Most Overwatch esport viewers stick to watching the Overwatch League. Some prefer the yearly World Cup, and some watch both. The more adventurous ones will seek out Contenders matches, usually from Europe, Korea, China, or North America. Overwatch does have competition outside of these, of course, but it is not as popular. So, for the sake of showcasing the best, lesser-known players, here are three other tournaments and their standout players.
Contenders South America
Of the seven Contenders regions that make up the Path to Pro, South America is, without a doubt, the most overlooked. It was never as popular as its southern, low viewership, counterpart, Australia. Additionally, the Pacific and Chinese regions boasted viewers and recognizable teams unlike that of South America’s. Despite that, it certainly has talent among its ranks.
Initially, South America relied on the Overwatch World Cup and a few tournaments, such as the South American Overwatch Circuit, as its main exposure to audiences. A few teams remained at the top, trading victories and the top three positions between them. These were Brazil Game House (or BGH, the Brazilian national team), Karma (the Argentine team), and KEEP Gaming.
DPS players Felipe “Liko” Lebrao (BGH) and Nicolas “Klaus” Ferrari (Karma) were the best known from the era. On projectile and hitscan respectively, the popular players were seen as the keystones for their teams. On tanks, the BGH duo Marício “Honorato” Honorato and Mateus “Neil” Kröber caught the audience’s eye. Finally, Renan “Alemão” Moretto (BGH) and Alan “ddx” Salvati (Karma) were the big players in the support role.
The Path to Pro System
All remained key players coming into Contenders, though Alemão and Klaus managed to go into the international scene.
Joining them were 12 teams with a plethora of diversity. From the team that would eventually represent Mexico in the 2019 World Cup, Predators Esports, to different (mostly Brazilian) teams that would include a number of stars.
By this time, Pedro “ole” Orlandini (JustW, Black Dragons Esports, LFTOWL) was now arguably the best off support in the tournament. Likewise, Argentinean players Sebastián “Kaizak” Moreno (Isurus Gaming), Valentín “valen” Ontivero (JustW, Isurus) and Nicolás “LeviataN” Brosio (Isurus, PaiN, LFTOWL), made a name for themselves in 2018.
The 2019 Seasons
In the following year, Blizzard introduced a number of changes, and yet both veterans and newcomers mingled. David “Debout” Beaupuits (UP Gaming), despite inconsistencies, showed great peaks as a flexible DPS player. Chilean tank Benjamin “Glitch” Riquelme and Kaizak led orgless team Pingüinos to a strong Season 2. Now retired UP Gaming star André “Txozin” Saidel was the best main tank player during both seasons.
Of course, mentioning 2019 without talking about Lowkey Esports and Fury would be blasphemous.
Lowkey was the spiritual successor of BGH, with a few changes. Liko and Honorato remained while ddx joined the team. Ole and DPS Murillo “murizzz” Tuchtenhagen also joined the team, no doubt thanks to their past synergy with BGH players. The team successfully remained at the top of the tournament, with two consecutive first-place finishes.
Fury, meanwhile, is arguably the Karma to Lowkey Esports’s BGH. They, like Karma before them, impressed across the whole tournament, but failed at the final hour against Lowkey. Off support Renzo Sebastián “Searchy” Castagnaro was previously climbing up the support ranks, until he got the recognition he deserved. Junnior Abad “Keath” Gamboa and Julián David “BEAST” Lauandos made up one of the best tank lines of the region. Lucas “Knight” Cabral impressed many with his top-notch Widowmaker play.
Without a doubt, however, the main highlight of South America 2019 was the young duo of projectile DPS Leonardo “Shinigami” de Oliveira Moreira and main support Gabriela “Win98” Nacaratto Vieira. Best known for their incredible Pharmercy duo, they did, however, show skill on other heroes. Win98 in particular has risen up to become the best Brazilian main support following the retirement of Alemão, thanks mainly to her Lúcio and Mercy play.
You can find Contenders South America matches, including the most recent season, in the Contenders YouTube Playlist [PT/ES]
Monkey Bubble Eurocup
In August 2019 Monkey Bubble decided to organize a fundraiser for the Overwatch World Cup. Through donations and merchandise sales, the victor of the tournament would receive funding to assist Blizzcon that year. The tournament was a fun precursor to the World Cup and a reminder of the talent that resides in the continent.
Throughout the tournament it was well established that having a player that excelled with Sigma would be crucial. Finnbjörn “Finnsi” Jónasson (Iceland), Nikolai “Naga” Dereli (Denmark) and Max “Moose” Kießlling (Germany) stepped up to bat when required. Neither player had a history that showed they would adapt in such a way, but their Sigma play was some of the best in the Eurocup.
DPS play was another of the keys to success in the brackets and playoffs. The flexibility of Johannes “Shax” Nielsen (Denmark), Mads “Fischer” Jehg (Denmark) and Hafþór “Hafficool” Hákonarson (Iceland) is what helped lead their countries to the Grand Finals. Their displays included the likes of Reaper, Mei, Doomfist, Pharah, and Widowmaker, a flexibility that would later translate to Denmark’s unprecedented World Cup run.
In terms of main tanks not much can be said in the double shield meta game. Without Anders “Henningsen” Henningsen and Sierhai “Bogur” Alekau, however, neither Denmark nor Bulgaria (respectively) would have had such a strong performance that week.
