Bears vs. Gators — which prevail in a fight for survival?
In this case, Cal’s Division I Overwatch team gave the SFSU “Gaming Gators” a quick death on April 23 — giving some mercy (not the character). After the Cal Division II team cowered from the Stanford Tree’s newly formed team, ending its portion of the tournament 0-3, Cal DI pulled through with a 3-0 complete domination at a Bay Area collegiate local area network, or LAN tournament.
The tournament, organized and streamed on Twitch by SFSU, included Stanford, SFSU and Cal’s DI and DII official Overwatch teams. Stanford and Cal DII were matched up, as were SFSU and Cal DI. The first to win three games would win.
Each match in Overwatch has a type of game map with a corresponding type of objective. The first map was Lijiang Tower — a control map. Each team of five has to “capture” a designated area in the middle of the map by occupying the space and attempting to push the other team out.
Stanford’s Overwatch team was formed very recently, yet the team started off strong with a lot of organized tactics, such as mimicking Cal DII’s plays as both teams fought for control. The tourney continued on with Blizzard World, a hybrid map, and Rialto, an escort map. DII’s DPS, sophomores Alex “Logic” Linares and Angelica “Orange” Chi on Farah pulled their weight in the matches, outputting an incredibly high damage.
Yet, Stanford’s newbie team stood tall, bringing team coordination and more calculated plays.
The SFSU and Cal DI team match began with the same map as the first half of the tournament, Lijiang Tower. Both have had a lot of experience as competitive teams, which was apparent, and the fight was mostly even to start. Junior Andrew “SplotchyLime” Kim began picking off Gators swiftly and early in the rounds, adopting a “poking” method where players attempt to damage their opponents without fully pushing as a team. Kim’s clean picks in the match along with a faked teleport by the Cal DI team on the first map allowed a takeover of the site. They continued on with a slight upper hand as they approached the second map — Numbani, a hybrid.
The second map flaunted freshman Hanqi “Peter” Xiong’s value as a tank on Zarya and continued to boast Kim’s consistency in skill. Xiong ended with a whopping 23 high-energy kills, attributed to his tactfully thought-out ultimates, Zarya’s Gravitational Surges. Xiong not only received “Play of the Game” for map two as a result, but also greatly contributed to the win, ending the final round of the map with the SFSU Gators not even touching site.
By the final map, Junkertown, the Gators began to push back, but it wasn’t enough against the Cal DI team. There was steady defense from freshman Antony “Enigma” Zhao on tank, Kim’s high damage output earning another “Play of the Game”, and the consistent dependability of the healers, team leader junior Ian “Koani” Anthoine and junior Ben “Spidey” Scalero. The team snatched the final map win away from the Gators’ claws. Although it was close for each map between the two teams, Cal persevered, ending the tournament on a gratifying win of 3-0.
“We’ve spent most of the academic year focusing on more team-related aspects of Overwatch, such as positioning and communication,” Anthoine said. “While everyone is moving around this summer, it’s a good time for us to improve on individual mechanics as that seems to be a limiting factor against higher-ranked teams.”
Lindzi Hutchinson covers esports. Contact her at [email protected].