m off to get some more playtime with Orisa! From all of us at The Game Haus, I’m David. As always, Good Luck, Have Fun! See you on the PTR!

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Reference:

Orisa Stats Reddit.com

OGN Apex Season 2 Playoffs are Here

The OGN Apex second regular season has come to a close, as Fnatic and Cloud9 miss the playoffs. The west only gets one team in EnvyUs. After an exhausting decision making process, the round two groups have been decided.

Based on random drawings of the first seeds, the groups were decided. Lunatic-Hai got the first pick, and not only do they get to pick their group, but also their opponent. They chose the defending champions, EnvyUs. With all the Korean teams polled, most teams wanted to face the one foreign team.

  • Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/ognglobal

The Group of Death 

For example, the challenger qualifier team, Meta Athena, beat EnvyUs 3-0 in the group stages. The top ranked team showed weaknesses and now has to play in the group of death. In the other match in group A, KongDoo Uncia will face Runaway. Uncia’s sister team, Panthera, had a strong showing against RunAway, holding them to only one point in the entire match.

Additionally, DNCE (Kim Se Yong), from Uncia said “he wanted to get it over with” referring to playing either EnvyUs or the other top Korean team Lunatic-Hai. One of the three best teams in the world will be eliminated before the bracket. The hope for foreign Overwatch all relies on the skills of Taimou (Timo Ketunnen) and HarryHook (Jonathon Tejedor Rua) who carried them to this point.

Prediction: Lunatic-Hai is the most well-rounded team in group A. The supports are possibly the best in all of Overwatch with Whoru (Lee Seunf Joon) playing the DPS role at an extremely high level. KongDoo Uncia will be the second seed. Uncia struggled against Cloud 9, but this team still has strong enough tank players to beat EnvyUs.

photo courtesy of twitch.tv/ognglobal

Group B

In group B, it will most likely come down to who can beat KongDoo Panthers. MetaAthena had a strong showing in round one by beating EnvyUs 3-0. It was the most shocking result of the regular season. MetaAthena had the best draft, avoiding three of the top four teams.

On the other hand, LW Blue and Afreeca Freecs Blue are no slouches. AFB finished second last year in Apex and LW Blue is highly regarded as one of the best teams. The prohibitive favorites will be the latter, but these teams can give them a run for their money. AFB had a rough regular season escaping out from group C by eliminating Cloud 9.

Prediction: it’s tough seeing anyone beat Panthera with their ability to adjust to compositions with excellent flex play. KongDoo Panthera wins the group. MetaAthena is clearly the second best team, Hoon (Choi Jae Hoon) is one of the best Zarya players in a sea of Korean Zarya’s.

The Disappointments
It was a sad day for western Overwatch. Misfits, Cloud 9, and Fnatic all missed the playoffs. Misfits and Cloud 9 had their chance to recover, but lost in the last set to miss out. Cloud 9 took a strong Uncia club to game 5, but ended up getting full-held on Eichenwalde. Each team finished third in their respective groups.

Furthermore, Korean teams like BK Stars and Conbox Spirit had a letdown season. As HarryHook said early on, “it seems harder to win this season.” The level of play has clearly gone up and the rest of the teams need to play catch-up. Squads like Cloud 9 and Misfits, who barely missed the playoffs, might need a retool. The rest might need a full-rebuild.

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Reinhardt Guide – The German Juggernaut

Photo Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

One of Overwatch’s best known heroes, Reinhardt, charges into the fray, literally. Reinhardt has the hit points to soak up damage, a massive war hammer to challenge any who get close, and a strong shield for defense. This Reinhardt guide highlights abilities, strengths and weaknesses, and play strategies to aid your team. Let’s take a look.

Primary Ability:  Rocket Hammer – Range: Melee (5 Meter Cone) Reload: N/A

Reinhardt swings his Rocket Hammer in a wide arc, dealing damage to all enemies hit and pushing them back slightly.

Pros: Excellent Melee Damage

Most enemies, with the exception of a few, such as McCree, Reaper, or Roadhog, who are within melee range of Reinhardt’s hammer will quickly realize they’re making a mistake. Reinhardt can eliminate low health targets he manages to get within melee range of. Additionally, in close quarters such as hallways, Rocket Hammer becomes even more deadly.

Cons: Vulnerability, Forced Close Combat

When Reinhardt is swinging his hammer, he is unable to shield both himself as well as his team. Knowing when to engage in melee combat is important and will boost not only your survivability, but the survivability of your teammates as well.

Key Tip: Animation Cancelling

Reinhardt can cancel the animation of his Rocket Hammer by either using Barrier Field, or Fire Strike. This can allow him to attack sooner than if he followed through with the full animation. This enables him to output damage faster. Keep in mind, this prevents Reinhardt’s hammer from hitting all targets.

Secondary Ability: Barrier Field – Absorb Capacity: 2000 Damage – Recharge Rate: ~200 shield per second (While not active after 2 seconds)

Reinhardt projects a shield in front of him, shielding him and any allies standing behind it.

