Overwatch’s first major international tournament was held over the weekend in Cologne, Germany. Hosted at Gamescom, Europe’s largest games trade show, the ESL Overwatch Atlanta Showdown saw competition from eight pro teams. With a prize pool of $100,000 in the balance, professional players busted out their best Tracers and most bad ass Genjis and fought for glory.
The finals came after a slew of qualifying matches that featured over 200 teams from North America and Europe. The final line was split down the middle with four European teams and four North American. Rogue, Creation eSports, Misfits, and ReUnited all coasted through the European qualifying brackets while EnVyUs, Cloud9, Fnatic, and compLexity Gaming represented North America. Absent was NRG eSports, whose roster features the popular Overwatch streamer Brandon “Seagull” Larned.
EnVyUs was heavily favored heading into the tournament, having a solid foothold in North America. However, the tournament turned out to be an absolute showcase for the European teams. ReUnited gained earlier momentum with a powerful showing against compLexity Gaming while Cloud9 fell to Rogue. They were later knocked out of the tournament by compLexity Gaming in an elimination round. In the end, it came down to Rogue and ReUnited in a stunning final match.
The tournament itself is a large step forwards for Overwatch’s competitive scene. The game doesn’t post the same numbers as ESL’s popular Counter Strike: Global Offensive matches but the sheer visibility of the Atlantic Showdown combined with absolute top notch play, highlighting Overwatch’s unique team dynamics and metagame full of hero picks and map selections made strong argument for the game’s vitality as an eSport.
The final match between Rogue and ReUnited stressed certain differences between European and North American play. Map selections featured plenty of payload maps but also featured a higher number of pure control point matches. Exciting DPS play showed a particularly methodical and brutal intensity. Rogue’s Dylan “aKm” Bigne is the best McCrees I’ve ever seen and ReUnited’s Finley “Kyb” Adisi is a terrifying Genji.
In a nail-biting final round on King’s Row, Rogue was hard pressed to answer ReUnited but managed to push down to the objective with less than a minute left on the clock, taking the match and the tournament. They brought home a grand prize of $40,000 dollars and will go down in the game’s history as the first international tournament winners. Cheers, loves! You earned it!