Week 15 of the Overwatch League ends the qualifiers for the regional tournaments happening this month. This week featured a fair amount of dive once again. I’ll be honest though. It has been a little weird to watch teams run dive, for a lack of better words. It’s really starting to look like teams don’t really have a backup plan when dive stops working. They ultimately end up throwing maps away because of it. It’s kind of frustrating, and even a little sad. It’s the kind of stuff you expect from a crack team in ranked that just happens to find success with one, random strategy. Then once that one strategy stops working, the whole party instantly disbands. It’s tough to watch. Anyway, let’s get into it.
Seoul Dynasty: Is This Team Okay?
Well, I can’t say I’m all that surprised. Orisa out of the pool? No good for Seoul.
And you could tell things were starting to fall apart slowly for the Dynasty as the series against Chengdu went on. The first map was alright, but then they got held on point B of map 2 and then the offense on map 3… Again, it looked like this team completely forgot how to run dive, and then they proceeded to bang their head against the wall over and over. It was pretty awful. I don’t know what else to say. This team needs to figure out what to do when dive isn’t working for them.
Chengdu Hunters: Back On The Ball
Ameng really is the heart of this team. This is undeniable. It was reassuring, if anything, to see Ameng work on Wrecking Ball again. It didn’t exactly look good all the time, but it was still at least reassuring.
As I’ve said, I’m pretty indifferent about Chengdu’s record at this point. I just want to see them have a consistent playstyle from week to week. This week saw them really getting back to their old selves. While that Seoul match was more confusing for Seoul than anything else, the Guangzhou match was just a chaotic mess from start to finish. I don’t know if the Hunters are going to stick with the chaotic approach is what I’m ultimately afraid of. They don’t have to. I really just want to see them stick to something. This is just a good sign to see them going for what they know. Though that could change in their next match for all we know.
London Spitfire: Add Them To The List
Yeah, so you can go ahead and add London to the list of Overwatch League teams that just suddenly look like a different team from week to week. The constantly shifting hero pool affects all teams differently. Sometimes they benefit from it, sometimes it’s a detriment. Some teams are more or less consistent no matter what, but they’re still all affected in different ways.
For some reason, London just looked incredibly passive all weekend. To the point where it just looked like they were uncomfortable doing anything. If ever they got an advantage in a fight whether it was an ultimate advantage or they got the first kill, they just didn’t do anything with it. They wouldn’t get any value out of the ultimates they had when they had them and they just wouldn’t continue to press their man advantage after finding the first pick. It was super strange. This led to both Hangzhou and Shanghai walking all over them at times. It was rough to watch. All around, it was just a pretty poor showing from them this weekend.
New York Excelsior: Solid New York Win
I’m tentative to say that the Excelsior is back on track just yet. This win is a step in the right direction for them though. Against Hangzhou, I thought the tank play between Mano and Hotba looked much better than what we saw last week. Hotba’s been otherwise consistent, it was Mano I had a few questions about specifically. But it looked like they were in sync more often than not in this match. Libero had a pretty great Echo performance which I think might have been the biggest difference-maker. It seemed like he was just getting a lot of value out of his ultimate every single time he used it. It just felt like a classic New York win. Some standout plays here and there, but just some solid play all around.
Shanghai Dragons: And It Continues
I’m pretty sure Shanghai is probably a big reason why a lot of people were complaining about week-to-week matches carrying no real stakes with them outside of wins and losses in the Overwatch League. It’s a regular season, you’re going to get uneventful matches. It’s really the online restriction that’s holding everything back.
So, just another 3-0 from Shanghai as we sort of expect more often than not in their region now. I will say though that I think this match is a good example of how tough the Sombra life can be. It kind of makes me rethink the Sombra matchup Heesu and Doha had last week. Just a little. Lip seemed to have been having a bit of a rough go trying to line up EMPs. So did Glister on occasion as well. It looks like your average EMP these days in a dive meta is at best landing it on the enemy Winston and then bursting him down. And you’ll be lucky as a Sombra if you even survive after letting the EMP rip. Just an interesting little takeaway.
Houston Outlaws: Ya Love To See It
This should be Houston’s new permanent starting lineup. While I will say that the evidence may be a little bloated given the competition they were up against, it’s at least safe to say that the synergy in this lineup is probably the best out of any lineup Houston has fielded all year.
