Oct 6 2016 - 6:53 pm

NRG Esports, Seagull shine in first cross-Pacific Overwatch bout

For the first time in Overwatch history, a team from Asia and the West clashed in a live tournament, setting the stage for the next few months of competition
Samuel Lingle
Dot Esports

For the first time in Overwatch history, a team from Asia and the West clashed in a live tournament, setting the stage for the next few months of competition.

The APAC Premier, a 10 day, $200,000 event in China hosted by Banana Culture, kicked off this morning with their first group of action, pitting American squad NRG Esports against some of China and Japan’s best teams.

The event features two teams invited from the West, NRG and Atlantic Showdown champs Rogue, as well as two teams invited from each of Korea and Japan, and six teams who survived open qualifiers in China. It’s the first time Western teams have faced Asian squads in a live tournament, without a ping difference as vast as the ocean that separates the regions.

Most analysts feel that the European and American teams are on a higher level than their Asian counterparts in large part due to their superior shooter mechanics, trained through years of play in popular shooter titles like Team Fortress 2 and Battlefield that did not have the same competitive following in Asia. And at least for today, NRG Esports proved those experts right.

The team didn’t drop a map as they topped a group which included Vici Gaming, the Chinese team that ranked second in the China qualifier for the APAC Premier.

Fans at THE HUB Performance Center in Shanghai were treated to a superb performance from NRG team captain Brandon “Seagull” Larned, the most popular player in Overwatch thanks to his informative stream. He's perhaps a bigger star in China than in even his home nation.

Larned gave fans what they wanted in NRG’s opening game when he picked Hanzo into Vici Gaming’s Hollywood defense and pulled off the play of the game in the streets phase, jumping from the roof to flank a Vici team caught in a Graviton Surge and knocking down two headshots before landing his Dragonstrike and doming Reaper in the face. Larned would later pull off big plays on Genji, Bastion, and Mei through the group as NRG took down Vici Gaming, Snake eSports, and Vici Gaming in order to advance in the top spot.

The American side lost a round on King of the Hill to Vici Gaming, but they stormed back to secure the next three. NRG never seemed hard-pressed throughout the day, opting to utilize entirely standard triple tank team compositions or the relatively safe Hanzo and Zarya combo to secure safe, if not dominant, wins, keeping their cards close to their vest ahead of the playoff round next week.

The European team will debut on Asian soil Saturday morning against Lunatic-Hai and will then face one of China’s top squads, either SKG, who won the APAC China qualifier, or Invictus Gaming Fire, one of the country’s most popular teams. NRG will next compete in the playoffs starting Thurs. Oct. 14.

Jan 20 2017 - 4:08 pm

Kungarna, Immortals advance to Overwatch Winter Premiere finals

Team Liquid and Renegades will not move on.
Nicole Carpenter
Dot Esports
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Andrej "babybay" Francisty hides just out of view while the rest of Kungarna baits compLexity Gaming into position in the second floor corridor inside the Dorado ziggurat. Babybaby, on pink-haired tank hero Zarya, peeks out from the side and unleashes graviton surge just as Michael "mykL" Padilla launches his D.Va self destruct bomb from the first floor, right into the mess of compLexity players upstairs. And that's the majority of compLexity just melted by the massive bomb combo.

With four compLexity players down, Kungarna is able to cruise right to the finish.

As one of the only two unsigned teams heading into Next Generation Esports' Overwatch Winter Premiere, Kungarna took many opponents by surprise. Some questioned whether they'd be able to get out of the first phase of group stages. But it's going to be hard to overlook Kungarna after their incredible run in the round of six. The team fell only to Team Liquid on day one and Immortals on day two, going undefeated on day three.

Heading into the finals, which begin Jan. 27 at PAX South in San Antonio, Texas, Kungarna doesn't have to worry about Team Liquid. Along with Renegades, Team Liquid will not move on to the LAN finals for the Overwatch Winter Premiere. Instead, Kungarna will take on Immortals, compLexity Gaming, and Luminosity Gaming next week.

Renegades' early departure from the Overwatch Winter Premiere will likely shock fans, given the win streak the newly acquired team started the tournament with. But on day four of the round of eight, everything changed: They started losing and never stopped. Through the round of six, Renegades put up a fight, taking one round each match, but weren't able to take a full series. With the whole team moving to Detroit to live and play together, Renegades is surely hoping to regain their initial success.

The single elimination finals bracket begins Jan. 27 and will continue into Jan. 28. The tournament will be broadcast live on both the PAX Arena and NGE Overwatch Twitch channels.

Jan 19 2017 - 9:19 pm

Overwatch players honor friend with heartfelt send-off

The tribute was organized by a Philippines-based gaming collective.
Nicole Carpenter
Dot Esports
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Processing the death of a friend is never easy. But it can help to grieve where you spent time together—even if that happens to be the battlegrounds of Overwatch.

When the team at games website Too Much Gaming lost their beloved colleague Willem Den Toom, they took to Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch to express their pain. Using Toom's favorite Overwatch heroes—Pharah, Reinhardt, Symmetra, Zarya, and Lúcio—and Hanzo, the group of friends coordinated rocket launcher and fire strike sendoffs toward Overwatch map Eichenwalde's moon as a gun salute for their friend.

"Wherever you are, may the payload be always moving, the point always contested, no one trickles out, and may there always [be] a healer on your team," Toom's friends posted to YouTube. "We miss you, big guy. This Play of the Game is for you."

Toom suffered a heart attack and died at 35 on Jan. 16, Too Much Gaming editor Carlos Herdandez told Mic. "He was loved by many and his loss pretty much struck waves in various communities in the gaming community here in the Philippines," Hernandez said. "Overwatch was the one game that we play together regularly after a long day. It's one of his favorite games." Honoring Toom in Overwatch was an obvious choice for the group.

The video ends with each player sending off Hanzo's dragonstrike ultimate, unleashing a continuous stream of swirling dragons toward the moon.

H/t Mic