*Spoilers will be contained below if you don’t want to spoil the match before watching, please go watch the VOD before continuing.
It is 11:15pm KST, after a long day of prep, scrims, and a match against the #1 ranked team of the Guangzhou Charge. Junkertown looms as the Dragons start pushing in overtime. The collective Seoul fans all around the world held their breath as they hoped the Dynasty could pull out a miracle to stop the push. Though even getting to this point was an unimaginable miracle for some of the community mere hours ago.
This is a match that needs to be watched. It will go down as iconic and historic for the Overwatch League. The mental fortitude that the Shanghai Dragons had to claw their way back is astronomically insane. All the credit should be given to now the APAC regional champions. It is also important that context is not lost within history or re-telling what happened in this match.
This isn’t going to be a VOD review or analysis of the play, but the emotional rollercoaster of the fans and players. Is this a loss of an almost cinderella story?
The Overwatch League is driven by narratives. The Titans have never lost as map to X, except the whole roster is different. This has a great impact on how the community views the match as the voice of the casters are associated with big plays. A perfect example if Yeonkwan ‘Nenne’ Jeong’s grav on Rialto against the Seoul Dynasty. In the moment it was said that it was a whiff, as that was what it looked like. Later it was amended, as he was trying to grav Minhyuk ‘Michelle’ Choi who was on Sombra. What was remembered is that narrative.
No doubt there will be the community members who will say ‘choke.’ As it is seen the NA narratives don’t always align with the APAC narratives. Is there more than just the result or should the journey be remembered as well?
Here is an alternative way of looking at the May Melee. No less valid as other, but still another way to mull over what Seoul Dynasty accomplished.
The Seoul Dynasty are the only team that is representing South Korea in the Overwatch League. There are many other all Korean rosters, but the Dynasty hold the position of being the team of South Korea, which is a mecca for esports. There is the pressure to represent their country and fans. In the past seasons, though there was improvement, the Dynasty didn’t reach the heights that they aspired too.
Season 3 rolled around, the ‘diet London’ meme was created through the pick up of Jaehiu ‘Gesture Hong, Junyoung ‘Profit’ Park, and Seungtae ‘Bdosin’ Choi with the head coach being Changgoon. When the May Melee was announced they had had a rough match with Shanghai who was even then top of the region leader boards. After a 0-3 loss the Dynasty went into a meta that didn’t suit their play style and had a bad week. This coupled with their loss against the Chengdu Hunters put them at the bottom of the ranking.
This meant that they had to face off against the Hangzhou Spark, which many in the community had favored to win. If the Dynasty did achieve a win they would have to play the #1 ranked team, the Guangzhou Charge, the same day as the finals. As the #7 team they swept through Hangzhou with a 3-0, showing how much preparation they had done for the tournament. The brawl and dive comps looked on point, which they struggle within the past.
They won against the Spark. Many called this an ‘upset’ but it still didn’t stop the doubters from saying that the Charge would win. On Sunday they faced the Charge as the first match of the day. Even during the match after the second map where Seoul struggled, it was that Charge looking like the stronger team. Charlie ‘Nero’ Zwarg was in playing his Echo picks, and it looked to be a strong iteration of the Charge. Seoul brought them to Map 5 and won on Busan.
— Seoul Dynasty 🐯 (@SeoulDynasty) May 24, 2020
Imagine hearing all the way up to this point that Seoul would probably not win and seeing so many predictions against the team. Then the Victory screen appeared. A breath. That is what the fans and players had. Given it was a breath longer than the Dragons who after they swept the NYXL 0-3 and went straight into the Finals. The mental of watching a team, that in the past Seoul themselves struggled with beating, get tossed around by the Dragons must have crept into the players’ minds.
This was the number two team, and many would argue actually number one facing against the lowest-ranked team in the tournament. The match started at 8:30pm (approximately) Korean standard time. It went on until about 11:25pm kst. This was an exhausting match for both the Dragons and the Dynasty.
Seoul right off the bat won three maps in a row that were the Dragon’s picks. They were able to overcome and win more maps than most believed they would. The Dynasty brought the Shanghai Dragons to seven maps. Seoul won against the Dragons on Hanamura, which they hadn’t won on yet this season.
Yes, they lost. They got reverse swept. Shanghai and Byungsun ‘Fleta’ Kim popped off. Coordination was off and the Dragons’ mental was stronger. None of this is wrong. But did most think the Dynasty even be in this spot? Is it a feat to make it to the finals? Win a map? Win 3 maps? This is the story of a successful loss.
There was no banter like NA. No trash talk, but mutual respect on both sides. This might seem boring to some, but it is heartwarming to others. The Dynasty played well overall. The Dragons played better. They did not get rolled. An old tiger in Fleta got his first win. Both teams put their hearts and souls into the match.
Tiger Nation is of course sad, but many are cheering on Fleta and his win. Fans of the Dynasty have a lot to look forward to in the future, as they showed versatility and major improvement. With second place comes two wins added onto their record as well as $30,000 USD. What will the narrative be for the Dynasty? How will they be remembered in this match? Someone who dropped the ball or a battle of David and Goliath when the little guy fought and almost tamed the dragon.
Follow The Game Haus for more sports and esports coverage:
For more high-quality esports analysis and memes, check out Lauren’s Twitter, @Daebakowl
“From Our Haus to Yours”