Overwatch League Week 1 Wrap-Up — The Inaugural Season’s Debut Shows Promise

The Overwatch League proves its place in the realm of eSports with its first week of the inaugural season; here are the results.

on January 19, 2018 11:00 AM

The inaugural season of Blizzard’s Overwatch League began last week — from January 10th to the 13th — showcasing the league’s twelve teams in their first two games of the season. As each squad duked it out at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, CA, they displayed some of the highest levels of play you will see from the hero shooter. The first week was filled with unbelievable action that had me questioning how anyone could garner the skills these players were exemplifying. Here are the twelve teams who are competing this season:

  • Boston Uprising
  • Dallas Fuel
  • Florida Mayhem
  • Houston Outlaws
  • London Spitfire
  • Los Angeles Gladiators
  • Los Angeles Valiant
  • New York Excelsior
  • Philadelphia Fusion
  • San Francisco Shock
  • Seoul Dynasty
  • Shanghai Dragons

To preface the day-by-day analysis, for the first week only, I wanted to detail how each day of matches in the Overwatch League was formatted. Otherwise, the scores presented would make no sense.

Each day consisted of three matches. Each match was broken down into four games — unless a draw occurred, in which a fifth game would be played on a Control map — one for each map type; this includes Escort, Assault, Control, and Hybrid (a mixture of Assault and Escort). Points are garnered for winning a game and for each objective completed. While game points are favorable, a team can win if they have more objective points; the team with the most points gets a “W” in the win column.

Now that the explanation is out of the way, this was the schedule of the opening week:

overwatch league

Day 1 — January 10th, 2018

Match 1: San Francisco Shock vs. Los Angeles Valiant

The San Francisco Shock and the Los Angeles Valiant kicked off the inaugural season with a one-sided affair. The Shock’s “anti-dive” and patient tactics were no match for the Valiant’s traditional dive composition as they won all four games.

Since the “dive comp” is used by every team in some sort of capacity, let me give you a brief description of what it entails. The dive composition is an aggressive team composition that consists of highly mobile heroes typically made up of two tanks, two DPS characters (high damage-dealing characters), and two healers. Winston is the main tank, with the second commonly being D.Va. The DPS heroes mainly used are Genji and Tracer — Junkrat and Widowmaker are also used quite a lot if they are better suited for a specific map. Lastly, healing is done by Mercy and either a Zenyatta or Lucio player.

The idea is to jump or “dive” into the enemy team with Winston and put up the bubble shield while one of the DPS heroes — usually Genji — will follow to hit the competition as hard as they can. The second DPS character will usually flank the enemy team while the healers do the best they can to keep their team up and win the fight.

While the score was one-sided, that does not mean it wasn’t competitive. In particular, the Temple of Anubis map (Assault type) lasted another two rounds since both teams took points A and B on their initial run. This is where Los Angeles Valiant player Soon shined as he did some fantastic work as Widowmaker and Tracer to grab both points on their second go.

While the San Francisco Shock’s Babybay did some great work as Genji — especially his use of the Dragon Blade to help his team grab the first point — they failed to grab point B in overtime. Also, Soon’s scoped shot with Widowmaker in the opening minutes of the game was incredible.

Match 2: Shanghai Dragons vs. Los Angeles Gladiators

The second match of the Overwatch League was an unexpected one. Sure, the Los Angeles Gladiators were the favorite to win the match — each member of the broadcast team predicted they would win — but no one predicted the Shanghai Dragons would get absolutely destroyed.

Scoring only one point throughout the match, the Shanghai Dragons seemed sloppy; it felt like they would just hop in a fight and just attempt to kill whatever was around them instead of going in with a thought-out strategy. Moving forward, they will need to change up their game plan, because what they did throughout both their games was not working for them.

For the Los Angeles Gladiators, they were looking good. Hydration stood out amongst his teammates as he brought in the scarcely used Doomfist into the Dorado map, as well as his exceptional Pharah play on Ilios.

Match 3: Dallas Fuel vs. Seoul Dynasty

Closing out the first day, the Dallas Fuel and the Seoul Dynasty put on an extraordinary showing. Both teams went out there to determine who the best team was; in this case, the Seoul Dynasty were victorious.

While the upset may have surprised all the viewers at home and the Blizzard Arena, that doesn’t mean the Dallas Fuel didn’t show they were a force to be reckoned with. From Taimou’s impressive Roadhog play to Effect’s playmaking abilities with Widowmaker, the Texas-based team demonstrated that they can go toe-to-toe with arguably the best team in the league.

Results:

San Francisco Shock vs. Los Angeles Valiant (0 – 4)

Shanghai Dragons vs. Los Angeles Gladiators (0 – 4)

Dallas Fuel vs. Seoul Dynasty (1 – 2)

*Note: Bolded teams denotes the winners of its match.

