Overwatch League Week One, Day One: Every match and map recapped
The first major global professional city-based league ushers in a new era for esports.
The Overwatch League has begun, with some fantastic matches straight off the bat. An epic showdown between some of the world’s top esports leaders and top Overwatch players on the planet.
While all of these teams have fought before, the first regular-season games officially started today with the Pacific Division teams facing off. The Atlantic Division teams will be taking the stage on Friday.
Fans can tune in to catch all the action on Twitch.tv, MLG.com and the MLG app (available on both iOS and Android), OverwatchLeague.com and the Overwatch League companion app. The Overwatch League companion app launched on Monday for both iOS and Android and a new Overwatch League tab has been added to the Blizzard Battle.net Desktop App for quick access to the broadcast sites.
San Francisco Shock vs Los Angeles Valiant
San Francisco Shock (NRG eSports) was taken down in the very first match by Los Angeles Valiant (Immortals) in an unpredicted 4 - 0 loss. Both the fans and the commentators all expected to see a strong match from Shock but they failed to live up to these expectations today.
Map One: Junkertown
Valiant was on the attack on Junkertown, coming out of the spawn with a composition built around an Orisa and Bastion riding the cart. This effective strategy is commonly called a "Pirate Ship" and has become a common play for this map. With this strong combination, they managed to pull through in overtime and capture the map.
Shock initially looked to be the stronger side on this map, with a quicker and more effective attack using the same combo throughout. However, Valiant was able to run down the time at the final point, using the long sights to cut down Shock players regrouping on the payload. Silkthread closed out the match with an impressive Dragonblade.
Map Two: Horizon Lunar Colony
The second map felt like a battle of attrition, with both teams using average compositions and swapping eliminations in each fight. Shock’s Widowmaker and Orisa went strong on defence, holding back Valiant on the second point. Valiant threw themselves at the defence over and over again, only being able to move forward thanks to their Unkoe's (Zenyatta) Transcendence ultimate providing the protection they needed.
Shock moved through the map with surgical precision, almost as though they could have taken this in their sleep. In the final minutes of the match, Shock pushed through Valiant’s defence and captured the map. Shock was on the attack again during the overtime round, having no issue with Valiant’s flimsy defence on the first point.
Map Three: Ilios
A tough map for both sides, constantly trading kills and the point as both sides held at 99% on the point, fighting for the capture. Shock was able to edge out Valiant a few times here, however, breaking down the new substitutions brought in to stake up the Los Angeles's defence. The two teams danced around each other again and again in a tight match that felt like anyone’s game. In the end, Shock managed to hold out and force Valiant off the point, taking the match.
Map Four: Numbani
This was another tight match, with the audience on the edge of their seats the entire time. This time it was Valiant who managed to outplay the opposition and push Shock off the point, taking the map in the third round during overtime thanks to a pulse bomb from SoOn (Tracer) on the point.
Map Five: Lijiang Tower
It was here Shock’s plays seemed to fall apart, as Valiant took the map with ease. Almost unopposed, Valiant was able to dust off any attack from Shock without issue. Shock had some great plays and kills but Valiant was unimpressed. They held back the attacks and ran out the time in both rounds, picking off Shock deep into their territory, forcing them to wait for spawns.
On Illios, Fate outperformed everyone. As Winston, he did almost twice the damage as anyone else on this map, smashing away the enemy team on the point and blocking incoming damage.
Valiant's Silkthread and Agilities work so well together as DPS, both have completely different play styles that compliment each other well. Agilities is said to be the best Genji player in North America, while Silkthread is skilled with multiple DPS heroes, allowing him to pick up the slack.
On Shock's side, Widowmaker was fantastic, cutting down Valiant’s support with one hit headshots. This deadly precision helped to keep Valiant at bay but, ultimately, didn't help them gain the point.
Shock fell to Valiant, falling just short of a victory, again and again, allowing Valiant to clean up some of the more important fights and walk away victorious.
Shanghai Dragons vs Los Angeles Gladiators
Shanghai Dragons (NetEase) were the team to watch coming into the match but were up against some strong competition from the Los Angeles Gladiators (Stan and Josh Kroenke).
Map One: Dorado
Gladiators had a strong defence on Dorado, holding back Shanghai at the first choke point, just shy of the first checkpoint. The Gladiator's Doomfist was highly-effective at zoning out Shanghai. Switching sides, Gladiators took the first point in what could have been a record time, easily pushing the cart through the choke point and onto the point.
Map Two: Anubis
Once again, the Gladiators were on the defence straight away, but this time Shanghai was able to push through the very first choke and bring the fight to the point, capturing the area and moving forward quickly. Shanghai rushed the left side as the Gladiators were forced to use their ultimates to disperse and take out Shanghai on the final point.
