Winners and losers of Overwatch League's Summer Showdown meta
With one of the best international tournaments in recent memory in the rearview mirror, the Overwatch League heads into its Summer Showdown. 2022's third stage brings new heroes, roster shuffles, and a new hierarchy in both North America and in Asia. Junker Queen's introduction ushers us into Overwatch League's reckoning and with that, some teams look to cut the line while plenty of others are being left behind. Who are the winners and losers entering the Junker Queen metagame of Summer Showdown?
Before we cast judgement on who we believe to see some massive upticks, we have to overview what kind of metagame we're walking into in the Summer Showdown. And, unfortunately, it's looking fairly rigid. While she was nerfed towards the end of the second beta cycle, Junker Queen seems to still be dominating the metagame in Overwatch Contenders which leads us to assume this will be mostly replicated within the first two weeks of the Summer Showdown at the very least. Alongside her are Lucio and Brigitte as supports and DPS usually consist of picks like Sojourn, Genji, Tracer, and Echo.
With little to no information, we'll not spend too much time speculating on who could be a good Junker Queen ace but instead focus on two major aspects that impact more teams than you might think.
With how many teams leaned into the double-flex support gambit in the preseason, how will many of these teams face now having to play what is considered two traditional main support heroes? On top of that, who can lean into the DPS heroes with the most ease?
Somehow, the Houston Outlaws still look to roll high on a third straight metagame. Battling through a metagame that could limit them, early projections have Houston emerging as the team in Texas.
One of the biggest selling points here is that the Outlaws DPS line should be the most comfortable they've been all season—and that's saying something. Choi "MER1T" Tae-min is looking to swan dive out of a strong Midseason Madness performance directly into the Summer Showdown with plenty of Sojourn to play.
Sat next to him is 2021's Rookie of the Year in Oh "Pelican" Se-hyun. Pelican has frequented the likes of Genji and Echo all season long, so much so that there has been a feeling of it being slightly forced in some cases dating back to the Kickoff Clash.
While on paper it seems as though Houston should be limited by having two starting flex supports, Mun "Lastro" Jung-won has been a standout when he isn't tending to his birds. This flexibility has been paramount in their success and should smooth any rough edges when it comes to one of the two main support heroes.
Fourth in the western conference is surprising when you recall Houston's form, but we're confident that the DPS should remind us how dangerous the Outlaws can be.
In one of the biggest shifts upwards, the Guangzhou Charge not only have made some massive changes to their roster, most of which should fit well within the Junker Queen composition.
The fact of the matter is that Brigitte and Lucio are going to become the backbone of the 2022 Summer Showdown and the Charge's newest support is a veteran that has subtlety fallen under the radar of the public. Formerly playing under the tag "Yveltal", Li "Xerneas" Xianyao was the top main support, statistically speaking, from the 2021 season. Not only is this an upgrade, but gaining the ability to play make from this position is not a trait many teams can claim they have. The Guangzhou Charge are now front and centre on this shortlist.
DPS-wise, Choi "ChoiSehwan" Se-hwan, has been a big proponent of Genji since his debut last season. Not only is he one of the most overlooked aces in the league, but Genji is well within his wheelhouse. Additionally, former Chengdu Hunters DPS Lei "Jimmy" Yujia looks to have a renaissance within this dedicated hitscan meta. And, if the need were to arise, they can also call on one of the hottest prospects coming into this season, Li "Apr1ta" Yuanjinghao.
With only one win to their name and sub-ten map wins and such impressive improvements, the Guangzhou Charge should easily be a team on the mend this stage.
It's hard to imagine the Los Angeles Gladiators getting any better. With the Kickoff Clash title already collecting dust and the Midseason Madness trophy being added to their growing award case, when you lay out the facts, the Gladiators don't seem like they're going to slow down.
With Kim "skewed" Min-seok and Daniel "FunnyAstro" Hathaway, the Gladiators should have their supports figured out for the most part for Overwatch League's Summer Showdown. With the former being a stellar Brigitte player and the latter being one of the world's best Lucio's, Los Angeles almost seems more formidable now in Summer Showdown than in the two events they've won.
On top of that, we've seen what the duo of Kevin "kevster" Persson and Patiphan "Patiphan" Chaiwong have been able to do on both the Sojourn and Genji respectively. This Junker Queen-centric metagame should not concern this team in the slightest.
The biggest boon for Los Angeles are the support picks. With the move to both Lucio and Brigitte being the default support duo, we should see a minor step back in terms of overall team play. However, this should not affect the Gladiators at all which stands as an example of how well-built this team is, undercutting many of the preseason concerns many pundits leveraged against them.
Sadly, you can't mention losers without mentioning the Dallas Fuel. Without much wind in their sails after the Midseason Madness, the Fuel doesn't look to be that potent in the Summer Showdown.
This comes down to one large fact; their lack of hitscan presence. Both Kang "guriyo" Min-seo and Kim "Edison" Tae-hoon have not lived up to the task on Sojourn and with how prominent she's been in Overwatch Contenders, we're placing a safe bet Dallas will likely attempt to dabble elsewhere.
However, if they do stay the course they do have a saving grace in Kim "SP9RK1E" Yeong-han's Genji. If they can pile their resources into SP9RK1E and allow him more aggressive positioning than his peers.
Could we see some Moria/Lucio out of the Fuel? Are they going to sadly just be a one-note team for the third stage in a row? We'll certainly find out as the Dallas Fuel end the Summer Showdown's opening day with a bout against the aforementioned Los Angeles Gladiators.
Stood next to the Fuel, the New York Excelsior continues to be a team on the ropes.
While they have talented pieces, this is metagame is not suited for them in the slightest.
With three experienced flex support in their lineup, they have no proficient Lucio or Brigitte player. Kang "Gangnamjin" Nam-jin just has not lived up to the expectations that surrounded him from his time with the Florida Mayhem, but we are left wondering - is that his fault or the fault of a misread and stubbornness from the organisation itself?
As much New York Excelsior want Lim "Flora" Young-woo to be their "captain" his Sojourn just isn't up to snuff to warrant such a designation. Once again, New York looks to be a team that lives or dies by Kim "Yaki" Jun-ki. His Genji and Echo are going to need to be outstanding if they have a chance in what looks to be, at best, a 2-4 stage.
Let's address this straight out of the gate, the Shanghai Dragons "should" have the pieces required to perform in this metagame.
Lee "LIP" Jae-won's Sojourn has improved since the start of the Midseason Madness. Lee "WhoRU" Seung-jun was a bright spot for the defending champions during the Kickoff Clash on Genji. And Lee "LeeJaeGon" Jae-gon should give the Dragons some playmaking potential from the support line.
However, with how much they've struggled, not just in terms of finding their sea legs early, but also within the 5v5 framework of Overwatch 2, this sudden tempo shift could cause them even more issues. The Shanghai Dragons are going to have to look to their DPS and throw away the old conventions of this overly methodical view of the game.
LIP and WhoRU are going to have to set a new tone for the 2021 champions during the second half of the season or the Dragons could be slipping even farther down in the power rankings.