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Overwatch

The Importance of APEX – Part 2

apex season 1

Apex was not just impactful because of the history and production of the South Korean tournament. As the last piece ended off with the importance of APEX to the player base, it is now time to see the direct numbers associated with APEX as well as the cultivation of OW talent. The importance of APEX goes deeper than just production or just the players but is the holistic value of the tournament.

Part 1 of this discussion can be found here.

APEX to Overwatch League

There is a direct connection from the pro players of APEX to the Overwatch League. There are many reasons that this could be. Erik ‘Doa’ Lonnquist believes that APEX and OGN were essential in helping the Overwatch scene grow in Korea. He mentioned that APEX helped a lot of pros get their start in esports. Doa stated that “Without OGN APEX, there would be a lot less Korean players in OWL for sure” and this can be seen in the numbers from APEX to the Overwatch League. Wolf ‘Wolf’ Schröder adds that “In an era where there weren’t many tournaments happening pre-OWL, finding Korean players who had proven themselves on stage was easier, almost safer, than top ladder pros from other regions who hadn’t proven themselves on LAN. Why would you pick a top NA tank over Mano when he’d already proven himself?”

Seth ‘Achilios’ King echoes this sentiment. APEX showcased a large pool of talent that the Overwatch League got to pick through. Teams and scouts had the tournament to look through instead of combing through the Korean ladder to find players. He thought that if there hadn’t been APEX, the Overwatch League would still be sifting through to find the star players.

The Korean players had a leg up on other regions. They had high-quality examples of their performances that organizations could view for potential picks up for the first season of the Overwatch League. Other regions had Overwatch tournaments, but not to the same level as APEX.

Current Numbers of APEX to Overwatch League

Within the four seasons of APEX, while this is not a comprehensive list, at least 114 APEX players joined the Overwatch League at one point or another. There are also at least 18 different Overwatch League coaches that either coached or played during APEX. This shows the overwhelming amount of players that were picked up from APEX to join Overwatch League teams.

All three, Doa, Achilios, and Wolf, believed even without APEX that the Overwatch League would have had a Korean majority, but possibly not to the extent that it is now.

Talent

It was not only the players that the Overwatch League gained from APEX. The casting and talent that was taken from APEX allowed for a well-experienced group of individuals to help give this league the best chance possible to succeed. The talent are the voices of a match, with the ebb and flow, they are the Virgil to the viewer’s Dante.

Monte and Doa

APEX
Courtesy of OGN Broadcast

Christopher ‘MonteCristo’ Mykles and Doa both left the League of Legend scene to migrate over to OGN’s APEX tournament to cast for the English viewers. Their complementary personalities and casting gave the viewers a good balance of tactical information, what is going on in the match and comic relief from their banter. Monte and Doa being on board for the Overwatch League’s inaugural season (and before!) show that the Overwatch League had voices that had insight into how APEX worked.  The well-known talent created a bridge from the Korean viewership to the new League. They spent many years of their lives in Korea and the end part of that in the APEX tournaments. They then dedicated themselves, when they came back to America, in the creation and success of the Overwatch League. Their voices associated with many legendary moments in APEX and the Overwatch League.

Doa’s favorite moment of APEX was when EnvyUs lifted the trophy in Season 1. “It was amazing to see a foreign team win in Korea and all of the players had such great stories!” He also enjoyed the sneaky plays such as Wonhyeop ‘Arhan’ Jeong’s ninja payload push on Gibraltar.

Wolf and Achillios

Apex
Courtesy of Game Watch Impress

Wolf and Achilios joined APEX after the tournament’s first season. Achillios joined Monte and Doa in Season 2. Wolf joined Season 3 after Monte and Doa departed from APEX. They both stayed for Season 4 of APEX as well. These two did not immediately join the Overwatch League. They did become the voice that so many Tier 2 Overwatch fans associate with Korean Contenders. Wolf and Achillios joined Overwatch League in Season 2. They brought a smart and historical cast to the League. Not only that but also a deep understanding of the Korean Contenders and rookies that were coming into the league from Korean Tier 2 Overwatch.

APEX Season 3 Finals

Wolf’s favorite moment was hard to decide. Ultimately, he decided on the APEX Season 3 Finals. Achilios also chose this historic moment in Overwatch as one of his most cherished. During that match, they did a tri-cast in an amazing nine maps with tiebreakers. The opening video became iconic. Many fans view the Season 3 finals of Lunatic Hai versus Kongdoo Panthera as one of the best matches of Overwatch.

Wolf mentioned the physical location of the event enhanced the excitement, “All the while, we cast in an incredible venue with tons of live fans next to Lotte Tower (which, at the time, had the Overwatch Logo on it). It was probably the most well-done Finals I’ve ever worked on. I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget Gido crying when he received the Finals MVP award after a shaky season of starting over Lunatic Hai’s benched WhoRU. It was a day filled with emotions.” 

Importance of APEX Talent

APEX not only allowed the Overwatch community to familiarize themselves with the Korean players but also allowed them to get to know the casters. The APEX talent that came to the Overwatch League brings an essential component, which is the knowledge of the Korean Overwatch scene. As seen in the League is a majority of Korean players, and with many of them being on a team that participated in APEX, having staff that understands the dynamics and historical relevance is important in relaying an accurate narrative to the fans.

The Importance of APEX

APEX showed what a global Overwatch tournament could look like. This South Korean tournament set a foundation for what the community knows as the Overwatch League. The talent and production from APEX helped form the Overwatch League. APEX allowed for players to gain a foot into the esports door. They were highlighted in the APEX broadcasts and gained fans from it. These tournaments made some Overwatch pros household names within the community.

APEX is a vital component of the Overwatch and Overwatch League History. It brings to the fans storylines, friendships and rivalries to the League. As the Overwatch League grows hopefully fans do not forget OGN’s APEX tournaments. It was these tournaments that helped show what a professional tournament of Overwatch should look like.

Many thanks to Doa, Wolf and Achilios for speaking to the author about their thoughts and experiences on the APEX tournament.

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