Overwatch League 2021: Week 7 Reactions and Analysis
Week 7 (May 28-30) of the Overwatch League saw things returning to some sense of normality once more. This week wasn’t nearly as crazy as last week was anyway. Things played out, more or less, how we probably would’ve expected them to.
I still found it exciting regardless considering that the messiness of the meta seems to no longer be meddling with the level of skill on display. At least, not nearly as much as that was the case last week. Teams are starting to figure things out. Soon we’ll truly see the wheat be separated from the chaff. With that said, let’s see if we can sort this week out.
London Spitfire: Still Want To Play?
Not much to say about London. Another rough 0-2 weekend. At this point, London can only hope to take at least one win off of Vancouver. Not sure when that matchup will happen but it has to happen at some point, right…?
I will say on thing, though. Considering how bad London has looked so far this season, I’m surprised no one on their roster has quit yet. Already, we’ve seen Neptuno leave Paris and Shredlock part ways with the Titans. It’s probably becoming very clear for these players that the prospect of winning anything this season is very low. Playing for anything other than those small moments of success during matches is probably London’s only option at this point. In their situation, you have to find any and every way to keep yourself motivated. That’s at least something I can respect. (Barring someone actually ends up retiring within the next couple of weeks here…)
Dallas Fuel: Still Burning
So, Dallas split the weekend. Despite this, they still look pretty good in this meta. I was honestly quite curious how Sp9rk1e and Doha were going to adjust after two of their prominent short-range hitscan options in Tracer and Sombra were banned.
The Fuel was the first team in the Overwatch League to show that the Winston compositions can beat the Orisa compositions in that London match, and the San Francisco game was by far the best match this weekend. In the London match, even when London managed to win a teamfight, it still felt like Dallas was always in control. There was never a moment where it felt like London had a chance.
The saving grace about the game against the Shock is that it looked like the only problem Dallas had was the lack of ranged hitscan to match Glister on that Dorado map. Perhaps Sp9rk1e should’ve swapped to the Legs sooner? That was something he was doing during the May Melee and it was working well enough. Either way, depending on how long it’ll take for Dallas to situate Pine into their lineup, the Fuel might not even have this problem by the time they match up with the Shock again. It’d probably be in the Fuel’s best interest to do that sooner rather than later, though.
Los Angeles Gladiators: Let The Process Begin
Feels like it’s been forever since we’ve last seen the Glads. It seems they’ve adjusted pretty well to this meta. The Vancouver game is pretty much whatever, but beating Atlanta’s Orisa one-trick is pretty good. It was back-and-forth here and there, but for the most part, the Glads played a better game than the Reign.
With this 2-0 start to the June Joust qualifiers, the Glads have set themselves up nicely. By beating their fellow forever mid-tier rivals in the Reign, the Glads have begun the process of shedding the dreaded gatekeeper narrative that follows them in the Overwatch League. It’ll be interesting to see how far Los Angeles can go and whether or not they actually belong in the current upper echelon of teams.
Vancouver Titans: …
Okay, I’m going to be honest. I really don’t want to talk about the Titans. It doesn’t look like the meta is doing them any favors and that Atlanta match, in particular, was just all kinds of painful to watch. It was yet another match this season where one team failed to score a point on any of the three maps played.
Teru’s 6K on Junkertown against the Glads was probably the highest point of excitement all weekend for this team. Even still, all it really does is just perpetuate the narrative that so many things have to randomly go right for them to even have a chance in a series. That dragonblade was just a microcosm of a bigger issue with this team. With every passing game, the breadstick reward for a 5-map series feels more like a piece of cheese at the end of a rigged maze for this team. I really hope the players don’t feel like the hopeless mouse navigating that maze in the Overwatch League.
Houston Outlaws: Getting That Practice In
The Outlaws finish their qualifiers with a nice little 2-0 weekend. They set themselves up for a pretty good seed in the knockouts. Overall, I think Houston looked fine this weekend, though they could do with cleaning up their Winston comps. I do appreciate the fact that they are still running the Winston comps here and there, though. In this meta, I think you have to have a good handle on both the Orisa and Winston comps in certain situations. Their Winston game still looks to have a few holes in it, but it’s better to get that practice in now than to not have a Winston game at all and end up looking like Atlanta against the Gladiators.
I would’ve liked to see them keep playing Orisa/D.Va on that first control map against Toronto, though. But whatever. It’s not like that map decided the series or anything, and maybe the little extra practice might come in handy later on. Either way, Houston seems like an interesting bunch to keep your eyes on going forward in the Overwatch League.
