Overwatch League 2021: Week 6 Reactions and Analysis

Welcome back to hero pools in the Overwatch League. An environment where your favorite top-tier-looking teams are now being dumped by the previously lower-tier-looking teams. It’s exciting, frustrating, and a little too sloppy-looking for its own good if I’m being completely honest. So I’m going to do something different with this week’s reactions. Instead of a fun, little phrase to summarize my feelings on each team’s performance, I’m instead going to gauge how much I think this new meta buffed or nerfed each team in question. This will be fun. Let’s jump into it. Here’s a look at Week 6 (May 21-23).

Paris Eternal: Meta Effectiveness: Moderate Buff

I’m pretty happy Paris was able to grab a win this weekend. Losing Neptuno after four games probably doesn’t feel all that great. Something like that can bring up questions of a team’s validity. On the other hand, Neptuno’s departure can also be motivation for the players to show him, as well as everyone else, that they may not be as bad as people think they are. While I find it a bit strange that they lost to Toronto but beat Washington, I hope the win itself helps to reassure the players that their situation can improve. And I suppose it isn’t that strange considering the bonkers results we got this weekend. If this weekend has taught us anything, it’s that hero pools can flip the power balance on its head at the drop of a dime in the Overwatch League. You never know what might happen down the line.

Kaan and Naga were pretty great this weekend, but I think Daan is the highlight player for me. His flexibility served as a huge boon for Paris, especially when playing Orisa. His halt set-ups were excellent and I swear he always had fortify ready for when he needed it most. Like many other teams though, it’s still kind of unclear to me how much their current success is dictated by the new meta and how much of it is genuine improvement. Even so, finding your stride at the right time is sometimes all it takes.

Toronto Defiant: Meta Effectiveness: Slight Nerf

My thoughts about Toronto are mixed. I think that’s pretty understandable given their mixed results this week, which will be apparent with just about every Overwatch League team in this piece. In the case of Paris, I think they just had a better grasp of the new meta at the time. In the case of Boston, it seems as though the Uprising had a better understanding of the meta than the Defiant did. That’s really the long and the short of it. Other than that, I don’t have much else to say about them. I still think the currently perceived lower-tier teams are catching up to them faster than they think. The new meta just throws an extra monkey wrench into everything. Their schedule doesn’t get any easier with their next two opponents either. So, they better hope they can fix the problems they had with Boston, or else they may not even have a chance to make it into the next tournament’s knockouts.

London Spitfire: Meta Effectiveness: Negligible

Man, things do not look great for London. Other teams that had less than favorable results this weekend at least have the cushion of a good start to the season to fall back on. London is still looking for their first win though. The Mayhem game looked promising, but Atlanta just came through and basically snuffed out any hope they could’ve had.

One thing I will say is that I don’t think London looks worse than their previous outings so far this season. They just don’t really look substantially better. The new meta didn’t really give them a power boost, nor was it enough of a detriment to either of their opponents this weekend to give them a chance to win. Knowing that you aren’t getting worse as a team due to a new meta is reassuring. It also means that there’s less reason to believe that a new meta will just instantly give you a power boost too though. I’m honestly not sure if this is a good or a bad thing. It at least gives London a clear point of focus moving forward. I just hope they can come up with some answers soon.

Florida Mayhem: Meta Effectiveness: Negligible

So, Florida split their weekend as well. And as my reaction reads, I do not think the meta affected them that much. I think they had a pretty good understanding of it in both games they played this weekend. They were just the overall better team in the London match. But not so much in the Houston match. That Dorado map definitely could’ve gone either way against Houston though. Either way, they still have some kinks to work out. Specifically, team objective awareness, which is something that’s been an issue for them going back to last year in the Overwatch League.

What really worries me is their next two matches. They probably won’t have too much trouble with Washington, given their performance this weekend. Who knows with Dallas, though. There’s a good chance the Mayhem finish this tournament cycle 2-2. This isn’t really guaranteed to get them into the knockouts though. A .500 record is better than nothing, and long-term the Mayhem can be thankful for their good start to the season, much like other teams. June Joust-wise, though, they could pretty much be on a razor’s edge.

Washington Justice: Meta Effectiveness: Considerable Nerf

The Justice had a pretty rough weekend. Taking 3-0’s from both Paris and Boston. The Paris game especially hurts because they drew two maps. Washington just looked kind of lost in this meta. Mag’s Winston was pretty much neutered and he didn’t look all that comfortable playing other tanks. I can only assume that scrims must’ve gone very well for the Justice over these past weeks with Mag only playing his trusty Winston. Then the actual games happened and the Justice hit a brick wall.

