As the Overwatch World Cup comes around again, Thailand looks to finally break through to the elimination rounds.While Thailand has been competing each year in the OWWC, they still feel like massive underdogs compared to the top 10 countries. Teams need to be wary, because with all their World Cup experience behind them the Thaitans are ready to go for gold.
A Brief History
Back in 2016, Thailand was one of the first 16 teams to ever compete in the Overwatch World Cup. After going 2-0 in their group in the Asia-Pacific Qualifier, Thailand was placed in a relatively close group alongside France, China and Singapore. Following a 3-way tie for first place, France, China and Thailand had to play in an intense one map, tie-breaker bracket. After taking the first round of Nepal against China, Thailand would go on to lose 4 more rounds of Nepal – going 1-2 against China and 0-2 against France. Thailand’s first run in the OWWC would end with the team finishing 12th overall.
Just like their exit from the 2016 OWWC, the following two years saw Thailand miss the main event by a hair. In 2017, Thailand placed 3rd in the Shanghai Qualifier. Thailand was certainly feeling some deja-vu, as they lost again to France in the Group Stage, and China in the semi-finals.
2018 had been Thailand’s worst performance yet on the international stage. At the Bangkok Qualifier, Thailand was rolled to a 1-4 finish, only beating the 0-5 Spanish squad. Once more, Thailand faced off against the heavily favored Chinese team, which featured a star-studded cast of Xu “guxue” Qiulin, Li “Yveltal” Xianyao, and Huang “leave” Xin.
Despite their rocky past, Thailand came ready in 2019. After winning the SEA Invitational they have secured their spot in the 2019 OWWC. With a roster filled with World Cup experience, Thailand looks prepared to make a deep run.
The Thaitans are led by their two most elder statesmen – DPS Ubon “oPuTo” Dara and off-tank Pongphop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod. Both players have been a part of the Thailand World Cup team for the past 4 years. Their experience and leadership are undoubtedly vital to the success of the team.
OPuTo joins the team fresh off of an incredible run at the Contenders Gauntlet with Talon Esports, where he played the role of backup to former World Cup teammate Patiphan “Patiphan” Chaiwong. Mickie also saw more bench time than stage time this season with the Dallas Fuel. His only appearances came in map 4’s where Dallas had already lost the match.
Next is Thai main tank Teetawat “Teetawat” Terrayosyotin. Certainly one of the x-factors on Thailand, Teetawat spent this past year on the Uprising Academy competing in the North American Contenders scene. The Uprising Academy went 5-2 in the regular season before he faced a back injury that left him out of the playoffs. Bouncing back from his hiatus, Teetawat absolutely stunned the competition in the SEA Invitational, taking home the MVP honors. Going into his third World Cup contest, Teetawat has a golden opportunity to impress OWL scouts.
The last of the vets is one of Thailand’s supports, Pasavit “Pannys” Svasti-Xuto. Alongside Teetawat, this will be Pannys’ third World Cup appearance. As a part of Giant Lynx, Pannys and company failed to win a match. Despite Pannys having been apart of the World Cup team for the past few years, he will be working with a new support-duo for the third year in a row.
What would the World Cup be without some fresh faces to the main stage? Thailand brings along three players for their first World Cup experience. On support is the captain of Xavier Esports, Kampanat “Tae” Thongjaeng. Tagging along will be teammate Talunt “mush2oom” Rattanaprapaporn, who will be working with oPuTo on DPS. Both players will have the luxury of playing under a familiar coach, with Jirawat “HeadHawk” Kalumpanun of Xavier Esports leading Team Thailand into the OWWC. Tae outperformed previous Thai support Vuthichai “Rocket” Posawadi in World Cup tryouts, hinting at a potentially formidable support line for the Thaitans.
Filling out the roster will be back up tank Chaiwat “BOOMBURAPA” Wattatum. BOOMBURPA previously played with Pannys on Giant Lynx during Pacific Contenders Season 1. It is likely BOOMBURAPA showed some synergy with his former teammate in tryouts, landing him a spot in the World Cup roster. Behind two already well-established tanks, it will be interesting to see if BOOMBURAPA will sub in for maps where D.Va is favored over the popular double-shield composition.
The Missing Piece
With the recent rule changes added for this World Cup, Thailand will be without their stand-out DPS player Patiphan. At 16 years old, Patiphan is ineligible to compete this year, despite playing in last years OWWC. Patiphan was one of the highlights of not only last year’s Thailand team, but for Talon Esports’ run during the Contenders Gauntlet. He demonstrated immense skill on Doomfist, impressing viewers and casters alike.
As he went toe-to-toe with Element Mystic’s Yeong-Han “Sp9rk1e” Kim, Patiphan put his name on the map as a top-tier talent that should not be ignored in the coming seasons. Sadly the world will miss out on the chance to watch Thailand’s Doomfist prodigy perform on the international stage, but there is no doubt we will be watching his career with great interest.
Time for the Thaitans
Thailand has high hopes to finally break through to that elimination stage of the World Cup. Without having one of their star countrymen on the roster, the Thaitans will have to find a way to play around their premier tank players. If Thailand can get their rookies to step up, they will surely entrench themselves as one of the true dark horses in this years World Cup.
Featured image courtesy of Team Thailand
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