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Let’s OWL with Jammy! Week 1 & 2 Highlights (Season 1)

It’s finally here! The Overwatch League has begun in earnest and oh my, it’s beautiful!

It became clear early on that there was not a single weak player in the league. Sure, there are a few teams that have clearly been underperforming, but that is not to say there haven’t been any amazing plays from these teams and it isn’t so much a lack of player performance that’s the issue; it’s more an issue with team cohesion for some of the newer teams, still trying to figure themselves out.

These past two weeks have shown the best level of Overwatch play to date which really showed the benefits of this new format. Seoul Dynasty dominated their matches, of course, but they did not stomp as much as you would expect the old Lunatic Hai plus Fleta roster to stomp. This is not due to the team itself slipping, but due to the time and resources invested into each and every team the general level of play has risen to close the gap in skill between the western and Korean teams. Looking at Dynasty, NYXL and Spitfire, the three big Korean teams in the league, each did dominate their western based opponents, but they did not look invincible. It will be great to follow the league into the future where the western teams have fully caught up due to diligent practice and tactics.

Another point to mention is just how flexible the meta is in its current state. Across 12 matches, the only hero to see no playtime was Symmetra. Every other hero had at least a combined 5 minutes across all games. The different strategies and compositions really led the charge in almost every match which is a refreshing change to the usual “who has the better DPS” of competitions past.

Match of the Week [Week 1]:

Seoul Dynasty vs. Dallas Fuel (2 – 1)

 

The main event of day one. Two of the ‘big three’ entering the league. We all knew this match was going to be huge as it carried the old rivalry between Lunatic Hai and EnvyUs into the newest format of competitive Overwatch. Did anyone expect a 6-5 score on Anubis? Of course not! In all my time following the eSports scene, I have never seen a map go through three timebank phases. Sure, you could argue that both teams were lacking in their defensive capabilities, but realistically it showcased just how adept each team was at identifying their opposition’s defensive strategies and adapting so swiftly so as to finish the map in as much time as possible. Easily the most exciting match of the week that could have realistically gone either way.

Match of the Week [Week 2]:

Los Angeles Gladiators vs. Philadelphia Fusion (3 – 2)

 

In what became the first reverse-sweep of the league, the Fusion were looking incredibly strong after Junkertown and Anubis. The Gladiators, however, finally found their feet on Ilios, winning 2-1 and using that momentum to edge a close game on Numbani and finally sweep Lijiang Tower 2-0. It was a great match with both teams showing their strengths. It was excellent to see the match up of Shaz vs. Boombox; two of the best and most aggressive Zenyatta players in the league, who entered the match with a passive rivalry which added an extra level of energy between the teams. It was also nice to compare their almost identical styles. Both teams lean on the scrappier side, relying on the individual skills of the players to initiate progress rather than the intricate plays of some of the more polished teams. There was not a single unexciting moment of the long match.

Play of the Week [Week 1]:

Gesture (Earthshatter) vs Mayhem on Oasis:

 

(Perspective Replay at 3:54) Let’s be honest, the London Spitfire have one of the most stacked rosters in the league. With the full line ups of GC Busan and Kongdoo Panthera, how is each player going to secure their spots for regular play? By landing fight-winning ultimates in such a clean and coordinated manner as Gesture on Oasis. His positioning and timing are both perfect and it is clear the communication came through for the team to collapse through the flank seeing Birdring pick up three clean eliminations off the tail end. This was just one example of how the Spitfires would utilise a single ultimate to shut down the advances of the Mayhem squad and move on to comfortably win the map. I’ll be real and admit I’m rooting for the Spitfires, but after watching an engagement like this can you blame me?

Play of the Week [Week 2]:

Soon (Four Solo Kills + De-Mech) vs London Spitfire on Dorado:

 

Alright, this play is a little different for a few reasons. First of all, it is a one man play. Second, it’s against the team who had the Play of the Week last week. Lastly, it didn’t quite work out. But, this clip shows exactly why Soon is considered one of the top Tracers in the world as he came incredibly close to throwing his entire team onto his shoulders and blasting through the Spitfire’s defence all by himself.

