There are multiple kinds of losses. The stomp is the worst. That’s what the Overwatch League fans have been used to for the last two Overwatch League Grand Finals. The Season 3 Grand Finals match was much more satisfying. It showed good Overwatch on both sides and had unexpected turns throughout the whole series.
The Seoul Dynasty have a lot to be proud about. Now that the tears have dried and the offseason has officially set in, it is time to look back at the Grand Final to identify what Tiger Nation can be proud of when it comes to Seoul’s match against the Shock.
The Dark Horse
It is hard to distinguish whether the term ‘dark horse’ is a backhanded compliment or polite insult. It depends on whose mouth it is coming out of, but in the general sense, is it more negatively connotated or positively connotated?
The dark horse was what the desk and analysts deemed the Seoul Dynasty to be. No one would’ve thought at the beginning of playoffs or even months ago that the Seoul Dynasty would be in this position. That was what Scott ‘Custa’ Kennedy said on broadcast. Of course, die-hard Tiger Nation fans would disagree, but for the general community, this is a correct assertion.
The Seoul Dynasty were the fifth-ranked team in APAC. They ‘somehow lucked out on the meta and snuck their way in.’ There was disbelief of other teams’ fans when they saw the Seoul Dynasty beat their teams in the playoffs. On paper and using historical facts the idea that the Dynasty would go and defeat the Spark, the Charge, and the NYXL would be a fool’s dream.
Seoul fans braced themselves each time the walkout song played, wondering if this was the match that reality would shake them back to their senses. But that didn’t happen. Even losing to the San Francisco Shock first round seemed like a win. The #5 team had just brought the #1 NA team to a map five. Seoul had almost reverse swept the Shock.
All the brackets on the desk had the Seoul Dynasty going out first. The strength of the Fusion, in their minds, was too big of a hurdle for the Seoul players who had been “underwhelming” their whole careers. That was a narrative that was brought up over and over again. It isn’t exclusive to the Dynasty. Many teams’ narratives that started with the Season 1 squad, continue even when the original members leave the team. For the Seoul Dynasty, the original players are now all but gone except for Jinmo ‘Tobi’ Yang, but that narrative is still being perpetuated.
There weren’t adjustments to the perfectly planned-out narratives when it was being told to the fans. But the Dynasty didn’t care. The Overwatch League is not an anime. The plotline of the Shanghai Dragons rising from the ashes of the inaugural season 0-40 to now a potential Grand Champion was a favorite of the desk. When the Dragons, a favorite to win it all, got dropped to the lower bracket, it seemed as if the Shock Season 2 storyline was going to be repeated but by the Dragons. The winning team that fought through the lower brackets to win it all. Seoul decided that wasn’t how the story was going to go.
In an emotional match that brought the community to five maps, the Tigers toppled the Dragons. There were so many instances when it had been the other way around. The terrifying team of the Shanghai Dragons lost, and it was bittersweet for Seoul fans. Many hoped that this match would be the finals. The teams had faced each other so many times and it had been close. The Dynasty were one of the only teams to take a win off the Dragons in Week 14.
With the brackets in shambles, it was only fitting to move on reversing what was said previously and compare them to the Washington Justice. The Shock and the Dynasty, the rematch that started the final four.
Why is it that though the Seoul Dynasty lost the Grand Finals, the community as a whole saw it as a good match? There were little to no complaints in previous years of it being a roll though the Dynasty were down 0-2 at the first half time break. Map 3 was announced to be Hanamura.
Just as in previous tournaments when Kings Row was known as Ryu’s Row, Hanamura was the Shock’s map. 18-0. They had not lost this map in over two years. This in itself was a mountain to climb, to play the Shock on this map let alone beat them on it.
The doubters came out in a storm. Accusations of throwing to get the match done early and that the Dynasty were gifting them the Championship. Many failed to remember this was like Deja vu. The same color of comments appeared when the Seoul Dynasty took the Shanghai Dragons to Kings Row. They surprised everyone by taking one of the Dragon’s best maps off of them.
Hanamura was very much the same. The Dynasty took a point of pride from the Shock in Map 3, they took Hanamura. That feat in itself changed the perspective and narrative for many fans. That was reinforced when the Dynasty won the Shock’s own map pick of Watchpoint Gibraltar, a heavy sniper centered map. Not only did they win the map, they full held the Shock, and on defense, they pulled out Genji of all heroes and was successful. These two maps showed the adaptability and preparedness of the Seoul Dynasty.
Earning One’s Stripes
By the end of the match, there was no doubt that it wasn’t a fluke that the Seoul Dynasty were in this position. They showed that they deserved to be in the Grand Final. The Seoul Dynasty’s banner is still missing an elusive star; the season is over and there will inevitably be roster changes. Many might say nothing changed. No one will know but the Seoul Dynasty and Gen G. Hopefully there is a feeling of pride somewhere under the sadness. That the players overcame all expectations and played in the closest Overwatch League Grand Finals to date.
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