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Introducing the nominations for the inaugural Overwatch GosuAwards 2016

Overwatch Gosu “GosuGamers” Gamers

Welcome heroes, to the third annual GosuAwards. At GosuGamers, we like to celebrate eSports in general, but especially at the end of the year when we feel nostalgic and excited for the next year at the same time. For the first ever time, Overwatch will be part of the GosuAwards, after Blizzard's first shooter officially released in May, but really Overwatch has been gaining momentum ever since the Closed Beta. How many of you have been with Overwatch (and us) since then? How many know what I mean when I say "Hanzo cheese" or "D.Va stall"? Or more recently: How many of you were there when EnVyUs went on a 57 match winstreak, only to then lose to Rogue in the Atlantic Showdown LAN Semi-Finals?

The year of 2016 has brought us amazing events, ever-improving teams, a bit of drama and a booming community. With the GosuAwards, we want to take a moment and celebrate the mountain of highlights. Below, you will find a series of award categories and accompanying nominees. You reading this means voting is now open, so scroll down and vote on your personal winners. You will be able to vote for the next week or so; in the meantime the committee listed below will also decide on a winner per category. By the end, we will have two winners per category: the expert pick and community choice.

We acknowledge that you might not agree with all categories or nominations selected by our committee. Please do send us your (friendly and constructive) feedback through the comments below, on Twitter or through PM and we will make sure to incorporate it for next year. Until then, enjoy the 2016 GosuAwards.

- Robbert "Broeder" Troost
Overwatch section leader

GosuAwards committee:

Netherlands Robbert "Broeder" Troost (GosuGamers)
United States Wilson "Scr1be" Xu (GosuGamers)
United States Robert "Hexagrams" Kirkbride (GosuGamers)
Sweden Malin "Shye" Söderberg (GosuGamers)
Belgium Dries "TCO" Thys (GosuGamers)
United States Spencer "Pesto_Enthusiast" Hibnick (GosuGamers & /r/competitiveoverwatch)
Canada Thom "TiddlyThom" Vroegindewey (GosuGamers)
United States Ben "FishStix" Goldhaber (Twitch)
United States Harsha "ggHarsha" Bandi (UCLA)
United States Joshy "AskJoshy" Sutherland (compLexity Gaming)

 

Many teams might have a claim to this title, but there can only be one Team of the Year. This award will be given to the team that understands how to adapt; the team that achieved the most and isn't looking to stop in 2017. But who will it be? You decide!

Honorable Mention: Ninjas in Pyjamas - Ninjas in Pyjamas are our honourable mention because of their role in breaking the old meta to give us the current meta. They pioneered the triple and quad tank lineups that are the bread and butter of Overwatch.

 

The nominees for this category are the following:

Cloud9: The roster that started as google me, but has changed significantly since then, was picked up by Cloud9 early on. This team has consistently rivaled EnVyUs for domination at the top of NA and even the world, and ruled NA during the time that NV was away in Asia.

Lunatic Hai: Lunatic are a joy to watch whenever they play and they managed to dominate one of the best scenes in the world. LH has arguably the best Ana support in the world in the form of Ryujehong. The Lunatic Hai that surprised the West by defeating Rogue twice in a row during the APAC Premier certainly deserves this nomination.

Misfits: Our 2nd ranked team is the ever-changing European squad that took, and still claims, the title of Best in EU. After surprising the world by winning the Overwatch Open, Misfits continued on with a different roster to win DreamHack Winter. Time to find out what they will achieve with yet another group of players.

Rogue: A Las Vegas organization that invested in Europe early on, Rogue has shown themselves to be a team full of surprises, both good and bad. They were part of the 3-way trade that shook the Overwatch world and we are watching them with bated breath. It is still up in the air whether the trade will benefit them positively, but they have big shoes to fill (their own) as they were the best EU team for the majority of 2016.

South Korea South Korea's World Cup team: This is the only team on this list that doesn’t exist anymore. They are here because if they were, they would arguably be the best team in the world (if they could get those players out of their contracts). And because they won Blizzcon with style.

Team EnVyUs: Team EnVyUs, formerly IDDQD, has consistently been ranked as the best team in the world despite their past struggles at LAN. Now, with the team having won the previous two LAN tournaments they attended, most call them the best team in the world, as they have consistently performed at the highest level.

