After this past weekend of play, the Overwatch World Cup group stages have finally reached their conclusion. A month of competitions have decided the eight teams that will be competing at BlizzCon: China, France, Australia, Sweden, South Korea, Canada, USA, and the UK. While some have had rougher paths to the final than others, they will all be on an even playing field come November 3rd.
China and France locked themselves in after the first weekend of the World Cup action at the Shanghai Qualifier. China went without dropping a map the entire qualifier, not even to Thailand in the qualification match - a team that had taken a map off of the other qualifier, France. FRogue lost just two maps during the group play, but defeated Norway without a hitch to secure themselves a place in the top 8.
Both teams to advance from the Sydney qualifier came from Group C, a result that would have been surprising to anyone who only watched the first day of matches. Whereas Australia looked dominant right out of the gate, Sweden struggled, beginning their World Cup run with a draw with Portugal. Sweden improved and eventually topped both Australia and their group, and subsequently cruised past Spain to qualify for BlizzCon. Australia would have to face the top of Group D to qualify which, surprisingly, was not Finland. Instead, Australia got Japan and the tightest qualification match of the World Cup. Australia managed to squeak by Japan in a 3-2 to make it out of Sydney.
Katowice became the only qualifier not to see its host nation advance to BlizzCon. Instead, South Korea went undefeated in maps on their way to qualification while Canada needed a tiebreaker to overcome Russia and secure first in their group, which meant that they wouldn't have to play South Korea in the qualification match. The rematch of last year's World Cup final was ill-fated for Russia, whereas Canada had a much easier time triumphing over the Netherlands than they did Russia.
At Santa Monica, the United Kingdom set out to prove wrong all those favouring Taiwan’s Flash Wolves. After sweeping their group's maps, the UK was set to play against Taiwan in the qualification match after United States took first in the other group by beating Taiwan in a 3-1. The United Kingdom one upped their former colonies by sweeping Taiwan to be the third team to produce a perfect run during the qualifying stages. The United States swept their qualification match over Germany making it an even eight teams set to travel to BlizzCon.
Talk of trying to play the seeding game to avoid Korea for as long as possible at BlizzCon was all for naught. Overwatch League Commissioner, Nate Nanzer, confirmed that there will be a random draw for seeding August 28th. Additionally, the World Cup is planned to continue as an annual event, meaning that there is always next year for the teams that didn't qualify for BlizzCon this year. For the teams that have made it, there are nearly three months to prepare, as they won't play again for glory until November 3rd.