The Shanghai Dragons seem unstoppable in these last weeks. They demolished their competition in the Countdown Cup and have locked in the 1st seed for the APAC playoffs with the best record in Overwatch League history. Unfortunately for Shanghai fans, the playoff patch brings some of the biggest changes the game has seen in a long time.
As of this moment, the teams are still experimenting to find the best team compositions. While the Overwatch League plays with a hero pool that eliminates dive strategies, everyone is trying to figure out the meta behind closed doors. The Dragons have been strong throughout the season, but some playoff patch scenarios could hurt Shanghai and threaten their dominance.
Both Orisa and Sigma´s shields have been nerfed in the recent patch. Less shielding in the game opens up the sight-lines for one staple pick of Overwatch: Widowmaker. Her capability to one-shot targets from across the map is rivaled by no other hero. If the Overwatch League teams can not figure out in time how to consistently pressure the enemy Widowmaker, she could take over maps and turn previously unwinnable games.
Ironically, Shanghai has multiple competent Widowmaker players on their team. Both Jae-won “LIP” Lee and Min-seong “Diem” Bae are very strong Widow players. However, a Widow meta reduces the impact of one of Shanghai´s strongest advantages: perfect team play. If the main difference in a fight is a head-to-head of two players’ mechanics, it closes the gap between Shanghai and the rest of the region.
Both Dong-eon “FITS” Kim from Seoul and Jung-woo “Happy” Lee from Guangzhou have shown that they can hold their ground or even win against Shanghai in a Widowmaker mirror matchup. If one of these teams has a good day and Shanghai is unable to counter, they could be in serious trouble.
Oops, All Off-Tanks
The shield nerfs could also bring an even bigger change to Overwatch. With the exception of Sigma, the main tank role is usually responsible for bringing a shield to the team composition. Now, that role is potentially threatened. Boston Uprising´s main tank Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth already tweeted his doubts that the current meta allows for a main tank role as players and viewers are used to.
Shanghai has an excellent team all around. With Jun-woo “Void” Kang and Se-yeon “Geguri” Kim, the Dragons also have two excellent off-tanks. However, the team has struggled in high-pressure situations without their main-tank Euiseok “Fearless” Lee. If the shield nerfs push Fearless out and force teams to change fundamental truths about the game, then the playoffs might be wide open.
A Final Challenge
Overwatch is going to change. Such is the nature of the game. It is the responsibility of every team, including Shanghai, to change with it. The scenarios outlined here are hypothetical, but Shanghai´s coaches and players need to have in mind. If they fail to prepare for them and they become reality, a year of hard work might fall apart.
Shanghai has the tools to overcome these challenges. They have a full roster of players and a coaching team that has navigated them through multiple hero pools. Shanghai has proven that they can adapt to changes, but they have shown cracks in the past. If they want to win the Overwatch League, they need to fill any new cracks with gold.
Featured image provided provided courtesy of Shanghai Dragons Social Media
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