The May Melee tournament was by all accounts a wonderful success. Combined with the timely return of Token Drops, viewership more than doubled on YouTube. With an average viewership of 63000, peaking at 88000 for the NA finals and 77000 for APAC respectively. Looking to the future fans now get to look towards the OWL Summer Showdown tournament. Giving teams the chance to prove themselves once more. Some teams that struggled in May will be looking to bounce back after the break. Others will look to continue their momentum or showcase a new side with the influx of some major talent. With that in mind, here are four questions going into the Summer Showdown.
Can the Mayhem Remain Top 2?
The Florida Mayhem entered into the May Melee with a 3-0 record in their qualifying run. Yet all these wins came against teams that were struggling mightily at the time. Many fans were not so eager to pin them as a title contender over teams like the San Francisco Shock or the Philadelphia Fusion. Yet they took the tournament by storm. Off the back of fearsome Tracer play from Junki “Yaki” Kim as well as each member of the squad firing on all cylinders. Finishing their run in second place after a close game against the Shock. The question is, will they be able to keep it up? With Hero pools banning Echo till the tournament begins fans will have to hope Yaki will continue to dominate on Tracer. Signs point to yes, but it will be curious to see if they will continue to bring the mayhem.
Near the end of the qualifying weeks and in the play-ins for the May Melee something rather curious began to take shape. Teams like the Boston Uprising and the Vancouver Titans showed signs of life. Signs that maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. For the Uprising this came in the form of an upset win over the Los Angeles Gladiators and an incredibly close five-game series in the quarterfinals against the Paris Eternal.
The arrival of new Off Tank player Leyton “Punk” Gilchrist lit a fire in the bellies of the Uprising players that was missing since maybe stage two in 2019. Each player looks to have leveled up their game and the teamwork is far superior to what they have shown in 2020 so far. Could this team, which not too long ago was the laughing stock of the league, make a push in June?
For the Titans, it was also the inclusion of some fresh blood which led to a very respectable showing in a 3-2 loss to the also struggling Toronto Defiant. Was it not for some incredible play from Youngseo “Kariv” Park this was likely a Titans win. Which would be their first since they rebuilt. Niclas “sHockWave” Jensen was like a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart of this fledgling franchise.
His aggressive Echo play enabled his team to be competitive the whole game through, getting into the backline and causing havoc and terror for the Defiant the whole time. At times he would go too far and get punished, yet he delivered more than he was demolished. Echo is banned to start things off in June, so the team will have to show they can succeed without her explosive power. With time to rest and reset, can this new Titans squad begin to give their fans hope?
Can anyone in APAC truly challenge the Dragons?
The reverse sweep that the Shanghai Dragons were able to pull off after going down 0-3 in their final against the Seoul Dynasty was quite possibly one of the greatest games of professional Overwatch in years. The individual play from each player, with special shout outs to Euiseok “Fearless” Lee, Lee “LeeJaeGon” Jae-Gon and Byungsun “Fleta” Kim was breathtaking.
The teamwork was impeccable, with all players operating as a bold unflappable unit. After this game, it is a more than legitimate claim to state they are the best team in not just their region, but the league. So that begs the question, who could challenge them? The Dynasty are very inconsistent but has shown they can maybe step up to them. With the recent acquisition of 2019 rookie of the year Kim “Haksal” Hyo-Jong the New York Excelsior may now have the explosive power to do so. Could the Dragons fall from the throne in June?
Will Sp9rk1e take Paris to the Next Level?
The Paris Eternal has been a team that has truly played far better than pre-season rankings would have you believe. They have looked at times like a top tier team, capable of challenging for the title. Jung “Xzi” Ki-Hyo emerged as an early rookie of the year candidate with his extraordinary hitscan play before being sidelined by injury. Players like Benjamin “BenBest” Dieulafiat, Daun “NoSmite” Jeong, and Nicolas “NiCOgdh” Moret have looked like almost entirely different players than they were in their mediocre 2019 performances. The team has put forth a commendable 7-5 record. This is all without their now of age star, Kim “Sp9rk1e” Yeong-Han.
The explosive former Element Mystic star is at last eligible to play, and fans can not wait to watch him in action. The question remains, however, is he the real deal? Will he live up to the hype? There is a lot of pressure riding on the shoulders of this young man. People believed that the Eternal just needed to survive until he was of age. They have more than done so. Will Sp9rk1e truly be the piece that can take them to the top of the leaderboard?
Follow Ethan on Twitter @EthanButler for all your Vancouver Titans, Overwatch League, Valorant and Esports needs.
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