Overwatch League All-Stars Recap

Posted by Amna September 1, 2018 in Reviews

After the intense, serious matches from the Overwatch League Playoffs, the League decided they needed a break. And so, the All-Star Weekend was formed, with the best players from both the Atlantic and Pacific Divisions meeting up and playing a bunch of custom games followed by a traditional 6v6 showmatch the next day. It was quite the weekend full of fun games, breathtaking plays, and the pros just messing around. Now I’m here to tell you about all of it.

The Rosters

The teams for the All-Star games were formed based on their team’s region, the Atlantic Division, and the Pacific Division. Each team had a starting roster of six players voted on by the community, and then twelve reserve players chosen by the coaching staff of the division.

The Atlantic team consisted of Jjonak, Saebyeolbe, Pine, and Ark from the New York Excelsior, Carpe from the Philadelphia Fusion, and Gesture from the London Spitfire as the starting players. Chosen as reserve players were Meko, Libero, and Mano from the New York Excelsior,  Muma from the Houston Outlaws, Sayaplayer from the Florida Mayhem, Poko from the Philadelphia Fusion, Neko, Gamsu, and STRIKER from the Boston Uprising, and Bdosin, Fury, and Profit from the London Spitfire. Originally, birdring was chosen to play, but due to an injury, birdring removed himself from the roster and Profit took his place.

The Pacific Team’s starting players were ryujehong and FLETA from the Seoul Dynasty, Custa and Kariv from the Los Angeles Valiant, Geguri from the Shanghai Dragons, and Fissure, formerly from the Los Angeles Gladiators, but recently transferred to the Seoul Dynasty. The reserve players were Agilities, Soon, Fate, and Space from the Los Angeles Valiant, BigGoose, Bischu, and Surefour from the Los Angeles Gladiators, Architect and sleepy from the San Francisco Shock, OGE and Mickie from the Dallas Fuel, and ZUNBA from the Seoul Dynasty. Seagull, formerly of the Dallas Fuel, was originally voted into the starting lineup, but due to his retirement from the Overwatch League, Kariv was chosen to replace him.

The first day of the All-Star Weekend consisted of custom games played by the All-Stars, along with a Talent Takedown, where the casters, analysts, and other members of the Overwatch League hype crew formed teams and faced off.

All-Star Custom Games

The first custom game played was the Lúcioball Showdown. The Pacific and Atlantic teams formed teams of three to compete in a best of three Lúcioball matches. The team that won two matches of Lúcioball would win the Showdown. Meko, Ark, and Poko represented the Atlantic team, and Fate, Fissure, and Geguri played for the Pacific team. Interestingly, out of the six, only one Lúcio player was chosen.

All the matches were played on the Busan Stadium map. Fissure started the action in the first game, sending the ball in the goal as the goalie jumped too high to block. Poko reciprocated about a minute later, tying up the score. Fate then sent the ball over the heads of two goalies to score a point, and Poko again scored to tie it up. Poko scored again with about a minute left in the game with the help of his ultimate, and the Pacific team was unable to score after that, so the Atlantic team won the first map.

The next round, it took a lot longer for the first point to be scored. Fissure knocked the ball in after about two minutes of gameplay. Fissure scored the second point of the game not long after as well. Meko scored the first point for his team, with assistance from Poko, putting the Atlantic team on the board, but it wasn’t enough. The Pacific team won, and we went to round three.

The third and final round began with Ark hitting the ball in mid-air, starting a back-and-forth for the rest of the round. Poko scored the next goal, shooting it just above Fate’s head. Fissure scored the next point, and then the point after that, tying up the round. Fissure scored again to put the Pacific team in the lead, but Ark scored within the last minute of the game. With the score tied when time ran out, overtime began, but immediately Poko scored, winning the round and the match for the Atlantic team.

The next game played was Mystery Heroes, a 6v6 game mode using standard Quickplay rules, except that every player would spawn as a random hero at the start, and after every death, they would respawn as a different, random hero. For this specific game, all the maps played were control maps. The Atlantic team consisted of Muma, Mano, Libero, Gesture, Fury, and Bdosin, and the Pacific team was made up of Custa, ryujehong, Kariv, ZUNBA, Bischu, and Space.

