Needless to say, as a Fuel fan, Dallas’ opening fixture did not go as planned. It’s never good to get swept 4-0 by any team and the Shock especially isn’t exactly known for having an incredible line-up. At least, that is what I’d have said last season. The Shock look to be something special this time around and the loss shouldn’t be something Dallas takes too much to heart. There are certain factors I think many pre-season power-rankings got right but some fans seem to be ignoring. On paper, this might have seemed like it could have been a close game but the reality was that the Shock were always the favorites. The result was tough to take but Dallas shouldn’t be too down. Even so, it’s worth looking at who played well and who struggled out there in both these teams’ first season 2 Overwatch League games.
As much as I love the Fuel and the great personalities behind the franchise, you’d be a fool to think they are a top team. Even before when they had hugely talented players like Seagull and XQC, they were never more than a mid-table, borderline stage playoff team. Meanwhile, Shock has been growing stronger since day 1. Quietly preparing for season 2 of OWL since the start of season 1.
Zachareee has received a fair bit of hate for his game 1 performance. Honestly, I think most of it comes from the fact Mickie was benched despite being widely regarded as the best Brigitte in the world. I’d like to think that is still the case although he claimed that crown far before Brigitte and GOATs were meta so time will tell on that. The thing is, Zachareee took part in the majority of scrims leading into the season so you can’t just drop him going into game 1. In his defense too, whilst he didn’t have an especially great game, they were against a very strong Shock team. Obviously, with him under-performing at The World Cup and again now, people are going to be watching closely but there’s plenty of time for him to pull through.
It was disappointing to see Taimou subbed for the entire game, especially when the likes of Widowmaker and McCree are still strong picks. It’s definitely hard to actually get DPS players in the team with just how strong GOATs is right now. The one slot that we did see was AKM on Sombra, which was probably the highlight of the night for Dallas. That or OGE, who was actually outstanding from start to finish. OGE’s performance is even better when you consider Effect had a real off-night (meaning he didn’t get great support from his off=tank).
I think Closer should continue to play ahead of Harryhook. He just looks to be at a higher level overall, particularly in terms of consistency across maps. He struggled in terms of getting eliminations but served his purpose as the team’s off-support well enough. Unkoe was fine. He’s as good a Zenyatta as any (unless your name is JJonak, who is on another level than anyone else). These two didn’t synergize all that well together but that’s sure to improve over time.
The brutal reality is if you look at league stats across every category, Dallas does not rank well on any right now. Truthfully, when you lose it’s obvious your stats will suffer but they are particularly poor compared to many other teams. It was a rough night for a team that clearly needs a lot of work before they can even think about any kind of stage playoffs. Being only one single game against what will likely be one of the best teams in the league, writing them off entirely would be overreacting. Work needs to be done but many fans are being too negative, too early. Dallas has plenty of chances to come back stronger.
Now, let’s get to the Shock. Wow. I had them down as the fifth best team before the season but after watching that game, they are definitely competing for the top spot. ChoiHyoBin and sinatraa absolutely popped off. Between them, they rank 1st and 2nd in the entire league for eliminations per 10 minutes. Speaking of stats, sleepy and Nevix rank best for deaths per 10 minutes. Sinatraa also ranks at the top of total damage per 10 whilst sleepy managed fourth in healing per 10. Sinatraa’s Zarya was out of this world. DPS players are going to be expected to flex onto off-tank or Brigitte a lot this season and how well they do it is going to play a big part in how good a team you are. This is not something the Shock has to worry about.
Architect may not have put crazy stats up but make no mistake, he was seriously impressive too. He stayed in for all four maps and it’s no wonder why. The guy’s versatility is unreal. Widowmaker, Brigitte, Zarya, Genji, and even Ana all played throughout the night with very few mistakes to spot. To be able to do that at Overwatch League level is something to admire. He could be in for a very special season.
Versatility is a theme for most of the Shock’s roster. Rascal was already known to be a DPS player who can play pretty much every DPS in the game to a professional level. Well, you can add Zarya to that list because he played great in that off-tank role on Nepal. This franchise is stacked for consistent Zarya players. It hardly seems fair.
Shock has the right to be very happy with Moth who I thought looked excellent throughout. I’d go as far to say he was the night’s MVP, just edging out sinatraa. Ana hasn’t been a hero to get all that much value in this GOATs dominated meta but he made her work. Particularly on the Shock’s Lunar Colony attack, I was seriously impressed with the sheer value he managed to get out of her kit. Usually, Ana struggles due to D.VA matrixing everything but RCK wasn’t really finding those windows to punish the Ana pick. I didn’t think much of Moth’s first season but if he can keep these levels of performance up, he’s one to keep an eye on.
I think San Francisco really lived up to the hype on their opening day but they have to keep it up. One game means nothing if you lose the next five that follow. Much like the Fuel have to find their own strengths, the Shock must go figure out what won them the game and keep that up. I don’t think it’s too early though to think that the San Francisco Shock might very well be a serious championship contender going forward.
All in all, I’ve enjoyed the first couple days of the 2019 Overwatch League an awful lot. It’s an impressive feat that Blizzard has managed to craft a meta where every one of the game’s 29 heroes has been played in just the first two days. Considering there were heroes who didn’t get featured in the entirety of last season, that is something well-worth praising from Blizzard. GOATs can be a little tedious to watch when it is played so often but it is being phased out slowly but surely. I suspect we are only a couple patches away from it officially being non-meta.
You can check out the Overwatch League live over on the official OWL Twitch channel. For $14.99 you can also get the 2019 All Access Pass which gives you a variety of skins, the command center allowing you to watch live matches from player’s perspectives as well as some other buffer content.