This stopped Shanghai’s momentum and allowed both teams to regroup. Asher from the Gladiators was doing some amazing work flanking the enemy team as Tracer and doing some real damage to the team, with Surefour as Junkrat cleaning up. After bringing Shanghai back to their spawn, Gladiators were able to utilise the choke point and defended against Shanghai on each attack attempt.
On attack, Gladiators wiped out Shanghai’s defence on both points, easily moving through the map and capturing Anubis for a strong lead.
Map Three: Ilois
Watching the kill feed showed exactly how the Gladiators were able to stay on top of the Shanghai Dragons again and again. The Gladiators were getting those picks quickly and forcing Shanghai back to their spawn to regroup. Regrouping and changing up their composition worked well for Shanghai, catching up and hitting the 99% on capture. The Gladiators were able to fight Shanghai off the point, with Biggoose as Lucio carrying the Gladiators in the fight, and taking the first point.
Shanghai used their Widowmaker well in the second round, taking out the Gladiator’s Mercy, forcing them to regroup. This was short lived as a Battle Mercy took out Undead’s Widow and commanded the point. This point was held successfully thanks to some outstanding play by Hydration as Genji, using his ultimate to clean up the enemy team deep into their own territory.
Map Four: Eichenwalde
The Dragons mixed things up this time, thundering out of the gates with a composition of four tanks and a Moira. This was short-lived, as the Gladiators wiped out their team, forcing Shanghai to switch to a composition built on leaping. In a last-ditch effort, Shanghai held the payload in overtime, trading kills with Gladiator. However, Shanghai was unable to capture thanks to Bishu’s D.Va dominating the air, taking out Shanghai’s Mercy and chances of regrouping during the fight.
The Gladiators immediately went with the leaping composition, flying over the first choke point and brought the fight to the payload. They were beaten back by Shanghai, with MG’s D.Va taking out half the team with one ultimate, forcing them to regroup. Gladiator’s Asher and Surefour were able to clean up Shanghai on DPS and took the payload without much issue.
The MVP of the match was a pretty close call between Gladiator’s Hydration and Asher. Hydration played consistently well, pulling out a high level of play with both Genji and Pharah, but Asher may have outpaced him. Asher’s Tracer was in the midst of every fight, dealing heavy damage and flanking Shanghai throughout the four matches. His Widowmaker was also impressive, outplaying Shanghai’s Widowmaker and clearing the straights for his team over and over again.
Biggoose was a big contender during Ilios, making the most of his time as a Lucio and keeping the team healthy. When Biggoose pushed Zenyatta (who was using his Transcendence on the point) into the well, he clinched the win for the Gladiators.
Shanghai played well individually, but their composition and team play was lacking. In a shocking 4 - 0 victory, the Gladiators have cemented themselves high on the ladder early, scoring some big points and setting themselves up for a great season.
Dallas Fuel vs Seoul Dynasty
The best of the West vs the Korean dream team, as Dallas Fuel (Team Envy) went up against Seoul Dynasty. Both teams are huge contenders in the Overwatch League, this match could have gone either way. With big names on both sides, the crowd was the loudest it had been all day.
Map One: Junkertown
Dynasty initially used a 4 tank defence here, attempting to counter the Pirate Ship composition of Fuel. Ryujehong is easily the best Ana in the world and had a hard task keeping his four tanks healed against the Bastion's barrage on Fuel.
Effect’s Widowmaker flanked far into the enemy’s territory but was found quickly. Dallas moved forward with their combination play to the first point but found it difficult to get their Bastion back onto the payload. Consequently, Fuel switched off Pirate Play and switched out Mickie’s Orisa for his better tank D.Va. It did the trick as they moved to the 3rd area without too much issue.
Effect on Fuel switched off Widowmaker for a more effective Reaper pick, flanking further into the Dynasty spawn and ripping apart Dynasty, capturing the final point with three minutes to spare.
Dynasty did not start their attack with the Pirate Ship but marched forward as a killing unit behind Miro’s Reinhardt shield. Flanking forward, Munchin’s Reaper cleaned off the enemy from the cart, assisted by Fleta’s Widowmaker. Dynasty moved through the second area without issue, boosted by Ryujehong’s Ana but was kept off the point by Taimou. Thanks to some key teamwork, Dynasty fought their way back to the payload to take point B.
Fuel was desperate to defend and fought back with everything they had. Metres from the final point, Dynasty fell, as Fuel picked them off one by one. Dynasty was unable to get in their ultimates in time and fell short of tying up the game.
