With Blizzcon only a few short weeks away now, we are almost ready to shift gears to begin looking ahead. But, before we do that, we have to cover one final qualifier: Paris. So far, we have given out the following grades to the previous qualifiers:
Currently, Bangkok has produced what I consider to be the best quality of qualifier. If it had produced a higher level of talent for Blizzcon, it may have achieved a perfect mark. However, I anticipate China and Australia to have a tough road ahead. You’ll also notice that the qualifiers have generally gotten better as we have progressed: A peculiar trend. We will now look to see if Paris can continue this trend, or whether they will be the exception to the rule.
Paris Qualifier Overall Grade: B-
Total Blizzcon Talent: C+
This is not a knock at all against France, let me be clear. The French looked absolutely invincible in this qualifier, showing little to no sign of slowing down heading into Blizzcon. Their high aggression and coordination make them a team that could make a serious run at the Grand Finals. The other team that advanced, however, is another story.
The United Kingdom, the LANimals, or whatever they want to call themselves have yet to convince the world of their validity as a top-tier team. While they won their games against the lower-tiered teams in the group, they looked to be disfigured against France. In a sentence: The French domesticated the LANimals. Because of their inability to keep up with the only other high caliber team in their group and their impending matchup against the USA, I am predicting the UK to have a similar fate as their Aussie brethren, losing 4-0 in the first round.
Prior to the qualifier, some thought this was going to be one of the most tightly contested of the four. However, with Germany not showing up and the general lack of high-caliber play, this qualifier lacked a great deal of competitiveness. The battles between teams like the Netherlands, Germany and Italy kept this group interesting, but anytime one of those teams met France or the UK, the result seemed all but predetermined. The best game of the qualifier did, however, come when France played Germany. Without that game, this group may have earned a “D” for overall competitiveness.
Crowd Intensity: A+
Electric. Stunning. Absolutely sensational.
These are just a few words I found myself saying as I listened to the French crowd through my TV. More than any other qualifier, this one showed us the power of the home crowd. During every game, especially the French games, I could feel the electricity flowing through the arena. I could hear the crowd roar during big plays and sing their National Anthem prior to their games. For me, this crowd rivaled many of the futbol/soccer matches I have watched throughout the years. As I consider those to be some of the rowdiest fans out there, this is high praise. Paris, thank you for setting a high bar for how loud a crowd can be. Hopefully, Blizzcon fans can take notice and keep your level of intensity.
Entertainment Value: B
This is a tough one to call. On the one hand, Paris had, without a doubt, the best crowd. This energy was contagious and made me, the viewer at home, feel even just a little bit more passionate about French Overwatch. On the other hand, were the games themselves. After day one, there was a feeling that things were almost entirely decided and the following games just couldn’t pull me back in. This is a wishy-washy “B” grade that basically just meshes the “A+” grade with the two “C+” grades.
This concludes the series on the Overwatch World Cup Qualifier Report Cards. As a reminder, the Blizzcon quarterfinals begin on November 2nd, at 2:15 CDT. Tune in to find out if The Game Haus staff predictions are correct, or not!
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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
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