As the first stage gets underway for the World Cup, excitement is beginning to brew. Last year’s tournament was a hugely popular event among esports and casual fans, united in cheering for their countries. Committee members are being voted in now by the public, with three per country selecting the final rosters. There have been many potential rosters thrown around in various forms, some agreeable and some laughable, so it's time to try my hand at nailing down the "best" teams for our top 10 countries.
While discussing the candidates and potential teams, I'll also go through instances where it would be best to insert proven teams wholesale into the World Cup - for example Misfits or Rogue for Sweden and France respectively - or when it would be best to construct a "superteam" from talent available. Many times, it will end up being a core of an existing team complemented by additional talent.
For the record, I am not in any way against using existing teams for the World Cup. It's ridiculous, in fact, that some fans would be disappointed with a playoff bracket that was "just" Lunatic-Hai, Misfits, Rogue, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Blank Esports, Miraculous Youngsters, Brazil Gaming House, etc.
That would be the most varied and highly competitive global tournament we've ever had in Overwatch. It's not like we're drowning in LAN events here, crying "oversaturation!" as the best teams battle every weekend for our pleasure. Many of those teams have never faced each other before, some confined to small domestic tournaments for months. This showdown would be incredible to watch in the moment, and the results of the World Cup would have relevancy afterwards outside of its own bubble.
What a fantastic playoff bracket that would be!
Returning back to the matter at hand, there are some important considerations when crafting World Cup rosters. It's a full six months until the playoffs, the most important part of the World Cup, and a lot can change between now and then. Teams can break up or change lineups, ruining the synergy you thought you had; patches can shift the meta completely; players can rise up or fall off. It's also a long time to be practising on high ping or in terrible timezones, so you have to keep in mind where players will be across the world. cocco and chipshajen, for example, will be in Korea and then the USA during that time, unlike their compatriots in the heart of Sweden.
That's not to say that practising for six months is always going to be better than grabbing crazy talent and just going hard for a few weeks before the World Cup. There are massively diminishing returns on practice once you get months down the line; disregarding patches, teams usually taper off their improvements after a month of intense practice with the same roles. A dedicated team with individual talent could certainly gel in a short period of time before the World Cup.
When it comes down to the real process of creating these rosters, outside the realm of hypotheticals and into serious competition, tryouts will be the single most important stage. Players may unexpectedly gel together to become better than their parts, perceived one-tricks may reveal skill on heroes normally not considered in their pool, or completely undiscovered talents may rise from nowhere to earn their place.
Let's take a look at our top 10 teams, sorted by the average SR of the top 100 players:
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
It may seem a horrifically weak way to begin an article like this but China remains a bit of an unknown to me. I don’t allocate a lot of my time to watching their OWPS matches and was infected with a dose of apathy after seeing the Chinese teams defeated repeatedly by their Korean and Western opponents in tournaments. Nevertheless I’ll give it a crack, with the help of some avid Chinese viewers from the over.gg staff, and get rolling afterwards with the more familiar teams.
Prior to the Overwatch Premier Series: Spring, Chinese analysts compiled their own allstar rosters. The focus there was on the OWPS season but could just as easily apply to the Chinese World Cup effort. If you want to hear what the real Chinese experts would class as their best teams, have a read (via Google translate) here.
I do know that Miraculous Youngster is the overall best team in the region, having sprung up a number of months ago to oust the old guard. They have a very talented flex DPS player, leave, as well as a well-known and capable offtank YjjPP who competed last year at the World Cup.
Instability is a key factor in Chinese Overwatch and it doesn’t make sense to keep a full team together if they’re likely to make changes somewhere along this six month path to the playoffs. It’s also pointless to keep together a team that has been operating on a level lower than other national teams in Overwatch purely for their synergy, when a brute force method may yield results.
In that vein, I’ve chosen to keep the support core of MY and add in some other star talents. Roshan has been widely acclaimed as one of the best tanks in China, and I’ve chosen hitscan DPS Samsara to add into the fray as well.
South Korea is a playground for these types of articles. There are at least twenty different overlapping rosters possible which would all be potential World Cup winners, so I’ve limited myself to just a few fun ones.
