Meet Overwatch League’s Only Thai Competitor: Mickie of Dallas Fuel
As the Overwatch League kicked off in America, the game’s varied and dedicated fan base in Thailand began to get excited. For those who don’t know the title, Overwatch is an online FPS video game released by Blizzard in May 2016. Teams are divided into six interchangeable characters who must either defend or secure a point, escort a payload or a mixture of both. It soon took the esports world by storm, overtaking some old favorites such as Dota 2 and Starcraft to become the world’s leading multiplayer game. Blizzard, the developer of the game often supports world cup competitions and the recent Overwatch League that has this year become and international event with teams representing London, China and South Korea joining its ranks.
With its growing popularity as an esport, Overwatch’s Overwatch League (OWL) has now began its first Blizzard funded season this January 10th, continuing until July 2018. Despite most of the teams hailing from cities in America, there are now several teams representing London, Shanghai and Seoul by esport teams and video game companies that have connections to those countries, although based in America.
For Thailand, esports have been slow to get off the ground due to a number or funding requests being denied by government based sports originations. Thankfully, in 2016, the first Overwatch World Cup saw Thailand qualify and raise the funds to travel to America to compete at Blizzcon. Despite not reaching the finals, one member of the team stood out to the world as a pro.
Enter Pongphop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod.
After returning to Thailand from the World Cup, he was contacted by a South Korean team called Envy and invited to play the South Korean Apex Season 1. As a D.Va main, his quirky gameplay and quick reactions soon saw him targeted by a number of other professional teams in America. Some would even call him the first Pro-Overwatch player of Thailand.
In this year’s Overwatch League, Mickie joins Dallas Fuel, an original league team looking for some fresh talent. Talking to Herosneverdie.com, he said that “Overwatch League is the biggest tournament in my life and there’s gonna be so many people watching. I’m really excited to play in a big tournament and I feel like Overwatch League is going to be a real sport. I feel that even people who don’t play this game will understand and have fun watching it.”
For Overwatch fans in Thailand, the fact that Mickie is playing in the league has boosted interest and young semi-professional Thai Overwatch players have no doubt become inspired to aim high. Despite the fact that Thailand’s esport scene is quite limited, Mickie proves that there are still ways to break through and prove yourself to the world. He may even bring more eyes to Southeast Asia as the next hotspot for talented new esport gamers — be it Overwatch, Starcraft or Dota.
You can watch the Overwatch League live or catch up on highlights after the matches on the Overwatch League’s official YouTube account.