‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
What I want to talk about is the context of when these finals are being played. We are in the formative stages of Overwatch. There are very few LAN events, and teams, players and orgs are waiting for more Overwatch League details. China has gone ahead and made its own leagues, and Taiwan is building an esports arena as far as I know. Because of that, it feels like we are in the preseason — the prologue before the first chapter of Overwatch starts. Because of that, the only tournament I’ve followed has been APEX.
APEX strongly reminds me of the first three GSL Open Seasons in StarCraft 2. They were also in a preseason of SC2 before the first chapter started. They set the tone for the potential of what you could see in the game and set up the first stars of the game. So far we’ve only seen two seasons of APEX, but they give me a very similar feeling to those tournaments (admittedly the production levels are way higher in Overwatch and I didn’t need to download a Gom player).
EnVyUs won the first season of APEX. It was very much a miracle run, as it required three things to happen. First, Blizzard had to run the Overwatch World Cup, and there Mickie showed himself to be a strong player. Second, Talespin had to quit the team midway, forcing EnVyUs to scramble for a sixth player. They eventually settled on Mickie. Finally, the meta had to shift to make D.Va a much more important hero. These three things combined and EnVyUs was able to get a miracle victory in the first season of APEX.
Do you remember a man named Fruitdealer?
Fruitdealer’s run was one of the most improbable because of how bad it was to be Zerg back then. Roaches had less range, the maps were smaller and all-ins were aplenty. He had quit pro Brood War and started to sell fruit. Once SC2 came out, he gave it one last chance and was able to win the tournament with shocking games. Blizzard was so shocked that an artist gave him personalized fanart. Hot Bid made a video commemorating his victory.
There are differences, though. Both EnVyUs and Fruitdealer fell off, but EnVyUs fell off because of shifts in the patch. Fruitdealer fell off because of his own laziness and fall into alcoholism.
One of the teams in the finals of APEX season 2 is Lunatic-Hai. Funnily enough, they weren’t favored to get far in Season 2 of APEX as they were breaking their team identity trying to carry the corpses we now know as dean and LEETAEJUN. Just like EnVyUs, a roster change helped them get this far. Their reasons for the roster change are some of the most absurd I’ve ever read as Lunatic-Hai fangirls instigated it with some drama that forced both of them to retire. As a team, Lunatic-Hai is the uncrowned king of the scene. They have been considered perhaps the best team during the entire preseason of Overwatch. Despite that, they have lost every premier tournament final they have played. They lost APAC to Rogue, IEM Gyeonggi to LW Red and now they face off against Runaway in APEX.
Do you remember a man named MarineKing?
MarineKing was one the first super popular Korean Terran player in SC2. He immediately grabbed attention for his incredible micro, innovating marine splits against banelings and being incredibly emotive in both victory and defeat. He also became known for constantly losing in finals despite being favored in many of them that didn’t involve Mvp. In terms of play style, MarineKing and Lunatic-Hai have some parallels as both play a super aggressive style. MKP loved to attack, and Lunatic-Hai loves to dive.
The other team in the finals of APEX Season 2 is Runaway, the cinderella story of the season that has pulled unlikely victory after unlikely victory. Their leader is Runner, who was a failed pro gamer and had planned to not participate. His team believed in him and he was brought in and is now in the finals of APEX at the age of 30.
Do you remember a man named Nestea?
Nestea was a failed pro gamer. At the age of 30, his family and friends told him his time was done. Hell, he even thought his time was done. But he saw his friend Fruitdealer win the first GSL and thought he could do it too. When he made his run in the GSL Open Season 2, he won off of his intelligence and superior game understanding. After winning against MKP, Nestea went on to become the best Zerg in the early era of SC2.
Overwatch is still in it’s formative stages, but APEX is creating a foundation upon which the entire game will be built.