San Francisco Shock: Back At It
After last weekend, I was really interested to see what kind of compositions the Shock would be preferring. It seems they mostly prefer the more Winston-based comps, but also aren’t afraid to break out the Orisa here and there.
What’s interesting is that the Winston-based comps look to be their stronger look. I think this’ll be pretty pivotal going forward. In that Dallas match, whenever one team wanted to start playing Orisa, either team was able to pretty much dismantle the Orisa comps with a Winston comp immediately, forcing the other team to swap. Gameplans were being tweaked for both teams before our very eyes throughout that series. A hallmark of two top teams going at it. Even in that Toronto match, the Shock had one of the funniest screw-ups I think I’ve ever seen on that Hanamura point A defense on the Orisa comp. Toronto is a weaker team, so the Shock figured it out eventually, but the Orisa comps were basically nonexistent in the Dallas match.
All of this tells me that the Orisa comps might not be as dominant as we thought in the Overwatch League if neither Dallas nor the Shock could get anything done on them in the brief moments they showed it, and heavily preferred the Winston comps against each other. This is why I think it’s a good idea to have both composition types wired. You never know when one might dismantle the other, or one team might have a better read on it on certain maps.
At any rate, the Shock still complete a 2-0 weekend. You can’t really complain about that, even if it wasn’t in the same sort of dominant fashion we expect from them all of the time. They’ve still set themselves up for a pretty comfortable 4-0 finish.
Toronto Defiant: Aspire To Be Great
Again, I’m pretty torn on Toronto this week, because, score-wise, they actually had a better game against the Shock than they had against Houston. They were both 1-3 losses, yeah, but Toronto also scored two more points across the entire series against the Shock compared to Houston. I don’t know. It’s just weird is all I’m saying.
One thing I do know is that Aspire was more than a suitable replacement for Heesu. I found him to be a lot more impactful than Heesu has been on average so far this season. Now, this isn’t to say that Heesu has never been impactful for Toronto so far. There have been times this season where he’s cracked a teamfight wide open for his squad with one or two opening kills out of nowhere. It just feels as though Aspire was way more aggressive this weekend than Heesu usually is.
Heesu has, at times, struck me as a player that plays a lot safer on average, but is really good at punishing the opponent’s mistakes. That’s probably a big reason why he was so good at Sombra last season. It was also something that Philly as a team was really good at doing last season as well. Aspire just came in and kind of flipped all of that on its head at that position. I just really appreciated the change of pace. Despite the 0-2 weekend against obviously better teams, Aspire had himself a respectable outing.
Toronto is definitely not making it into the knockouts with a 1-3 record, but Aspire might’ve just earned himself a real roster spot. It’s always nice to see a player put into a tough situation like this do well in the Overwatch League. They’re basically being told to prove their worth in what could essentially be a temporary position.
Atlanta Reign: Still Gonna Stick With The One-Trick?
Atlanta split the weekend, losing to the Glads, but comfortably winning over Vancouver. The problem with their Orisa one-trick strats kind of reared its ugly head in that Gladiators match. If Atlanta faces a better Orisa team, what do they do? Now, granted, the Glads weren’t that much better, but they were good enough to take the W.
Depending on your perspective, this is either better or worse for Atlanta. If you can’t rely on the one-trick to win you a relatively close game, then what does that mean for you should you go up against a team that can probably completely dismantle the one-trick? Teams like the Shock and the Fuel? Perhaps Atlanta could double-down on the Orisa comps and really attempt to master them fully? Though, it seemed like they were already the masters of the Orisa comp coming into this weekend.
I think their interests would be better served by incorporating more compositions into their strategies. Though, knowing the Reign, they’ll probably just keep sticking with the Orisa comps until their ultimate demise. In fairness, it did earn them a 3-1 record in these qualifiers. The problem is that it’s doubtful it’ll earn them a June Joust tournament championship in the long run in the Overwatch League.
Shanghai Dragons: Hmmm
So, the Dragons complete a 2-0 weekend to, more or less, solidify a spot in the June Joust knockouts. Overall, their performance was relatively clean. They sweep (with a draw) a weak-looking Valiant team before 3-1’ing a rather confused-looking Dynasty team.
Shanghai looks to be incorporating more Orisa comps into their looks, which is a good adaptation sign. Still, the one loss they took from Hangzhou wasn’t necessarily because they weren’t playing Orisa comps as much, but more so because Hangzhou had better Winston comps. Their Orisa comps pretty much mopped the floor with the Valiant’s Winston/Wrecking Ball comps, though. So, perhaps that’s the strategy Shanghai can fall back on if they ever match up with a better Winston team then.
