Even though Afreeca Red were 0-2 going in to the day, group B’s fierce competition meant that they still had a fighting chance. Although Afreeca were already knocked out of the tournament, a 3-0 win would still shake up the other teams’ standings. While a loss would send Afreeca to the promotion tournament and put LW Blue into playoffs, a win would put Misfits into playoffs, and LuxuryWatch into relegation matches.
Hypothetical scenarios aside, LuxuryWatch were massive favorites in the matchup, considering the difference in performances. In LW Blue’s case, their team were still considered tournament favorites, and had looked competitive in their loss to Lunatic Hai. On the other hand, Afreeca Red had only shown a single dive strategy in both of their losses, and hadn’t yet managed to take a map.
Despite the difference in form, both sides remained confident in the pre-game segment. After each arguing for their contrasting play styles, the two teams’ Lucio players both predicted a 3-0 for themselves. As for twitch chat, focus was split between a 3-0 for LW, and a debate about Lucio’s role.
Game 1 on Lijiang tower was a bloodbath, at the hands of Hwang “Fl0w3R” Yeon Oh’s motley hero pool. LuxuryWatch’s star DPS played Genji on Garden, alongside his DPS partner Park “Saebyeolbe” Jong Yeol’s Tracer. With the duo working in tandem, Flow3r repelled the opposing Winston, Saebyeolbe assassinated his rival Tracer, and LuxuryWatch earned an early lead. Even when faced with the oppressive force of LW Blue’s assassins, Afreeca managed to strike back, thanks to Lee “takethis” Ho-chan’s disruptive Winston, and Jeong “Tydolla” Seung Min’s destructive Genji. Unfortunately for Afreeca, their hold was eventually demolished by Flow3r’s dragon blade, which earned his team the round.
LW Blue showed up even stronger on Night Market, as Saebyeolbe handed Tracer off to Flow3r, and chose Roadhog for himself. Both players continued to shine in the second round, as they used their ultimates to great effect. With Kim “Mek0” Tae Hong’s Zarya now providing spot on graviton surges, both Tracer’s pulse bomb and Roadhog’s whole hog were turned into devastating followups. Using both individual skill and coordinated ultimates, LuxuryWatch were able to take the second round with a score of 100-37.
LW Blue continued to impress in game 2, as they took Hollywood in similar fashion to Lijiang Tower. Flow3r maintained his performance on various heroes, as he brought out his previously successful Pharah and Genji on defense, and a less often played Reaper on offense. Meanwhile, Mek0 and Saebyeolbe continued to work in tandem, using pulse bomb and whole hog combos to great effect through both rounds.
On defense, LuxuryWatch nearly managed to defend the first point, but were thwarted by a coordinated assault, led by takethis’ Reinhardt. The charge continued thanks to Tydolla’s presence on Genji, but was ultimately thwarted, due to Nam “Attune” Ki-hoon’s under performing Widowmaker. Since the opposing Genji was his only clear threat, Song “janus” Joong Hwa was able to leap onto him as Winston, and dismantle the enemy’s composition.
Afreeca chose to funnel all of their resources into a full hold for their defense, knowing that a full hold was their most realistic chance at a win. In the hopes of preventing any progress from LW Blue, AF Red opted for a classic Torbjorn/Symmetra defensive lineup. Frequently seen on Hollywood, the lineup’s goal was to endure an initial push, then to establish a health advantage, using Symmetra’s shield generator and Torbjorn’s armor packs. Even though the defensive comp did manage to establish their required foothold, LW Blue responded by mounting a suicide mission to destroy the shield generator. With the generator successfully dealt with, LuxuryWatch respawned with their whole hog and graviton surge charged, which allowed them to capture point A. The remainder of the map was an easy conquest from there, as LW Blue coasted to a 2-0 series lead.
Afreeca Red gave their opponents a taste of their own medicine on Volskaya Industries, as they plowed through point A. After repeatedly falling victim to LW Blue’s deadly Genji and Tracer, Tydolla and Attune used the two to roll over the opposing Genji and Soldier. Despite their quick victory on the first point, Afreeca struggled to take the second. Once Saebyeolbe swapped away from Soldier 76, he was able to repeatedly get picks on squishy opponents using both Tracer and Roadhog. Meanwhile, Mek0 mowed enemies down on D.Va, while blocking their shots at his back line. With both members maneuvering their way around Afreeca’s ranks in every engagement, LW Blue managed to hold their enemies to a single point.
Flow3r’s teammates continued to impress on the offensive, which allowed him to step away from the limelight for a game. For their assault on A, LuxuryWatch steamrolled the opposition. Using high ground barrages from Saebyeolbe’s Soldier 76, and front line disruption from Mek0’s D.Va, the attackers took point A on their first attempt. Capturing Point B was a messier affair from LW Blue, as Tydolla’s Genji repeatedly cut them down using his dragon blade. Although Afreeca’s Genji did manage to hold his aggressors off for several fights, Saebyeolbe eventually found an opening from the right flank, and blew the game wide open. Once their Tracer had assassinated the enemy healers, LW Blue’s tanks stormed through to the point, seizing a 2-1 win in game 3.
With their 3-0 victory today, LuxuryWatch Blue will be guaranteed entry into playoffs, unless Misfits can pull off a miracle. If Misfits hope to advance over LW Blue, they’ll not only have to beat the seemingly unstoppable Lunatic Hai squad, but they’ll have to do it with 3 straight wins. Considering how difficult of a task that seems to be, LuxuryWatch have all but guaranteed that they’ll make it out of groups.
As for the losers of the match, Afreeca Red are now staring down the barrel of the promotion tournament. Although they managed to breeze through the challenger league last season, Afreeca didn’t manage to win a single game in the main league. Considering their poor performance (albeit in the league’s strongest group), Afreeca Red will have to train hard over the off season, if they hope to beat up and comers like the ROX Orcas.
Cover photo via OGN Global (twitch.tv/ognglobal)