Best of Overwatch in 2017

As promised a year ago, these are my annual awards for the best that competitive Overwatch had to offer throughout the year.

Best Overwatch team of 2017 [LUNATIC-HAI]

There is only one correct response when asked for the best team of the year; Lunatic-Hai was consistently successful, netting two major wins in their homeland. No other team can boast about multiple wins in the most competitive environment in the world, while consistently remaining a world power as they transitioned into the Overwatch League under the Seoul Dynasty organization.

While teams like Rogue and Envy might have had domestic success, their inability to win it all in Korea (again in the case of the latter) disqualifies them from this category. Within Korea, one could argue that Kongdoo Panthera, RunAway, and even GC Busan might have been the best teams in the world for different periods of time, but success is a less subjective metric than perceived skill, and consistent success is worth more than simple peaks in performance.

At the end of the day, there was no better team than Lunatic-Hai in 2017, and trying to justify another is a futile endeavor.

Best DPS player of 2017 [EFFECT]

This is a category that I struggled to narrow down given the incredible amount of top DPS players we were able to witness throughout 2017. We saw Birdring carry incredibly hard throughout APEX Season 3, Profit mirror the achievement in Season 4, and other players like Saebyeolbe, Fl0w3R, and Fleta rise to the occasion despite team struggles (or trainwrecks, in the case of Fleta). Over in the west, players like Taimou, aKm, SoOn, and others were still consistently at the top. At the end of the day, my nod went to a player who actually competed in the west for most of the year: EFFECT.

EFFECT’s addition to Team Envy during APEX Season 3 was an immediate boost that put the lineup back on the map in terms of elite teams worldwide. Despite falling behind Libero and Sayaplayer in the Meta Athena pecking order, EFFECT was able to demonstrate that he wasn’t a step behind; if anything, he became a contender for best player in the world.

One of the most incredible things about EFFECT was that his skill was so incredible that he dislodged Taimou — generally regarded as one of the best western players — as the focal point of Team Envy. The star player became a support to enable EFFECT, and the results are indisputable. Even when Envy struggled, EFFECT routinely put up good performances and remained one of the best players in the game. Despite lacking international winnings, his performance in APEX and Contenders demonstrated that EFFECT is for real, and that he will be a force to reckon with come OWL.

Best flex player of 2017 [ZUNBA]

Despite picking what many would consider a favorite for this role, I think that the topic of “best flex player” is clouded by a lot of factors that make this discussion more difficult to tackle. For one, Zarya took a backseat for much of the year, while triple DPS and D.Va compositions generally took control of the metagame. Additionally, the role is generally team-dependent and stats and playstyles will look vastly different between teams like Meta Athena and Lunatic-Hai.

Nevertheless, I think it is hard to justify not picking someone as consistently good as Zunba at the role. He was able to remain relevant in an ever-changing game by swapping between Soldier: 76, Zarya, and D.Va and competing at a world class level in each role. While players like WOOHYAL and Void, as well as westerners like coolmatt69 and Manneten, were all consistently good performers, none were able to truly surpass Zunba in my eyes.

Best tank player of 2017 [FISSURE]

Though it’s well-known at this point, I’ve always considered the Kongdoo Panthera roster of old a really well-rounded team rather than a team centered around the Birdring and Rascal duo. Fissure is a large reason the team had so much success, and though his time in the limelight was not expansive by any stretch, his performances have always been incredible.

Fissure almost exclusively played Winston throughout the year, but he pushed the hero past the limits that Miro and Mano established in my opinion. His coordination with Birdring and Rascal in finishing targets alongside his ability to escape the jaws of death consistently are simply too important to be overlooked, and with Miro having a bit of a downtick in performance despite his victories at two rounds of APEX, I think that Fissure was the strongest tank in the world through having the highest peaks of any in the last half of the year.

Best support player of 2017 [RYUJEHONG]

I actually put more thought into this category than one might expect given the result — of course, ryujehong was the best support of the year, but his compatriot in Tobi put up a good fight to enter the discussion. I believe that it’s hard to divorce both players from each other when considering Lunatic-Hai as a team, given how much space Tobi is able to create for ryujehong, but the end result comes from how mechanically demanding ryujehong’s role is compared to Tobi’s and how he has consistently been the best flex support player in the world, while Tobi remained solely on Lucio until the last third of the year. This all goes without mentioning ryujehong’s swaps to Reaper, Soldier: 76, and Sombra in key moments throughout the year.

While I could likely choose not to mention runner-ups, chipshajen, HarryHook, and uNKOE routinely deserve praise for their performances. Despite amazing performances throughout the year from these players, ryujehong and Tobi’s levels have remained a cut above the rest.

I’ve rambled enough but in the interest of keeping things brief… here’s to a great 2018 full of Overwatch, from Open Division all the way to Overwatch League!

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