Overwatch League: Week 8 Reactions
Overwatch League has gone online for week 8 of the season. Despite a fair amount of hiccups, things went over marginally well given the shift. There were a few lag spikes early on and the broadcasts got shaky at times, but shout-outs to the production team for trying to smooth it out as much as possible given how little time they had to put it all together. As for the games, we finally got to see the Chinese teams play as well as some other teams we haven’t seen since week 1. So, let’s get into it.
Shanghai Dragons: Middling
All things considered, the Dragons had a pretty average performance this weekend. They won their first match against the Charge 3-0 before dropping their next game to the Hunters 0-3. A consummate .500 performance. As far as the actual games go, I at least like Shanghai’s new look. Obviously, Fleta is a pretty huge pickup for them, but I also like the combo of Stand1 and Void as their tank line. I think they still have a few kinks to work out with the support line, namely Leejaegon. He had a fair share of head-scratching plays on the Baptiste. Overall, they looked fine, but so did a lot of other teams this weekend record-wise. And in the Overwatch League, I don’t think fine is really going to cut it in the long-term.
Hangzhou Spark: Hmm…
One thing I have to compliment the Spark for is that they ultimately didn’t fall into the Hunters’ trap. They turned it around against them and then went back and forth with Guangzhou. I’d say them winning matches cleanly was probably their biggest issue this weekend. They practically just gave up maps at times to both the Charge and the Hunters. It’s like they just take maps off. It’s still early for them and the rest of the Chinese teams, but Hangzhou, as well as Guangzhou, look like the two anomalies of the Chinese teams so far in the Overwatch League.
Chengdu Hunters: Welcome Back, Hunters
There’s just something beautiful and baffling about the way Chengdu plays. I don’t think any other team in the Overwatch League exudes as much character just in the way they play alone. When the Hunters commit to a fight they commit. All caution to the wind, ultimate economy out the window. You could argue that they are the most mechanically gifted team in OWL. When the dive works, it pays dividends.
Sometimes Jinmu just gets 4 kills with the dragon blade. Other times, he’ll run the blade into the opponent’s Brig and be instantly punished for it. Ameng is completely bonkers on the Wrecking Ball, squeezing every bit of value from the hero even when he’s running it into all of the CC in the world. Yveltal had some pretty nutty valkyries against the Dragons. He gives Jinmu credence to play like an absolute lunatic on the Pharah because he knows the Mercy’s got his back with the resurrect, regardless of where he dies half the time. This sometimes just gets his Mercy killed as well though.
This team is like mashing buttons in a fighting game. You think if you just play a calculated style and counter the mashing, you’ll win, but make just one mistake and the masher gets away with the mashing. I don’t know any other way to describe it. It’s possibly the most tilt-inducing way to play. In short, the Hunters are a bunch of nutcases that live life on the edge and die by their rather poor decision making. If you aren’t careful, you’ll find yourself playing their game and they will promptly take your team’s lunch. As entertaining as watching Chengdu play is though, I still do question how far this style of play will take them this season. We’ll have to wait and see.
Guangzhou Charge: Interesting…
So, as I said, Guangzhou is the other anomaly of the Chinese teams. They definitely have practically mastered the art of the extended fight. I’m unsure how much this says about the team itself or the teams they’re playing. But when a fight starts, there’s a good chance it’ll last for a while. And at that point, it feels like they’re relying on someone to make a big play which is very much a risk/reward style of play. What’s crazy is that they do kind of have the personnel to do it.
It’s just sometimes any one of those players can make a silly decision here and there. Especially in the Hangzhou game where there were just some things that made me go “What?” or “Oh no,” like when Nero on Mei got taken out by Guxue on Orisa out of nowhere in map 1 or when Cr0ng got de-meched as D.Va out of nowhere on map 4. Happy on the flank misses the opportunity on Hanzo to take out Bebe on Zen before Godsb bops him. Of course, as for every Chinese team, it’s still early, but the Charge definitely has some things to clean up if they want to contend with the rest of OWL.
Toronto Defiant: Ya Didn’t Lose
I really don’t have much to say about this team right now. This wasn’t really a benchmark game for them or anything. I guess they looked better, I suppose. But Jerry looked good too which is something that practically didn’t happen against a team like Philly. It often took multiple resources just to shut Jerry down at times for Toronto. Against Philly, it literally only took Carpe. On top of that, they gave away map 3.
This match wasn’t El Clásico 2.0 or anything. It wasn’t nearly as entertaining to be that. Sure, there were some braindead plays here and there, but it was all mostly boring. The fact that the casters started talking about the quarantine currently happening right now instead of the game at hand is indicative of this. I’d argue it wouldn’t even have mattered who won and who lost here since either result proves little to nothing. This is the epitome of a throwaway game in the Overwatch League.
Boston Uprising: This Man Needs Help
For Boston, I don’t really have much to say about them either. They still have a good amount of the same issues they’ve had so far this season.
What I will say though, is that Jerry needs help. In the match against Houston, the guy started out as a meme. Personally, I don’t think he’s amazing or anything, but he’s certainly proving himself to be the best player on this Boston squad. On any other team, I’m sure he’d make a fine damage player that could help them get some solid wins.
