Today, the Cal Overwatch team will conclude a journey that has been two years in the making. As defending national champions, the Bears hope to repeat and close what has been a legendary chapter in the history of Cal esports.
This year’s Fiesta Bowl Overwatch Collegiate National Championship features a competitive final four composed of the best collegiate “Overwatch” players across the United States and Canada.
The first semifinal match will feature UC Irvine and UC San Diego, while Cal will face off against University of Toronto in the second semifinal match. Last year, the Bears swept Toronto in the finals to win their first national title.
“It was unexpected,” said Toronto’s David “Dimes” Huang. “It came out of nowhere, and we were just traumatized. We thought we were going to win the whole thing.”
Toronto comes in to the tournament looking for revenge for last year’s embarrassment. The team will also have a chip on its shoulder as the only non-California team, essentially representing the entire collegiate “Overwatch” community outside of the state.
“We really want to beat them,” said Toronto’s Marco “Funanah” Chu. “Personally, I really want to beat them. We’ll either beat them or make them earn the spot to get into the finals.”
On the other hand, Cal doesn’t really see Toronto as a threat.
“The general consensus is that we’re going to beat Toronto,” said Cal’s Alexander “PaiGwut” Dam. “We’re going to 3-0 them. We’re very confident that we’re going to win.”
The Bears are more concerned about the potential finals matchup against UCI, a team that defeated Cal in the regular season.
Nevertheless, Dam is confident that this time will be different. With the tournament being played on the new patch, Dam believes that the Mercy nerfs open up the opportunity for a wider pool of support picks and overall team compositions. He notes that this new meta should benefit Cal more than UCI.
UCI has a slightly different narrative to tell. The team comes into the tournament as the favorite, having gone undefeated in the regular season. While it still has to defeat UCSD to make it to the finals, everyone expects the team to do so, given that it has been so dominant over the entire season.
After that, it should be a close final between Cal and UCI.
“I feel like we’ve improved. Our team has become more cohesive,” said Cal’s Andrew “Quantum” Huang. “It really depends on who shows up on the day.”
At the end of the day, no matter the result, Cal team captain Daniel “Alined” Lee plans to make this tournament the last of his collegiate “Overwatch” career. This will also be the final tournament for Cal’s Kevin “SlurpeeThief” Royston, who is graduating after this semester.
Lee and Royston have been the foundation of the Cal Overwatch team in its recent string of success. As a result, there’s added motivation on the other team members to succeed in order to give Lee and Royston a heartfelt send-off.
That’s why this tournament marks the end of a chapter in the young story of Cal esports. Even if you have little experience playing or watching “Overwatch,” make sure to tune in to watch the final matches of two of the most gifted esports athletes in the history of collegiate esports.