Thailand had perhaps the most fanfare for its 2018 World Cup tryouts out of the countries qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. In fact, their efforts did not just come from its World Cup committee. Dreamcasters, Thailand Esports Federation and other parties were included in the team selection process, even going to great lengths to turn the tryouts into a community event, creating even more buzz around the event, taking place this weekend.
Four Thai teams were invited to try out: MEGA Esports MEGA Esports Contenders PAC Rank #12 and Xavier Esports Xavier Esports Contenders PAC Rank #5 , both participants of Contenders Pacific Season 2, LYNX TH LYNX TH Asia-Pacific Rank #0 , and OneShine Esports OneShine Esports Asia-Pacific Rank #0 alongside Young Blood, who successfully advanced through the open tryouts. With 11 players chosen from various teams after the tryouts, and Mickie from the Dallas Fuel Dallas Fuel OWL Rank #9 as the Captain, Thailand's 2018 World Cup roster was finally taking form.
A fitting host country
Thailand held their tryouts from June 25th to July 1st, with it being broadcasted online and was aimed at further engaging the country’s fanbase. The tryouts also concluded with a LAN finals consisting of three mixed teams. The event was well publicized and popular in Thailand, with viewer numbers exceeding 1000 at its peak, which is considered high in South-East Asia.
However, this was not the first time that Thailand was treated to such an event. From university tournaments to fan and academy sessions hosted by MEGA Esports, multiple community efforts have been made to bolster the local scene despite the increased difficulties imposed by Blizzard in recent times for unofficial competitions. But despite those hurdles, Thailand undoubtedly has the healthiest Overwatch scene amongst other Southeast Asian countries, proving that they are a self-groomed rising star in the Overwatch scene.
Thailand community support shows at the LAN event. Image credit: The Dreamcasters Facebook
Picking the players
However, not all was smooth for the land of smiles. Thailand owes its spot in the 2018 World Cup by being a host country, despite not meeting the Skill Rating cutoff that other countries needed to meet to qualify. Nonetheless, they hold a healthy pool of players and teams that are able to compete against other international competition.
Tryout team rosters. Image credit: Overwatch Thai Facebook
The finals which consisted of three mixed teams eventually led to their seven man pick for the World Cup:
Thailand's 7 man roster. Image credit: Overwatch Thai Facebook
The team consists of oPuTo , Teetawat , and Rocket from MEGA Esports. SaiyajinGOD and Patiphan also joined from Xavier Esports, while PannyS was the lone representative of LYNX TH. Rounding out the roster is team captain Mickie , representing the Dallas Fuel Dallas Fuel OWL Rank #9 . Rocket , Patiphan, and SaiyajinGOD will be making their debuts in World Cup play.
Mickie, the captain and face of Team Thailand, is no stranger to playing in the World Cup. He and oPuTo are the only ones to have represented Thailand in every World Cup. We approached Mickie with some questions regarding the World Cup and the Thailand scene.
What are your thoughts on being the sole SEA representative country?
The only reason why Thailand is in the [the world cup] this year because we're [the] host. It means the average skill rating the Southeast Asia server is too low I feel like it's unfair to use SR for qualify but overall i’m happy we're going to make the viewer joyful.
How did you feel about last year’s World Cup?
We did great i’m really proud of my team although we didn't make it to Blizzcon.
How do you feel playing with your fellow Thais after being in the US for such a long time?
It's the biggest opportunity in my life I’m really enjoy it.
How do you think your experience in the inaugural season of the Overwatch League will help you and the Thailand team?
As people can see OWL is the highest competitive in OW so i think i can share my exp to my team and make them become stronger.
What are your expectations for Team Thailand for this year’s World Cup considering that the group stages are in Thailand?
I’m not expect anything but we're going to try hardest for Blizzcon this year.
With China, Australia, Spain, Sweden and Denmark all in the same qualifier, who do you think will be your toughest opponent and why?
China would be the strongest in my opinion since they beat us last year and they seems to be working hard lately since the result in OWL is not good so they will show how strong they are in OWWC.
Do you feel that there is more of a chance for your fellow Thais to follow u into OWL considering the number of TH teams qualifying and making it to contenders Pacific with more Thai teams in the limelight like OneShine, Xavier, LYNX and MEGA?
Since we have more Thais became full time pro player I think they could make it to OWL it's all depend on them.
Who will you be bringing to the beach?
Definitely Custa, Harry but I don't mind if someone wanna join.
Do you think that Hammond or Wrecking Ball will be used?
Yes ... as least I'll use it LOL.
Anything else you would like to add?
Idk if we can win [the world cup] but I’m sure we will spread the happy virus.
Thailand has come a long way in developing their local scene despite the difficulties encountered, and has only qualified for the World Cup this year by being a host country. Thailand Thailand World Cup Rank #10 will be opening the Bangkok Qualifiers against Denmark Denmark World Cup Rank #6 on 14 September, Friday, 11am GMT +8 (13 September, Thursday, 8pm PDT).
- Ubon ”oPuTo” Dara (DPS)
- Patiphan ”Patiphan” Chaiwong (DPS)
- Pongphop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod (Flex / Captain)
- Kantapat “SaiyajinGOD” Tangteekarak (Flex)
- Teetawat ”Teetawat” Teerayosyotin (Tank)
- Vuthichai ”Rocket” Posawad (Support)
- Pasavit ”PannyS” Inkk Svasti-xuto (Support)
Special thanks to my co-author, sandshrewz.