The Overwatch League season is drawing to a close, and the stage is set for an epic Grand Finals. When the Vancouver Titans meet the San Francisco Shock in Philadelphia it will be the fifth time the two have clashed this year and their third shared final. In the lead-up, The Game Haus will be going role by role to take a look at the individual matchups that will define the Grand Finals. Today, starts with the supports and two star-studded duos. The tanks and DPS will be next week before wrapping up with the intangibles and the final prediction.
Main Support: Seong jun “SLIME” Kim vs Grant “moth” Espe
This very well may be the closest head-to-head of the entire series, in part because the impact of the main support is notoriously hard to parse. So much of what they do happens behind the veil of internal dynamics and communication – the shotcalling, the ultimate tracking, the little things that make big differences. That being said, it doesn’t take any insider knowledge to see that SLIME and moth are difference-makers for the two best teams in the league.
On the heels of massive meta change brought on by the introduction of role lock, moth and SLIME are the only players whose primary hero has remained unchanged for the entire season. Their superb Lucio play sets the pace for both teams during GOATs and remains vital to their postseason success, even as Lucio play has changed drastically in style and purpose.
For the first three stages, Lucio was a playmaker, but now their job is about riding high to stay out of the range of the deadly DPS that role lock has brought back into the game. With all the escapability and survivability in the meta right now, it’s much harder to get the displacement boops that sent enemies into awkward positions and set SLIME and moth apart from the pack. Instead, they have to peel the dangerous threats away from the rest of the team and find opportunities to get aggressive with an amped up speed boost.
Both players have made the transition beautifully thus far – no surprise given their prodigious skill on the hero. They still manage to stand out and find ways to make big plays when it matters most. Take moth’s fight-turning environmental kill against the Spark on King’s Row. The Shock found themselves down a man after Jay “sinatraa” Won got caught near the attackers spawn. Rather than fall all the way back, moth lied in wait, ready to pounce as Myeong Hwan “smurf” Yoo set him up with a huge halt sending two of the Spark off the map.
SLIME and moth have undoubtedly been two of the top four main supports in the league this year, steady presences during historic runs. Their skills make them irreplaceable for the two title contenders, and they’ve proven themselves time and again this season. Without knowing their contributions behind the scenes, this matchup is impossible to call, so it’s a draw.
Flex Support: Juseok “Twilight Lee vs Minki “Viol2t” Park
The flex support battle again features two of the best in the OWL – that’ll be a recurring theme in this series. Viol2t and Twilight made their names on support heroes that required precision aim and high mechanical skill. Now, they find themselves largely playing Moira and relying more on her exceptional survivability and their top-tier game sense. It’s a different set of skills but they’ve barely skipped a beat.
That being said, the hero swap hasn’t been without its growing pains for both players. Twilight takes very forward positions, either trusting his reaction time to save him when a Rocket Punch comes screaming towards his face or perhaps even attempting to bait out the punch in the first place. Regardless, it’s gotten him killed needlessly multiple times during the playoffs. For his part, Viol2t is a little bit Fade-happy. He has a tendency to use Moira’s escape tool before necessary and that can leave him open to a timely flank from either of the enemy DPS. These are small mistakes, but in a meta where Moira is a priority target, they can make the difference.
Ultimately, it seems that Twilight has had a harder time picking up his new assignment. The margin is razor-thin and it comes down to the smallest things, like the use of Moira’s Biotic Orb. Right now, the ability is being used primarily as a damage tool, a way to bypass shields for that last bit of damage on a weak foe or more often simply for the ultimate charge. That approach is understandable, given the fast charge time of Coalescence and its importance as a teamfighting ultimate. Both teams lean heavily on that use of the Orb, but Twilight takes it a step too far at times, often sending out the damage Orb even when his team is in dire need of healing.
A lot can change in the two weeks between the playoffs and the Grand Finals. Twilight has plenty of time to adjust his play slightly, settle into his new hero and return to the form that made him an MVP candidate all season. His Ana is still second to none on the rare occasions he gets to break it out, but right now Viol2t has the upper hand when it comes to Moira.
Verdict: Slight edge to San Francisco
In every meta, there’s always one hero whose death can turn a teamfight instantly. In GOATs it was Zarya, the primary damage dealer and the engine for any team looking to brawl. Now, that falls on Moira. She might not be the playmaker that Zarya was, but her AOE healing is critical to keeping a team alive through these extended fights.
The Grand Finals may come down to which flex support can avoid the onslaught of Rocket Punches and Reapers teleporting into the backline – and which main support can protect their partner most effectively. San Francisco has settled into that groove during their 16 map win streak through the lower bracket. SLIME and Twilight are more than capable of turning this matchup in Vancouver’s favor, but the Shock are ever so slightly ahead at the moment.
Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.
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