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

Unpacking The San Francisco Shock’s Roster Shuffle

Blizzard Entertainment

Written by 

Joseph "Volamel" Franco

Posted 

25th Jun 2021 16:17

Share via:

It is a chaotic state of affairs for the defending Overwatch League champions, the San Francisco Shock. Not only do they feel the most vulnerable they have in a long time, but star DPS and Tracer specialist, Kwon "Striker" Nam-joo, has departed from the team while former ace, Lee "ANS" Seonchang, has come out of retirement in his stead.

Advertisement

While bittersweet, the exchange is a weird marriage of equal parts excitement and pessimistic curiosity. In times like these, card games feel like a natural area to pull metaphor from. To shuffle away and change a flush completely alters what it is, it changes its denotation. Royal or not, either or should still be considered good—but for completely different reasons.

Advertisement

One card—or in our realm; one player—can make or break everything. Change one aspect and the hand is changed irrevocably. And in feeling this move is equivalent to the lateral transfer of aces—but of different suits. Both are incredibly talented, but which completes the Shock’s hand? What does this mean for their Summer Showdown bid? And are we about to see the champion’s house of cards come crumbling down?

Losing someone like Striker is never easy. Funnily enough, the Shock has gone through familiar growing pains with ANS originally leaving the team at the start of the year, however this time it’s in the midst of their most competitive season Shock has had in a long time. Unfortunately for them, the defending champions have not made a single pilgrimage to Hawaii to compete for a monthly tournament title. In May the Shock was trounced by the eventual winners in the Dallas Fuel and in June the Atlanta Reign played spoiler in another decisive series. This is not the same team that had such an era of dominance and these recent movements does not lend itself to rebuilding confidence.

Advertisement

Striker was someone who could take over a game. He was a standout on the Boston Uprising during the inaugural Overwatch League season and was the driving force in the San Francisco Shock’s repeat title victories. He was a bonafide carry DPS player and losing that kind of weapon not only in the middle of the season but as the metagame could possibly be opening up more towards his wheelhouse is nothing short of tragic. 

And that’s not all that was lost. Along with Strikers retirement, assistant coach Hong "Agape" Cheol-yong has also parted ways with the team. Intentional or not, the Shock is venturing into deep waters and the tide is only rising. Each card on the flop is junk. And yet, the Shock didn’t just lose outright. They did gain something from this proverbial shuffling of the deck.

Advertisement

While they lost a threat in one regard, they gained one in others. ANS during his prime last year was a superstar, capable of taking over a game if need be. According to the Overwatch League Stats Lab, ANS was ranked within the top five of finals blows per ten minutes, eliminations per ten minutes, and solo kills per ten minutes on Widowmaker. However, that wasn’t the only hand he could play. When looking at Ashe, ANS was second last season in final blows per ten minutes and eliminations per ten minutes, while he led the league in hero damage done per ten minutes. This same consistent dominance bleeds into McCree as well as he was second in both final blows per ten minutes and in solo kills per ten minutes. 

These heroes seem paramount, especially when looking at recent Overwatch Contenders hero trends. While the June Joust metagame was dominated by the likes of Reaper and Echo, the summer tends to be trending towards more McCree play. Something that ANS is incredibly familiar with when recalling his statistics from the 2020 season. Past that, Ashe and Widowmaker are seeing their fair share of use on maps to allow for them to shine.

Advertisement

This all points towards the San Francisco Shock finding a world-class ace for a summer crusade.

However, this all begs the question; does it all come crumbling down?

Has the San Francisco Shock built a house of cards that is facing its proverbial gust of wind?

If anyone can pull pocket aces from their sleeve, if anyone can conjure up some confidence, it is head coach Park "Crusty" Dae-hee—but even for him, this is a tough ask. Now with a coach down, can he and his staff solve the consistency and coordination issues—that has kept them well clear of booking a trip to Hawaii—of a team that has just seen a massive shuffle, all the while entering a new metagame?

It is not impossible.

However, it is improbable.

Advertisement

In ways, the Shock’s schedule makes this dream seem that much more tangible as well. With the Los Angeles Gladiators, the London Spitfire, the Paris Eternal, and finally the Houston Outlaws as their docket this month, success seems likely. However, we return to an issue that has plagued them since their reign as defacto world beaters began; San Francisco is not an early-stage team. They are the team to refine what the metagame settles into, not the ones to innovate and dabble. Their paradox to solve strategically will be to find what works early and shove it all in. The Shock has to tease out the general tempo and feel to these new compositions early if they want to have a shot at making the Summer Showdown—all the while integrating a new, but familiar, all-star into their ranks.

Advertisement

To dance with the “what-ifs” of our mind’s eye, what would a revitalised Shock, one that captures the summer title, even look like?

To overcome what feels like such insurmountable, last-minute, and chaotic barriers is no small task, and to manage success from that garden of spikes would beg belief. This would be the narrative to usher in a staunch rebuttal to the death of the Shock’s era as they make their first international appearance since defending the title last year. It would follow the same unbelievable storyline that both the Dallas Fuel and the Shanghai Dragons ushered in during their own individual monthly tournament victories. 

Advertisement

Again, it is possible that the stars align, and the Shock draw the exact card they’ve needed with ANS and this new metagame—but is that something you want to bet on? 

The wager is on the table, the odds have been placed.

Can the San Francisco Shock flush the competition or has their favour with Fortuna run its course? 

The summer is waiting. 

 

Advertisement

Advertisement

Trending
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?
MVP? MVP?! - Who Leads The Overwatch League 2021 MVP Race?
Advertisement

Advertisement

Related Articles
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?
Why The Summer Showdown Belongs To The Philadelphia Fusion
Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Scroll to read

The Team Colours Of The 2021 Overwatch League Playoffs

Blizzard Entertainment

Written by 

Joseph "Volamel" Franco

Posted 

15th Sep 2021 18:30

Share via: