In the halls of Koelnmesse, the first major LAN of Overwatch — hosted by ESL — reaches it final stages. After a month of online qualifiers, changing rules and metas, the surviving four North American and four European teams meet at the hallowed time of GamesCom. But this Showdown of the Atlantic is merely the background to the first crossing of two teams whose mission is dominance: EnVyUs and Misfits.
Although the organization is based in North America and was one of the first Overwatch teams to move into a gaming house, five of EnVyUs’ players began their Overwatch careers in Europe as IDDQD. Across eight weekly tournaments (one of them on NA servers), IDDQD established itself as one of the most powerful European teams with nine first place finishes. It attended two minor tournaments placing no worse than second at Game On Overwatch Arena. While Sebastian “chipshajen” Widlund, Dennis “INTERNETHULK” Hawelka, Jonathan “HarryHook” Tejedor, Christian “cocco” Jonsson, and Timo “Taimou” Kettunen remained together, the squad had difficulty finding another DPS player to satisfy the ranks.
The answer came in April, when the EnVyUs organization acquired the roster. EnVyUs had disbanded its previous roster a week earlier but brought on one of the former players, Ronnie “Talespin” DuPree, as the missing piece to the IDDQD team. The lineup debuted in June’s Alienware Monthly and lost only two games on its way to victory.
Soon after, the team moved into a gaming house in North America. The decision bolstered the practice habits of the team, as scheduling for scrims is remarkably easier when the team lives in the same building. IDDQD was already considered one of the best Overwatch teams, but the addition of Talespin and the move to America cemented that position. Focusing solely on major and minor tournaments, it disregarded weekly tournaments all together and laid eyes on every major and minor that came its way. It now possess a win streak of more than 50 games and enters GamesCom as the overwhelming favorite.
Calculated is the word that best describes EnVyUs’ play. The coordination between its members is unrivaled. The team waits patiently for each member to be in place to capitalize on every engage. Watching HarryHook open fights with Lucio’s speed boost as Talespin flies into the air on Pharah to use the boost for surprising horizontal movement, and prime positioning for Talespin to rain justice as his team distracts the enemy on the ground. Coco and INTERNETHULK throw themselves into the fray, while Taimou picks the enemy off and protects the supports. When the return of Zenyatta and McCree made the skies too dangerous for Pharah, Talespin kept his role as flanker with picks like Genji, while Taimou remained the frontline hitscanner with McCree and Reaper. This one-two punch divides the enemy into manageable skirmishes that EnVyUs handily wins. It took some time for the roster to fully synchronize, evidenced in harder times defending the payload, but those weaknesses were shored up through dedicated practice.
As EnVyUs went about conquering North America, a new European team debuted in Europe: Graviton Surge. Formed in May, it missed the opportunity to play IDDQD and joined the fight with teams like Rogue and Reunited to fill the vacuum EnVyUs left in Europe.
After lackluster results in its first few weeklies, Graviton Surge hit a hot streak in the middle of June, taking first at various weeklies and qualifiers. The results were enough for Misfits to take on the roster, and under its banner the lineup of Nicholas “skipjack” Rosada, Jonathan “Kryw” Nobre, Andreas “Nevix” Karlsson, Terence “SoOn” Tarlier, and Sebastian “Zebbosai” Olsson brawled. It lost some fights, such as Acer Pro, where Reunited bested them in the third place decider, or GosuGamers Weeklies 15 and 16, but overall claimed first at a majority of the events.
Misfits is a scrappy bunch. Too often do its members use ultimates to start 4-v-6s in hopes of taking an as two of its members are respawning. It gets a few picks, or exhausts some enemy ultimates to create an opportunity in the next fight, but the drawback is that Misfits have longer push times on payload in closer sets. The members were well equipped in the time when hero stacking was allowed but suffered identity crises as they tried to find who was the best to play what hero when ESL’s hero stacking ended. Zebbosai and Nevix have habits of pushing too far into a fight and getting killed early, which snowballs into their team losing fights without the heals of their supports (of course, they lack the luxury of a bodyguard, unlike chipshajen and Harryhook). Where Misfits best shines is on King of the Hill, where the maps play into their blood thirsty hands. The chaos is perfect for their segmented engages, and they found a groove with Krwy’s Zarya enabling their playmaking.
While not as dominant as EnVyUs has been in NA, Misfits stands as the team that has defeated its rivals the most and was in the first wave of qualifiers to Europe. Now Misfits and EnVyus can meet in the group stage of the top eight, assuming both win their first best-of-three, and if they both reach the playoff bracket, they could fight again. How this will progress depends on how they play on the stage: they’ve only played online tournaments, so we’re unaware if any of the players have problems with nerves or stage fright until we see them. EnVyUs could choke. So could Misfits.
Misfits stand as the challenged leaders of Europe, the region EnVyUs left behind to conquer in North America. It is a Robin Hood story come to life: King Richard has returned home, where the Sheriff of Nottingham has just finished consolidating his power. Will Richard take his rightful place on the throne, or will the Sheriff complete his usurping?
EnVyUs and Misfits will determine that.