It was a week of 3-0’s in the Overwatch League. Only two games featured more than 3 maps this weekend. Pretty boring from a spectator’s point of view, but it is what it is. The matches themselves weren’t complete snore fests though, all things considered. The losing teams often made it look interesting from map to map, but it never really felt like the winning teams ever lost control of the series. Not much else to say in terms of surprises in the meta and such, so let’s get into it.
Seoul Dynasty: Well…
I’m kind of unsure of what to say. This Overwatch League season has been full of surprises. Seoul performs basically how we expected them to against the Spark before Shanghai sweeps them pretty comfortably.
Overall, I think Fits had a pretty good weekend. Even in the Shanghai match, there were times where he found picks in losing fights. But the Dynasty just did not at all look like a well-oiled machine against the Dragons. The coordination and teamwork they displayed against Hangzhou were practically non-existent against Shanghai. This weekend was like day and night for Seoul. This was like week 4 Atlanta Reign-types of ‘What?’ in terms of the 180 in performance. They just didn’t look ready for the Dragons at all. This has to be a pretty big kick in the teeth for this squad. They’ll have to use this loss as a motivation builder and try to come back stronger next time because it was pretty ugly.
Shanghai Dragons: Well, That Was Easy
The Dragons have been really proving their worth in the Overwatch League so far in these last couple matches. I even dare say that Guangzhou actually had a better performance against them than Seoul did this weekend. At least the Charge scored more than one point against them throughout the entire match. That first map, in particular, looked like it could’ve gone either way for both teams. The Dragons basically ran away with the rest of the game though.
Still, it’s that Seoul game that’s the most impressive. Shanghai basically ran circles around the Dynasty. They looked quicker on the snap, sort-of-speak, throughout the entire match. I think my favorite moment of that match was the very end of map 3. It’s a scrappy fight on the payload as it’s on the verge of ending the game. Both teams are trading. Fearless dies on Winston and Leejaegon’s Mercy flies in with the resurrect.
Once the Winston is revived, Izayaki’s Ana dies and Leejaegon is hit with a fire strike and some spam damage, bringing him to critical health. There’s a bit of miscommunication between Void and Leejaegon as the Mercy flies over to her D.Va as the D.Va starts heading towards the Mercy to peel for her. This results in them just swapping places. At that point, Marve1’s Sigma is in a perfect position to kill the Mercy. If Leejaegon dies here, there’s a high chance Seoul stabilizes in this fight. Unfortunately, Marve1 overestimates the Mercy’s flight pattern with his hyperspheres and misses her by a Texas mile.
The Mercy then pops her ultimate, somehow finds an isolated and very low HP Fits and dives on him with her D.Va, managing to collect a melee kill on the McCree. Fleta’s Pharah makes her way back to the fight after dying early and the Dragons clean everything up and secure the map. It was an absolutely bonkers play from Leejaegon and it speaks volumes on just how outclassed Seoul really was in that game. Not only was the Dragons beating them when it came to pure teamwork, but they were also beating them when it came to individual play as well.
Leejaegon should have died in that fight, but he didn’t. Instead, he gets off an insanely ballsy revive and then secures the kill on the Dynasty’s most important damage dealer in that entire match. Just wow.
Guangzhou Charge: Hard Fought
The Charge was up against some stiff competition this weekend. I think they performed the best they could considering who they were facing. You would’ve maybe liked to steal a map here and there, but with every map they did lose, they at least made Shanghai and New York work for the win. These are the types of matches you come into knowing that there’s a chance you’ll be losing, but you play your hardest anyway. I think those are the perfect types of games that you can look back over to help you identify what went wrong and what could’ve gone better. So, I don’t think it’d be too crazy to say that these two losses might actually help Guangzhou later on.
New York Excelsior: Back At It
We haven’t seen New York play in the Overwatch League since week 5. Oddly enough, Chengdu couldn’t have been a better opponent for their first match back. The clashing of styles is the perfect kind of ‘welcome back’ test for them. Needless to say, they handled it beautifully. I mean, they didn’t even allow the Hunters to score a single point throughout the entire series. Guangzhou gave them a good run, but New York was firmly in control the whole time.
Shout-outs to Saebyeolbe. I thought his McCree looked much better this weekend than it had in the first couple weeks of the season. Mano was doing Mano things. Hotba looked pretty good on the Sigma and Jjonak was just an absolute monster on Ana. The bio grenades were huge and the sleep darts were disgusting. It looks like this team hasn’t missed a beat in their long break.
Chengdu Hunters: Just… Ughhhh…
Well, my greatest fears for this team are starting to become a reality. The fighting game strats. are starting to become ineffective against the teams they’re playing. There was maybe one moment in the entire series against New York where Chengdu sort of had them in their trap, but the Excelsior quickly settled down and eventually took the map.
