The Overwatch World Cup has dazzled in South Korea and the United States, with Thailand playing host to its next stage this week. China, Sweden, Australia, Spain, Denmark, and Thailand will defend their national pride and compete for two seeds at Blizzcon in November. Apart from national pride and the honor of competing at Blizzard’s grand event, lesser-known players are seeking the chance to sell themselves to a Western audience, in hopes of joining the Overwatch League.
In Incheon, it was Hong Kong’s Yip “Moowe” Chi-yeung and Japan’s Hisamoto “Dep” Yuma proving that they deserved a chance at the big stage and in Los Angeles, it was Brazil’s Renan “Alemao” Moreto and Austria’s Oliver “Eclipse” Nguyen receiving extra cheers from the crowd. Now, in Thailand, Ashley “Trill” Powell and Ubon “oPuTo” Dara are the ones looking to propel themselves forward and prove that the Pacific region has a few more diamonds lying around than just Scott “Custa” Kennedy and Ponghop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod.
The smasher of good ults
Trill is a name familiar to many fans of the Overwatch World Cup, as he represented Australia last year with the rest of Blank Esports. He didn’t just represent Australia proudly, but he and the rest of the team made it to Blizzcon and narrowly fell to eventual finalists Canada, 3-2 in the Round of 8. That was months before the Overwatch League began, but now it’s up and running, waiting for Season 2.
Trill is a journeyman and mainstay in the Pacific Overwatch region, having competed in the inaugural season of the now defunct Overwatch Pacific Championship in mid-2017. He debuted with Australian lineup Blank Esports, formerly known as JAM and Fusion Girls, and led them to a runner-up finish on the back of his excellent main tank play. Trill was known as “the smasher of good ults,” for his Reinhard Earthshatters, but his Winston and occasional flex Genji were what had him stand out among the others immediately.
Despite not ever winning a season of OPC or Overwatch Contenders, Trill still has two second place trophies and remains the last member of the original Blank lineup. Trill continues to weather the continued changes of Overwatch and more recently, dealt with ping issues playing in Pacific Contenders like the rest of his team. Blank sputtered out out of Contenders Season 2 playoffs with most of their players sitting around 200+ ping, but Trill’s class still showed in a frustrating situation.
After all that, Trill finally has another opportunity to perform in a LAN setting among some of the world’s best. He will represent his country and make his bid as an Overwatch League caliber player, if he can defeat the likes of Sweden and China. Trill’s iron will is going to be put to the test one more time before the Overwatch League comes up and he wouldn’t have it any other way. After years of consistent play in Pacific as one of its best tank players, he deserves that chance to shine, whether its leaping in as Winston or holding right click as Reinhardt for the boys.
The jack of all trades
oPuTo isn’t the first player that comes to everyone’s mind when it comes to Thailand — that’s Mickie — but he certainly deserves to be second. Like Mickie, oPuTo has been elected as a representative for Thailand’s Overwatch World Cup since the event first began in 2016 and performed each time. In addition to that, oPuTo has occupied three different Pacific teams: sWeedTime, Fireball, and MEGA Esports. Much like Trill, oPuTo is a mainstay of the Pacific region going back to the first season of the OPC. However, unlike Trill, he has very little to show for it apart from a few highlight clips.
oPuTo has never been part of a playoff team, but that hasn’t stopped him from shining among the best. Every time Fireball or MEGA showed up big OPC or Contenders matches, he was at the center of it. It didn’t matter if he was on Widowmaker, Genji, Brigitte, or Hanzo — he always found a way to stay relevant. The most recent season of Contenders pit oPuTo and MEGA against five Korean teams, leaving the team with an 0-5 record and a bid at relegation, but oPuTo still hanged with the big boys all the way through even if his team struggled.
As famous Thai player, Mickie, has stated numerous times, Thailand isn’t exactly a hotbed for Overwatch talent — Thailand is only participating in the Overwatch World Cup because of its status as a host country — but oPuTo himself has the passion and talent of a thousand suns. He has stuck in Pacific through thick and thin and this stage proves to be the greatest platform for his audition. China, Sweden, and Australia are likely beasts too large for Thailand to handle, but there’s no better situation for oPuTo to be that knight in shining armor that turns the tide of battle, in hopes of building rapport with the Overwatch League.
Thailand Group Stage
As far as nations at the World Cup go — Australia and Thailand are at different ends of the spectrum. Australia features talent that has consistently performed at the Contenders level, further bolstered by the Los Angeles Valiant’s Custa, one of the best supports in Overwatch League Season One. Meanwhile, Thailand’s players range from solid to wildly inconsistent, with the Dallas Fuel’s Mickie as the clear standout among his countrymen.
Trill’s Australia is one of the favorites to finish first in the event and oPuTo’s Thailand is probably the favorite to finish last, but both have a chance to make an impression for the real big picture: Overwatch League. Neither player is remarked as the immediate star on their respective teams, but with national pride and a bid at the Overwatch League on the line — they have to be.
Photo: (Yossy and Robert Paul, Blizzard Entertainment)