Day 2 — January 11th, 2018

Match 1: London Spitfire vs. Florida Mayhem

The London Spitfire and Flordia Mayhem started things off on the second day bringing another one-sided competition. While the Mayhem found a win on the Dorado map, the games following it would see them scoreless as the Spitfire dominated the Control and Hybrid match types.

The London Spitfire have the biggest pool of people to choose from, giving them a slight advantage to sub in people who may be better suited to a particular match type. However, that wasn’t needed as they did win indisputably.

Going into the match, Florida Mayhem looked really good on the Dorado map. They were able to hold the Spitfire to just one point and inevitably win the match thanks to some excellent Tracer play from Logix. The final push to win the map showed the team could excel against another team as dominant as the London Spitfire. Unfortunately, that win didn’t give them the momentum they needed throughout the rest of the match.

Match 2: Philadelphia Fusion vs. Houston Outlaws

In a back and forth matchup, the Philadelphia Fusion picked up the upset win against the match favorite, the Houston Outlaws. In what I would consider the most competitive match of the week, the two western teams were the only ones that played a fifth game to determine the winner.

Shadowburn had a good showing, especially on the Oasis map as Pharah. Using his Rocket Barrage ultimate to secure the point and the win was just one of his many highlights. On the opposing team, Jake and Linkzr show that they are arguably the best Junkrat and McCree in the League, respectively.

Match 3: Boston Uprising vs. New York Excelsior

After watching these two duke it out, I found the teams I would root for throughout the rest of the season. The Boston Uprising and New York Excelsior were evenly matched the first two games. The Excelsior took the Junkertown map in a fairly close matchup thanks to their use of Orisa and Roadhog; Uprising was victorious in a highly competitive match on the Horizon Lunar Colony thanks to some excellent defense from Boston’s DreamKazper. However, the Uprising’s hopes for a “W” were lost once Game 3 started on Ilios when New York decided to take Libero out for Pine.

The pink-haired flex dominated on the Grecian control map as McCree. On the second map, he got enough eliminations to get his Deadeye ultimate within a 20 to 25-second time span. After watching him play, you have to wonder why he doesn’t hold a starting role for the team. Regardless, his ridiculous performance gave them a two to nothing lead on the Ilios map, giving them the momentum they needed to get the win on Numbani.

Results:

London Spitfire vs. Florida Mayhem (3 – 1)

Philadelphia Fusion vs. Houston Outlaws (3 – 2)

Boston Uprising vs. New York Excelsior (1 – 3)

*Note: Bolded teams denotes the winners of its match.

Day 3 — January 12th, 2018

Match 1: Los Angeles Valiant vs. Dallas Fuel

Considered the two best western teams by the Overwatch League broadcast team, the Los Angeles Valiant, and the Dallas Fuel square off in a highly contested first game in Junkertown. Each team played the map six times!

Like most teams playing in this arena, the Valiant used a team comp consisting of Orisa and Bastion to mow through their enemies and take every point for the first two games. Similarly, Dallas Fuel using a similar team comp including a Roadhog.

It wasn’t until the very last game of the map’s series where the Valiant finally halted the Dallas Fuel and won the map. After the first two games — the second ending in a draw — the Dallas Fuel must have been fatigued as they struggled to get any points on the board.

Once again, Los Angeles Valiant Soon really shined throughout the match garnering 109 eliminations total, 59 objective kills, and 19 deaths. He played fantastically the first week and is surely a player to watch out for as the season moves forward.

Match 2: Florida Mayhem vs. Boston Uprising

Going into this, the Florida Mayhem and the Boston Uprising were considered evenly matched. Both teams lost their first match; both teams have the potential to become one of the better teams in the league. Each team has great talent with TviQ and Logix for the Mayhem and Striker and DreamKazper for the Uprising.

Speaking of DreamKazper, he really showed his star potential throughout this match. He proves he can be fairly versatile as a proficient Genji, as well as a more than competent Roadhog. Anytime the Boston Uprising enter the Blizzard Arena, DreamKazper will be someone to look out for.

Match 3: San Francisco Shock vs. Shanghai Dragons

While the Shanghai Dragons were in a better place against the San Francisco Shock, but still failed to get the win in the end. They did execute some plays that helped the team garner some success and also managed to win game 2 of their match, but the Shock was just the better team.

The Shanghai Dragons did find some success with their offensive player Undead who exemplified some brilliant Widowmaker accuracy on the Horizon map, as well as some great Soldier 76 play on Numbani.

The San Francisco Shock find a star player in Danteh as a prominent force on the team. Specifically, we saw a notable performance from him on Ilios as he saw numerous eliminations to secure the win on the control map.

