The Overwatch World Cup is an opportunity not only for countries to put forth their best talent, but for players from less-heralded corners of the esports world to show their stuff and unveil themselves to the world. This was certainly accomplished in Incheon, as aspiring stars from Contenders raised their profiles after going up against the heavily favored South Koreans and Finns. With the ever-expanding reach of the Overwatch League, it’s not impossible to think fans could be watching a few of these players more frequently soon, bellowing their names after big plays and proudly wearing their jerseys.
Below are our top standouts from each country that didn’t make the BlizzCon cut—plus the unsung heroes from Korea and Finland, whose performances enabled their teammates to pop off.
Denis “Tonic” Rulev—Russia, main tank
Russia was at their best when unlocking the full power of their DPS duo, but main tank Tonic was right up there with them as one of the biggest reasons the Russians came oh so close to booking a ticket to BlizzCon. The only player not from the Overwatch League or Contenders team Winstrike, Tonic hails from Bazooka Puppies, and it was obvious why he made the roster after witnessing his aggressive play on Winston and Reinhardt (and even Orisa, as shown below), which created plenty of space for his DPS to thrive.
Yuma “Dep” Hashimoto—Japan, DPS
Japan’s returning players showed why they nearly made the Top 8 at last year’s Overwatch World Cup, but it was a new face—17-year-old Dep—who dazzled audiences over three match days in Incheon. Dep, a Widowmaker specialist who also isn’t afraid of any opponent, only started playing professionally earlier this year, bouncing around before landing with CYCLOPS in July for Contenders Pacific Season 2. As he gains more experience and expands his hero pool, he should only improve, and the raw skill he demonstrated should have fans around the world paying attention.
Chi-Yeung “Moowe” Yip—Hong Kong, DPS
Hong Kong may have ended their Overwatch World Cup experience without a single map win, but it wasn’t for lack of individual skill. “Spectate Moowe!” became a common refrain on Twitch chat, and for good reason—no one wanted to take their eyes off his Widowmaker plays. Moowe earned that love after briefly out-dueling Carpe—yes, that Carpe—in their match against South Korea. His résumé is impressive for an 18-year-old; when he’s not clicking heads at the Overwatch World Cup, he actually serves as a coach for his Contenders team, Hong Kong Attitude.
Chao-Hua “ATing” Chen—Chinese Taipei, main tank
Chinese Taipei’s hopes at the Overwatch World Cup may have been tempered due to their fairly inexperienced roster, but there were still standouts, including DPS duo Keng-Yu “ShaiuLin” Lin and Erh-Fu “BLUE” Kao. But no one was more consistent than main tank ATing, whose Reinhardt play has been unchained in the current meta. The Hong Kong Attitude mainstay was a bright spot for his team, leading the way with his shield and landing big shatters for his teammates to capitalize on.
Jonas “Shaz” Souvaara—Finland, support
Six of seven players on Finland’s roster are in the Overwatch League, so there’s no surprise about their skill level, individually or collectively. However, good support play deserves to be celebrated, and Shaz was one of the best in Incheon. While his Zenyatta wasn’t always collecting multi-kills, his clutch Transcendence usage enabled Finland to stay in team fights and scrap their way to victory many times, including this smart positioning to save his Hanzo from a grisly end:
Tae-Hong “Meko” Kim—South Korea, flex tank
Some of the loudest cheers of the weekend were reserved for Jae-Hyeok “Carpe” Lee, who was picked by the Korean players as their unofficial MVP after some insane displays of Widowmaker skill. However, there’s enough room in our hearts to appreciate Meko’s consistently excellent D.Va play. His contributions ranged from multi-kill Self-Destructs to Defense Matrix protection to tenacious pursuit plays like the one below: T
The Overwatch World Cup resumes on Friday, September 7, when Blizzard Arena hosts the Los Angeles Group Stage for Austria, Brazil, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, and the USA.