In terms of fielding the strongest possible team from Korea, a superteam is probably not the best approach. Existing lineups already have a lot of the foundations for strategy and teamwork laid out; making slight alterations to those cores will give you teams that are upgrades on some of the best rosters already existing in the world.
You could simply field a full roster to the World Cup. Any of Lunatic-Hai, RunAway, LW Blue, Kongdoo Panthera, or Meta Athena would be reasonable choices - it’s anyone’s guess how these teams will develop, rise, or fall over the next six months. When you have such a strong work ethic, demanding fans, and powerful individual players though, this seems like a lazy way out of a fun challenge.
Improving any of these rosters is theoretically possible. LW Blue may benefit from a replacement of Fl0w3r as his wrist injury seems to be limiting his ceiling severely; Rascal, WhoRU, Haksal, or birdring would be viable alternatives to shake up the team’s offense. Perhaps the issue is with his supporting Ana though - replacing Luna with Ryujehong would be a solid alternative.
Moving on, Kongdoo Panthera are arguable a much scarier team once you put Kaiser or Miro in on tank instead of Fissure and apply some real pressure throughout the roster, especially now that their DPS partnership is lighting up the place.
Of the top teams, RunAway is the exception to this. It’s a special team that runs on pure magic. Replacing Runner might kill the team completely, but he probably would need to be replaced for a World Cup megateam now Lucio is more mechanical.
Out of all the options, the roster that fits best in my mind is achieved by popping Saebyeolbe into Lunatic-Hai for EscA.
Team South Korea
I’m one of those less inclined to give EscA a hard time for every missed pulse bomb. In general I believe his underperformance has been largely overstated but even I have to admit I would bring in another hitscan star in his place and try for a direct upgrade. Saebyeolbe is used to playing the heroes Lunatic-Hai really needs, is better at Tracer and has Roadhog in his pocket, is more consistent, but still doesn’t require a huge amount of investment from his team. It’s the perfect fit.
South Korean Superteam
If we were gathering pure individual talent onto the roster and forming a superteam, here’s where I would go. Nobody matches Ryujehong on Ana/Zen support in Korea, though some are coming closer, making him an easy pick for the team.
Kris is in on Lucio over Tobi, despite the latter’s excellent play in APEX Season 2, because I am in some sense trying to predict the near future. The difference between the two was minimal in their play prior to this patch but apparently Lunatic-Hai have been struggling to adapt to the new changes. Kris always played a more mechanical, aggressive Lucio than Tobi and I’m banking on that paying off later down the line.
Miro could easily be a better choice overall on tank than Kaiser, despite the latter’s demonstrated ability to carry games on Reinhardt, if you factor in Miro’s synergy with the rest of the roster and the power of dive right now. I’ll keep Kaiser on this hypothetical superteam though after his performances in APEX Season 2. Seeing that smug face with a gold medal around its neck would be perfect.
Zunba has opened up new ground for his team by being a capable Soldier: 76, though we haven’t seen too much of it yet. This really sets him apart from MekO, Bumper, Void, and the rest; although they’re outpacing him on D.Va for the most part, Zunba plays defensive offtank very well and can open up triple DPS to the Korean superteam.
WhoRU is, for my money, the best Genji in the world right now. There are others who could definitely fit in this role for the Korean Superteam and give them far more versatility if the patch shifts, but WhoRU is (I feel like I’m repeating myself) such a good leading Genji, a hero which has been pivotal in almost every meta so far. Having extra DPS players on the bench would be a huge boon, as that will allow the team to pull in one of Fl0w3r, Rascal, birdring, or Libero depending on whose hero pool they want to tap into.
South Korean B Team: The Flex Masters
South Korea’s B team - or potentially even their C and D team - could have a real shot at winning the World Cup. If the plane carrying the Korean superteam was attacked by omnics and burned into a crisp, their fans would barely notice the difference when the reserve team was subbed in. The depth of the Korean talent is phenomenal.
Whether it’s the wrist injury, the pressure, or factors unknown, Fl0w3r didn’t live up to expectations in APEX Season 3. It allowed Saebyeolbe to shine on his flex hitscan DPS role for LW Blue, blossoming into a star player, but I think it’s safer to put Rascal and birdring in the flex DPS roles on this hypothetical B team for Korea.
