In the opening day of matches for the OWL Stage 3 Playoffs, the Shanghai Dragons managed to pull a shocking result and upset the NYXL, 3-1. The Dragons have only been getting hotter since their winless Inaugural Season, with the culmination of their rise coming at the expense of the NYXL.
The Big Apple Without its Core
Focusing on what went wrong for NYXL is not to take anything away from the Dragons performance last night. They were the better team and deserved the win. With this firmly in mind, New York did make some interesting decisions this match.
One of which, was the two-fold decision to run Yeon-kwan “Nenne” Jeong on Sombra in favor of their team captain and emotional leader Jong-ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park. This was two-fold in that it also put Tae-hong “MekO” Kim back into the starting lineup, a player who has not been featured much in Stage 3. Leaving a proven communicator and skilled Sombra player with recent playtime on the bench is, well, certainly questionable.
This single decision is the first thing people will point to when trying to reason through this loss and reasonably so. The NYXL have clearly depended on a variety of different intangible factors from SBB in their wins this Stage. Some of those wins may have been over easier opponents but NYXL still looked strong with the roster they were running. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? All in all, New York’s coaches will, and should, have to answer some tough questions walking away from this one.
This win could not have been possible had the Dragons not absolutely shown up to play. Even with New York’s questionable roster moves, that is still a team capable of beating just about anyone. But not, Shanghai, all of Shanghai, came to play on Friday night.
One player who had one of his best performances of the season was Yong-Jin “YOUNGJIN” Jin. The Dragons DPS player showed off his flexibility in this one, looking very strong throughout the match on both Roadhog and Doomfist. In fact, he was nearly unkillable on Doomfist in the series’ final map, Watchpoint: Gibraltar.
Otherwise, the Dragons other players looked to be in top form and they looked to be making much more coordinated plays in general. Their ability to turn Volskaya Industries into a win was evidence that this team has a core that cannot easily be rattled. This win demonstrates that Shanghai are ready for big games and can contend with the top teams. With a matchup against the Titans likely coming up tomorrow, they’ll have an opportunity to prove that quickly.
Bonus: The Graphics!
Aside from the match being an incredible and historic one, it also had some of the greatest pre-game graphics that either team has made thus far. With numbers and stats being the underlying theme, each team took their own unique focus. In the end, putting Uni in a graphic should have been evidence enough that Shanghai was going to take this one. New York was just the next toy in Uni’s wake of destruction.
This match has already made its mark as an instant classic in the OWL and will be a match that fans will remember for a long time. The once 0-40 Dragons slay the New York Excelsior, the once kings of the OWL. With the historical implications of this Stage 3 Playoffs, there are likely to be more classics on the way before the weekend is over.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
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