This category aims to celebrate the flashiest part of the competitive scene. As DPS mains, these players are the ones best set up for getting the highest praise and most screen time, and for good reason: kills matter in the game of Overwatch. In all three Player of the Year categories, we have prioritized skill, consistency through multiple metas, and longevity in the scene.

Honorable mention: Finland Joonas “zappis” Alakurtti is the sole DPS player on Ninjas in Pyjamas’ pioneering tank-heavy composition. Zappis’ flexibility allowed NiP’s composition to survive through multiple changes to the meta. With NiP, zappis won the Lenovo Cup and the King of Nordic tournament, and made it to the quarterfinals of the Overwatch Open.

 

And in alphabetical order, this year's nominees are:

Russia George “ShaDowBurn” Gushcha is the best Genji player in the world. His skill with the cybernetic ninja is so great that both FaZe and the Russian national team built their strategies around him, with the latter reaching the finals of the World Cup. Although FaZe lacks a LAN trophy, ShaDowBurn has one of the most spectacular individual highlight reels in the game.

Finland Timo “Taimou” Kettunen is one of the best all-around hitscan players in Overwatch. With EnVyUs, he won a jaw-dropping 57 games in a row between July and August, making EnVyUs the premier team in Overwatch’s early history. He and EnVyUs recently won the inaugural season of OGN APEX, and he also represented Finland at the World Cup.

Korea In Jae “EscA” Kim is the main DPS for both Lunatic Hai and the South Korean national team. With the latter, he won the World Cup in dominant fashion. With the former, he made deep runs in the APAC Premier tournament and OGN APEX league. Known for his McCree, he’s shown the ability to flex into projectile and tank heroes as the meta demands.

Sweden Kevin “TviQ” Lindström, now with Misfits, spent most of the year with Rogue. He led them to victory at the Atlantic Showdown and the APAC Premier tournaments, and to deep runs in OGN APEX season 1 and the Overwatch Open. TviQ is known for his exceptionally deep hero pool, and was credited by Rogue’s CEO as the architect of his former team.

Canada Lane “Surefour” Roberts is the primary DPS for Cloud9 and one of the best North American-born players in the game. A standout Pharah during the Pharah+Mercy meta, he has a deep pool of both projectile and hitscan heroes. Although C9 lacks a signature LAN win, they are perennial contenders, and Surefour has led them to several online tournament titles.

France Terence “SoOn” Tarlier, now with Rogue, spent a majority of his Overwatch career with Misfits. In the conversation for best Tracer player in the world, he was also an elite Reaper in the Beyblade meta. With Misfits, he won the Overwatch Open and Dreamhack, and was a finalist at King of Nordic.

We've had metas where they had nothing to do, but are currently in a meta full of them: tanks. Overwatch features a variety of tank heros, and a matching variety of talented players to make use of them. Tanks in this game are true engaging wonders, and the most successful teams know how valuable they are.

Honorable mention: United States Russell “FCTFCTN” Campbell is the shield tank for FaZe. One of the best Reinhardt players in the world, he is recognized for his sublime Earthshatters. FaZe has a reputation for inconsistent play, and when they bog down, FCTFCTN is usually the engine that powers the team through their struggles. Although FaZe has yet to win a LAN, they’ve long been an elite team in both NA and EU play.

 

As such, the Tank Player of the Year nominees are:

Korea Jin-hyuk “Miro” Gong is widely considered the best Winston player in the world. He also runs Reinhardt and D.Va, where he’s an elite talent. Playing for Lunatic Hai, he defeated Rogue to reach the finals of the APAC Premier, and made it to the quarterfinals of OGN APEX season 1. Miro was also voted the MVP of the World Cup-winning South Korea team.

Finland Kalle "hymzi" Honkala is the best Roadhog in Europe, and the biggest threat on Ninjas in Pyjamas. The unmatched consistency with which he hits hooks, setting up NiP for 6v5 team fights, is what allowed his team to pioneer the meta-defining three-tank composition. With NiP, he won the King of Nordic and Lenovo Cup tournaments.

Sweden Christian “cocco” Jonsson is the main tank for EnVyUs. Now known as one of the best Reinhardt players in the world, for many months he ran Zarya, and was one of the best in the world on that hero. With EnVyUs, cocco won OGN APEX season 1, was a finalist at the Atlantic Showdown, and had a 57 game winning streak, spanning from early June through late August.

