The osu! World Cup has returned once again for 2017 in a spectacular fashion with a brand new look, and a glory-seeking lineup of talented players both old and new. For those who missed the weekend excitement - fear not, for we have you covered. Check out what went down, and what's left to come!
Hello there, this is Evrien, a long-time commentator and analyst of the osu! World Cup. It sure has been a while, but it's great to be writing for one of my favourite things in this game – the OWC!
For those who have been living under a rock, OWC 2017 has begun - the biggest and meanest tournament osu! has to offer, with dozens of countries squaring off against each other for the title of osu! Champion!
The Group Stage just concluded this past weekend - the first of a few stages of elimination in the tournament proper. If you've missed it – worry not, VODs are available on the official Twitch channel, go check out how your favourite team is doing! But while you're at here, let's go over some of the more memorable moments that went down:
The tournament started off with a great match from Team Australia and Team Indonesia, featuring some very old names in the community like Bauxe, Fuma, and Lunirs. Both teams gave each other a run for the prize, but Team Australia pulled off with a decisive 5-2 victory.
Team Japan was widely hyped after being absent last year. The roster, led by Captain Sinch (from the 2014 roster), saw some impressive moments when they took on the Top Seed team France, and managed to secure a close but well-earned victory in the Tiebreaker.
On the other side, Captain Musty of the French team fought bravely and outstandingly, and his efforts were witnessed and cheered on by the audience. Still, the group stage consistency was just not there, and the Gallic war roosters fell short after losing also to the Russian Confederation, becoming the first Top-seeded team to drop out from the tournament.
Group H, featuring the USA, China, Netherlands, and Italy, was seen as a "Group of Death" by many players due to all 4 teams being incredibly strong for their respective seeds. In addition, the USA-China rivalry has been a focal point within the OWC scene for the past 2 years, where the two teams met in both Grand Finals.
Both teams return with rosters featuring new and old names, and in an exciting match decisive in macro but closely contested in micro, Team USA won with 5-1. Team China, one of the former all-stars, also fell short to Team Netherlands 3-5, and thus had to bid their goodbye to this year's OWC.
Over recent years Canada is another country that has seen some tremendous growth. After making their milestone break-through out of the Groups in OWC 2015, their roster has been improving every year. Team Canada, let by Captain Azer, was seeded as Top this year, and met one of their former long-term rivals Team Taiwan in the Groups.
Both teams came down to a tiebreaker, where Team Canada's overall consistency and Tiebreaker experience won them the match. If you have time to check out just one match from this past weekend – this would be your top pick.
Team Hong Kong was especially noteworthy for being the only low-seeded team climbing out as top in the group this past weekend. Facing incredible opposing teams of Philippines, Norway, and Chile, this highly underrated team surprised the fans over and over again with their immovable consistency. Assisted by players like DenierNezzar, MinG3012, Chaoslitz, and – G I D Z –, the Hong Kong team avenged itself for having being eliminated last year in the Groups.
This coming weekend will observe the first round of the Eliminations Stage.
From the 32 teams came 16 – Taiwan will face South Korea, United Kingdom challenges Japan, Hong Kong will take on the Netherlands, Singapore meets Russian Federation in a showdown, Poland greets some old friends from Austria, Germany and Denmark will cross blades, Canada draws blades with Brazil, and Norway will challenge the two-time champion United States.
Personally, I have high anticipation towards all matches. To say the least, the Taiwan vs South Korea match will definitely be one to watch out for - both teams have had a long history of rivalry in the OWC, and team captain Rucker from Taiwan will seek to settle the score once and for all this year.
The South Korean "busdrivers" have been a force to be reckoned with in the competitive osu! scene. Featuring returning strong candidates like firebat92 along with new blood powerhouses like Pray and Pring, the South Korean team will definitely put up a good show against their old friend and rival.
Another noteworthy pair is Canada and Brazil. Both teams have a bond of friendship where they would often scrim with one another in past OWCs. However this year, fate has played the strings and brought them to meet each other in Round of 16 already.
Neither side has a distinct advantage over the other - Canada features reading and consistency players like Azer, MiruHong, and FunOrange, while Brazil boasts the Samba pride with tournament beasts like MouseEasy and fabriciorby. The mappool is also well within the comfort range of both teams, and I foresee that many picks may just come down to a matter of consistency and accuracy.
Either way, I wish everyone feels just as excited as I am towards the upcoming matches. OWC this year is surely going to be great, and more exciting things await just beyond the horizon.
Check out the match schedules here and we hope to see you when the flames of battle are lit.
Remember, rhythm is just a click away!