Going in, the match up looked to be a clash of styles, between the two teams’ tank players. In KongDoo’s corner was the legendary Reinhardt, Lee “Panker” Byung Ho. In CONBOX’s was team captain Noh “Gamsu” Yeong-jin; one of the only Winstons able to keep up with Lunatic Hai’s Gong “Miro” Jin Hyuk. In the pregame interviews, Panker declared that his DPS duo outclassed their opponents, and that outmaneuvering Gamsu would be his focus. On the other hand, Gamsu placed more faith in his teammates, and suggested that team fundamentals would be the key to their success.
With their legendary captains leading the charge, the two rivals started out on Lijiang tower. In the hopes of striking gold in a still forming metagame, CONBOX replaced their usual Ana with Sombra. The goal of CONBOX’s Sombra composition was to quickly charge her ultimate using hacked health packs while acting as a sort of off-healer, then winning fights with her constantly readied AOE disable. Although Sombra had seen mild success in the past (most notable from NA’s Complexity), Lee “Twilight” Joo Seok was unable to make an impact, having only won a single fight using EMP. Although his team did take control following his successful ultimate, it was their only success on the map, and was promptly nullified by a big bang combo from Yoon “Butcher” Seong Wan, and Kim “birdring” Ji Hyuk.
After suffering a crushing loss in game 1, CONBOX returned to more standard 2/2/2 and 3 tank compositions. After a rough start to the streets phase, Park “Liz” Seung Min picked up Tracer, which opened his opponents up for key earth shatters from Gamsu’s Reinhardt. Emboldened by their adjustment, CONBOX managed to achieve a full push in overtime. Despite their opponents’ recovery over the previous round, KongDoo reestablished their superiority in the coming round. Using well coordinated combos of Kim “DNCE” Se Yong’s whole hog, and Butcher’s graviton surge, Uncia made a spectacle of every fight, making CONBOX’s members disappear near instantaneously. With over three minutes to work with in their time bank round, KongDoo took a second commanding victory on the hybrid map.
The third and final game on Hanamura started out predictably, but took a turn during the second half. During CONBOX’s assault, a standard 2/2/2 dive comp went up against a defending 3 tank lineup. Even though Cho“MyungHoon” Sung Min’s Genji looked close to tipping the scales in his team’s favor on several occasions, Hanamura’s second point stayed true to its reputation, and proved nearly impossible to capture. The game’s tone made an immediate 180, as the teams exchanged roles. On CONBOX’s side, Twilight played his second off-role hero of the series. This time around he chose to play Torbjorn, who was even less of a healer than his previous Sombra pick. As for Uncia, their comp was constantly changing, as players swapped between heroes at seemingly random times. As the game progressed, KongDoo’s members eventually returned to their comfort picks, save for a Bastion pick from Butcher. With their players now back on typical heroes for the most part, Uncia delivered a clean team kill. Whether it was a sign of sandbagging on their part, or just a happy coincidence, KongDoo took the second point just as overtime hit.
Regardless of the questionable final round, KongDoo looked dominant throughout the series, while CONBOX seemed to have trouble adjusting to the new meta. With KongDoo’s 3-0 win now in the books, they moved up to 2-0 in their group, with an 11 point score. At the other end of the stick, CONBOX dropped to an 0-2 overall score, still with 0 points.
Cover photo via OGN GLOBAL (twitch.tv/ognglobal)