Overwatch League: Week 20 Reactions

In Overwatch League’s second week of Summer tournament qualifiers, we saw some snooze-worthy 3-0’s and some pretty interesting matches. The stakes for some teams going into next week after this week are huge, and this week has possibly thrown a monkey wrench into some team’s plans. With that said, let’s get into it.

Guangzhou Charge: Long Weekend

The Charge had themselves a 10-map weekend. First, by denying the Seoul Dynasty a reverse sweep, then completing a reverse sweep against Hangzhou.

I think every player for this squad showed up this weekend in some way in both games. This team has been making a big case for itself as being the best in APAC. They started off a little rocky in the first couple weeks, but since then they’ve been on an absolute tear since sweeping the Dynasty in week 13. They only recently lost to Seoul in the May tournament. Another close 5-mapper against Seoul nets them their revenge this week. The only team this squad has yet to beat in their region is Shanghai. I’d love to see that matchup again. The Charge has grown a lot since their last match against New York all the way back in week 12. Something tells me that it won’t be as one-sided as it has been in their last three matches.

Seoul Dynasty: Just Play Double Shield

I really don’t understand why this team tries to play anything but double shield whenever it’s available. Their dive compositions have looked a bit better, but I still don’t think it looks as good as their double shield.

Perhaps I’m blaming the compositions too much. Maybe Seoul is more on an upswing now than just being up one game and down the next. I mean, they have been showing good performances more often as of late. Seoul has actually shown up in three of their last four matches, and teams like Paris and Atlanta have been just as streaky as them all season in the Overwatch League. I guess what’s more frustrating about Seoul compared to those other teams is that those other teams sort of started off pretty hot and have more recently cooled off. Seoul started off hot and then immediately cooled off and then suddenly looked hot again and then cooled off again. The Dynasty has shown to have more potential than both Atlanta and Paris. That potential is just there one day and gone the next.

Here’s the silver lining though: If Seoul only chooses to consistently show up during these monthly Overwatch League tournaments, then you can at least argue this team shows up when it really matters. Consistency be damned. Let’s just hope that’s actually the case.

London Spitfire: Still Needs Some Work

London had a pretty alright weekend in the Overwatch League, for the most part. A 3-0 against the Hunters before losing 1-3 against New York.

In this sort of double hit scan damage line up meta, I thought Babel looked good on Widowmaker for them. It probably would’ve been an issue for London if they didn’t have Babel since Glister is probably their best Tracer and their best Widow. Against Chengdu, it really felt like the Hunters were just falling apart at the seams… again… But against New York, they put up a good fight. Every player on the squad had their moments, especially Glister. This weekend was at least a far cry from previous weeks. So that’s already an improvement. Let’s just hope the Spitfire can keep it up.

Chengdu Hunters: Oh, Chengdu…

This team… Just this team… Every game I feel like this team learns one lesson and forgets another one. I cannot put into words how frustrating it is to watch this team sometimes. I dare say it’s even more frustrating to watch this team than it is to watch the Fusion for me. So, I can only imagine how actual Chengdu fans feel.

It’s like this team has good teamwork one game but then forgets how to manage their resources. Then in the next game, they remember how to manage resources but then they just fall apart mentally towards the end of the match. This team has a new problem every match that you think they fixed a couple of matches ago, but then it just pops up again like some kind of recessive symptom or something. The match against London was a train wreck and the match against Shanghai was less of a train wreck overall, sure, but you could argue that the biggest reason Chengdu went up two maps was that Shanghai clearly wasn’t taking the Hunters seriously at first.

Sure, Shanghai’s only other loss on the season is against Chengdu, but that was all the way back in week 8. It blows my mind that the Hunters are still displaying the same problems they’ve had since week 8 in the Overwatch League.

