The Southeast Asia (SEA) scene in general is one of the smaller ones in the world of Overwatch. Geographically speaking, SEA comprises of the countries located between China, India, Australia, and New Guinea. Not to be confused with the larger Asia Pacific region that comprises of the entire continent Asia and Oceania.
Although there are various tournaments being held locally within the SEA nations, historically there has been a lack of regular regional tournaments, making it hard to gauge the level of dominance of the region's best teams.
In the first Overwatch World Cup in 2016, we had a glimpse at the SEA teams from Thailand and Singapore. For the upcoming World Cup 2017, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam are representing SEA in the group stage.
A history of violence
Here is an overview of some of the tournaments that took place recently in SEA:
- CyzoneVN showed dominance from start to finish. They were unbeaten throughout the tournament.
- As a side note, there were teams that either failed to qualify for the playoffs or did not choose to participate in the tournament. So potentially there could have been teams capable of giving CyzoneVN a run for their money.
- Check out the VOD of the grand finals of the tournament.
- Avalon.Tempo proved too strong of a force for Unestablished.Juniors where they won the grand finals without losing a map.
- An invite only tournament where the top teams from Thailand played in a round robin format to decide the winner. FireBall proved that they were worthy to be invited to OPC by winning all their matches and claiming the 1st place.
- An invite only tournament where teams from the region battle it out to see who is the best in Southeast Asia. Avalon.Tempo defeated VReborn (now CyzoneVN) in the finals.
Image via Overwatch Facebook
The cream of the crop
To further understand the scene, we cast a spotlight on a few of the top SEA teams and happenings in the region.
- CyzoneVN: Formerly known as VReborn. The team was recently crowned champions of the Overwatch SEA Tournament and previously secured a 2nd place finish in The SEA Invitationals that was held in December 2016.
Avalon.Tempo: Recently won the Overwatch Singapore Tournament and previously finished first in The SEA Invitationals that was held in December 2016.
Unestablished.Juniors: The team recently secured a 2nd place finish in both Overwatch SEA Tournament and Overwatch Singapore Tournament.
We reached out to a few teams, namely Unestablished.Juniors, FireBall, CyzoneVN, and Avalon.Tempo, for a short Q&A regarding the SEA scene. Unestablished.Juniors and Avalon.Tempo are represented by their team captain, Revenant and Amzeyy respectively, while CyzoneVN and FireBall have given us a collective reply. For FireBall and CyzoneVN, we have edited their replies for clarity.
What do you think of the current SEA scene?
Unestablished.Juniors: The current SEA Scene is one of the more vibrant eSports scene that I've ever encountered, and it's steadily growing as well. Everywhere you walk in Singapore, you can probably spot Overwatch here and there as well!
FireBall: We feel that the current SEA scene still doesn't have enough experience in Overwatch because the tournaments in the region have a low prize pool; therefore, there are not many full time Overwatch teams that are willing to jump into SEA tournaments. There isn't really much practice at all, with only 2-3 hours a day at most, which is very low if you compare to other regions' teams. The hero pool is also very limited, and every team will try to copy the team composition from the champion team tournament hero pool until someone figured out how to counter that team composition.
CyzoneVN: Teams in SEA have high potential and we can see the efforts they put in training. We hope that they will continue to improve.
Avalon.Tempo: In SEA itself, I think that the biggest player bases come from Vietnam and Thailand - I believe that the TH Overwatch facebook group has close to 100,000 people in it (for reference). I think we've done fairly well for ourselves, especially given that teams like FireBall have been able to get the support needed to expand their reaches to Asia (Taiwan and China), which in turn will provide a good stepping stone for them to be noticed on the world stage. I do think that that exposure to more teams and more players will be the catalyst to drive any team to greater heights, especially given how high the standards of play are in the rest of the world.
What do you think can be improved in the SEA scene?
U: The SEA could definitely use more weekly/monthly tournaments to help everyone improve. What the Western/Korean scenes have done very well is kept the competitive scene very active, making their growth very rapid.
F: We think if they continue to make big tournaments in SEA, the teams will also continue to improve through experience as there are not many tournaments in SEA at the moment. Otherwise, the low prize pool and lack of tournaments will result in teams ceasing to play in tournaments because it is not worth their time and effort. As we said before, if we have big tournaments and we know that it will continue for more than one season, it will make more Overwatch teams want to participate in it and it will also raise the skill cap of the SEA players.
