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Top 4 Storylines for MLG Vegas

Overwatch Wilson “scr1be” Xu

We’re back again with your top storylines for MLG Vegas. I know everyone is excited for the awesome day-after Twitter posts and photos, but I, for one, am super interested in the games going on in the Sin City. Here are my top 4 storylines for MLG Vegas

1. Is EnVyUs actually a North American Team?

For the first time in forever, NV will actually be participating in a North American tournament. The last time they competed was arguably for the Overwatch Open. With their title drought quenched after APEX, EnVyUs comes into Vegas with no other intentions than to add another title to their long list of accolades. My X-factor for this tournament is oddly enough not Mickie, but in fact, Taimou. Due to visa delays, Taimou will be arriving in Vegas the day of the tournament, which may not seem to be to an incredibly big issue, but a combination of travel fatigue and jetlag might cause him to be entering the arena duller than previously planned.

Bar none, EnVyUs will be the team to beat at MLG Vegas. Having left a streak of dominance before their tour abroad, the Boys in Blue will have the intimidation factor on their side, as their performances against Rogue and the best of Korea will strike fear into the hearts of other teams. However, North America is probably one of the most unexpected regions in terms of pocket picks, which may throw NV off guard. Losing is not an option here, but with the firepower the roster demonstrated abroad, winning will not be an obstacle either.

2. Map Pools

There’s been enough discussion of this, so this section will be short. Blizzard’s goal of instituting a preset map pool has been accomplished in both MLG Vegas and IEM Gyeonggi. While the controversy surrounding their treatment of player outrage is warranted, the map pool currently given may end up being an overall positive. Blizzard does not seem to be pausing on map production in the foreseeable future, meaning the map pool will continue to expand. At a certain points, map banning on an insanely large pool becomes unfeasible, which would probably lead to seasonal or rotational pools for competitive tournaments. If this format ends up being both entertaining for the viewers and tolerable for the players, Blizzard might be looking to refine the process for their league moving forward.

A lot of eyes will be on the production of the tournament overall. It might mean more than expected.

3. Best of the Rest

Yes. This article is EnVyUS bias. But the point still stands: who is the second best team in North America?

C9, Faze, and Fnatic have been trying to resolve this issue for the past few months, but none of them have seemed to discover the consistency needed. C9 puts forward the strongest argument by virtue of their recent results alone. Having claimed the majority of North America tournaments since the departure of the Europeans, Cloud9 comes across as an extremely promising roster with high caliber players at each role. Their ability to simply outskill their opposition will be put to the test, as they will need to make their way through the group stage with a target on their back. Luckily, they were placed in arguably the easier group, but they need to win out to determine anything.

Faze will be C9’s biggest obstacle on their road to the playoffs. Their strong performances have always been an indicator of their ability to challenge the top of North America, but our sample data might just be a little distorted. Their performance so far has little straddled the Atlantic Ocean, with ping fluctuations included. As yet another opportunity to play on LAN, Faze should be able to show off their true capabilities a little more. Nonetheless, FaZe will need to find a way to work the hyper carry, Shadowburn, back into the meta, as the Winter Premiere did show him on a myriad of heroes. A win would be substantial, but they will need to come to Vegas with only victory in mind.

Fnatic arguably might be stronger without IDDQD. The word “arguably” is used to address the obvious differences in terms of the meta. While iddqd might be one of the strongest DPS players in Overwatch currently, Fnatic has found ways to incorporate Coolmatt and Buds into more dynamic roles to adjust for the increase in hitscan priority. Hafficool has seemed to gel with the team, but it hasn’t yielded the desired results. Fnatic has struggled to capture the big one: a LAN victory. Even in their series in the Winter Premiere, they seemed to cruise through the group stage before falling out in second place during the second and fourth qualifiers (losing to two different teams). Fnatic will need to find their groove, as they match up with the best teams in North America.

4. Breakthrough

It’s tough to break through the wall. Teams will struggle for months to find their groove, or find their moment to shine. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen easily.

For the rest of the teams at MLG Vegas, this tournament might be one of the last chances to really make steps forward in the tier list. CompLexity and Team Liquid have been hovering around the tier one discussion for arguably the longest of any team not listed in the last two sections. Their ability to take important wins against the top competition makes them ferocious opponents in any context, but their inability to find their peak form consistently leaves them in a weird limbo. While compLexity has seemed to find a way to access their second and third gears more reliably, Team Liquid seems to have hit a wall in terms of progress. Their results are not promising in a continuously growing North American scene, which means another disappointing result here may cause drastic changes.

Rounding out the participants are Rise Nation and NRG. Rise Nation is an upcoming team with much promise behind their DPS duo of Spirit and Retzi. Despite their results in the North American scene, they have shown an ability to upset the top teams. Oddly enough, it is often their matches against teams of similar skill, which give them the most problems. Unfortunately, they have been placed in the hardest group with NV, Fnatic, and compLexity, but given their history, I would not be surprised to see them make it out second.

NRG, on the other hand, might be wondering where it has gone wrong. The team on the surface is a list of top TF2 talent, which has had great results in Overwatch, but hasn’t been able to rediscover the magic, which led them to top results in the past. While the symptoms look like the recent roster changes and positional changes haven’t taken root yet, the team is running out of excuses and time. This is their last opportunity to prove they still have the ability to compete with the best of North America.

Do you agree with what I have written down? What storylines are you looking out for? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!

Follow us on Twitter @GosuOverwatch for more competitive Overwatch news and coverage from around the world.

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Wilson “scr1be” Xu
<p>Enjoys watching Overwatch more than playing. Spends the majority of his free time theorycrafting and analyzing VODs. Huge fan of IPAs and Lagers and wishes Beer Sponsorships in eSports was a thing. If you want to help me achieve my goal of 7 twitter followers, follow me at @scr1beOW</p>

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