Few teams reach the summit, but those who do are remembered forever.

20:00, 08 Jul 2020

Overwatch is a jagged and brutal mountain that thousands have attempted to master, however, most quietly fail and drift into history as footnotes. Only five teams have planted their flag atop of a treacherous mountain and created a legacy that will be remembered through the game’s history. Only five legendary teams can call themselves proud owners of an era. While the criteria are loose, it’s difficult to objectively quantify hard and fast rules to define what an “era” is. With that said, the only rules that we’ve imposed are that a team has to have been considered the best for an extended amount of time, the team in question has to have played in the best region, and finally that eras can occur at the same time. These are the five great Overwatch eras.

 

The Team EnVyUs Era

Overwatch’s Five Great Eras
  • 1st - GosuGamers Overwatch Weekly NA & EU #11

  • 1st - Alienware Monthly Melee: June

  • 1st - Operation Breakout

  • 1st - OG Invitational

  • 1st - BEAT Invitational - Season 1

  • 1st - Alienware Monthly Melee: July

  • 1st - BTS Overwatch Cup

  • 3rd-4th - 2016 ESL Overwatch Atlantic Showdown

  • 2nd - Overwatch Open

  • 1st - Overwatch APEX Season 1 

  • 1st- Major League Gaming Vegas 2016

Length: June 4th, 2016 -  March 7th, 2017

After bringing on the core from IDDQD and reuniting with Ronnie "Talespin" DuPree, Team EnVyUs positioned themselves at the top of the food chain winning both the North American and European sides of the GosuGamers Overwatch Weekly.  The team would then go on to amass a winning streak of 57-0, easily one of the most staggering accomplishments ever in Overwatch, but Team EnVyUs made esports history becoming the first western team to win an international event on South Korean soil with their win at OGN’s Overwatch APEX Season 1. 

After the infamous departure of Talespin going into the playoffs of APEX Season 1, Team EnVyUs called upon Thai off-tank player, Pongphop "Mickie" Rattanasangchod, to fill in last minute. The pairing matched perfectly as he and tenured EnVyUs main tank Christian "cocco" Jonsson became the core to their massive frontline threat. With Reinhardt and D.Va secured, Finnish DPS player Timo "Taimou" Kettunen, who was easily one of the best hitscan players at the time, found himself on the Roadhog. This triple tank threat paired with Jonathan "HarryHook" Tejedor Rua’s surprisingly good Soldier: 76 put the enemy team’s under immense pressure which contained and stifled any form of aggressive push. This strategy continued to find success as the team travelled back to North America and dominated the competition at MLG Vegas 2016.

The EnVyUs Era was the first of its kind, however, after the team’s 5th-8th place finish during APEX Season 2, it was clear that Team EnVyUs were a good team, but their reign at the top was over. With the lights dimming on EnVyUs’ reign, this cleared the stage for South Korea to begin to take over. 

 

The Lunatic-Hai Era

Overwatch’s Five Great Eras
  • 1st - Overwatch APEX Season 2

  • 1st - Overwatch APEX Season 3

Length: December 17th, 20167 - October 6th, 2017

Before South Korea became the defacto best region in the world, Lunatic-Hai was a team that had shown potential but struggled to find consistent top finishes. With the context around how strong the team looked during the APAC Premier 2016 and in the group stage of APEX Season 1, Lunatic-Hai cemented themselves as a special team during the grand final of IEM Geyonggi.

With their victories at APEX Season 2 and Season 3, Lunatic-Hai were the only two time APEX titleholders. Both victories featured different lineups and different metagames which helps contextualize just how polished this team was. APEX Season 2 ended on a very traditional Dive metagame, which played directly into their wheelhouse for the most part. Genji prodigy Lee "WhoRU" Seung-jun had his comfort pick, the godfather to all main tanks Gong "Miro" Jin-hyuk piloted his Winston, and even main support player Yang "tobi" Jin-mo became a spearhead on Lucio. APEX Season 3 saw the blossoming of veteran in-game leader Kim "EscA" In-jae on the Sombra while Moon "Gido" Gi-do took over as the team’s main Tracer player. This team, at every position, was built to play Dive, but there sat a demon sitting in their backline, one that became one of the most recognized names in Overwatch.

Lunatic-Hai showcased our first glimpse at true star talent with their flex support player, Ryu "ryujehong" Jehong. His legendary Ana play would become was pivotal in his team’s title defence.  Often times, teams would crumble under the pressure that Genji’s Dragon Blade would put on them, however, Lunatic-Hai and namely ryujehong became incredibly good at either juggling the enemy’s Genji with crowd-control effects and with Ana’s Sleep Dart. Right as Genji players would dash into the air and receive their Nano Boost, ryujehong became synonymous with hitting them with a perfectly placed Sleep Dart and crushing the enemy team’s offence. 

Ironically enough, Lunatic-Hai’s end came at the hands of the final team to claim an era before the beginning of the Overwatch League.

