We arrive now in Bangkok at the third, and perhaps most unpredictable, qualifier of the four. If you haven’t had a chance, be sure to check out the previous report cards of the Incheon Qualifier and the Los Angeles Qualifier. Those articles will be helpful in understanding the context of this one as well as providing background for how we will be assessing this qualifier.
So far, we have seen two qualifiers with very high marks in both Total Blizzcon Talent and Entertainment Value. Incheon and L.A. were both a blast to watch and did produce the highest caliber teams of the qualifiers. However, each had their faults as well. While the LA qualifier struggled to keep our attention with its predictability and low sense of competitiveness, Incheon struggled a bit to produce a visibly intense crowd.
Neither has been perfect so far, and none likely will be. The question remains, however, how do these qualifiers compare to Bangkok in overall grade? Let’s find out.
Bangkok Qualifier Overall Grade: A-
Total Blizzcon Talent: C-
When this group was first revealed, it looked like they were going to be producing two very high-caliber teams in Sweden and China. Sweden, with its long history of great Overwatch and China, with its up-and-coming young enterprise, both seemed ready to punch their way to Blizzcon. After the first day of games, there was already a sense that this dream was over. Sweden began unraveling and quickly fell out of contention for Blizzcon.
What took their place was a tightly contested 2nd place spot between Denmark and Australia. While China rolled through, the Aussies managed to beat out the Danes on the final day of the qualifier to secure second place and a matchup against… Um. South Korea. While these two teams each have a loyal and impassioned set of fan bases, each might be in for a rough quarterfinal at Blizzcon. We’ve loved to watch each of these teams go this far, but will not likely go further.
Of all the qualifiers, this was by far the most competitive from start to finish. There was not a single match in this qualifier that I felt couldn’t have gone either way. In the end, half of the teams finished at the 3-2 mark, each only a couple of maps off one another. This was the only qualifier to achieve such a close second place finish. It was also the only qualifier, I argue, that didn’t have two clear winners predetermined at the outset.
All of this culminated into a qualifier that had the highest level of even play and produced as close of a finish as we could have dreamt of. Because of this, and my overzealous Denmark fandom, I will not forget this qualifier anytime soon.
Crowd Intensity: B
It’s hard for a crowd to stay amplified when the hometown team gets absolutely trounced. However, even while they watched Mickie and the Thai team consistently struggle, they managed to rally around the competitiveness that swirled in the arena. Watching Teams Denmark and Australia fighting tooth and nail for that second spot definitely produced some energy in the arena that was visible from my screen. Even with this surge, there was a constant feeling that the fans were cheering despite their team losing. If it had been cheering in addition to their team winning, I think we could have felt that energy.
Entertainment Value: A+
Overall, when you have something so competitive with a decent crowd atmosphere, it is going to provide entertainment. However, this had even more than that. It had an X-Factor. Rather, a pair of X-Factor’s. Two words: Bren & Sideshow.
These two beloved OWL personalities got their first shot at casting in a long time during this qualifier and they did not disappoint. Their games were a joyous clusterfuck of excitement, ridiculous calls and Bren yelling at Sideshow — especially in games where Johnnie “Reinforce” Larson was playing. This, alongside the competitiveness of the group, made for a truly entertaining and memorable qualifier.
Perhaps one of the best the OWWC has ever seen, dare I say.
We conclude our series on the Qualifer Report Cards with our next piece, covering the Paris Qualifier. Will it score higher than the Bangkok Qualifier, or will it fall to the level of the Incheon Qualifier? Stick around to find out!
Follow me on Twitter: @GoopyKnoopy I would love to dialogue with you about anything I’ve written!
You can also shoot me a line on Discord! (GoopyKnoopy#2205)
Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
“From our Haus to Yours”