Shanghai Dragons: Close Call

So, I’m pretty sure the Dragons learned their lesson in this match. Give Chengdu an inch and they’ll take a mile. Those first two maps could’ve gone either way, but it was clear the momentum was in Chengdu’s favor. Shanghai slowly started wrenching the momentum away moment by moment coming into map 3 and beyond. All of it culminating in the pretty clean 2-0 map 5 wins to take the match.

To be honest, I forgot Geguri even still played for this team. I think the Dragons just wanted to give her some PT against what you can assume would be an easy matchup for them. Do I think Geguri was the problem in that first map? Not really. It has less to do with her as a player and just the chemistry she has with the rest of the roster, which may not be much since she’s barely played all season.

I think Shanghai was just trying something different and clearly not taking their opponent very seriously. A bunch of other top-level teams this weekend did the same thing to mixed results as well. This is fine. How else are you going to utilize all of your players if you don’t take a chance with them in a match here and there? The Dragons have an excellent record in the Overwatch League, so they have plenty of wiggle room to experiment.

I suppose I just wish Shanghai did do well on that first map with her in the lineup. People are going to blame her for that map 1 loss regardless of it actually being her fault just because she has a microscope on her all of the time, and that’s just not fair. Additionally, it really makes me sad that this match might even discourage Shanghai from experimenting in the future. So, who knows if we’ll ever see Geguri, as well as players like Diya and Stand1, in their lineup again. I guess that’s the trade-off you get as a team when every match means something in the short-term as well as the long-term in the Overwatch League.

Hangzhou Spark: Architect Of Success

There were questions coming into this weekend of how well Architect was going to gel with the rest of this Hangzhou squad. I think those questions have been answered. Hangzhou found themselves playing 11 maps this weekend. That’s a lot of maps, but also a lot of information on this team. I think the result is that Architect is a clear upgrade for this team in the damage role.

The 6-map series against New York saw Hangzhou edging out that last control map for the match win. Excluding New York getting hit with Watchpoint: Gibraltar syndrome in map 2, (See my week 15 Los Angeles Valiant reaction for an explanation of that.) the Spark played New York well throughout the series. There was some silly stuff that happened on both sides in the series, but it was enough to get the win.

As far as the Guangzhou match goes. I think Guangzhou was caught off-guard by just how much Architect has changed this team in such a short period. It still wasn’t enough to get the win off them, but I think Hangzhou can be happy that they had another 5-map game against Guangzhou once again. I still think Guangzhou is the better team, but Architect and QOQ have definitely helped close the wide gap that was growing between them and the Charge somewhat in the Overwatch League.

New York Excelsior: Strange

It’s crazy to me that we’re currently in an era where New York is top 5 in the standings and yet they aren’t in the conversation of being one of the best teams in Overwatch League. The factors that go into this are understandable though. They’re in the APAC region, which means that fewer eyes have been on them as of late. They also just haven’t been as good as they have been in previous seasons. They’re still good, but just not the type of good that we’ve come to expect from them. It just feels like every player on this squad has had a shaky season so far. It’s been good enough to net them 12 wins and that’s no small feat. I just can’t shake the feeling that they could be having a much better season though.

I don’t know. They’ve taken wins off of teams that they should be winning against at the times in which they got those wins. They just haven’t really won against the teams that you’d consider to be top-level competition. The teams they should be competing against. The only teams that meet that criteria in their region right now is the Charge and the Dragons. They’ve won against the Charge once before in week 12 when the Charge was still struggling. The Charge came back and beat them 3-1 in week 14. The Excelsior has also never beaten the Dragons so far this season, even in that close 5-mapper in week 13 which was also kind of a weird game for them. With this loss to Hangzhou, it’s becoming less and less crazy to think that New York isn’t in the conversation of the top spot in the Overwatch League.

This makes their next match against Guangzhou a big one. I’m especially curious to see how that one will go.

Paris Eternal: Ummm…

Yeah, so Paris got hit with a bad case of Murphy’s Law. Just about anything that could’ve gone wrong for this team did go wrong.

