Overwatch League is back. After a break, Overwatch League returns for more regular-season matches. OWL will now be following a format similar to the May tournament one now. This will certainly make even these regular-season matches feel like there’s more at stake. OWL will also now feature two weeks of the same hero pool instead of just one. A nice little bit of extra time to help teams adjust to the shifting meta more comfortably. With that in mind, what did week 19 bring us?
London Spitfire: Experimenting
Not exactly the match this team might’ve been hoping for after the May tournament. It still feels like this team is trying to put something good together. They just don’t know what pieces they need to slot in where at the moment.
There were times where it just seemed like this team could not get anything going. Their offensive push on King’s Row, in particular, is a huge example. Glister and Although were both getting pretty heavily outplayed by Lip and Fleta. They just couldn’t open anything up for the rest of the team. That third map had some bright moments in it though. Subbing in what could essentially be called the B-team, they put together a strong defensive hold on point B. The offense still looked troubling though. I think London needs to find a solid base. Experimenting with a new line up is a start, but they need to figure out what was working and what wasn’t sooner rather than later.
Shanghai Dragons: Back To It
I’m starting to run out of things to say about the Dragons. It sort of felt like this team was experimenting in this match as well. We saw what we can assume to be the standard ‘meta’ composition of Tracer/Ashe from them. But they also ran some Genji and Pharah. I don’t think the Genji worked as well as it did for other teams like Paris this weekend, but it was good enough, I suppose. Overall, just a fine start for them going into this next Overwatch League tournament.
New York Excelsior: Messy
This was a messy match. Both teams went back and forth on all three maps, but New York just came out on top when they needed to. I thought Jjonak had a great game. He was definitely fragging out at times on Zen, like we know he can. And Hotba on Roadhog was just great to watch.
It wasn’t exactly the cleanest game New York has ever had. I think there were times where they were shooting themselves in the foot. Their attack run on Hanamura point B wasn’t really the greatest. New York’s been favoring these riskier dive-style/ultimate-driven compositions on assault maps all season and it hasn’t really been consistently working for them. I suppose it doesn’t matter though since Seoul looked like they were fully ready to contribute to the sloppiness all game. A win is a win even if it kind of looked like the Excelsior was stooping down to Seoul’s level at times.
Seoul Dynasty: Messier
After taking the Dragons to seven maps in the May tournament, Seoul drops this performance against New York. I don’t even know anymore. What’s really baffling is that this meta seems to be in their favor. I mean, Orisa/Sigma. That’s been the tank combination Seoul has looked the best with all season. Instead, they continued to throw the Winston at almost everything. Orisa/Sigma maybe came out for them occasionally during this match.
I really just don’t know what to say. Seoul is the epitome of an up-and-down team right now. I feel like everyone knows exactly what their good at doing but themselves from week to week. I can only imagine what the moral for this team is like when there is little consistency happening. Knowing that you’re good one day and then garbage the next. That can really mess with your head more than just being consistently good and losing every once and a while, or consistently bad and winning occasionally.
Paris Eternal: Another Close One
After the close call this team had with Boston during the May tournament, they once again go the distance. I believe someone on the Eternal mentioned that they were not expecting to go five maps against Boston after their tournament game. I wonder if they thought any different this time around.
Sp9rk1e had a nice Genji game. Probably one of the better Genji performances we’ve seen all year. I mean, we haven’t seen much, and it basically took the entire team’s support to allow him to do what he did, but it worked and that’s what matters. This is good because I think Paris’s damage players, specifically Soon and Nico, have been underperforming here and there. Especially after transitioning to online play. So, this is definitely a step in the right direction. Sp9rk1e could use some work on his Mei though. It was just fortunate that he happened to be going up against probably the worst Mei in the league in Colourhex. (Who didn’t even bother playing Mei regardless.) So, he didn’t have much to contend with anyway.
Overall, Sp9rk1e gave Paris a much-needed boost. Time will tell just how effective that boost really is though.
Boston Uprising: No Mei, Hm?
Boston is slowly but surely getting better game by game in the Overwatch League. They’re still hampered by some pretty silly mistakes here and there. That C9 on King’s Row was just head-scratching. They did manage to turn that map around though, which is a very good sign.
