With the start of the Apex league, Overwatch fans around the globe are privileged to be exposed to the legendary production of OGN. But, as with the birth of any new esport, we are being rapidly exposed to new talent, and sometimes it may be difficult to judge them.
In the Apex league, we have 12 Korean teams and four western teams. As Overwatch fans are already familiar with the western team lineups and players, they will not be covered in this series. Instead, as the 12 Korean teams debut, I will be discussing the standout players to keep an eye on as the season develops.
Looking for Consistency: Recry
In this meta especially, it’s easy to make one of your DPS players look like a star. Ana, Lucio and Zarya can throw their support onto one player, increasing their damage, speed and the number of hits they can take before they fall. These buffs are often given to the team’s Genji or Reaper player, as they synergize with the heroes ultimate ability, enabling easy and consistent teamfight clean up.
This scenario often means that teams have one DPS player who appears to be a disproportionately strong playmaker. The other possible outcome of putting all your buff eggs into one basket is that your other DPS player often gets left out to dry. For the Korean team Afreeca Blue, both of these are the case for their DPS player Recry.
On Afreeca the DPS player Arhan is the one who receives almost all of the support. As the Genji player, he is the beneficiary of most Nano Boosts and is put into position to succeed. But despite the lack of love, Recry manages to occasionally have a large impact on the game.
Recry’s most notable performance was against Rogue while he was using Eichenwalde during his team’s offense. His Hanzo and McCree play turned him into a one man army. He found long-range picks and protected his backline by winning duels against the opposing Genji and Winston. He used the space Arhan created for him to work, while also creating space for his backline.
This was all done without focused attention from Dayfly, his Ana player. Rarely receiving the Nano Boost, Recry still found himself multi kills in teamfights, albeit through the more mundane means of repeated headshots. Because of this, Recry can actually become the primary carry force for Afreeca when he is in form.
While Arhan does consistently find kills, it is with the support of his team. Recry showed he was capable of carrying without that necessary support. So when all of Afreeca’s eggs are put into Arhan and Recry is also stepping up, they become a nearly unstoppable team. We saw this in action when they crushed through Rogue’s defenses on Eichenwalde.
However, Recry can also cost his team. After his incredible Eichenwalde carry performance, he instantly turned around on Temple of Anubis and had almost no impact on the match. His lack of consistency was frustrating to watch, and it showed his weakness. That lack of consistency sometimes leaves the responsibility of dealing damage to Arhan alone.
As of now, whether Recry is swinging high or low is a determining factor to whether or not Afreeca can win. Because of that, it will be important to see what sort of form Recry is in when this team plays.
Like a Metronome: Tobi
For the final player in this series, it’s about time I highlighted a Lucio player. A staple hero in nearly every composition, each team has its designated Lucio one-trick. His auras and ultimate mean he is never a bad pickup, as he’s capable of supporting his entire team simultaneously. Despite how important Lucio players are to their teams, I’ve never felt like highlighting one for a fairly simple reason: The mechanics behind playing Lucio are too simple.
Even if you are a Lucio player, be honest with yourself. Lucio is not mechanically difficult to play. Toggling auras is a button press, his ultimate doesn’t need to be aimed, even his boop is easy as it targets all enemies in front of him. The separation between a good and great Lucio player is the player’s timing. A good Lucio knows when it is best to speed boost, when to Sound Barrier in order to block the most damage and even knows the timing on his projectile type weapon to maximize his damage.
So far in Apex there have been plenty of good Lucio performances. There have been dozens of well-timed Sound Barriers that saved teams from being wiped by an AOE combination. But no Lucio player has been as consistent in their timing or as important to their team’s playstyle as Tobi of Lunatic Hai.
One of my favorite lines I’ve heard an Overwatch caster say was from the APAC Premier, when Uber called Tobi an assassin on Lucio. It was right after he picked up a double kill to clean up a skirmish, and that statement fits. Tobi builds his Sound Barrier charge much quicker than most, due in part to the damage he outputs. Depending on his range, he adjusts his timing on when to fire and he isn’t afraid to be up close and personal.
Tobi isn’t afraid to charge with his frontline as opposed to staying back with his hitscan players. This is another reason he builds so much ultimate charge. After the Amp it Up speed is over its clear, he switches to healing and rapidly builds ultimate charge as he keeps his allies alive. This, combined with his Sound Barrier timing, is why Tobi is so critical to the playstyle of Lunatic Hai.
Lunatic Hai is an aggressive team, and it’s unique how close they play to their foes. The best example is Esca, their DPS player. As the primary McCree player, you expect Esca to have a tendency to hang back, firing from afar like other star McCree players like Taimou or E1kino. However, Esca often finds himself in melee range of the enemy tanks and in extremely vulnerable situations. This is where Tobi steps in.
Tobi’s timing on Sound Barrier is a key factor in allowing his teammates to be so aggressive. Yes, Miro’s Winston creates ample space for Lunatic Hai to operate, and Ryujehong’s Ana is a carry force to be afraid of, but Tobi enables their playstyles. By building his ultimate incredibly quickly and then timing it to block the most damage possible or shield his allies as they engage, Tobi allows his team to be so aggressive.
That aggression is a hallmark of Lunatic Hai’s play and would not be nearly as successful without Tobi’s ability. I’d be hesitant to call him the best Lucio in the world, but he is certainly an integral part of Lunatic Hai. Because of his game impact and skill, Tobi is the final player I’m telling you to keep your eye on.
Who else stood out to you as a star to watch? Comment below or tweet your answer to us @GAMURScom.
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