Their hero overlap in Kongdoo Panthera isn’t a liability as many have erroneously pointed out but a huge tool that allows them to run any combination of heroes they like. Both players being capable Genjis gives them the ability to pair that hero with literally any other either of them chooses. They can run Genji and Roadhog, Genji and Sombra, Genji and Tracer/S76, etc.; the choices are endless and don’t just apply to Genji as there’s a large area of overlap between these two.
You could also add Libero instead of Rascal for an even wider hero pool, though his D.Va abilities would be largely less useful in this roster than in Meta Athena given Bumper’s ability there.
South Korean C Team: Nuclear Reacters
Here’s another fun roster, pairing the supports from Panthera and AF.Blue with the tanks from LW Blue and the DPS duo from RunAway, giving you a really strong dive team that can also play 2-2-2 and even triple tank compositions to a reasonable degree. The focus for this roster would probably be on shutting down key players on the opposition with Stitch and MekO, then enabling Haksal to dive deep with them in the aftermath. It’s a very reactive team that would excel against teams with a singular focus or carry player.
Even after constructing three non-overlapping rosters there are still plenty of talented players left over. If there was no limit to the amount of teams you could enter for the World Cup, there’s no question that South Korea would win purely by playing the numbers game. You could probably make eight separate rosters from South Korea that would have a high chance at making playoffs. At what point does this parallel universe just mirror Rogue and Misfits attempting to get through APEX...
United States of America
The USA doesn’t have a team to field fully as their national squad. Unless you want to replace Dafran and dhaK on Selfless (an experiment likely to go horribly awry), the top US team is LG Evil with somebody like Sinatraa instead of Train.
While Selfless would probably lose their mojo without the Europeans, LG Evil could likely still operate with their essence intact when Train-less. Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem worth it to keep the roster and their cohesion together, as that team has shown its inability to contest the real elite sides in Overwatch. The USA’s best chance at a truly deep run in the World Cup is some form of superteam.
But if you’re trying to build a superteam with the US pieces, there doesn’t seem to be a set six that fits well between aggressive and more balanced compositions. There are a lot of one-trick Zaryas and Roadhogs, and not very many offtanks with great DPS ability.
More than any other country, this is really one that requires extensive tryouts and tests. The term “NA scene” is often used synonymously with “US scene”, but the top teams in North America have almost always featured key European or Canadian talents. That’s not to say that a top US team can’t be created, it definitely could, but there has been no reason to so far. There are many bits and pieces with varying ways of fitting together, a challenge that can only be solved with rigorous testing.
It’s quite possible that Team USA, despite having many known American names to draw from, is a very odd looking roster on paper when it is actually fielded by the committee.
Here’s my take on a Team USA. JAKE and Sinatraa have big hero pools and are also two of the most naturally gifted players on DPS from the US. While they usually play hitscan DPS heroes, both have projectile pocket picks that they can play to a high level.
US teams don’t often play the “Korean dive” with Winston and D.Va to the same degree, seemingly due to a lack of talented D.Va players compared to the East, but emongg has been flexing onto it with Selfless. His incredible consistency on Roadhog along with an ability to handle himself on DPS roles if the team wants to go for triple DPS make him a strong candidate.
I’ve named this team “Potential” because it could be a great roster but there are a ton of questions that would only be answered during tryouts. Lui was just picked up by EnVyUs, but we haven’t seen him play the variety of heroes he professes to have prowess on yet, making him a questionable pick. Likewise Talespin and Seagull could pair up very well together as they can handle basic offtank duties whilst also providing a strong amount of DPS flexibility for the roster. Substituting any of these three into the “Freedom” roster over emongg is also a genuine possibility if they live up to their potential.
As for the rest of the roster, Gods is the other player with real potential but not enough proven yet on main tank. Much has been made of his transition to main tank and the big brain hiding behind that shiny bald head; if he lives up to the hype then Gods could should be a solid pick with potential for the top team.
Even with these two rosters you’re still leaving out talents, though not individually as good as their South Korean counterparts. Particularly with these two rosters I’ve left out flex players such as Hyped, and harbleu, who could provide a lot with their offtanks. There are also other talented tanks such as FCTFCTN, Super, and Kresnik who would work well depending on team styles, and other Ana/Zen support players worthy of consideration.
