Overwatch, Tournament Preview

Overwatch Winter Championship 2017 Preview

The NUEL Overwatch Winter Championship is about to begin with over a hundred teams set to compete. For a look at the format for this year’s competition, please clink the link here. Without further ado, here’s a quick overview of what to expect from our universities.

Teams to Watch

Cambridge University NUEL Team (University of Cambridge) – This team have always been up and around the summit without ever making it. The imaginatively named team from Cambridge have never failed to make it to the knockout stages of a tournament, coming fifth in last winter’s competition and fourth in both the Spring and Summer Championships. Led by the returning face of Will “Mokyr” Carpenter, expect an organised team. Players to watch are Mykolas “TauNeutrino” Zupkauskas, a strong source of DPS and Henry “Mercy” Walton, a rock-solid Mercy main currently sat just outside the top 200 in Europe.

DU Like Jazz (University of Durham) – The top team from Durham were a sensation last winter, capturing the hearts and minds of the NUEL alike with a narrow 3-2 loss to NO MERCI in the final. A strong third-place finish in the spring and a respectable seventh in the summer despite a weakened team suggest this team still have it. Although key player Isaac “Boombox” Charles has moved on to pastures new (recently seen tearing it up for the UK at the Overwatch World Cup), strong players remain in the form of captain and support player Elliot “Munkfish” Moffatt and recently promoted Alex “SaintFoxx” Coram on DPS. Riding on the back of trusty steed, mascot and NUEL meme Dan “Huge Horse” Boyle, will it be Durham’s turn to head off into the sunset?

Björn to Win (Manchester Metropolitan University) – This team from Manchester are currently on a high and keen to press on. After winning the Summer Championship, they look to be in a strong position this winter. Captain Danny “Dubious” Craik will be relying on key player Callum “Fish” Deighton’s Widowmaker and Genji to push them forward. However, with both the quality and quantity of teams rising, whether they can make it through to the knockout stages is anyone’s guess.

UoB Zeus (University of Birmingham) – Much like Cambridge, UoB Zeus have never quite made it. They’ve had some very strong showings, coming third in last year’s Winter Championship and second this spring, the latter perhaps a disappointment after topping the group stages. A second place finish in the summer has led to worries that they may have inherited their League of Legends team curse of “Forever Second”. Admittedly, this curse disappeared when their League team failed to make the following finals, but captain George “Kirkmania” Kirkman will be hoping for a happier ending. Expect Iris “Tea” Ho’s Mercy to be the pillar upon which the team is built.

NO MERCI (University of Manchester) – It could be said last winter’s winners have suffered a bit of a dip since their triumph. Finishing seventh in the Spring Championship and fifth this summer has seen their stock decline. However, they are still a force to be reckoned with. Led by their captain Tom “TomatoWato” Watson (who has expressed a dislike for vegetables), expect them to be a very well organised team. Besides, his named is literally Winter. They’ve done it before and they can do it again.

Most Represented Unis

This is a shout-out to the universities that managed to enter the most teams. It’s actually remarkable how many managed to get at least three teams of six players out for the competition, let alone the seven that De Montfort University has. Many thanks for your support.

De Montfort University (7)

Staffordshire University (4)

University of Durham (4)

University of Manchester (4)

Bangor University (3)

Imperial College (3)

Keele University (3)

Sheffield Hallam University (3)

Swansea University (3)

University of Birmingham (3)

University of Bristol (3)

University of Surrey (3)

University of Warwick (3)

University of the West of England, Bristol (3)

University of York (3)

Best Team Names

Team names mean everything in the university Overwatch scene. It is a chance to show off your team’s wit and charm, what makes your team special straight from the horse’s mouth. These are my favourite team names from this year’s selection.

Cillit Bangors (Bangor University) – Bangor University are known for their Bangor themed names in whichever game they play. However, captain Dan “Dougal” Cook should be proud of this reference to a popular household product. The execution is clean (on any surface) as the opposition is left in no doubt that this team wash their hands before they make dirty plays. Expect fictional character Barry Scott from the adverts to make an appearance in the casting booth with his signature line.

Cambridge Overwatch Cool Kids (University of Cambridge) – The Cambridge second team have gone back to school with this acronym. What seems an innocuous name shapeshifts into a throbbing monstrosity. Admittedly puerile in its form, even asking the opposition to put the letters together one by one, it should be noted that many writers have tried to smuggle some phallic connotations into their work, from Shakespeare’s plays to Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (that cream-coloured car). Childish wordplay or literary genius? Food for thought.

Note: Some others teams (eg. Newcastle, Surrey, Cambridge again) attempted the same trick with different words, but unfortunately for them, there’s nothing funnier than the male genitalia.

Sliding Into Your DMUs  (De Montfort University) – A reference to an aggressive social media strategy, you know you can expect the same of their Overwatch play. Good use of the university name gives this team extra points while the humorous reference to popular culture makes it doubly effective. Very tidy.

Swanic the Hedgehog (Swansea University) – I admit some bias as this choice sent me back to my childhood days playing Sonic Heroes (an incredibly average game) with my brother. This name also exceeds its sister team’s “Swanarchy in the UK” due to its tighter rhyme. I love some Sex Pistols, but the prickly mammal takes the win. To be honest, a creature half swan and half hedgehog sounds like something from the movie “Sharktopus”. For the record, that awful film got two sequels involving a Pteracuda, Whalewolf and, even more terrifying, a Conan O’Brien cameo, so to be honest anything is on the cards.

🔥 🌶 Spi👌🏻y Boi$ 🌶 🔥 (De Montfort University) – I don’t even know how you managed to get emojis on the tournament page. Count me impressed.

In case you missed it…

The Winter Championship starts this Thursday 19th October 2017. The check-in deadline is 6:30pm and the captains’ meeting is scheduled for 7pm. Matches are expected to start at 7:15pm, so don’t miss it! Goodbye and good luck.

James “Nilknarf” Franklin

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