Sweden Jonathan “Reinforce” Larsson is the face of aggressive Reinhardt play. He was recently traded to Misfits, but made his name on Rogue. His unconventional style was the topic of conversation at the Atlantic Showdown, which Rogue won, and he also won the APAC Premier in China.

Sweden Ruben “ryb” Ljungdahl, now playing for Cloud9, put himself on the map by winning the Overwatch Open with Misfits. Coming in as a stand-in, he wowed audiences with elite shield tank play. After the tournament, he was picked up by the rebuilding Cloud9, with whom he won the Route 66 Cup, the November Carbon Masters, and the November Alienware Monthly.  

United States Kyle “KyKy” Souder is an elite multi-tank player for Cloud9. One of the deadliest Winstons in the no hero limit era, he transitioned into one of the world’s premier Zaryas as she rose to prominence, and now runs D.va. With C9, he’s won several online tournaments and made strong showings in LANs.

Supports have been been at the center of many of this year's discussions. Are they boring? Overpowered? Impossible to find in Quick and even Competitive Play? Beyond anything else, however, they are what makes or breaks a team. Often the shot callers, or forgotten enablers of greatness, the following players have caught our eye from those shadows.

Honorable mention: United States Randal “Roolf” Stark is an amazing Zenyatta and Ana player, and one of the best shot callers in the game. He led Method to a shock victory over Cloud9 in the opening round of the Overwatch Open, possibly the biggest LAN upset of the year. He would later go on to join Cloud9, winning several online tournaments with them.

 

Which leads us to the nominations for the Support Player of the Year:

France Benjamin “uNKOE” Chevasson was the first world-beating Ana player. One of the founding members of Rogue, he won both the Atlantic Showdown – where he was still playing Zenyatta  –  and the APAC Premier tournament. He also made it to the elimination stage of APEX season 1 and to the semifinals of the Overwatch Open. 

France Mikaël “Hidan” Da Silva was just traded to Luminosity, but made a name for himself by winning the Overwatch Open with Misfits. In an extremely tight semi-final against Rogue, Hidan hit two critical, ult-denying sleep darts in short order, handing the win to Misfits. They would go on to trounce EnVyUs in the finals. Since then, he’s only improved his credentials on Ana. 

United States Adam “Adam” Eckel was one of the best Mercy players during the Pharah+Mercy meta, known for his impeccable Resurrections, and now runs an elite Lucio. Playing for Cloud9, he’s won the the Route 66 Cup, the Carbon Masters, and an Alienware Monthly Melee. He also represented the United States at the World Cup.

Spain Jonathan “harryhook” Tejedor Rua was the Lucio player and in-game leader of EnVyUs. Although recent shifts in the meta have seen him shift to DPS, for most of 2016 he ran the Brazilian DJ. With EnVyUs, he won the OGN APEX season 1 league, and was part of the legendary 57 game winning streak that stretched from early July until the Atlantic Showdown.

Sweden Sebastian “chipshajen” Widlund is the deadliest support player in the West. Before Ana’s release, chipshajen played perhaps the best Zenyatta in the world, and now he is one of the world’s premier Ana players. EnVyUs has some of the best DPS and tank players in the game, and chipshajen still gets on the kill feed with shocking regularity.

Korea Je Hong "ryujehong" Ryu is the Ana player for Lunatic Hai and the South Korean national team. While he’s shifted to DPS and tank recently, for most of the year he was the strongest support in Korea. With the South Korean team he won the World Cup at Blizzcon, and with Lunatic Hai he reached the finals of finals of the APAC Premier.

Overwatch has amazing playmaking potential with most of its heroes. Supports can feel like gods, tanks truly are terrors at times, and of course the DPS get plenty of Right-clicks of the game. In fact, special has become so ordinary that only the truly amazing plays made it in this category.

Honorable mention: Classic Hanzo Cheese: Six scatter arrows out of the doors of King’s Row led to Morte’s untimely demise right at the beginning of this match. Considering Morte was playing Mercy, this was a huge blow. This Hanzo cheese was used by a handful of teams on King's Row, and was always enjoyable as a viewer, but the introduction of hero limit put this strategy to rest.

 

The nominees, from 2016, are as followed:

Mickie's D.Va bomb at APEX: D.Va was tossed back into the meta stronger than ever, and Mickie electrified the audience at APEX with a huge D.Va Self-Destruct quad-kill. Assisted by Cocco’s Earthshatter, Mickie secured 4 kills to loud cheers from the audience. Considering this was a game against Rogue after Talespin stepped down from the roster, this play was more than just a quad-kill for EnVyUs.

Miro is everywhere: Miro was one of the most memorable players at the Overwatch World Cup. His stellar tank play led his team, South Korea, to victory over numerous talented opponents. Check out this linked clip, and watch it for a few minutes, to see what happens when a Winston is truly everywhere. He is in Russia's backline harrassing, then at the point to protect it, then back in the backline to zone out the entire enemy team.

SoOn's Pulsebomb at the OW Open finals: Perhaps one of the most exciting matches of the OW Open, EnVyUs and Misfits were locked in battle on Lijiang’s Control Center. Misfits was extremely close to winning the entire tournament with the control point almost at 99% in their favor. EnVyUs suddenly appeared to have the upper hand with Cocco’s Graviton resulting in 3 kills in their favor. This was all undone almost immediately by a triple kill pulse bomb from SoOn however, allowing Misfits to close the map and win it all.

Stealthy Seagull as Genji on Lijang: Back in the Dark Ages of Overwatch, players faced the terrors of no hero limit. This nomination features Seagull taking on Cloud9’s three Zenyattas, Symmetra, and two Tracers. Some stealth play at 2:50 around KyKy’s Symmetra leads to a glorious opportunity for Seagull. He finishes off the teleporter and then unleashes a team destroying Dragon Blade. This play deserves attention.

Taimou's APEX Apocalypse: There are many highly skilled Roadhog players in the competitive Overwatch scene. This clip showcases why Taimou should be a name that comes to mind when listing them. AFB is pushing the payload in Overtime - fighting to make it to the next checkpoint. Taimou, however, has other plans. Showcasing his ability to be a One Man Apocalypse, Taimou’s first hook onto the Ana secures the first kill. He then unleashes his Whole Hog and pushes the enemy team off of the payload. A right click finished the Reinhardt, and another clutch hook onto Arhan’s Genji secures EnVyUs’s victory out of nowhere.

Zunba's Surprise Zarya: South Korea had a lot of fun during the World Cup. Maybe due to having superior teamwork and preparation, the Koreans were as comfortable as possible in their play, and it showed. In this play, Zunba took a very creative and effective route on Eichenwalde, landing a devastating Graviton Surge that has not been repeated since.

This category focuses on the most significant matches, for whatever reason, that were played in 2016. Some of our nominations have been selected based on play and suspense, while others have a right to be here because of the (then) significance of their outcomes. We accept that there are too many great matches that have not made it, and so comes the choice for our honorable mention:

Honorable mention: Every single match played this year that made you, as a viewer, discuss Overwatch with your friends or strangers on the internet (or yourself). Let's grow crowds worth performing for. Here's to many, many more matches!

 

And now on to the matches that did make it:

DH Winter Grand Finals (Misfits - Fnatic):  Misfits 3-2 victory over Fnatic in Dreamhack Winter was their second major title only a week after the departure of KryW. Misfits ran a composition that they knew wasn't favored in the current meta, and defeated a team running the meta comp at a very high level.

ESL Atlantic Showdown Semi-Finals (Team EnVyUs - Rogue): EnVyUs’s 57-game winning streak was stopped at the hands of TvQA and the Rogue roster. At a time where NV’s dominance was undisputed, this upset ranks highly among the best and most significant matches of the year.

GosuGamers NA Weekly #18 (LW Red - Team Solo Mitt): This match marked the first significant appearance of Korean teams in the West. Coming right after the new overtime rules replaced the stopwatch system, LW Red shocked viewers by completing Hollywood entirely in overtime.

MLG Vegas Semi-Finals (FaZe Clan - Fnatic): This nail biter of a match, the only one featuring a tie and so a sixth map, was a clear example of how competitive NA's top tier is (besides EnVy and C9). This match, which ended on Nepal, could literally have gone either way right up until the end.

Overwatch Open EU Finals (Misfits - Rogue): The upset over former ESL Atlantic Showdown winners was a surprise for any team participating in the tournament. The match went down to a last second hold on Hollywood, which brought Misfits into the grand final match against EnVyUs

Overwatch Open NA Group B (Cloud9 - Method): Method’s 2-1 victory over Cloud 9 was a surprising result from one of the rising teams of North America at the time. While C9 would get redemption in the group decider, Method left an impactful image in the minds of the Overwatch Open audience.

This prize we want to award to the most enjoyable event of 2016. Location, production, talent and teams; all these factors combined make some events stand out more than others. It is important for a growing eSport to get these highlights, and we have been very happy so far.

Honorable mention: MLG Vegas just ended and we felt it was a bit too recent to truly consider for this category. The event also profited greatly from the groundwork laid out by the below, earlier events. Nevertheless, MLG Vegas was very successful and enjoyable, so a honorable mention is justified.

 

Therefore, the nominees for this category are:

APAC Premier, because truly international competition is important and China took the lead in this. It showed us the force that is Lunatic Hai, but even more so the adaptability of Rogue.

DreamHack Winter, for the exciting matches that were played at world's largest LAN party: DreamHack. It is important for every eSport to be embraced by the major tournament organizers, and Overwatch at DreamHack was definitely one of 2016's highlights.

ESL Atlantic Showdown, as the first major LAN tournament, with a prizepool of $100,000! The Atlantic Showdown, which concluded at gamescom, featured a robust qualification process and really got the ball rolling for all that came after.

OGN APEX League Season 1, which showed us how enjoyable the league format is in Overwatch. With all teams playing in Seoul, South Korea, OGN raised the stakes and delivered. Bonus points for letting us get to know the Korean teams in style.

Overwatch Open, for bringing Overwatch to television, supported by a top-notch studio and crew. ELEAGUE and FACEIT collaborated on this event which featured the largest prizepool for Overwatch to date.

Overwatch World Cup, for literally bringing the whole world together to enjoy Overwatch, at BlizzCon 2016. This event showed us talent from around the world, as well as the production values that Blizzard can (and hopefully continues to) deliver.

We have covered the color casters, so now it's time for the play-by-play equivalent. These casters keep the conversation going by commentating what is happening as it happens. They keep you engaged, and hyped, so that you not only learn but are also entertained.

Honorable mention: AskJoshy and Fishstix, who were the first or second casting duo of choice during the earlier months of Overwatch's existence. While Joshy has been focusing more on streaming, and Fishstix is plenty busy as Twitch.tv employee, both these guys put in the groundwork to make Overwatch's lift-off so explosive. We hope to see them return to the desk in 2017.

 

And the nominees are:

Mitch "Uber" Leslie is Jason Kaplan's partner at ESL. Mitch is the one Australian guy that every scene needs, but he is so much more than that. Listen to an Uber cast and you will, by the end of it, be a fan of competitive Overwatch. As said about JKap, Uber has now casted all over the world and isn't looking to slow down.

Erik "DoA" Lonnquist is the counterpart to MonteCristo. An experienced voice in eSports, DoA has casted just about every Blizzard title and then some. Casting most of the year from Korea, DoA can make every Overwatch match enjoyable (if you give his particular humour a chance).

Alex "Goldenboy" Mendez, though most still know him as Twitch's WutFace, was part of the crossover crew that worked on the Overwatch Open (after mostly casting Halo until that point). Goldenboy's personality and attitude quickly made him a fan-favorite, and he proved an equally talented host and interviewer during MLG Vegas.

Matt "Mr X" Morello is another example of Overwatch Open's daring but successful talent picks. Starting as a pro player, X has more recently been involved with the Call of Duty World League and now Overwatch. His high energy, hard work behind the scenes and open attitude to his co-casters make him a valuable asset that can only improve next year.

Andrew "ZP" Rush is often described as THE Overwatch caster, which is easy to understand simply by looking at how many times he is quoted even by other casters. Starting of as a Heroes of the Storm streamer, ZP took to casting our GosuGamers Weeklies with Hexagrams and has put in more time than just about anyone. 

Leigh "Deman" Smith is the experienced senior (no offense) that joined the crew at ESL shortly after launch. Deman used his many years of experience, as a caster for games such as LoL and CS:GO, to quickly adapt to casting Overwatch. His voice is golden, as is his passion.

In sports commentary, typically two kinds of casters are heard: color and play-by-play. While this distinction isn't as clear in Overwatch, we still feel it valuable to award both approaches (if only to award double the people). In this category, we want to shine the spotlight on the talent that helps us truly appreciate competitive Overwatch, thanks to their in-depth analysis of gameplay during and in between matches.

Jason Kaplan is one of the oldest, most established faces of competitive Overwatch. Joined by his partner Uber at ESL, Jason (no relation to Jeff) has been casting as much as anybody. Recently, JKap has worked on tournaments such as the APAC Premier and IEM Gyeonggi.

Robert "Hexagrams" Kirkbride is most known for casting so many of our own GosuGamers Weeklies (alongside ZP). The sellout pro himself has recently had the opportunity to move from his bedroom 'studio' to be part of top-notch productions such as DH Winter.

Chris "HuK" Loranger is another ex-pro player (StarCraft this time) who brings skilled insight as well as a healthy dose of banter to many a casting desk. HuK is getting better and better at setting up his "love to hate" stage personality.

Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles is someone that most of you will recognize. After spending many years casting League of Legends, Monte has now moved his focus to Overwatch, which he has quickly become knowledgeable about. Look forward to him casting Season 2 of APEX (and much more) in the next year.

Matt "Flame" Rodriguez started the year as pro player on a variety of teams. After leaving Splyce, Matt has dedicated much of his time streaming games on Twitch as well as analysing pro matches. His truly in-depth analysis recently landed him a spot on the MLG Vegas analysis desk.

Steven "Ster" Serge brings a casual likeability to the productions he is involved in. Ster knows what he is talking about, but uses his experience as a streamer to weave in smart comments while keeping the mood light and approachable.

Even though it might not feel this way currently, Overwatch has all the tools required for a changing meta. Over the past year, plenty of different, overpowered compositions have enjoyed the spotlight. With Symmetra's rework we might even be on the cusp of another. Until then, we have time to celebrate and decide on the meta king of this year (whether because of pure strength or overall dominance).

Honorable mention: El Presidente is what we often call protect-the-Bastion compositions. Popularized in part by Seagull, this strategy mostly revolves around putting a Bastion on a payload and protecting him as he tears through the opponents. While not brought out often, it still has a place in the meta whenever a creative team is brave enough to identify the opportunity.

 

And the nominees for this category are:

BeyBlade: Spin to win, as some call it, dominated the meta for several weeks, until nanoboost got the speed element removed. Find a Reaper, get a Death Blossom, spin the top, the enemies drop. It really was as simple as that. Oddly enough the best counter to this meta was Ana, who was the initiating component to begin with.

God Comp: Also known by several other, less flattering names, God Comp guaranteed dark times. Before hero limits were implemented, this comp dominated Control maps, with double Winston, double Lucio, and double Tracer. Eventually, in overtime, this comp morphed into 5 Tracers and one Lucio. Cheers love, the cavalry is here... *sigh*

Hide and Go Seek: Also known as “The Mercy Meta”, team fights were largely decided on which team could find and kill the Mercy first. This meta was characterized by Mercy POTGs in which she stared at a wall and rezed her whole team.

Orbital Destruction was the thing back when Symmetra added +50 shields and Double Zenyatta’s orbs didn’t require line of sight to persist. This meta relied on buffing flankers (Genji and Tracer) to epic levels and letting them run wild. Who was the 6th hero in this composition? It didn’t matter.

TripleTank: Popularized by Finnish powerhouse NiP, this meta relied on the ability to never die with huge health pools (and pocket Anas), and get picks with the Roadhog. While many teams have tried, NiP ran this meta to perfection, thanks in large part to their aggressive style.

Widowmaker: Months ago, Cloud9 ran wild with single Widowmaker, and even double Widow sometimes. Widow pre-nerf was in nearly every game, and almost every Westworld/Western phase of Hollywood was dependent on the sniper battle. Gibraltar offenses everywhere rejoiced at the Widow nerf, which has arguably been the most devastating change so far.

Every year some things get out of hand, and those are definitely not unnoticed by the community. Events deal with (unforeseen) problems, players show the saltiest side of themselves and lots of other drama does happen in life, and thus in the Overwatch community. This categories acknowledges some of these moments in 2016.

Honorable mention: Hacking is possible in Overwatch, as it is in pretty much every game. Blizzard has done their part to punish and prevent as much as possible, but they are facing some serious problems in Korea and China especially. Korean PC-Bang especially are easy enablers of aimbots and the like. So far though, no competitive impact has been proven.

 

The nominees in no particular order are:

Code7 player history: In the opening year of Overwatch, many players from different games flocked to the promising competitive scene. Most had great and interesting backgrounds, but the opposite also exists. Former Code7 players torkTJO and NicolasTJO's history of cheating in CS:GO was a hot topic for a while. Especially so when Code7 got signed to TSM... and only two days later was sold to coL.

MSI MGA: The MSI MGA LAN took place in London from the 7th till the 8th of December. This was supposed to be a clash between three regions and four professional Overwatch teams around the world (Fnatic, NiP, Rise Nation and KongDoo Panthera). The games were scheduled to kick off at 3PM, but due to technical issues all series were postponed until the next day. The next day seemed to be a success, but after the first map was played more technical difficulties occurred. Eventually the event was cancelled, and rescheduled to happen next year.

No Map Drafts:  It was made public that Blizzard is forcing tournament organizers to use a system of predetermined maps, instead of the more traditional (and player favored) map drafting process. Notable tournaments include MLG Vegas, IEM Gyeonggi and the Winter Premiere.

Sombra ARG: All of us probably remember the Sombra ARG. Basically, it was a scavenger hunt based outside the game of Overwatch, but made by Blizzard Entertainment. Clues and ciphers of Sombra were found in various updates and animations released by Blizzard. What started off as a fun way to pass the time before the new hero was released, turned into a series of disappointments for the community as it was made clear that the participants would never have made an impact on Sombra's release at all.

ThighGate: While an interview was broadcasted during OGN’s APEX Overwatch tournament, Taimou made some naughty statements in Twitch chat about the female interviewer. After these statements spread across reddit and other message boards, Taimou was fined and made to apologize. Let's hope Taimou has matured because of this incident.

Tracer Butt: For a short while during March-April, a controversial subject within the Overwatch community was the “Tracer butt”. Initially Tracer was given a victory pose with her butt faced towards the player. Blizzard changed the victory pose eventually, after a post on the official forums featuring criticism got a lot of traction. It will remain one of the earliest Overwatch memes.

Every good competitive community needs rivalries. Hell, mankind as a whole needs rivalries, because having rivalries makes both sides stronger and more determined to win. Overwatch is still a bit too young to have fostered solid team rivalries, we expect those to solidify over the next year, but that does not mean rivalries are completely absent.

The nominees for this category are as follows:

Blizzard vs Pro Players: The relationship between Overwatch’s developers and its pros is rocky in a number of ways. The pro community has seen Blizzard slowly adapt a number of rulesets, such as hero limits and stopwatch turned timebank, but even now conflicts in opinions remain. Hot subject of the moment: predetermined map pools.

East vs West: Every eSport that gets popular in Korea is eventually dominated by Koreans worldwide, or at least that’s the conventional wisdom. Even before South Korea won the World Cup, commentators were already wondering when it would happen to Overwatch. Europe’s best teams just fell to Koreans at IEM Gyeonggi. Only time will tell if this is a taste of what’s to come on the other side of the world as well.

Endemic vs Crossover talent: As Overwatch is a combination of MOBA and shooter, so is its playerbase and casting talent. Some of the top players we know from games such as TF2 and Shootmania, and our casters have largely originated from games such as LoL and CoD. Still, Overwatch has seen a strong presence of endemic players and talent, and as Overwatch takes over the world, all these past forays will be forgotten.

EnVyUs vs LANs: EnVyUs was the early titan of Overwatch, and entered the first major LAN – the Atlantic Showdown – on a 55-game undefeated streak. But they crashed out in the semi-finals, and struggled in LAN after LAN for most of the year. They finally buried their demons by winning the OGN APEX league, and then followed up shortly after by winning MLG Vegas.

EU vs EU in NA: Many of the best teams competing in North America have as many European players as they do North Americans. EnVyUs, the first major team to set up a team house, had five Europeans and one North American at the time. While North American-heavy teams are starting to rise, for many months, it was all Europe, all the time in highest-level competition.

REUNITED vs Finals: Although they’ve fallen off as of late, for much of the year REUNITED was making it to the finals of just about every event – online and LAN – that they attended. But while they were able to win a few GosuGamers Overwatch Weeklies, they fell short in major events, including the Atlantic Showdown and the Lenovo Cup.

While 2016 was the year of the Closed Beta teams, 2017 could very well be different. The benefits of having participated in the betas are diminishing every month, and the teams in this category are expected to break through in 2017.

The following teams have been nominated for this category:

Immortals: Immortals is a rock-solid squad which should be making their rounds on the invite circuit this coming year. Grim Reality locks down the McCree spot, and it is no surprise that Hyped is excelling in the D.Va Meta.

Kingdom eSports: Recent roster changes could bode well for this team. On paper they’ve acquired a lot of talent (Mangachu, Gods), but can they mesh together and make a push for the top?

