I don’t want to give much of a preamble this week as it’s a long but excellent Picked Over. It’s long precisely because there has been such great content produced over the last 10 or so days in Overwatch; each piece below deserves its spot and your time.
Grab a drink and soak these in.
GosuGamers - by Nydra
Half a preview of the semifinal between Meta Athena and Lunatic-Hai, half a study of Meta’s playstyle and storyline thus far in APEX, this piece is brilliantly written. It finds an effortless comparison to the Greek mythological gods of Ares and Athena, as well as accurately depicting Meta’s strengths and shifts, using data to show just how strong they have been so far. A great piece that deserves top spot in a week so full of good content.
Two gods of war exist in the Greek mythos. Riding his war chariot is the bloodthirsty Ares, the untamed, visceral, man-slaughtering embodiment of war. Fear, Terror and Discord aid the god on his conquests, as he dives into the battle fearlessly, an unstoppable machine of destruction, dreaded by gods and mortals alike.
Then there’s Athena, the calm goddess of wisdom, a venerable scholar of military strategy and tactics. Athena fights nothing like her brother. She is intelligent and composed, but once unleashed, her wrath similarly knows no bounds.
They are the two sides of the same coin, and they could not be more different.
Over in the other semifinal, RunAway beat LW Blue in a fantastic series. This interview with Runner, the 28-year-old father of the team as well as his own children, opens us up to the mentality of this rising world-class team. Audio is in Korean with English subtitles, allowing us to really get into the mind of Runner and Stitch after their win.
Esports Heaven - by Volamel
There’s a storm brewing in North American Overwatch. The best of the tier-two teams have been developing over the past few months to step their game up to the next level. Immortals have come off back-to-back wins in the Winter Premiere and now the Carbon Series, while LG Evil are hot on their heels and overall performing more consistently. Selfless have shot into relevancy and overtaken them both judging by recent performances.
Rogue, however, have decided to launch an invasion and take the former colonies back for the glory of France. Who will stop them?
July of this year marks quarter three of the financial market and the genesis of Blizzard’s Overwatch League. With one team on a meteoric rise, Rogue is back and streamlined to return to their former glory. Facing little to no rivalry, who can overthrow the French monarchy or will Rogue continue on their path of desolation? The few who pose a threat to this regime of intimidation, have gathered their arms and have declared war on the French rule.
As many of North America’s top teams traveling back from South Korea, “three musketeers” stand steadfast against Rogue. These “three musketeers” represent three of North America’s brightest and best teams in the current landscape, but the question still stands; can the revolutionaries succeed in culling a rising tyranny? Before we can answer that question, let us first look back at the royal rise of Rogue.
Here’s some fun for you, halfway through the amazing content for the week. It’s RunAway again, but this time their first real breakthrough win of the season against Lunatic-Hai. Behind the scenes, inside the booth, with OGN. It’s heartwarming!
Winston’s Lab - By RadoN
Here’s a highly subjective and therefore highly interesting piece from RadoN, ranking the individual players from the semifinalist teams in APEX. Using a variety of factors, laid out in the article, he lists which players he thinks rate highly in the Korean premier league.
Where would you put these stars, ranked against each other?
ryujehong – with uNKOE and chipshajen not present, he’s been performing far and away above any other Ana and Zenyatta players. As the robotic monk comes back into the metagame even more, we’ll likely see ryujehong’s game impact increase, as being able to heal your teammates while sniping down opponents fits perfectly the skill set of the bloodthirstiest support in Korea.
This season he’s been dying more often, which is troubling, when we consider how impeccable his positioning was during APEX S1. However, this can be put down to the dive-heavy meta and him being the only real long-range threat on the team, at the moment.
Most played heroes: Ana, Zenyatta
There’s no denying that the Overwatch League will make or break Overwatch as an esport. As such, and because of the lockdown on news since its announcement, any information is incredibly important. The ‘roadshow’ started recently with a pitch from Nate Nanzer to various parties involved, and a slide discussing the city slots was posted to Twitter.
Thorin breaks down some issues with Blizzard’s structure and what these leaks hint about their philosophy for OWL.
