Stage one and stage two have had an eerily similar feel for the Seoul Dynasty. In both stages, the Dynasty get off to a hot start only to be fighting from the outside-looking-in heading into the final week of the stage. The two losses in week four insured the Dynasty another uphill battle, one that ended poorly for them in stage one.
The Dynasty flopping against the top teams
A heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the New York Excelsior and a rather sloppy performance against the London Spitfire put them back in an almost identical situation to stage one. With the same score lines, the Dynasty has a serious issue with not showing up against the consensus best teams. And after their latest upsetting performance, their playoff fate no longer rests in their own hands. It’s now dependent on the Los Angeles Gladiators or the Spitfire losing a few games by a somewhat wide margin.
Let’s look back at the matches, Jong-ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park has proven to be a serious problem for the Dynasty backline and for the bulk of that roster. In the two regular-season matchups, the Tracer-expert has made a living off disrupting the Dynasty gameplan. Sang-beom “Munchkin” Byeon is having a nice stage two, but the lack of Tracer duel wins is a problem, and Byung-sung “Fleta” Kim hasn’t looked as dominant in stage two. Down the line, the Dynasty struggled to contain any of the Excelsior playmakers.
Switching over to the London Spitfire, a combination of an assertive game plan and simply outperforming their counterparts on the other side have given the Spitfire an astounding eight-game winning streak over the Dynasty. As main Zenyatta player Sung-tae “BDosin” Choi likes to say, “Seoul Dynasty’s weakness is (the) London Spitfire,” and after two dominating efforts, it’s hard to disagree. No other team has been able to disrupt the cerebral style that the Dynasty brings into matches. It’s clear that bringing the fight to the Dynasty will give them trouble.
— London Spitfire (@Spitfire) March 17, 2018
Not to mention the fact that these struggles against GC Busan pre-date the Overwatch League if you look back on how Lunatic-Hai ended their Apex run. What’s the cause of this? A regression of skill amongst the most noteworthy names on this roster or is this a coaching issue? The bulk of the responsibility isn’t on one player, but the lack of coordination and underperforming from the entire roster.
What’s going on with Ryujehong?
Je-hong “Ryujehong” Ryu is one of the more accomplished players in the Overwatch League. The first player on a grand stage to really separate himself from the rest of the pack. His skill has always been flashy, but sensible and measured.Ever since the benching in stage one, life’s been tough on Ryujehong. His struggles are bleeding into Jin-hyuk “Miro” Gong’s effectiveness and are overall hurting the dive.
As Overwatchers contenders commentator James “Jamerson” Lee pointed out to me, tracking Ryujehong’s discord orbs have not been easy. In the loss to the Spitfire and Excelsior, the emphasis on Ryujehong specifically made it really tough on him. The combination of focus fire and having to deal with Syung-heon “JJoNak” Bang and BDosin Zenyatta volleys lead to some rather un-Ryujehong like performances. It’s been a growing issue within the Dynasty’s attack and could be a point of contention moving forward.
Moreover, Ryujehong isn’t exactly known for his play on Zenyatta. Yes, he’s proven to play Zenyatta at an incredibly high level and is absolutely considered one of the best in the Overwatch League, but most of his notoriety as the supreme support main comes from his play on Ana. In no way do I think keeping Ryujehong on the bench is a smart move, but inserting Gi-do “Gido” Moon into some situations might be a switch the Dynasty need.
Identically, Jin-mo “Tobi” Yang hasn’t been playing at his best this season either. The same could be said for Fleta, who started stage one as the frontrunner for MVP. Randomly, the one position that’s been getting strong performances has been Munchkin or Joon-hyuk “Bunny” Chae on Tracer, who have both stepped up in stage two. On top of that, the contributions of Joon-hyuk “Zunba” Kim on D.va have been outstanding for a team struggling on dives.
Looking ahead for Seoul
Luckily for the Dynasty, the schedule ends with two bottom-six opponents, even if one of those is the struggling stage on playoff team Houston Outlaws. The other would be the Florida Mayhem who has shown great improvement in stage two. It will take a combination of the Los Angeles Gladiators (or Spitfire) ending the week 0-2 while losing both games by more than a few maps.
Unfortunately for the Dynasty, based on the way the Gladiators have been playing recently it, feels unlikely that will happen. If the Dynasty gets no help this week, they will find themselves watching their second consecutive playoff round from the couch, and based off expectations heading into the Overwatch League would be a colossal underachievement for them. Regardless of stage playoffs, the Dynasty sit at 13-5 atop the Pacific division and have their eyes set on the ultimate prize at the end of the inaugural season.
Featured photo via Seoul Dynasty twitter