The long anticipated Overwatch League is just around the corner. While the inaugural season begins officially in January, Blizzard has set up some pre-season games to tied hungry fans over before the real games begin.
In this preview we will be looking at the following teams in the Overwatch League’s Pacific Division:
This is Part 2. Check out Part 1 here.
Owned and run by NRG Esports, the San Francisco Shock. One of the ‘constructed’ teams, Shock is compiled of familiar faces in the Overwatch scene. One of the ‘quieter’ teams overall, with not much buzz around them, they’re considered an underdog or dark horse in their division, being alongside the likes of Seoul Dynasty and even LA Valiant.
The Shock won’t shock the world, at least not in their opening season. Their roster isn’t the worst around, but it’s not overly convincing. A solid DPS in André “iddqd” Dahlström, known best for his insane plays on McCree, may find himself unprotected in a roster that only really has Nomy for its main tank role. Both of the Shock’s Flexs are DPS oriented. While it’s always hard to say with rosters that have no track record, there’s not much in the way that is convincing for me that the Shock will be more than a middle of the pack team, particularly in the Pacific Division.
André “iddqd” Dahlström: If there’s one bright spot in an otherwise dull roster, it’s none other than IDDQD. An astonishingly strong hitscan DPS, he’s well known for his McCree and Soilder play, and honestly is the backbone of this roster. If his team can form around him, keep him alive, and enable him to carry them, then they’ve got a real shot at taking some victories. If he’s exposed or caught out, though, there’s not much the Swedish phenom can do. But if there’s anyone on the team that’s going to bring out some spicy plays, it’ll be IDDQD.
David “nomy” Ramirez: Nomy’s been around the scene for quite some time, and a main tank with experience in situations (particularly as Reinhardt makes his way back into the meta) will be a key factor in the Shocks win column. Being the only real tank player on the team, Nomy will have quite the task on his hands of keeping his team alive and creating the space for his DPS’ to carry the day.
The first game the Shock go up against geographic rivals in the LA Valiant. It’s one of the easier opponents in their division, but even then it’s not likely that they’ll be able to come out on top. Valiant’s roster may not be the flashiest to some, but it’s got time and synergy as a unit, something that Shock lack in comparison.
If IDDQD and Nomy can rally their team behind them, then they may have a chance to upset, or at least make the series competitive. If not, well, it should be a very one sided affair for the LA side to stomp the San Fran side.
Seoul Dynasty is owned by Kevin Chou and the KSV eSports group (Korea + Silicon Valley) that have been making waves not only in Overwatch, but other esports. Acquiring the best team in Overwatch in then Lunatic-Hai, they’ve also gone on to pick up League of Legends world champs ion ex-Samsung Galaxy, and the MVP-Black squad for Heroes of the Storm.
Honestly, it’s a wise (or cheap) man’s bet that Seoul will be the most likely team to win everything and anything. They’ve got the track record, they have the funding now, and they’ve gathered probably the strongest core team in all the league. This is a team of continued excellence, and they’ll hope to carry that into their inaugural season in the Overwatch League. Whether this will happen is yet to be decided, but anything less than at least first in their Division will be a shock to any pundit in the scene.
Tis is a hard one. Any two I’d pick would leave me wanting to pick another player in certain circumstances.
Je-hong “ryujehong” Ryu: Go to Youtube, look up Ryujehong Ana Montage, and just enjoy the countless videos of amazing, insanely skilled Ana play. Ryujehong, the captain of the squad, is regarded as one of the best supports in the world, and that’s hardly in contention. He makes plays where they shouldn’t happen, and stops flankers and often wins duels with them when he shouldn’t. He’s exciting and mechanically gifted, and will always be a key component of any Dynasty win.
Joon-hyuk “zunba” Kim: For some fans, main tank Jin-hyuk “Miro” Gong may’ve been the tank player to go with here. I like Zunba though, bringing the slightly offpick of Zarya into the fray that is top tier, if not the best in the world, alongside a solid D.Va play. Both roles excel in disrupting the enemy team, or protecting his own teams backline, and with one of the best frontline tanks in Miro, Zunba should have a field day causing havoc other in the enemy backline or defending his own.
When I look at Seoul Dynasty, I see the dynasty that Lunatic-Hai had over the Overwatch scene in general. They were the best, and while they lost sometimes, they still showed up the most consistently as good. They lost when the other teams stepped up for the moment, but they continued their reign. I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.
