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Esports Overwatch

Ryujehong reminds the Overwatch League: Seoul are in it to win it

At first glance, putting support superstar Ryujehong on Winston doesn’t sound like the best idea. In practice, though, it’s proven to be the Seoul Dynasty’s smartest change yet.

How embarrassing

2018-04-26 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Ryujehong, for all his skill on heroes like Ana and Zenyatta, is not a great Winston. He can’t juggle players with Primal Rage like Fissure or xQc. His shield timings could be better. His engagements were often a little too early, or a little too late. With a host of little flaws in a game that has no margin for error, many Seoul fans braced for impact as the horde of Outlaws faithful in the arena prepared for a gleeful slaughter. Seoul’s game against London the day before had shown that Jehong still had a long way to go before he could handle top-tier tanks, and Muma is no slouch, to be sure. In the end, though, the two fan-bases switched demeanor entirely. How could Jehong’s awkward, newly-minted main tank play help his team crush Houston so convincingly?

Let’s coordinate our efforts

The key was, as it so often is in Overwatch, communication. Ryujehong made up for his middling main tank mechanics by having a plan for every push. His communication and decision making are his greatest strengths, beyond all the head clicking and sleep darting, so why not use them?

Playing to those strengths is harder than it sounds in a frenetic game like Overwatch, and it didn’t always work for Seoul. A strict focus on certain strategies often left Jehong & Co. unprepared for Houston’s signature curve balls, but clean comms and insane mechanical play from the Dynasty’s deep roster often compensated for it. Overthinking can often be just as dangerous as under-preparing- you have to have a certain balance of flexibility and structure to really succeed. That balance will take some time for a player learning a new role in a pro setting, to be sure, but it will be so worth it.


Houston, uhh, we have a problem

2018-02-10 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

The Outlaws often made life difficult for Seoul over the course of their four-game series, but there were plenty of times that they made things easy, too. While it’s clear that they’ve worked hard to perfect their strategy of controlled chaos, such methods can quickly go off the rails if they aren’t keeping a good hold of things in game. And things definitely got away from them, as evidenced in the scoreline.

Ultimately, Seoul just caught the Outlaws on a bad day. They looked tired. There were no caffeine-gum speeches from Jake, no coy winks to the camera. Just flat, beleaguered expressions. The stage break is definitely going to help Houston, but I think the Dynasty will benefit plenty, as well. They’ll have lots of extra time to get Ryujehong used to working in his new role, and to develop more of those set strategies that worked so well for them in week five. If they can nail down their new play style, and finally lock in a good roster, we could be seeing a return to force for the Dynasty- and not a moment too soon. Seoul’s still in the playoff hunt, after all.



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Featured Photo Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

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