Overwatch League 2021: Week 4 Reactions and Analysis
Week 4 is in for The Overwatch League and it officially completes the first tournament cycle. Only four teams competed last weekend (May 6-8), and they all had very good outings against each other. Of course, there can be only one winner at the end of it all. Not much else to really say, so let’s jump into it.
Shanghai Dragons: 6 Maps To Saturday
Okay, I know that’s not exactly the saying, but it works here. I think the Dragons impressed a lot of people this weekend. In all honesty, that’s pretty weird to say. It’s not like the Dragons ever stopped being a top team in the Overwatch League. I think we were just all taken aback by the loss to Chengdu and the Hangzhou game. I think our perspectives on other top teams are also being warped by what’s going on with San Francisco as well.
In reality, we all just want our favorite team to be the best. By proxy, we all want our claims of ‘This team, (that’s not my team) is no longer good’ to be true after a few games because we’re all afraid of being wrong and so desperately want to be right. It also gives us hope that our favorite team might be good now because another team is bad, and enables us to say ‘I told you so’ later on. This is a pretty toxic mindset, and I hope you seek help soon. There isn’t anything that says these teams can’t rebound. This is what competitive sports are all about at their core. And that’s certainly what the Dragons did.
Big Weekend for Shanghai
As for their games, well, the Dragons had a 21-map weekend and came in second. I’d say that’s pretty good considering what most people’s expectations were for this team coming into the weekend. Going into any specific details would be redundant because I believe their entire tournament run speaks for itself, and I think some of the other teams are a little more interesting to talk about. Still, this team just netted a cool 2 league points this week, which basically erases the loss they took to Chengdu. So, you have to be happy about that.
Chengdu Hunters: Still Hunting
So, the Hunters were gentlemen swept out of the tournament by both teams they faced. Even so, I still like what I see from them, and their performance in both games kind of reaffirms what I was saying about them in Week 2. Jinmu gets a lot of credit for his Pharah, but you still have to keep your eyes out for Jimmy and Leave. I’m sure Jimmy, in particular, has shot up on a lot of people’s OWL ROY lists after this week. Also, I take back what I said about this team’s backline in Week 1. After these last couple of weeks, Nisha and Mmonk are quickly becoming even nuttier than Yveltal and Molly when it comes to the daring plays.
Speaking of nuttiness, we have to talk about three things for this team this week. One thing that kind of confuses me about Chengdu is Ga9a. Why does this team need two good Wrecking Ball players? I would assume Ga9a would be the more flexible main tank? Though, compared to his Ball, the other tanks he’s played have been underwhelming to me. And he’s played very little of any other main tank outside of Winston so far. And even then, he just doesn’t look as comfortable on Winston as he does on Wrecking Ball to me.
The final moments of Gibraltar are kind of evidence of this to me. Ga9a’s Winston jumps onto the high ground and gets whip-shot off it at a very weird angle by Jecse’s Brig and Bio-nade’d by Fielder’s Ana. Ga9a places his bubble in a position where it literally falls right under him, leaving him completely exposed to being annihilated by the rest of Dallas. Over these last few weeks, Ga9a’s general mechanics on Winston look okay, but I do think he struggles with bubble placement, and this time around it got him killed in a very crucial moment. It’s unfortunate, but I think it’s something he can work on.
You’re In Ameng
The next thing is Ameng actually being subbed in. Ameng’s maybe played like one map for the Hunters so far this season? So, not really sure what the thought process was of subbing him in during the Mayhem game, but good lord… Just good lord. Throughout that entire match, I could literally feel the anger seething from the Mayhem as they played. They wanted that match badly. So, Ameng comes in and literally says “No,” with the most ridiculous back-cap I’ve seen in a while in the Overwatch League. Call it the Chengdu zone if you want. I guess it did have shades of that. I’d call it a matador calmly toying with a raging bull. In terms of the entire match, the bull won in the end, but exerted way too much effort to do so.
Final Thought on Nisha’s Brig
The last thing is Nisha’s Brig getting bopped by Yaki’s Genji. Now, in Nisha’s defense, he used his shield bash to get back to the payload and Yaki deflected his whip shot. Still, you don’t just walk into a small corridor without those particular tools available against a Genji as good as Yaki’s. You’re just asking to get dumpster’d. And that’s exactly what happened. As I mentioned, Nisha’s a pretty ballsy player, and Yaki made him pay for his hubris. It’s really as simple as that. He could’ve just scared Yaki off and stood around the payload while waiting for his abilities to recharge. Instead, he tried to force the 1 v. 1 with his abilities on cooldown. You have to show Yaki a bit more respect than that.
Florida Mayhem: Emotional Rollercoaster
Florida was by far the most emotional-looking team out of the four that competed this week. After losing to Shanghai the first time around, it looked like they came into the Chengdu game fully expecting to roll them. You could feel the anger seeping from every player during that match, and I’d argue that was part of the reason they lost that Blizzard World map and why Havana was as close as it was. It’s also unfortunate they couldn’t carry that energy over to the rematch with the Dragons.
Now, when arguing about how fair it is that the Mayhem had to play two matches back-to-back, you also have to consider that this is a double-elimination tournament. The loser’s bracket in a double-elimination tournament, in any competitive sport, represents nothing if not one thing: An uphill battle. This is the narrative thread in which great teams are built upon, and they either rise to the challenge or don’t. Unfortunately, the Mayhem couldn’t quite cut it this time around, but we’ve seen plenty of teams, not even just in the Overwatch League, in the same situation before come out on top. All this means is that it would probably do the Mayhem some good and see to it that they don’t get put into the same situation again.
I’m not a mind-reader, but if I had to guess, I’d say that every single player on that Mayhem roster as well as the coaching staff understands this to some degree. It’s sad to watch, sure, but feeling sorry or angry for them is probably the worst thing you could do. Instead, help galvanize them to improve.
Dallas Fuel: Congratulations Dallas!
It’s kind of unreal to me how much this team has improved just over these last couple of weeks. The strides they made are pretty astronomical. Some of the plays they made during this tournament alone are the type of plays you only see really good teams start making towards the end of a season, not a few weeks into one. Right now, Dallas looks unbeatable, and other Overwatch League teams can only hope they make the same kind of strides Dallas did over this off-week. At the very least, maybe teams can come up with some game plans that’ll at least earn them a series win.
Tracers were absolutely shredding backlines this weekend. The pulse bomb stick accuracy must’ve been through the roof. Everyone was very impressed with Lip’s Tracer, in particular, but Sp9k1e’s deserves a lot of love as well. His Tracer was kind of being overshadowed by Lip’s. Lip was definitely getting more work done on average than Sp9rk1e, but Sp9rk1e came up big when he needed to. Weird that the two more unconventional Tracer players shined the brightest this weekend. Especially when you’ve got Tracers like Yaki and Leave competing as well.
The Bigger Picture
Looking at the bigger picture, what does this mean for the rest of The Overwatch League? Hero pools will be active during the next tournament cycle and Dallas probably won’t be affected by them whatsoever. Depending on what heroes get banned, will other teams have to adopt the Fuel’s way of playing? Or will there be other ways to adapt to it? Maybe if Winston gets banned Dallas takes a power dip? It makes things rather exciting going forward. For now, though, enjoy your win, Dallas. Those players definitely earned it.
What did you think of this week’s Overwatch League matches? Leave your comments below.