It’s a real shame too since Xzi was finally back in the lineup for them. Xzi had a few bright spots, but Sp9rk1e was pretty unimpressive on anything that he played, which was mostly Genji and Mei. Paris couldn’t pump all the resources in the world for him to do well on the Genji this time around. And his Mei was still pretty awful. He’s got a good handle on icicle headshots, but his walls weren’t very good a lot of the time and his blizzards were just as bad.

Paris was also hit with good old Watchpoint: Gibraltar syndrome as well. Trying to run a dive offense on that map was met with a stern full hold on checkpoint A for the Shock, which sounds about right.

Then there was exclusively forcing Benbest on Reinhardt on map 3. I’m unsure why Paris did this considering that Benbest also has an Orisa. It just looked like Paris was scared to take the full mirror against the Shock.

Also, where was Soon? I mean, I know he’s been hit-and-miss at times this entire season, but you could tell Paris was missing the Tracer impact in this meta by keeping Sp9rk1e in. Soon is still probably this team’s best Tracer and that’s only because Xzi can’t play Widow/Ashe and Tracer at the same time. I know Sp9rk1e is supposed to be this team’s golden child or whatever, but seriously, his hero pool is looking to be a little limited right now and from what we saw this weekend, you need a Tracer player alongside that Widow/Ashe. Plus, a little veteran experience against a team like the Shock in the Overwatch League never hurts.

The silver lining is that the Eternal should learn from all of this. Though, who knows what the meta will look like next week with no hero pools. Let’s just hope they don’t make as many floundering mistakes against the Valiant next week.

San Francisco Shock: ANS Is An Idiot-Savant

And I mean that in the best way possible. Look, this weekend was just the Shock being the Shock. So, I’m just going to take this time to talk about my two biggest takeaways. The first one is ANS. Considering his rather obscure background—nobody really knew who he was before joining the Shock—ANS strikes me as a player that doesn’t know how to do anything in Overwatch except aim and click heads.

It’s like the other 5 guys on the squad do all of the thinking for him while he just sits back and gets headshot after headshot because he’s incapable of contributing anything else to the team. I can only imagine what comms are like with ANS in the lineup. I bet he doesn’t say a thing all map while the other 5 players are constantly making calls. Then when ANS gets a 3K, everyone’s like “Good job, ANS. You did it.” And then ANS is like “What did I do?” Obviously, I’m being hyperbolic here. I’m sure a lot of this isn’t really the case, but that’s how it feels to watch this guy play and it’s crazy.

My other takeaway is that Watchpoint: Gibraltar map against Paris. The Shock ran double shield or Orisa/Roadhog the entire map instead of unreliable dive and they were fine. I’m just happy to see one team do something different on that map instead of trying to force dive over and over again and then end up never moving the payload beyond the first checkpoint.

It blows my mind that it took this long for a team in the Overwatch League to at least try a different composition other than freakin’ dive on that map. I don’t understand why teams think dive is the be-all-end-all composition on that map because it leads to more teams being stopped at the first checkpoint than anything else. San Francisco literally just brute-forced their way through Paris on offense running Orisa/Roadhog and it looked way more effective than any dive offense we’ve seen up until that point. As far as I’m concerned, dive sucks on that map and teams forcing it makes it incredibly hard to watch. Thank you, Shock, for trying something different.

Washington Justice: Are You Scared?

Yikes… The Washington Justice looked absolutely shook by the San Francisco Shock in this match. I cannot emphasize that enough. I’m not going to sugar coat it. Washington played like a bunch of babies in this match. They looked like they were 110% scared of San Francisco.

It was obvious from map 1 that the Shock was not taking the Justice seriously, yet the Justice still showed the Shock all of the respect in the world. It was just pitiful, especially in map 3 where all 6 guys just backed up into a little room when the Shock was running a dive comp instead of standing their ground with the Orisa and trying to punish someone for overextending, which is what you have to do if you’re going to run an Orisa bunker. They just gave the Shock so much free real estate and Smurf just jumps in with all of the cleave damage on Winston which scared Ark enough to just instantly throw out the immortality field after Twilight hits an underwhelming bio ‘nade that only caught Jjanu.