Finally, for supports, Israeli Dany “Awkward” Novak, the German Emir “IBTB” Kaan Okumus, and the Danish duo of Kristian “Kellex” Keller and Victor “Scaler” Godsk are worth highlighting. Neither were necessarily the best or the more noticeable players of the tournament., but they were all clearly above the majority.
Out Of Nowhere
As mentioned, there were quite a few impressive support players in the tournament, however, none could top the role. Without a doubt, that title goes to Iceland’s Futhark on Lúcio and Mercy, and Italy’s Alex “Frayu1600” Parri on Moira. Without fail, both players would make plays or have the required cooldown (that, is Frayu1600 had Coalescence every fight). Worth mentioning is Futhark’s partner, Kristófer “Númi” Númi. Without the newcomer duo, Iceland’s success would not have occurred.
One of the biggest themes of this meta is the DPS play. Four teams’ duos stood out in this regard. Joining the already featured Denmark and Iceland are Italy and Israel. With Iceland, Doomfist player Sindri was yet another of the country’s breakout stars. Gilad “Aliveee” Hakim managed to bring out a Widowmaker that dominated the group stages, and Aviv32‘s Doomfist helped capitalize on Israel’s pick composition. Finally, Marco “Hearthbeat” Soffia and LilYung made up the duo that represented Italy in 2019. Neither was exactly an unknown for followers of the local scene, but in the Eurocup they showed that they want more than such a small target audience.
On the topic of duos, one more deserves the spotlight. Again representatives of Israel, Amit “Darkartas” Kimchi and Tzor “Knasen” Dahan surprised with their synergy and ability on the double shield heroes. Both players, like LilYung and Hearthbeat, had been a part of T2 and T3 previously, participating in South America and Europe, respectively. Unfortunately, Darkartas has since retired to complete his military service.
Overwatch Korea Cup
Sin June 2019, LVUP runs a T3 tournament called the Overwatch Korea Cup. It features 4 weekly qualifiers that determine the 4 participants for a tournament at the end of the month. In its seven-month lifespan, 16 teams attempted to go all the way each month, and six succeeded, with Gen.B winning twice.
Already four of its players are now in the Overwatch League, a surprising amount for the T3 tournament.
It should be noted that this is a tournament prone to fluctuation, and, for more insight into the future of Korean Overwatch, it is recommended that the reader watch past and upcoming matches of this cup. The following is not supposed to be a comprehensive summary, but a mere introductory piece.
With such a long run time and the format lending itself to a lot of variation, the tournament is essentially a rotating door for talent. Few players can boast the consistency needed at this level to prove they belong in top tier Overwatch.
Among these are Gen.A’s Haeim, GGTC’s Ra “Sierra” Yeaong-Hwan (also known as Kadalis), and AEGIS’s Kim “KimHanGyeom” Han-Gyeom (previously on WGS Academy).
Haeim was constantly great performer in the tournament, while Sierra featured in the playoffs just as frequently. KimHanGyeom, meanwhile, struggled for results, even if his play suggested otherwise. All three are incredibly flexible players, and it was rare to see a dip in quality from one hero or match to the next.
Korea Cup Graduates
Another interesting aspect of the competition is how many players it has exported. Four of its alumni are currently in the Overwatch League, including three in the London Spitfire. The latter are flex DPS Jung “ALTHOUGH” Hyun-Wook (Gen.S), projectile DPS Lee “Schwi” Dong-Jae (CheongJu Hunters, later Runaway), and main support Lim“SanGuiNar” Kyu-Min (Gen.B).
— London Spitfire (@Spitfire) November 23, 2019
Additionally, former streamer, ex-retiree, and Goin Water S hitscan player Lee “ANS” Seon-Chang joined the San Francisco Shock for his Widowmaker play.
Some of the better known former players are, surprisingly, not those that joined the League, but those that moved on to the Path to Pro.
Lee “MCD” Jeong-Ho (3hours, now Element Mystic) and Kim “Bliss” So-Mung (Gen.A, then known as Calling. Now on Gen.G) are both currently on top Korean Contenders teams. Recently, Kim “lr1s” Seung-Hyun and Lee “PaeSeul” Jun-Seo joined North American teams Third Impact and Simplicity, respectively. All four being supports is a coincidence, but all four proving themselves in their new region is not.
Consistency is key in Overwatch. Flashiness, of course, comes after, but can not be ignored.
Gen.A’s Blad3r and OneCoin’s Unkn0wn both share a number of similarities. Besides being DPS players (although on different roles), they are both “feast or famine” players. Usually, this is evident in Blad3r’s Pharah and Unkn0wn’s Reaper gameplay.
If one hasn’t had enough of Gen.A, Quasid and Toyou are two more of their players that can’t be missed. Toyou brings more of the Sigma play that fans definitely aren’t tired of watching, and Quasid the Moira. Oh? Sigma and Moira are getting old? Well, try their Roadhog and Ana! Anyone would think they are watching Contenders again, if they didn’t know better.
For a brief moment, Spera and Heesang (Genjichung) moved up from EM Academy to the main team. Representing Element Mystic at NeXT, it seemed like they were the future DPS starters of the team, and fans were satisfied. For whatever reason, this move did not occur, and the gold medalists lost their spot to fan favorite Choi “ChoiSehwan” Se-Hwan, and Shin “Just” Hyun-Seong.
It is likely that the future for these players is not in T3, but joining the others in higher-level competition.
You can find Overwatch Korea Cup VODs in LVUP’s YouTube playlist [KR]
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