Overwatch World Cup Group Stage Preview: Incheon

Overwatch World Cup Group Stage Preview: Incheon

That’s right—the Grand Finals confetti has barely been brushed away from Barclays Center, and we’re about to launch into our next major tournament: the 2018 Overwatch World Cup. Over the next month, you’ll be able to witness 41 Overwatch League players and 78 up-and-coming Contenders players mixed in with ladder heroes looking to make their mark as they battle on behalf of their nations.

First, we’ll be traveling to the city of Incheon, South Korea. Located just outside of Seoul, this metropolitan city is a hub of entertainment, art, and history, and will be where the home team of South Korea will host the national teams from Russia, Finland, Japan, Chinese Taipei, and Hong Kong in the first of four Group Stage events.

What you need to know

National Team Rosters

South Korea

  • Pan-Seung “Fate” Koo (LA Valiant)
  • Tae-Hong “Meko” Kim (NYXL)
  • Jong-Ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park (NYXL)
  • Hae-Seong “Libero” Kim (NYXL)
  • Seong-Hyun “Jjonak” Kim (NYXL)
  • Yeon-Jun “Ark” Hong (NYXL)
  • Sub: Jae-Hyeok “Carpe” Lee (Philadelphia Fusion)

This year’s team for defending champs South Korea is 71.43% NYXL, an obviously very talented team that nevertheless had a hard time adjusting to the new meta heading into the Overwatch League playoffs. And now they have to deal with the hamster! But if anyone can do it, it’s basically-the-NYXL (feat. Fate and Carpe), but they’ll need to come in like a Meko-ball to silence the doubters.


  • Denis “Tonic” Rulev (Contenders EU: Bazooka Puppies)
  • Ilia “Txao” Makarov (Contenders EU: CIS Hope)
  • Stanislav “Mistakes” Danilov (Boston Uprising)
  • Aleksandr “MayN” Katarskii (Contenders EU: CIS Hope)
  • Andrey “Engh” Sholokhov (Contenders EU: CIS Hope)
  • George “ShaDowBurn” Gushcha (Philadelphia Fusion)
  • Sub: Andrei “uNFixed” Leonov (Contenders EU: CIS Hope)

The Overwatch League’s only two Russians, DPS players Mistakes and ShaDowBurn, will be protected by a roster that is mostly CIS Hope, who are in the top tier of Contenders Europe this season. Although ShaDowBurn didn’t see play time in the Overwatch League Grand Finals, CIS Hope captain Engh will have to steel himself to shot-call for his hyper-experienced DPS duo.


  • Joona “Fragi” Laine (Philadelphia Fusion)
  • Joonas “Zappis” Alakurtti (Florida Mayhem)
  • Jonas “Shaz” Souvaara (LA Gladiators)
  • Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni (LA Gladiators)
  • Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin (Houston Outlaws)
  • Timo “Taimou” Kettunen (Dallas Fuel)
  • Sub: Tuomo “Davin” Leppänen (Contenders EU: Team Gigantti)

Who knew that a country of around 5.5 million people could produce so many Overwatch League professionals? Team Finland is a complete revival of the 2017 incarnation of Team Gigantti, who won Season Zero of Overwatch Contenders Europe, with the addition of Taimou, who was a part of the famous APEX Season 1–winning EnVyUs squad. They’ll try to prove that great things can happen when old friends who developed competitively together combine once again.


  • Sean “ta1yo” Henderson (Contenders PAC: CYCLOPS)
  • Kazuki “SamuraiD” Nouno (Contenders PAC: CYCLOPS)
  • Kaito “kenmohororo” Yoshida (Contenders PAC: CYCLOPS)
  • Ryoma “Sabagod” Tsuji (Contenders PAC: CYCLOPS)
  • Takahiro “CLAIRE” Watanabe (Contenders PAC: CYCLOPS)
  • Kenji “AmeKen” Hisano (Contenders PAC: CYCLOPS)
  • Sub: Yuuma “dep” Hashimoto (Contenders PAC: CYCLOPS)

This Japanese squad, comprised entirely of CYCLOPS players, came up through the Path to Pro program. After finishing first in Season 2 of Pacific’s Open Division, they placed third in Trials to be promoted into Contenders. And they have been killing it. As of publication, they are undefeated in a league that features five all-Korean teams, which is nothing to sneeze at. Team Japan shocked the world with their performance in last year’s Overwatch World Cup, only just missing out on a spot at BlizzCon after finishing first in their group over Finland and Spain. They’re the dark horse of Incheon.

Chinese Taipei

  • Wei-Teng “kant” Kao
  • Chao-Hua “ATing” Chen (Contenders PAC: Hong Kong Attitude)
  • Jing-Han “TenTen” Liao (Contenders PAC: Hong Kong Attitude)
  • Keng-Yu “ShaiuLin” Lin (Contenders PAC: Hong Kong Attitude)
  • Shiao-Chin “Craz1S” Wei (Contenders PAC: Nova Esports)
  • Ruei-jhou “OYO” Gao (Contenders PAC: Nova Esports)
  • Sub: Erh-Fu “BLUE” Kao (Contenders PAC: Nova Esports)

With a mix of players from two middle-of-the-table Contenders Pacific teams, it could be said that Team Chinese Taipei are in the lower tier of competitors at Incheon. That said, the Hong Kong Attitude players have a lot of experience in the Pacific region, having participated in both Overwatch Pacific Championship tournaments in 2017 and finishing in fourth place each time. Nova Esports also rose into Contenders Pacific via the Path to Pro system, and although they haven’t been faring as well as the Team Japan roster of CYCLOPS, they are maintaining a respectable record in a respectable pack.

Hong Kong

  • Kin-Long “ManGoJai” Wong (Contenders PAC: Hong Kong Attitude)
  • Ka-Chung “GZQQ” Wong
  • Chi-Yeung “Moowe” Yip (Contenders PAC: Hong Kong Attitude)
  • Tsz-Kit “Mikouw” Wan (Contenders PAC: Hong Kong Attitude)
  • Chung-Ching “JazZy” Pak (Contenders China: LGD Gaming)
  • Chan-Yuan “YiWind” Ho
  • Sub: Cheuk-Pang “AmCrazy” Lai

Team Hong Kong is in much the same boat as Chinese Taipei and, as you can see, they also have their share of Hong Kong Attitude players. Hong Kong played a show match in early August—the OWWC Team Australia Outback Showdown—where they were absolutely shellacked by the Aussies. However, the Hong Kong team is confident that they will play better in the Group Stage.

Talent Team

Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez
Malik Forté
Jake "Jake" Lyon
Seth “Achilios” King
Wolf Schroeder
Andrew “ZP” Rush
Harry “LegDay” Pollitt
Jack “Jaws” Wright

Join the gang on Friday, August 17, at 12 p.m. KST—that’s Thursday, August 16, at 8 p.m. PDT—for the launch of the 2018 Overwatch World Cup!

Next Article

Featured News