 

A Stint in Busan

Overwatch’s Five Great Eras
  • 1st - Overwatch APEX Season 4

  • 1st - APAC Premier 2017

Length: October 10th, 2017 - November 4th, 2017

The last “best” team headed into the Overwatch League and the only team to walk the royal road during OGN’s Overwatch APEX league was GC Busan. The same team that brought the most important Overwatch duo of all time, Park "Profit" Joon-Yeong and Hong "Gesture" Jae-hee. The sword and the shield of GC Busan, Profit and Gesture pioneered the Tracer/Winston Dive combo and used it to topple the best teams in Korea at the time. 

After their repeat sweeps of defending champions Lunatic-Hai and their 4-0 sweep over Cloud9 KongDoo in the playoffs, it was clear we had a special team on our hands. While their resume is short, the strength of this roster warrants an honourable mention at worst and at best they could be considered to hold a short era from the playoffs of APEX Season 4 through to the end of the APAC Premier 2017. 

However, as the team was picked up by the London Spitfire that November, their era was cut short. They would have easily been favourites going into a hypothetical APEX Season 5 and while you could, and frankly should, give the players credit for winning Overwatch League Stage 1 and the 2018 championship, GC Busan did not. However, their influence left a last impression on more than just the history of the game, a notable portion of this enigmatic team still remain today in the Overwatch League. GC Busan was the last remnant of OGN’s Overwatch APEX and the harbingers of the Overwatch League and its upcoming diarchy. 

 

The RunAway/Titans Era

Overwatch’s Five Great Eras
  • 1st - Overwatch Contenders 2018 Season 2: Korea

  • 1st - Overwatch League 2019 Stage 1 Playoffs

  • 2nd - Overwatch League 2019 Stage 2 Playoffs

  • 3rd-4th Overwatch League 2019 Stage 3 Playoffs

  • 1st - Overwatch League 2019 Regular Season

  • 2nd - Overwatch League 2019 Playoffs

Length: August 11th, 2018 - September 29th, 2019

The perennial bridesmaids, the loveable underdogs, RunAway were a fan-favourite team. However, after their first win at Overwatch Contenders 2018 Season 2, the team would solidify their claim as potentially the best team in the world. However, there was only one problem; they were not in the Overwatch League. 

Their solution came by way of the Vancouver Titans, one of the new franchises the league added in its second season. RunAway was signed as a package deal and was whisked away to Los Angeles where they continued their run as the best team at that point with their impressive teamwork and aggressive style of play. With a core of players that found success in the past in a complete separate metagame, the RunAway core that made up the Vancouver Titans were incredible at the tank heavy GOATS metagame. 

First into any given team fight was main tank, Park "Bumper" Sang-beom, behind him sits a slew of talent that would decorate any kind of Overwatch Hall of Fame. The Titans boasted the incredible support line of Lee "Twilight" Jooseok and Kim "SLIME" Sung-jun, easily one of the best Zarya’s in the world at the time in Seo "SeoMinSoo" Min-soo, and on top of all of that sat legendary DPS ace, Kim "Haksal" Hyojong.

The RunAway Era started earlier than their entry into the Overwatch League, which should speak volumes about how strong the team was, but unfortunately ended at the 2019 Overwatch League Grand Finals as they were dispatched by their rivals, the San Francisco Shock, 0-4. We’ll never know what more RunAway could have done as the Vancouver Titans organization mutually parted ways with its legendary team in 2020. Perhaps the Titans could have continued their streak, as they did in the past. The death of the 2019 Titans was truly an end of an era. 

 

The San Francisco Shock Era

Overwatch’s Five Great Eras
  • 2nd - Overwatch League - 2019 Stage 1 Playoffs

  • 1st - Overwatch League - 2019 Stage 2 Playoffs

  • 2nd - Overwatch League - 2019 Stage 3 Playoffs

  • 2nd - Overwatch League - 2019 Regular Season

  • 1st - Overwatch League - 2019 Playoffs

  • 1st - Overwatch League - 2020 May Melee

  • 3rd-4th - Overwatch League - 2020 Summer Showdown

Length: March 24th, 2019 - Current

The final and current era belongs to the San Francisco Shock. This is a team that leads the discussion in terms of the greatest team of all-time. Being able to not only dominate the unchecked GOATS metagame but also win their 2019 title within the Role Lock framework, while also jumping into Hero Pools and winning the May Melee in an entirely new game, the Shock are unmatched at how flexible they are. 

The originators of the term “golden stage” after their spotless record, the Shock dominated during the regular season in Stage 2 of 2019 with a record of 7-0 in matches and 28-0 in maps. Previous to their upset at the Summer Showdown, this is a team that had not missed a final since 2018. 

Sharing similarities with the other members of Overwatch’s pantheon, the San Francisco Shock tout an incredible roster. With the best western main support Grant "moth" Espe, easily one of the best flex tanks in the world, Choi "ChoiHyoBin" Hyo-bin, and with the rookie hitscan stylings of Lee "ANS" Seonchang, the Shock continue to be one of the top teams in 2020. The Shock also housed 2019 MVP Jay "sinatraa" Won, who not only was a face for the team and the league as a whole but was an integral member of the roster in their championship run. 

 

 

Images via Blizzard Entertainment

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