TviQ sparked a debate on Twitter when he came out massively in favour of recruiting teams wholesale for the World Cup. He specifically mentioned the Swedish team, saying “If whole of misfits isnt team sweden for world cup then the commitee didnt want swedens best chance of winning”. He followed that up with a small clarification, saying that while he could see the arguments for a few individual swaps, that would ruin the chemistry and teamwork.
Misfits are obviously the top team in Sweden, but they’ve actually been changing their roles and players quite often for a side that is assuming any change in the next six months will ruin their teamwork. They swapped roles after APEX to put Zebbo on Ana and give the team more calling and direction, then they swapped out Zave for Mineral on Lucio. Neither of these made them begin from scratch with their teamwork or synergy and, as I pointed out in the introduction, teams don’t linearly improve month on month; there are diminishing returns on time spent improving over six months.
The Swedish issue though is more to do with their potential improvements being split around the world. chipshajen, the most obvious improvement for the team, is either in Korea or USA while the rest of the team would be practising in Europe; cocco is also with him in EnVyUs though is, in my opinion, not an obvious replacement for Reinforce or even ryb if Sweden wanted to try the bearded wonder out. It’s hard to argue that substituting either of the nV players in would be a good move in terms of practising and developing synergy when timezones and ping are factored in, especially since adding chips would require Zebbosai moving roles, messing further with the teamwork from Misfits.
Replacements for Manneten are also highly requested by the community at large despite his strong play on Zarya and Roadhog for the team in tournaments; there are potential replacements within Europe that would not impact Misfits’ synergy too highly, but almost all of them are triple DPS flex players who have only shown proficiency on a couple of hitscan DPS heroes. Mendokusaii is the option that I would lean towards, assuming the team would accept him in as replacement, unless Snizzlenose also blossoms into a truly talented flex player with Hammers after his recent role swap.
Overall, it does seem that Misfits are the country’s best option, though I would certainly keep players on the bench to sub in if they look less promising in a few months time.
On another related note, I do think fans vastly overrate the impact that adding well-known players such as iddqd or Vonethil would have to this team. The current players on the roster have been playing at a higher individual level recently, have learned how to play with the rest of their team, have better flexibility in terms of the DPS players, and fit from a shotcalling POV in terms of the Lucio.
If there were no issues with practising, schedules, or personality conflicts - hell if Misfits just went and bought these guys out - I think this roster would be a fantastic superteam to see from Sweden.
Reinforce might be an odd name to see there when Sweden could pick up cocco or ryb. cocco is a very strong, safe Reinhardt that works very well in EnVyUs but hasn’t shown the same skill on Winston and wouldn’t fit stylistically with this team. ryb was recently removed from Cloud9 for not fitting with Bishop’s idea of how he should play within their team, Surefour revealed on Oversight recently, but Zebbosai’s vast experience with him should get the most out of ryb. Even then, the improvements recently from Reinforce along with his vocal and self-aware personality add benefits the other two quiet characters cannot provide.
If somehow the Swedish committee votes against TviQ and Zebbosai, and the resulting cast decide to throw aside every member of Misfits, this is the best roster outside of that I can come up with. It’s still pretty powerful and could easily cause a ruckus in the World Cup, and it happens to be half of new team VÄLFÄRD.
cWoosH is the best Genji outside Misfits as he’s shown on Movistar Riders repeatedly. With Mendokusaii and Snizzlenose backing him up, the team can either go for building around his Genji in triple DPS or 2-2-2 dive or building around Snizzlenose’s Roadhog in slower compositions. Mendo is a strong DPS player with a deep hero pool that extends into offtanks, enabling the other two as our supporting cast adds their fire to the mix.
I’m adding Vonethil to this cast instead of Zave based a little on presumptions and playstyles. Vonethil was one of the more aggressive Lucios prior to Fnatic’s slump and he played the hero well. During their downward phase and particularly during the OMM after APEX, he was individually playing badly but this was on high ping and with the context of a failing team around him that he had previously been in control of and calling to success. Replacing the team around him, especially with this new Lucio patch which should favour him, might be enough to rejuvenate his form.