That mainly has to do with Hydration on main tank. I’ve been wondering if Houston was ever going to flex Hydration onto tank. Back when he played for the Glads, that team sometimes subbed him in on tank as well, so it’s not really as out of the ordinary as it may seem. His flexibility across different roles is the reason why he’s one of my favorite players. I was happy to see it in Houston’s last game as well as now. Hydration just looks like he enables the team and plays with them much better than Muma. No offense to Muma, especially since he has been Houston’s mainstay tank for the last few years now, but he has had some issues this season.
My personal issue with Muma is that he feels like the kind of tank that prefers to be the one making the huge plays all the time. This is something I don’t think this team needs out of their main tank all of the time, especially when you have such a great off-tank like Meko. I think Hydration feels a lot more comfortable in just helping to enable the other 5 players to succeed and not really trying to go for the huge shatters or primal rages all the time. His mechanics may or may not be on par with your average main tank player. I’m not too sure about that yet, but Houston just felt a lot more in sync with him on that role which I believe is what the Outlaws need more than anything.
Florida Mayhem: Another Easy Win
I’ve basically said all I’ve needed to say about this revitalized Mayhem team over the last couple of weeks. This match doesn’t really bring much new to the table. Even with the dropped map, it doesn’t really matter. As a spectator, I feel as ‘meh’ about the Mayhem as I did at the beginning of the season, but for completely different reasons now. It’s the type of ‘meh’ that I felt about Atlanta when they started playing. So, we’ll see what happens in this upcoming tournament.
Washington Justice: You Got A Map
So, for a team that just lost a couple of crucial players and thus had to integrate new ones into the roster on such short notice, the Justice performed better than I could’ve expected. Sure, they didn’t win, but they took a map off of Florida, which is something.
That Hanamura map, in particular, displayed a lot of good things for the Justice going forward. They just couldn’t keep it up throughout the series. I thought their decision making was pretty sound, and for a team with two new players being fielded after what I can assume was probably very limited practice time together going into this week, the teamwork was there. They just got outplayed throughout the majority of the series as a whole. Obviously, this new lineup still needs time to fit things together, but taking a map off of the Mayhem is a good start for them.
Los Angeles Gladiators: Yikes…
This match was definitely the biggest upset this week. It was probably the only upset this week as well, depending on how you look at things. I’m not even sure what happened to the Glads in this match. I just know that after having just lost to Paris last week, another loss to Boston of all teams is not what you were hoping for.
Credit to Boston for actually showing some improvement as a team for a change, but seriously, it really felt like Los Angeles just didn’t really have it together all series. Even in the maps they won, Boston still made it super competitive, which isn’t really what you want when these two teams are perceived to have a sizable gap between each other in the Overwatch League.
There was just some weird stuff happening with the Glads that I think contributed to this loss. There was a moment on map 3 where Fusions dies early on Winston and Punk’s D.Va was literally being focused by at least 4 Gladiators players. He gets de-meched in a small room and he pops self-destruct. Even then, you’d think Punk’s pilot D.Va still dies in this situation. Somehow, he lives and gets the re-mech. You can’t put that many resources into one player and not pick up the kill in that situation, especially when that team’s main tank just died. The Glads are literally just giving Boston free objective space at that point if they don’t kill Punk. Punk gets back into the fight with a fresh mech, Colourhex turns into Brigette with his Echo ultimate, and Boston ends up winning the fight all because they couldn’t kill the pilot D.Va.
Perhaps the ‘free win’ mindset I’m sure they came into this match with ended up costing them. I think this team’s headspace has come into question, at least for me, ever since the battle for LA a few weeks back. We can only hope their headspace doesn’t get worse after this loss.
Boston Uprising: Finally, Some Improvement
Huzzah! After what feels like a century, Boston is finally showing signs of improvement. I don’t know if it’s specifically their new off-tank. I wasn’t exactly too crazy about Mouffin or Brussen, all things considered. Punk certainly looked like he had a contributing role to this little turnaround though. The entire team just looked much better and it felt like everyone was stepping up in this game, not just Jerry.
To highlight this, I think that great initiation on Hanamura point B during Boston’s first attack run says it all. The team actually identified their advantages going into that fight and realized they had some snowball potential after only using 3 out of their 6 available ultimates during their point A capture. So, they engage with Halo’s sound barrier, Punk hits a nice rock on OGE and Fusions follows up with an earth shatter that sends the Gladiators reeling. Myunb0ng sleeps Space’s D.Va and Jerry gets a free deadeye off that forces him to pop self-destruct. After that, Colourhex cleans everything up on Echo, and the Uprising comfortably take point B. It was possibly the most beautifully executed set of plays Boston has had all year. Every player contributed and did their jobs.
