Sinisa Bucan, December 21, 2016

The Best Overwatch Matches of 2016

The Overwatch Winter Wonderland event is in full swing. Whether you’re complaining about Mei’s seasonal legendary skin or you can’t figure out if Zenyatta’s Nutcracker skin is cool or creepy, we hope that you’re enjoying the festivities. While we’re celebrating, let’s take a look at the matches that defined professional Overwatch in 2016.

The Complexity vs. Team Liquid Nail-Biter

Complexity and Team Liquid faced off in the North American Qualifier finals of the Overwatch Open Tournament 2016. It was a grand final indeed that could have gone either way. We saw lots of great plays and constant back and forth momentsTorktjo dominating with Genji, ID dispensing death with Reaper, both team’s Reinhardts making crucial plays. In the end, Complexity took it in the last 40 seconds.

United States vs. Russia

You don’t really need to explain this. Whenever USA and Russia clash in any sport, it’s going to garner interest. It’s just one of those things that has wider connotations than any esport or traditional sport. USA and Russia played against each other in Group B of the Overwatch World Cup at BlizzCon. Everyone expected Shadowrun’s Genji to carry Russia, which is basically what happened in the end, but other Russian players also showcased great skill in this match.

Luxury Watch Red Beat Rogue

It’s doubtful anyone saw this coming. Luxury Watch Red is a South Korean team that has yet to claim a spot in an ongoing league or win any major prize money. On the other hand, Rogue is an established European team that has won several tournaments in 2016, including the ESL Overwatch Atlantic Showdown at Gamescom and APAC Premier. Despite all that, the Korean team took a convincing 3-1 win at the recent IEM Gyeonggi Invitational.

Misfits Break the Meta Against Fnatic

Fnatic and Misfits played a grand final indeed at Dreamhack Winter. It was a close and exciting match that went on for two and a half hours before Misfits finally took a 3-2 win. What’s truly exciting about this match is that Misfits nabbed a win despite (or perhaps on account of) playing a rather unusual roster.

A lot of the time, they had only one tank in play (Reinhardt) with Widowmaker and Tracer on defense. That’s not something you see often. Misfits’ Soon was not only constantly pestering but annihilating the attacking team with his monstrous performance as Tracer. This match is a testament that you can adopt your own play style, not just blindly follow the meta.

South Korea Dominates the World Cup

We have singled out this match against Russia in the final of the Overwatch World Cup, but the fact of the matter is that South Korea obliterated everyone in their path. It’s amazing because they haven’t lost a single round in the entire tournament. They got out of Group C with a perfect 3-0 score against Finland, Australia, and Taiwan. But that just wasn’t enough. South Korea eliminated USA and Sweden before finally going against Russia in the final. And they made it look so easy, nabbing a very comfortable 4-0 win, and establishing themselves as a global Overwatch powerhouse.

Rogue vs. Lunatic-Hai Zarya/Hanzo Combo Finisher

This was a massive match for Rogue. They lost twice to Lunatic-Hai in the group stage of the APAC Premier tournament and were now facing them in the final. Lunatic-Hai has proven themselves to be extremely quick and efficient when it came to taking first points, but they didn’t do that great on defense in this crucial match. The most beautiful moment happened in the very last seconds of the match. Rogue was pushing the payload on Hollywood when Zarya unleashed her Graviton Surge, enabling Hanzo to wipe out the entire enemy team with his Dragonstrike.

Professional Overwatch is just starting to take off. There weren’t really that many tournaments in the past six months, but there were enough exciting matches that truly showcase the strengths of this game as an entertaining esportone we expect to continue its rise in 2017.

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.