Day two of the group stage gave fans one of, if not the most electrifying Overwatch World Cup match of all time. In a true back-and-forth affair, Finland showed that they will be no pushovers going into the Top 8 and solidified themselves as a top contender. South Korea, despite pulling out the win, are now on much shakier ground with several of their key weaknesses having been exposed.
Initially, the match looked like the Koreans would take care of business as usual. Finland stubbornly ran the goats composition despite playing on Lijiang Tower, which is notoriously a Pharah friendly map. South Korea took advantage of this fact by putting Libero on the flying rocket-queen and swept the map easily by constantly pummeling uncontested damage onto Finland.
Predictably, Finland chose to go to goats-friendly King’s Row next. They were better able to leverage the composition’s strengths on the tight London streets and came within five meters of completing the map.
South Korea chose to forgo a brawl-centric strategy on their attacking run, instead opting for a traditional dive setup, but with an Ana instead of Zenyatta. This approach lead to them eviscerating the Finnish side on the first point, but the Koreans were stalled heavily during the streets phase. Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin’s Brigitte was able to effectively soften the South Korean aggression and make dives on the backline much more costly. The fact that South Korea refused to switch off of their dive comp shows not just their confidence in it, but also their lack of confidence in running tank-heavy lineups, even on map sections that favor it. The Koreans would eventually capture the second point in overtime, but they would not be able to close out the win due to a well-timed self-destruct by Joonas “Zappis” Alakurtti that allowed Finland to tie the series.
On Temple of Anubis, South Korea again showed why their dive setups are some of the best in the world by taking the first point in one fight and then snowballing to an easy capture of point two with a massive time bank.
Finland, on the other hand, looked completely lost during their attacking round. They repeatedly dived into an unwavering bunker composition, anchored by Pan-Seung “Fate” Koo’s Orisa and Hae-Seong “Libero” Kim’s Junkrat. Before the Finns could even get close to the Korean backline, their health bars would be chunked down and then promptly finished off by Jae-Hyeok “Carpe” Lee on Widowmaker. In the end, Finland were fully held off of the first point and South Korea sent a message to the rest of the tournament’s teams that Temple of Anubis is their map.
Up next in the series was Rialto, which should have played to South Korea’s strengths due to the map’s vertical build and bevy of flanking options. Finland initially started their attack round running goats, but they were stymied by Fate’s Wrecking Ball, who was able to swing circles around the Finnish composition. To counter, Timo “Taimou” Kettunen swapped to Sombra, which essentially nullified the Wrecking Ball’s impact and allowed the Finns to easily take the first point. Throughout the rest of the map, South Korea was unable to find an answer to stop Finland’s Sombra and conceded the remaining two points with relatively little resistance.
The Koreans came out with a similar three-tank composition to attack and the Finns answered in kind. The two beefy lineups brawled from the start of the round to the end, but Finland had the last laugh, preventing South Korea from completing the map and once again tying the series. In the final two team fights, Joona “Fragi” Laine made several spectacular plays on Reinhardt, landing improbable pins on the Korean frontline that ultimately sealed their fate.
The two teams next went to Nepal, where the winner of the series would ultimately be crowned. Just as the entire series was, this map was also incredibly back and forth, with the point seemingly flipping every other fight. Finland once again relied on tank-heavy compositions to have a strong point presence, while South Korea again opted for nimbler compositions that allowed them multiple angles of attack. The Finns took the first point of the map through scrappy play, refusing to give up a single capture percentage without a fight. However, South Korea battled back to tie the game on the next map, largely due to Libero’s Pharah that consistently found ways to avoid avoid Finland’s triple tank aggression.
The third, and deciding, point of the map was simply electrifying. Libero continued to impress by attacking from unique angles with Pharah and also picking up key kills with Tracer during the later stages of the map. However, it was Finland who held control of the point when both teams had accrued 99% capture progress, and it looked like they would pull off the upset. Unfortunately, Fate had something to say about that. After Carpe gave up his life to force overtime and the rest of his team continued to stall the point while he ran back from spawn, Fate popped off on Winston. He secured critical kills on Fragi, Taimou and LiNkzr, which left the Finnish team in shambles and wondering what could have been.
Although Finland did lose the match 3-2, they left no doubt in anyone’s minds that they are to be considered a top contender in this tournament. Their tank-heavy lineups are something to be feared and couldn’t even be matched by South Korea, who are suddenly looking much more vulnerable than anyone thought. Going into the Top 8, Finland now looks like a team that nobody will want to play while South Korea’s path to a third consecutive OWWC championship now appears much less certain.