Dream Team [Weeks 1+2]:

Imagine a perfect world where I get to pick six players based off their performance in the OWL so far. Well, my team would look a little like this:

Birdring DPS London Spitfire
Soon DPS Los Angeles Valiant
Fate Tank Los Angeles Valiant
Poko Tank Philadelphia Fusion
JJoNaK Support New York Excelsior (NYXL)
Nus Support London Spitfire

The hardest decision of this line up is whether to go with Effect, Soon or Pine for that hitscan DPS pick. Pine is looking to be the most dangerous DPS player in the league, but we simply didn’t see him play enough as NYXL kept him almost exclusively to the control maps and keeping him hidden in their sleeve to perhaps use as their trump card should they need him. Both Soon and Effect have almost identical hero pools and are top tier in their own right. Unfortunately Effect seems to be caught in the same slump as the rest of his team and doesn’t seem to find a break. Despite some really impressive plays by the Dallas Fuel star, I had to go with Soon for his consistent ability to clutch teamfights for the Valiant.

Birdring didn’t drop a single mistake through all eight maps played and was an absolute must-pick for his clean execution of so many heroes. It is definitely worth mentioning how close I came to selecting Fleta, who has been tearing the opposition apart for Seoul Dynasty, but it is hard to judge him as his own player having been elevated by the incredibly strong foundation Dynasty’s Tank and Support players provide.

Fate’s ability to control space on Winston was a large factor of the performance Valiant have pulled off in their matches. In a dream world this could couple fantastically with Poko’s Self-Destruct D.Va kills which are unparalleled. Against Outlaws, Poko picked up 14 Self-Destruct kills: more than every other player combined in the league and that was simply in their first match! He is the only D.Va player in the league currently that has managed to secure more than one Self-Destruct kill per 10 minutes. (As it happens, his is over two!)

JJoNaK was heralded as a true offensive Zenyatta player. In fact, to use DoA’s phrase, he is a truly bloodthirsty Support. Against the Houston Outlaws he managed to output 32% of NYXL’s damage on Anubis to be the highest damage dealer in the match. Similarly(ish) Nus held the highest percentage of team deaths Resurrected on the Mercy which — on a hero picked almost every map — is an incredibly high achievement.

-Jammy

Weekly Scoreboard

STAGE 1 // WEEK 1 – JANUARY 10, 2018

SHOCK

0

4

VALIANT
DRAGONS

0

4

GLADIATORS
FUEL

1

2

DYNASTY

STAGE 1 // WEEK 1 – JANUARY 10, 2018

SPITFIRE

3

1

MAYHEM
FUSION

3

2

OUTLAWS
UPRISING

1

3

NYXL

STAGE 1 // WEEK 1 – JANUARY 10, 2018

VALIANT

3

0

FUEL
MAYHEM

0

4

UPRISING
SHOCK

3

1

DRAGONS

STAGE 1 // WEEK 1 – JANUARY 10, 2018

SPITFIRE

4

0

FUSION
NYXL

3

1

OUTLAWS
DYNASTY

4

0

GLADIATORS

 

STAGE 1 // WEEK 2 – JANUARY 17, 2018

SHOCK

1

2

FUSION
MAYHEM

0

4

DYNASTY
OUTLAWS

4

0

DRAGONS

STAGE 1 // WEEK 2 – JANUARY 18, 2018

FUEL

0

4

OUTLAWS
NYXL

3

0

VALIANT
FUSION

2

3

GLADIATORS

STAGE 1 // WEEK 2 – JANUARY 19, 2018

DYNASTY

4

0

UPRISING
DRAGONS

0

4

MAYHEM
SPITFIRE

3

1

FUEL

STAGE 1 // WEEK 2 – JANUARY 20, 2018

VALIANT

2

3

SPITFIRE
GLADIATORS

0

4

NYXL
UPRISING

2

3

SHOCK

Current Standings:

PACIFIC DIVISION

#1

SEOUL DYNASTY

4 – 0

#2

LOS ANGELES VALIANT

2 – 2

#3

SAN FRANCISCO SHOCK

2 – 2

#4

LOS ANGELES GLADIATORS

2 – 2

#5

DALLAS FUEL

0 – 4

#6

SHANGHAI DRAGONS

0 – 4

ATLANTIC DIVISION

#1

NEW YORK EXCELSIOR (NYXL)

4 – 0

#2

LONDON SPITFIRE

4 – 0

#3

HOUSTON OUTLAWS

2 – 2

#4

PHILADELPHIA FUSION

2 – 2

#5

BOSTON UPRISING

1 – 3

#6

FLORIDA MAYHEM

1 – 3

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