Overwatch League: Week 14 Reactions

Week 14 saw the return of some dive in the Overwatch League. While some teams gravitated toward Winston/D.Va composition, some still continued with the Sigma/Orisa route. I think this is a bit of an interesting dichotomy; dive vs. bunker.

We’ve seen it before in earlier weeks, but it sort-of feels like teams this weekend was mostly taking the mirror of either of those compositions. They weren’t explicitly pitting the two different compositions against each other. For instance, we saw Philly/Dallas mirror dive against each other. In the very next match, San Francisco/Toronto mirrored bunker the majority of the time. Maybe it was the map pool, maybe it was the teams. Whatever it was, let’s get into it.

Shanghai Dragons: Still The Better Team

After giving them a 3-0 sweep in their first matchup, the Dragons drop a 5-map series to Seoul this time around. Despite this, the Dragons are still currently the best team in their region. It’d be different if they got rolled in this series, but it was very back and forth from map to map.

I think Leejaegon is still trying to find the right timings on when to be aggressive and when to be a bit more passive. He often gets caught out on an island probably more than most other Lucios in the Overwatch League. Bdosin was giving him some good punishes throughout the whole match. Other than that, Shanghai played a good game, Seoul just happened to be in the meta that favored them this week.

As for the Hangzhou match, well, at least that one went like expected.

Seoul Dynasty: You Showed Up

The Dynasty got their revenge on the Dragons after they gave them a pretty humiliating defeat a few weeks ago. Their first loss of the season no less that subsequently lead to their second and third. So, this is a pretty big win for them.

But there are still some glaring questions for this team going forward. Namely, they’ve only really looked competent in metas that heavily feature Orisa/Sigma compositions. This is strange considering that Gesture is most well-known for his Winston. So, does this team just genuinely not remember how to play dive or something?

It’s been a while since dive has really been all the rage in the Overwatch League. Teams have probably become more accustomed to playing slower, more poke-oriented comps. that focus on all six players staying in a pack together more often than not. Still, those kinds of compositions aren’t what’s always going to be hot from week to week. In fact, dive popped up again just this week. You basically need to look competent in any composition to survive. You don’t have to be great at all of them, but you can’t look utterly horrible either. The better teams in the Overwatch League so far have proven that they can at least compete with any composition against any composition. Right now, Seoul does look a little more comfortable in compositions that allow them to pick and choose when they want to be aggressive and not in ones that practically require them to be aggressive to succeed.

This is something they absolutely have to sort out going forward if they haven’t already. Either that or just hope they can play double shield for the majority of the rest of their matches.

Chengdu Hunters: Hunters, Please…

This team is very much becoming a ‘Which version of this team shows up’ kind of team in the Overwatch League. I just don’t know about this team anymore. They’re possibly the biggest enigma in the Overwatch League currently right now. It looks like this team doesn’t even know what it wants to play sometimes.

The only thing that’s been consistent about this team from week to week has been the individual mechanics. Sometimes the teamwork looks competent and this team is making sound decisions. Other times the resource management is still awful, everyone’s just kind of doing their own thing and they’re just going. Sometimes this team throws everything into chaos and it works out for them. Other times it just doesn’t. Sometimes this team wants to play more reserved and passive and it works out for them. Other times it just doesn’t. There’s no game plan, there’s no coordination, there’s no nothing. It’s like the calls are ‘Do this now then just do another thing later for no reason.’ That’s not really adapting. That’s just being spontaneous, and teams are getting wiser to it every game. You can’t win consistently relying on such inconsistent factors.

But I think the worst part about it is that their identity is still kind of cracked. More than anything, I just want Chengdu to pick one thing and stick to it. I don’t care if it still doesn’t net them wins at that point. They don’t look like they even have a foundation right now, and that’s never going to get you wins period. So, please, Chengdu, if you want to start playing more passively and reactively, fine. If you want to be your old chaotic selves, fine.  Just please pick something you’re genuinely good at and let it remain the core of this team.

