With Sideshow out of the picture this week, i’ve taken the opportunity (with much of his blessing) to bring you some highlights of Overwatch content from this past week. Given the recent conclusion of APEX Season 2, much of the content this week has been focused on the tournament as well as looking forward towards the upcoming Overwatch League. With that, grab a snack (or drink) and let’s dive into some of the highlights from this past week.

Cloud9 Boss Jack Etienne: "Overwatch League is a Huge Priority"

Glixel - by Will Partin

As the rumored Overwatch League draws near, Glixel’s interview with Cloud 9’s Jack Etienne, is enlightening for two reasons. One, he goes in depth about the organization’s commitment to the Overwatch League, its potential, and the importance of it for the development of esports.

Perhaps even more interesting is insight into how one of the major esports organizations, is investing into the future, such as exploring an organization campus for all teams to share communal resources.

We've heard that you're looking to build a new team headquarters in Los Angeles. Can you say a bit more about that?

We're already headquartered in Los Angeles, and we've got several team houses – our League team, our Overwatch team, some of our Hearthstone players and management staff are here too. But in this next stage of franchise esports, instead of multiple houses across Los Angeles, we need a single campus where we can have, like, a cafeteria and a gym where we can monitor our players and make sure they're doing all the exercise they need to stay in good shape. Also, we make our own content, which allows access to our players. When all the players are in the same place, that's much easier. Often, our video guy is driving all over Los Angeles.

Ultimate Kill Power Ratings in Overwatch (Escort/Hybrid Maps)

Winston’s Lab - by Steve Cafmeyer

A brief respite from our continual lack of statistics in the Overwatch scene, Winston’s Lab does a deep dive into the efficiency of ultimates based on Season 3 and Season 4 matches. If you enjoy analytics and investigating data, definitely give a read through to follow how conclusions are drawn. If not, skip towards the end where Steve Cafmeyer, provides a mini ranking for ultimates along with some basic information such as Kills per Ult.

...Zarya’s ultimate being the best on a per use basis is not surprising given the number of team wipes it creates. There’s still one big difference that Figure 5 doesn’t take into account: Ultimates have different charge rates. To account for charge rates, I calculated the average time between ultimate uses (average time to charge + average time held) using a weighted average by game type (our data is 62.1% hybrid and 37.9% escort). I divided this time between uses by the average length of a single attacking phase (393s) to determine how many ultimates each hero gets on average in half of a hybrid/escort map. Then we can multiply this by each ultimate’s net kill rating to calculate how many net kills each ultimate creates on average over a single attacking phase.

The kings have been crowned: A look back at Lunatic-Hai's championship season

Dot Esports - by Elbion

With APEX Season 2 spanning for such a lengthy duration, it can become hard to appreciate the journey Lunatic-Hai took in their quest to the top. Elbion takes us right back to the start of the action, reminding us of Lunatic-Hai’s surprisingly strong performance during the group stages and concluding with the thrilling Grand Finals against RunAway. With APEX Season 3 not too far off, this is a great read to remind you of the action soon to come.

...after a bizarre scandal involving player relationships with fans, the roster of Lunatic-Hai was cut by two as Leetaejun and Geum “Dean” Dong-geun retired from professional play. Lunatic-Hai played with this trimmed roster for the entire tournament bar their series against Afreeca Red.

With their new-look roster Lunatic-Hai went on to 3-0 the group of death, dropping just a single map to LW Blue. It was during this period of domination that we truly got acquainted with Lunatic-Hai’s rookie Genji player Lee “Whoru” Seung Joon and the magic he is capable of conjuring.

Whoru’s play was so spectacular that it covered up one of the most obvious weaknesses of the roster, Esca. While Leetaejun was on Lunatic-Hai Esca was the best DPS player on the team. But now in the shadow of Whoru it became clear how little game impact he had, especially when compared to other secondary DPS players such as Lee “Stitch” Choong Hui of RunAway or Park “Saebyeolbe” Jong-ryeol of LW Blue.

Homeward bound - MonteCristo and DoA on South Korea, Overwatch and coming home

ESPN - by Young Jae Jeon

As recently announced, APEX Season 2 castering duo MonteCristo and DoA will be returning to the United States to begin preparation for serving as casters for the upcoming Overwatch League. Young Jae Jeon leads us on a journey detailing the caster’s backgrounds, reasons for returning to the United States and thoughts on the future of esports.

...Lonnquist nods. "No one can deny there are real human stories, real serious competition, [and that] people's lives are changing because of all this, and we give that its due. But at the end of the day, it's just dudes playing video games!" he exclaims. "So you got to have fun with it too, you know?"

When it comes to high-level esports production, Mykles is convinced the OGN model is the way to go. Having already made all the mistakes to be made over its 18 years of operation, the station knows exactly what clicks with fans: balancing heroic and hilarious, being careful not to sway too far to either side.

"What OGN does is walk the line between lionizing the players -- making them look so f------ cool -- but then, at the same time, realize it's a bunch of nerds playing video games, and make fun of them, or show their humorous side, in the same broadcast."

Volamel's Viewpoint: Constellations - Exploring the Influence of Star Power

Esports Heaven - by Volamel

The concept of a “carry” has long existed in esports. While Overwatch is a team-based game, requiring coordination for success against competitors, some players still are able to find their moments to shine. This week, Volamel takes us on a unique journey identifying some of these individuals and pairing their characteristics and playstyles to various constellations.

Taimou seemingly approaches life, just as he approaches the game. At times, he can be a bit sharp, but it's that stark honesty that the fans love. During an interview with Yahoo Esports at MLG Vegas 2016, Taimou talks about the road to the finals and what his expectations were coming into Las Vegas. [1] “ ...it was a horrible, horrible trip here. And I felt like if I don’t win this tournament... like during the whole trip — [it] was going to be in vain.

Not only is he an all-star marksmen, but his Roadhog play from last Season of OGN’s APEX League was something special. Taimou not only creates space with Roadhog, but punishes poor positioning and found his own openings with aggression solo pushes. With his track record of clutch plays, you can bet Taimou and Team Envyus will be coming back to North America with a vengeance. Looking up at the stars in the night sky, the first constellation that jumps out at the forefront is the Big Dipper, or Ursa Major. Usually depicted as a large bear in mythology, I tie this constellation to Taimou for his huge impact within his team and his larger than life popularity. Everyone knows Taimou, just as everyone knows Ursa Major, but, be warned — you do not want to provoke this bear.

Bren’s Reflections - How Have the Lucio changes affected the meta?

by Bren

The latest patch to Overwatch on April 11th, introduced the long awaited changes to Lucio. On paper, it seems like the changes are neither a direct buff or nerf, but focused on modifying the role the hero will play in future competitive compositions. Bren dives into these changes and looks at the big picture impacts of these changes.

Do APEX spots need to be earned?

by Harsha

The recent announcement that Rogue and NRG may be the invited teams to APEX Season 3 was met with mixed reactions. While most agreed Rogue was well deserving of the invite, NRG's invite was not met with the same reaction - many questioning why a team that has not competed in the recent past was already deserving of an invitation. Our own Harsha provides additional context to the announcement and then discusses these arguments and what this invite means for the Overwatch scene.