They may not have won that map, but it kept the series going. Considering that Los Angeles won the next two maps, who knows what might’ve happened if Boston didn’t at least force the draw on map 2. Regardless, it’s plays like that that I want to see more of from this squad in the Overwatch League.
San Francisco Shock: Not Too Shocking
I don’t have too much to say about San Francisco. They’ve been looking like their old selves in the Overwatch League for the past couple of weeks now which really puts into perspective how fast people jump to conclusions after they took those two losses from their in-state rivals. Since then, they’ve figured things out as far as who they want to be fielding most of the time and on what roles which is something teams like Houston are still kind of struggling with even right now.
Atlanta Reign: Is It The Meta?
Okay so, Atlanta’s really been in a slump lately, and since the second go-around against Philly, I haven’t really been able to pinpoint why this is. So far this season, they’ve won against Overwatch League teams you figure they should win against like Washington, Houston, Boston. Although, they haven’t won against teams that are considered to be more top-quality teams. They’ve played some teams really close and they’ve also been blown out of the water. It seems like this is really getting to be Atlanta’s true power level and they’re one of those teams that just gets a power boost when the meta is in their favor. They aren’t the only team that’s like that. It just doesn’t really bode well for them in this age of hero pools.
Guangzhou Charge: Almost Let That One Slip
Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time this season the Charge has gone 5 maps against the Hunters this season. And oddly enough, I believe it also happened with Chengdu playing their own chaotic brand of Overwatch.
Though both times the Charge has managed to come out the victor in the end. Guangzhou did seem to just kind of take their foot off the gas in the second half. In that second half, they seemed to have run into a problem that a lot of teams are starting to run into whenever dive is a viable strategy during that week. That problem being they just suddenly forget how to run dive. Okay, that’s not really entirely the case, but it is something that seems to be an issue across the entire Overwatch League, some cases bigger than others.
When teams hit a wall when running dive, sometimes things just fall apart instantly. Watchpoint: Gibraltar seems to be a prime map for teams to suddenly start screwing up when running dive. The team just suddenly can’t figure it out and they refuse to swap compositions. That Hollywood map was also a little rough. So, you could argue the Charge kind of let Chengdu back into the series, but they cleaned it up in the end.
Hangzhou Spark: The Meta Is Strong With This One
All in all, this weekend featured a pretty okay meta for Hangzhou. I mean, they had Godsb on aim-intensive hit-scan and Sasin on Zarya usually. When they didn’t, they at least had Guxue on Winston. Looking back at the results, a 1-3 to New York and a 3-0 win against the Spitfire, the Spark performed about as well as I expected them to. Well, that London game could’ve been much closer if London hadn’t wet the bed and had actually shown up. Other than that, there’s nothing too remarkable to say about this team. I feel like I’ve been that way about them for the last couple of weeks though. They aren’t great, but they aren’t awful either. They’re just an Overwatch League team that probably benefits or suffers from the week-to-week meta more than any other team right now. At least that fact has been pretty consistent about them.
Dallas Fuel: Unlucky
I want to start this off by saying Dallas was a bit unlucky with the map pool. Any chance they had to turn this series around was immediately dashed away when it turned out that map 3 was Junkertown. Paris pretty much owns Junkertown. It’s probably the map they know better than any other map in Overwatch and you could tell from the very start when Soon just rushes out of spawn and immediately takes an incredibly telegraphed flank on Dallas. He didn’t really do anything, but Paris promptly crushed the Fuel’s frontline soon after. It was probably in Dallas’s best interest to at least win one of the first two maps before that.
As for those first two maps… I mean, it’s pretty hard to tell heads or tails of them. I’m hesitant to say the Fuel was even playing badly outside of map 3. I’m more inclined to give Paris credit for those first two maps. The Eternal just had one of those games where everyone on this squad was making great individual plays. It just felt like Dallas couldn’t really identify who the real threat was on Paris at the right times. Or at the very least, when they had an advantage, someone on Paris made a huge play and turns it right back around. So, this was just a ‘big unlucky’ for Dallas. They ran into a Paris squad that just happened to be clicking on all cylinders. Not to mention having to face them on Junkertown.
Paris Eternal: This Team…
I don’t think there’s an Overwatch League team that makes me go “What…?” in the most stupefied way imaginable more than Paris. I don’t even know how to quantify what I see from this team sometimes, good or bad.
