Team UK is coming into the Paris Qualifier as one of the favorites, besides France. After the London Spitfire took it home in the Overwatch League, can Team UK do the same for the World Cup? To give a better overview of the team, here is some history on previous World Cups and their roster for this year.
Back in 2016, the first Overwatch World Cup was completely different and had three online qualifiers. Teams from North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific would battle against each other, and Europe had a total of 30 different countries that were trying to come out on top in this qualifier – only six teams would make it to the Group Stage.
Fans were able to vote for their favorites, mostly well known players or streamers, at the time. Stylosa, numlocked, OneAmgstMany and ekuls were coming out on top. Kruise and Realzx were added by the appointed team captain, Stylosa. Unfortunately, they could not qualify for the Group Stages, as they ended in a disappointing 13th-18th place; not surprising with only one win.
A lot changed for the 2017 World Cup, and fans could vote their region’s three representatives this year. Not surprisingly, Kruise, Stylosa and numlocked gained the most votes; they’re probably the first three people you would associate with the UK. Their roster looked promising with MikeyA, Kruise, Smex, ChrisTFer, Boombox and RealzX.
In the Santa Monica Qualifier, the UK was in Group B with Germany, Israel and Belgium, and they were able to win all of their three games with a respectable 4-0. Being in the first place of their group, they had to play against the second place of Group A in the Semifinals, Taiwan, which the UK defeated 3-1. The team qualified for BlizzCon along with Team USA.
In the first game, Round of 16, they played against Chinese Taipei and pulled off another win with 3-0. In the Quarterfinals they had to face a very strong Team Sweden; the UK had no answers and was swept away by their enemy. With a 0-3 loss, the tournament ended for the team in a still respectable 5-8th place.
In this year’s World Cup, things have changed once again. The three region representatives have been split into the roles of General Manager (appointed by Blizzard), Coach (selected by UK’s Top 150 players) and Community Lead (voted by all players living in the UK). In the end, Tom “Stylosa” Stewart was appointed General Manager, Elliot “Hayes” Hayes was chosen as Coach, and Philip “ChipSa” Graham as voted as Community Lead.
For a quick overview, Stylosa has been around since the beginning and is mostly known as a Content Creator in the scene. Hayes has formerly coached the team eUnited (winning Contenders EU Season 0), and is now working as an Assistant Coach for Philadelphia Fusion. ChipSa is currently one of the biggest streamers in the UK and became known through his Doomfist play.
The UK, therefore, has great talent behind the scenes and they picked the best possible team:
Kyb – DPS (Contenders EU: British Hurricane)
The first time for Kyb, playing for the UK, even though he has been involved in the scene since the early days. He is possibly one of the best DPS players the UK has to offer with a large hero pool. Kyb has won Contenders Europe Season 1 with British Hurricane and could also win the Overwatch PIT Championship Europe Season 2 with his previous team Those Guys.
Mostly known for his Genji, he can also play Pharah, Tracer, Junkrat, Sombra and Roadhog. In the past he also played Reaper, D.Va and Zarya. He’s a well rounded Flex player that has definitely proven himself.
MikeyA – DPS (Contenders EU: British Hurricane)
A wise decision by the committee to transfer already existing synergy over to the team, as Kyb and MikeyA are both playing for British Hurricane. Before joining BH to fill the void Kragie left, he played for Mayhem Academy and was previously also a stand-in for Cloud 9 and FaZe Clan.
His hero pool concentrates mostly on Hitscan; he plays Tracer, Soldier, McCree and Widowmaker, but can also switch to Pharah if needed. It might not be well-known, but he played a lot of TF2, and by playing roaming Soldier his skills transferred well into playing Tracer.
KSP – DPS (Contenders EU: Young and Beautiful)
Another Hitscan player who is well known for his Widowmaker, but can also flex to Junkrat, Tracer, Hanzo and Zarya. Overall these three DPS players give the team a lot of possible compositions to work with.
KSP has managed to bring his previous team Bazooka Puppiez to the 4th place in Contenders Trials Europe Season 2, resulting in their advance to Contenders Europe Season 2. During Contenders he moved to Young and Beautiful, where his team made it to the Playoffs, but unfortunately lost to Team Gigantti.
Smex – Flex (Contenders NA: NRG Esports)
Smex is the Off-Tank for Team UK, usually playing D.Va, Zarya and Roadhog. He showed a great synergy with his partner and main tank Swon for his Contenders team NRG Esports. With them, he managed a 3th-4th place in the North America Season 2, as well as the first place in Overwatch PIT Championship North America Season 3 and a second place in BEAT Invitational Season 4.
He has a lot of great achievements and a lot of experience when it comes to Overwatch and tournaments and is said to have great communication within his teams. Definitely a player to look out for.
ChrisTFer – Tank (previously Contenders EU: 6nakes)
Looking for a seasoned Reinhardt and Winston player? Look no further. ChistTFer has been around since the beta days and played in a lot of different teams. In a former team, Singularity, he played together with Smex (as the previous World Cup), so a lot speaks for this tank duo.
With his previous team, 6nakes, they managed to grab the first place in Contenders Trials EU Season 2 (ending Contenders in a 5th-8th place) and a second place in Overwatch PIT Championship EU Season 3.
Kruise – Support (Contenders NA: Toronto Esports)
The only player that has participated in all three World Cups so far. While he played in the DPS role in the last year, he made the transition back to the Support role in December 2017. For Toronto Esports he played mostly Lucio, Mercy or Ana and has a great shotcalling ability.
With Toronto Esports he managed to take the second place in Overwatch Contenders North America Season 2, after helping his previous team Orgless & Hungry to take Overwatch Contenders Trials EU Season 1, ending in the first place.
Boombox – Support (OWL: Philadelphia Fusion)
Everyone who has been watching Overwatch League should know Boombox. He’s a Zenyatta master, who managed to fend off top-level Tracers and Pharahs who tried to take him out. Boombox also plays a good Moira or Ana and is a very flexible player in general.
With his current team, the Philadelphia Fusion, he had a great season and the team managed to finish in an impressive second place in the Grand Finals against the London Spitfire.
WE HAVE OUR 7 LIONS
And just to reiterate
— Team UK Overwatch (@7LionsOW) July 6, 2018
With seasoned and experienced players and a lot of achievements all around, this roster looks great on paper. As the team is very similar to last year’s squad, with the addition of shotcalling from Kruise now on DPS and synergy between the players, we can expect a lot from them.
Even though I am German, I lived in the UK for over 3 years and therefore this team is definitely my favorite one with great players. Depending on who they face in the Playoffs at BlizzCon, they might have a hard time against the teams from South Korea and the USA. If they do beat France they could easily secure the number one spot in their group and should be able to go even further. They might surprise us all and will bring it home!
The team is playing at the following times:
Friday, 21st September
United Kingdom vs. Germany – 11:45am CEST, 02:45am PDT and 05:45am EDT
United Kingdom vs. Poland – 05:00pm CEST, 08:00am PDT and 11:00am EDT
Saturday, 22nd September
Netherlands vs. United Kingdom – 07:00pm CEST, 10:00am PDT and 13:00pm EDT
Sunday, 23rd September
Italy vs. United Kingdom – 03:30pm CEST, 06:30am PDT and 09:35am EDT
France vs. United Kingdom – 07:00pm CEST, 10:00am PDT and 13:00pm EDT