Finland is another country a little like Sweden and France in that it has a top national team already, though this one has never quite been able to get the results to match their level in tournaments. Ninjas in Pyjamas could benefit from an upgrade in personnel, especially since the decline of the tank meta, and it’s actually quite surprising we’ve seen such tenacity and stability from this Finnish roster.
Analysis of NiP is quite difficult however, simply because they’ve played in only three tournaments since November 2016 - one of those being a roll of a tournament at Winter Assembly. Given what we’ve seen of the team though, I do not think NiP carries the same weight as Misfits in that their entire team would perform better than a Finnish roster with some individual upgrades.
In Overwatch PIT Championship, Mafu looked like a weaker link for the team. NiP were playing a large amount of the Selfless composition but with far less aggression, and Mafu’s individual level on Soldier: 76 was a sticking point for their success. Hymzi as well was not hitting the heights of his play during the summer through winter of 2016, and seems rooted to his Roadhog, so that’s where I am focusing the changes.
There are two ways to approach Team Finland.
The first is to say: Taimou is too strong a talent to leave out of the Finnish World Cup roster, even with his ping disadvantage from Korea and then the US, and his notoriously apathetic attitude to serious practice. He effectively allows for a Roadhog-centric playstyle, as NiP are used to, as well as opening up his own carry hitscan hero pool for the team. Hymzi, then, is no longer required, but we find ourselves still locked to the tankier playstyle of NiP due to the lack of comfortable dive heroes to flex onto. Including Mafu for his Zarya and D.Va play, as well as potential to flex onto Soldier: 76, gives us room to choose a strong flex DPS player that compliments Taimou.
From there it’s a little tricky. LiNkzr is probably the best Genji of those on offer, but his other key hero is going to be often taken in the regular compositions by Taimou on Roadhog. Poks is right on par with him but hasn’t shown much else, and Zappis is a little lower than both but has a far greater range of heroes to give his team options against opponents on different maps. With such little composition flexibility and lack of synergy overall with Genji, Davin would also be a reasonable choice; in the end I went with Zappis for the added teamwork and heroes he can play.
Team Finland: Mark II
The alternate approach is to scrap any semblance of synergy from Ninjas in Pyjamas and try to build a team from the ground up. The DPS duo from ex-Cyclone are a scary pair, and adding them alongside Zappis gives you a great sting to your team. With this mindset you could certainly make an argument for including Shaz over ZuppehW on the Ana/Zen support, given the latter’s lack of evidence for solid Zenyatta play.
Fragi would have to play Winston in most of the compositions this team would want to play, but it’s unlikely that he cannot play the hero whatsoever. It’s far more likely the case that NiP have never transitioned to that style fully and so he’s not had to bring it out in tournament play, especially since they have played so little in the public eye for half a year.
For the countries so far, and indeed later on down the list, there are notable national teams that already exist. This is not the case for the UK. There have been decent majority British teams in the past, but these have always either disbanded or brought in European players who are comfortable communicating in English. There are, of course, still British teams that exist currently but none whose record justifies in any sense building a team around them.
Instead, the UK team should be a collection of the top talents currently in teams, as well as being open to the huge amount of players at the top of ranked who haven’t yet made that step. It’s obvious from the upward slant in SR compared to the amount of British players in teams that there is undiscovered talent in the UK scene, with plenty of well-ranked players who may spring out of the woodwork during tryouts.
The UK is similar to the USA in that tryouts are very important but these would be aimed more at finding new talent to complement existing players, rather than choosing the best ways to fit together pieces the community is already aware of. And all whilst operating with a much smaller playerbase.
This hypothetical team is the best you could make out of players who’ve already demonstrated ability at the top of the scene - MikeyA doing so on translatlantic ping.
Kruise has shown potential to play a range of DPS heroes well and his Genji fragging alone in eUnited earns him placement on the team. Interestingly, Realzx, the Lucio here, was previously a solid hitscan DPS player for NWA in the autumn of 2016, though he has made the shift to Lucio recently for NA teams LG Loyal and reportedly Fnatic.