London Spitfire: Welcome Back, Spitfire

It’s been a long time since we last saw London play in the Overwatch League. Since week 4 to be exact when they went 5 maps against both Houston and the Mayhem. With possibly the longest break that any team has had so far this season, even London seems wise to Chengdu. It was a pretty easy win for this squad over the Hunters. I also thought that Although looked really good on Mei this weekend. Previously, we’ve only seen Schwi on Mei for London. While it’s too early to say whether Although is better, this small sample size at least shows that he’s got the icicle aim down to a science.

Against Guangzhou, I didn’t think it was too bad of a loss for them. They played well and gave the Charge a run for their money on basically every map. Glister even outperformed Happy on Junkertown in the Widowmaker matchup, no doubt contributing to that map win. Guangzhou was just the better team throughout the series as a whole. Overall, a fine return to play for this team and I look forward to seeing Glister put in more work.

Guangzhou Charge: Looking Good

The Charge continues along their incline in the Overwatch League this week and now they officially have a winning record. Their competition hasn’t been easy all the time, but they’re proving that they have what it takes to hang against some stiff opponents. With solids wins against both London and New York, the Charge’s individual player skill is really starting to mix with a solid amount of team play well.

I have to give special shouts to the frontline. Rio and Cr0ng played very well this weekend, especially against a matchup like Mano and Hotba. I think Cr0ng denied two or three blizzards throughout the weekend. It may have been more. It was just very solid tank play from them all around. I think this team has shown the most improvement in the Asian region since they began playing.

New York Excelsior: Umm…

Is it just me, or has New York looked… off lately? Last week was already strange enough, but then they lose 1-3 against the Charge this week. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be the first to say that I think Guangzhou is fully capable of beating New York, but the Excelsior has just not looked like themselves as this season has gone on.

I just can’t quite put my finger on what the issue is though. Looking at this match though, there are possibly a couple of culprits you could point to. Perhaps it was the wonky offensive composition choice on King’s Row? Or perhaps the team is still struggling with knowing when exactly to get aggressive as displayed on Temple of Anubis? Or maybe the frontline just had an off-game? It seemed like Mano and Hotba were losing the matchup against Rio and Cr0ng more often than not. Mano was often the first death in several team fights. Mano, in particular, has had a bit of a shaky season so far. In each of New York’s 3 losses, he’s either been outplayed in the tank matchup like in this match and against Philly, or he’s made some critical mistakes like the hard feed in map 5 against Shanghai.

The Excelsior is still a solid squad, but consider this: Their 3 losses have been against teams who are or are turning into top-quality teams. Meanwhile, their 8 wins have been against teams who were struggling at the beginning of the season or are just plain bad now, except for perhaps London, whom at best is just around average currently. Even then, who’s to say London couldn’t take New York to 5 maps now? The Mayhem and the Charge have been on an upswing as of late, while it seems like the Excelsior has otherwise stayed the same, more or less.

Paris Eternal: Give Me A Hint?

Despite the win, my claim of this team being streaky still stands. In fact, I think it’s more evident than ever. And I think it might have to do with the meta each week, slightly. More importantly, I think it has to do with their competition and especially the map pool. It’s a small sample size, but for whatever reason, this team just crushes on Junkertown. The 4th best time on attack they said during the broadcast. After previously setting the top record on that very same map against Philly in week 4. It’s like who needs Xzi, right?

I also don’t think this team looks explicitly awful in any meta. I mean, dive or double shield works for this team. It’s just that both of those compositions don’t work for them all the time. But then that doesn’t mean that Nosmite or Hanbin can’t carry a team fight on Winston and D.Va. They did it in this match and against Philly occasionally in their last match. The only thing I can point to is the language barrier on this team screwing up the calls sometimes. Sometimes the calls are on-point in a match, sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes someone on this squad makes a huge individual play, sometimes they don’t. And they basically live and die by these two factors in addition to the meta and map pool. That’s the only thing I can surmise. That’s the only way my brain can rationalize this Overwatch League team currently.

