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The Awoken Tiger

Seoul playoff S3

It seems as if Tiger Nation are collectively holding their breath. When it comes to the Seoul Dynasty there always seems to be a caveat when it comes to their success. ‘Don’t get too excited because…..’ and then there will be a list of reasons why Seoul fans have reason to worry. Less than an hour after the Dynasty finished a perfect weekend going 6-0 people were already warning the fans not to get their expectations too high.

If Tiger Nation can’t start to raise their expectations now, when can they? Throughout the previous seasons, at this point, the fans would be consoling the heartbroken players, but with no losses and the playoffs being double elimination it seems as if this is the time to get excited at their chances. There is a reason why fans have started calling the Seoul Dynasty ‘the awoken tiger.’

Wins against former teams

The biggest boost of confidence for the team must have been their first playoff match and their quarter-final playoff match. Both of the teams of the Hangzhou Spark and the Guangzhou Charge have been roadblocks for the Dynasty throughout Season 3. Overcoming these hurdles not only showed growth but also the mental fortitude that they have.

Hangzhou Spark

The Hangzhou Spark and Seoul Dynasty have always met up at crucial moments in the Overwatch League. It was the loss to the Spark that ended the Dynasty’s promising run in Season 2. With the addition of Minho ‘Architect’ Park to the lineup and the knowledge that just mere weeks ago Seoul were defeated handily by the Spark it looked like a daunting task to face them in the playoffs once again. Almost more than the win itself that plays such as Jinmo ‘Tobi’ Yang felt redeemed from the past.

To beat the Spark 3-0 is such an upswing in momentum not just in this season, but in the overall history of the Seoul Dynasty. Yes, they have beaten the Spark before, but this time it was at the pivotal moment where they moved on and the Spark didn’t.

Guangzhou Charge

Seoul Playoff S3

Overwatch League 2019 Season2019-08-02 / Photo: Ben Pursell For Blizzard Entertainment

The Guangzhou Charge as the number two ranked team have also stopped the Dynasty in the past from moving on in tournaments. As the Charge hadn’t previously played and Seoul had, there was the concept that there was more intel for Guangzhou to study. In this match up the Charge did try and mimic their play style and came up short. That showed that it isn’t just the composition that is working, but also how the Dynasty is playing the composition that is making it effective.

As Seoul are ranked at five coming into these playoffs it must have been a big boost beating one of the top two teams in the APAC region. Not only that but when the Shanghai Dragon had the choice to pick their team they faced it was the NYXL, not Seoul, which then created this match. For the first seeded team to want to pick a higher-ranked team in the NYXL over the lower-ranked Dynasty shows that there is a wariness among the APAC teams when it comes to Seoul.

The Meta

The metas going into playoffs seem to be always quite strong for the Dynasty. In Season 2 when Sigma came into the hero pool it was Minseo ‘Marve1’ Hwang’s quick uptake and understanding of the hero which helped the team get through the play-in tournament.

This time around in Season 3 it seems as if the coaching staff and players have nailed down the Season 3 playoff meta as well. Not only was the team looking good on their individual heroes, but the synergy within the team seemed to be on point. There was rarely any over commitments on the side of the Dynasty when it came to ultimate usage. Their understanding of how Hog should be played in the most effective way to help the double snipers get the most peel as well as space shows in their results. The flexibility and understanding of who needs to switch to be impactful in the fights has been well-coached into the players. Therefore it seems as if it is the combination of the meta being in the favor of the team as well as

The NA Perspective

As a league, Covid-19 seemingly has split not just in metas but in perspectives. The Korean casters, as well as the dedicated NA casters of Seth ‘Achillios’ King and Wolf ‘Wolf’ Schröder, have praised the Dynasty in their quick understanding of the meta as well as coordination. PlatChat is an NA podcast that is made up of Overwatch League casters who mostly cast on the NA side of the Overwatch League. Their understanding of the APAC region was much different.

Negative Reaction

Anarchy was a word that was thrown around a lot, and Josh ‘Sideshow’ Wilkinson called the whole region a mess. “I think so many of these teams got lost in the meta they’re sniffing their own farts half way through the week just got lost playing Hog Sigma comps” (Plat Chat – Sideshow). This would be hard not to take as a comment to the Dynasty as they are the team that is running this composition with success. They did say that it was good on Hollywood with examples, but the majority of the conversation was very negative though the Dynasty went perfect last weekend 6-0.

Platchat brought up that the heroes that Seoul picks are bad; the brig switch picks, Marve1’s Wrecking ball looking bad, and much more. Though they concede that the concept is decent, it is chaotic and forcing compositions. Bren said that it was like “first-round shit” before they get weeded out. The worst thing is that shanghai gets through and Seoul will probably be the other team. Is it that the crew of Platchat doesn’t understand the comps and therefore deem it as bad or is there truth to it?

It did feel insulting to the coaches when they talked about they thought that Seoul was not well refined and was just “throwing shit at the wall and hoping it works” in conjunction with playing Pharah.

Awoken Tiger

The fans have been calling out the Seoul Dynasty for their performance. Though it is obvious that others have had a negative reaction and poor perception of Seoul. While Tiger Nation and a lot of APAC community have seen the Dynasty as well-coached with thoughtful and well-practiced strategies, the NA scene seems less convinced. This is time to prove them wrong. It is scary that even with dominant wins the Dynasty can’t get praise. They get neutral caveats such as their comp is complex so it can’t be broken down. If the Dynasty can’t get praised now, it makes one wonder, when will the community give the praise that Seoul deserves?  If it won’t be given willingly, the Dynasty will just have to force their way to the final four in order to be recognized positively and be that Awoken Tiger that APAC as seen and understood.


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