Dominance comes at a price. If you want to sit on any esports throne know that it will not be a comfortable seat. Harrisburg and Maryville found out the hard way just how quickly a reign can end. At HUE 2020, Northwood University put on a run in Overwatch that laid low three of the best teams in the land. Sneaking their way into the top 8s at the Harrisburg Invitational, they beat the host and defending TESPA champs. They dropped UT Dallas and Maryville as well, winning out from arguably the worst seeded position in the knockouts.
Under The Radar Talent
We were lucky enough to sit down with Northwood’s head coach, Cody Elsen, in the wake of their big win and asked him about what went into their preparations. With COVID still keeping may students away from campus, team building for any sport is a prodigious task. However, Northwood’s put together a hyper-talented squad, particularly at the DPS position through Tyler and Dynasty. Coach Elsen talked about how playing off-meta helped them clinch the win.
I mean, quite honestly, like there’s no secret the whole thing was pretty much played around EMP’s, the whole tournament. That’s literally what it was, was saving Ults using the EMP at the right time, wiping with coalescence. And it’s not really what they’re used to doing scrims or anything, but that’s I mean, that’s kind of treat it like ranked in like adapting, but it’s just adapting to what the other team’s doing versus trying to come out with some play.
I think everybody’s seen everything and Overwatch at this point where you’re not really going to surprise anybody right away, but you can adapt. Not necessarily countering the normal way you’d see something counter. I don’t think you necessarily see many people switch to an Ashe randomly. Like when? Yeah, like that against Harrisburg. I don’t think they expected us to pick Ashe. That was switched off of Sym, Ashe/Reaper just not really what they expected. And it worked.Northwood head coach, Cody Elsen, on what worked for them against the top teams.
Northwood University’s flexibility proved too much for Maryville to handle in the Grand Finals. They clutched out the win on an Ilios through their off-tank, Cowman, who dominated the map. Northwood’s win is their first at a major invitational and its a great start to the season. Coach Elsen says there are more additions to the roster to come as some players transition to coaching roles. We look forward to seeing more from this new power on the Overwatch Horizon.