Shanghai Dragons (8-7) vs Atlanta Reign (7-9)
The Shanghai Dragons vs. Atlanta Reign matchup was a meeting of two mid-high tier teams. The Reign had a challenging opening week for Stage 3 losing two close matches to the San Francisco Shock and Vancouver Titans. Youngjin “Gamsu” Noh aims to prove their own worth against a team that shows nothing but growth and strength. Petja “Masaa” Kantanen and Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman would need to carry their entire team to avoid being hacked by Jinhyeok “Dding” Yang’s Sombra. Either support ultimate could swing a fight. With Steven “Kodak” Rosenberger joining ATL Academy, the support duo will ride the season together.
Oasis: Shanghai 0-2 Atlanta
Atlanta knew Sombra was coming so they ran Moira in their 3-3 to provide more healing and evasion from hacks/EMP. The Dragons won the first fight to take early control. The Reign had other plans, flipping the point almost immediately. They managed to hold on taking the first stage of map one.
The gardens of Oasis were different from the beginning, Shanghai using Wrecking Ball and triple DPS against the Reign 3-3. Andrej “Babybay” Francisty started on Sombra to disable Wrecking Ball for focus fire. The team flipped between the teams in a close match. The Reign made some quick picks to seize the objective. Their staying power meant the Dragons would need to switch to a Reinhardt goats comp in order to retake. Babybay had no plans to let them, landing a 5-man EMP winning the fight to go up 1-0.
Volskaya Industries: Shanghai 5-4 Atlanta
Atlanta defended on Volskaya with flying goats or “floats”, anticipating the Sombra goats from Shanghai. Literally everyone on Shanghai helps to punish Hyeonjun “Pokpo” Park and the Dragons roll point A. Babybay uses Graviton Surge poorly in the lost fight and Pokpo goes down early in the next fight. Atlanta stabilizes their defense at 81.9 percent but end up falling short on their defense.
Atlanta steamrolled point A but the Dragons are able to muscle them off B, preventing a snowball. The Reign forced two quick fights and collapsed on the Chinese crew before Dding could hit them with another 5-man EMP and complete the map.
Atlanta barreled through both points on the first overtime round. Dding hit the Reign with another big EMP but the Atlanta Reign flexed on the Shanghai Dragons, fighting through the impairment. Shanghai also marched directly down to both points.
Shanghai are able to clutch out their final defense to tie the series up 1-1 going into the half.
Numbani: Shanghai 4-5 Atlanta
Atlanta defended first on Numbani but Shanghai just bullied their way on the payload. The Reign seemed to be in disarray as the Dragons cruise through streets. Masaa tries to sound barrier to slow down Shanghai but Dding wipes it away with an EMP. Shanghai completes the map.
Something had to be in the water at half-time because Atlanta also w-keyed into their opponent until being stopped just meters shy of the third point. The Reign would win the subsequent fight and the game went into overtime rounds.
Atlanta snatched the map win by forcing the Dragons to back off of the point (known as a Shang9 when they do it) as the clock ticked into overtime. Atlanta went up 2-1 without even needing to win a final fight.
Havana: Shanghai 2-1 Atlanta
In this new escort map, there’s no downside to taking a fight in the spawn of the attacking team, and that’s exactly what Atlanta did. The goats comps slammed into one another but the Dragons punched their ticket to the first point on the back of yet another Sombra EMP. They moved the payload almost unimpeded before falling just shy of the third point. The Reign defended well enough to drain the time bank of the Shanghai Dragons.
On attack Atlanta showed they too only know how to move forward, picking Gamsu early in the first team fight and rolling through the first checkpoint. The next section of the map wouldn’t be as easy even after winning the first fight. Shanghai held on in a fight they should have lost, stealing another map to force a tie-breaker.
Nepal: Shanghai 2-0 Atlanta
The Atlanta Reign were in Maximum Overwatch as they went into the fifth and final map of the series. The opening fight on the village of Nepal started with a one-for-one trade but ultimately went to the veteran squad. That success was short lived as the Reign stormed back to the objective, flipping control in their favor. It wasn’t enough and the Dragons removed the Reign from point and didn’t let it go to take a 1-0 lead on the map.
Atlanta ran an Orisa comp bolstered by Mei and Sombra into the floats comp of the Dragons. The Dragons took early control of the sanctum, surviving a nearly lost fight with good positioning and cool-down management. Not much of a contest on the final map, the Dragons never lost a fight to go up 2-0 and win the entire series 3-2
Player of the Match: Dding
The Shanghai Dragons were one of the first teams to utilize Sombra in 3-3 comps. Dding is one of the best DPS players in the Overwatch League. His Sombra was excellent and his Pharah was fantastic.
Featured photo from Atlanta Reign
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