After a victorious campaign featuring domination over every other nation, Team South Korea returns to the Overwatch World Cup for a shot at a two-peat. Perhaps the most anticipated group stage of the entire World Cup comes this weekend in Katowice, as the reigning champions take on Team Netherlands, Team Poland, and Team Austria in a bid to re-qualify for the main event at BlizzCon.
This year's team features some of the most frightening players in not only South Korea, but the entire world. Three members join from two-time APEX champions Lunatic-Hai in ryujehong, tobi, and zunba—all of whom have proven to be perhaps the best player in the world at their respective roles. ryujehong in particular took home the previous two APEX MVP awards and sits solidly atop the discussions of best support player in the world.
The team's strength doesn't end with their APEX champions. Fl0w3R and Saebyeolbe are champions in their own right given their victory at IEM Gyeonggi in 2016, and the pair is considered to be one of the foremost DPS duos in the entire world. Saebyeolbe is one of the top hitscan players in Korea, and his Tracer consistently sat at the top of almost all statistics during LuxuryWatch Blue's peak in APEX Season 2. Fl0w3R's expansive hero pool and immense talent are known to almost every Overwatch fan—the only obstacle in his way has historically been his fragile fingers, which held him back in both APEX Season 2 and 3.
The final member of the roster came as a surprise to many, as Miro has been consistently one of the best tank players in the world (and even took home MVP accolades for the previous World Cup). However, the Korean national committee's choice was instead Mano, the tank player and shotcaller for Afreeca Freecs Blue. Mano's improvement this season was one of the main factors in the ascendence of Afreeca, earning them a third-place finish in APEX Season. While he was not able to properly transition his improvement into a victory against Lunatic-Hai, his skill level, particularly on Reinhardt, will be incredibly important for the Koreans.
One of the biggest storylines following South Korea has been their broadcasted scrims against professional teams, showcasing their overwhelming talent and their curious compositions. Perhaps the biggest shocker has been Korea's reluctance to use dive, instead choosing the "anti-dive" compositions from China to decimate opposition. One scrim in particular featured a less-than-serious Fl0w3R dominating Kongdoo Uncia by slotting in as Junkrat, while zunba ran his trademark Zarya, Mano stepped in as Reinhardt, and Saebyeolbe took the reigns as Reaper.
Whether or not "anti-dive" serves as a viable strategy seems to matter not, as word of Team South Korea's dominance already spread like wildfire during their first scrims. Mangachu of Team Canada even reported that the reigning champions laughed while dismantling them in practice!
This team might be different than victors of last year's World Cup, but make no mistake—South Korea enters the event as heavy favorites for even the title at BlizzCon. This is a team that should be both feared and admired, and Katowice will serve as a battleground ready for South Korea's conquest.
The Team South Korea roster looking for a repeat features the following:
- Hwang "Fl0w3R" Yeon-ho (DPS)
- Park "Saebyeolbe" Jong-yeol (DPS)
- Kim "zunba" Joon-hyuk (Flex)
- Kim "Mano" Dong-gyu (Tank)
- Yang "tobi" Jin-mo (Support)
- Ryu "ryujehong" Je-hong (Support)