Ohio State Overwatch captured a tournament victory and $3,000 against Ohio’s best Sunday.
The competition, hosted at Game Arena in Hilliard, Ohio, included eight teams that played best-of-five matches on four different maps, giving a point per round to the winning team or a point to both teams in a tie.
“We’ve been preparing for this tournament for a long time,” team captain Lucas “resp4wn” Lumbra said. “We knew it was going to be very exciting, and we were hoping for some close matches. That’s exactly what we got.”
The Ohio State esports program has yet to hold tryouts for its official teams. The current team has been playing as the Scarlet Buckeyes, with the Buckeye Gaming Collective acting as management.
“Overwatch” is a team-based shooter game in which teams of six players pick from 31 “heroes” to comprise their team, which work against each other to complete various objectives depending on the map.
During the semifinals, the Scarlet Buckeyes faced the Akron Zips, the winner of the recent National Collegiate Esports tournament. The team faced Akron in the 2018 Harrisburg Invitational, where the Zips eliminated the Scarlet Buckeyes 3-1 in a match that decided who would advance to the top eight.
“We lost to Akron a very long time ago, at 2 a.m. at Harrisburg, and it was brutal,” support player Jim “Prosody” Bradcovich said.
That loss gave Lumbra a new motivation for the team, adopting the mantra, “We don’t lose to Akron.”
After two convincing Ohio State wins, the third game was at a standstill as the Scarlet Buckeyes attempted to capture a point on the map in order to advance to its next objective. Akron held its ground with two heroes, Pharah and Bastion, heavily on the offensive.
“That whole time, we were trying to fight the Bastion while getting blasted by the Pharah,” Bradcovich said. “It was like providing a lot of pressure from two different angles and really hard to deal with.”
Peeking out of a doorway, David “Aimer” Gao fired a “sleep dart” at Pharah as she flew over the map. Once it hit, she was unable to move and fell outside the playing area.
“I couldn’t see what happened at all, none of us could, because we were just waiting in the corridor,” Bradcovich said.
With one of Akron’s two damage dealers dead, Ohio State was able to push to its next objective. This momentum propelled the Scarlet Buckeyes to a 3-0 victory and the finals against Kent State, which defeated Ohio State 2-1 during group play.
The first round was a close loss in Kent State’s favor.
During the next map, the Scarlet Buckeyes repeated a new strategy they had tested against Akron just hours before. Ohio State held its points and went nearly uncontested for the win.
The Scarlet Buckeyes won their next match due to several key plays by Lumbra and Samuel “Samuel” Pierce. They allowed the team to capture more control points than Kent, leading to the series’ finish.
“We’re feeling amazing,” Lumbra said. “To come back and win 3-1 against a team that we lost 2-1 against earlier, that makes it even just a little bit sweeter.”
Winning the tournament also meant the team will receive commemorative jerseys from Game Arena.
Despite the win, Lumbra said the team can’t be the undisputed best team in Ohio until it takes down Miami (Ohio) in an official match.
“For us, an opportunity to play them will be the final check off of a list of Ohio teams that we’ve beaten this year,” Lumbra said. “They definitely have more to prove than we do when we eventually play them.”