Overwatch League closed out the 2018 season last weekend with its inaugural All-Star event. Fans and OWL personnel voted in the best players to represent the Pacific and Atlantic Divisions in a variety of custom games and a showdown on five standard maps. We were treated to Jjonak flashing off some Genji skills, surprises in the Widowmaker 1v1, Semmler hard-carrying for the Pacific casters, and just an all-around great time. Here are some of the highlights of the weekend.
When this game type was announced as part of last weekend's festivities, most figured that NYXL's Pine was going to walk away as champion. He nailed some of the most ridiculous shots of the season, quickly winning over many new fans since January. However, when it came time for the competition, he and Striker from the Boston Uprising treated fans to some light-hearted exchanges peppered with skill shots that we've come to love.
Yes, there was a dance-off at one point between these sharpshooters, but that didn't stop Striker from landing a headshot. His focus might have been on point that round, but Striker handed Pine a round as well:
Those grappling hook shots are hard enough to land without environmental hazards, but Striker was kind enough to demonstrate what can happen at a map's edge.
All jokes aside, the winner of the entire tournament surprised many people. Surefour of the Los Angeles Gladiators started out as a serviceable Widowmaker early on, but he ended up being one of the best in the league come Stage Four. A couple of months back, Gladiators head coach David Pei told us that Surefour's skills on Widow had gotten unbelievable at times. Those skills were on full display over the weekend, as he took down some of the world's best Widows including the Los Angeles Valiant's Soon, and the Seoul Dynasty's Fleta:
He proceeded to close out the match against Fleta with this ridiculous fadeaway shot, landing the kill before falling to his own death:
One of the evening's most anticipated events featured the OWL casting talent taking each other on for bragging rights. It went about how you would imagine, but it wasn't only pro Overwatch player Reinforce that came up with the big plays. Semmler, who is best known for his time in the CS:GO community, had several absolutely filthy D.Va bombs throughout the set:
These ultimates were nothing short of masterful. From his timing to the angles he used, Semmler just demoralized the Atlantic Division casters time and again. He put the Pacific Division team on his back and eventually carried them to victory.
Today, let us mourn for the Atlantic Division team. The biggest Atlantic tragedy since the sinking of the Titanic.August 24, 2018
As predicted, most of the ASG featured off-meta compositions that resembled something out of solo-queue. We saw everything from pure support comps to lots of Mei and everything in between. A few players, such as Muma of the Houston Outlaws, tried to make Symmetra work in a fun setting, but they all ended up switching off after a short while.
The most exciting moment of the ASG was brought to us courtesy of Fury from the London Spitfire. Torbjörn is a hero pick that always gets the audience fired up, though it's rare that we see him used outside of 'Hail Mary' situations. Well, the Atlantic Division smelled blood and decided to nano Fury's Torb—and it was a huge success:
In what was the very first Torb hammer kill on the OWL stage, Fury cornered a DPS Geguri and got the best of the exchange. Better luck next time, Frogchamp.
Another fantastic play came from OWL's inaugural season MVP, Jjonak. Known for his amazing Zenyatta performances, this time around he took Genji out for a spin. Everyone should have known that he wouldn't disappoint:
Jjonak kept the pressure on a retreating Pacific Division team, netting a few Dragonblade kills in the process. But he wasn't done yet. The LA Gladiators' Bischu was going for a reset, so naturally Jjonak chased him off the map and somehow made it back to safety with a dash. Definitely not overkill.
Dennis Hawelka Award
Dennis "INTERNETHULK" Hawelka was one of pro Overwatch's most beloved players. He was a mentor and champion of everyone who even thought they had a chance at making it big. His sudden death in November of 2017 devastated the community. Overwatch League decided to immortalize Hawelka through the Dennis Hawelka Award, which will be given to the player who best exemplifies positivity and overall good sportsmanship.
The inaugural season winner of the Dennis Hawelka Award is one of INTERNETHULK's former teammates, Pongphop "Mickie" Rattanasangchod of the Dallas Fuel. Mickie's positive outlook and influence on his team and the community has been second to none. It's fitting that a player who was lifted up by Hawelka in the early going is the award's first winner.