This week I’ve been freezing private parts of my body off in the deep reaches of Scotland, and I’m writing this from the local nexus of warmth and wifi - a country pub. The warm enjoyment of the following Overwatch pieces has provided sustainence though; I feel dizzy with creative appreciation. Or maybe that’s the beer.

APEX S2: First Blood

Winston’s Lab - by Karahol

Wow, what an article. It’s heavily stats-based and explores a completely new area that I haven’t heard anybody discuss in Overwatch before: does first blood, the initial kill in a teamfight, have relevance on the teamfight and the round?

Unlike many other games the answer is not as obvious as one might think given the relationship between damage, space, and kills in Overwatch. By analysing data from Season 2 of APEX, Karahol takes us through a journey of discovering how the first kill impacts teamfights on a range of map types.

In LoL, where First Blood is announced explicitly in-game with text and audio, this opening kill holds significance in terms of outplaying your opponent in either a duel, a skirmish or a big engagement. It depends a lot on the players and their style, the team’s plan for the first fight and so on, but since there is much more room for individual duels and plays at the beginning, the First Blood is actually an opening act that star players do more often than not. If someone else draws First Blood, it also tells volume about this player’s skill and performance.

In Overwatch, however, we witness a total different approach in this term. All engagements are team engagements, especially the first engagements. It’s really unlikely that the first kill will come as the result of a duel that is happening far away from the bigger engagement. Overwatch is a heavily team-focused game and with all the damage dealt per fight not actually conveyed by any means, the first kill can not really be hyped that much. It can also be something totally random: a lucky strike that a player did and caught an opponent at low health and finished him off. Nonetheless, in order to actually prove the significance or not of such an opening act in Overwatch, research must be done, which I have started working on and I will present straight away.

Mannetens: "...almost every Korean team we have scrimmed could be seen as a top contender in EU/NA."

Esports Heaven - by Volamel

Volamel sat down with Mannetens, the new DPS player for Misfits, after their win over AF.Red at LAN. They briefly discuss a range of topics including that first LAN win for the new roster, life in Korea, and the strength of their competitive scene.

In other other games, Korean solo queue is held at quite a high regard. Do you think that holds true with Overwatch?

I don't think solo queue is that much better in Korea than in Europe. It might improve over time, but currently there is a lot of hackers and it's less enjoyable since i don't understand everything they say. But in general, they take ranked a bit more serious in my opinion, which is nice.

Any scrim monsters in the Korean scene that the community might not know?

Hard to say. Almost every Korean team we have scrimmed could be seen as a top contender in EU/NA. I think currently BK Stars will be underrated because of their losses, but give them some more LAN experience and they will shine.

The super-team that finally is: Lunatic-Hai

GAMURS - By Elbion

Lunatic-Hai added two new players to their roster recently in Zunba and WhoRU. Perhaps more importantly, they also lost two players as dean and Leetaejun retired from professional Overwatch following a ‘scandal’.

Elbion takes us through the impact this change has had and the avenues now open to the arguably top Korean team.

To put it plainly, Lunaitc-Hai was playing with training weights. The Korean roster waded into battle with an unnecessary burden they had to compensate for. But now, following some roster moves, both planned and unexpected, the roster of Lunatic-Hai is looking more terrifying than ever and finally is poised to be the super-team they have always meant to be.

Claims of fabrication surrounding Leetaejun’s alleged inappropriate behaviour

Most people thought this story could not get more insane. For Westerners attempting to keep up with the Korean drama it alternated between difficult to understand and impossible to follow. Now, it appears, the original source of the claims of inappropriate sexual messaging has retracted her allegations and stated they were faked chatlogs.

This entire debacle has degenerated into little more than “he said, she said”. The point of this highlighted reddit post in our Picked Over is not to spread information or try to inform people about the counter-argument - it’s to show the power and potential of misinformation. There is little hard evidence here and so much disproportionate outrage from fans in Korea and the West; in the centre are two players who, right or wrong, have had their promising careers ruined.

EnVyUs Taimou: “I want to meet Cloud9 in the quarterfinals”

InvenGlobal - by HyunJun “Hevve” Lee

Hevve has been carrying out and translating many post-game interviews at APEX, but Taimou opened up a little more than his usual interviewees. Most revealing are his thoughts on Lunatic-Hai and how the two teams match up - it seems they’ve been getting the worse end of any scrims.

EnVyUs, Cloud9, and Lunatic-Hai are likely to make playoffs and potentially will face each other during the bracket, though this season there is a different double-elimination playoff stage before the finals. Almost every game at that point should be incredible, given the skill level this season.

Is there any team you want to avoid? Which team do you think is a strong one?

Lunatic-Hai is good. We never won against Lunatic-Hai. The team is really quick in coming up with effective countermeasures. I think it would be hard to win against such a flexible team.

Do you think you will be able to win against them?

It would be a huge matchup if we were to go against them in the grand finals. However, as of now, I think Lunatic-Hai is stronger than us.

How are you going to prepare for the upcoming matchup? Any surprise strategy?

We are not preparing anything special. We adjust our strategy in response to the enemy team, just like other teams do. We will try out different combinations and decide what strategy we will go with when the match begins.