WELCOME TO THE TEAM

If you ever want to manage your favourites, change your details or update your marketing preferences, just visit ‘My Account’

Personalise your GGRecon experience so that the information presented is bespoke to your likes
Games
Call of Duty
Overwatch
VALORANT
CS:GO
LOL
Apex Legends
RL
Fortnite
Trending
FIFA
PUBG
Dota 2
Influencers
Why Should I Join GGRECON?
Welcome
to the team
Sign Up via Social Media:
Or Sign Up Manually
Select A Country
Already got an account? Login Here
WHY GGRECON?

Customise the 'My News' page to create your own personalised experience

Recommended content based on your favourite games, teams, streaming stars and esports players

Exclusive articles, features, interviews and guides by our
award-nominated editorial team

Follow your favourite
players & streamers

RESET YOUR PASSWORD
Complete!
Success! You’ve reset your password
You’ll now be able to use this password to login successfully
RESET YOUR PASSWORD
RESET YOUR
PASSWORD
FORGOT PASSWORD
FORGOT PASSWORD
Email sent! Check your inbox

We’ve sent a link to the email ‘’.

Please follow the instructions in this email
to reset your password

FORGOT PASSWORD
FORGOT PASSWORD
Please enter your username so we can send you a link to reset your password
Welcome back to
Enter your details below to log into the GGRecon Site:
Login via Social Media:
Or Login Manually
Not a GGRecon member yet? Sign Up Here
WHY GGRECON?

Customise the 'My News' page to create your own personalised experience

Recommended content based on your favourite games, teams, streaming stars and esports players

Exclusive articles, features, interviews and guides by our
award-nominated editorial team

Follow your favourite
players & streamers

Why Should I Join GGRECON?
Complete your sign up
 
Select A Country
Already got an account? Login Here
WHY GGRECON?

Customise the 'My News' page to create your own personalised experience

Recommended content based on your favourite games, teams, streaming stars and esports players

Exclusive articles, features, interviews and guides by our
award-nominated editorial team

Follow your favourite
players & streamers

Advertisement

Scroll to read

Justice For The Outlaws - An OWL Match Blueprint

Blizzard Entertainment

Written by 

Joseph "Volamel" Franco

Posted 

8th Sep 2021 18:30

Share via:

The 2021 Overwatch League Play-Ins ended with a bang. After one of their worst performances of the season, the Washington Justice bounce back in a gruelling match against the Houston Outlaws. However, it wasn’t the play that had us on the edge of our seats. While we can’t ignore that the match had its moments, that wasn’t what demanded our attention. The drama, the stakes, and the expectations all formed a cement-like narrative that you could not help but enjoy. No matter where you sat, regardless of who you supported, you watched and you had a reason for cheering. The Justice’s win over the Outlaws serves as a blueprint for the future of the Overwatch League.

Advertisement

While a surface-level glance at the standing shouldn’t leave you too surprised, coming into this event the Washington Justice were trench deep in a performance valley. Through the Countdown Cup, their only victory came by way of the 1-15 Vancouver Titans and, ironically enough, Washington opened the Countdown Cup with an 0-3 loss to Houston. On top of that, the Overwatch League Play-Ins featured the game’s most recent patch which buffed Wrecking Ball, a hero that historically the Justice looked woefully poor on. And their battlefield? The final match to secure a playoff berth. This was quite literally life or death for either team’s season and for their initial franchise narrative. One would advance to chase the 2021 championship the other would likely play their final Overwatch 1 match and lose. Neither team historically performed all that well. 

The Outlaws peaked during the inaugural season seeing a Stage 1 playoff appearance and finished the 2021 regular season with a strong record. The Justice recently made a miraculous North American playoff run during the 2020 Overwatch League season and looked impressive during Stage 4 of 2019, but outside of that, both teams were milquetoast at best. Again, this would likely be the final chance for either franchise to make one last impression not only on the public but on scales of history. Cordial table-setting aside, it was certainly not cherry-picked match statistics that made this match so perfect.

Advertisement

Map three ends with an unfortunate loss for the Washington Justice. Once in the driver’s seat of the series, player-coach, Jacob "JAKE" Lyon, is reported to have typed “You’re going home soon. Get ready.”

Shortly after, star DPS, Dante "Danteh" Cruz, is also quoted to have typed “Why use two support ults into EMP?” 

This harmless trash talk would continue into map four with Houston’s main tank Song "Dreamer" Sanglok typing “c9 in OWL MATCH?????”.

Advertisement

Flanking that, Danteh returns to the chat after scoring an impressive kill typing “dva remech does damage btw”.

Trash talk like this is polarizing, it forces you to care. It’s the proverbial stick that draws a line in the sand and asks “with these comments in mind, who do you support?”. Past that, it’s poking little comments like these that enhance the drama of the match. Regardless of the matches outcome, without Houston assuming the role of the villains here, bantering with their opponents and taunting them throughout the series, the match is infinitely less entertaining. This is something that has permeated any and all esports titles; when player personalities come out it catalyzes the product and makes the match mean more.