Dynasty’s first match up is with their natural rivals over in China, the Shanghai Dragons. China’s Overwatch scene is relatively unknown to many, outside of Team China’s strong showing at World Cup Qualifiers into a pathetic debacle of Visa issues that was their loss. While we caught DPS Chao “Undead” Fang and Main Tank Dongjian “MG” Wu, but otherwise we do not know. Still, it should be Seoul walking away with the first win here.
The Shanghai Dragons, the aptly named franchise for Shanghai, China, are owned by a company called NetEase, the distributors for Blizzard Entertainment games in China. While some have called on this as a possible conflict of interest, Blizzard and the League seem unfazed by it, and the team looks to be one of the stronger, dark horse teams of the entire League. China, in Overwatch at least, is a rather mysterious region for Western fans. There aren’t many cases of Chinese teams playing in tournaments that Western fans could access.
This is difficult, again, because of the relative mysteriousness of the Chinese Overwatch scene. It was a complete shock, and blindsided many fans, when the Dragons did not simply sign the entirety of Miraculous Youngsters, arguably the strongest Chinese team and one of the strongest teams in the world overall. A cobbling of different Chinese players from a myriad of Chinese teams, it’s hard to quite place the roster. In the Pacific Division, they should do well, given China’s dominance at the World Cup Qualifiers (before the Visa debacle happened). A top half finish should be in the sights of the Dragons, but for all we know they could be a bottom of the pack team if they don’t mesh.
Chao “Undead” Fang: The meta at this years World Cup was dive comp, and with that DPS players found themselves needing to keep up with the pace. Enter Tracer, and enter one of the strongest Tracer players at the World Cup Qualifiers in Undead. His play on Tracer was a key part of China’s victories into qualifying for the World Cup, and while Visa issues prevent us from seeing him play at the main stage, it was enough to attest to his skill. Undead is going to be one of the players to definitely keep your eyes on, particularly on the likes of Tracer or other hitscans.
Dongjian “MG” Wu: MG showed off a phenomenal understanding of D.va and other tanks at the World Cup qualifiers, shutting down the enemy team and protecting his own. He’ll be a key part of any of China’s plays for sure, and exciting tank to watch.
As stated above with the Dynasty discussion, China’s a bit of a mystery here in Overwatch. There’s some tournaments that have had them in it, but it’s not as well known a region as others. However, that being said, even though the Dragons only had two members on the shockingly strong Overwatch World Cup team, China as a whole cannot be underestimated. The talent is there, so much so that early on people had China vs. South Korea as the finals.
What does that mean here? Well, this is easily the most exciting match up. It’ll put a lot of questions to rest on these two regions, and the Dragons can really make a statement to not be underestimated with a strong performance. There is, even, the chance for an upset win, and that would be truly shocking. However, I still have to lean more towards Dynasty taking this set. It the safe man’s bet, anyways.
Let’s face it, the West Coast is filled with city-based rivalry and grudged, and there’s none quite like the LA vs. San Francisco one. It has ties in baseball, where the LA Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants, the one of the oldest and fiercest rivalry’s in Baseball history. And that shouldn’t stop from developing here. While there will be a serious throw down in LA for fans there, this is the next big ‘other’ rivalry those teams will be thrown into.
How this rivalry will shape up depends on the results though, too. San Francisco’s roster is slightly shaky, particularly when contrasted to the tried and true Valiants or team work focused Gladiators. A rivalry ain’t fun if the one team is always losing.
South Korea and China go back to the early days of SC: Brood Wars, and arguably see the biggest clashes in League of Legends. It may be no different here. Dynasty look like the strongest team in the division, and the Dragons could make the case to be in the top three as well. While the natural geography of these two teams makes them rivals, and the history of rivalry between the regions overall, this may be a shifting rivalry given expansion teams or if the Dragons under-perform.
However, I don’t think that’ll be the case. I think this is going to shape up to be a great, spicy rivalry between the two powerhouse countries in the East. Even with expansion teams entering into the quite under-represented Eastern market, Dynasty and Dragons are always going to have the longest history of rivals. That goes a long way in developing rivalries. It’s an exciting one, too, because these two teams are easily top four caliber across the whole Overwatch League.