KongDoo Panthera: Expect several close matches between KDP and LW Red in the coming year. KongDoo Panthera has stepped out of the shadow of sister team KongDoo Uncia to establish themselves as a top team in the region, and perhaps beyond.

Luminosity: This roster looks to benefit from the recent titanic trade atop the European region. Now, in a team house and firmly North American, Luminosity are looking to make their mark. Adding ladder superstar Superplouk into yet another Rein dominant meta could mean big things for this new (French and German) Canadian team.

LW Red: Awesomeguy was the first Korean Winston to open western eyes, even before Miro. Combine his tank play with top tier DPS in Pine and Nanohana, and this team can beat anyone.

Risenation: Youth is the first thing that springs to mind with this team; they have the talent, and when their DPS are shining they can hang with top NA teams, but Rise Nation will have to perform better at LANs to breakout in 2017. MLG Vegas provided them with valuable experience for next year.

Something to remember about communities: they are what we create them to be. While the pro players and teams entertain us during tournaments, we have plenty of content creators that keep us engaged and informed in the meantime. This category aims to highlight some of the most consistent, quality contributors.

Honorable mention: NRG Seagull, for being the poster boy of Overwatch streaming for so long, and introducing OW to so many just by keeping the game in the top 5 on Twitch. Even though Seagull was busy for a significant part of the year, practicing for and playing in tournaments all over the world, he deserves this mention.

 

These are the nominees in category Content Creator of the Year:

CaptainPlanet, as we can't forget about his unending supply of meta reports. Week after week you can tune in to this series, as Ben showcases the stats of hero usage in tournament play. Been away for a while and want to dive back in? One look at his graphs and you know what heroes to request nerfs for!

flame, whose experience as a pro player and dedication to in-depth breakdowns of competitive matches earned him a spot as analyst on the MLG Vegas desk. 

MOONMOON, who is doing his own thing which is paying off. His Twitch stream exploded in late 2016, now holding a very respectable 11,000 subscribers. With a fun, consistent stream and a big community, he is helping Overwatch get and keep an audience most days of the week.

OneAmongstMany, for being one of the first dedicated Overwatch sources. OAM entertains you on his stream while he educates you through the collection of guides on his YouTube channel.

OverwatchCentral, the duo who manages to upload a consistent stream of both entertaining and informative content on their YouTube channel. 

UnitLost, we like him, the Blizzard devs like him and what's not to like? UnitLost delivers what he calls 'Great British Gaming' on the daily. Follow his YouTube to keep up to date on just about all aspects of Overwatch.

In every eSports community iconic moments caption the spirit of the game. Overwatch is no exception to that. Overwatch has not even been out for a year, and yet we went through incredibly funny/astonishing moments in the scene.

These are the nominees for Story of the Year:

BlizzCon 2016: BlizzCon was an incredible experience for both the (professional) players and fans of Overwatch who were at the event as well. Blizzard surprised many in the community with their series of Overwatch announcements: the Overwatch League format + Krusher99 hype video, the release of Sombra and the addition of Arcade mode in Overwatch.

Deman solo-cast on no notice: Not everyone might remember this one, Deman solo-casting a World Cup qualifier. He had no warning at all to cast and just rushed into the game as he was setting everything up while casting. It was hilarious as well as legendary.

Embrace of Hero Limit: The moment when Blizzard decided to run a hero limit in Overwatch relieved us all. No more 6 Torbjörns on defense, no more 6 DPS being picked. This was definitely a huge improvement to the game, and a sign that Blizzard does indeed listen.

Misfits/Rogue/Luminosity player trades: The massive Misfits/Rogue/LG roster swaps surprised everyone. The three teams had a major collaboration and reorganization of their European rosters. Rogue is now the French dream team and Misfits found their way to create their own Swedish star squad. LG hopes to improve their results with the new effort of crafting a superstar roster as well.

Official release of Overwatch: Of course, the official release of Overwatch earlier this year in May is a must on this list. Even though Overwatch was popular from the get-go, nobody could predict the actual growth that this game is experiencing. We reached 20 million players a while ago, so should be hitting that 50 million next year. And even if only a fraction will tune in for Blizzard's League, we are set!

Seagull handshake: One of the most iconic moments of the Overwatch Open was the legendary Seagull handshake. Everyone obviously remembers the attempt to do a handshake with Malik. In fact, out of everything this year, this was seen by the most people in the world thanks to Jimmy Fallon.

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