The Paris Eternal faced some unique circumstances during week 1 when they were unable to field an off tank. Although Eoghan “Smex” O’Neill had been recently signed to the team, presumably to fill in for Choi “Hanbin” Han-Bin until he was eligible to play, visa issues left Smex back in the UK. Though they could have utilized flex DPS Nicolas “NicoGDH” Moret as an off tank, they instead choose to run double main tanks with Benjamin “BenBest” Dieulafait and Jeong “NoSmite” Da-Un.
But the roster shakeup didn’t stop there either. Long time Overwatch veterans Terence “SoOn” Tarlier and Harrison “Kruise” Pond were notably absent on stage during the first homestand weekend. SoOn had been utilized off and on based on the meta last season, but as one of the best-known names in OWL, his presence, and subsequent “SoOoOoOn” chant were deeply missed. Kruise, on the other hand, played every match for the Eternal last season, as he was their only main support.
Another surprise to their week 1 lineup was the inclusion of Brice “FDGoD” Monsçavoir. Reportedly, FDGoD had just arrived in the United States less than 24 hours before the first match. Despite any possible jet lag, however, the Lucio wizkid performed exceptionally well, leaving fans and analysts alike both awestruck.
The Road So Far…
Toronto Defiant (Final Score: 1-3)
The unexpected Eternal lineup made the first round of the 2020 season look effortless, as they cleanly won without conceding a single percentage to the Toronto Defiant. Although they would give up about 50% in the second half of the map, it was still quite a convincing victory. The rest of the match would be close but would eventually go the way of the Defiant. Even though they didn’t walk away with the first victory, Paris had nothing to be ashamed of and got right back to work.
London Spitfire (Final Score: 3-0)
Proving that they won’t let a loss get them down too long this season, the Eternal returned the next day to take on the Spitfire in what has been playfully called “The Battle of Europe”. Paris swiftly took Nepal, showing that perhaps this season their expertise will lay in control maps, which previously had been an area of weakness for them. Each player seemed to flex in their own way throughout the match, from FDGoD’s continuous double boops to BenBest’s refusal to die, it was evident that Paris came to play. With their spectacular performance, the Eternal secured the first clean sweep of the season and saw themselves begin to ascend the power rankings.
Player of the Week: Jung “Xzi” Gi-Hyo
Xzi seemed to have been forgotten in the DPS shuffle thanks to the hype surrounding Kim “Sp9rk1e” Yeong-Han’s signing but after his debut performance, he won’t be a player anyone forgets again. It’s hard to choose what was more impressive, his 4Ks as McCree, his tracking as Tracer, or just how easy he made it look to play Symmetra at a high level. With an almost limitless hero pool and a willingness to swap as needed, enemy teams will have to continuously adapt to Xzi’s game if they want to keep up.
Play of the Week: “Mei Checking In”
In a play that will remain a highlight of the season, Nico quite literally saved BenBest’s life by using Mei’s Cryo-Freeze ability to block Shin “Bernar” Se-Won’s incoming D.Va bomb. After the match, Nico took to Twitter to say that, “I wanted to save him but I didn’t think it was possible to save him.” Watching replays from multiple perspectives and various speeds, it’s evident just how perfect the conditions were for the save to occur. Keeping BenBest alive in the fight would not only win Paris the map but would also win them the match.
Washington Justice (Match Record 1-1)
After a week of rest, the Eternal will be back at it this weekend at the Washington Justice’s first hosted homestand. The Justice are another team on the road to redemption after a rough first season. They took on an indomitable Philadelphia Fusion last weekend on Philly’s home turf and despite losing, they still looked pretty solid.
The Eternal have the unfortunate honor of being the first team to oppose the Justice at their inaugural event which carries with it a great deal of pressure. Anyone in sports will agree that “home field advantage” is a real thing and the Justice will be betting on it. For Paris to succeed they will have to tune out a deafening DC crowd while focusing on outplaying Washington’s quirky DPS duo, Corey “Corey” Nigra and Ethan “Stratus” Yankel.
Though their double main tank “strategy” paid off well in week 1, Paris now have other options available to them. Finally celebrating his 18th birthday just days ago, off tank connoisseur Hanbin is eligible to play against the Justice. It is almost guaranteed that fans will see him take the stage but there has been no indication which main tank will sit alongside him.
Player to Watch: Damien “HyP” Souville
A lot of eyes will be on Hanbin’s debut but fans shouldn’t sleep on French flex support HyP either. HyP had been the Eternal’s go-to choice of flex support during last season’s first stage, but fans have seen little of him since then, aside from this year’s OWWC. Now reunited with Team France support partner, FDGoD, HyP seems to be able to re-emerge as a solid player for Paris’s backline. The Eternal have won all 3 maps he has played in so far earning him the current title of “Mr. 100% Winrate”. According to current stats, he is also the number 1 player when it comes to teamfight winrates, at a staggering 75%. Whether it can be attributed to his shot-calling, calm nature, or sheer luck, just having him on stage seems to be a new win condition for Paris.
Featured Image Courtesy of Ben Pursell for Blizzard Entertainment.
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