National Teams Clash on the Battlefields of Tomorrow this Friday
The Overwatch World Cup 2018 returns tomorrow. With all of the group stages complete and the rosters set its time to see which country is the best. Eight teams remain and all have a change of taking home the championship. Will the United States finally advance out of the quarter finals? Will South Korea win it all for a third time? We’ll find out this weekend. In the meantime, this guide will get you all caught up.
Date and Time: All four of the Quarterfinal matches will be Friday, November 2. The first match (USA vs. UK) will start at 12:15 PM PT.
Saturday the action will start much earlier with the first Semi-final at 9:30 AM PT. The matches will continue on from there with the Grand Final match set for 3:45PM PT. If your planning to wait for a particular match you may want to tune in earlier, just in case games end or start early.
Patch: The finals will be played on patch 1.29. For those unfamiliar this is the patch containing both the Torbjorn rework and the Soldier 76 changes. While the current meta doesn’t particularly favor either of these characters, this will be the first time we see these changes at the highest level of play.
Format: The Quarterfinals, Semi-finals, and Bronze match will be in the now familiar best out of five format, however the Grand Final will be a whooping best out of seven. Though longer than we’ve come to expect, this format will guarantee us at least four maps of the best Overwatch action since the Overwatch League Finals.
Map Rotation: Matches will start on a control map determined in advance. Then the loser of each map will pick the next map within a set type for the remainder of the series. Map order is Control, Hybrid, Assault, Escort, Control(not the same as before).
Quarterfinal Matchups and Predictions
These best of five matches will decide who advances, and who spends the rest of BlizzCon on the sidelines. Here’s a quick rundown on the teams and matchups, with their map records from the Group stages
United States (18-2) vs. United Kingdom (15-5)
USA! USA! I’ll admit to some bias as I want to see the United States make it out of the Quarter Finals for once, but this team looks really good. Muma has never looked better on tank, and his teammate Rawkus is showing off some real skills on Anna. Their cohesion as a group also looks better than any other national team, and probably is better than some Overwatch League teams.
Their opponent has some talented players, specifically Boombox and Kruise, but this match is going to be all US, all the time.
France (19-2) vs. Canada (17-3)
This is going to be the close game. Both of these teams are filled with Overwatch League talent. Both teams have made World Cup playoff drives before. For this match it’ll come down to the small things. Making clutch plays, or taking advantage of the smallest opportunities will be all the difference here. One of those opportunities could be patch 1.29 and the related Soldier 76 changes.
Smart money is on AKM popping off on Soldier 76. The Canadian team is stacked, but the new patch may favor France just enough. Even if your not invested in either of these teams this is going to be an exciting fight. I’m going to give it to France, but Canada could win just as easily.
China (16-7) vs. Finland (16-4)
The Shanghai Dragons may have had the worst possible season they could have. They may also have been a predominantly Chinese roster while doing this. These are facts, but they are no reason to sleep on China. In fact, it’s something that might give them the edge. The Chinese team is hungry to prove that the Dragons lackluster performance is not representative of their entire country. They made some big waves in the Group stage, and any team that underestimates them will do so at their own peril.
Don’t sleep on Finland though. This team is not only filled with Overwatch League talent but they were the only ones to take maps off South Korea in the Group stage. I predict a Chinese victory here, but it’ll be close.
South Korea (19-2) vs. Australia (14-7)
It’s never safe to bet against a Korean team when it comes to Overwatch. Aside from the Korea having won the last two, and only, World Cups Korean rosters in the Overwatch League had the best regular season record (NYXL 34-6) and were the Season One Champions (London Spitfire). Like in most esports not called Call of Duty Korean teams tend to dominate in Overwatch.
That said there are some chinks in the armor. The recent changes player changes (Fleta, Fury, and Anamo) for example. While this could be just to better prepare the team for the meta, it’s possible the reigning champs are a little worried.
On the Australian side Los Angeles Valiant player Custa will be backing up some tier 1 quality players from the best teams in that region. I’m picking Korea for this matchup. It’s a tall order for Australia to beat Korea, and while it’s more likely now than ever before the roster is still composed of the best players from the best teams in the League.
The Overwatch World Cup is the biggest stage for competitive Overwatch outside of the Overwatch League. In addition to filling the void that the off season has left the World Cup is also a preview of new talent. Signings of players who’ve been making names for themselves in the Group stages are already coming in. It’s likely that many of the players you see this weekend who are not already in the League will be there in the coming years if not months.