The Matches You Need To See

The Overwatch League returns Valentines day.  It’s been a lengthy off-season, but not a quite one.  Multiple patches have come into our favorite Blizzard shooter changing the gameplay radically.  New characters have been added to the game, changing the way the most popular compositions are run in the way only new characters can.  We’ve also had not only the 2018 Overwatch World Cup, but an entire Contenders season as well.  In short, a lot of good Competitive Overwatch has happened since the London Spitfire put on the championship jackets in New York. 

With so much to see what do you watch?  What matches do you need to see to be current for next season?  After all, there’s twelve new teams coming into the league this year, and only twelve days to go.  Twelve days is not nearly long enough to watch everything that’s  happened in the off-season.  Where do you even start?  Worry not, we have here a a viewing list for you.  These are the must-see matches to get you caught up on competitive Overwatch for the next season. 

 

Overwatch League 2018 Playoffs

Which matches do you need to see from last seasons playoffs?  Well the obvious answer is ‘all of them’ but that’s a lot of time to spend on matches that honestly are not too relevant to the current meta of the game.  These two VODs are worth a look at, just remember that a lot has changed since then.  

 

OWL Grand Finals

Just in case you missed it, and even if you didn’t, it’s a good idea to start your off-season viewing experience with a look at last seasons Grand Finals.   Of the entire League these two teams are capable of the highest peaks in the game.  Their performance at the Barclays Center demonstrated the high level of play that the OWL is capable of.  DJ Khaled Performance not included in these VODS.    

Day 1: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/290042766?filter=highlights&sort=time 

Day 2: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/290388610?filter=highlights&sort=time

 

The Great Bamboozle

It’s a strategy that’s never going to work again, but man that first time it did in spectacular fashion.  So unconventional was the play that the game officials thought there was a problem with Surefour’s controls and almost stopped the match.   One hell of a way to get the payload started. 

Original: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjCUTAg2eUQ

LA Comms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4IdsCebeeA

 

Overwatch Contenders

If your not watching Overwatch Contenders then your doing yourself a disservice.  The tier two level of competitive Overwatch is filled to the brim with talent.  Every Contenders season has had teams that were even better than some OWL teams, and several players from this level have been signed to both existing and new franchises in the league.  These are only a few matches, but make a point next season to support the tier two scene.  You won’t be disappointed.  

 

OWC Korea Season Two Final

KongDoo Panthera vs RunAway

If you watch only one VOD on this list, watch this one.  An absolutely incredible match between the two best teams in Korean competitive Overwatch.  Exciting and emotional for that reason alone, but relevant to the Overwatch League more than any other match on this list.  Most of the people you see on the the stage will be playing in the Overwatch League.  The expansion team the Vancouver Titans signed the entire RunAway squad, while the win-less Shanghai Dragons signed the core of KDP.  All incredibility talented players who will be making a big impact on the upcoming season of the OWL.    

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUtA4kIIx-0

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkbqX5XzXNY

 

OWC Korea Season Three Final

RunAway vs Element Mystic

With the original roster signed to the OWL RunAway rebuilt their team for the third season of Contenders Korea.  This new squad once again found their way to the championship match in tier two Korean competitive Overwatch.  While not as emotional as RunAway’s first season title, this match is just as exciting.  It also has the added benefit of being more relevant meta-wise as it was played only to weeks ago.  

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJF8CWvRlkk

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr6PjBGvF8E

 

OWC North America Season Three Final

Fusion Academy vs ATL Academy

Spoilers! FU(n) gets the three-peat.  An outstanding match that culminated in the third straight Contenders title for the team with the best jerseys in the tier two NA scene.  ATL made them fight for it though, making the win all the more impressive.  As above, this match really demonstrates how pro players are playing the game in the recent meta and with the new characters.   Keep your eyes on the Fusion support line as some truly big brain plays went down.  

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoMH4eCqmOc

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHDQxJGBjBM

 

Overwatch World Cup 2018

Speaking of being disappointed.  The Overwatch World Cup may have ended with the same country taking home the trophy again (Spoilers, it was South Korea), but it was also the best World Cup yet.  In addition a better viewing experience for the World Cup than ever before, the games really were filled with the best competitive Overwatch talent in the world.  Like with Contenders, these games are a preview for some of the players coming into the League this season.  Once your done watching these, go download the Overwatch World Cup Viewer and have whatever angle you want on the action for all the BlizzCon matches.  

 

OWWC Grand Finals South Korea vs China

As if you needed any proof that Korea produces the best Overwatch players in the world.  More than once they show off both insane mechanical skill and genius level play.  The best team in the world won the Overwatch World Cup, and this was a platform where they showed how.  No surprise that this entire team is in the OWL.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R28aMNViC6s

 

OWWC USA vs Canada

Neither team may have taken it all, but both of these squads dominated their group stage.  Featruing star-studded rosters of OWL talent and a lot of trash talk this was the best match of the group stages.  For fans of the Overwatch League this was an interesting look at how some of the best players in the league look shuffled onto two teams and pitted against each other.  Even the coaches of these two teams are in the OWL, and from the level of play it certainly shows.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4Jxf8j7uko

 

 

Other Off-Season Action

There’s still more competitive Overwatch worth a look at these past few months.  Show matches, season previews, and even some League sanctioned PUGs.  If you’ve got the time, these are worth a look at.  

California Cup

Los Angeles Valiant vs San Francisco Shock

The Lost VOD.  The much hyped show match between the Los Angeles Valiant and the San Francisco Shock.  Although in a much older meta this is the first look we got at how some of the new additions on each of these teams are working out.  The mystery heroes game is also surprisingly fun to watch.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc-i5U8ORs0

2:48:25  3v3

3:25:16 Mystery Heroes

4:06:07 Show Match

 

Pacific Challenge

Seoul Dynasty vs Guangzhou Charge

A show match isn’t a good indication of the talent of any team, I know, but that doesn’t make them any less fun to watch.  Like with the California Cup this match is the first look we get at how some new additions to the original franchises are working out.  Only a taste of things to come, but it’s enough to put the Charge on my radar.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b_62gmoGdU

 

Watchpoint: 2019 Preview

You’ve probably seen this already, but if not it’s worth your time.  A quick rundown of all 20 teams in the league along with some really interesting interviews build the hype for the next season of the OWL.  Also important is the breakdown of the format changes for the new season.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SKblajuedg

 

Overwatch Pro Pugs At Blizzard

The greatest insight your likely to get into the current meta for the upcoming season.  Overwatch genius, coach for team Canada, and assistant coach for the Dallas Fuel Jayne hosted pro pick up games (PUGs) at Blizzard HQ.  These games were fun and informal, but were also played on the current patch, (1.32.1.1) which the Overwatch League will be starting on.  No the Reaper changes don’t make him OP.  

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93lBEAGEJ6I

twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/362548017

 

There you have it.  More than enough Overwatch to fill the gap between now and the rematch between Philly and London on February 14th.  Impress your fiends with your knowledge of the new players and meta.  Pick a favorite Contenders team to cheer for.  Most importantly get ready for the next season of the Overwatch League.  

About The Author

James Verzuh

James 'CorporalV' Verzuh was a real corporal once. Now he plays too much Overwatch and writes about esports.