The fourth regular season of the Overwatch League (OWL) yielded some of the most competitive results to date. Many of the Eastern Region teams in particular showcased impressive results. A review of their regular season performances is in order before looking towards the Playoffs. Here are the regular season Eastern Region report cards for all eight teams.
This group more than exceeded the preseason expectations placed on them. Behind the MVP caliber play of Huang ‘Leave’ Xin, the Chengdu Hunters enjoyed their most successful regular season in franchise history. Fifteen total league points give them the third-highest tally only behind the Shanghai Dragons and Dallas Fuel. Back-to-back second-place finishes in the Summer Showdown and Countdown Cup speaks for itself as well.
Season four was a setback for the Charge. Nearly half of their wins came against the only winless OWL team in the Los Angeles Valiant. Evidently, many of their former stars leaving during free agency came back to bite them. Persistent struggles with the coaching staff hurt the Charge as well. Their season ends early for the first time in franchise history, giving them one of the worst Eastern Region report cards.
Despite boasting one of the largest rosters heading into week one, the Spark could not piece it together consistently. They had their moment of glory during the June Joust, but even that led to disappointment when they got upset by the New York Excelsior during the Knockouts. Luckily for the Spark, their overall results were enough to clinch an appearance in the Play-Ins.
One can only imagine how much higher they could have placed had they dealt with a more stable coaching situation though. Not having the same coach for more than one tournament at a time is going to take its toll no matter how much talent a roster may possess. It was a decent season for what it’s worth, but it could have been so much more.
Los Angeles Valiant
If there was one team who truly met the expectations placed on them, it has to be the Los Angeles Valiant. They join the 2018 Shanghai Dragons as the only other team to not win a game in a season. However, the Valiant technically finished with a worse map win percentage than that infamous Shanghai team. Therefore, the argument can be made it was the worst season in Overwatch League history.
New York Excelsior
The New York Excelsior opened a new chapter in 2021. While they missed the playoffs, their new squad found ways to hold their own at certain points throughout the season. Led by 2018 MVP Sung-hyeon ‘JJonak’ Bang, New York finished one spot shy of the Play-Ins.
Despite the sad news of a short season, New York fans can walk away knowing that year one of their team’s rebuild went fairly well. Rookie DPS Young-woo ‘Flora’ Lim emerged as a star and some other new faces had their moments as well. The building blocks are slowly starting to fall into place. Now it’s a matter of taking that next step to finding proper consistency.
From a general standpoint, the Fusion output an acceptable season. Achieving the four seed in the East put them in a position to make the playoffs. However, a deeper look into their season would argue they played below their potential. Choked matches and missed opportunities pop up all over the place when looking back.
A 10-6 season easily could have been 13-3 or better had they not let multiple opportunities go to waste. Failure to qualify for a single tournament final along and severe consistency issues costed the Fusion dearly. They had more than enough chances to bypass the Play-Ins completely. To sum it up, the Fusion were seen as one of the teams who couldn’t step up in the big games.
The Shanghai Dragons picked up exactly where they left off in 2020. They gave the rest of the world yet another dominant showing in the regular season. They boasted the most achievements by far. Two notable accomplishments include outputting the best record in the league and the most top finishes in regular-season tournaments.
Shanghai’s superior in-game adaptations and clutch factor put their competition to shame. Their fantastic results have made them one of the favorites to win the Grand Finals. They easily earn the highest grade of all Eastern Region report cards.
Somehow this team managed to take a step back and one forward at the same time. They moved back due to a lack of tournament appearances. Only making the Countdown Cup puts them in a different position compared to last year. It was only one year prior when they nearly defeated the Shanghai Dragons and took home the May Melee crown.
Seeing a team consisting of pretty much the same roster regress from that standpoint was unexpected. On the other hand, the Dynasty finally found the consistency they were seeking throughout all of 2020. Back then, hot and cold streaks were a common occurrence. This year saw them win often which was a nice change of pace for the Seoul supporters who had grown accustomed to a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
Interestingly enough, Seoul traded away their ability to make tournament runs for stability. It’s a double-edged sword in a sense. The Dynasty’s fans witnessed their team win more often but only when the stakes weren’t incredibly high. Regardless of the end result, the Dynasty still put themselves in a position to make another Grand Finals run.
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