Map 5 is where things really fell apart for them though. Not necessarily because they were out of it mentally, however. Colourhex was making big plays all game on Tracer and on Torb in that map 5. But you could tell how much Boston refused to play Mei all game long, and you could argue that’s what lost it for them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Uprising just decided against playing Mei period. Colourhex was basically their only player running her, and he always had lackluster performances on her. That’s why I think Boston opted to go with Torbjorn. While I appreciate the fact that Boston recognized what they were good at and avoided running Mei, it does limit them compositionally when Mei is in rotation. She’s just too strong of a hero to not run when she’s available.
It was obvious Boston needed a Mei player since day one. Avoiding playing Mei doesn’t really fix this problem. It just sidesteps it.
Florida Mayhem: Why Temple Of Anubis?
The Mayhem has more than proven that their streak going into the May tournament was more than just a fluke by this point. Going into this game, it wouldn’t have been crazy to say that the Mayhem come out with a comfortable win.
And that’s pretty much what happened. The Fuel had a couple of Sparks here and there. Temple of Anubis in particular still seems to be a bit of a problem for Florida. This is a bit weird to me considering that Yaki also has a competent Mei. So, even if he can’t play Tracer, I don’t see why Florida can’t get anything done with Mei on that map. Either way, they got to play Tracer again on map 4 and cleaned up Dallas. No real harm, no foul. Still, it’s something Florida might want to work on going forward.
Dallas Fuel: Still Missing Something
Dallas is good enough to take maps off of some of the top teams in the Overwatch League. This much is sure. It just seems like they’re unable to put it together for an entire series. I mentioned in Week 14 that they’re just missing that little extra push, which is still surprising to say given the firepower of Decay and Doha. Especially after what happened in the May tournament. Maybe that missing thing is Decay just going super saiyan 3 on the opponent? That’s a lot to ask out of one player every game though, even for someone like Decay.
This team just can’t ever win the fights they need to win games. They have great maps but they never really have great games consistently. They took Temple of Anubis off of Florida pretty comfortably before getting full held on Gibraltar. But all this really proves is that this team can capitalize on the other team’s more obvious weaknesses. They can’t just consistently play better than their opposition. That’s a rough place to be in. And it’s only going to get rougher if factors like that are what Dallas is depending on.
Atlanta Reign: Yup
I don’t really have much to say about Atlanta after this match that I haven’t already said previously. They’ve been a pretty middle-of-the-road team for me since week 14. The May tournament was their last chance to prove their worth and they fell short. Despite that, this match was still winnable for them. I think Birdring was just a big difference maker throughout the majority of the game and Atlanta was just unable to match at times. If the Reign can’t beat the Glads though, then it isn’t looking good for the rest of their season in the Overwatch League.
Los Angeles Gladiators: Been A While, Cloudy
This was a pretty big win for the Glads. Not only do they get back to .500 after this win, but they also take down an Atlanta team whom I find the Glads to be more or less evenly matched with, at least record-wise anyway. Birdring came up pretty big for Los Angeles though. I thought map 2 was a little suspect for him though. I don’t think Jaru really deserves all the blame for that map loss. Sure, he kind of screwed up on their second defense, but Birdring screwed up twice on their second offense.
I believe this was also the first game to feature LHCloudy for the Glads since their first game of the season. It was pretty obvious in that first game against the Titans and in this game that the Gladiators have some specific strategies just for Cloudy’s Reinhardt. It was fun to watch Los Angeles enable their Rein on a map like Junkertown, which isn’t very Reinhardt-friendly. It was the type of enabling and support that I’m sure every main tank in the Overwatch League could only dream about. I’m pretty sure Cloudy lost just as many shatters as he hit.
Still, the Gladiators walk away with a win using one of their patented unorthodox strategies. So, I’m sure they’re feeling good about it.
Philadelphia Fusion: Still Consistent
After a rather tough ending in the May tournament, this game was exactly what Philly needed. Against a Houston team that has been looking better as of late, Philly takes an otherwise comfortable 3-0. There isn’t too much to say about this team that I haven’t said already. The Fusion still at least continues to be the most consistent team from week to week when taking the entire season into account, even in their losses. With this new tournament format, the league will be following for the rest of the season though, 3-0 wins like this are more important than ever. So, this is a good start for Philly.
