Day 2 Begins!
On a beautiful Saturday morning, I arrived at the Anaheim Convention Center at 8 AM. I was in my Team Canada jersey and my Canada cape, even if team Canada didn’t make it to Top 6 for the Overwatch World Cup. Canada is the number 1 team I cheer for, and I just wanted to show support! USA, France, Netherlands, China, South Korea, and Denmark advanced to the top 6 for playoffs. Later, I was in line for the Overwatch World Cup arena after convention doors opened.
Mingling with Overwatch Fans!
I met one of my friends in the line, and we talked with other fans who were cheering for different countries as well as fans who simply just wanted good Overwatch! Talking to fans is always fun, and it is nice to share different perspectives on the game. There are fun rivalries that happen and memey moments that we would make fun of the team for. In addition, there are many huge moments that we have to respect the team for. No matter what team you are for, as long as you are respectful to your opponents, then Overwatch events are fun! These are like-minded folks in the arena!
The World cup unites teams who may have wanted to play together, but had to face each other in the Overwatch League or Contenders teams. It also may lead to those teams having civil wars! As fun as it is seeing traditional opponents working together, it is just as fun seeing traditional opponents facing each other on a different team. Philadelphia Fusion, for instance, has players from 8 countries. San Francisco Shock have teammates in USA and South Korea, and they had to face each other.
Beginning the World Cup
Finally, I entered the arena! It is always awesome to see the stage and the crowd. There were different flags for different sections of the arena, depending on which team you were cheering for. On that day, I decided to be a Team USA fan, because I live in the states. Canada is just the number 1 team I cheer for. I moved on to the Team USA section, and I had a 2nd row seat!
Ceremony of Nations
There was a ceremony of nations before the first match of the day. A country representative would walk out and the rest of the players, community leads, general managers, etc. follow behind them. This is similar to the Olympics where you are also given a chance to represent your region. I am glad that the World Cup implemented that in their schedule!
Even though they did not make top 6, those players from each of the countries certainly deserved to be recognized for their accomplishments. Their teams may have lost but it was to some of the teams with the best players in the world! I am sure some of those players can potentially make the team if they have better infrastructure.
South Korea vs Denmark
The first match of the day was Team South Korea (SK) vs Team Denmark, and the matches were certainly fun to watch! The Danish crew gave SK a great fight, though the score ended up being 3-0-2 (W-L-Draw). Watching the games was fun. At some point, the USA audience was cheering for Denmark so much that the representative gave USA Danish flags!
Shax of the Los Angeles Valiant and Kellex of the Boston Uprising (now Defiant) were performing well. Afterall, Shax is known for his 6K Death Blossom in the Overwatch League. Kellex performed well. Fischer and Scaler certainly stood out during the matchup too. Henningsen and Molf1g were also an excellent tank duo. If anything, Denmark had excellent teamwork that gave South Korea a run for their money! I can tell that Denmark understood the meta. In the end though, South Korea would advanced to face Team USA in the semifinals.
I can see Overwatch League scouters looking at Team Denmark seeing how much they accomplished. They beat Team Australia, Canada, Russia, and the Netherlands. The fact that Denmark made playoffs is a testament to their strength! Of course, it was recently announced that Kellex would join Toronto Defiant from his old team, Boston Uprising.
I had the choice between watching France vs Netherlands or the streamers meetup. The meetup was not officially announced through Blizzcon, but the information was on discords of several of those streamers. It is great that Netherlands, who have non- OWL and Coach Casores of the Atlanta reign, made it to top 6 beating teams who had much OWL talent.
I don’t mean to disrespect France or Netherlands, but I really wanted to see the streamers like Aspen, Wanted, Emongg, Fitzy, Fareeha, Oasis, SleepyBear, etc. At Blizzcon, there are times where you can’t do everything you want, and this was one of those moments where decision making skills were important.
If I didn’t know any of the streamers, I would just talk to them as normal people at the convention. Talking about big plays and memorable moments of the streamers as well as chat interaction has been a big part. We also talk about thoughts on Overwatch 2, Overwatch Competitive, OWL, World Cup thoughts, streaming, and IRL stuff that they do for fun outside of the gaming world! They are really friendly towards their fan-base!
Back to the Arena
After mingling with the streamers and some of the other fans of the streamers, I decided to see the end of Netherlands vs France with France becoming victors. Netherlands I am sure has had strong performances, but since I didn’t see the games, I would not be the best judge on who performed well. I went to see part of Netherlands vs France last map was because it was almost Team USA vs SK, where the seats would be taken.
USA and SK are the 2 most popular teams in Blizzcon, so I had a feeling the arena would be packed. A friend saved our seat, so we were still fortunately able to get 1st and 2nd row seats for the big event! I decided to wear my San Francisco Shock jersey, because I respect the Shock players and coaches on both teams! Also, Super is my favorite player on Team USA! I wanted a good match, but for Team USA to ultimately win if Canada couldn’t win.
USA vs South Korea Implications
While it is true that USA 3-0’d South Korea in group stages, the implications of this match did not change one bit. If USA lost to South Korea, they would still be known as playoff chokers and their victory in group stages would certainly be practically negligent. It is true that USA made it to semifinals, which is further than quarterfinals in the last 2 years, but this victory will mean much to Team USA. What USA seemed to be doing differently is having a mindset of not underestimating any team and be ready for whatever match-up possible!
USA vs South Korea Maps 1-3
USA and South Korea have defeated each other in their “home territories”! Korea won in Busan while USA won in Hollywood, so that was kind of funny. It began well, and either team could have won Busan, but USA won by 2 minutes to a checkpoint close to 2nd point take on Hollywood. That meant that we had ourselves a series.
For Gibraltar, the match was close seeing that South Korea beat USA by 2 minutes in completing the map. Rawkus landed crucial sleep darts, Space was strong at Sigma, and Corey constantly saturated the kill feed allowing the crowd to go wild. Architect was carrying the team, and Haksal Doomfist is never easy to deal with. Choihyobin always created room for the DPS to flourish. Sinatraa also played Bastion well. Despite the weaker 1st attack, USA won the Gibraltar. Mano and Super were playing the Orisa constantly getting good halts and shields. They were also responsible for allowing their Reapers to get much value out of their ultimates out of the Orisa Super Charger.
USA’s Milestones Maps 4 and 5
During Horizon Lunar Colony, there were moments the audience remember. USA caught Korea off guard with a sneaky Symmetra and Bastion composition. Since Sinatraa and Corey got a few picks, it caught Korea off guard. There were moments when I thought USA were going to win, but Choihyobin came in clutch with his Wrecking Ball allowing South Korea to tie HLC. Carpe and Architect also played Hanzo and Mei really well. Both had excellent game plans very well executed, and that map ended in a tie.
In map 5, USA played Super’s Reinhardt, Sinatraa’s Genji in Nepal Village, and it worked since they were really playing aggressive, which is the Shock’s playstyle. Corey was also intelligently using Symmetra telerporter for repositioning the team a lot. USA would win that round, and in Shrine, USA took commanding lead, but Architect was getting so many kills to allow Korea to come back. USA with their 1-Fight territory advantage just won one more teamfight, and the crowd went wild, because USA finally beat South Korea, who were 3-time world champions, but USA still has to face the Grand Finalist.
Closing Thoughts for Part 2
Day 2 has definitely not disappointed me! I got to witness history when USA beat South Korea in playoffs! Denmark also had a really strong showing. I can see Netherlands and Denmark having players to be picked up for Overwatch League. I also enjoyed hearing Jake cast matches since he has the perspective considering that he is a Professional Player. None of the series of matches has disappointed me!
The World Cup crowd has always been so awesome! I enjoyed talking to audience of the 6 countries, and it is really nice that people from all over the world come. I fortunately live in USA, so it is not as hard to get to Blizzcon as it would be for people from Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, South Korea, China, or other countries that come all the way to Blizzcon to see their nation compete! It is nice to cheer with LA Gladiators frontline for Team USA!
Part 3 will reveal more of my Blizzcon Journey!
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