Los Angeles Gladiators: Just Forget About It

To be honest, I don’t really know what to say about the Gladiators. My perception of them hasn’t really changed or anything after this match. I suppose I’m just a little surprised that they dropped this match the way they did, but also not surprised given the type of team Paris is. I suppose the outcome of this match mostly depended on which Paris team was actually going to show up and the Glads just couldn’t really keep up this time. But it isn’t like they played badly. This feels like one of those rare games that you just wipe from your memory if you’re the Glads. If a thing or two had gone differently in some of those last minutes fights, maybe this series is completely different. At any rate, this is a series I think they should have no trouble looking pass.

Washington Justice: Good Farewell Present

It’s pretty serendipitous that the Justice’s last match to feature the fan-favorite Stratus would result in a win. It seemed like all the stars had aligned for this win as well. A new-look Titans squad coupled with a meta that is very Sombra-heavy. Stratus has shown earlier this year to have a very electric Sombra and it did not disappoint in this game.

This match was long and messy. Maps seemed to go on forever because it felt like both teams could only ever make a good push once overtime started. The Justice’s saving grace was Stratus’s Sombra more often than not. He was very much outperforming Tsuna on the hero throughout the majority of the match. His EMPs often lead to cleaner team-fight wins. It was the perfect way to see himself out of the Overwatch League. Though, with both Stratus and Corey out of the roster now, the Justice will have to find someone to fill that second damage slot. Losing players is never great, especially for a team that’s been struggling like the Justice. This is a nice win to get the team started on the right track though.

Vancouver Titans: Big Shoes To Fill

So, a big legacy has somewhat been unfairly thrust upon this entirely new Titans team. It’s understandable, but still kind of unfair. The saving grace is that the old roster only played 4 games so far this season. So, this new squad just inherits a .500 record. I’m not exactly sure of the specifics of why the old squad broke up, and honestly, I don’t care. I’m honestly more concerned with the fact that they looked like your average joe-schmoe team in their last couple of games before just throwing up peace signs. So, who’s to say the old Titan squad wouldn’t have ended up looking just as average throughout the rest of the year as this new squad is now? Just a thought.

Anyway, the first thing this new squad needs to do is earn some respect from the rest of the Overwatch League. It would be in the players’ best interests to do that ASAP. It was absolutely revolting to see a team like Florida display no respect, and as much BM’ing as they did in their match just because this is an entirely new Titans squad that has yet to prove anything. This team can currently win team fights. They won one map this weekend even, but they need to win a match against at least an average team to earn that respect. It might take a bit depending on who they face, but that’s probably priority number one for this team after that Florida game.

Houston Outlaws: Muma Is The New Sado

Criticism of Muma on the main tank in the Overwatch League has been pretty widespread this season, similar to how criticized Sado was last season. Now, do I think it’s all deserved? Maybe, maybe not, but I do think that it’s indicative of something that a player like Hydration can be subbed in for Muma and perform just as well as him.

There’s also still the issue with Blasé. As much as I would like to address his rather lackluster Sombra play overall, I really just want to bring attention to the end of map 2. He had plenty of time to come out of stealth mode and touch before overtime burns out and he just doesn’t. It’s like he wasn’t even aware that stealth has a buffer before you become active after leaving it in that situation.

The only other person that was even in the same area as him at the time was Meko and he was in all kinds of trouble. Blasé absolutely has to touch there and possibly even attempt to help Meko but he doesn’t. The Outlaws pretty much lost the fight either way, but that play from Blasé just screams lack of awareness to me. Literally, all of Atlanta was focused on Meko. There’s legitimately no reason why Blasé couldn’t have touched at least for a few more seconds.

Danteh tried his hardest, especially on map 3. I think the team started to play better around him once Linkzr and Hydration came in. Linkzr never really got the chance to pop off himself though. He was relatively quiet.