Houston Outlaws: Still Need Some Work
All things considered; this was still a very good game from the Outlaws. Houston had a lot of time to prepare for this match and it showed. It looked like they came in with a game plan and tried to execute it as best they could. The Fusion was just a bit too much for them. If this match has shown anything, it’s that Hydration’s Winston still does need a bit of work.
Despite this, I still like the idea of Hydration on the main tank. It doesn’t feel like Blasé on hit scan, or constantly subbing Rapel and Rawkus in and out. This feels different. I doubt Hydration’s full potential on the role has even really been reached yet. Getting those reps in from game to game is important as well. Can he be as good as players that specialize in the role? Maybe, maybe not. I think a player like him has a very high ceiling in terms of potential. It’s really up to Houston on whether or not they think it’s worth cultivating that potential for the rest of the season.
Vancouver Titans: Still Looking For That W
After the 5-map series the Titans had against Toronto, it’s unfortunate that go down in 3 maps this time around. Even so, I think the Titans are slowly improving every game.
Shockwave is quickly proving his worth on this squad, giving this team a solid boost on whatever hero he’s playing. Dalton also had a really nice performance. If the two of these players can turn some of those lost fights where they collect two or three kills alone into wins, this team will be much better off. They were definitely taking it to whatever damage lineup Toronto was fielding. It just felt like the Titans were losing the tank battle 9 times out of 10.
And then, of course, there’s the weird spawn camp they attempted on map 3. I don’t know what that was about. This squad has displayed some good fundamentals since their first game. Why they just suddenly chose to throw all of that out of the window for that spawn camp is beyond me. The Titans looked really frazzled going into their point B assault on Anubis as well. It seemed like the fundamentals weren’t really there anymore and those “rookie” mistakes ended up happening during that map 3. The individual plays were still there, but foregoing strong fundamentals and team play for individual plays I don’t think is a good trade.
Still though, if Vancouver can avoid these problems in the future and keep it together in a match, this new squad will be getting their first win in the Overwatch League sooner or later.
Toronto Defiant: 3 Maps This Time
After finally winning their first map 5 of the season in the May tournament against Vancouver, Toronto put the Titans away in three maps in their rematch. Make no mistake though, I think the Titans played the Defiant just as close this game as they did in their first match. The score may not reflect it, but any of those 3 maps could’ve gone either way.
Still, I’ll give Toronto some credit. They’ve been getting much better play out of their damage players as of late, especially Logix and Surefour. It was enough to secure them a 3-map win against Vancouver this time, anyway. And hey, no self-implosion either. Finally slaying their map 5 demons in the May tournament probably had some effect on them. I also think Numlocked had a nice first game as well.
I don’t really think all of this is really going to skyrocket Toronto up the rankings or anything, especially considering that Vancouver kind of beat themselves in this match. But getting solid wins against teams like Vancouver is a good start.
Los Angeles Valiant: Never Fails To Entertain
You know, the Valiant and the Hunters have a fair amount of similarities between them. In fact, I think the same week the Valiant made Ashe popular, the Hunters played her as well. The difference though is that it feels like the Valiant fully understands their strengths and weaknesses while I’m still unsure as to whether or not Chengdu understands theirs.
This team never looks like they’re at a loss for what they need to do and how they need to execute. Sure, sometimes the game plan doesn’t always go the way they want it to. It happens. But this team looks like it always has a plan and then a backup plan when the first plan doesn’t go well. I never get tired of watching this team. Every person on it has such a beautiful understanding of how to play their role and what they need to do in any situation they’re put in. No one ever feels like they’re playing for themselves on this squad. It feels like someone is always playing to help put another teammate in the best possible place to succeed. Plus, they’re also not afraid to go for the high risk/high reward plays either.
There’s just a level of trust between every player on this squad that I think few other teams in the Overwatch League display in the way they play.
Washington Justice: Unstable
The Justice is in a bit of disarray right now. Losing so many players one by one while slowly transitioning into an all Korean roster. The adjustment period isn’t easy. There were some bright spots during this match though. I think Washington has had bright spots during their matches all season. It’s just been tough for them to put consistently good games together. It just feels like this team is falling apart at the seams while desperately trying to keep itself together. You can practically feel the instability in their play. The individual plays were there in this match, but it just wasn’t enough against such a solid and cohesive team like the Valiant. Let’s just hope that the Justice can find some sort of stability soon, or else things won’t be getting much better.
What did you think about this week’s Overwatch League games? Leave your comments below!
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