Now, with that said, the elephant in the room is that one burning question: Where was Decay? Personally, I don’t think Decay would’ve changed much. The majority of the Justice played badly and/or were completely outplayed by their counterparts in either game most of the time. Decay would’ve had to have had a performance similar to the one he had against Houston in the 2020 May Melee tournament for Washington to have even had a chance. And he would’ve had to sustain it throughout 6 maps minimum. Would he have at least gotten the Justice a map win or two this weekend? Probably, especially in the Paris game, but I don’t think it would’ve resulted in a match win, all things considered.

This team at least has the next off-week to try and figure out better strategies for this meta and attempt to salvage this qualifier stage. 2-2 is still better than 0-4, even if it isn’t at all guaranteed to get you into the June Joust knockouts. If anything, winning against the Mayhem could be the ultimate difference-maker for them in the Overwatch League.

Houston Outlaws: Meta Effectiveness: Negligible

Similar to Florida, I don’t think this meta affected the Outlaws too much. They ran into an Atlanta team that’s hitting their stride in this meta and a Florida team that still looks like classic Florida in this meta. There’s honestly little more to say than that for this team. Their understanding of this new meta looks good enough, even in the Atlanta match. I don’t think they have much to worry about when it comes to their next two opponents next week either. The Outlaws are still in a pretty good spot going forward to comfortably make it into the knockouts, more or less.

Atlanta Reign: Meta Effectiveness: Considerable Buff

So, Atlanta looks to be having a great time in this meta. They’re one of only 3 Overwatch League teams that came out of this weekend 2-0. They look comfortable in this meta and they’re definitely the biggest advocates for the ‘Just play Orisa’ campaign. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure they were the only team this weekend that never bothered playing Winston at all for any amount of considerable game time.

This team’s results coupled with the fact that once most other teams started playing Orisa they instantly started seeing better results from map to map, makes me wonder why any team, at least in the west, even bothered playing Winston at all.

Orisa was, more or less, dominating the west this weekend. Scrims really must be a different beast if so many teams thought that Orisa was only half good enough to reasonably split play time between her and Winston at best. I’m really interested to see if any other team can stop Atlanta from hard maining Orisa all the time. Or if the Reign can just keep cruising all the way through the June Joust with this one-trick.

Boston Uprising: Meta Effectiveness: Moderate Buff

Boston had the best results of any Overwatch League team this weekend. Two relatively clean 3-0 sweeps in a row against, at least, mid to high-tier competition. You could claim that the Justice game was more due to Washington taking a hard nerf by this meta. In Boston’s defense, they have been steadily improving from game to game while the Justice have been routinely showing holes in their gameplay here and there. Still, I can understand the 3-0 alone being pretty concerning for a Justice fan.

As for Boston, though, I’d argue they probably displayed the best understanding of this new meta all weekend. Even better than Atlanta and Hangzhou. Interestingly, all three of those teams are now .500 after this weekend. At the very least, this neutralizes their poor starts, and depending on what happens in the next couple of weeks, they could all become winning teams by the time qualifiers are finished. Either way, the Uprising looks to be in a good spot right now. They’re definitely the main team I’d be looking out for in the west, currently. We’ll see if the Glads, the Shock, and the Fuel have anything to say about that though.

Guangzhou Charge: Meta Effectiveness: Negligible

A loss to the Spark and a win against New York gives the Charge a pretty even split weekend. While Guangzhou hasn’t really suffered from this new meta, it doesn’t look like it’s given them too much of an edge either after this weekend. One thing’s for sure though: Choisehwan is definitely keeping himself in that ROY conversation. On the Echo or Genji this weekend, he had some insane carry moments. They also tried out some pretty funky-looking Orisa compositions here and there. Other than that, there wasn’t anything else too noteworthy about the Charge this weekend to me.

Hangzhou Spark: Meta Effectiveness: Moderate Buff

The Spark, oddly enough, was the only Overwatch League team in the east that had a 2-0 weekend. One win against the Charge and the other against the Dragons. While the meta is definitely smiling upon them so far, you also have to give Shy a lot of credit. He was making a name for himself in the last couple of games of the May Melee qualifiers. He looks to be continuing his hot streak now. MCD has also been playing really well since the season started too. This seems to be just the meta Hangzhou needed. They seem to understand it better than most teams, currently, and they’ve set themselves up pretty well going forward in the June Joust qualifiers. I’m very interested to see if they can keep this momentum going.