I just don’t know about this team. Their marbles just continue to be scattered all over the place and when they finally get one in line another one jumps out of place.

Atlanta Reign: Leveling Out

It seems like the Reign has really started to cool off lately. That Houston match was a lot closer than we’ve seen the Reign have against similar-tiered teams. It was still a 3-0, but it wasn’t exactly a roll or anything. I think this goes back as far as their match against the Justice in week 11. And I don’t really think it’s Atlanta getting worse or anything. Teams are just getting slightly better. Regardless of where they started, some teams have improved, some teams have gotten worse and some teams have stayed the same. Atlanta is looking to be one of those teams that have stayed mostly the same. It’s still enough to put teams like Houston away in three maps, but not as embarrassingly as they did to teams at the start of the season. Still, a 3-0 is a 3-0, especially against a team like Houston.

Los Angeles Valiant: Easy Win

I don’t really have much to say about the Valiant this time around. The competition doesn’t really warrant it all too much. The tank line looked great. Lastro and Rain were solid and Shax and KSP seemed to sync up really well. Maybe a few missteps here and there for naturally not taking their opponent too seriously, but an easy win is an easy win.

Boston Uprising: First To 10

Yup. Boston is now the first team to reach 10 losses in this Overwatch League season. To be fair, Washington was also on the chopping block this week. But they lucked out against a new-look Titans. Boston wasn’t so fortunate… That’s about it.

Hangzhou Spark: At Least The Supports Showed Up

This match essentially went the way most were probably expecting it to. Hangzhou got a little bit done here and there, but it was mostly a shutout for the Dragons. But seriously, what kept the Spark in it most of the time was their support line. Bebe and especially IDK on the Mercy of all heroes were just making a lot of ballsy plays. The rest of Hangzhou was a little lackluster. The coordination wasn’t always there. Godsb on Sombra was a really weird choice. I suppose it was just to allow Adora to flex onto Echo when needed? They were both pretty average this game all around. Guxue had some nice plays on Winston, but it wasn’t enough against the solid team play of Shanghai. This team as a whole just continues to show little genuine improvement going forward in the Overwatch League.

Dallas Fuel: Well Played

This team has a lot of good going for it. It just feels like its missing that little extra push to really send it over the top. Nobody is really questioning the damage duo for this squad. I think Doha and Decay are what we were expecting Corey and Stratus to be coming into this season for their respective teams. I honestly think Doha had a better Sombra game overall compared to Heesu. His EMPs were more impactful or at the very least the rest of Dallas was ready to follow up on a specific target once the EMP came out. Carpe and Decay were more or less even in the Tracer duel. The majority of this game just came down to small compositional differences at times during the match, time banks, and small positioning errors.

I also want to point out that I think Dallas had some great resource management throughout the series as far as their ultimate economy goes. They were really keeping up with Philly in the ultimate game pretty comfortably. I’m sure this was at least partly due to Doha’s more efficient Sombra play. Overall, Dallas played well. It’s just when the maps came down to the must-win fights, the Fusion just out-mechanic-ed or outplayed them more often than not.

Philadelphia Fusion: Well Done

I’m going to cut Philly a break this week considering that the Fuel is at least a team that has proven they don’t go down that easily, even against teams like the Shock. They also comfortably closed this game out in 4 maps. This team hasn’t closed a game in 4 maps since week 3 against New York. It’s either been 3 maps or 5 maps.

Regardless, I think the number one thing I want to highlight for them in this match is the playstyle adaptation they displayed. Both teams were more or less running mirror compositions throughout the series. When either team didn’t take the mirror at any point, it got a little rough for them. For Philly, it was literally just forcing Alarm on the Ana a few times instead of keeping him on Moira. Whenever Alarm was on Ana, Dallas practically ate him alive because that hero is such an easy aggro target in a dive meta. After map 3, Philly just kept Alarm on Moira the rest of the way.