Then there was that moment on Junkertown where Ttuba’s Tracer looked uncertain of whether he wanted to actually challenge ANS’s Widowmaker. Are you kidding me? The lack of commitment was so incredibly apparent. Ttuba looked like he didn’t know whether he needed to help out with the front line or pressure the Widowmaker. So, he just stood there in the middle, firing at ANS from a distance where Tracer’s damage is little more than throwing marshmallows at a concrete wall. ANS looked like he was purposefully missing his shots just to make Ttuba look like even more of an absolute fool. Eventually, Ttuba’s indecisiveness gets him killed and he ends up having no impact whatsoever. The last thing you need to be on Tracer is indecisive. Tracer is all about commitment. Committing takes confidence.

Confidence is something the entire Washington Justice team lacked in this entire match. It was just incredibly sad to watch.

Atlanta Reign: Eh

I don’t have much to say about Atlanta. I didn’t have much to say about them last week either. They failed to show up against a team they needed to show up against, and they show up against a team they should be capable of beating in the Overwatch League. That’s really the long and the short of it. So, good job.

The Reign are 1-1 with a +1-map differential after this week for the Summer tournament. Another 3-0 sweep against Vancouver next week means there’s a good chance Atlanta enters this tournament as the 4th seed. They have to sweep the Titans though because the Mayhem is currently 1-1 with a 0-map differential, and they face Houston next week. If Atlanta drops even one map to Vancouver, the Mayhem could take that 4th seed by having a better overall season record than Atlanta. Of course, this is if the Mayhem also sweeps Houston next week, and there’s a good chance they will. So, let’s see how much Atlanta values their seeding.

Toronto Defiant: Meh

My reaction to Toronto is about the same as Atlanta. So, again, let’s talk about Toronto’s seeding going into the Summer tournament.

Like the Mayhem and a couple of other teams in that 5th to 8th spot, Toronto is currently 1-1 with a 0-map differential. Toronto faces Dallas next week. If Dallas fails to perform like how they did against Vancouver this week, (which, according to Dallas’s head coach, is very likely to happen) then it should be an easy 3-0 for Toronto. The problem is that the Mayhem is currently gatekeeping every other team below them in the standings. As long as they 3-0 Houston next week, they’re guaranteed to finish in at least 5th place because every other team in 6th-8th place currently has a much worse season record than them. This last week of qualifiers will be a lot more interesting for a lot of teams in the Overwatch League.

Los Angeles Gladiators: Boozle’d

Another tough loss for the Gladiators, against Houston no less. It seems like the loss they suffered at the hands of Boston wasn’t such a fluke after all. Credit to Houston though. They played really well. But even so, this match was still winnable for the Gladiators. They played Houston close on just about every map. The second and third maps essentially just came down to a difference in time banks.

The fourth map is where things kind of went sideways for the Glads though. I’m at a loss for how they can come out of such a creative and fun map like King’s Row and then just suddenly go back to the bog-standard strategies on Hanamura. It’s not like we haven’t seen the Glads try to mount an attack onto assault point B in a different way instead of just always trying to repeatedly push in through the top left all the time either. We’ve seen them do so against Dallas in week 9. Houston went against the grain in this match as well and tried to attack point B from a few different angles. This led to a much smoother attack run than what the Gladiators had.

Los Angeles practically boozle’d themselves, going from unorthodox strategies to more standard ones and then back to unorthodox stuff and then right back to the standard stuff. As much as I love this team for how unconventional they can be in the Overwatch League, I’m unsure if they have a good grasp of when to be unconventional and when to be standard.

Houston Outlaws: Practiced

While they couldn’t get a win against the Fusion last week, the Outlaws net themselves a ‘W’ against the Gladiators this week, and that’s still a pretty big achievement for them. This team looks practiced. It feels like they’re doing as much as they can to help Hydration be as comfortable as they can be in that main tank role. This is a far cry from what it felt like to watch Blasé play a hit scan.

