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 May 21-23. 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.
- Removed all semblance of logic
Developer’s comment: We know it’s unusual to make universal changes to a group of teams rather than tweaking them individually. The reason for this is that things were starting to make a little too much sense in the East Division, which doesn’t fit the vision we originally had for the region. This change will hopefully make it completely inscrutable, as intended.
- Bug fix: Regular season record
Developer’s comment: We recently uncovered a bug which had led to the Spark being 1-3 in the regular season. This was an unintended outcome. We can’t go back and change that match record now. But, to counterbalance it, we’ve increased their power level drastically this week to even out their overall record.
- Actual performance now matches projected performance
Developer’s comment: The Uprising have had a team of good players this whole time, but their results in the May Melee didn’t actually match the caliber of the roster. We’ve adjusted a few variables to ensure that their in-game performance now aligns with expectations. This will hopefully make them a less confusing team to watch.
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 and epic highs and lows of professional Overwatch this week.
VICTORY: HERO POOLS
Historically, one of the Overwatch League’s main problems has been how predictable it can get. It used to be that early in the season, powerhouses were established and never dislodged until they finally faced one another in a playoff situation. This left every other team to float around the middle of the table.
Last year, hero pools were meant to counteract that and make things less stagnant. However, they ended up getting removed due to the strain it placed on teams and players. This year, though, the implementation of hero pools feels like it manages to give teams the time to get used to them while also keeping things dynamic and fresh. Every team that finished with a 1-3 match record in the May Melee managed to pick up at least one win this past week; many of them against highly regarded opponents like the Washington Justice and Shanghai Dragons.
It could be that these teams are all just that determined to prove themselves after a lackluster opening to the season — and they should be — but hero pools undoubtedly have impacted the way they play, too. The meta has changed and so have these teams’ fortunes. At this point, there’s no way of telling who will make it to the final four of the June Joust. That’s what makes it so exciting.
DEFEAT: OUR PREDS
Perhaps you’re flying high after finishing at the top of your friend group’s prediction leaderboard in the May Melee. Perhaps you didn’t do so well and are looking to bounce back from your pick’ems flop era. Or, perhaps you simply kept forgetting to input your match predictions last weekend.
Whatever the case, the results, so far, have probably left everyone’s predictions in a similarly battered state. Who could have predicted that the Dragons would sweep the Hunters, then in turn get swept by the Spark? Who could have predicted the Justice going 0-2 in their first week back, against two teams who failed to even qualify for May Melee knockouts? Who could have predicted that the New York Excelsior would handily defeat the Fusion in their much-hyped matchup?
It’s extremely fun for the league to be unpredictable. It’s also very annoying for those of us who like being right. In a previous entry of Match Notes, I wrote that we were fools to think we could know anything based on nothing. Now I believe that we are fools to think we can know anything, period. Let’s just enjoy this volatility while it lasts.
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 who we think gamed harder than anyone else.
SEO “MYUNB0NG” SANG-MIN (BOSTON UPRISING)
Myunb0ng joined the Boston Uprising in the 2020 season; back when the team had something of a reputation for losing. He’d always been a great player, having racked up some impressive tournament results with his Contenders Korea team, O2 Blast. Thus, it was a bit of a mystery as to why he would join a team like the Uprising; he was clearly good enough to be on teams with much better track records.
The Uprising had a rough May Melee. But, their first week in the June Joust saw them going 2-0 without dropping a single map. Myunb0ng’s Ana and Baptiste play was a big part of that. Along with main support Kim “Faith” Hong-gyu, the Uprising’s support line is shaping up to be incredibly strong. Myunb0ng was already regarded as a very solid flex support when Boston wasn’t doing so well. This year, if the Uprising continue to improve, he might become a serious contender for best flex support in the league.
On a personal level, it’s nice to see Myunb0ng succeed. I don’t think that’s an unpopular opinion. Though the Uprising never quite found their footing through 2020, Myunb0ng remained a bright spot through it all. He was constantly diligent and determined to get better. It always stung to read his despondent Tweets after a defeat. I’m glad to see that his decision to stick with the team in 2021 is finally paying off.
No one will understand, but we practiced harder than anyone else and we will continue to do so. This time it's different.
— Myunbong (@OMyunbong) April 25, 2021
- Zheng “Shy” Yangjie (Hangzhou Spark)
- Kai “Kai” Collins (Atlanta Reign)
- Arthur “Dridro” Szanto (Paris Eternal)