Sinisa Bucan, January 16, 2017

Overwatch APEX Season 2 Tournament Preview

APEX Season 1 was a notable tournament not only because it established itself as South Korea’s first premier Overwatch event, but also because Team EnVyUs finally ended their LAN final misfortunes with a major win, beating Afreeca Freecs Blue in an exciting finale. The star-studded line-up of its second season also includes four foreign teams that will have to bring their A-game if they want to beat the Koreans on their home turf.

Europe and North America will be represented by Cloud9, Misfits, Fnatic and returning champs, EnVyUs (1.1) who will be kicking off the group-stage action against MVP Infinity (6.5). But before we get into team specifics, let’s go through the format of the tournament itself.

Overwatch APEX Season 2 will feature round robin groups, four teams apiece, with a total of 12 qualified and four invited teams. Winners will be determined in best-of-five matches. The first two teams from each group will advance to the playoffs. The playoffs will see eight teams battle it out in a single elimination format. Only the grand finals will be determined through best-of-seven matches.

The overall prize pool amounts to approximately $180,000, with the winning team of the tournament taking home almost $90,000.

State of the Meta

Lately, the metagame has mostly been revolving around three tanks, two support heroes, and a single DPS. While we don’t expect to see too much deviation from this, some teams might try to break this meta. It will be interesting to see if Symmetra and Sombra will play their part in shaking up the safe three-tank meta. Sombra hasn’t really lit the world on fire when it comes to more casual Overwatch because she requires a lot of communication between teammates to really use her abilities effectively. But if some of these professional teams decide to go that route, we might be in for a very interesting tournament.

Group A: MVP Infinity, EnVyUs, Meta Athena, BK Stars

The returning champions and the #1 ranked team in the world, EnVyUs, is the clear favorite of Group A. They’ll be facing three relatively unknown Korean teams – MVP Infinity, Meta Athena, and BK Stars. None of these teams have much experience, so EnVyUs shouldn’t have too much trouble here. It will be a close battle for that second spot, but Meta Athena looks just a bit better on paper than MVP Infinity and BK Stars.

Team EnVyUs
Team EnVyUs

Group B: Luxury Watch Blue, Misfits, Lunatic Hai, Afreeca Freecs Red

This could definitely be labelled as the group of death. Misfits are currently the #1 ranked team in Europe and the third best team in the world. The Swedes will have to face off against Lunatic Hai, the #1 ranked team in the China & Korea region. The last time these two teams met was about a month ago, during IEM Gyeonggi when Lunatic Hai beat Misfits 3:0. Even though Afreeca Freecs Red aren’t quite as accomplished as Misfits and Lunatic Hai, they will certainly not roll over easily. In the end, we expect that Misfits and Lunatic Hai will qualify for the playoffs. But more importantly than that, the winner of this group might very well win the tournament.

Misfits
Misfits

Group C: Conbox Spirit, Cloud9, KongDoo Uncia, Afreeca Freecs Blue

Things certainly won’t be easy for Cloud9 in this group. The American team is ranked #2 both globally and in North America. Their biggest competition in this group is definitely Afreeca Freecs Blue, ranked #2 in China & Korea and #12 in the world. Don’t write off KongDoo Uncia as they will certainly do their best to secure a spot in the playoffs. We don’t expect much from Conbox Spirit as they are currently unranked and don’t have a lot of matches under their belt.

Cloud9
Cloud9

Group D: KongDoo Panthera, Fnatic, RunAway, Flash Lux

It will be very surprising if Fnatic and KongDoo Panthera do not advance from this group. Fnatic is the #4 ranked team in North America and #6 in the world. KongDoo Panthera isn’t lagging too much behind, and they’re just coming off a great performance at the Nexus Cup where they beat KongDoo Uncia 4-0 in the grand finals. RunAway and Flash Lux will have a hard time securing a place in the playoffs, but an upset is always possible.

Fnatic
Fnatic

Final Thoughts

This is a great way to kick off the year. EnVyUs, Misfits, Lunatic Hai, and Cloud9 are the biggest contenders to take this tournament. Group B is definitely one to watch as the early clash between Misfits and Lunatic Hai could define the entire tournament. Naturally, Fnatic and Afreeca Freecs Blue might have something to say about that, and it will be interesting to see if any of the lesser known Korean teams manage to pull off a notable upset.

Overwatch APEX Season 2 kicks off January 17 at 1:30am PST with Team EnVyUs (1.1) vs MVP Infinity (6.5) so get your bets in as soon as possible!

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.