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 June 10-13. 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.
- Protagonist buff reverted
Developer’s comment: What makes every story compelling is the falling and the subsequent getting up again. We felt it would be too rote if the Dallas Fuel managed to get a second championship in a row this early on, so we’ve temporarily removed their protagonist buff. It will be reapplied at a later time, whenever the storyline allows.
- Download speeds improved by +50%
Developer’s comment: Recently, the Dragons have seemed a little slow to adapt, which is antithetical to the vision we had for them. Therefore, we’ve increased their download speed this week in hopes that they’ll be able to download and process their opponents’ strategies mid-series if they need to.
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: THE OLD LOSERS
If you told an Overwatch League fan from the year 2018 that, one day, the Shanghai Dragons and the Dallas Fuel would be the best teams in the league two tournaments in a row, and finalists in the June Joust, they would probably have fainted on the spot.
To be fair, we’re a long way from 2018 and these two teams are completely unrecognizable. It always feels sort of disingenuous to talk about the Dragons’ “redemption arc” because it wasn’t the current roster that needed to be redeemed, and it wasn’t the old roster that did the redeeming. But it’s nice to be able to trace how far this league has come through the Dragons’ progress.
The Dragons were able to topple the Fuel in the Overwatch League’s June Joust finals; the first time they’d ever defeated the Fuel in franchise history. It also came on the heels of an 0-3 loss to the Fuel earlier that week. As a result, most people were unconvinced that the Dragons could make it happen — especially not if they stubbornly refused to switch off the Wrecking Ball-centric composition that had gotten trounced by the Fuel the first time around.
But the Dragons trusted in their strategy and it paid off in the end. It takes a special kind of team to stick to their guns even after seemingly being proved wrong, and to adapt to their opponents in real time. They truly proved themselves to be a different breed. In the end, it was the Fuel scrambling to find a response and finally switching to mirror the Wrecking Ball. Unfortunately, it was too late for them, but the seeds have been sown for a compelling rivalry between the two teams. We’ll just have to hope they meet each other again next tournament.
moment of victory! coach moon literally falls to his knees when they win 😭 pic.twitter.com/b454z7nD1y
— 森 sen (@sen_ebooks) June 13, 2021
DEFEAT: THE META
The June Joust meta was, to put it kindly, not the most entertaining one the Overwatch League has ever had. Many fights devolved into messy brawls where twelve ultimates were used and nobody died, which is not a very fun way to experience the game. Add that to the fact that Echo players would duplicate D.Va almost every fight, leading to multiple bombs being tossed around the map every few minutes, and you’ve got a bit of a headache on your hands.
The hero pools were definitely a breath of fresh air at the beginning of the tournament qualifiers. They served their purpose quite well, shaking up the standings and making everything totally unpredictable. It’s just unfortunate that it took such a short time for it to stagnate into something so difficult to watch. And, in the end, it was the Dragons and the Fuel who stood standing, anyway.
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 “FLETA” BYUNG-SUN (SHANGHAI DRAGONS)
Picking our 2020 MVP for any superlative almost feels lazy at this point. But Fleta has been quietly and consistently great throughout his entire career, and this tournament weekend was a testament to that. Even while the rest of the Dragons are struggling, you can always count on Fleta to do his job just fine.
Sure, maybe it is a cop-out to say that the guy who literally has an Echo skin in the game is a fantastic Echo player. And sure, maybe it’s too easy to say that a damage dealer is the crucial player just because they get the most kills. However, Fleta’s quiet reliability makes him such a key part of the Dragons’ success that merely acknowledging his mechanical skill doesn’t seem to be enough. Most teams’ damage players are important but not crucial to the very fabric of their team. The Dragons, on the other hand, wouldn’t be nearly the same without Fleta.
- Kang “Void” Jun-woo (Shanghai Dragons)
- Kim “Doha” Dong-ha (Dallas Fuel)
- Kwon “Fielder” Joon (Dallas Fuel)