Hello, and welcome to this little roundup of the events at the recent Shanghai qualifiers for the Overwatch World Cup at Blizzcon later this year. As G33k P0p’s resident Overwatch esports nerd I’ll be taking you through the events of last weekend, and what’s due to be happening this weekend in Sydney (So there are a lot of spoilers here, don’t say I didn’t warn you).
Last weekend saw the first group stage of the world cup in Shanghai with the countries from Group A and B battle it out in a group stage, before the top 2 teams of those groups would face off against the other groups in the playoff stage, where 2 teams would emerge as those going to Blizzcon.
In Group A we saw the #1 country on the global SR leaderboards, Team China, in a group with that some people could say was interesting competition, with Norway, Hong Kong and Romania being the other teams. I say “interesting” due to the huge contrast of placements within the initial “SR” phase, with China being 1st place, and all the other contestants in this group being over 10 places behind, also with Romania narrowly being the 32nd place slot, I think almost everyone expected China to be either the first or second seat from the group. Unfortunately these SR placements were really shown in how well each team played, with China 4-0’ing everyone in the group in what were very one-sided affairs, despite China’s dominating performance, it was clear Norway was going to be the second seat, with a crushing 4-0 over Romania and a 3-1 over Hong Kong, who both had no chance of going to Blizzcon or the Playoffs, picking up only 5 maps between the two of them, it was really a tough group, and there was no doubt both these teams played well, especially Hong Kong, who really put up a fight Vs the two European nations.
Group B was a fairly similar story, with France (who had sent the entire line up of the professional team “Rogue”) taking the first seat in their group, beating Argentina 4-0, and Denmark/Thailand 3-1. What was really interesting in this group was the battle for the second seat, Denmark and Thailand were so evenly matched, and either of them could’ve potentially gone to the Playoffs, it was a 2-2 in their match where they went head to head, and it ultimately came down to the performances of each team vs Argentina. While Argentina was definitely the weakest team in the group, they put up a very strong fight, especially against France in their first match, despite the score being 4-0, it was not a “stomp”, with some of the Argentinian players, such as their Tracer player “Klaus” making a big name for himself, being an amazingly skilled player, who at the age of only 16, really won the hearts of the fans and took a lot of the casters, analysts and fans alike off-guard with his amazing play. That being said there were a lot of other standout players on the Argentinian roster too, such as DDX, being an amazing Sombra player, however, coming into a group like this, it’s safe to say no one expected much, but they really put on a show for us. Unfortunately for Denmark, losing one map to Argentina in their 3-1 victory, while Thailand completed a 4-0, meant that by the end of the group stage, there was no need for a tiebreaker, as Thailand had made it to the playoffs by only one map.
When the playoff stages arrived, the games were definitely not very close at all, much like the playoff stages from qualifiers last year, both the 1st seats from each group (China and France) completing a 3-0 against their respective 2nd seat counterparts, and once again, it was China and France making it to the Blizzcon weekend, however, despite their rosters already being strong last year, they were definitely the weakest teams out of the top 8, so this year, it’ll be interesting to see how their new, considerably stronger rosters do vs other nations, most people are already believing that the two teams are grand final material, we’ll just have to see how they’ll adapt to the entirely new balance changes and meta shifts that will happen by the time November comes around.
This weekend the OWWC team have made their way to Sydney, Australia, for the second group stage, to watch a whole new set of teams compete, in what could be some very close matches within the groups and also playoffs. Some games have already been played in the early hours of this morning, and you can check those out (As well as the Group A matches) on twitch.tv/PlayOverwatch, there’s some real surprises in there!
Thanks for reading this roundup for the OWWC Shanghai Group Stage, make sure to tune in to the action in Sydney this weekend! Also, make sure to check us out on Twitter @G33kP0p, as well as checking out our Patreon page, where you can support your G33k P0p team!