The Overwatch Playoffs have begun. Yesterday the first two games in North America took place and this early morning, the Asian Division had their first game. The London Spitfire and Chengdu Hunters had to face off as the bottom teams of their division. Here is how things went down in the first APAC playoff game.
Came in like a Wrecking Ball
The match began on Nepal and right from the start the difference in style between the two teams was clear. Chengdu´s Wrecking Ball expert Ding “Ameng” Menghan rolled out on his strongest hero. Meanwhile, London seemed reluctant to adapt to the new meta. They fielded Dae-han “JMac” Choi on Reinhard and Winston. While the first map was not a blowout, London were not able to react to Chengdu´s combined dive of Wrecking Ball and Sombra.
On Kings Row, London finally showed a willingness to adapt to the new meta. They subbed in three new players, including Gun-hee “Clestyn” Cho to replace JMAC and play Roadhog. In a questionable decision, the Hog was paired with a Sigma and two snipers on DPS. Painfully for London fans, these six players appeared to be not coordinated enough yet for a playoff matchup. Even though they showed some mechanical talent, London ended up leaving the objective twice in just one map. This lead to a dominant timebank and eventually the map victory for Chengdu.
Signs of Hope are Not Enough
After halftime, London showed a fraction of hope on Volskaya Industries. Their shining light of this season, Gil-seong “Glister” Lim put up a strong performance on Widowmaker. Clestyn and Se-won “Bernar” Shin created a solid structure for the team. Chengdu attempted a Winston and Dva dive composition, for which they had to sub out Ameng. Their attempt to diversify their strategic portfolio failed and London was able to take one map away.
However, this was the last positive moment for London in this first APAC playoff game. On Havana, Chengdu subbed Ameng back in. London had to commit so many resources against his oppressive playstyle that the rest of the Hunters were easily able to walk over London. At the end of the year, London failed to ever find a playstyle or a set of starters that they felt comfortable with. This was the point where it came crashing down painfully.
The Larger Implications for APAC
Even though both of the teams are not high in the Overwatch standings, their hero picks still hint about what kind of meta to expect in the Asian bracket. With the shield tanks nerfed to the ground, both dive and double sniper appear to be viable on certain maps. In the tank department, Chengdu is a special case and London seemed rather lost, so this game is not a good indicator for this role. Over a longer period of time, the main tank role and the overall team structure will stabilize. For now, map-based swaps are still very impactful.
The victory for Chengdu is an early sign of the power levels in the APAC region. Chengdu´s strength from before the playoff patch appears to remain. Their next opponent, New York, is much more experienced then London. Even though they played in the strong APAC region, they still have a 16-8 record and will be the first real challenge for the Hunters in the playoffs.
Featured image provided courtesy of The Overwatch League
You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other TGH writers along with Leonard.
You can also follow Leonard @LeonardUfer on Twitter for more articles by me or to contact me