The Quarterfinals of yesterday’s World Cup matches were, to say the least, truly shocking. With two major upsets and three 3-0 finishes, it wasn’t the competition many people were expected. Today the fun continues with the Semifinals, Bronze Medal Match, and Gold Medal Match. We have you covered with continuing predictions that are hopefully more accurate than literally everyone’s predictions yesterday.
Team United Kingdom vs. Team South Korea
9:30am PST – Saturday, November 3rd
Prediction: South Korea 3 – UK 0
The United Kingdom pulled off arguably one of the biggest upsets in Overwatch esports history, taking down the United States 3-1 in the first round of the World Cup. The UK used a combination of smart plays, genius rotation, and individual skill to outplay the bonafide Western top dogs of this year’s matches. Fusions ran amok as Reinhardt, hitting massive shatters and even scoring a 15+ player kill streak on Route 66. Support player Boombox also shined, tearing through DPS as Zenyatta.
Team UK played out of their minds against Team USA and started off a string of underdog wins that day. However, their top skill ceiling may not be high enough to topple South Korea. While South Korea was taken aback by some wild plays by Team Australia (Custa’s Nano’d Torb?), in the end, they showed dominance as usual with a 3-0 sweep. Fleta and Carpe showed why they are one of the most terrifying DPS duos in Overwatch, bringing out nearly the entire roster of DPS heroes over three matches.
We’ve seen crazier things happen, though. What are the win conditions against South Korea for the UK? Unfortunately, many of the win conditions revolve around South Korea messing up. The largest hurdle for South Korea so far has been Finland at the Incheon Qualifiers. If the UK want to make any headway, they’ll have to be observant, and capitalize on changes within the normally perfect setups South Korea runs.
Team Canada vs. Team China
11:30am PST – Saturday, November 3rd
Prediction: China 3 – Canada 1
In another stunning upset in the first half of the Quarterfinals, Canada managed to pull off a 3-0 clean sweep against France. A combination of coordination and genius plays by Canada’s DPS and supports led to them outwitting France’s classic triple-triple compositions. In particular, Surefour’s Sombra snuck through backlines and finished entire team fights with a single EMP. His perfectly-timed EMP doubled with NotE’s D.Va bomb obliterated France on Busan. China’s impressive DPS and supports will have to deal with Surefour’s hacking abilities and, if not that, his McCree or Widowmaker.
Canada’s Agilities played a host of heroes against Team France, including Doomfist, which he used to repeatedly wipe out France’s backline and supports. However, China’s Leave also brought out his Doomfist on Hanamura, demolishing members of Team Finland with a single punch. Will we see a Doomfist battle at some point during these semifinals? Possibly, but it’s more likely that either of these incredibly skilled DPS players will swap within their deep hero pools.
It’s not all about the DPS. Team Canada’s Bani played at the top of his game against Team France, hitting repeated sleep darts as Ana and scoring nearly four final blows on Anubis defense. XQC, Canada’s main tank, also didn’t disappoint. However, he’ll have to go up against the monster that is Guxue. Guxue (and his offtank, Lateyoung) repeatedly ruined the dreams of Finland’s tank line. The major hurdle for Team Canada will be Team China’s star tank, and it may be insurmountable.
Team Canada had, to put it lightly, an absolutely stunning showing in the Quarterfinals. They were coordinated, smart, and well-prepared to deal with France. That said, I believe many analysts (and fans) have been sleeping on China’s skills. The excellence of Guxue combined with the large hero pools of Leave, Shy, and Krystal may be a counter for all of Canada’s coordination. The tank and DPS line of Team China repeatedly work together to create “unwinnable situations” for their enemy teams. While Team Canada is formidable, and will put up a fight, I believe Team China has it in the end.
BRONZE MEDAL MATCH
Team Canada vs. Team United Kingdom
1:30pm PST – Saturday, November 3rd
Prediction: Canada 3 – UK 0
The fight for bronze may not seem terribly important, but to these two teams, it will be a match all about bragging rights. Both Team UK and Team Canada will have plenty to brag about from the Quarterfinals: UK brought down USA, Canada took down France. Adding one more notch to their belt will just improve their Blizzcon experience.
Team UK showed prowess against a US team that was, quite honestly, not capitalizing on advantages and making questionable mistakes. Team Canada is not the sort to make those same mistakes, and will likely be able to outplay Team UK. British main tank Fusions’ aggressive style in the Quarterfinals helped win matches against US DPS, but it will be punished here by Agilities and Surefour, no matter what heroes they play. Team Canada will have likely seen the UK’s key support in Boombox and will target him heavily the entire match. Count on XQC and NotE to stun him, dive him, and go for the kill. While the UK is capable of putting up a fight, I believe the bronze medal is going to the Great North.
GOLD MEDAL MATCH
Team China vs. Team South Korea
3:45pm PST – Saturday, November 3rd
Prediction: China 4 – South Korea 3
This year’s gold medal match will pit reigning champions South Korea against the rising stars of the World Cup, Team China. China has shown considerable talent at every stage of the tournament, and may very well be able to pull one over on their opponents here. It won’t be an easy round. South Korea is so used to victory at this stage that they’ll pull out all the stops to bring home a trophy. But China has crushed everyone in their path, and South Korea may be next.
My reasoning behind this, strangely, begins and ends with South Korea’s match against Team Australia in the Quarterfinals. Their performance in that match both verifies their unwavering status as champions and creates a glowing target of weaknesses very few knew were there. That’s a key factor for China to consider when taking on this team; when South Korea is on point, they are unstoppable. But one crack in the gleaming exterior of perfection, and there is an opening for a win. If anyone can take advantage of those openings, it’s Team China.
Past Mistakes, Future Victories.
During that match, South Korea was occasionally thrown off their pedestal by strange plays from Team Australia. This forced them to flex onto different heroes, such as a Pharah to counter Custa’s Torb or a Mei to hold Anubis. While South Korea was able to do so because of their deep hero pools, this tactic by Australia wasted enormous amounts in South Korea’s time banks. Australia nearly eked out a win on Blizzard World by whittling down South Korea and capitalizing on their confusion. While Australia didn’t have the raw DPS potential to use these stalls to their advantage, China does.
China’s Leave showed in the Quarterfinal match that he is a forced to be reckoned with on any hero he plays. The same can be said for Guxue, main tank extraordinaire. Combined with the abilities of Lateyoung on offtank and similarly clutch DPS from Shy and Krystal, they may very well use Australia’s method of wild plays to their advantage. Carpe and Fleta will be able to play ball with them, but China will likely use another tactic from Australia’s game. Support (and often third DPS) Jjonak was so heavily targeted by Australia, he was often unable to make any clutch Zenyatta plays that change the tide for his team. China knows enough to cut him off from his team and watch the dominos fall.
Another factor to consider: earlier in the Quarterfinals, China took a clean sweep against Team Finland. Finland is, interestingly, the only team thus far in the World Cup to give South Korea any real trouble. During that game in Incheon, Finland capitalized on small mistakes from main tank Fate (overextending) and awkward positioning from supports to drag South Korea to a map 5 tiebreaker. China demolished Finland’s defenses in a way South Korea wasn’t able to, and may forecast their level of skill coming into the semifinals.
I can’t guarantee the outcome of this match; if anything, this World Cup has been a textbook example of analysts being very, very wrong. What I can guarantee is top-tier Overwatch. This will not be a stomp or an “ez clap”. China will force South Korea to fight in scrappy, one-to-one, trade-off battles if they have to. Down and out brawls and back and forth fights should be expected. This is one match that shouldn’t be missed.