THE UK will be fighting for the top prize when the Overwatch World Cup reaches its climax at Blizzcon in November.
They secured a spot at the finals on Sunday when Germany took out third-placed Italy 4-1 after a strong opening two days of competition in Paris before seeing their hopes of going through as a top seed dashed when they were swept by France.
Team UK started hot before seeing their charge halted by an improving France[/caption]
Team UK’s Boombox’s experience at the first Overwatch League finals will be invaluable against the USA at the World Cup finals[/caption]
The British team, looking to return to a second-straight Overwatch World Cup finals, were favourites to go through top after a 3-1 trouncing of Germany before sweeping Poland and The Netherlands 4-0.
But the locals had other ideas, beating Team UK 4-0 to claim top spot and an opening match at the finals against Canada — leaving Team UK with an uphill battle against Team USA to make the semifinals.
“I came into the event expecting to qualify,” Team UK coach Elliot Hayes said after the loss. “My only goal was to beat France, so I think that’s the main reason I’m so disappointed. I think England and France have had a big rivalry for many years now, so that’s also why I wanted the victory.”
Hayes, also a coach for Overwatch League first season runners-up the Philadelphia Fusion, was bullish about his team’s chances, though.
Team France steamrollered the UK at the end of day three to secure top seeding[/caption]
Home advantage played a factor, with a raucous French crowd cheering their team on[/caption]
What is Overwatch?
Overwatch is a team-based first-person shooter developed by Blizzard Entertainment.
Unlike many other shooters, characters in Overwatch have one of three roles: damage-dealers, support, or tanking.
Damage-dealers do the traditional job of trying to outgun the opposing team’s members. Tanks are there to draw fire and soak up damage while protecting objectives or their team-mates, while support characters can heal other players, boost their damage output, or protect them.
The Overwatch League is one of the flagship eSports competitions, with millions of pounds in prize money up for grabs.
12 teams competed in the inaugural season: New York Excelsior, Los Angeles Valiant, Boston Uprising, Los Angeles Gladiators, London Spitfire, Philadelphia Fusion, Houston Outlaws, Seoul Dynasty, San Francisco Shock, Dallas Fuel, Florida Mayhem and the Shanghai Dragons.
More are lined up for next year, with Atlanta, Paris and Guangxao confirmed and several more to follow.
All the players are full-time professionals, and all the teams are currently physically based around Blizzard’s Arena in Los Angeles, though there are plans afoot to move them to their respective cities with their own arenas in the next couple of years.
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“I think the fact we’re going to be playing against the USA is really fun, because last year we were desperate to play the USA and we didn’t get to play them,” he said. “This year will be like redemption.”
France coach Julien “Daemon” Ducros, who is part of the coaching team for the LA Valiant team dumped out of the Overwatch League playoffs by London Spitfire, said “I wasn’t sure if we could win the match, but in the end, we won pretty convincingly.”
The finals take place at Blizzcon in Anaheim, on November 2 and 3.