This allowed the team to be aggressive a lot more as Alarm often charged his ultimate slightly faster than Crimzo in neutral fights. Also, slowly throughout the series, I thought Heesu started getting more value out of Sombra than what he was getting at the start of the series. Doha still outperformed him overall, but I think Heesu really started to clean things up toward the end.

I think this game is an example of adapting during a match without explicitly having to fully swap compositions at any given time. It’s not that things weren’t working. It’s just that they weren’t working all the time. That’s where those little micro-adjustments in the way you play, and not explicitly the hero you’re playing, can make a difference.

Toronto Defiant: That Was Rough

This match was by far the most entertaining one this weekend in terms of the number of silly things that happen in it. Unfortunately, most of those silly things were at Toronto’s expense.

As for Toronto, well, the game more or less still went the way every Toronto game has been going lately. They win the first control map and then drop the next three maps. Logix actually played more than just the control maps for Toronto this time around though. I don’t think the Defiant have put him in on a non-control map since possibly their first game against Paris? I could be wrong, but it’s been a while. To Logix’s credit, he showed up this match. I think he played well enough on every map on that McCree.

This match was just incredibly rough. It wasn’t even rough in the traditional sense of the losing team getting trampled. By all accounts, Toronto wasn’t trampled. They put up a fight in every map. They just couldn’t catch a break from all the insane plays the Shock were making every map. All of the stuff the Shock did from the huge boop by Moth courtesy of Smurf on map 3 to the perfect 2K bomb and 2K knockoff on map 1 courtesy of Smurf and Choihyobin to that ridiculous flank from Viol2t and Choi after an otherwise even team fight on map 2. There’s no way Toronto could’ve ever prepared for any of that. That was rough in the most ridiculous of ways that just make you want to pull your hair out if you’re Toronto. I’m going to cut this team a break this week because of it.

San Francisco Shock: Are You Serious?

This team seems to enjoy being on offense more than defense. The defense slowly got better throughout the series, but it felt like neither team wanted to play much defense in those first few maps.

What’s funny is that I honestly couldn’t tell if the Shock were taking this match seriously or not. Obviously, Toronto is a weaker team in the Overwatch League, so a team like the Shock might not take them as seriously as they should.

I’m mentioning this because even though this was basically the standard way a game goes for Toronto; it didn’t explicitly feel like they imploded. Toronto played well, even in tight situations for the most part. The Shock would just come up with some kind of off the wall play to put them over the edge. They only turned up the defense for real on the last map. It feels like they were mostly just letting their synergy and individual playmaking skills carry them through the match. I suppose that is being a little lackadaisical, and there was a lack of respect being shown for Toronto at times. But things got really sweaty at times too, especially on the 3rd and 4th maps.

It just seemed like San Francisco was always kind of riding the line between serious and not so much which I suppose they’re free to do. I just thought it was a little interesting.

Florida Mayhem: Slow Your Roll

I am thoroughly ready for this team’s hubris to come back and bite them in the proverbial ass, as it were. It was kind of cute in their last couple matches against Boston, but now it’s just annoying to watch them show such disrespect to bad teams when they’ve only just gotten above .500 last week. And to be fair, I’m not saying they shouldn’t be confident. It’s kind of the other team’s job to stop them from being so disrespectful. But showing as much BM’ing and disrespect as they have been in these last couple matches against bottom-of-the-barrel teams, or newly-formed teams when they were also a losing team just a couple of weeks ago doesn’t exactly prove or disprove anything about this squad, except that they like to annoy bad teams.

I’m ready to see them actually be challenged and take a match seriously. As good as they have looked these last couple weeks, they’ve also been really sloppy at times due to their competition. So, let’s hope that sloppiness isn’t an actual problem with this team when they match up against an actually good team. Whenever that happens… Oh, what the hell? They face Washington next week? Seriously?! This team is literally cruising on easy street right now.

What did you think about this week’s Overwatch League games? Leave your comments below!

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Follow James on Twitter @DatBlackGhost.

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