Now that the group stages have ended, it is time for the community to sit down and talk about who will win the 2018 Overwatch World Cup. Over the past two months, we have watched countries battle it out to determine who is the best of the best.
From Incheon, South Korea and Finland came out on top. From Los Angeles, Canada and the United States once again rose to the occasion. In Thailand, we saw a surprising showing from China, and Australia proved their merit once more. Finally, we saw rivals France and Great Britain battle it out in Paris.
Most people seem to favor either South Korea, the two-time champs, or the United States because of their stellar performance last year. While there is certainly a good case for those two teams are the favorites, it may turn out that out of the six teams, Finland has the most potential to go the distance. Here’s why:
Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni and Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara are arguably the most underrated healing duo in the league. The LA Gladiators would be nothing without Goose’s comms, and Shaz’s reserved but effective Zenyatta plays.
Statistically, Shaz comes out on top with a combined 13,717 healing and damage output in comparison to fan favorite Sung-hyeon “JJonak” Bang, who ended the season at 13,070. While he might not be the most aggressive or flashiest of Zenyatta players, Shaz is one of the most consistent. He is also a great DPS player and can flex to that role should his team need it.
Goose is better known for his Lucio play, and he is thriving in the current meta. He can also be an aggressive Mercy should the situation call for it, but his strength lies in communication. The Gladiators faced a lot of issues with language barriers last season. In their “Sound Off” series on YouTube, Goose is one of the main shot callers alongside Hyung-seok “Bischu” “Aaron” Kim, who was the unofficial team translator. Goose is a natural leader, and his ability to communicate with his teammates will be one of Finland’s greatest assets coming into the World Cup.
TANKING and DPS
Joona “Fragi” Laine and Joonas “Zappis” Alakurtti make up the tank line for Team Finland. The Fusion’s Fragi is a formidable main tank who has grown over the course of season one of the Overwatch league. He is most well known for his aggressive Reinhardt play-style. Then we have Zappis, formerly of the Florida Mayhem, who is an excellent off-tank. His D.Va bombs are so fantastic that they broke the server during their match against South Korea at Incheon.
In comparison to other tanks in the League, Fragi and Zappis are a league of their own. They are masters at creating and maintaining chaotic environments during team fights.
When it comes to DPS, Finland has some of the best of the best. Dallas Fuel’s Timo “Taimou” Kettunen is well known for his aggressive Widowmaker and McCree. Alongside him, Outlaw’s own Jiri “Linkzr” Masalin is also a renowned Widowmaker and an excellent Genji to boot.
Tuomo “Davin” Leppänen is the only member of Finland who is not in the Overwatch League. He is most well-known for his Tracer and currently plays for Team Gigantti in EU Contenders. You can fully expect to see these three bring their A-Game as they face off against some of the best DPS in the Overwatch League. Opponents such as Lane “Surefour” Roberts or Terence “Soon” Tarlier, depending on who wins the Canada-France quarter-final, will be a challenge for Finland’s greatest during finals.
Even with the tremendous talent that these players possess, the fact is that some of them can be inconsistent. Taimou runs hot, and he runs cold; he’s an outstanding DPS on a good day, and that could potentially be a significant issue for Finland. As long as Taimou is in a good head space, he can pull off some fantastic plays.
Another possible issue could be Fragi’s over-zealousness. He’s a tremendous Reinhardt, but his aggressive playstyle often finds him alone behind enemy lines. Finland’s coordination during team fights will have to be on point if they want to make it to finals.
Even with these possible issues, Finland has proven themselves to be more than capable in the current meta. Unless there is a massive meta change between now and BlizzCon, it is not unlikely that they keep up their current momentum heading into the World Cup.
INCHEON GROUP STAGE
Perhaps the best demonstration of Finland’s potential was the fantastic series we saw between them and South Korea. This match-up was intense from start to finish. If you want to see a quality Overwatch series, look no further. Although Finland lost to South Korea 2-3, they are the only team to have come close to beating South Korea since the USA during the 2017 Overwatch World Cup. Viewers were certainly on the edge of their seats that entire series, especially during Rialto.
Finland has the history, they have the talent, and they have the potential. They’re a strong team, and though they may not be the favorites, they are capable of making their way into finals this year at BlizzCon.
Be sure to tune in and watch Team Finland in action on November 2, 2018, over at https://www.twitch.tv/playoverwatch
Featured photo courtesy of Team Finland