Results:

Los Angeles Valiant vs. Dallas Fuel (3 – 0)

Florida Mayhem vs. Boston Uprising (0 – 4)

San Francisco Shock vs. Shanghai Dragons (3 – 1)

*Note: Bolded teams denotes the winners of its match.

Day 4 — January 13th, 2018

Match 1: London Spitfire vs. Philadelphia Fusion

London Spitfire was the obvious favorite to win the match and they did not disappoint. Save for the first game in Junkertown — which actually went into overtime during Fusion’s attack run — the Spitfire completely shutout the opposition.

Matches like this — ones that are completely one-sided — are not fun to watch, like any real sport. Unless your team is the one that is destroying its opponent, watching a shutout is boring. I know that is the nature of a League like this, it just isn’t as entertaining as a highly competitive match. Seeing this performance does get me excited to see the London Spitfire play next week as they take on two of the best western teams, Dallas Fuel and Los Angeles Valiant.

Match 2: New York Excelsior vs. Houston Outlaws

Pine. That is all.

Well, maybe not. I will say Houston Outlaws’ Linkzr did a fantastic job on that second map shutting down Pine. The Widowmaker duels between the two were some of the most entertaining bouts throughout the entire week.

Match 3: Seoul Dynasty vs. Los Angeles Gladiators

If the Seoul Dynasty continues to play like they did throughout week 1, they will be the undisputed Overwatch League champions.

While the beginning of this matchup looked evenly matched, the third game set in Ilios changed that as the Los Angeles Gladiators struggled to score in the last half of the contest. Fleta flaunted his incredible skills as Dynasty’s main offensive player and will surely help lead the team’s charge to clinch the Playoffs.

Results:

London Spitfire vs. Philadelphia Fusion (4 – 0)

New York Excelsior vs. Houston Outlaws (3 – 1)

Seoul Dynasty vs. Los Angeles Gladiators (4 – 0)

*Note: Bolded teams denotes the winners of its match.

The inaugural season started off well in its first week with some awesome plays from the best Overwatch players from around the globe. While it may be too early to determine the “favorites,” at this current stage, the Seoul Dynasty is looking incredible after shutting out the Los Angeles Gladiators — who picked up a win in their first match — as well as defeating the Dallas Fuel, a group considered one of the top western teams in the League.

Speaking of Dallas Fuel, their first week did not look so hot: unfortunately, they received a difficult schedule going into their first two matches. While they did put up a noticeably good fight against the Seoul Dynasty and the Los Angeles Valiant — two teams I would consider the favorites to make it all the way to the Finals — they failed to win a single match. Perhaps the Fuel will get to see a win next week when they face the Houston Outlaws — another western team who have not lived up to its expectations — and the undefeated London Spitfire.

Lastly, I want to put the spotlight on the New York Excelsior. I feel they came in as one of the underdogs, but have quickly become a team to watch out for going forward. The team clearly dominates the control map as Pine puts on jaw-dropping performances every time he is subbed in. I was in awe watching his McCree play in Excelsior’s first match against the Boston Uprising. Additionally, Shebelle, Meko, and Libero put on some excellent performances as they won both games against their rival and the Houston Outlaws.

Overwatch League Week 1 Wrap-Up — The Inaugural Season's Debut Shows Promise

Opinion

I think the Overwatch League is a great starting point for people who want to get into eSports. As someone who has watched a fair share of League of Legends and various fighting game championships, I found the Overwatch League’s first matches to be the easiest to digest, and I think that is due to the familiar nature of a first-person shooter. Sure, there are some terms people may need to know or look up (i.e. dive comp, “Pharmercy,” meta etc.), but most of that can be learned while watching a few matches.

Additionally, the choice to make the teams represent a specific region similar to traditional sports was a smart decision. Not only does it hit on the aforementioned feelings of familiarity with people who may not be familiar with eSports, but it lets the viewer gravitate towards the time in or nearest their hometown. The downside to this is only applicable to people like me and most outside the U.S.; there may not be a team that represents your region. As someone who lives in the Chicagoland area, it was hard for me to choose a favorite team right off the bat. Eventually, I found a team I can root for in both the New York Excelsior and the Boston Uprising, but that was after watching six matches over two days.

Overall, I think the Overwatch League has the potential to surpass the popularity of any competitive first-person shooter series. The production value alone is better than any eSports competition I’ve seen, save for the League of Legends World Championship. After watching all 12 teams, I’m excited to see how the regular season shapes up, as well as the direction Blizzard will take once the Playoffs and Finals are underway.


Overwatch League’s Inaugural Season will run every Wednesday through Saturday until June 16th, 2018. with Playoffs and Finals to follow. Check back next week as we cover the events of Week 2.

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Michael Ruiz is a staff writer at DualShockers. He enjoys most video games, but would be happy playing Galaga for the rest of his life. When he isn't playing games, he is probably watching professional wrestling or podcasting over at Model Citizens Media.