So instead, I’m just going to highlight a few moments in this series where Dallas could’ve got something going and someone on Paris does something that denies them. FDGod’s boops on map 1, denying Gamsu twice in a row. Nosmite putting both of Dallas’s supports in the corner during a stall situation to take point B on map 2. Nosmite dies early in a fight before Fielder just casually takes out Doha’s reaper as Dallas pushes forward, instantly swinging the fight on map 2. Doha’s nano boosted reaper kills both FDGod and Soon before Fielder, again, puts him to sleep and takes him out with the help of Hanbin. Nosmite and Hanbin then proceed to casually clean up the rest of Dallas on map 2.
I really do think Dallas was trying to make things work. They weren’t just hoping things work out, game plan-wise. But every time they tried something, someone on Paris just responded with an individual play that stymied them.
Philadelphia Fusion: Making Me Proud
So, I came into this game fully expecting a one-sided 3-0. The Fusion did not disappoint. Although, it is kind of sad that the Titans are quickly becoming the Overwatch League’s new punching bag.
There’s not much to really say here. When it comes to balancing the silly antics that tell you that one team wasn’t taking the match very seriously with consistent high-level play that never gave the other team much room to get much done, I think Philly has had the best showing against the Titans so far. There was a lot of BM’ing and disrespect, which I could still kind of do with a little less of, but the Fusion has been winning since day one of the season and it never really backfired on them. The Fusion never let this match get out of hand while they were constantly screwing around at almost every moment.
I suppose I should also mention that Chipsa finally played his first map. I don’t really follow notable players before they get to the Overwatch League. So, I’m not really familiar with the Chipsa hype and its meme-worthy energy, but he had a nice map and it looked like he had fun. As long as that doesn’t get in the way of winning, he’s certainly welcome to continue doing what he’s doing.
Vancouver Titans: Ya Hate To See It
So, this weekend was rough for Vancouver. I mean, unbelievably rough. Possibly the roughest week an Overwatch League team has had so far this season. They played the same maps outside of the control map against two radically different teams and they only managed to score 3 points between both matches. Houston dug the grave, and Philly put the body in it.
It’s going to be pretty tough for this team going forward. I think this team has good fundamentals, but the mechanics and the overall team synergy isn’t really there. Then there’s the issue with practice time and just online problems getting in the way, or so I’ve heard for this squad. Let’s just hope this team can figure something out soon.
Also, ZP and Jake did this team dirty with their commentating in that Philly game. Some of the stuff they said was just absolutely rough. It was like sandpaper-scraping-against-a-chalkboard kind of rough. It was to the point where you’d think they were playing favorites with the Fusion. You know it’s bad when the commentators can’t find one good thing to say about your team.
Toronto Defiant: Another Map 5 Loss
I believe this is the third map 5 Toronto has been in this season. And so far, they’re 0-3 in map 5s. Specifically, this is also the second time they’ve been denied a reverse sweep as well. It’s pretty unfortunate, especially now when it looks like Logix and Agilities are starting to make some real impact on this team. Not really enough to get them wins, but a lot more impact than what they had at the start of the season.
I thought Logix looked pretty good in this match and in their last match against the Shock. Agilities had a pretty good Echo game as well. Still, this team self-imploding sooner or later consistently happens at some point during a match, which is probably a big reason why they’ve been unable to get it done when it comes to map 5s. They get a second chance in maps 3 and 4, and then it just sort of falls apart again in map 5.
Los Angeles Valiant: Is It The Map?
As I’ve been mentioning throughout this entire reaction piece, Watchpoint: Gibraltar is where dive offenses go to die for a lot of teams. Just this weekend alone, Seoul, Hangzhou, and the Valiant all failed to even capture the first checkpoint of Gibraltar while running a dive offense. One team is usually stopped at the first checkpoint or the last checkpoint. In fact, I think the only two teams that managed to fully complete against each other on that map recently was Philly and Dallas last week. This map has some sort of anti-dive syndrome, and unfortunately for the Valiant, they caught that syndrome. But let’s be clear here: I have no doubt that Toronto was very susceptible to the syndrome as well. Los Angeles just caught it first.
As for the Valiant, in particular, things could’ve been a lot cleaner in that second half. That’s all I’ll say about that. I think Logix was giving it to them, especially in that fourth map. It just looked like that rough map 3 affected them going into map 4. Although it was still pretty close throughout. I just still have my doubts about the after the half turnaround for Toronto if map 3 had been anything other than Gibraltar.
What did you think about this week’s Overwatch League games? Leave your comments below!
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