In their first major tournament win since taking home $100,000 in the ELEAGUE/FACEIT Overwatch Open, Misfits took the $30,000 top prize at Dreamhack Winter 2016 this past weekend. Also finishing in the money with $10,000 was Fnatic and their now iddqd-less lineup and the two semifinals eliminations, Ninjas in Pyjamas and compLexity Gaming.
The group stage of DreamHack went about essentially as expected, the four favorites, MisfitsGG (#2 in GosuGamers Elo rankings), Ninjas in Pyjamas (#3), Fnatic (#6), and compLexity (#9) besting the four on-site BYOC qualifiers (mousesports, Team LDLC.com, UnWanted, and PENTA Sports) in dominating fashion. The BYOC qualifiers didn't take a single match during the group stages, the top four teams that qualified based on the NA or EU tournaments manhandling them en route to a 14-3 record in individual games.
Fnatic wasn't the only team with a newly remade lineup. Misfits also went to battle with a team that differed somewhat from the one that celebrated on TBS. The team's regular tank, Nicholas "skipjack" Rosada has returned since the Overwatch Open, which he missed due to an illness in the family. Promoted from a trial spot to a full-time position is Mikaël "Hidan" Da Silva, having been offered the job after his top-notch support performance in September. And the biggest change is the departure of flex Jonathan "Kryw" Nobre, with Anton "COOLLER" Singov signed as a support very recently, with Sebastian "Zebbosai" Olsson moving to take over Kryw's flex role.
Once more, compLexity came away just short of that team-defining tournament win, something that has eluded them to-date. compLexity has wins over a number of top teams, enough to place in the top 10 of the aforementioned GosuGamer rankings. But they've come up short in their major tournaments to date, from the BTS Overwatch Cup (fourth place as Team SoloMid) to falling out at the group stages at the ESL Overwatch Atlantic Showdown, to being eliminated before the Round of 16 at the Overwatch Open after being upset 2-0 by both Method and Rise.
compLexity got off to a good start against Misfits in the semifinals, holding Misfits for a long time at Temple of Anubis, but found themselves unable to take advantage, Misfits holding onto the final point by the smallest hair and clearing the field in overtime. When Jake "torkTJO" Lepoff had room to maneuver and take control of the battlefield, compLexity was able to hold off Misfits, most notably when they took Hollywood, but there weren't enough of these moments against Misfits, who eschew the tank-heavy meta choice to keep things more dynamic at the cost of additional risk.
Fnatic's tank-heavy strategy got the team off to a good start, Misfits unable to push Fnatic off the point in Anubis, spearheaded by Hafþór "Hafficool" Hákonarsonis's work with D.Va, displaying tremendous situational awareness. This strategy proved less effective in Map 2 in Nepal, with Misfits DPS use shining in the more tactically fluid control maps.
The theme of tank stolidness vs. aggressive DPS continued throughout the finals, right into Map 5 in Dorado. In the initial run-through, Misfits couldn't capture the second point, failing to find an answer and move Fnatic's tank-heavy lineup. And similarly, Fnatic also failed to capture the second point, where having to play a more open game on offense created a situation in which Misfits were most comfortable, Andreas "Nevix" Karlsson's Soldier 76 feasting on targets on the high ground from which Fnatic was unable to budge him.
Fnatic's offensive part of the tiebreaker fell short, Misfits suddenly stopping an aggressive Fnatic push just a few meters away from the second checkpoint. The story of the second part of the tiebreaker was Fnatic's attempts to keep Zebbosai's Widowmaker from wreaking too much havoc, which got off to a poor start with Zebbosai hitting a killer shot on Casey "buds" McIlwaine's Tracer in the early moments, despite a very narrow line-of-sight. Fnatic recovered quickly, using their three-tank formation to keep Zebbosai's successes from enabling Misfits to gain much ground.
However, when Matthew "coolmatt69" Iorio's Winston was finally taken out, Misfits used the opportunity to create a wild, chaotic situation that favored their lineup and strengths. With the opening for Nevix's Genji to go wild with the Dragonblade, Misfits got the momentum on their payload push which they never relented on their way to the win.
Misfits won a major tournament with a lineup designed to counter the tank-crazy meta in Overwatch. Success is contagious, and with plenty of upcoming events -- MLG's $100,000 Invitational in Vegas, Overwatch Team Story in China and Blizzard/NGE's Overwatch Winter Premiere -- we'll have ample opportunity to see if there is a cure for tank overload.