Against Hangzhou though, I dare say their strategy actually started working against them. I mean, that play from Guxue on map 2 where he somehow pins Baconjack after being hit with Elsa’s flux while split off by the Mei wall was just head-scratchingly re-donk-culous. That play literally turned the entire series into Hangzhou’s favor from that point onward. It’s like the Hunter’s were so flabbergasted that Guxue managed to get away with that play, a play that normally Ameng would be getting away with, that they had absolutely no idea what to do with themselves. It’s like they just had their identity stripped away from them at that very moment and they never reclaimed it.
Seriously, when fights started getting messy, it looked like the Spark were actually out-Chengdu’ing Chengdu. And when Chengdu wanted to be slow and controlled for some strange reason instead of wild and messy, they were getting outplayed there as well. I can’t even put into words how catastrophic that is for this team. Chengdu is nothing without its chaotic identity. It looked like Hangzhou was actually making them tilted. I’d argue this was the biggest self-destruct a team has had this season. I cannot stress this enough. Chengdu is in an insanely dangerous place if teams can actually start beating them at their own game. They’ll need to do some incredibly deep soul searching after this going forward.
Hangzhou Spark: Good Job
Honestly, I don’t have much to say about the Spark. They got rolled by Seoul, which is fine. These things happen. But that Chengdu game… Kudos to Hangzhou for coming out and crushing it but Chengdu just looked like a mess…
After Guxue made that play on Paris, he looked like a Reddit Reinhardt for the rest of the match. He was literally doing and going just about anywhere he damn well pleased, on Reinhardt, and Chengdu did nothing about it. I can only imagine how much Guxue must’ve been laughing at his screen with some of the stuff he was getting away with on Reinhardt. He had to have been having the time of his life. So, good job, Spark. You somehow beat the Hunters at their own game. You possibly stripped them of their most important aspect: their identity. That’s an achievement in its own right.
Atlanta Reign: Hmm…
To be honest, I’m not really sure what to say about the Reign this weekend. With how the online schedule has been so far, we’re getting a lot of the same matchups between teams. Most of these matchups are coming back-to-back it feels like. While they are starting to get extremely stale, it’s at least interesting to see the wildly different results we’ve been getting in the short period we’ve been getting them.
I’m pretty sure this was not at all the result Atlanta wanted against Philly. Especially not after the game they just had against them just two weeks ago. They looked like the real deal in that game. A couple of weeks pass and now they look like a fish out of water? And it isn’t even like they played horribly or anything. The individual plays were there, and they won fights they should’ve by just having more ultimates at the time. The Fusion just sometimes won fights without even having to use a lot of ultimates.
Stuff like this is the reason I started this series though, so I can archive radically different results from week to week in the Overwatch League. It really helps put into perspective how teams are either improving or regressing from week to week. While I don’t think Atlanta has really regressed. It doesn’t look like they’ve improved all that much either.
Philadelphia Fusion: You’re Playing With Your Food
I don’t think a match goes by that I don’t worry about this team. That may just be because they’ve set such a high bar for themselves. And to be fair, they’ve been exceeding it. The playmaking ability that every single player on this squad displays is unreal. It’s crazy to me how much Carpe flanks and the rest of the squad can still hold their own in a 5 v. 6 a lot of the time. It’s even crazier how much value Carpe can get at times when he flanks. On top of that, it’s insane how little he gets punished for flanking. I think Babybay punished him maybe a couple of times. And even if he’s not flanking, Carpe can still find picks when he plays with the rest of the team.
Ivy’s still a silent killer on Mei. If Carpe can’t find anything, then more than likely Ivy catches a headshot or two on someone. Not to mention just how solid his wall usage and blizzards usually are. Sado always makes at least one or two plays on Reinhardt every game that just makes me go “wow…” in the best way possible. They practically make me forget some of the silly stuff he does during games sometimes because they seem so inconsequential now when paired up against all of the solid things he’s doing. Sado actually makes me laugh with him when he does something silly instead of laugh at him and then shake my head in disappointment. He’s currently my most improved player of the year.
Poko’s always been a consistent rock for this squad. And the support line. FunnyAstro never misses a beat on Lucio, literally and figuratively. Alarm is just an absolute beast. That sleep dart onto Pokpo at the very end of map 3 was just clutch as all hell. This was in a situation where Philly is retreating and all Pokpo is doing is trying to get back to the high ground to set up Atlanta’s defense again. Alarm basically hits that dart from across the freaking map. The ensuing collapse from the Fusion onto Pokpo was beautiful as well. You would’ve thought they practiced that play a thousand times. Sado charges back in at just the right angle for basically a max duration pin. Ivy puts up a wonderful wall just behind Pokpo to guarantee that the pin hits and Pokpo is instantly deleted by the follow-up damage.
It was a combination of on-the-fly individual playmaking and improvised teamplay that really solidifies the kind of synergy this squad has. Pokpo didn’t really make a mistake in that situation besides maybe not putting his shield up as he walks up the stairs, and Philly still punished him for it. I’ll always worry about this squad because I think they play with their food too much sometimes in matches. But every match gives me less and less reason to worry.
