Overwatch League 2020 Grand Finals Survival Guide
Overwatch is a daunting game, attempting to watch professional Overwatch needs its own dictionary, personal trainer and strategy guide. With the 2020 Overwatch League season coming to a close, many new fans cheering on their favourite team are bound to be tuning in wondering what's happening and who to follow and why. However, we've got you covered from what to expect to the many storylines continuing—and possibly ending—as the 2020 season comes to a close. New to the game? Need to get caught up? This is your 2020 Overwatch League Grand Finals survival guide.
Who Are These Teams?
The defending 2019 champions, the San Francisco Shock look to extend their dynasty further by capping 2020 as the first team to both repeat and defend their title. After losing star players Jay "sinatraa" Won and Park "Architect" Minho, many people questioned if the Shock could keep up their winning ways. Since their departure, the Shock have won the May Melee, the Countdown Cup and earning the top seed from North America. This is a team that defied the odds by continuing to be a dominant force even with Hero Pools and its weekly hero bans. The Shock look to be a favourite heading into the grand finals, one that could cement history.
The other favourites are the Royalty of Asia, the Shanghai Dragons. Mirroring the Shock's success this season, the Dragons have won all the same events and advances as Asia's number one seed going into the grand finals. However, the narrative here is attached to their evolution from infamy. You see, if you're new to Overwatch, the 2018 Shanghai Dragons went on an unprecedented 0-40 losing streak. In two years they've advanced from the laughing stock of the league to one of it's leading contenders in the 2020 title race. The Dragons are a safe bet when looking ahead in your grand finals brackets.
Looking for an underdog to cheer for? The Seoul Dynasty have been shaky nearly all season, but have excelled during the playoffs wielding their unorthodox style to their advantage. Coming out as Asia second seed was something that wasn’t clear going into playoffs but quickly dispatching teams like the New York Excelsior, the Hangzhou Spark, and the Guangzhou Charge is impressive. They did this all the while taking the Shanghai Dragons to game five in the winners’ finals, which is shocking in and of itself. The potential is there, but can Seoul make the Cinderella dream a reality?
Lastly, we have the Philadelphia Fusion, North America’s second seed and established regular season beasts. This is a team that was engineered for greatness but hasn’t secured their first major title victory. They aren’t bad by any means; they ended the regular season with nearly the same match record as the San Francisco Shock. However, every monthly tournament was just out of reach. May was put on hold by the Florida Mayhem. The Summer Showdown was nearly theirs, but the Paris Eternal snuck past them at the last second. The Shock claimed the Countdown Cup and the first seed in the grand finals. The Fusion are the darkhorse, one that has all the markings of a championship-calibre team, but one that still has to get there.
- Read More - How Will The Grand Finals Impact Future Rosters?
Heroes And Styles To Expect
Now, we do have to preface this with a small disclaimer; there has been approximately a four-week break from our last playoff matches. This amount of time off could easily see the hero pick rates shift around. That said, there were two very clear schools of thought going into the playoffs this season, ones that may surprise you.
On the one hand, you have very normal looking Winston based compositions that want to increase the pace of the game and dive onto the enemy. Usually, this is pair with some form of DPS hero with the ability to flank, think Sombra or Tracer. Sat next to them could either be a pick like Reaper who excels at busting through enemy tanks or someone like Ashe who peppers the enemy team from a distance with his primary fire and her Dynamite ability.
On the other hand, you’ve have Roadhog based compositions that opt for the motto of “the best defence is a good offence.” This style drops the classic notion of a “main tank” for the offensive capabilities of Roadhog and an accompanying D.Va or Zarya to assist the frontlines efforts. This is also where other picks can vary depending on the team and the style of play. For example, Pharah has been used by the Shanghai Dragons to great success along with this frontline. The Seoul Dynasty popularised the composition lovingly dubbed “Pig’s Feet” by pairing Roadhog with Sigma. This style is often accompanied by picks like Ashe, Widowmaker and Hanzo.
That said, Seoul Dynasty are a team that looks to be the only team that solely relies on one of these styles, being their “Pig’s Feet” composition. The Philadelphia Fusion, San Francisco Shock and the Shanghai Dragons all have varying experience and success playing both styles depending on the map. Are Seoul a little more willing to play Winston, or will they remain focused on their Roadhog composition? Will the remaining teams still look as flexible? Will they drop everything for a new style? We’ll all have to wait until October 8 to find out.
How Do I Watch?
One question that comes up a lot is "how do I tell who is winning?" Overwatch is a game that doesn't have a clear progressing number like, for example, a League of Legends or a Dota 2 does with their gold values. So, how do we tell who is leading the match? While there is a scoreboard with objective point totals, that only paints a clear picture of who is leading the map, not which of these two teams is winning a particular fight or rather who is in the lead currently. Here are some tips to try and clear the fog of war that Overwatch inherently brings.
- Think about football for a moment, I know it's strange but follow me, the team that has the ball is in control, correct? The same basic principle can be applied to Overwatch. The team who controls the objective is in control of the current round and is looking to "score."
- Try and keep an eye on the ultimate at the top of your screen and think of that as the major resources they have to win the upcoming fight. A team with more ultimates should be considered favoured, and you'll often hear the caster and analysts refer to this as "ult advantage."
- First kills are vitally important as they correlate heavily with team fight win rate. So whoever strikes first is often victorious. With regards to the Roadhog based composition, this can be clouded by the team composition's sheer output of damage at the cost of defence. Hold the "first kill" as a general principle, rather than a law right now.
- Lastly, for those with a little more gameplay experience, try and track impactful abilities. Things like Ana's Biotic Grenade, Roadhog's Chain Hook, Zarya's Particle and Projected Barrier, and Ashe's Dynamite, can have a massive impact on a team fight if used well. If a team is finding success with these abilities, ask yourself why that is? Is the D.Va elsewhere on the map? Is the Ana playing aggressively? Inversely, if they aren't finding success with these abilities look at who might be getting in their way?
Keeping this in mind while you watch will not only keep you engaged with the game, but help you better understand what you're watching.
The Overwatch League 2020 Grand Finals begin October 8. Happy viewing!
Images via Blizzard Entertainment