Boombox is the Ana/Zen support for ex-Cyclones, the unsigned team tearing up competition in Europe at the moment, and is the clear favourite for this role. Likewise, ChrisTFer is a strong favourite for tank; Numlocked is the other candidate and though he isn’t the braindead shield-smasher that NRG’s often fanatical viewers label him as, his play overall has seemed more inconsistent than ChrisTFer’s - and he would be practising on high ping and later timezones.
Sev is another potential pick on the flex role, with more of a classic offtank hero pool revolving around his Zarya, but overall Kyb should be a better choice allowing Kruise to show his abilities off Genji if required.
As most people have highlighted him as a clear favourite, it’s also worth mentioning that from talking to Sharyk and Sev that they aren’t sure if they are eligible, Sharyk especially so, leading me to exclude him in this hypothetical.
Canada strangely seems to have provided key star talent to many of the rosters in North America. Once you add it all together you have a reasonably strong team which could contest other major countries, but it’s a Frankensteinian roster.
To keep any semblance of team synergy in Canada, which tends not to create national teams for obvious reasons, you could put together the three players from Immortals’ Winter Premiere-winning roster, sprinkle the two Canadians from Cloud9, and dust it all off with a Canadian flex.
Phaz is a capable Lucio who should be considered, but the advantages of having a shotcalling, experienced leader in Verbo outweigh any other option in that role. Roolf is clearly the best option alongside him on Support and the DPS duo of Agilities and Surefour seems in my mind to be easy to pick - but the tank and flex choices aren’t so much difficult as simply lacking options.
Chance played a solid tank for Immortals to win the Winter Premiere but there’s no telling if he’d be able to keep up months down the line without even being an active player, and xQc is the other tank from Canada; he’s shown ability on Denial but has had just a single tournament where he and his team performed well, and personality clashes would be a pertinent issue to keep in mind.
On flex there is an even greater dearth of known players. Connorj has been stuck in contract prison it seems with TSM for months, so there is no telling right now how he has developed since playing Roadhog for Kungarna. Train could play Roadhog for the team and flex onto Tracer and other DPS heroes to give Canada a competent triple DPS or 2-2-2 if he shared offtank duties with Surefour, which may be the best option overall for the Canadians.
It also seems a pity to discount the potentially lethal triple DPS combo of Agilities, id_, and AZK, which would be a similar trio to the Liquid regulars who have improved massively to contest top teams in NA now. Mangachu as well is another player who could fit into the team and will benefit from a solid tryout system, but while we live in the realm of theoretical rosters I’m content with the one I’ve formed.
Rogue are clearly the best team in France, which has had several competitive teams throughout the lifespan of Overwatch. Improvements are scarce and arguable, especially since we really haven’t seen Rogue tested to their limits yet so don’t know at what point they will bend or break.
France does have a really large talent pool, similar to Sweden, but Rogue are so good that they are still head and shoulders above other competition. There are some people you could make arguments for, especially on the bench, but as a unit there’s no good argument for making changes to Rogue
One potential improvement would be to bring in a seventh player, either an offtank or a tank specialist, allowing them to play D.Va or double tanks without having to then play double hitscan DPS or aKm on Pharah.
In this lineup I’d love to have SuperPlouk as the 7th man on the roster, giving Rogue a Winston/D.Va combination that they can run, subbing out a DPS, or even replacing Reinhardt if KnOxXx ever looks shaky. The team could even move winz to Zarya and have KnOxXx on Lucio to run more traditional compositions.
Kolsti is another great French tank but hasn’t shown as much D.Va as Superplouk - not necessarily due to lack of ability, of course. Nevertheless, the addition of another elite Winston doesn’t particularly help Rogue as KnOxXx has already excelled in his transition to the dive tank.
Among other notable French names, Hidan is the one with the most experience and demonstrated ability. Hidan had a strong showing with Misfits whenever they played at LAN, but hasn’t shown that same level on LG Loyal. It’s possible that he needs a better team and LAN to unlock it but there is no justification to add him here over uNKOE, one of the best supports in the world.
Denmark is the country of hidden talent in Overwatch. Their top team is Singularity Ninjas, who were looking very promising a couple of months ago but have faded somewhat into the background of tier two European teams.
There are also fantastic players elsewhere; clearly Dafran is top of the list after his consistently ridiculous performances for Selfless, but Fischer, Sypeh, and BALLOC deserve consideration as well. For Denmark, it makes sense to use TS Ninjas as the basis of the roster but to upgrade some of the firepower.
