After an up and down regular season, the San Francisco Shock are back in the playoffs to compete for another Overwatch League title. Given their experience and overall skillsets, it is more than possible for them to pull off a threepeat. However, the path to a San Francisco Shock Grand Finals victory appears to be more difficult than ever before.
As proven throughout this year, the competition has caught up to the Shock. Unlike the previous two campaigns, they are considered to be underdogs heading into the playoffs. If they are going to win another championship, the Shock must complete some specific objectives. Here are the three keys for the San Francisco Shock to defend their title.
The Shock’s title aspirations start with their DPS players. The damage role was a major component of the previous two championship teams. Elite playmaking from the likes of Nam-joo ‘Striker’ Kwon and Dong-jun ‘Rascal’ Kim went a long way. And they are only two of numerous examples.
Charlie ‘Nero’ Zwarg, Gil-seong ‘Glister’ and Seonchang ‘ANS’ Lee are extremely capable. They have shown it time after time this season. But they have to play even harder if the Shock wish to win. While statistically productive, it sometimes felt like their clutch factor was missing during the regular season.
Numerous occasions saw other superstar damage dealers gain the upper hand. Se-hyun ‘Pelican’ Oh dominating in the June Joust Knockouts immediately comes to mind. Jung-woo ‘Happy’ Lee popping off during week one of the regular season is another example.
The Shock’s new-age DPS trio must channel the dominance from years past. They have to be the ones taking the initiative rather than their opposition. Devising a strong game plan to enable the DPS early on is crucial. If the DPS aren’t a true x-factor, it will be difficult for San Francisco to win it all.
Build Confidence Early
While taking on the Shanghai Dragons in the first round is intimidating, it presents a golden opportunity. Shanghai are considered by most to be the championship favorites. If the Shock manage to knock the Dragons down to the lower bracket, it could give them a serious energy spike. They would prove to themselves and to the rest of the world they are still good enough.
As seen in previous years, sometimes all it takes is one win to get the ball rolling. A team doesn’t have to dominate from start to finish to earn a championship. Momentum at the right time can easily override inconsistency. As the old saying goes, “it’s not about how you start, but how you finish.”
The Shock know this firsthand. It’s how their 2019 playoff run turned out. A roster consisting mostly of veterans knows what it takes to build team morale. A Shock Grand Finals run could start rolling from a confidence-building victory such as this one.
The Dragons willingly picked the Shock as their first-round opponent. The Shock may take it as a sign that the League no longer respects them. Playing with extra motivation and a chip on their shoulder could be a huge difference-maker. By taking out Shanghai, they could get the rest of the League to fear them once again.
The meta of the Play-Ins was perfect for the Shock. It played into so many of their team’s strengths. Now they must find a way to overpower any composition they are uncomfortable facing. As seen by some of their regular season shortcomings, some compositions can give them trouble. If they can utilize the appropriate countermeasures and get value out of their go-to selections, anything is possible.
Assuming the meta doesn’t change, there is potential for every player on the Shock’s roster to take over a series. Main Tanks Matthew ‘Super’ DeLisi and Myeong-hwan ‘Smurf’ Yoo have access to their signature Reinhardt and Winston respectively. Not to mention that Nero can lock in Echo while ANS burns the opposition with McCree. But most importantly, the Shock’s support line have an opportunity to play with more coherence.
In past months, the Shock flex supports were forced to off-role as Brice ‘FDGod’ Monsçavoir spent time on the bench. Now that Lucio is playable again, FDgod’s value is much higher due to his high impact on the hero. Also, it opens up the team’s flex supports to focus more on what they’re best at. Minki ‘Viol2t’ Park can play more Baptiste and Zenyatta while Joo-seok ‘Twilight’ Lee prioritizes his world-class Ana.
The potential Playoff meta is ideal for the defending champions. If they can accompany their mechanics with proper teamwork, a Shock Grand Finals run may not be unrealistic. While the journey certainly will be challenging, a return to their former glory is there for the taking. Now it’s a matter of executing.
“From Our Haus to Yours”