Image via Blizzard Entertainment
Just like folks with “regular” jobs, every professional in competitive Overwatch has had an unlucky day at the office. These normally result in a few missed shots or a couple of mistimed ultimates and, hopefully, those mistakes don’t linger in the minds of viewers for more than a few days.
In the unfortunate case of former Overwatch Contenders player Ajax, his worst day of competition resulted in one of the most commonly used terms in the Overwatch League, especially during the 2022 season.
During the 2018 Overwatch Contenders season, Fusion University and ATL Academy were two of the biggest powerhouse teams in North America. The two teams faced off in a first-to-four grand finals in the third cycle of 2018. ATL Academy included future Atlanta Reign tanks Gator and Hawk as well as young guns like Saucy, Sugarfree, and the team’s Lúcio specialist, Ajax.
ATL was up a map against Fusion University and both teams were four maps into a grueling series by the time they hit Control map Busan. In an ultra-competitive first round, ATL was close to taking the lead, but Fusion rallied after the opposing team hit 99 percent. All ATL needed was one final push, bolstered by a Sound Barrier from Ajax.
Midway through casting the ultimate, Ajax was eliminated by Fusion University’s players, and the latter team took the first round.
One mistimed ultimate cost ATL the round, but they were confident they could rally back for the rest of the map. Unfortunately for Ajax, that wasn’t in the cards for him; he was then eliminated midway through the cast of his Sound Barrier another two times during the next round of Busan.
Fusion University later went on to win the series and the “Ajax beat” was born.
Since then, an “Ajax beat” has referred to any time a Lúcio player is eliminated before they can successfully cast Sound Barrier (also known as “beat”) to the rest of their team. This has evolved over the past few years, often being shortened to a simple “Ajax” that can be used as both a noun and a verb. For example, a player can “have an Ajax” or “Ajax the beat.”
This has been especially relevant during the 2022 OWL season, where the introduction of Junker Queen and other fast-paced heroes in Overwatch 2 makes it infinitely more likely that a Lúcio can be eliminated or interrupted during their ultimate cast time.
Casters and analysts have also widened the definition during the 2022 season, referring to interrupted ultimates from many heroes—like Sojourn and Brigitte—as an Ajax. Houston Outlaws DPS-turned-tank Danteh even coined the phrase “Queenjax” after a match on Aug. 28, referring to Junker Queen’s Rampage ultimate getting interrupted.
Ajax retired from professional Overwatch in late 2019, but his legacy—albeit not a very complimentary one—has unintentionally lived on in the Overwatch League.