The Open Division is the first chance for many Overwatch players to truly be taken seriously. Instead of grinding in ranked or scrims, Tier 3 teams (as they’re collectively known) can play against like-minded squads live on air, thanks to Broadcast.gg’s skillful cast and crew. The top teams in Open Division duke it out for a chance in Contenders Trials, where some (like Last Night’s Leftovers) break through into Contenders – and get that much closer to the Overwatch League.
Thousands of teams take part in Open Division every season, across a plethora of regions. I figured I would start close to home – with the North American champions for Season 3, Shu’s Money Crew.
Put your Money where your Mouse is
With a 9-1 regular season record, SMC entered the playoffs with confidence… and not much else. The team admitted to me via Twitter that the team doesn’t really scrim at all. That’s pretty rare for a high-level OD team, much less the Season 3 champions. How did they crush the competition when they’ve spent the past month grinding Mythic dungeons in World of Warcraft?
The answer: have a secret weapon, of course. When pressed, SMC admitted that Doomfist player Brandito (or NOHEARU, as he was called in-game this season) was the team’s regular season MVP. While they joked that it was only because he finally started waking up on time for matches, there’s more to NOHEARU’s contribution than they let on at the time.
NOHEARU’s Doomfist is top. Tier. And when every other OD team is running 3/3 compositions, Doomfist thrives. His disruption, displacement and high burst damage directly counter GOATS’ comp’s need for consistent healing and close-knit positioning – and when your entire team is built around enabling your Doomfist, many of his common threats fall away.
An enemy Sombra is trying to hack your Doomfist from the rear flank? Not if she’s immediately slept and pinned to a wall. Widowmaker trying to set up for an easy shot? Not gonna happen with a D.Va in her face. Remove Doomfist’s natural predators, and he’s free to chase down backlines all day long. Especially when your Doomfist understands all of the hero’s weird quirks and movement techs, like this. (Yes, he didn’t actually get a kill doing this. But it looked cool, right?)
NOHEARU isn’t the only handle you need to keep an eye on. Some of SMC’s most notable faces aren’t even on the normal starting lineup. Kyle “Phaz” Dornian is one of the oldest names in the competitive scene, with an extensive pedigree of tournaments with Rise Nation and Simplicity. His experiences pre-OWL are vastly different to the environment he finds himself in now, but playing Lucio – his signature hero – is largely the same.
Joshua “Tehpwnzorr” Nguyen is another well-known name on the squad, having recently played for GGEA, the Houston Outlaws Academy team, up until his depature in mid-2018. While he is listed (and often plays) as a support, his most notable hero lately has been – of all things – Wrecking Ball. It’s a weird hero to swap to from his normal role, but when he can stall out a point or throw the enemy backline into disarray with a few errant swings around a pillar… I don’t think his team has much cause to complain.
His sleep darts are also pretty clutch.
Other, equally important names involved with SMC are found above the roster. Shaurav “shu” Ghosh, former assistant coach for NRG, Young and Beautiful, and That’s a Disband has a stake in the management of SMC, and provides a healthy advantage for his protegees – an advantage they have clearly not let go to waste.
Having secured a Contenders Trials spot to go along with their Open Division S3 title, SMC are moving forward with their usual level of confidence, and no small amount of pride. Their one change as they move into the higher echelons of the competitive scene: they’re now accepting requests to scrim.
Ok, after serious consideration we have decided we are open to scrimming now. OWL+ only, serious inquiries dm our owner @shuseph
— Shu's Money Crew (@Shus_Money_Crew) September 24, 2018
OWL+ only, of course. (What does that even mean?)
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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment