A bright pre-season…
The season started out well for Paris Eternal, with a polished reveal party revealing the organisation’s ambition for its Overwatch team: an EU super-team to showcase the region’s talent on the world stage.
They’d hit it out of the park with their first announced recruitment: poaching Térence “SoOn” Tarlier (DPS) and Julien “daemoN” Ducros (coach), the most high-profile French talent from the Los Angeles Valiant. SoOn had the fanbase, the famous battle-cry… Everything to rally a maximum amount of fans to the team’s banners.
The rest of the team held strong individual elements : BenBest and NicoGDH had popped off on 2018 Team France, with a masterful 4-0 score during the Paris Qualifiers. The score was even more impressive for Nico, considering that he juggled playing for Team France and winning the EU Contenders finals with Eagle Gaming on the same week-end. HyP, the last French player to join Paris was from the same team.
The rest of the team announced big names from other European countries. Most famous of all perhaps was ShaDowBurn, his unique dance moves, and even deadlier Dragon Blades. Finnsi, Greyy, Kruise, LhCloudy and Danye completed the roster.
In terms of coaching staff, daemoN surrounded himself with Féfé, who’d just led Eagle Gaming to victory in Contenders, KyKy, previously on Dallas Fuel and Seita, whose analyst skills don’t bear reminding.
Paris was supposed to be the master of GOATs, that hellish meta that held the league and Overwatch firmly in its grasp. NA might have named “GOATs”, but EU played quad tank comps and perfected them, turning GOATs into an art form. Analysts and commentators had high expectations for the team. Everyone hoped they’d pull off a very strong early season, before the meta would have a chance to shift.
But the results never quite followed…
And at first, they did! Defeating London for their first game was a shot of euphoria for both the fans and players (especially considering the UK vs France rivalry). Taking down the previous season’s Champions for their first showing made for a strong first impression.
Sadly, the euphoria didn’t last long. Paris showed a lackluster performance, compared to the marvels of tank play that had been promised. Stage 1 ended with a 3-4 score-line: not terrible, but could’ve been better. daemoN’s departure days before the beginning of stage 2, followed by lizlin’s resignation marked outward signs of previously unseen internal issues.
The team had to redistribute the responsibilities and tasks within the coaching staff, promoting Féfé to Head Coach. The players remained without an official manager until May 24th. At that time, Albless (previously a French Overwatch League commentator and associate of Féfé’s) was recruited to fill the role. Stage 2 reflected the difficulties the team was facing, with a 2-5 result. This time, the game against London went far differently, with a cut and dry 4-0 loss for the French. A Waterloo of sorts.
Stage 3 and 4 showed a progressive growth in cohesion for the team, with Féfé shuffling around the players to test out different possibilities. HyP and BenBest were benched in favor of LhCloudy and the synergy of the Greyy and Kruise support duo. The British player took up more of a leadership role in terms of comms and gameplay initiation. It paid off since team management unanimously celebrated his progress.
Both stages ended with 3 victories and 4 defeats, a mediocre but stable result by all accounts. With the season over, Paris stood in 14th position. Most felt unsatisfied with the result, the players first in line. The 2-2-2 lock brought a new spark of energy to the roster, with the resurgence of DPS heroes and the possibility for SoOn and ShaDowBurn to pop off. Sadly, it was a bit too late. One of the team’s main weaknesses lied in the lack of a strong Zarya, crucial in the GOATs meta.
In all, Paris’s first season had promising elements but a lackluster execution. Internal issues and management reshuffling hampered a clear potential that didn’t quite have the chance to shine through. It’s already clear that the organisation has taken notes throughout the stages. We can only hope that they’ll take the correct action to better the team for season 2.
I for one, can’t wait to see them shine on the Zénith stage. French fans are waiting. #FiatLux.
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