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Playoff Matchup Preview: Chengdu vs London

Playoffs Chengdu London

The 2020 Overwatch League Playoffs begin this week. In the Asian Playoff Bracket, the first game is between the Chengdu Hunters and the London Spitfire. Even though they might not be able to deliver the highest level of Overwatch the League has to offer this year, a battle between two low seeded teams can be very entertaining. To predict which team can claw their way past the other in this peculiar matchup there are a few simple elements to analyze.

Ball is Life

Playoffs Chengdu London
Image provided courtesy of The Overwatch League

There are few players in the Overwatch League that are synonymous with one singular character. Due to shifting power levels, most players are forced to expand their hero pools and have shown exemplary performances on many different characters. However, Ding “Ameng” Menghan is not your typical Overwatch Player. Even though Ameng played other characters from time to time, the fast-paced Wrecking Ball is his signature hero. Ameng played Wrecking Ball back in 2019 when few pros played the character on the highest level. This choice makes him the unchallenged expert on the character. Due to the recent shield tank nerfs, Wrecking Ball has become a viable option for many teams.

On the other side, London needs to utilize another character that has risen in power to stop Ameng´s expertise. Roadhog, who has long been the worst of all tanks, has received a strong buff to his damage output this patch. His hooks are a natural counter to a Wrecking Ball’s playstyle of weaving in and out of combat. Similarly, other characters like Sombra or Ana can punish a Wrecking Ball if they can stick their abilities to him.

Polar Opposites

2019-03-07 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Outside of singular roles, the playstyle of these two teams could not be more different. Chengdu has always been seen as a chaotic team. However, in their stronger performances that chaos is more of a fast-paced power play. Other teams often struggle against Chengdu if they are not able to adapt to their style. On the other hand, London has been criticized as an extremely slow team this year. The rookie team, coached by a super-star coaching staff, attempted many times to play a reserved, intelligent game this season, but mostly failed to accomplish their goals.

These two styles will clash against each other this Friday. If London can finally achieve the goals they set for themselves, their slow coordination could be the perfect counter against a fast-paced, but imperfect, Chengdu. Unfortunately for London, their preparation time might have run out. In the last 2 weeks, London has mostly stuck to the same roster in an attempt to stabilize for the playoffs, but it might be too late to create enough coordination.

Meanwhile, Chengdu has not played in the last two weeks because they had finished all of their regular-season games already. They were able to scrim and prepare on the playoff patch without any distractions. However, a few weeks without any professional game could also turn out to hurt them. The difference between a training scrim and a real game can be stark. If Chengdu did not play their scrims disciplined enough or if they lost the drive they have shown during their earlier games, they could be in for a surprise.

Chengdu is the Favorite over London

Overall, the evidence points towards a Chengdu victory. This would put a final nail into the coffin of London´s great past. London has a chance to sneak by, but they are unlikely to go far if they do. Chengdu however has a very high ceiling, if they can utilize the meta and force their playstyle on the enemy team.

 

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1 comment

How Things Went Down in the First APAC Playoff Game September 4, 2020 at 8:37 am

[…] 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 […]

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