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Talon Esports: Gauntlet’s Underdog Contender

It’s been a long year of Overwatch. There have been hundreds of Overwatch League matches, two seasons of Overwatch Contenders and a World Cup still looming in the near future. But perhaps the most exciting event will be taking place in Seoul, South Korea from Oct. 9 to Oct. 13 and that event is the Gauntlet. The Gauntlet is the ultimate conclusion of tier two Overwatch around the world. The 10 best teams from the eight Contenders regions around the world will battle it out at the Giga Arena, the newly-rebranded studio that previously hosted the OGN produced Overwatch APEX series. For many longtime Overwatch esports fans, this is a return to the competitive game’s most beloved home.

In the often-overlooked Pacific Contenders region, there is a team that needs to be mentioned alongside the Korean teams as potential winners. This team is named Talon, and they more closely resemble a family than a typical esports team.

The Journey to the Gauntlet

via Talon Esports Twitter

Talon has had one of the most dominant runs of form of any team in competitive Overwatch this year. They are back-to-back Pacific Contenders champions, losing just one map during the entirety of the second season. Between Contenders seasons they participated in their first international event. They outperformed almost all expectations of them in a performance that saw them secure a spot at the upcoming Gauntlet ahead of a second Chinese team. In Talon’s underdog storyline, this was the first major achievement. For them to go on and place top three at their second international tournament would mean this would become one of the most successful Overwatch seasons for any roster in the history of the game.

The Patch

The Gauntlet will be played on Patch 1.39. This is the same patch that the recent OWL grand finals were played on, meaning we’ll likely see a majority of the same compositions being run here. Generally, the choice of main tank shapes an Overwatch composition. An Orisa would work best with a defensive bunker-style setup, a Winston or Hammond would work best with a dive-oriented playstyle, and a Reinhardt is best suited for payload maps where the geography is tight and rigid.

Each of these styles is viable. But if the finals are anything to go off of, then we’ll see Orisa being featured in compositions much more often than not. Sigma will generally be beside the Orisa. This is the same patch in which Sigma was introduced to the game and not the future patch with Orisa and Sigma nerfs. Both of these tanks are very strong right now and form a double barrier that can be tricky to bypass.

Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Four DPS heroes have quite a high playtime in this patch. They are Mei, Bastion, Doomfist, and Reaper. Doomfist and Mei provide an element of crowd control whereas the other two tear though tanky compositions with their high damage. Hitscan heroes aren’t played at all due to the double shield used by the tank duo. This patch information provides some valuable details that are necessary for making predictions for the Gauntlet.

On Talon’s Chances

With key heroes on this patch being Sigma, Doomfist and Reaper it might not seem like the meta is skewed toward their hero pool. DPS star Patiphan Chaiwong is known to be a hitscan player primarily and will need to show some versatility. Talon has also not yet played with Sigma in a tournament setting. However, this team has shown itself to be quite meta immune during its reign of success. Contributing to that success is Ubon “oPuTo” Dara and Kang “Bashful” Bo-hyun. They are flexible enough to cover the more odd meta heroes that are relevant such as Doomfist and Mei.

Where they shine brightest is in their tank play. Both Kim “MuZe” Young-hun and Lee “Gogora” Ji-yoon should be legitimate scouting prospects during this tournament for OWL teams. They come with years of synergy and have yet to seem uncomfortable within any meta that they have competed in. In the backline, this team may lack some playmaking ability. Despite this, both support players have competed at the Overwatch World Cup for their respective nations and shouldn’t be a liability due to this LAN experience.

via Liquipedia

In their opening match, they will be facing off against the second seed from Korea, Element Mystic. This Korean team is pegged to be one of the frontrunners here and it will quickly show just how close Talon can come to toppling the best. Win or lose, Talon should still be making it out of their bracket. The other two teams being HSL Esports and XL2 Academy. These two teams are seemingly weaker on paper and will most likely pose no threat to Talon. This team feels like a family. When a team so close-knit are faced with needing to make clutch plays, they always pull it out.

In Conclusion

Don’t underestimate this team. They will be eager to show themselves on a much larger stage than they are used to. Talon has undeniable talent, they have already produced OWL calibre players and on this stage will be names just as deserving of a chance. Their bracket and the patch they will play on are not particularly favourable on paper, but this team has a history of disregarding favour. They are the beasts of the Pacific region and will not be an easy beat for any team here.

The Overwatch Contenders Gauntlet starts this week on the league’s Twitch channel.

 

Featured image courtesy of Gamingconviction.com

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For more Overwatch content, or for a chat, follow Sam on twitter @yaakiisoba, or message him on Discord  (yaakiisoba#2969).

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