I’ve styled this theoretical roster to go full dive and really focus on maximising its offensive arsenal, while giving them an option to drop back to 2-2-2. Dafran can play all three of the key triple DPS heroes to a great degree, especially Soldier: 76, and adding Fischer and Mande lets all three of them sit on heroes they are comfortable and strong on. The pressure here would be on Mande to perform and let Dafran and Fischer work with space, but he seems a better option than Lelouch whose hero pool is enveloped by the other two.
Mande also opens up D.Va compositions for the team and gives them the option of relying on his pocket picks such as McCree in a pinch. Danii and BALLOC are also candidates for flex, but moving Mande over to that position and upgrading the firepower from TS Ninjas seems like an overall improvement for the team.
Of all the teams, Russia is the one I know least about in terms of eligibility. Frequently people label themselves or others as “Russian” when the player is ethnically so or moved very early in their life - cYpheR, for example, qualified for the team last year whilst hailing ostensibly from Belarus. I’m going to assume that those tagged widely within the scene as Russian are so for the purposes of this theoretical article, not including others nearby.
The best team with a full Russian lineup is Seqta (formerly ex-ROX) but that team is not doing particularly well. The World Cup offers an opportunity to reclaim some of the Russians drafted into service around the scene and completely rehaul a roster.
Without knowing how the calling structure works in a lot of these teams, it seems that putting COOLLER in on Lucio would be an advantage over the otherwise non-outstanding Lucios playing in lower Russian teams. The new patch is, at a guess, positive for his playstyle and talents, forming quite a threatening support line.
Rubikon, ShaDowBurn and sharyk are clear picks, and uNFixed is a better fit for the team overall than Txao despite the latter being a talented flex. For the DPS partnership, cYpheR is certainly a strong option but NLaaeR synergises better with the other talent on the roster in terms of his hero pools. As a small note, if sharyk was to qualify for Team UK, Алексей would be a fitting replacement.
This would no longer be a team that had to be built around ShaDowBurn, even with him as the major star. NLaaeR can be dangerous when given space and uNFixed is certainly no joke; this team would run a terrifying triple DPS or regular dive with the option to play slower whenever the map or opponent stopped them.
Team Australia is an interesting situation; while I would personally love for it to be Blank in disguise just to see how the team would compete on a world stage, you could argue for other players to be included - custa or Yuki for example. The huge ping and timezone difference would ruin practice for custa though and Blank really would offer a level of synergy and cohesion that probably shouldn’t be unmade for the World Cup.
Team Brazil could form an interesting squad from their top team Brazil Gaming House, with other stars if they fit nicely. I must admit knowing next to nothing about the South American scene but I would enjoy the opportunity to see them compete and test themselves against the others.
Team Spain could also make a good team. For some reason the country has produced lots of top tier Lucios - HarryHook, NeptuNo, and dhaK - but with Harry on DPS they could add BromaS, Toxiken, Winghaven, pick up an Ana and have a competent team.
Lastly for this article, Team Germany could field a competitive six. Team Expert (formerly ex-ALTERNATE aTTax) forms a good starting point. CRNKz is a very good Genji and could be paired up well with NexX and Nesh as the dual flex players, though possibly Mete would be another good shout on flex. Skipjack is a very solid tank, as is Veineless on Ana/Zen support. For Lucio, Talyz is the best option; he plays it regularly and will be for the next six months on Expert. HULK is another potential for Lucio, but would have far more to offer on coach.
Think you can do better?
I will have undoubtedly missed potential players out in this brief overview of the top ten rosters for the World Cup. Many of you will have completely different ideas on how to construct these rosters, and tryouts may throw people’s expectations into disarray as the unknown qualities of teamwork, synergy, and communication affect results.
Throw your thoughts in the comments - I’d be especially interested if you think of players who are currently under-rated or unknown by the community at large but deserve being considered for the World Cup.
If you’re British and want to see this level of diligence put solely into the UK World Cup team, then I’ll finish this article off with a shameless plug for my own candidacy as a Team UK committee member. You can, and should, vote for me here. God Save the Queen.
Image credits: Blizzard.