This weekend, the Shock finally get to compete on the now-figurative Overwatch League stage. Having been sidelined since their initial match against the Dallas Fuel in the first week of the season, they are set to take on both LA teams. These matchups were first penned for last weekend, but the shelter-in-place lockdown forced a reschedule. Instead, fans were treated to a PTR showmatch against the Seoul Dynasty on Sunday, with both teams testing out the new hero Echo.
The hero pools for the week exclude Winston, Soldier: 76, Sombra, and Lucio. This will be a defining factor for the meta, as well as roster selection.
Shock vs LA Gladiators (0-1)
Saturday March 28 at 8pm EST/5pm PST
Fresh off their PTR showmatch win against the LA Valiant, the Gladiators are looking to take down the reigning champs. But this match will not see the Torbjorn 1v1s or coaches subbing in for players. Neither team has played a real match since opening weekend. That weekend, the Shock knocked off Dallas, while the Glads fell to the new-look Vancouver Titans. The PTR matches gave a bit more of a glimpse at what to expect coming up though.
In their PTR match, the Shock showcased their versatility and dominance, as every player saw playtime in their quick 3-0 victory against Seoul. Since their upset loss to the Atlanta Reign in the first round of the 2019 playoffs, the Shock have only lost one map. With their versatility and unpredictability given the strength and depth of the roster, the Shock look to keep rolling.
Prediction: Shock win 3-1
Player to Watch: ANS or Striker
If the preferred meta for the week goes back to the Mei-McCree DPS line, it will be interesting to see who the Shock choose as their McCree player. In Week 1, Nam-Joo “Striker” Kwon put on a clinic with the cowboy. Yet on the PTR, Seon-Chang “ANS” Lee got his chance to shine, taking down the aerial threat of Profit on Echo. They will have to go up against the trio of Jason “Jaru” White, Gia Huy “MirroR” Trinh, and Ji-hyeok “Birdring” Kim. Whomever the Shock chooses to play will surely be a treat to watch in this matchup.
Shock vs LA Valiant (1-1)
Sunday March 29 at 8pm EST/5pm PST
Like the Shock and Gladiators, the Valiant have not had a chance to play (other than PTR showmatches) since Week 1. Opening weekend they won an amazing bout against the Dallas Fuel, clutching it out in the closest-feeling 3-1 victory possible. However, the next day they were trounced by the Vancouver Titans in a 3-0 that did not feel close at all. The Valiant’s young, new roster has shown they can hang in there and hold their own. But against a force like the Shock have been, the odds are stacked against them.
The Shock must be careful not to underestimate the Valiant as matchups like these are where giants can fall. In 2019, the undefeated Titans fell to the Valiant in Stage 3, and the Houston Outlaws upset the golden Shock in the same stage. While that was later in the season, the Shock have built up a huge head of steam. Sunday will show if the Valiant can be giant-slayers once more.
Prediction: Shock win 3-0
Matchup to Watch: Super vs GiG
Matthew “Super” DeLisi is the self-professed “best [Reinhardt] in the business”. With an aggressive style and plenty of support from Grant “Moth” Espe and Min-ki “Viol2t” Park, he has been a leading force on their way to victory. Likewise, Rick “GiG” Salazar plays with a similar aggression. If Super’s ego gets in the way, GiG could take an upper hand and open the door for a Valiant upset. But Super will do everything in his power to “dominate the opposition with relative ease”.
Featured image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
You can also follow Matthew @setanta_ow or message him on Discord (setanta#2155).