The penultimate match of the Thailand Group Stage showed us just how important every map is in Overwatch. On the line for Australia was a trip to BlizzCon as the second seed of their group. Win a map and they’re in, get swept and their tournament dreams would be over. China did not have as much on the line as their spot in the top two was locked up, but if they lost, they would lose the hold they had over the top seed.
Map 1: Nepal
The match opened on the Sanctum stage of Nepal where the Australian dive composition met the quasi-bunker composition of China. The Aussie’s allowed China to capture the point first as they attempted to find a pick from Huseyin “Hus” Sahin’s Widowmaker or Felix “Ckm” Murray’s Pharah. Eventually, due to an over-extension by Ma “Lateyoung” Tianbin on D.Va, Australia was able to aggressively dive the Chinese backline and snowball the fight from there. However, it would not be long until China flipped back the point following a kill on Hus by a Junkrat RIP-Tire and they would not relinquish control for the rest of the map.
On Village, China initially came out in the GOATS composition, but were easily countered by the spam damage of Australia’s Junkrat and Pharah. Due to their needing to switch compositions, China was put at an ultimate disadvantage for the majority of the map and were never able to mount a strong attack, leading to Australia tying up Nepal.
The winner of the map would be decided on Shrine where, once again, Australia rolled out with a dive composition centered around Hus on Sombra and Ckm on Pharah. Initially, the Aussie side looked to be in good shape to capture the point first. However, Huang “leave” Xin on McCree put a stop to all their momentum. In short, leave popped off on the pistol slinging hero and never gave Australia a chance to get in the game. China won Shrine 100-0 and took Nepal.
Map 2: King’s Row
In their attacking phase of King’s Row, China chose to come out in an interesting triple tank composition with D.Va, Winston and Wrecking Ball. Their ultra-mobile tanks, however, were repeatedly bursted down by the Orisa/Junkrat duo of Australia, leading to three straight fruitless Chinese attacks. However, following a swap to Pharah by leave, China was able to break through and unlock the cart. The streets phase was a cakewalk for China as Lateyoung and Xu “guxue” Qiulin outclassed their Australian tank counterparts, Leyton “Punk” Gilchrist and Ashley “Trill” Powell. The third point was going well too, until China seemingly forgot about the cart in the midst of a frenzied team fight, which allowed the overtime wick to burn down, preventing them from completing the map.
Australia elected to run a heavily timing based dive composition for their first point attack. With Hus on Sombra and Ckm on Genji, it was imperative that the team engage together in order to quickly burst down targets. However, for the majority of their attack their timing looked slightly off and lead to them not being able to close out kills and let China stick around too long in fights. Eventually, after acquiring a large ultimate advantage, Australia brute forced their way through the Chinese defense to unlock the cart. They would not be able to carry that momentum for long into the streets phase though. This time, it was Zheng “Shy” Yangjie on McCree that was able to shut down Australia, punishing them whenever they attempted to dive the backline. Australia would not be able to capture the second point and went into halftime down two maps to none with their tournament lives in the balance.
Map 3: Temple of Anubis
Australia initially looked as if they would be full-held in their attack of the first point. China elected to play an aggressive, diving defense that constantly kept the Aussies on the back foot. Fortunately for Australia, with a minute left and an ultimate advantage from an eco-push, they were able to grind out a fight that gave them the point. China still aggressively defended the second point, but because of their significant respawn advantage, any mistakes of theirs could not be punished too harshly. Australia, meanwhile, were constantly stymied in their attacks and could not take the second point.
To defend against China, Australia ran the same composition as their first point defense of King’s Row, but found decidedly more success. China looked out of sorts for the majority of their attack, committing costly mistakes such as diving too deep or being picked off by Hus’ Widowmaker before a fight would even start. Australia was able to full-hold the Chinese side, securing their spot at BlizzCon, but now the top seed in the group was also up for grabs.
Map 4: Rialto
The story of the first point attack on Rialto for Australia was Hus on Sombra. Ckm’s Pharah was constantly being harassed by Cai “Krystal” Shilong on Widowmaker, until Hus assassinated her which opened things up considerably for the Aussies. The second point was much tougher sledding for Australia as their dive composition struggled to find angles of engagement against the Reinhardt and Zarya of China. However, a triple kill by Punk and his D.Va bomb gave Australia the opening they needed to take the point. Unfortunately, they would not get much farther as leave once again showed up in a big way on McCree and halted the Aussie advance.
China chose to go with a much slower pushing composition than Australia on their attack, playing around the duo of guxue and lateyoung who were on Reinhardy and Zarya, respectively. Eventually, they were able to build up a Graviton Surge that helped in securing a team kill against the Aussie side and secure the first point. Things were looking good on the second point as well as they came within three meters of capturing it, but, as it turned out, they would get no further. After Australia stabilized through the use of their tank and Pharah ultimates, Hus took over on Widowmaker and stomped out any hope China had of extending the map.
Map 5: Lijiang Tower
For as back and forth as the rest of the series was, Lijiang Tower was anything but that. The Night Market phase of the map was the Krystal show with him on McCree as he carried them to a quick 99-0 lead. Australia would finally grind out a scrappy fight in overtime to capture the point, but their victory was short lived. China came right back the next team fight and brutally flipped the point back to their side, easily winning Night Market.
Control Center was not as big of a stomp for China, but they also never seemed to be in danger of losing the map. Just as they struggled with on King’s Row, Australia was never able to quickly burst down the targets of their dives, which was only exasperated by the fact that China was on the notoriously stubborn GOATS composition. The extended team fights the two sides found themselves in for majority of the map, heavily benefited the Chinese side due to their greater healing resources and brawl capabilities. As one would expect, China took this map in dominant fashion, giving them the match by a score of 3-2.
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