At 10 PM AEDT last night, October 6, 2017, Australia’s best Overwatch team, Blank Esports were defeated. Match one of the Overwatch Pacific Championship playoffs was a fairly one-sided affair. Australia’s best hopes to take home the trophy were dashed as Blank Esports were outmatched and outclassed on the night.
Ardeont, from South Korea, entered the match as favourites with a 14-0 record from the series. Blank, returning from placing second last season and fresh off their win against Japan, entered with an 8-6 record. They were also one of only two teams to win a map against Ardeont during the regular season.
The pressure was on Blank from the beginning, but their win on the first map gave viewers some hope. The first match took place on Lijiang Tower and Blak came out strong with a PharMercy combo that Ardeont seemed unable to stop. Capping the point on Night Markets first and holding it to 94%.
Ardeont looked shaky in the first map and some well-timed Ultimates, especially from Hus and Gunba helped Blank recap the point and win the very first round of the night. Unfortunately, it would prove to be their one and only win.
Control Tower was up next and expecting Blank to keep their PharMercy combo, Ardeont rushed out of spawn with a Soldier 76. After the first team-fight, Erster switched back to Genji and Blank never really recovered. The lack of their PharMercy definitely hurt Blank as it was their best weapon against Ardeont. Once the Taiwanese team took the point, the Aussies were spawn-trapped and the match was over.
[perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”The lack of their PharMercy definitely hurt Blank ” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””][/perfectpullquote]
The final game of the first round was decided on Garden, where again Ardeont dominated. Both teams came out with PharMercy combos and Blank seemed rattled as Hus never managed to get the same level of damage as he did in round one.
The final push by Blank to try and take the point from Ardeont was a nail biter though. IEATUUP did an amazing job of holding the point, threading in and out and keeping the overtime meter live for a good minute or so. Eventually, Ardeont used the Ultimates to push the advantage and a huge res from Jeff sealed the game.
Round two was played on King’s Row. Blank was favourited to take the round as the last time they played Ardeont on King’s Row it was taken to a tie-breaker. However, Ardeont managed to keep Blank from even capping the first point. Blank’s strategy of using Bastion, Orisa and Ana in the top right, overlooking the point was a solid one, but Ardeont’s Tracer proved too difficult to deal with.
A strong push towards the end saw Blank almost take the point, but Ardeon’t Reinhardt, Zarya and Ana combo stopped them in their tracks. Ardeont’s push onto the point was swift and surgical and in a shock, King’s Row was over before it began. Blank looked increasingly less likely to be able to take down the South Korean team, but they valiantly forged ahead.[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”King’s Row was over before it began.” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””][/perfectpullquote]
Round three headed to Temple of Anubis. Blank’s double shotgun combo of Reaper and Roadhog saw them push Point A, early and quickly. Capitalising on Point B proved far more difficult. It wasn’t until Blank’s very last push onto Point B that they even came close to capping it.
Ardeont’s Tracer/Sombra combo kept the Aussies from even entering the temple on most occasions. Ardeon’t placed Tracer on the columns on the left-hand side of the temple (if defending) and as Blank pushed forward, two Blinks were enough to put Tracer behind Blank’s line. Combined with Sombra’s EMP, Blank was being taken apart.
The final push from Blank saw them out rotate Ardeont and finally get to Point B. It looked as though they may have a chance to cap, but some great defensive play by Ardeont held firm. In the dying seconds, Gunba’s Reaper activated Death Blossom in a desperate bid to save the cap, but Jeff’s Sombra managed to take him out without anyone succumbing to the Reaper ult.
[perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”A D.Va Bomb by Anamo clinched it for Ardeont as he took out three of Blank’s fighters” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””][/perfectpullquote]
Ultimate control was how Ardeont won these matches and they showed it off time and again. As Blank pushed Point B on Anubis, Ardeont held off on using ults until they were sure it would cause maximum damage. A D.Va Bomb by Anamo clinched it for Ardeont as he took out three of Blank’s fighters.
A huge play by Hus’s Genji nearly took Point B for Blank, but a failure to capitalise on the advantage saw Arderont come back strong.
Blank’s defensive strategy was solid on Anubis, but Ardeont managed to pick it apart. Blank’s Torb/Orisa combo was strong, but Ardeon’t Widowmaker managed to make solid picks and force Orisa onto the point where she was taken down very quickly. Blank never managed to properly set up on Point B and Ardeont steamrolled to take the round.
The final round was played on Route 66. Ardeont pushed first and their offensive prowess saw them go all the way. Blank, however, struggled to move the payload and didn’t manage to make it to the first checkpoint. Despite some great playing and team compositions, Ardeont were simply the better team on the day.
Blank now drops down to the second bracket and will face the loser of today’s match of Hong Kon Attitude vs Flash Wolves. They still have a chance to come third overall and after yesterday’s defeat, I have a feeling they’ll be keen to do so. Ardeont remains undefeated and moves onto the final round to play the winner of today’s match for the championship.
Tune into the match tonight from 10 PM AEDT on Twitch.
The finals will air from 6 PM AEDT on Sunday, October 8.
You can also watch Blank Esports support Australia at the Overwatch World Cup at BlizzCon in November.