The first map was Nepal. The Pacific team won the first point, Sanctum, in part due to some really great plays from Space’s Genji and Custa’s Junkrat. Space’s Dragonblade killed Gesture’s Soldier and almost killed Mano’s Winston, who was finished off by ZUNBA’s Moira. Custa proceeded to kill Fury’s Reinhardt, and de-mech Libero. As the round neared overtime, Custa’s riptire killed Fury’s Pharah and Gesture’s Reinhardt, while Space killed Muma’s Pharah mid-barrage. Those kills, combined with the cleanup from the rest of the Pacific team, won them the round. The second point was Village, which Atlantic won pretty handily. Gesture went battle-Mercy during a fight for the point, killing both Gesture’s Zenyatta and Space’s Symmetra, and escaped alive. And at the end of the round, although Kariv’s Sombra started overtime, the Atlantic team’s brutal spawncamp prevented anybody else from reaching the point. The final map we was the remaining Shrine. Space was able to show off his Widowmaker skills, killing both Gesture’s D.Va and Libero’s Tracer in order to take the point from the Atlantic team, and later sniped Gesture’s Reaper while mid-air. Custa also defended the point with his Bastion, one-shotting Gesture’s Torbjörn with Configuration: Tank, and then shot Fury’s Pharah out of the sky. The Pacific team secured the point and the map win.

The second map was Ilios. The first point was Lighthouse, which the Atlantic team secured 100 to 0. Bdosin showed off his Doomfist skills, Rocket Punching Custa’s Moira, then jumping through a window to Rocket Punch Space’s Mercy. And if that wasn’t enough, he jumped through the same window again to kill ryujehong’s Mercy mid-rez. Mano also impressed the crowd for widely different reasons, because although he built up and used two Dragonblades, he killed no one with them. The second point was Ruins. Despite some impressive early picks from Fury’s Zenyatta, the Pacific team and their two McCrees, Custa and ZUNBA were able to overwhelm them and start progress on the objective. The next fight, however, the Atlantic team steamrolled the Pacific team, took back the point, and won the map.

The third map was Lijiang Tower, starting on the Control Center point. ryujehong showed off his skills on Tracer, first one-clipping Muma’s Widowmaker, and then going on to kill Gesture’s Zenyatta, Bdosin’s Moira, Fury’s Mei, and Libero’s Lúcio only to fall to Mano’s Symmetra. Luckily though, ZUNBA was playing Mercy and resurrected ryujehong. Unfortunately for the Pacific team, Bdosin respawned onto Doomfist again, and he went to work, killing ryujehong and Bischu, and the Reinhardts of Gesture and Libero charge-killed Custa’s Moira and ZUNBA’s Mercy, respectively. The Pacific team was unable to retake the point, so the Atlantic team won the round. The next round, Gardens, saw the Atlantic team take the point first, and a great combo of EMP and Blizzard wiped out the Pacific team, with Libero finishing off most of the kills. With Bdosin’s Wrecking Ball knocking Kariv’s Lúcio and ZUNBA’s Winston, the Atlantic team cleaned up and won the point, the map, and the match.

The next mode played was 6v6 Lockout Elimination, in which two teams of six players faced each other with the goal of eliminating the entire enemy team. After a round, the winning team would have the heroes they used “locked” and wouldn’t be able to choose them again for the rest of the map. The maps were all best of five rounds, and the match was a best of three maps. The Atlantic team had Saebyeolbe, Profit, Gamsu, Poko, Ark, and Jjonak play. The players on the Pacific team were sleepy, Agilities, Kariv, BigGoose, Mickie, and OGE.