Pros: Large Absorb Capacity, Shield For Team

Blocking heavy damage with Barrier Field just feels good. The shield’s size enables Reinhardt to shield both himself and his allies from tremendous amounts of damage. Additionally, Barrier Field recharges after not using it for two seconds, allowing Reinhardt to maximize on its use.

Cons: Slowed Movement Speed, Only One Direction of Defense

When Reinhardt is channeling his shield, he loses a portion of movement speed. Additionally, Reinhardt can only face one direction while he has Barrier Field active, so his teammates must be aware of this. As well, any strategic enemies will know this and try to hit him from multiple points, forcing him to retreat if he does not have any allies to aid him.

Ability 1 – Charge: Cooldown: 10 Seconds (3 if interrupted) 

Reinhardt charges forward at a high speed. When Reinhardt contacts the first enemy hit, they will become grabbed by him. Reinhardt will carry the caught enemy for the full duration of Charge, or until he makes contact with a physical surface. If Reinhardt manages to pin his enemy to a solid surface, such as a payload or wall, Charge will deal a large amount of damage. Know when to charge. Know when not to charge.

Pros: Speed Boost, Significant Damage, Enemy Removal

Charge has a variety of uses. First, Charge increases Reinhardt’s speed, allowing him to quickly travel a large distance. This enables him to return to objectives faster. Second, if Reinhardt manages to pin an enemy to a wall or other physical object, that enemy will take heavy damage, or die. Third, Charge is a great tool to remove enemy players from an intense firefight between teams. Last, charge is best used in medium to small quarters, where the enemy has less time to react to it.

Cons: Decreased Mobility, Potential Dangers

Because of the movement boost of Charge, Reinhardt’s mobility takes a hit. First, this can allow enemies to sidestep out of the way, negating its use. This can be dangerous by putting Reinhardt behind enemy lines, and away from his team. Also, using Charge when taking heavy damage can effectively be a death-sentence for Reinhardt. When charging, he drops all of his defenses, relying only on his large health pool to survive the duration of Charge.

Ability 2 – Fire Strike: Damage: 100 – Type: Piercing Projectile – Cooldown: 6 Seconds

One of my favorite abilities is Fire Strike. Reinhardt slings a large flaming ball at his target, dealing damage.

Pros: Ranged Ability, Able to Pierce Shields and Players, Moderately Low Cooldown

With its moderate cooldown, excellent range, and solid damage, Fire Strike pulls its weight. Additionally, Fire Strike is able to pierce both shields and players alike, enabling it to hit multiple targets at once. Also, this ranged ability deals the same amount of damage regardless of distance.

Cons: 

I can’t think of any serious flaws with this ability. It seems pretty balanced as well, with its six second cooldown preventing spamming.

Ultimate Ability: Earthshatter – Damage: 50 – Damage Type: Cone Stun Duration: 2.5 Seconds

Reinhardt slams his Rocket Hammer into the ground, damaging and knocking down enemies in front of him.

Pros: Crowd Control

Crowd Control, (also known as CC) can be the difference between winning or losing a team fight. With a stun which lasts 2.5 seconds, this ability cannot be overlooked. It is important after using Earthshatter to maximize damage. This can be done by using Earthshatter, following into Fire Strike, and then swinging your Rocket Hammer. Charge can be used, but usually Fire Strike into Auto Attacks puts out the most damage. This ability has the potential to win team fights. Earthshatter can also be used in 1v1 fights if you know you will land a kill. I usually reserve charge if I am trying to remove a key hero from the fight.

Cons: Relatively Short Range, Weak Damage

Be sure when using Earthshatter not to underestimate how far away enemy heroes are. If you synergize Earthshatter on top of Lucio’s Crossfade, you can catch the enemy team off guard. Also, because of Earthshatter’s weak damage, it should not be relied on solely for landing kills.

 

That’s it for the German Juggernaut. Hopefully you found some useful information in this Reinhardt guide regarding Reinhardt’s strengths and weaknesses. Thanks for reading! Let us know what you think in the comments below! From all of us here at TGH, I’m David, and as always, Good Luck, Have Fun.

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OGN Apex Weekly Roundup: Widowmaker Makes its Return into the Meta

The Widowmaker pick has made its valiant return to professional play. Overwatch’s competitive scene is moving back toward a more diverse team composition. Many characters are viable in this meta, and teams are starting to experiment.

The Apex league is where most of the experiments and well thought-out team compositions come into fruition. The strategies from these teams get carried across the world; basing it off of this week, sniper play is going to be imperative moving forward in this meta.

Now let’s get to the games.

KongDuesday

Photo via twitch.tv/ognglobal

The Tuesday games came up all KongDOO, as both the Uncia and Pantera squads played, and won convincingly. It’s no secret these are two of the better teams in Apex, but both teams coming out with a 3-0 result was unexpected. Both squads currently sit at 3-0 with a +6 in their respective groups.

