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The Overwatch NGE Winter Premiere kicked off yesterday, with eight teams vying for their share of a $100,000 prize pool.
Yesterday was the first day of group stage, where the teams will face each other in a round robin format. The six teams that have the best record at the end of the next two weeks will advance to the next round.
Here's five things I learned from watching the first day.
1. The Detroit Renegades Are Legit
No one really knew what to make of the Detroit Renegades going into this tournament. They qualified – we know that, but this is also their first Overwatch event, and they qualified as Kingdom eSports only to be signed by the Renegades, so this isn’t even the same Renegades you know from Call of Duty and other sports.
But this band of misfits came into the tournament swinging, taking down FaZe Clan 2-0 in the first round of Group Stage. Now, FaZe clan actually failed to qualify for the Winter Premiere, and were only added back in when Fnatic dropped out, but this is still the team that took home $20,000 in last month’s MLG Vegas tournament, placing second.
This led all of the broadcasters to pick FaZe, only to see them get pushed around for two games before a swift end. The Detroit Renegades are for real, and they’re a force to be reckoned with in the Winter Premiere
2. … Citizen 7 Is Not
I’m not one to pile it on, but Citizen 7 played like they simply didn’t belong in this tournament. Like FaZe, they entered the tournament as an alternate when another team dropped out, so this may not be as surprising. That being said, they were out-classed in every way by Luminosity.
And Luminosity was just toying with them, too. Luminosity came out with three DPS heroes (Genji, Pharah and Tracer) and still managed to take the first point on Temple of Anubis against Citizen 7. In case you were wondering, the meta right now is at least three tanks, so Citizen 7 has very little excuse.
They also rushed ultimates, getting very little value or whiffing completely, in key moments that kept them completely out of contention. If this play is any indication, they will find themselves at or near the bottom of this stage of group play. I can’t see them making it into the top six next week.
3. The Tank Meta Is Out of Control
While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about that tank meta. It’s long been known that, since Ana got her crazy buffs those months ago, three tanks has been the competitive standard. But Team Liquid and Immortals took it a step further when they faced each other: four tanks.
Not only that, both teams had the exact same lineup against each other: Ana, Lucio, Roadhog, Reinhardt, D.Va and Zarya. Four tanks, two healers.
As someone who hopes that Overwatch has a long, bright future as an eSport, I also hope that Blizzard watches these tournaments. This is meta isn't just stale; it's downright gross. It’s a bag of chips that’s been left open for a month under your couch.
4. compLexity and Kungarna Will Meet Again – and It Will Be Bitter
What was on its face the most exciting series, compLexity vs Kungarna was a display of terrible defensive play by both sides. Neither team could stop the other, least of all compLexity, who tried to use the new Symmetra and failed twice.
But, compLexity got bailed out, courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment. After Kungarna blasted through compLexity’s cheesy attempts at defense, all they had to do was stop compLexity’s last assault and they would win the series. It was looking like that was going to happen, too, but, all of the sudden, the server crashed, and it’s ruled that they must re-do the entire game.
Wouldn’t you know it, compLexity never tried Symmetra again, and was able to win the match 4-3 and took the series 2-1 over Kungarna. That being said, these were the two most potent offenses on display during day one. They will meet each other again, and Kungarna is going to have a chip on their shoulders.
5. Symmetra + Torbjorn Hasn’t Yet Taken Off
Ever since Symmetra’s change, combining her with Torbjorn has been a mainstay of many Quick Play games. Suddenly, you have automatically replenishing 75-health shields with Torbjorn’s additional 75 armor packs that he can now spam as a result of his passively gaining scrap. Boom, everyone on your team gets a 150-health bonus.
Sounds great in theory, and it will work well at the casual level, but that’s a different story than in competitive tournaments. It’s all about winning that first team-fight. If you can hold in the first team-fight, Symmetra will likely have her ultimate up, and it’s a whole new ball game at that point.
But two different teams tried the combination yesterday and got rolled each time, mostly because they didn’t have enough utility and defense to win the first fight. I guess we’ll have to wait before that combination becomes mainstream.