The Nexus Cup games saw all eight South Korean teams dominating and viewers got a good look at rosters both new and familiar. South Korea came in with a huge advantage, proving itself at the Overwatch World Cup and several competitive seasons of OGN APEX over the past year. After 24 total games in the group stage, all eight South Korean teams came out on top of each group, while all eight Chinese teams are at the bottom of the scoreboard.
One of the big surprises was how well Kongdoo Panthera fared. With a 3-0 sweep, the roster is working well with its handful of new players. With its core group signed to London Spitfire for the Overwatch League, its remaining players joined with the rest of Kongdoo Uncia to showcase cohesion and unity. While beating both LGD and LGE seemed easy for Kongdoo, the real test was its game against RunAway.
Unfortunately, RunAway's Park "Bumper" Sang-beom had to go to the hospital for chest pain. This saw the match in KDP's favor. A 3-0 from KDP is nothing to scoff at and the team will be joined by RunAway in the upper brackets, who also posted easy 2-0 victories over LGD and LGE. Something big to take note of however is how well LGD's Ou "Eileen" Yiliang played in all matches in the group stage, making him a must-watch for the rest of the tournament. His Genji and Doomfist made a powerful force, but it was not enough to help the rest of his team stand strong.
It was a welcome surprise to see upcoming APEX challengers Element Mystic and Seven rise to the upper bracket, taking down the Chinese teams in their respective groups. Meta Athena remains an enigma but it qualified for the upper brackets with a final win on the last day of the group stage. Meta Athena didn't put its members in a good spot especially with the shaky repulation Jeong "ArHaN" Weon-hyeop. While ArHaN was initially hailed as a top player in the world at the start of 2017, he's built up a bad reputation of feeding kills to the enemy team and being out of position. That did not change in the first two matches against Lucky Future and ViCi Gaming. Despite all that, the new Meta Athena roster shined brilliantly against fellow Korean team Foxes, securing a 2-1 score and an entry into the upper bracket.
With almost a completely new roster at hand, Lunatic-Hai was an unknown quantity. It certainly had star players such as Lee "Whoru" Seung-joon staying onboard (he is underage for OWL) while players like Jeong "Nenne" Yeon-kwan joined the team from LW Red. On top of that, Park "iDK" Ho-jin, former support of Afreeca Freecs joined forces as well. These players were joined by some newer recruits and came out of the Nexus Cup group stages with a 3-0 victory. Staying true to the legacy of its former glory, Whoru's Genji was certainly the star player of the group stages, with a meta that benefits his playstyle of running around all parts of the map to do his work.
The bracket stage will start tomorrow with a fantastic throwback matchup between RunAway and Lunatic-Hai. Even with different rosters, there's no doubt the rivalry will continue.