Advertisement

Now, this match evolves from a high stakes playoff opportunity to some sort of harmless slight towards fans who are only emboldened by the comments. And whether we like it or not, esports is—in some aspect—an entertainment product. Participation like the Houston Outlaws’ extracurricular comments serves to further entertain the masses as well as their initial means. However, that wasn’t the only thing that enhanced the outcome of the match.

 

Dramatic tension is the quiet time spent with a piece of media right before an explosion of action. It is the creaky floorboards of that abandoned and dishevelled house you were told you shouldn’t visit. It is those brief moments spent waiting for the audience to react after finishing a stage performance. And strangely enough, the pause right as Washington’s DPS duo eliminates the support line for Houston acts as a brilliant, albeit accidental, element of dramatic tension. Is it suspense? Not at all. Anyone who has slogged away in gold long enough knows that early eliminations, especially on supports, is a near-guaranteed team fight win—but the pause acts as a buffer between the outcome we assume and what is possible.

Advertisement

The audience can rationally assume that the Justice are mere moments away from winning the game. 

However, as much as we often think we are, in these moments, reason and logic are the least of our concerns. Was this a dastardly attempt from the Outlaws at icing the Justice in the final moments? Was the game played accidentally on the wrong patch and would have to be re-played? Was there some other technical error that would jeopardize the match?

Advertisement

Regardless of the outcome as to why the pause happened in the first place, the final moments of the match would be far less impactful if we didn’t have that quiet and dramatic tension. 

We wouldn’t have seen the confusion from the Outlaws. 

We wouldn’t have seen the Justice stewing in unresolved victory. 

We wouldn’t have heard Josh "Sideshow" Wilkinson and Brennon “Bren” Hook’s immediate reaction and narrative re-cap of just how meaningful this match was to these twelve players. 

It was at this point where you couldn’t look away.

Advertisement

Now, by no means are we advocating for sporadic pauses for playoffs or implementing as such for Overwatch 2, but these breaks in the action, even if just for a moment give your broadcast talent ample time to craft a story that connects to people. That is the emphasis here. Just by happenstance, the commentary team was given a break to recap and formulate a story mid-game. And while you cannot manufacturer the pauses’ tension, a proper half-time segment can supplement the overall show for similar reasons.

Again, make no bones about this game; it was not the best Overwatch ever played—if anything that subjective lens means fans could understand, even if at an incredibly basic level, what was happening.

Advertisement

And yet it was so incredibly enticing. 

That is why this game, out of the hundred played through the course of Overwatch history, is one of the best crystalline examples of why we all watch our respective games. Our finals make a conscious attempt to tease out player personalities, it doesn’t beat when they genuinely allow themselves to put on a show. There is a reason why OGN’s Overwatch APEX league is remembered so fondly—because it was clear that they wanted to enhance the experience the entertainment experience as much as possible. That’s why we saw player reaction shots, that’s why we got memorable moments like Yoon "Runner" Dae-hoon punching a hole through the roof of his booth or why big matches would always have a preamble segment of the players trash-talking one another.

Advertisement

The performance of any given team or player doesn’t have to be amazing to build a system that produces matches that impact people—and it’s clear the Overwatch League broadcast team is getting there. Take for example their building of the New York Excelsior’s match against the Philadelphia Fusion from earlier this year. 

This is exactly what the future of Overwatch storytelling should look like.

Advertisement

Overwatch 2’s inception and eventual release give us all an opportunity to improve. To allow the broadcast to form the stories that connect us. To allow more connection and humanization of the players. To allow these individuals the opportunities to become immortalized and remember for their feats of strength. That is why this match serves as a blueprint to be studied not only by the players and the broadcast team—but everyone.

This is why we’re here, this is what we can be and Overwatch 2 is rolling out the red carpet for us.

 

 

Advertisement

Advertisement

Trending
With Fuel And Dragons Out, Who Takes OWL’s Countdown Cup?
TL;DW: A Week Of Firsts - Nuggets From Post-Matches With Shu And Hadi
TL;DW - OGE's Comeback, PRE On Justice's Struggles, And Aid On Pine Playing In Playoffs
Pharah Reigns From Above - A Review Of OWL’s Countdown Cup Meta
Are The Washington Justice The Team To Watch At The Countdown Cup?
Advertisement

Advertisement

Related Articles
MVP? MVP?! - Who Leads The Overwatch League 2021 MVP Race?
All The Roads To Overwatch League’s Summer Showdown Title
Shy Or Kaan? Who Leads OWL's Rookie Of The Year Race?
Overwatch At The Olympics [Satire]
Catching Snowflakes - What Is ChoiSehwan To Do?
Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Scroll to read

To Plant A Dream - The Journey Of Mmonk And GA9A

Blizzard Entertainment

Written by 

Joseph "Volamel" Franco

Posted 

21st Sep 2021 19:30

Share via: