Welcome to Match Notes, a weekly column by staff writer Bonnie Qu that looks back on each week of the Overwatch League.
This week’s entry is about the games that took place from July 2-4. For official match results, check out the Overwatch League website. For everything else, look here.
THIS WEEK’S PATCH NOTES
The good folks over at the Overwatch League are constantly figuring out ways to make things as balanced as possible. This means tweaking the relative strength of various teams and players from week to week, with varying results. This year, they’ve generously agreed to send us some of their official patch notes every week so that we know exactly what changes have been made.
- Reverted to 2020 Summer Showdown patch
Developer’s comment: Before the Summer Showdown qualifiers began, our intern Todd accidentally mixed some of our notes from last season’s Summer Showdown up with the notes from this season. We were annoyed at first, but then we realized it actually kind of made sense, so we went along with it. Thus, the Eternal – who won the Summer Showdown last year – are well on their way to making another deep run this year.
- Performance is now determined by a coin flip
Developer’s comment: The Justice have been the most difficult team to balance in the West Region. Sometimes they’ll go 4-0 in qualifiers and then drop the ball completely in knockouts. Sometimes they’ll look terrible one week and roll over their opponents the next. So for the Summer Showdown, we’ve decided on a new approach. We will flip a coin before every Justice game to determine if they win or lose.
- New passive: “Judge, Jury and Executioner”
Developer’s comment: The East Division’s volatility was getting way out of hand, so we’ve given the Dragons full license to do whatever they want in an attempt to quell the chaos a bit. From now on, every East Division team’s fate will essentially be decided by whether the Dragons are feeling merciful or not. Though, to be honest, they don’t often feel merciful.
Winners and losers are a natural part of competition — though not always in the way one would think. In this section, we go over who experienced the triumphs, defeats, epic highs and epic lows of professional Overwatch this week.
VICTORY: THE KINGS
The rich get richer. The Dallas Fuel and Shanghai Dragons, who each have one tournament title apiece, didn’t play last week, which made it harder to gauge every team’s relative strength. However, both teams returned this week and went 2-0 in matches. Balance is restored.
The Dragons had an easy time dispatching the Seoul Dynasty and Philadelphia Fusion, brutally sweeping the two teams and showing no mercy. The Dynasty and Fusion have, at varying times, been the Dragons’ biggest competition in the East Division. Given their performance last week, people expected the Dynasty to at least put up a fight. But the Dragons are simply built different. They’re also hosting their first homestand next week in Shanghai. Can anyone even hope to stop them?
The Dallas Fuel are holding a homestand of sorts as well next week, though they’ll be the only team in attendance. Their 2-0 week wasn’t nearly as painless as the Dragons’; it consisted of two grueling tiebreaker victories against the Atlanta Reign and the new-look Florida Mayhem. Still, our May Melee champions pulled through. It’s looking more likely by the day that we get a Part 3 to the Fuel v. Dragons saga, and frankly, I’m not complaining.
DEFEAT: TOP TIER HOPEFULS
For the past two tournaments, teams perpetually at the top of the mid tier have struggled to truly break through and be seen as title competitors. Teams like the Florida Mayhem or Philadelphia Fusion have seemed close to breaching that barrier, but ultimately they fall to the real juggernauts.
This wasn’t a good week for the top tier hopefuls. The Mayhem, especially, have taken a beating. They may have gone to Hawaii in the May Melee, but they went 0-4 in qualifiers this tournament. In a bold attempt to salvage their record, damage player Baek “Checkmate” Seung-hun switched over to the main tank role. To his credit, he wasn’t bad, and was definitely very entertaining to watch. It was just too little, too late.
The Fusion have similarly been taken down a peg after being thoroughly trounced by the Dragons. The Dynasty, who looked so promising last week, didn’t lay so much as a scratch on the Dragons and could barely hold their own against a struggling Guangzhou Charge.
Every team is trying to claw their way to the top, but it’s a long and arduous climb. The best of the best – the Dragons and Fuel, in other words – aren’t going to let just anyone up there. What makes a truly great team is consistency, something that the mid-tier teams seem to lack as of now.
WHO GAMED THE HARDEST?
Every player in the Overwatch League is, by definition, a gamer. But, sometimes, one rises to the top as the most gamer of them all. Whenever this happens, it’s worth celebrating. Each week, we’ll be picking the one player we think gamed harder than anyone else.
KIM “DOHA” DONG-HA (DALLAS FUEL)
From Echo, to Mei to Sombra, Doha truly put the “flex” part of “flex damage” on display this week. His teammate Lee “Fearless” Eui-seok once called him the team’s key player because of his ability to get the Fuel out of whatever sticky situation they find themselves in. That was clear to see in the Fuel’s close games against the Mayhem and Reign. Doha’s chameleonic ability to play whatever is required of him is a core part of the Fuel’s strategy and compositions, and the team wouldn’t be the same without him.
The return of Sombra has also meant the return of top Sombra players, Doha included. He may not always have the flash of someone like the Dragons’ Lee “LIP” Jae-won or the Defiant’s Jeong “Heesu” Hee-su, but Doha’s supportive style is a great help to his team when it comes to focusing targets or setting up plays.
- LIP (Shanghai Dragons)
- Cho “JJANGGU” Myeung-heum (Houston Outlaws)
- Kim “Ir1s” Seung-hyeun (Atlanta Reign)