C: We are actually still trying to develop the Vietnamese Overwatch community. We do not even dare to think about how to grow the SEA scene.
A: I think it would be great if the player base continued to expand, either through entirely new players picking up the game or getting experienced players from other titles to migrate over and bring their talent and skill pools to Overwatch. Right now, we have a handful of CS:GO, TF2 and even LoL players; but I think simply having more people pick up and play the game would do the scene well. In terms of raw skill, SEA will always be at a handicap when it comes to exposure - it's hard to improve past a certain point unless the opportunity to play against better teams arises.
What are you and your team’s aspirations for the scene?
U: I think in general all team's aspirations is to want to be the best in the region. As for Unestablished, of course our aspiration is to be more established. ;)
F: We want to be the SEA representative, to prove to the world that SEA also has a very skilled team that can compete in the top tier tournament like how Mickie from EnVyUs, who was a SEA player that got accepted into a top tier team.
C: Personally, we hope Overwatch community in Vietnam will continue to grow, and our team will become more successful in the future. As for our team, we hope to represent SEA in bigger events.
A: Most of us are playing the game for fun, for as long as we can - it's very hard to envision a future in professional gaming for many people, especially so that we live in Singapore. Eventually, certain roadblocks will be hit, such as enlistment or school/work commitments. It doesn't help that the prime age for talent in the scene is around the same time that enlistment occurs (at least for guys). With the right support though, perhaps that will change.
What do you think the ideal SEA scene would be?
U: Ideally, it would be great to have a scene where everyone supports each other and that eSports is looked up upon as a viable hobby/career even from peers and parents. That has always been the goal for people of Asian backgrounds, and I truly hope that one day it'll happen.
F: The SEA Overwatch scene will not succeed unless we have more tournaments. Also, we do not have many teams to compete against. For us, we think everything is up to the tournament presence. In order for the SEA scene to progress, they have to show us something that when we see it, we will want to put our heart and soul into it. Else, SEA will be way behind compared to all the other regions.
C: We hope there will be more events in the future. If it is possible, it would be good to invite the world's top teams to tournaments so that we can improve even more.
A: Ideally, I'd like to see a well-supported environment for teams to grow, providing greater incentives for people to take gaming more seriously. This could include bigger prize pools and more international tournaments. I feel that the best way to ensure that the game continues to grow in popularity as a competitive game is for the scene to become more recognizable and attractive to more people.
Wrapping up, who do you think are your rivals in the scene?
U: I think CyzoneVN is definitely one of the strongest rivals we've ever encountered till now. Other than that, there are many strong teams from every nation that are worth mentioning, and teams like Bazaar, Avalon.Tempo, Bbong, and FireBall come to mind.
F: We think CyzoneVN is one of the rivals in SEA. We feel that they are the best team in SEA at the moment but we currently do not have the opportunity to face them in any tournaments yet. We think that they will definitely give us a hard time when we finally face them in a tournament.
C: We think Avalon.Tempo and FireBall are our rivals.
A: I think that our biggest rivals would be the other top teams from the various SEA countries - teams like Bazaar, 1st E-Sports and CyzoneVN, who have undoubtedly shown their prowess in the last few weeks. Unfortunately we haven't gotten much opportunity to practice with FireBall, given that they are currently based in Taiwan, and latency becomes a big issue when trying to achieve quality practice, though I have no doubts whatsoever that they are one of the most coordinated teams that has ever existed in the scene. I look forward to continuing to compete against them, though new competition would always be welcome at LAN events.
Overall, the SEA Overwatch scene is still rather small and in a fragile state. The general sentiments are that there are still plenty of room to improve in terms of tournament infrastructure and raising the overall skill level of the region. Despite all that, there is still some growth with new up and coming teams across the region such as Bbong, Bazaar, and The Beginner. While there are more countries in SEA, we have only covered currently the most notable teams in the region, and this is but one aspect of the SEA scene.
Hopefully there will be more spectacular tournaments in and across regions that feature SEA teams and bring the scene to greater heights.
Special thanks to sandshrewz for co-writing, and Rian for helping with translations for CyzoneVN.