Overwatch League is back with plenty of answers

21:00, 15 Jun 2020

The Overwatch League is back from its break and has delivered fun gameplay with at times unique and novel compositions, though the results of these matches remained rather predictable. In our preview, we posed questions to these matches and most of them have been answered to satisfaction.

Which Seoul shows up and how quickly can Haksal be integrated?
Seoul has remained as volatile as ever, delivering a performance that was incredibly on brand. It wasn’t simply a thrashing by NYXL as the score of 0-3 may suggest. During the match, the Dynasty showed their potential with some solid map halves only to put the fear of God into any NFL quarterback with their unbelievable throwing arms. The theory of Seoul being good on double shield with Orisa was also invalidated, even though the meta should’ve favoured them based on that assumption. There’s more and more evidence that the Dynasty are simply inconsistent, with the meta having a mild to moderate effect on their performance but not make or break function.

Haksal turned the question on its head and asked instead: “How quickly can the NYXL keep up with me?” It really shouldn’t work to the degree that he makes it happen but his Genji looked lethal though the implementation of it into their macro was still mildly bumpy. It was a performance that should’ve at least silenced doubters of this move, for now. If Haksal can bring the explosive firepower against a team like Shanghai and put NYXL in pole position for further competition in Asia, his recruitment could be the pick up of the season despite initial scepticism due to their embarrassment of riches.

Was London able to use their break effectively?

London Spitfire's composition, playing Tracer, Genji, Wrecking Ball, Roadhog, Ana & Lucio

The Spitfire was one of the hardest quests this season in trying to beat the Shanghai Dragons. Unlikely to beat these monsters on an even playing field, London tried a lot of unique strategies, though only with mild success, getting only a single point the entire series. With a projected win rate of 50% to make play-ins and currently sitting at a season record of 4-6, the Spitfire aren’t out of reach but recent pickups in the Asian region haven’t made the task any easier. Spitfire’s playoff dreams are on thin-ice. 

Can Boston look competitive against a Paris Eternal with sp9rk1e?
There’s no other answer to this question than a resounding yes and it wasn’t just due to sp9rk1e leaving anything to be desired for his debut. The flex dps prodigy showed off and delivered a carry performance for his team but still didn’t make the Uprising crumble. Having made strides in their teamplay, Boston got painfully close to an upset, not least to Colorhex having a great performance individually and the rest of the roster continuing on their upwards trajectory they had shown since the match against the Gladiators in May. Nevertheless, the Uprising should be proud of their performance as it only seems a matter of time until they will be able to taste the fruits of their labour. An easier qualification round in the next tournament than the Eternal and the Fusion could help them go far in the bracket.

Are the Fuel really a contender for the top 3 in North America?
Unless someone would be bold enough to claim that the Fuel are somehow better than the Fusion or that the current hero pool didn’t work in their favour and it would, therefore, put a caveat to these results, the most probable answer here is a no. The Fuel aren’t quite ready yet to fight the big dogs and their latest recruitment in Paintbrush doesn’t seem to have significantly moved the needle, though it is admittedly still too early to tell. For now, the Fusion, Shock and Mayhem have distinguished themselves from the field.

Where is Ers...Who wins the battle of the underachiever?
Physically back, absent in spirit. We got to see a map of Erster but he didn’t look anything like the monster that we’ve known him to be. The lack of a truly elite performer has hurt the Reign the last couple of months and while Edison has done an admirable job, the quality that Erster displayed when Atlanta were at their scariest last season is still missed.

Birdring with staggering 6,079 DMG/10, 20 Finalblows, 34% scoped accuracy, 17.4 Eliminations/10

Unfortunately for the Reign, Birdring didn’t feel like missing this weekend, showing a top-tier performance especially on Widowmaker which put the Gladiators over the edge in a close battle of underachievers. It’s a long way to go for both teams if they want to make the direct qualification for playoffs. This victory was an important one for the Gladiators as their season score goes back to 0.500 at a score of 5-5 with the Reign falling to a 5-6. Sitting at 11th and 12th place respectively, even securing a play-in slot is not a given.

Can the Outlaws keep their play-in dreams alive?
Just like the Spitfire, the Outlaws couldn’t reasonably count on trying to outmuscle the Fusion at eye-leveling, forcing them to find curveball compositions to outwit their opponent. Playing Orisa/Winston frontlines on some parts of Lijang or Doomfist/Reaper with double shield on others brought the Outlaws reasonably close but they too failed on several occasions at the finish line. Even their Winston/Sigma on Hollywood succeeded in making the match closer than it was projected to be. Outlaws’ improvement is apparent in everything but match score, which is largely due to their much harder strength of schedule. Danteh has now firmly established himself as a star player for the Outlaws and with some and some more help, the miracle might just be possible.

Can the Defiant escape the bottom tier and will Surefour be back?
The foundation was laid for a comeback of the Defiant in 2020 with play-in ranks at a current season score of 5-8 still in reach, albeit challenging. The British shotcalling impact at the hands of Numlocked and Kruise could be felt and with a reintegrated Surefour and an ever so solid Logix, the team demonstrated that they might have reached escape velocity from the rest of the teams in the bottom ranks like the Titans and the Justice. One victory against either the Reign or the Fuel in the run-up to the July tournament would go a long way in helping the Defiant reach their goal, also because it would signify that the team is able to deliver past the honeymoon period and can reach for more.

Can the Justice lay the foundation for a redemption story in 2021?
Perhaps it is too early to expect reasonable improvements but this version of the Justice appears weaker than their roster at the start of the season. By design of a rebuild, it would be unfair to expect drastic improvements especially given the small roster that the Justice currently have access to and the moves they can be expected to make during a global pandemic. Nevertheless, the Justice didn’t inspire confidence in their vision just yet. Layered against Mayhem’s progression after their course correction to a full Korean roster, the Justice have a couple more weeks until they’ll have to show significant improvement.

Images via Blizzard Entertainment 

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