Welcome to King's Row, Heroes
The stage is set for the Overwatch MGA 2016 Championship Presented by MSI with the three Regional Qualifying Teams ready for action. Ninjas in Pyjamas, Rise Nation, and KongDoo Panthera will be repping the Europe, America, and Asia regions, after winning each of their Regional Finals. The only remaining team up in question will be the MSI sponsored team. Come December these elite Overwatch will duke it out in London at the Gfinity Arena for the lion’s share of the $75,000 prize pool.
The Korean Journey
For Korean team KongDoo Panthera it was like claiming a birthright. The representatives of the Asia region will be once again be the Koreans as they continue to show their eSports pedigree. Led by the exceptionall Koo ‘EVERMORE’ Kyoo Min KongDoo Panthera will be a team to beat in London. EVERMORE was known for reaching an exceptional Rank 90 in the first Season of competitive Overwatch. To put that into perspective even Overwatch fan favorite Brandon ‘Seagull’ Larned of ‘NRG’ fame only managed a Rank 81 in the first Season. EVERMORE is indeed among the best of the best with his excellent performances on Roadhog and Reaper in the Regional Finals being a clear indication of that.
KongDoo Panthera managed to steamroll most competition in the Regional Finals asserting itself as the one true Korean Overlord of the region. It was an easy sweep for them in the first round dispatching fellow Korean Team HEXA.In the semifinals it was a close fought series against sister team KongDoo Uncia, Panthera took the victory after showing more composure to their younger brethren. They then made quick work of the Japanese Detonation Gaming Team 2 in the Finals with a convincing sweep.
EVERMORE allows KongDoo Panthera to favor the niche pick of Roadhog so much more than other sides. Roadhog doesn’t have the saving potential that other tanks such as Reinhardt or Zarya provide. What he does provide is excellent pick-off potential with his Hook and in the hands of a great player it can be devastating to the opposition and EVERMORE is simply one of the best Overwatch players in the world. KongDoo Panthera is also known to run the three Tank setup because EVERMORE provides a lot of damage even as a Roadhog. With the sweet shooting Jesse ‘Bishop’ Lee on the Ana providing the clutch heals from the backline the Panthera tankshave nothing to fear
For Ninjas in Pyjamas it was a bit of sweet redemption in topping the Europe Regional Finals in Overwatch. They haven’t won a major eSports title since 2013 and that seems an eternity ago. With its glory days fading quickly behind them they finally get the chance to take the Gold albeit in another eSport. A victory in London would mean the world to NIP as they get to feel the exhilarating thrill of winning it all again. A lot rests on the shoulders of Kalle ‘hymzi’ Honkala, interestingly another Roadhog aficionado and Mei expert Joonas ‘zappis’ Alakurtti.
Much like KongDoo Panthera, NIP breezed through the Europe Regional Finals sweeping all of its series until the Finals.They brought out the brooms against Norway’s Bessat eSports Kings, UK’s Team Dignitas, and France’s melty eSports. Hymzi and zappis form the heart of NIP’s divide and conquer strategy with Roadhog’s Hooks and Mei’s Ice Wall. Zappis also has the flex pick pick of switching up the Japanese Archer Hanzo showing off his deadly aim. But NIP are at their best when they stand together to divide and conquer. When hymzi picks off a squishy DPS or when zappis is on point splitting up the enemy push with his Ice Walls, NIP are a difficult team to conquer.
Rising to the occasion
Among the three qualified teams, Rise Nation was the least expected to make it through. But Sam ‘Locke’ Latina and Adam ‘Spirit’ Willis would have none of that as they willed their teams to victory. They shocked the world when they beat much more popular teams in Tempo Storm NA and Cloud9 to even make it to the Finals. They then had to go up against Kevin ‘AZK’ Laviere, one of the best McCrees in the world, and the rest of Team Liquid. Those three are all household names in eSports but Rise Nation managed to come out on top. Is Rise Nation worthy to be here? Definitely.
In the meta of Reapers and Zarya, Locke's Zenyatta was definitely a moment of Transcendence for Rise Nation. He was perfect with his timings as he foiled the wombo combos of the opposing sides with his Omnic monk’s Ultimate. And what’s Zenyatta without his disciple? Spirit’s play on Genji, the cyborg ninja, was a thing of beauty despite the character being nerfed several times over the last couple of days. His understanding of Genji was incredible and he knew when he would be a good pick-up for Rise Nation. The so-called Genyatta combo lives in Rise Nation.
When worlds collide
How will these teams from different regions fare against each other? Who will win the bragging rights for having the best representative from their respective continents?
NIP's hymzi and KongDoo's EVERMORE will definitely be trying to out-Roadhog one another. Who will have more game changing hooks between the two? Will EVERMORE affirm that he is indeed the best Roadhog in the world? Or will hymzi claim the glory for himself?
Zenyatta has fallen off since the nerfs made to him and Ana has overtaken him in most team compositions. Will Locke prove that Zenyatta is the better support if Rise Nation wins it all? Or will Bishop’s Ana claim the day with the Egyptian Sniper’s more versatile kit?
With Mei being such a common pick for NIP will team’s still bother running a Genji? Her easy to aim Endothermic Blaster is a hard counter to speedy characters like Tracer and Genji. Will players like Spirit still run the Tracers and the Genjis? If life wasn’t hard enough for the speedsters the giant gorilla Winston’s Tesla Cannon also adds to the list of counters for them.
There is a substantial amount of pressure for the Reaper mains of all the teams with the increasing popularity of the heavy tank compositions. Those point rushing line ups do extremely well in majority of the maps in Overwatch. Reaper remains the best tank killer in the game with his Hellfire Shotguns while Bastion can be a niche answer to the tank heavy meta. However any professional Overwatch team worth their weight should be able to counter Bastion easily so he remains a very risky pick.
All of these questions will be answered at the opening salvo of the first matches of Overwatch Masters Gaming Arena 2016 Championship Presented by MSI are set for December 7, 2016.
For more details check out the Overwatch MGA 2016 Championship Presented by MSI official website over here (https://gaming.msi.com/mga