I think this team looked well-practiced, even against Philly for that matter. There were some bumps in the road here and there against the Glads, but this team looked like it wanted to execute some set strategies as best they could. Even though they lost map 3, their on-the-fly adaptation on that map wasn’t too bad either. This team has been showing genuine improvement as of late and this win against a currently mid-tier opponent in their region is evidence of that in the Overwatch League.

Dallas Fuel: You Don’t Get To Take Games Off

Listen, as a team, Dallas is on the razor’s edge. I mentioned last week that it’s basically apparent to everyone that Dallas needs Decay. Now, it’s even more apparent than it’s ever been, and that ain’t good. Both Dallas and Shanghai messed around with their lineups this weekend. The difference is that Dallas needs all the wins it can get in the Overwatch League. Shanghai could give up a game or two if they wanted. I mean, hell, Shanghai still won their match at least.

Dallas came into this game confident that Vancouver would be a free win without Decay. The issue is that the current meta is very Tracer/Ashe/Widow oriented, and Doha just isn’t a prolific hit scan player. Decay is though and, to my knowledge, so is Onigod. If you want to get Onigod situated into the team, that’s fine, but that’s a lot of pressure on your new player as a replacement for someone like Decay. I think everyone can agree that it would’ve made a bit more sense to sub Onigod in for Doha, considering what the dominant damage characters are in this meta. This would’ve at least taken some of the pressure off of Onigod’s shoulders and Doha wouldn’t have to step out of his comfort zone.

I’m all for experimenting, and maybe this will be good for Dallas down the line. As of right now though, it just makes this team look silly, especially when they thought Vancouver would be a free win. And you mean to tell me they’re planning to run Onigod and Doha together again against Toronto? Well, hero pools are off the table next week, so who knows what the meta will look like. But if this team couldn’t beat the Titans without Decay, who’s to say they can beat the Defiant right now?

A lot can change in a week and Dallas cannot afford another loss going into the Summer tournament. We’ll have to wait and see. Their seeding might not matter if this little project gives them immediate results. I have my doubts though. And this match has revealed that this team has a lot of issues to fix when Decay isn’t in the lineup.

Vancouver Titans: The First Dub

Well, I knew it would be soon. I just didn’t think it’d be the next game. A 3-0 win no less. I’m tempted to put an asterisk next to it since it was against a Decay-less Dallas Fuel. A win is a win though. It wasn’t pretty, and Dallas started to find some footing in map 3, but Vancouver kept their composure and punished Dallas for not taking them seriously. Respect has been earned. I think Shockwave and Dalton are really coming into their own in the Overwatch League. The rest of the team is really starting to build a good bit of chemistry as well. They still have a long way to go, but this win is certainly a huge milestone for them.

Boston Uprising: Long Way To Go

Speaking of improving teams, Boston has been coming along. The outcome of this match was to be expected, but Boston still displayed a lot of good stuff. If anything, they have the teamwork and coordination, which is something they were sorely lacking in the early stages of the season.

With this loss though, Boston is 0-2 at -4-map score for the Summer tournament. Their next match is against the Titans. This will be a much better benchmark match for them. Two once pretty awful teams that are currently improving game by game. This match will determine who has had the most growth.

Boston can’t afford to take another ‘L’, so this is their best chance to get one win on the board. In turn, if they can do that and Atlanta also manages to beat the Titans, then Boston will have a better match win percentage for these qualifiers than the Titans which will knock them down from 8th. And depending on how the Outlaws and the Eternal do, there’s a chance Boston can take that 8th seed, which is huge. It means they can go from being selected to getting whatever team the higher seeds don’t select. Still, that’s a sizable difference.

