With the Overwatch World Cup finally coming back this year after a four-year hiatus, countries are once more gathering their best talent to compete on the world stage. Giving fans a glimpse into their new roster, Team Ireland hosted a showmatch this past week against Team Turkey in a best-of-5 contest. The thrilling bout was produced by Bad Pachimari League and casted by BiggHungryPhill and Dividing.
Turkey’s roster featured one player from the Overwatch League – Lethal from the London Spitfire in the DPS role. While none of the Irish players have yet reached the League, there are several players from the Contenders scene. Notably, PureIrish is back as tank, being the only player from the 2019 World Cup team to join the team again, hoping his leadership can anchor the rest of the young team throughout this tournament.
The first map of the series was the Antarctic Peninsula, starting on Sublevel. Both teams came out with rush comps, each team hosting Mei, Hanzo, Baptiste, and Lucio. Ireland chose to play Ramattra at tank, with Turkey opting for Reinhardt. Despite heroics from Turkey’s Hanzo, Ireland won the first fight with Ailiseu using a fast Rammatra ult. The rest of Sublevel was back-and-forth, each team trying to get a foot up, but it was Turkey that took the first stage 100-99.
The fight then turned to Icebreaker with each team keeping their same hero compositions. Ireland once again took first capture, then made the second fight last most of the round. Turkey flipped the point at 99%. In the ensuing fights, Turkey had the ult advantage but Ireland found an early pick on the opposing tank, leading to a retake and evened up the map at 1-1.
The final stage of the Antarctic Peninsula went to Labs. Turkey decided to change up to a faster comp, using Sombra, Tracer, Winston, Ana, and Lucio. But Ireland were able to counter the Turkish dive, isolating Ana and taking first point control. Ireland’s flex support ‘Nut’ hit clutch anti-nades on the Winston throughout the map, eliminating him or forcing a disengage. Another back-and-forth struggle over the course of Labs led to a close finish, but Ireland found the winning formula by countering the EMP with Blizzard and Sound Barrier en route to a 100-96 victory.
Ireland 1 – Turkey 0
The second map of the series went to Kings Row, with Ireland defending first into Turkey’s attack. Both teams brought back their rush comps, but both teams chose Ramattra this time. After close to two minutes, Turkey was able to take Point A with a devastating amplification matrix. Neither team found decisive victories over the stretch of Point B, but Turkey made it through to Point B. But Point C was an entirely different game. Turkey controlled the cart the whole time and even spawncamped for part, not allowing Ireland any room to stop the cart. Turkey took Point C with just over 2 minutes left in the time bank.
On Ireland’s attack, they brought out a Winston and looked in charge after a disjointed fight for Point A. But Turkey came roaring back with massive damage forcing Ireland backwards. Ireland then invested a Nano Boost on the Winston then used a Primal Rage after that wore off to take Point A. Winston was also key for Ireland on Point B, diving Baptiste and forcing him out of fights. This led to a Point B take for Ireland. But once more Turkey flexed their muscles on Point C, even opting for a Torbjorn to defend. They faltered once, but ultimately fended off the Irish attack and earned a 3-2 victory.
Ireland 1 – Turkey 1
The third map sent things to Watchpoint: Gibraltar with Ireland attacking first. They came out swinging with Ashe, Tracer, D.va, Brigitte, and Ana; Turkey chose to defend with Sombra, Tracer, Winston, Ana, and Brigitte. Ireland grabbed an early lead, and a double Pulse Bomb from Castlerea let them take the first checkpoint. Castlerea continued the onslaught, rolling over the second section with more Pulse Bombs. Turkey found their footing with a Nano Blade from Lethal. Standing their ground, Lethal found a triple-kill with the next Nano Blade, then the Turkish Ashe found picks for the rest of the round. Ireland finished the attack with 2 points secured and 76.29 meters.
Then came Turkey’s turn to attack. Ireland controlled the fights for most of Point A, holding their opposition near the checkpoint until they had less than a minute on the clock. But Lethal’s Genji came through again, putting in loads of damage and pressure until the defense fell. A messy fight on Point B found Lethal cleaning it up again, placing Ireland on the back foot on Point C. Their backs against the wall, the Irish forced out an early Transcendence, but were stymied in the rest of their defense. Turkey found the yellow box of victory and took a 3-2 win on the map.
Ireland 1 – Turkey 2
Going onto match point, the chosen map was the Push map Colosseo. Ireland once more brought out the Ramattra rush comp. Turkey changed things up to go with Sombra, Genji, Ana, and Brigitte, with a Junker Queen to round out their hyper-aggressive composition. The Junker Queen provides a lot of speed and burst, but the lack of shielding and protection came back to bite Team Turkey. After Ireland found early control, Turkey gained their composure and was able to synchronize to hack and burst down important targets. But just before they were able to take the lead, Ireland seized back control.
Each team showed their best, alternating fight wins and control of the robot. Turkey hit some major EMP-Rampage combinations, but Ireland found a long period of control and took the robot to 119 meters. Lethal tried his best and had a good showing on the Genji, but it was not quite enough to carry the team. Ireland chained together more fight wins to fully complete the map and even the series going into the final map.
Ireland 2 – Turkey 2
The final map of the series was the king-of-the-hill map Nepal. The first stage of Sanctum saw both teams running the Ramattra brawl comp. Turkey found the first fight win with their Lucio getting a couple environmental kills. With a lead in ultimate charge, they rolled the next fight before falling to Ireland at 65%. The teams traded blows for the rest of Sanctum but Turkey found the final cap and 100-83 win.
Moving to the Nepal Village, each team took Symmetra but Ireland also opted for Reinhardt instead of Rammatra. He provided that extra point presence and helped the Irish capture the point first. But then an accidental overextension gave Turkey an inch and they took the point back. They took control to 39%, but Ireland snatched the point back and took it all the way to victory, winning 100-39.
The final stage of the map and match point was the Shrine in Nepal. Instead of the brawl composition, Ireland chose a composition focused around Wrecking Ball. Each team also showed Kiriko for the first time, leading to more damage and less sustain. With more fights going back-and-forth and point control swapping hands, it was Turkey that found their footing and took a strong lead. Ireland finally turned things around but Turkey had 92% making the rest of the fights as must-win situations. They found those wins with some heavy dives, then Turkey brought out a Roadhog for the final fights. He found an early pick onto the Tracer, then cleaned up the extended fight using the Whole Hog to take the map win 2-1 and winning the series.
Ireland 2 – Turkey 3
Overall this match was as close as any match can be. Every map was decided by just one point, with both king-of-the-hill maps going to all three stages and being close to 99-99.
Turkey showed how the collegiate scene has helped them through their tank player, and they were able to keep their synergy going despite having to play with a substitute. Lethal brought dominance through his play proving why he is in the Overwatch League and just what he is capable of, especially on the Genji.
On the Irish side, there were a lot of good plays across every map. The team looked to work well together, being able to change rosters and compositions as the maps dictated without any issues. The meta may dictate which DPS and tank player will have to sit out, but as shown today the maps also have a say as to when to rotate in PureIrish, Faith, or Synex.
This match was an opportunity for each team to showcase their rosters and what to expect from them in the tournament. And though Turkey narrowly had the upper hand in this bout, Ireland will be looking for revenge in the official World Cup matches.
To keep up with Team Ireland follow Celtic Wolfhounds Twitter and for all our streams follow Irish Overwatch on Twitch.