First off, the Uncia team faced off against ConBox, who needed a win desperately to stay alive. Unfortunately for them, Uncia’s positioning and ultimate usage was on point. Uncia’s starting strategy on LI Jiang is to run directly into the point and defend. The back end healing of Lucid (Yoo Jun Seo) with his Ana or Panker’s (Lee Byung Ho) Reinhardt stayed strong. The positioning allowed for the two Uncia healers to stay safe.

The damage plays from DNCE (Kim Se Yong) and Butcher (Yoon Seong Won) were critical in the win. Butcher was the player of the game on Zarya. His forward, aggressive style allowed for him not only to deal plenty of damage, but to constantly have graviton surges available. The difference in this game ultimately stemmed from their ability to have more ultimates available in each game.

It wasn’t any gimmick either. Uncia stayed the course with the “power composition”: three tanks, one damage, and two supports. Biriding’s (Kim Ji Hyuk) high-ground cover on Soldier 76 on maps like Kings Row and Temple of Anubis put Conbox in terrible situations. The strategy for Uncia clearly centered around Birding’s ability to get good sight lines on high-ground.

Next off, Pantera showed the skill gap between them and the rest of their group. RunAway looked like a team capable of pulling off a massive upset, but not against Pantera. RunAway is still alive in the round two chase, but will have to go through Fnatic.

Testing out strategies seemed to play a major factor in KongDoo Pantera’s win. On the second map (Numbani), Pantera tried out a Torbjorn/Mei composition, and it paid off. Despite RunAway taking the less ideal lower route on Numbani, the Mei play of Rascal (Kim Dong Jim) was the difference maker. His ability to stall and throw out clutch blizzards to sustain a defense.

The snowball was in effect. Rascal took Mei to Hanamura and was the main reason Pantera got a full-hold on first point. The damage characters would get grabbed by RunAway, only to see Rascal use Mei’s ice wall to block off the chain and save their lives. After, Wakawaka (An Jee Ho) switched on to the Widowmaker and got two early headshots, making it a 6-4 team fight that eventually won Pantera the set and game.

It was clear the team more willing to make adjustments and try new compositions got rewarded. The frags weren’t always favoring Pantera, so being able to get a 3-0 shows this team’s knowledge of the game. Pantera and Uncia lock up their group two spots.

Foreign Invasion

Photo via twitch.tv/ognglobal

If Tuesday brought us strong Korean play, Friday brought us strong foreign play. Anyone who has followed the Overwatch competitive scene knows about EnvyUs’s skill. Misfits, on the other hand, aren’t as well known; but we saw some dominant play from the French side as well. EnvyUs sets up a group A championship with MetaAthena next week.

EnvyUs took care of business against the worst team in their group: BK Stars. BK Stars isn’t a joke, as they were a top-team in season one. But, they fell into the group of death, and that includes the world’s best: EnvyUs. It ended in a swift 3-0 victory for the American based team.

The story of the day was Taimou (Timo Kattenun) on Widowmaker, turning around entire team fights. His knowledge of specific angles showed on maps like Volskaya Industries. He had a few highlight reel plays that awarded EnvyUs control points.

The rest of the team showed up in other areas. HarryHook (Jonathon Tejedor aria) on the other DPS characters, primarily switching off Reaper and Soldier: 76 to deal with tank-heavy-compositions or play from the back line and get free shots. His positioning on Kings Row and Volskaya allowed for EnvyUs to stay spread out on control points. BK stars would search for shield battles with Reinhardt, and instead get caught in the crossfire father, EnvyUs.

Misfits stay alive

The French squad needed a win to stay alive, as did Afreeca Freecs Red. The only problem for Afreeca was Misfits had Tviq (Kevyn Lindstrom) and they didn’t.. arguably the worlds best player showed up again playing a multitude of characters. Mei, Soldier: 76, McCree, Tracer, and even some Hanzo play. Any character he took out of the vault worked last Friday.

Ultimate economy and positioning weren’t far off for either team in this match. The game was won and lost by getting players to the back-line and keeping those support players alive. Nevix (Andreas Karlsson) and Zave (Kalle Haag Nilsson) were instrumental in winning team fights with different sets of supports (mostly Ana and Lucio) for Misfits. Tviq’s ability to flank and get clear shots on healers and DPS ended most team fights positively for Misfits.

Outside of Tviq, Zebbosai (Sebastian Olson) on the Zarya did great amounts of damage. He was the one consistently building and landing successful ultimates. The forward play, as has become standard in this current meta-game, with the tanks, allowed for Misfits to get clean hooks and built ultimate charge on the tanks. Misfits took advantage of this with the constant flanking and their tendency to not take shield battles in favor of positioning.

Next week’s schedule
Afreeca Freecs Blue (0-1) will take on Cloud9 (1-0) on Tuesday for the second spot in group C. Fnatic (0-1) will face FlashLux (0-1) to try and keep pace with RunAway (1-1).

The Friday games aren’t as enticing with MVP Infinity vs. BK Stars who are both eliminated. LW Blue will also have to match Misfits by beating Afreeca Freecs Red. A win for LW Blue will put themselves in round two.

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