Last night’s Overwatch League matchups were dangerously close to being fairly uninteresting. But the final game of the night, featuring longtime rivals, Dallas and Seoul, changed that. That isn’t to say there weren’t some excellent plays being made in the other games, however. The Shanghai Dragons took on the LA Gladiators, showing major improvements as a team. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Shock stood up to the Stage 3 juggernauts that are the LA Valiant. Some decent Overwatch was being played. It’s simply a shame the results were so very predictable.
The Dragons did the best they could against the Gladiators. And with Fissure on the bench due to illness, it looked like they might actually have a shot at their first win. It’s no secret in the Overwatch community that Fissure’s trade to the Gladiators is at least what got the ball rolling for their success. Without him, things looked grim. But they still held their own with their substitution main tank, iRemiix.
First, the two teams battled it out on Anubis, where the Dragons ran an incredibly shaky offense into the Gladiators’ smart positioning. Surefour’s Widowmaker positioning was especially problematic for them. On Blizzard World, the Dragons did better. The tanks, in particular, performed well. But the team still struggles to catch aggression. Silkthread, on the Gladiators, was a major threat on the Sombra, and largely uncontested. Unsurprisingly, the Dragons put up a much better fight on Control, which really seems to be their strongest map type. The convincingly took Nepal Village, forcing Hydration on the Gladiators out of the sky to fight on the point as Pharah. But despite those heroics, they lose the map and the series. Geguri pulls not one, but two Poko-esque self-destructs with massive value on Route 66. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to win the series and the Gladiators win it in a clean sweep.
The matchup between the Shock and the Valiant was equally… humbling. The Valiant have looked strong, all throughout stage 3. They’ve gone undefeated, not even dropping a single map, even to Seoul. Spoiler Alert: that streak continues. It wasn’t even a very difficult win, either. One could point out that the absence of Babybay from the line-up is what hurt the team the most. All throughout the night, the Shock showed an extreme lack of flexibility.
On Volskaya they ran Architect on the Sombra for far longer than they should have, not getting any value out of EMP. Blizzard World looked better for them at first, but the Shock once again stubbornly ran Tracer-Sombra into Soon’s McCree, opting for Moira as the main healer to brawl on the point, yet kept the dive tanks setup instead of something more brawly. Tracer and Sombra also aren’t especially keen to brawl, so the comp just fell apart. The also ran the Sombra into the Valiant on Ilios, leaving them with nothing to challenge an enemy Pharah. A smart swap to Reaper on defense by Soon destabilizes the Shock’s offense on Map 4, securing them the win on their own attack. Overall, a very underwhelming game of Overwatch.
However, the highlight match of the night was the titanic clash between the Dallas Fuel and Seoul Dynasty. The Fuel have been struggling, as of late. The Dynasty haven’t been doing a stellar job either (at least by their standards), but they’re still part of “The Big 3.” So many were expecting this to be yet another clean sweep for the night. But one thing to always count on is the rivalry between these two teams. In all the Overwatch League, the Seoul Dynasty always brings the best out of the Dallas Fuel. This match was no exception.
Volskaya wasn’t the map to dissuade that line of thought. The Dynasty won it handily. AKM pulls out a miracle Tactical Visor at the end of the Fuel’s attack. But they ultimately crumble on their defense. Numbani, however, went the way of the Fuel, causing some rumblings. At the very least, this would no longer be a clean sweep. Nepal was an incredibly tough map. Dallas pulls out a win on Point A with a very cheeky comp, including a Mei pick that keeps the Dynasty from flanking them on Village. However, Dynasty manages to secure Points B and C for a map win, largely thanks to Fleta simply popping off on the Widowmaker.
Map 4, Route 66, is where the whole narrative changed. The Fuel managed to push the payload to the very end, on the back of some incredibly tight team play. But they look even better on their defense. Having learned their lesson from Nepal, they made sure to pressure Fleta constantly, giving him no room to do anything on any of his heroes. Despite shaky play from Rascal, the Fuel actually manage to hold on Point B, winning Route 66 and taking the game to Map 5, Oasis. At this point, fans were fully invested. This was the first of the three games between these teams where Dallas managed to get this far.
It’s unfortunate, then, that Map 5 is always Control, easily the Fuel’s weakest map type. The Fuel nearly secured Point A. But Fleta returned, showing up on the Doomfist at the last second to score the win. Then, on Point B, Effect simply had a really bad day, not able get much done to help his team. Meanwhile, the Dynasty runs a multi-tank setup. Perhaps a Reaper pick would’ve been ideal, but one of Dallas’s weaknesses has always been their delayed adaptation. In the end, the Dynasty clutched the win. But it was a hard-fought battle and some good Overwatch. Maybe now the Fuel can start to see a resurgence.
In the meantime, the stage is still only just getting started. Tonight’s matchups pit the NYXL against the Boston Uprising, who are going to be reeling from the loss of Dreamkazper, one of their key players. The London Spitfire are set to take on the Florida Mayhem. And the Philadelphia Fusion will get a rematch with the Houston Outlaws.