It has been reported and all but confirmed by several people within the OWL scene that the 2-2-2 role lock will be coming in Stage 4. Teams have reportedly known about this for some time and have, presumably, had some time to prepare for how they will adapt to the change. This will likely prove difficult for some teams but not for the San Francisco Shock.
Power in Numbers
The Shock have become one of the most dominant GOATS teams in the league through the first three stages. This may lead one to think that they’ve put all of their eggs in that basket, so to speak. The reason this isn’t the case? Their depth.
The Shock has fielded its current roster for the entirety of the season so far because it’s the best roster they have for GOATS. It does not necessarily mean it’s their best roster overall. It’s easy to forget about DPS players like Minho “Architect” Park and Nam-joo “Striker” Kwon who have been bench-ridden all season long, in favor of one of the league’s top Zarya players in Jay “sinatraa” Won.
Even at other positions, there is playing time up for grabs. Andreas “Nevix” Karlsson and Myeong-hwan “smurf” Yoo are two players that fans shouldn’t expect to come in and become starters but they could definitely fit into more niche 2-2-2 compositions down the road. With the current Shock iteration so attuned to GOATS-style play, there may just be a new iteration that makes its mark when 2-2-2 rolls around.
A Coach’s Time to Shine
If there was a time for Da-hee “Crusty” Park to solidify his position as one of the top OW coaches to-date: it’s now. Crusty has accomplished amazing and groundbreaking things with this current Shock team, finding a way to perfect the aggressive GOATS composition and lead the Shock towards the top of the standings.
Now, with 2-2-2 looming, it will be fascinating to see how Crusty and the other OWL coaches approach the change. There’s no doubt that strategies will begin to form in scrims leading up to Stage 4 but which will be the strategy that turns into the first real meta of the role lock? Like miners searching for gold, whoever finds this first may make their team very rich. For the Shock, they’re fortunate to have the best of the best leading them through the dark, new tunnel.
An Action Plan: Switching Roles
Practically, it’s hard to speculate what any team will do during the new lock. But, a good place to start for SF is to consider running sinatraa as a tank player and putting both Striker and Architect in at DPS in compositions where the Shock plan to run Rein/Orisa and Zarya. In this, Hyo-bin “ChoiHyoBin” Choi would be subbed out along with Dong-jun “Rascal” Kim.
For more dive-oriented compositions, the Shock could field something a bit different. For this, sinatraa could sit on the bench for Choi or one of the DPS players and the Shock could even consider running smurf on Winston since Matthew “super” DeLisi has looked much better on Reinhardt.
In all of this, Rascal would begin to function more as a healer than a DPS. For anti-dive comps which may feature a Brigitte or a Baptiste, Rascal could come in for either of the healers to fill that role. He may end up staying on DPS some but it seems that many DPS players that have been mastering Brigitte may end up playing her even into the coming role lock.
“Anything could happen”
At the end of the day, much of this is certainly speculation. In the words of Los Angeles Gladiators Assistant Coach, Seetoh “JohnGalt” Jian Qing, on last night’s episode of WatchHaus, “This is going to be an adventure… Anything could happen.”
Coaches and everyone across the league understand that is uncharted waters for every team and every player. No one knows exactly what to expect from anyone else. With that much unknown on the table, JohnGalt is right: Anything could happen.
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