Immortals.gg - by Cass Marshall
A very well-written piece by Cass Marshall, staff writer for Immortals, detailing the rise of the team after picking up their Lucio shotcaller, Verbo. Using quotes from Verbo himself and the team coach Chance, Cass pieces together their approach to winning and what has made Immortals so successful over the last few months.
This piece was written before their victory in the Carbon Series, and it’s easy to see how they were able to pick themselves out of the minor slump they were in halfway through. Though words are cheap, this is a team that appears to live what they preach in terms of attitude to the game.
It’s easy to win, and it’s easy to look good when you’re doing well. After the NGE Winter Premiere, Immortals began to stumble. After some family emergencies, the team finished third in the February Alienware Monthly Melee. In the currently ongoing Carbon Entertainment Series, Immortals is currently 5-4, dropping games to teams we previously steamrolled.
“We’re really used to winning.” Verbo says. “There’s not a lot of problems when you’re winning, you’re in a honeymoon phase.” The NGE Winter Premiere had been a cakewalk, but now Immortals was struggling. This was, in many ways, the biggest test for an in-game leader.
Verbo isn’t daunted. “My first thoughts when we lost to Luminosity [in the Carbon Series] was… I was sad, but happy at the same time. We needed that loss as a team. If we kept winning constantly, we wouldn’t be able to deal with issues that could arise later. As a team, we were so used to winning and moving up that ladder. It’s time to learn how to lose and deal with that, and then step back up.”
Do you need any more than the title to want to watch this video? Monte lays out his thoughts for 10 minutes on the current season of APEX, hitting some thought-provoking points along the way! What more could you ask for?
GosuGamers - by Nydra
Though the Western performance on Assault maps in APEX was lacklustre to say the least, it’s only indicative of larger problems. For teams using it as an excuse or even the primary reason, Nydra says, this smells like tommy rollocks. He puts it slightly more eloquently. And uses stats to back it up.
It’s obvious that NA lagged behind in more ways than just 2CP inferiority. The format of the tournament remained unchanged from season one and Blizzard has been adamant about keeping 2CP and control maps in rotation, so there is little excuse to be so unpracticed on half of Overwatch’s competitive modes. NA needed to adapt to the reality of the situation quicker instead of stubbornly grinding King’s Row and Eichenwalde like there’s no tomorrow. Even if Korea did theoretically have more time and desire to practice 2CP maps, a drop from 53% win-rate in the mode in season one to mere 14% in season two is simply inexcusable for NA.
Around the Watch Episode 11: “Selfless is working with us to make sure we get to an org that can get a spot in OWL”
Around the Watch Podcast - by CaptainPlanet, Harsha, and PestoEnthusiast
Selfless look, for my money, like the first homegrown North American team since Cloud9 to truly have world-class potential. They performed excellently in the Monthly Melee for March, running Rogue extremely close and battering the other opposition for the silver. If they can keep it up they’ll be in a great position, and both the players and their org recognise that talent.
Esports Heaven - by Volamel
Despite their lack of fame, quality of observers can have the largest impact for tournaments in Overwatch. It’s a game often criticised for its ease of viewing, yet little attention is given to those who can improve that aspect; Volamel gives Imagine the floor to talk about the struggles and workflow of an effective Overwatch esports observer.
Speaking of switching on the fly, I know of a few interesting “rules” of casting, but are there any laws or themes you try to focus on in your observing? How does the allowance of switching camera angles actually work?
So to understand observing a little better, you have to know that there's a division of labor. This depends on a number of observers available and I can really only speak for the tournaments I've done. Duties are usually split between some observers acting as only first person cams and others as only free cams. This allows each observer to focus on a very specific thing, rather than having to think about where best to place a free cam shot and which 1st person hero to switch to next; that is something that's left to a game director. Because of this, the rules that are followed are different depending on what role you're taking.
First person cams will usually stick with the same team so the game director knows “observer one” is always red an “observer two” is blue. Freecams operate more around the 180-degree rule from the film, where you always want to be on one side of the action because switching 180 degrees to the other side is incredibly jarring to viewers. Of course, sometimes you need to be more flexible with what you're doing, but that's more or less how the breakdown goes.