EnVyUs and Afreeca Freecs Blue will go head to head for the first ever Overwatch Apex title this Saturday. This is the first truly international Overwatch tournament and in theory a really good opportunity for us to find out how various good teams are compared to each other.
Unfortunately there is a problem with this: Blizzard decided to add a new hero (Sombra) and make significant changes to the game in the middle of the tournament. Sure, it’s their game and if they think those changes will make the game better they should do it. However, I think they should have an option so that you can play custom games on old versions of the game. So far I agree with the changes, but I don’t like how the new meta is the single most important factor in the outcome of the Overwatch Apex.
First of all we have Rogue. They chose to play EnVyUs in the quarter finals. Mainly because they knew Ronnie ‘talespin’ DuPree and that they had problems finding a stand-in. On paper (and on the old patch) there was absolutely no scenario in which EnVyUs would’ve been the favorites considering the circumstances.
The game was, however, going to be played after the new patch. Soldier: 76’s damage got greatly increased which resulted in him being able to take down Reinhardt shields incredibly fast. Rogue and Jonathan ‘Reinforce’ Larsson had a hard time adapting to this new change which favors more aggressive Reinhardt play.
Also, the playoffs showed us just how important it is to have a good D.Va player to shut down the other team’s DPS players, mainly Soldier: 76. Fortunately for EnVyUs their stand-in happens to be Pongphop ‘Mickie’ Rattanasangohod, most famous for his appearance on Team Thailand in the Overwatch World Cup. He’s also in my opinion the best D.Va player in the world, at least when it comes to shutting down the other team’s damage dealers. EnVyUs ended up beating Rogue in a close-fought battle.
Lunatic-Hai vs. KongDoo Uncia
On the same side of the bracket as EnVyUs and Rogue were Lunatic-Hai and KongDoo Uncia. Lunatic-Hai was considered one of the top teams in the world and had become the favorites to win the whole thing. They chose to play KongDoo Uncia. On paper it was a solid pick. What happened on the server was a different story. It turned out that the new meta suited KD Uncia perfectly. Kim ‘Fatal’ Joo Seok surprised us with some really solid D.Va play at the same time as Lee ‘Panker’ Byung Ho used his sneaky Reinhardt to land incredible Earthshatters. Overall it’s safe to say that he’s the best player in the world at using Reinhardt’s much feared and potentially game-changing ultimate. Lunatic-Hai on the other hand seemed to have problems adapting to the new meta and after a massive upset they went out in the quarter finals.
Afreeca Freecs Blue
On the other side of the bracket Afreeca Freecs Blue has reached the grand finals after beating first REUNITED (3-2) and then BK Stars (3-1).
In the semi finals against BK Stars the match could’ve gone either way. The first map was Nepal and in the Overwatch Apex they only play best of three on control maps (in my opinion it should be best of five.) When BK Stars won the second point they did so after an incredible individual performance by Chae ‘Bunny’ Joon Hyuk. He brought out his Tracer and had his way with Afreeca Freecs Blue and they didn’t seem to have any response to it. Here’s how it looked:
In the end Afreeca Freecs Blue managed to win. In part this was because of Cho ‘J1N’ Hyo Jin’s Roadhog play on Volskaya Industries, where they managed a full hold on point A which is unusual at the top level.
The grand finals
Why do I think EnVyUs will win the Overwatch Apex? First of all they have Mickie. He's a D.Va player that shuts down damage dealers like no one else. He has also shown that he’s more than capable of using Self-Destruct to kill off enemy players. Just take a look at this play for example:
Mickie and Christian ‘cocco’ Jonsson (Reinhardt) has had some really good synergy going that I think will be a key factor in the grand finals.
My next thought is that Jeong ‘ArHan’ Weon Hyeop is Afreeca Freecs Blue’s best DPS player when it comes to taking out the opponent’s backline. Unfortunately he’s also their only player that has been able to play D.Va with success. In this current meta you need to have a player like that. The question then is: which ArHan will we see? Either way they’ll have to sacrifice a huge asset.
Finally, EnVyUs managed to battle through the toughest side of the bracket to end up in the grand finals. Their form is undeniably really good whereas it took Afreeca Freecs Blue looked a bit shaky up until the semifinals where they realized that they need ArHan to play D.Va.
No matter how it ends I think the Apex has been the most entertaining Overwatch tournament so far. This is both because of and despite the new patch, which gave us a more diverse meta when it comes to team compositions.