Map Two: Anubis
Dallas Fuel was on the attack first up once again, capturing the first point so fast it went by barely noticed. Rushing the second point, Fuel cleaned up Dynasty on the final capture efficiently and without hesitation. Effect’s Widowmaker made quick work of the fleshy heroes on Dynasty’s defence as they piled out the spawn.
Dynasty immediately set about taking down Effect, moving to the first point quickly. Both teams traded kills but Dynasty was pushed back to their spawn after a few seconds on the point. Their second attack was more successful and they rushed to the final point without hesitation, capturing point B in a similar fashion to Fuel’s attack previously.
In the deciding round, Dynasty was able to dive onto the point and take it without losing a single player. Tiamou from Fuel was effective in keeping Dynasty down with his Rip Ties as Junkrat, but Dynasty was on fire in this extra round, taking the final point. Fuel was not going down without a fight. Fuel destroyed Dynasty on the first point and cleared point B just as fast.
Anubis showed us just how evenly matched these teams are, with both winning their respective second attack rounds and bringing the map to 4 - 4. Some of the fastest times were achieved here, as each team became more aggressive on each attack, attempting to break their foe.
Dynasty was up to attack for the third time, not going with a Dive tactic but instead spreading out and Fleta cleaning up Fuel single-handedly as Genji. They were slower on the attack on the second point, holding back to wait for their team members and saving their support ultimates for the right moment. Tiamou tried to counter out with a Sombra switch and along with Chipshajen pulled out Mei for a strong Flex tank but it was all for nought, as Dynasty managed to take the point again.
On defence, Dynasty was holding Fuel off this time, getting the picks on Fuel for the first time and keeping Fuel off the first point. Fleta pulled out some insane kills here, taking out Fuel with killer precision. Fuel took point A with only 30 seconds to spare, leaving them next to no room on the final point to tie up the map once more. Everything had to go right there for Fuel, it seemed like they could do it, but were forced in overwatch off the point by Dynasty. This wrapped up Anubis at 5 - 6, Dynasty’s way.
Map Three: Ilios
Not much had changed in terms of composition for either team moving onto Ilios. The teams seemed to be sticking to their strengths and where they were most comfortable. Much of the action was purely on the point, where team fights determined the flow of the match. Fuel seemed to be controlling the first round initially, but Dynasty recaptured the point and gained a point.
The second round was on Well, which brought out the Lucios and Roadhogs heroes as teams wanted to use the hole in the middle to their favour. Fleta switched to Pharah and knocked Fuel around while Dynasty took control of the point early. Tobi from Dynasty sent Fuel flying into the hole as Lucio, cleaning up and earning Dynasty the map.
Map Four: Numbani
Numbani was the last chance for Dallas, who needed a win here to bring them back with a chance. They were on the attack off the bat, flanking through the left side and picking at Dynasty’s supports. This allowed them to take the first point and start running the payload through to the final area. Dynasty used the choke point well, splitting off Fuel’s support from the cart and cutting them down. Despite this, Dallas was able to sneak in the win at the final moment.
On attack, Dynasty continued to roll through Fuel, rushing the first point and taking down their Torbjorn before he became a real issue for them. Fleta brought out his Doomfist to zone out Dallas and kept their tanks low on health during the middle stretch. While Fuel fought back hard on the choke point, Dynasty pushed through, riding the cart towards the goal line. The final minutes of the match came down to the tanks on either side, with damage absorption being key to surviving the ultimates.
Dallas was up to attack once more, throwing themselves into the fray in a last-ditch effort to remain in the game. This was short-lived as Dynasty pummeled Fuel into the Numbani concrete. Switching sides, Dynasty were confident in bringing this match to an end. While they were unable to take the point this put the map into a draw, giving Dynasty the overall win.
Both teams were unstoppable in their attack, but ultimately this was a game of who could survive and hold out in defence. We knew this would be an outstanding match and come down to the wire. Dynasty was ultimately able to hold off Fuel just a little bit more, holding the points during the crucial moments and picking off Dallas successfully.
Effect and Fleta were trading amazing kills as Widowmaker throughout the entire match. While both were great today, Fleta was on fire. As Pharah and Widowmaker, Fleta was in every battle and was responsible for many kills during the match. Cutting down the supports efficiently and without fail, Fleta was a core player in Dynasty’s team.
Dallas played how we expected, no one really stood out from their team and Dynasty was the better team on the day.
Going forward against lower teams, we'll be able to see more of Fuel’s abilities and individual performance in future matches. Today, Dynasty came out on top, but next time it may not be the case. The match finished with a score of 4 - 2, Dynasty's way.
The Overwatch League resumes tomorrow with the second round of matches taking place. Check back tomorrow for the full results of those matches. For more on esports and Overwatch check out our esports hub for the latest news.
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