Sinisa Bucan, December 14, 2016

What to expect from Overwatch at IEM Gyeonggi

In addition to esports powerhouses League of Legends and StarCraft II, Overwatch will be the third game featured at the Intel Extreme Masters event in South Korea. The tournament takes place December 16-18, and it will be the first ever stadium event for Overwatch. IEM Gyeonggi is an invitational event with a prize pool of $100,000. Six teams from Europe and Asia will battle it out for the top spot in the Goyang Sports Complex.

The tournament will feature two best-of-five quarterfinals on Friday, two best-of-five semifinals on Saturday, and the Grand Final on Sunday, which will also use the best-of-five format. The teams will fight it out on nine Blizzard-sanctioned maps, including Hanamura, Volskaya, Gibraltar, Route 66, Lijiang, Ilios, Numbani, Hollywood, and Eichenwalde.

Eichenwalde in Overwatch

While it is not uncommon to see more creative solutions at the top level, the metagame usually revolves around teams playing two DPS, two tanks, and two support heroes. When it comes to tanks, Reinhardt is obviously the top dog, and you will almost certainly see him in every match. Zarya and Roadhog are also popular picks, especially on defense. On the support side, Lucio and Ana have both established themselves as essential picks.

Almost all offensive heroes are usable, but we expect to see a lot of Genji and Tracer as mobility is key. The situation is a lot more predictable on the defensive side because only Junkrat and Mei are viable. The meta has gotten somewhat stale as Sombra didn’t really have much of an impact.

Misfits vs. Lunatic-Hai

Lunatic-Hai is a Korean team that played in the Overwatch APEX League. They made it out of the group stages with a 3-0 score, including a win against Team EnVyUs who went on to win the tournament. Lunatic-Hai were eliminated in the quarterfinals by fellow South Koreans KongDoo Uncia. They also finished second in the Chinese APAC Premier tournament, losing to Rogue in the final, even though they managed to beat Rogue in the group stage.

Misfits should be the clear favorites in this match-up. The European team comprised mostly of Swedish players had a great year as they won seven tournaments. Winning the Dreamhack Winter 2016 Major by beating Fnatic in the final and being victorious over Team EnVyUs in the Overwatch Open final are definitely the highlights.

Luxury Watch Red vs. Kongdoo Panthera

Kongdoo Panthera is a relatively unknown Korean team. They participated in the Overwatch APEX Season 1, but didn’t make it out of the group stage. However, they did manage to snatch a win against RunAway, another South Korean team.

Speaking of unknown teams, Luxury Watch Red have yet to claim a spot in an ongoing league. To date, they haven’t won any major prize money. This match could really go either way, as neither team is in top form. Although, we have to give a slight edge to Kongdoo Panthera based on previous tournaments.

Afreeca Freecs Blue

Whoever wins the Misfits vs. Lunatic-Hai match will face off against Afreeca Freecs Blue in the semifinals. This South Korean team has made notable results in 2016, the biggest being making it all the way to the grand finals of Overwatch APEX Season 1. Unfortunately for them, they lost 4-0 against Team EnVyUs, but this was still a very successful tournament for them. They’ve also done reasonably well in the APAC Premier tournament, finishing in the 5th-8th places.

Rogue

Rogue is a European team comprised mostly of French players. In the second semifinals, they will play against the winner of the Luxury Watch Red vs. Kongdoo Panthera match. Rogue have won several tournaments this year, the biggest being the ESL Overwatch Atlantic Showdown at Gamescom where they beat Reunited in the finals, and APAC Premier where they were victorious against Lunatic-Hai.

Final thoughts

This is definitely not a huge tournament, but it’s a nice way to end the year. Overwatch has already managed to establish itself as a viable esport in a very short timeframe and things can only get bigger as time goes on. In the here and now, we think that the two European teams and AF Blue have the biggest chances of taking this tournament.

Unless they falter in the first quarterfinal against Lunatic-Hai, Misfits are the favorites to take it all. Of course, Rogue and AF Blue have their own plans. Naturally, we could be seeing a major upset if any of the lesser-known Korean teams manage to take out Misfits, Rogue or AF Blue. Be sure to catch the first match between Misfits and Lunatic-Hai, as the outcome could define the entire tournament.

Sinisa Bucan

Siniša is a writer and translator from Croatia, a small European country on the Adriatic coast. Apart from being a passionate Hearthstone player, he enjoys all kinds of video games, including strategy, role-playing, adventure, and action. Other interests include listening to indie rock and travelling. You can follow him @SinisaBucan.