Tier Ranking The Overwatch Pacific Championship: Week 7

Image Courtesy of: Blizzard eStadium Taiwan

For the first time the rankings have a new team in the top spot, with the once unbeatable Blank replaced as the top dogs after their recent struggles. As the second half of the regular season is underway, victories are now more crucial than ever. Claiming the number one seed will fast track a team to the grand final, with only three spots available in the playoffs. Week seven features a noticeable match-up between the top Taiwanese teams, AHQ Esports and Flash Wolves, as well as a bout between Blank Esports and Flash Wolves.

Fighting for Hegemony

1 . AHQ Esports 13W-2L:

AHQ have earned the number one spot with their impressive winning streak, remaining undefeated since falling to Blank Esports in week two. The Taiwanese team’s crushing of Blank last week was its most impressive performance yet, sweeping the struggling Aussies 3–0. AHQ took Lijiang Tower off Blank to start the game, despite control maps remaining as Blank’s last bastion of strength against top teams. After this the game was a no-contest, as AHQ full held Blank on Numbani and Hanamura.

AHQ have thrived playing triple Tank lineups, their most used being a Roadhog, Dva and Reinhardt alongside a Soldier 76. This composition appears to be the teams most practiced, as Tank players LazyTitan and EricEn have thrived in recent games on Dva and Reinhardt respectively, while c0wman had game changing plays of his own on Roadhog.

This week play opens with a noticeable match-up between the two Taiwanese giants AHQ and Flash Wolves. With victories in contests between the top three becoming increasingly important for the battle to claim the first seed, expect a hard-fought battle between the two resurgent teams.

2. Flash Wolves 11W-3L:

Flash Wolves handled their week six match-ups with ease, sweeping both Hong Kong Attitude and SunSister 3–0. The Wolves experimented with their lineups against the relatively weaker competition, as Zonda practiced his Genji play. The team even brought out a defensive Orisa on King’s Row against SunSister, while S1nkler dabbled with Sombra.

While the Wolves’ week six games may have not posed the greatest challenge for the team, they are currently riding the momentum of a five game win-streak after their earlier struggles in week four.

Flash Wolves bout against rivals AHQ will be the greatest measurement of how far they have bounced back since then, as the best triple Tank team in the tournament in AHQ faces off against the best 2/2/2 team in Flash Wolves. Flash Wolves will also play Blank this Saturday in another challenging match for the Taiwanese team.

3. Blank Esports 12W:3L:

It is now clear that Blank’s struggles did not reside in a single week of bad play. The team dropped their important match against AHQ 3–0, looking thoroughly outclassed on Numbani and Hanamura as they failed to capture the first objective two maps in a row.

As their triple DPS has failed to win them matches, utilizing 2/2/2 lineups has become difficult for the struggling Aussies. For the majority of their match against AHQ, Blank ran Trill on Dva and Kiki on Winston. This was puzzling to many, as Kiki was previously known as a Dva player, whilst Trill was the team’s main tank playing Winston and Reinhardt. The problem in moving Trill back to the main tank role lies in the inevitable circumstance in which the team will call on him to flex over to a DPS hero or off-tank. As Kiki is weak outside of off-tank roles, Trill is required to move to heroes such as Genji in Triple DPS lineups, sacrificing his ultimate charge on Winston.

Unfortunately sticking to a 2/2/2 lineup isn’t a valid solution for the team in its current state. Aetar hasn’t looked as competent on Soldier 76 as other DPS players in the tournament, such as Zonda and DizZy. As teams have run more dual hitscan DPS lineups, running Aetar on Genji along ieatuups’ Tracer does not appear to a valid solution either. The team brought out Trill’s Reinhardt in the dying minutes of their game against AHQ and perhaps could look to utilize the hero more in the coming weeks of play.

Blank will want to adjust their lineups quickly, after falling to second place on the standings. Anything but a first seeded finish in the regular season will be a failure for the Aussies, previously consider to be the favorites to take home the tournament’s $100,000 USD first place prize. Matches against HKA and FireBall will provide Blank with an opportunity to test out new changes as they attempt to rectify the problems that have cost them games in the last few weeks. The team’s fixture against Flash Wolves on Saturday will challenge the struggling Aussies and any new adjustments they may have made.

Underdogs

4. Machi Esports 8W-7L:

Image Courtesy of: Blizzard eStadium Taiwan

Machi’s week six games were as easy as predicted, as the team only lost one map in their two matches against FireBall. Machi have secured fourth place in both my and rankings and the official standings, finally earning a +.500 win percentage. However, it seems more and more likely that the team will be unable to take the third seed, as a significant gap exists between Machi and Flash Wolves who currently hold a 11W-3L record.

Machi will most likely drop their match to Flash Wolves, in a relatively easy contest for the third seeded Wolves. Matches against the two lowly Japanese teams will provide Machi with an easy opportunity to bounce back after this difficult match-up.

5. Hong Kong Attitude 7W-7L:

HKA came out of a challenging week six with the expected two losses, winning only one map between their matches against AHQ and Flash Wolves. HKA no longer look like they are in a position to seriously challenge the top seeds for a playoff spot. This is by no means a disaster for the team, who did not enter the competition as favorites. The competent DPS play of K4 has been an encouraging sign, as he has looked comfortable in the carry role on Soldier 76.

HKA’s best chance in winning a match against the top three lies in their fixture against Blank this week. If HKA can take advantage of the Aussie’s recent struggles, they may be able to steal a win. However, this remains an outside chance as HKA are now firmly a middle of the pack team in the tournament.

Close to the Bottom:

6. FireBall 5W-10L:

FireBall’s struggles continued this week, losing consecutive matches to Machi,the only non-Japanese team they have beaten in the tournament. FireBall is almost guaranteed to lose their match against Blank this week, despite Blank’s recent struggles. Having only one scheduled match will provide the team with an opportunity to regroup and hopefully address their poor performance.

Scheduled Wins:

7.DeToNator.GOLD 2W-12L:

DeToNator swept rival Japanese team SunSister 3–0 in an unexpectedly easy game. Otherwise the tune has remained the same, receiving a sweep of their own at the hands of Blank Esports.

8. SunSister 0W-14L:

SunSister’s 3–0 loss against DeToNator was disappointing, as matches against their fellow Japanese team are SunSister’s only realistic opportunity to finally earn a win. Six weeks remain in the tournament’s regular season but it currently looks entirely plausible that SunSister will finish without a single victory.

Week 7 kicks off today and will be broadcast live in English on FullCircle, a schedule for the tournament can be found here.

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