Even so, some teams have figured out ways to break Orisa comps with the Winston dives this weekend. Namely, Dallas and San Francisco. Plus, it’s not like giving the Valiant a good smackdown is some new revelation this season. The Seoul win also comes with an asterisk because Seoul thought Roadhog was the wave in this meta. So, I wouldn’t rest too easy just yet if I were the Dragons.
Los Angles Valiant: It’s Not Just One Player
So, the Valiant somehow looked better against the Dragons than they did against New York… and they played the Dragons first… I mean, there was no real reason to believe the Valiant would win against New York, all things considered. You at least would’ve liked to see a closer game, though. I mean, again, zero points scored across that whole series. Nothing more really needs to be said. This team has regressed in this meta. Hell, you could argue they’ve been regressing since that first match in the Overwatch League. This is not at all what you want to see.
The worst part about this is that the ‘Silver3 is bad’ memes are really starting to pick up. It makes me feel really sorry for the guy. Even though he has looked pretty bad, you don’t go 0-6 because of one player. Everyone on the Valiant has been atrocious so far this season. Just some maybe more than others. The whole team is discombobulated. They’re currently incapable of pushing advantages they earn for themselves. Their target focus is awful, and even when it’s good, they just end up trading or straight-up lose the ensuing fight because rarely is anyone ever on the same page. It just makes things too easy for the other team to pick them apart because they don’t play as a unit to begin with.
It’s frustrating to watch and it’s even sadder to know that people still subscribe to this toxic mindset of one player being the most garbage out of a mountainous amount of garbage on display.
New York Excelsior: Treading Water
Another split weekend for New York. Finishing at an even .500 for the June Joust qualifiers is undoubtedly better than the May Melee. Just marginally, though. Okay, so, here’s the thing with New York; while they have gotten a boost from this meta, I still don’t think they’ll be going very far any time soon. The 2-2 record could get them into the knockouts, especially since they beat Philly, but it’s unclear if they’ll actually make it out of their region.
You really would’ve liked to win against Seoul this weekend as well. The fact that they didn’t is really suspect to me. It tells me that this team is not at all adapting and simply got lucky against Philly and the Valiant in this meta. They’re currently better at these messy Winston comps than Philly and LA, which, let’s be honest, isn’t hard considering how bad both of those teams look right now, and they had little to no idea on how to deal with Seoul’s Roadhog of all things. Not the Orisa. The Roadhog… A Roadhog that was promptly put to shame by Shanghai.
The Excelsior absolutely must show something different if they actually plan on making any real noise in their region. They have to add the Orisa comps to their strategies or be more decisive with their Winston dives or something. They’re still just kind of treading water in a meta that somewhat favors them. They haven’t actually fully adapted like the Dragons, and to a lesser extent the Spark, if they’re still being handled by the Dynasty’s Roadhog. And there’s a good chance they might not even have the opportunity to show any real adaptation depending on what happens next week. Fingers crossed if you’re a New York fan, but I honestly wouldn’t have much hope given what’s transpired so far in the Overwatch League.
Seoul Dynasty: The Roadhog…?
Okay, so, yeah, what the hell, man? Roadhog? Really? I mean, a couple of teams have run Roadhog here and there last week, but not to the extent that Seoul ran him this weekend. Plus, if memory serves, I’m pretty sure only low-tier teams like Paris and London touched Roadhog to any extent last week. So, what even made the Dynasty think Roadhog was going to be the wave in this meta?
I mean, for God’s sake, they had an extra week to see what other teams were running in official matches. And they still thought that Roadhog was a good choice and didn’t think to incorporate more Orisa comps into their strategies, or at least the Winston dive comps? Wasn’t Gesture known for his Winston once upon a time? Seriously, what the hell? I guess in Seoul’s defense, the Roadhog did work against New York.
It’s New York, though. It’s honestly more embarrassing for them that they couldn’t figure out how to beat the Roadhog in the first place. Just because it worked against New York doesn’t mean it’s going to work against Shanghai. Despite the split weekend, the events that transpired just further perpetuate my thoughts that this team might end up being the East’s Atlanta Reign gatekeeper team. This was just absolutely baffling, and I really hope Seoul goes back to the drawing board to think up some new strategies.
What did you think of this week’s Overwatch League matches? Leave your comments below!