Armed with a new outlook on the game and their newly-of-age off tank Choi “Hanbin” Han-Bin, the Eternal have appeared to be getting stronger as the season goes on. Hot off of their devastating victory over the Washington Justice, the Paris Eternal faced off against their toughest opponent yet, the Atlanta Reign. They were faced with several challenges, such as illness and not having Atlanta VODs to review, but Paris weren’t going to go down without a fight.
Taking on the Home Team
Washington Justice (Final Score 3-1)
As the first team to play against the Justice in front of their home crowd, the Eternal knew they’d be facing a jam-packed arena rooting against them. The game plan going into the match was to focus Washington’s deadly DPS star Corey “Corey” Nigra and to control the tempo of each map. Though they faltered slightly on their second map, Anubis, the team stayed focused in the second half of the match for an upsetting win over the Justice.
When asked how it felt to beat Washington on their home turf, flex DPS Nicolas “NiCOgdh” Moret stated that, “it feels pretty good, not going to lie.” Reflecting on his first match, Hanbin said that, “it was kind of scary because it’s Washington’s first homestand but because we were kind of the villain, we could also do better.” He added that being the villain, in this case, gave him more motivation and drive to do better.
Battle of the Birds
Atlanta Reign (Final Score 3-1)
The Reign made their debut one day prior to their match against the Eternal, which gave Paris very little intel on an anticipated juggernaut team. Many analysts and experts placed Atlanta among the Top 3 in their power rankings and left Paris towards the bottom. This helped shape the narrative that Atlanta would decimate the Eternal. Even during their press conference after their first win, Atlanta seemed overly confident and unanimous that it would be an easy 3-0 win for them.
According to rising DPS star Jung “Xzi” Ki-Hyo, they weren’t even worried about the match and knew they’d win. Hanbin also stated that once they saw Atlanta was running a Reinhardt and Orisa combo, he knew it was an easy win. Mixing up their team composition by playing Zarya over D.Va on King’s Row also gave the Eternal an edge. Hanbin explained how OP Zarya and Doomfist are when they are played together and that it was a strategy they already had set in place before they even saw the Reinhardt and Orisa.
A clean 3-0 sweep was almost theirs as they attempted to capture the second point on Hanamura. However, after getting the point to 99.7%, the Reign fought back and denied them the map win. At the end of the day, however, the Eternal reigned supreme as they kept up their aggression against Atlanta and took Dorado in some of the best Overwatch seen so far.
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger
What made the win a bit more sweet was the fact that the majority of the Eternal players had been quite ill for several days. A few players even took the stage while still feverish and spectators could see how visibly sick the team were. Damien “HyP” Souville tweeted following the match, “That was one of my worst experience on stage. Being sick and having fever doesn’t help but thank god my team is insane and they carried me to victory today.”
Main tank, Benjamin “BenBest” Dieulafait was perhaps a bit more dramatic in his tweet saying that, “Overall most of us were going to die on stage.” Immediately after the conclusion of the match, a production crew member was seen disinfecting the desks, computers, and chairs on stage.
High Praise from the Enemy
Atlanta’s outspoken flex support Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman gave credit where credits due following the match. “They had two pretty good set strategies for us and I think we just kind of tunneled on stage. Paris is a good team. They played really well. Xzi is a good player. Hanbin is a good player. And I think BenBest had a good game as well. Their entire team played really well.”
Nathan “frd” Goebel, one of the Reign’s off tanks, said that “this meta really favors really good flanking plays. Xzi has really good awareness of when he can flank safely and not feel the pressure from the Lucio or the D.Va. Flanks are particularly hard to deal with especially if there’s already a fight breaking out. It seemed like every time, he would pop out off to the side or often behind. I think the guys just had a harder time dealing with that because while you’re fighting, you’re spending cooldowns. Then when he hits the flank, you have nothing left to get to him.”
Piggybacking on that, new Atlanta pick up, Anthony “Fire” King added that, “They do play off of each other really well. While Xzi is really aware, Hanbin is making a lot of space and helping build nano. Their Lucio is also diving with Hanbin on our McCree, so it’s just really tough to play your game. They just get so much value from playing off of eachother. They can flip the switch pretty well.”
Player of the Match(es): Choi “Hanbin” Han-Bin
It came as no surprise that Hanbin wowed everyone during his debut in DC and picked up the coveted title of “Player of the Match”. What may actually come as a shock is to know how nervous he was during the whole thing. HyP said that after the first map he looked over and saw him visibly shaking. He tried reassuring Hanbin by telling him that he did so great, but the off tank kept saying “no no no” and that he could do better.
Hanbin said that he, “always gets nerves but because it was my first match, I was extremely nervous.” He added that he was, “excited to play but also kind of disappointed in my performance.” Despite the nerves and aspirations to always be better, it was quickly evident that he would be a player to watch throughout the season.
Though his second match against the Reign included spectacular performances from teammates Xzi and BenBest, Hanbin once again had the honor of “Player of the Match” bestowed upon him. That means he currently has 100% match winrate and is 2-for-2 when it comes to “Player of the Match”.
According to NiCOgdh, Hanbin is incredibly intelligent and his addition to the team has helped a lot. “He’s so good, so smart. He helps a lot with the gameplay strategy and stuff like that.” HyP echoed that sentiment as well and said that, “he’s by far the best off tank I have ever played with. I look forward to playing more games alongside him.”
Next week the Eternal will return to Washington, DC to play their first doubleheader since week 1. Their first match will be against arguably the worst team in the league currently, the Houston Outlaws. Then on the flip-side of things, they will face possibly the best team in the league, the Philadelphia Fusion, on Sunday. With hero pools in effect, fans are buzzing with excitement to see what this team is capable of. But first they hope the team can rest up and regain their health before the weekend.
Featured Image Courtesy of Tonya McCahon for Blizzard Entertainment.
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