In Boston though, it’s painfully obvious it’s not enough. Let me be clear here. Jerry is NOT Allen Iverson. He’s not the answer. I think he can certainly be part of the answer, but he ain’t solving all of Boston’s problems. The man desperately needs help. The fact that he keeps getting singled out as that guy for Boston is proving to be more harmful than it is a real benefit.
Seoul Dynasty: Well-Oiled Machine
The Dynasty is looking really good right now. They’re the only team that walked away with 2 wins this weekend. They also played pretty strong-looking teams right now, lending more credence to their legit-ness. The Valiant and the Gladiators aren’t exactly scrub teams, nor are we unaware of what they’re capable of so far this season. The Dynasty just looked crispy clean. They made a lot of their team fight wins look effortless, which is a testament to just how well all 6 guys on the field are playing. Fits looked practically untouchable at times. Marve1’s Sigma was excellent. Bdosin was always liable to frag out on Zen. And I don’t even need to mention Profit. Seoul looks ready to shake things up in OWL.
Los Angeles Valiant: The Battle For LA Is Gonna Be Good
KSP and KSF are getting to be one of my new favorite damage duos in the Overwatch League. They have a pretty nice gimmick of sporting similar handles. So when you see them trading frags in the kill feed it makes you want to say both of their names just to be safe. The damage players have a pretty solid squad behind them as well, but I think both Los Angeles teams were possibly the hardest ones to assess this weekend. They both won and dropped games to the same teams in similar fashions no less. Both of those teams aren’t pushovers either. You could put an asterisk next to San Francisco, but overall, the Valiant ended this weekend on a nice high note. Their performance has me excited to see what they’ll do when they actually match up against the Gladiators.
Los Angeles Gladiators: Records Can Be Deceiving
Fitting that the Gladiators had almost the same performance against the same teams as the Valiant. With that said, I do think the Gladiators have a slight edge in the comparison. It is really hard to tell though considering both teams’ results, holistically, are so incredibly similar. Both squads are pretty solid all-around. I wouldn’t say either team is particularly weak in any one position.
Against Seoul, you could maybe argue that OGE made a couple of boneheaded plays on Eichenwalde, but overall I thought he was pretty solid. It’s been nice to see Birdring getting back into his comfort zone again. The support line is always a beautiful thing to watch for this team. And Space is probably one of my favorite flex tanks in OWL. You can put this dude on any tank in the hero roster and he’ll get it done for you. The Glads have always been an interesting squad to me, and despite their current losing record, I think they look good so far this year.
Florida Mayhem: You Weren’t The Worst
Here’s the bright side to the loss against Atlanta: At least you weren’t utterly humiliated. Out of the Mayhem, Defiant and the Uprising, the Mayhem at least looked like the most competent team. Atlanta took both the Defiant’s and Boston’s lunch money, kicked them down the stairs and then told the teacher that they slipped and disgustingly got away with all of it. At least the Mayhem stood up to the bully, even if they still got stuffed into their locker.
Seriously though, aside from Paris, obviously, the Mayhem by far has had the best outing against Atlanta. It may have not resulted in a win, but it’s something. It at least somewhat solidifies to me that the Mayhem is probably the best team out of the two others right now. With how much parity OWL has right now in just the first few weeks, it’s nice to see a little bit of consistency.
Atlanta Reign: Still Waiting…
So, Atlanta’s had a pretty easy schedule so far. If the Overwatch League schedule hadn’t gotten reworked we would’ve seen them play New York by now. As of now, Paris was the only team that’s given them a real challenge. Every other team they’ve faced so far hasn’t really been benchmarks or anything, so it’s still hard to tell how good they actually are. We can at least confidently say they aren’t bad. And all things considered, they look good, sure. Hell, I think they gave up more than they really should have to the Mayhem in this match. Until they start getting some meaningful wins under their belt though, Atlanta’s otherwise cruising on easy street right now. This is fortunate for them, but how good you are is defined by your competition and Atlanta has had little to none so far.
San Francisco Shock: Looking A Little Human
The Shock probably had the most surprising result this weekend, losing both their matches to the two other California teams. I think the biggest takeaway from both matches is how the Shock is looking to manage their wealth of talent going forward. They probably had more subs in one game than any team had all weekend between Super, Sinatraa, Smurf, Architect, Ans, and others. Some of them even subbing into multiple roles. I’m curious as to how much this helps and harms them. Sure, it’s good to get all of your players some PT, but you have to ask how that affects each player. I doubt anyone can get completely comfortable when they’re all playing musical chairs throughout a whole match.
You could say we’ve already seen the effects of this with Sinatraa and Striker at times, especially in that Valiant match. Striker had a few moments that looked kind of shaky to me, namely on Dorado when KSP was hounding him down on the Tracer. There was a moment where KSP was literally daring him to hit a headshot and he couldn’t before KSP promptly chased him down. Maybe they’re still experimenting, trying to find the right lineup and game plans that work for them. It was only the second and third games for them. But considering they’re the only team this weekend that went 0-2, they better hope they figure things out fast.
What did you think about this week’s Overwatch League games? Leave your comments below!
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