3 Takeaways From OWL Week 1
The world was watching as Overwatch League took center stage last Wednesday with a clash for California pride (SF Shock vs LA Valiant) and a rivalry rekindled between two championship level teams (Dallas Fuel vs Seoul Dynasty). Having attracted over 10 million viewers over its first week the Overwatch League is already off to a great start. Looking back at the week that was in OWL here are some of the things that stood out.
Dallas Fuel wear their emotions on their sleeves.
Opening night was capped off with former APEX champions going head to head in a battle of elites. Going into the OWL the Seoul Dynasty were heavy favorites. This is a team consisting of the Lunatic Hai core roster that won back to back APEX championships. Since winning APEX the Dynasty bolstered their roster patching up their DPS lineup which was their only glaring weakness. Dallas Fuel came into the league with a similar approach adding Custa (support), xQc (tank), and Seagull (flex) to their lineup. Each bringing something to the table that EnVyUs lacked in the past.
The series started off with a 3-2 win on Junkertown for Dallas Fuel. The series then went onto Temple of Anubis where the teams would trade successful attacks back and forth. It was the Dynasty outlasting the Fuel with a 6-5 score. From there on out the Fuel faltered dropping both rounds on Ilios and drawing out Numbani ending in a 2-1 series. The Fuel would go onto face the Los Angeles Valiant on Friday after a close series against the Dynasty and things didn’t look any better. The Valiant took one of the wildest Junkertown maps we’ve seen 8-7. Moving into Horizon the teams drew 5-5. Fuel’s struggle on control continued dropping both rounds on Ilios before getting full held on Numbani. As a championship caliber team this was not the start the Dallas Fuel were expecting.
After a close series against the Dynasty they seemed rattled. This is a team that wears their emotions on their sleeves. You see that whenever their players stream and when they’re competing on the main stage but sometimes their emotions can get the better of them. Having lost close rounds on Junkertown and drawing out maps put the Fuel on edge. Few expected an 0-2 start but it’s far too early to count the Fuel out. The Fuel are in dire need of someone to step up and keep the morale high after these closer games. With what’s at stake in the OWL you can’t afford to lose your composure.
A shift in the meta could be exactly what these teams need.
The prevalence of Mercy as a main support on ladder and in the pro scene has been a major adjustment for everyone. Teams like Florida Mayhem who flourished in prior metas have failed to gain traction. Even the elite have taken a hit as the tried and true duo of Ryujehong/Tobi from the Dynasty have lost some bite as they have to disregard their exceptional Ana/Lucio play on certain maps. The Dragons have been plagued with issues from the top down. Their management and players have been dealt fines, their dives have been uncoordinated, and their star player (Diya) has been stuck playing a class he’s not as well known for in Tracer. The struggles have not been a one way street in regards to the dive meta, however, as teams have struggled to defend against it. Adaptability will be the key to victory and without the pieces to work with (I’m looking at you Mayhem) teams will continue to struggle. With Stage 1 being played on the current buffed Mercy/Junkrat patch it’s sink or swim.
Specialist players will flourish.
New York Excelsior have garnered a lot of attention for their winning personalities, flashy playstyle, and their bloodthirsty Zenyatta (Jjonak) capable of putting up 40,000 damage and 30,000 healing in a span of 44 minutes. Whenever NYXL was on stage the world took notice. Few players made as big of an impact at the end of week 1 than Pine. Pine put on a world class display with McCree/Widowmaker on Ilios (Control). Even outnumbered Pine walks away unscathed. In one sequence against the Boston Uprising he single handedly took down a McCree, a Mercy mid-resurrect, and capped things off by killing the Zenyatta. Let’s not forget him taking out the entirety of the Houston Outlaws on Ilios: Well as he went uncontested.
On Ruins the Outlaws dove him with a primal raging Winston, D.Va, and Tracer only for Pine to grapple backwards to headshot the Widow all the while NYXL held onto the point. Pine has been an ace in the hole for NYXL and while teams continue to scratch their heads as to how to deal with him (if they even have enough resources) one thing is clear. Moving forward you should expect to see map specialists playing a major role in the OWL. Being able to come into the game cold and pop off the way Pine has is enough to make even the most poise teams flinch. Ilios is Pine’s world and right now we’re just living in it.