The first map played was Oasis University. Although Profit, Gamsu, and Poko were eliminated, the rest of the Atlantic team picked off the Pacific team one by one until a very low-health D.Va played by Kariv was left. Ark, playing Lúcio, was nanoboosted, and he punched Kariv to death. The second round was won by the Pacific team, having only lost sleepy in the fray. The Pacific team also won the third round, this time losing Kariv and Agilities before killing the Atlantic team. In the fourth round, despite Profit’s Genji killing both Kariv and Mickie at the start, the Pacific team was able to turn it around with OGE using Whole Hog on Profit, were able to win the map.

The second map was Necropolis. In the first round, things started going the Atlantic team’s way when Jjonak on Zenyatta killed BigGoose with a headshot, but he was promptly hooked in and killed by Mickie, who then used Whole Hog to kill Saebyeolbe and Ark. Poko followed not long after, giving the round to the Pacific team. The Atlantic team won the second round by capturing the tiebreaker point, but with a 4v2 advantage, it was likely to go the Atlantic team’s way anyway. The Pacific team won the next round, steadily picking the enemy team off one by one. The fourth round was won by the Atlantic team, tying up the score and going to one last round. The final round, though it started pretty even with close kills on each side, went to the Atlantic team, securing them the map.

The third and final map was Castillo. The Atlantic team won the first round, with Sabeyolbe’s Soldier:76 taking out the lower-health heroes and Profit’s Reaper melting the tanks. In the second round, Saebyeolbe attempted to imitate Bdosin by playing Doomfist, but was sent flying across the map with a swing of Reinhardt’s hammer, courtesy of sleepy. Gamsu also fell by sleepy’s hands, and slowly one after the other, the Atlantic team fell and the Pacific team won the round. In the third round, Agilities dominated the skies as Pharah, taking out Jjonak’s Ana, Profit’s Zarya, and Poko’s D.Va to win the round for his team. The fourth round went the Atlantic team’s way, facilitated by a huge Resurrect from Ark and a Rocket Barrage from Profit. In the final round, Agilities, this time on Roadhog, ripped through Jjonak and Poko’s mech, and the rest of the Pacific team picked off the stragglers, and Mickie captured the tiebreaker point to win the match for the Pacific team.

The last custom game took place in two parts. For this portion, it would be a Widowmaker 1v1, where only scoped headshots would register as valid damage. Body shots would do nothing. Venom Mines would also do no damage, and would only serve as an alert so they could easily determine where their enemy was.

Eight players, four from the Atlantic team and four from the Pacific, played in the tournament. All of the first-round games were played on Castillo. The single elimination bracket began with Carpe facing Sayaplayer, Pine facing STRIKER, Architect facing Soon, and FLETA facing Surefour. All of the first round games were close. Carpe defeated Sayaplayer 7 to 6, STRIKER won 7 to 6, Soon moved on with a 7 to 5 score, and Surefour gained 7 points to FLETA’s 5. Highlights from the first round include STRIKER and Pine flailing their mouses around to try and dodge each other’s shots in a weird sort of dance, and Surefour landing the final shot onto FLETA mid-fall off the map.

The semifinals were between the two Atlantic players and the two Pacific players. The map used was Necropolis, much more open and distant than the previous map. Carpe easily won his match against STRIKER with a score of 7 to 3, and Surefour won his match with what might have been the fastest round in the whole tournament, landing a killing shot on Soon immediately after Athena said “Fight!” Soon, of course, went down swinging, earning 6 points to Surefour’s 7.

The finals were an intense matchup between Surefour and Carpe, both widely considered great Widowmaker players. For this round, the winner would be decided by who won 9 points first. This time, the map was Ecopoint: Antarctica. The finals, though without as many flashy plays as the first two rounds, was filled with beautiful clean shots, close rounds, and sharp reflexes and flicks from both Surefour and Carpe. Ultimately, Surefour took down his opponent, winning 9 to 6, and won the entire Widowmaker 1v1 tournament.

Talent Takedown

The Overwatch League is filled with many more people besides the players. There are, of course, those at the desk, analysts and hosts, hype men, casters, and interviewers. And for the first time, they were going onto the Overwatch League stage to play and prove to the world who was the best of the Overwatch League talent.

The talent was divided into Pacific and Atlantic teams using a drafting process. The members have skill across the board, with some of them in gold, all the way to Reinforce, who was a former professional and is on the roster for Team Sweden. On the Pacific Team was Reinforce, Crumbz, Soe, Semmler, MonteCristo, Puckett, and Hexagrams. On the Atlantic Team was Malik, Sideshow, Goldenboy, Mr X, DoA, Uber, and Bren. The two teams faced each other in a best of three match for bragging rights and glory. To take over the duties of the now-missing casters and analysts, Agilities and Mickie moved to the desk, and Bischu and Custa took over the casting of the game, making the entire experience a complete role-swap. Before the match, a video was shared showing the two teams trash talking each other, which you can watch for yourself.

 And then, the games began. With seven members on each team, there was one person sitting out for each map. For the first map, King’s Row, Malik sat out, taking a spot at the desk, and Semmler joined Custa and Bischu to assist in their casting. The Atlantic team started their attack first, able to push the payload to the end, by combining Earthshatter and Dragonblade to wipe out the entire Pacific team at the third checkpoint. The Atlantic team then promptly stood from their chairs to yell taunts at their opponents.

It was the Pacific team’s turn to attack, and Puckett brought his pocket pick in the Doomfist. Reinforce on Sombra went out to scout what the Atlantic team was doing on the defense as the rest of the team sat in spawn. As they waited, an observer reported MonteCristo for sandbagging, or purposefully not playing at his best. Although their first teamfight ended in failure, the Pacific team came back and Doomfist, along with Reinforce on Wrecking Ball, forcibly removed the Atlantic team from the point. The final fight, at the end of the map, was more drawn out, but in the end, Reinforce dropped a Minefield on top of the payload, instantly killing the Mercy in Valkyrie and the Junkrat, followed up with a boop from Soe’s Lúcio to knock the remaining players away, and the payload reached the end, starting extra rounds. Similarly to their opponents, the Pacific team then stood and shouted taunts to the Atlantic team.

Atlantic’s second attack was next, with 1:37 left in the timebank. They took the first point on their first try, with Mr X killing three using Widowmaker body shots. About halfway through the streets, time ran out, starting the Overtime push. Although they wiped out the Pacific team again, with Uber killing Hex’s Brigitte and then Soe’s Mercy mid-rez, the Pacific team came back and a Graviton Surge from Puckett ended the push from the Atlantic team.

The Pacific team had 3:44 in their timebank, more than double the time the Atlantic team had. And on their attack, they took the first point with ease and started to the end. Although MonteCristo was shattered immediately after knocking down most of the Atlantic team, the rest of the Pacific team was on their feet and able to kill the stunned players and started pushing again. The Atlantic team was greeted by a Minefield, Self-Destruct, and Sound Barrier from the Pacific Division when they returned to contest. Unsurprisingly, the Pacific team destroyed them and won the first map. More taunting immediately ensued.

The second map, Watchpoint: Gibraltar, had Malik swap in for Goldenboy, and Semmler come in for Puckett. The Pacific team began their attack first, Reinforce on Widowmaker killed both the Mercy and the Ana, which led to the team wiping out the Atlantic team on the first fight and pushing the payload to the first checkpoint with little contestion. The Atlantic team was able to stop the Pacific team temporarily towards the third checkpoint, but ultimately the Pacific team prevailed and earned all three points.

During the Atlantic team’s attack, Reinforce chose to play defensive Torbjorn for the first point, marking the first time a Swede had played the Swede this season. Ultimately, the Pacific team pushed on into the hangar. Semmler stopped their progress, killing two with a Self-Destruct, but the Atlantic team responded with a Graviton Surge combined with a Dragonstrike to kill four players, and moving on past the second checkpoint. Close to the third checkpoint, Reinforce, now Hanzo, used his own Dragonstrike as well as normal arrows to kill three, and the rest of the team cleaned up, ending the map and the series with the Pacific team as the winners. The MVP was named as Soe for her support work, and the teams went off to cast and analyze the rest of the custom games, and maybe brag a little as well.

Official All-Star Match

The All-Star Game proper took place on Sunday. It was a best of five between the Pacific and Atlantic teams using the normal competitive ruleset, as opposed to the varying rules in the games of the day before. The match began with both teams using their starting roster, but over the course of the match, every player on the roster, starting and reserve, had to play at least one map. This led to varying compositions and synergies throughout the game.

The first map was King’s Row, with the starting roster playing first. The Atlantic team tried to be aggressive on their defense, but the Pacific team, especially Fissure on Wrecking Ball and Geguri displacing and finishing off the overextended defenders. In the streets phase, Kariv let loose with a Nanoboosted Dragonblade to kill Saebyeolbe and Jjonak, and when Saebyeolbe returned and attempted to use his own Dragonblade, Kariv shut him down with a dash kill. After wiping the Atlantic team a few more times, the Pacific team rolled into the third checkpoint, ending the round. On the Pacific team’s defense, ryujehong started by playing the Doomfist, and ended up killing four of the Atlantic team members to shut down an attack attempt. The Atlantic team later got the payload moving, and a Nanoboosted Deadeye from Saebyeolbe helped clear the streets, as well as a clean headshot kill after onto Geguri’s D.Va. Saebyeolbe cleared the Pacific team again, killing four players with normal shots, no abilities used. The Pacific team was able to stabilize as the Team Kill bell rang, and that is where the attackers were stopped, with a Nanoboosted Dragonblade from FLETA killing Pine’s Zarya, then turning and killing the Nanoboosted Saebyeolbe before he could fire off his Deadeye, winning the Pacific team the map.

For the second map, Rialto, Fate, Agilities, Soon, and Space were subbed in for Fissure, Geguri, Fleta, and ryujehong on the Pacific side. On the Atlantic side, the entire team was subbed out and replaced by Profit, Sayaplayer, Mano, Fury, Libero, and Bdosin . Agilities swung the favor to his team by killing Bdosin on Zenyatta and Profit’s Pharah as his team cleaned up the tanks, starting the push. The Atlantic team returned, but ultimately Space, using Graviton Surge, got himself a triple kill, winning the fight. Profit pulled the next huge play, using a Nanoboosted Dragonblade to kill four of the player on the Pacific side. Fury’s Graviton Surge was up next, paired with a Pulse Bomb from Sayaplayer to kill four instantly, the remaining two soon to follow. Ultimately, the Pacific team were stopped outside the third checkpoint, and it was the Atlantic team’s turn to attack. It started with the attackers practically cruising towards the second checkpoint. A Graviton Surge from Space helped to keep the Atlantic team at bay, but a Graviton Surge from Fury the next fight secured the point and the attackers began their way to the final point. Although there was more fighting between the two points, ultimately, the Pacific team failed to contest the payload and it reached the end, winning the map for the Atlantic team.

The teams visited Horizon Lunar Colony third. STRIKER, Saebyoelbe, Pine, and Carpe were subbed in on the Atlantic team for Sayaplayer, Mano, Fury, and Bdosin. On the Pacific side, OGE, Bischu, Surefour, sleepy and Mickie replaced the entire previous team. With the Pacific team attacking first, they were able to claim the first point on the first attack, promptly moving to the second. OGE, on Tracer, was Nanoboosted and killed both Carpe’s Zenyatta and Surefour’s Ana, removing the healing from the Atlantic team. Although there was some delay, the point was eventually taken that fight. It was the Atlantic team’s attack next. They took the first point, although after several tries, and moved onto second. Pine on Doomfist was Nanoboosted, and although he didn’t do very much with the boost, afterwards he promptly killed three of the defenders as they exited spawn, easily securing the point for his team.

The extra rounds were to begin, and with about two extra minutes in their timebank, the Pacific team had an advantage. Profit on Hanzo shot down BigGoose’s Reinhardt and Bischu’s McCree to help secure the first point. The second point was taken quickly after, with Tactical Visor used and Profit’s Hanzo and Carpe’s Widowmaker working to great effect. The Pacific team’s second attack was slower and more methodical, but ultimately they overwhelmed Libero’s Bastion and took out the rest of the Atlantic squad to take the point and move on to the next. Despite the Pacific team’s best efforts, the Atlantic team managed to hold the second point, a Minefield combined with a Blizzard prevented any capture process in the last attempt, winning them the map, and putting them in the lead.

The fourth map was Ilios, starting on the Ruins. Both rosters were entirely changed, with the Atlantic team swapped out for Gesture, Fury, Meko, Mano, Muma, and Poko. Fissure, Geguri, ryujehong, ZUNBA, Architect, and FLETA took over playing for the Pacific team. The Atlantic team captured the control point first, holding firm control over it. At the end of the round, a Nanoboosted Dragonblade was cancelled out by a clutch Sound Barrier from Meko, and Mano killed both Fissure and ZUNBA as Ana, followed by another kill onto Geguri. The Pacific team couldn’t turn the tide around and the Atlantic team took ruins 100 to 0. In the next round, Well, the Pacific team took first control, but key hooks from Muma led to a teamfight win and the Atlantic team taking the point back. To the crowd’s delight, the next fight Fury on Torbjörn was Nanoboosted, using Molten Core, and beat Geguri to death with his hammer. The Pacific team took the point back in overtime, leaving the Atlantic team at 99 capture percent. The Atlantic team eventually recaptured the point when the Pacific team reached 99 capture percent, ultimately winning 100-99, and winning the map and securing the win for the match.

The match’s result was decided, but there was still one last map to be played. The map was Route 66, and as with all the previous matches, roster swaps were had. On the Atlantic team, Sayaplayer, Ark, Jjonak, Bdosin, Gamsu, and STRIKER played, and on the Pacific team, OGE, Mickie, Surefour, Bischu, Space, and Soon took over. With some good picks from STRIKER’S Zenyatta, the Atlantic team pushed back the Pacific team’s initial attack, and later a Nanoboosted Dragonblade from Jjonak cleaned up the Pacific team again. In overtime, the Pacific team finally was able to take out the defenders and move the payload to the checkpoint, earning more time and progress. Mickie showed off his skills on Widowmaker, taking out Ark’s Pharah in close range, and then sniping Jjonak. Despite these picks, and both STRIKER and Sayaplayer, playing supports, dying to a Nanoboosted Bischu, Jjonak killed Space’s Mercy and Surefour’s Symmetra with his Dragonblade, buying time and shifting the fight’s favor to the Atlantic team, and the Atlantic team maintained this advantage in the final fight as well, stopping the Pacific team just short of the third checkpoint. Sayaplayer’s Roadhog was able to hook and destroy Mickie’s Bastion to secure the first checkpoint, and as they neared the second Jjonak on Ana killed Mickie, now on Reaper, Soon’s Ana, and Surefour’s Symmetra, winning his team that fight. As the payload approached the end, the Atlantic team steadily cleaned up the members of the Pacific team one by one, pushing the payload to the checkpoint, and winning yet another map, making their final match score 4 to 1.

Also during the All-Star Game, the first Dennis Hawelka Award was given. Dennis Hawelka, better known as INTERNETHULK was one of the first major players in the community, and was Overwatch’s first player-coach, a person who started as a professional in an esport, then becoming a coach later in their career. After he passed away, Blizzard announced the award, which was to go to “the player we deem to have had the most positive impact on the community.” This award is to be given out at the end of every Overwatch League season. The first recipient of the Dennis Hawelka Award was Mickie from the Dallas Fuel, and who was INTERNETHULK’S former teammate on EnvyUs.

The All-Star Weekend was great, with an atmosphere of enjoyment and fun from the pros, and lighthearted messing around from the talent, it shows off the side we don’t really see in the Overwatch League proper. Most of all, watching these incredible plays from the talented professionals within this league leaves me excited to watch the matches in the upcoming Overwatch World Cup, and the Overwatch League seasons to come.