San Francisco Shock: Another Day At The Office
One thing you can’t say about the Shock is that they’re lacking confidence. Against the Valiant there was no shortage of BM’ing, mostly from Super of course. The game itself was alright, but it never felt like the Valiant had any real chance when looking back at it. So, I’d like to take this time to talk about the Shock as a squad.
As possibly Overwatch League’s first superteam last season, I think the Shock are making a case for themselves as being Overwatch League’s first villain team as well. Obviously, everyone wants to see the top dogs of last season fall off of their high horse. This is a given, and honestly, the Shock hasn’t really given people a reason not to think that. Not that they should. This is a competitive environment we’re talking about. A lot of the players on this squad do seem to be adjusting nicely to that league villain role though.
Even though Super was the only player tea bagging kills in this game, even kills that weren’t his at that, I think back to the Shock’s first game of the season against Dallas where Striker pulls a Reaper taunt on the payload in map 4 after a won team fight. The smugness might not always exude outward as heavily from other players on this squad as it does from Super, but it’s there. I’m sure there are several other examples you could point to as well so far this season.
This is largely the reason why I think a lot of people jumped to conclusions about the Shock after their losses to the Valiant and the Gladiators in the same weekend. Calling them overrated or worried about how good they’ll be this season. The Shock is a very polarizing team. People who are fans want to see them dominate. People who aren’t want to see them fall. It’ll be interesting to see how just the perception of this team develops as the season continues. I would very much like to see the Shock truly become the villain of the Overwatch League.
Los Angeles Valiant: It Makes Sense To Not Make Sense
Okay, so this game was kind of a weird one for the Valiant. After practically putting Ashe on the map just last week, this week the Valiant don’t touch her at all. Maybe they were aware that the Shock was going to take the Ashe mirror in the first map and so on so they just actively avoided it? We could speculate all day about the thought process of the Valiant going into this game. I don’t think it’ll get us anywhere though.
As for the game itself, I thought the Valiant did fine. The Shock didn’t exactly completely roll them on any map. The Shock just won the team fights they needed to win off the back of Choihyobin’s great Sigma play. Record-wise though, the Valiant are starting to stack up those losses quickly. The Valiant is a team that can play better than what their record says, but their opponents have been pretty tough. Though, I think you could probably say that about several teams in the Overwatch League so far.
Florida Mayhem: The Disrespect
As disgusting as it was to watch Florida embarrass Boston, this match proves nothing to me. It’s Boston. Even if Florida wasn’t on a bit of an upswing right now, they still would’ve beaten them. The amount of disrespect on display from this team in this match was revolting. Even on map 3 when Boston started somewhat punishing them for playing as recklessly as they had been all match, Florida still continued to play that way because they knew Boston couldn’t actually stop them long-term. Florida is officially a .500 team now. It’s good that they’ve managed to turn things around as fast as they did. But while Florida seems to have maybe taken a couple of steps forward, Boston has taken a billion steps back…
Boston Uprising: …
Houston Outlaws: It Was A Good One
All things considered; this was by far the most entertaining match this weekend. It really didn’t have much competition though. Only one other match this weekend went to at least 4 maps. I expected this game to be all over the place. Neither Houston or Dallas strictly play what looks to be the meta every week, whatever that means now.
There were still some mistakes here and there that they really could’ve cleaned up, but I think the most notable thing for me was Blasé on that Doomfist. He has a case for probably being the most annoying Doomfist in the Overwatch league right now. It’s probably pretty safe to say he’s also a Doomfist one-trick. He tried playing Mei early on the series and he got very little value out of her.
On Doomfist though, there were so many team fights where it looked like Dallas had it won, and then Blasé would come through and scoop up two kills out of nowhere. Meko also had some pretty nice plays. There were some signs of brilliance from this team throughout the whole game, but also some pretty egregious screw-ups. Both teams really could’ve used this win, especially with Texas bragging rights on the line. I’d argue Houston probably needed it a bit more though.
Dallas Fuel: That Was Sweaty
Dallas has been on an absolute roller coaster ride since online play started in the Overwatch League. They’ve 3-0’d teams. They’ve been 0-3’d by teams. They took the Shock to 5 maps in a sweaty game and now they did the same to their in-state rivals.
As far as this game goes, I honestly thought it was closer than it really needed to be for this squad, but perhaps that’s just me giving Dallas too much credit. I know that’s kind of harsh to say, but their last couple of games since online play started have been nothing if not inconsistent. As well as both sides played in this match overall, you can argue that Eichenwalde and Route 66 were practically thrown by the opposite team by silly mistakes.
I’m honestly surprised at how hard it was for Dallas to deal with Blasé’s Doomfist. Focusing Blasé on that final map is practically what sealed it for them for the most part. I don’t know. It just felt like the calls were a step too slow at times for this squad, on top of just the silly mistakes that were made by both teams that caused this entire match to get as sweaty as it did when it really didn’t need to be.
What did you think about this week’s Overwatch League games? Leave your comments below!
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