With the Overwatch League only a few months away, the APAC Premier 2017 is the last chance for the four remaining Chinese Overwatch teams from the Premier Series to publicly draw some attention to themselves this year. APAC will also be the last tournament in which non-Overwatch League teams participate, with both Chinese and international fans eager to see the results of the upcoming multinational competition.
Whilst doubts have been raised by some about the skill level of some of the competitors attending the tournament, perhaps with some validity, APAC will offer teams the chance to capture the world’s attention as they compete in the fires of international competition.
Despite the latter Overwatch Premier Series event being cast in English on Twitch, the Chinese Overwatch scene is still unfamiliar to many in other regions. APAC will offer fans the chance to preview players on teams like Miraculous Youngster that will have the opportunity to be picked up by Overwatch League squads. Alongside this, a strong performance in APAC by Chinese players under the age of eighteen, the required age to participate in the league, could be vital for these players being picked up by Overwatch League squads in the future. APAC will also offer Chinese teams the opportunity to silence doubts raised about the level of talent in the Chinese scene.
- Zhang ”YangX1aoLg” Zhihao (DPS)
- Wei “jiqiren” Yansong (Tank)
- Ma “Lateyoung” Tianbin (Flex)
- Huang “leave” Xin (Flex)
- He “zhufangjun” Junjian (Support)
- Yan “creed” Xiao (Support)
Champions in both the Premier Series - Summer and Grand Finals, Miraculous Youngster has gained a great amount of attention from fans domestically and internationally, with their death ball comp crushing all that stand in their way.
Their aggressive strategy benefits from the players’ sharp personal characteristics and talent; their full grasp on the death ball comp means it’ll be very difficult to beat them on maps like King’s Row. They also have the highly talented flex DPS player leave, allowing them to play dive compositions (along with Doomfist) well on maps that don’t favour death ball, meaning that teams will have to have solutions for the multiple lineups Miraculous Youngster excel with.
From my personal perspective, MY have the ability to crown themselves as the champions of APAC, especially given the fact that they have been flawless for almost three months in China. As a result of their first place finish in the Premier Series Grand Finals, they’ll be directly sent to the playoffs along with 1246. They lost two assault maps in the final of the Premier Series Grand Finals against 1246, and although they said in an interview that they’ll have the ability to win those maps, assault maps are still a key weakness their foes can take advantage of.
Recently in the OGN Seoul Supercup, MY lost 2-3 against Lunatic-Hai in an incredibly close series, with their continuous winning streak coming to an end. In comparison to a top team like Lunatic-Hai, MY lack international experience and the ability to play in high pressure situations. The combined flexibility and capability that LH showcased is what MY need to strive towards, as even the most flexible team in China, Miracle Team One, will never be able to surprise a quality team such as LH. APAC will be a great chance for MY to learn from the rest of the world.
- Li “samsara” Xiaoping (DPS)
- Tang “Tian” Wei (Tank)
- Qiu “Zod” Zengzhi (Tank)
- Yang “BBcat” Jiawei (Flex)
- Liu “Luca” Junjie (Flex)
- Zhou ”S1mpfall” Tigao (Flex)
- Li “Billyo” Xinyu (Support)
- Zhou “LanDo ” Zilin (Support)
1246 are known for being the champions of the Premier Series - Spring, as well as placing second in the recent Premier Series - Grand Finals. These results are remarkable given the fact that they almost missed out on the OWPS in the Spring Preseason.
Recognized as a slow paced team, 1246 benefits from the play of two fantastic DPS players, samsara and S1mpfall. In contrast to MY and Miracle Team One, their compositions are more in line with the popular meta, often preventing them from making the composition related mistakes that their oppenents often do. However, their problems lay in their ability to change strategies and compositions on the fly. Despite this weakness, opponents that overlook them could find themselves in a spot of trouble; even the dominant MY lost two maps in the Premier Series - Grand Finals final against 1246.
- Cong ”Reckful” Xiaowei (Tank)
- Guo “Unturned” Mengyu (Flex)
- Cai ”Krystal” Shilong (Flex)
- Liao ”MoLanlan” Yang (Flex)
- Cao ”YuanFang2” Jiangle (Support)
- Zeng “PP” Xiangrong (Support)
I highly recommend watching Miracle Team One’s previous matches; they always provide some of the most enjoyable viewing experiences in Overwatch, playing beyond the bounds of what fans have come to expect when viewing competitive Overwatch.
Their flexibility is the strongest weapon they own as almost all of their players are able to flex, allowing them to play all types of compositions. On occasion the team has even played with five tank compositions. They sometimes don’t perform that well however, depending on the team they’re up against. The stronger their opponent is, the stronger MT1 are.
MT1 is perhaps strangest team in China as their main problem lies in their instability, which in some cases is because of problems with decision making and teamplay. Despite their flaws, MT1 will never fail to excite. Skillful but sometimes careless, MT1 may be another possible contender for the APAC trophy.
- Lu ”Diya” Weida (DPS)
- Jiang “Jason ”Wenjie (DPS)
- Sun ”Ziran” Yiran (DPS)
- Zhang ”yaoxie” Jihang (Tank)
- Wang “Rookie” Jundong (Tank)
- Qiu “tanqiu” Tianyi (Tank)
- Tian ”eagle” Ye (Support)
- Jiang ”yumu” Yilong (Support)
As the champions of the Overwatch Team Story - Chapter 2 and the runner ups of the Premier Series - Summer, ViCi Gaming have proven themselves to be a strong powerhouse in China. With skillful DPS players Diya and Jason, VG can utilise a very aggressive lineup, with the former gaining a reputation as one of the strongest hitscan players in China.
Returning to the APAC stage after competing in the inaugural APAC Premier last year means a lot to them, as they still stand despite the rapidly changing Chinese scene. Whilst VG can exhibit an aggressive playstyle, it is unlikely that they will perform as well as MY or MT1, who have very strong characteristics. However, it’ll still be no small task to beat ViCi and I really look forward to seeing what they can do in APAC.
Image credit: Banana Culture