Honestly, it’s very likely to happen next week. There’s a good chance the Outlaws lose to Mayhem in at least 4 maps. And there’s a good chance Paris loses to Valiant in any number of maps. At that point, all Boston has to do is win against Vancouver in at least 4 maps and that 8th seed is theirs. Additionally, who knows what might happen between the Defiant and the Fuel, so they might even be able to take the 7th seed, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Philadelphia Fusion: As Expected

Even though Boston has improved, they haven’t improved that much. Not much to really say. Boston had their moments, but that’s about it.

So, I’d like to just address the elephant in the room. Philly vs. San Francisco next week. Here are the implications of this match going into the Summer tournament. Both teams are at a perfect 2-0 record with a +6-map score. As such, they are #1 and #2 in the standings. Here’s the thing: Neither team is competing for #1 and #2 in the standings. Whoever loses this match will more than likely find themselves as the 3rd seed going into the tournament. Depending on what happens between the Valiant and the Eternal, the Valiant will more than likely clinch 2nd seed.

All the Valiant have to do is win against Paris, and they’ll secure 2nd seed off of their qualifiers record alone. They might even get 1st seed if they sweep Paris and this matchup goes to 5 maps. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how the Valiant win, they just need a 3-0 record to beat this matchup’s loser’s 2-1. That’s pretty crazy to think about.

I doubt Philly wants to be the 3rd seed again. I’m also sure San Francisco would love to be 1st again.

Los Angeles Valiant: Insane Stuff

So, this was probably one of the better matches this weekend, if not the best. It may have only gone to 4 maps, but if things had gone just a little differently in some places, 5 maps were probably possible.

It’s crazy to me how much better players have gotten at sticking pulse bombs since season 1 of Overwatch League. The game was much different back then with Tracer often having to stick pulse bombs on much more mobile targets. You can also blame the Orisa halts. Makes sticking targets much easier when combo’d with a halt. Still, players have gotten a lot better at sticking raw pulse bombs as of late.

As for the Tracer play in general, Shax has been making a case for himself as an epic Tracer going back as far as week 13 where he was practically running circles around Edison and the Atlanta Reign. That was probably his best Tracer game this season before this one. So, he’s certainly no stranger to being a hard carry on that hero.

But this isn’t to sell the rest of the team short. I think every player on this squad showed up and made some huge contributions to this win. I especially want to point out the huge boop Dreamer had at the very end of the Mayhem’s attack run on Hollywood. BQB, Fate, GNJ, and Kris were all there to touch the payload. GNJ even tries to Zoomyatta in. Dreamer just sets up the perfect Wrecking Ball roll to push them all back at once before they could touch. He was literally like a bowling ball knocking down a set of black and pink pins. It was a beautifully executed heads-up play from him.

If the Valiant keep playing like this, they’ll be making a lot of people feel bad for putting them so low on their pre-season power rankings by the end of the season, if they haven’t already.

Florida Mayhem: A Bit Surprised

I think the Mayhem can still be proud of themselves for this performance, even if the result isn’t what they would’ve liked. Things only really started to fall apart for them in that fourth map. Up until then, this match had some of the craziest sets of team fights where just about any player on either squad could turn things around instantly for their team. A few mistakes on both sides here and there, but overall, I don’t think Florida can be too upset about this one. At least in the long-term…

In the short-term, this puts Florida in a bit of a sticky situation going into the Summer tournament. As I’ve mentioned previously, Florida is currently tied with a few other teams in the tournament standings at 1-1 with a 0-map score. They’re in 5th place currently and they take on Houston next week. Even if they sweep the Outlaws, there’s a good chance they will still end up being the 5th seed. Atlanta is in 4th and all they have to do is sweep the Titans next week and they will still finish with a better map score than Florida. There’s a chance the Reign will give up a map to the Titans though. If they do, the Mayhem can take that 4th seed.

I’m curious to see how this will transpire for both teams.

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

Stay with IroniqMedia for all of your e-sports coverage here.

Follow James on Twitter @DatBlackGhost.

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