Shanghai Dragons: Meta Effectiveness: Slight Buff

Walking away from this weekend with a split was the average for most teams this weekend. Shanghai is no exception. Even so, I think the Dragons can be happy with the fact that they still have a pretty solid understanding of the meta in the east. As a result, I don’t think they need to worry too much about the loss to Hangzhou. This team still looks pretty good. The Spark just looked better. Additionally, they pretty comfortably got their revenge against Chengdu. Although, that Junkertown map was a bit of a doozy. All-in-all, I’d still say Shanghai is in a good spot going forward. As long as Seoul or the Valiant also don’t get some kind of crazy buff from this meta, they should be safe.

Chengdu Hunters: Meta Effectiveness: Considerable Nerf

Both of Chengdu’s games this weekend were a little worrying, even if they do manage to split the weekend. 3-0’d by the Dragons and then a pretty ridiculous 5-mapper against Philly. Their understanding of the meta seems kind of poor, if just slightly better than the Fusion’s understanding.

What’s really crazy to me though is that I think Chengdu was the only other team in the east that actually gave the Orisa compositions a real try. I think the compositions themselves yielded mixed results at best, but it did look like at times it was giving the opposite team a run for their money. Namely, Junkertown against the Dragons and Busan against Philly. Any other time they played Winston comps, it truly just felt like a mess across both matches the majority of the time. Especially in the Fusion game. The Hunters were mostly just lucky that Philly was slightly more of a mess than they were.

This really doesn’t feel like the meta for them, and the only hope is that they can start cleaning things up by the time their next couple of Overwatch League matches roll around. We’ll see though.

New York Excelsior: Meta Effectiveness: Moderate Buff

Despite the loss to Guangzhou, New York can at least be happy knowing they took a win off of Philly, and that this meta favors them somewhat. At the very least, they had a good idea about how to play the meta coming into both their games. Either way, the win against the Fusion has got to be a huge confidence boost, no doubt. I just wonder if that Philly win is going to make a real difference going into the tournament. Just about everything has been turned on its head in this new meta.

Depending on how well Seoul and the Valiant have adjusted to this meta, New York could still come out of these qualifiers 2-2. That’s still better than their last qualifier run, but going 2-2 in the east is probably even worst than the west. There are fewer spots to qualify for after all. Though, there’s a good chance that the majority of teams in the east also go 2-2. If that ends up being the case instead, then the Fusion win could be a huge difference-maker for them after all.

It’s hard to say whether or not the Excelsior is truly in a good spot right now among the rest of the teams in the east. This could still end up being a rather average qualifier round for them in the Overwatch League.

Philadelphia Fusion: Meta Effectiveness: Considerable Nerf

Okay, so, Philly does not look comfortable at all in this meta. I’d argue Philly, Chengdu, and Washington are in contention for the currently worst-looking teams in this meta. All three of them looked exceptionally lost in all of their games. The Fusion a little less so than the Justice, and Chengdu a little less so than Philly. The match against New York was rough. The match against Chengdu was honestly just as rough. That match mostly just amounted to two teams flailing their arms at each other.

It was just hard to watch for both sides. From the sloppy, chaotic, and never-ending fights to the fact that both teams couldn’t even complete a map against each other, the Chengdu game was probably the hardest game to watch of any match this weekend considering the expectations that both teams set for themselves so far.

Sloppy Joes

Yeah, there were a fair amount of sloppy matches this weekend because of the new meta, but this one was just painful to watch for both teams. I mean, that Temple of Anubis map alone was just all kinds of maddening. It’s like neither team had any idea how to break the other team’s point B defense. Philly couldn’t even figure out how to get through the choke while Chengdu could barely keep their players alive once they got on the point. The first matchup between these teams was infinitely better even though it was one map shorter.

As far as Philly themselves go, I at least appreciate them attempting to make some adjustments after the New York game, but it was more or less futile at that point. Similar to the Justice and the Decay situation, both teams look lost in this meta. Changing one or two things like just putting Decay in or putting Carpe on heroes he’s more synonymous with is not going to fix that fact. Both teams simply have to get a better grip on the meta itself. Given the events that transpired across all teams this weekend, it’s pretty safe to say that in any match, you either understood how to play and adjust in the meta better than your opponent or you didn’t. And Philly didn’t.

Hopefully, the Fusion, as well as other teams that are struggling with this new meta, can start sorting things out for themselves in whatever way possible.

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

Last Week – OWL 2021: Week 4
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