This weekend, the Shanghai Dragons dominated the Asian Conference of the Countdown Cup. They defeated New York Excelsior 3-0 in the semifinal and in the final crushed Hangzhou Spark 4-0. Both of these teams had previously defeated extremely tough competition, but Shanghai looked dominant in both series. This article will outline the key elements of their success.
Flexing on the competition
The teams in the Overwatch League put a lot of time into their practice and try to find the best strategies for each map they are going to play. This allows them to play at their highest possible level. However, even the best laid out plan can fail. In their first map against New York, Byungsun “Fleta” Kim picked Echo to open up the game, but was quickly countered by McCree. Instead of trying to force the pick, he quickly swapped to Genji. These first three minutes were defining for the Shanghai Dragon´s success during the tournament.
Throughout the series, Shanghai´s tanks played all currently available tank heroes (except Roadhog). This allowed the rest of their team to build many different strategies around these flexible cornerstones of the team. Most notably, the damage dealers Fleta and Lee “LIP” Jae-won were able to show off their skills on multiple different heroes. While dive heroes like Tracer, Genji, and Sombra were their preferred pick, they had excellent performances on control-style heroes like Mei and snipers like Widowmaker as well.
A Well-Oiled Machine
Timing and teamplay are everything in Overwatch. The defensive abilities that exist in Overwatch create an environment where it is almost impossible for a single player to carry their team on their own. Shanghai know this and they demonstrated their perfect teamplay throughout both series. There are too many moments to mention all of them. This includes crushing EMP fights set up by LIP and excellent kiting and healing, but the most impressive example of this was the nail in the coffin against NYXL.
The Dragons´ first defense on Volskaya with a traditional double-shield composition had failed them. For their second defense, they set the perfect trap. Seonghyeon “Luffy” Yang hid as Ana in the left-side hallway. When New York entered, he exited while smashing his grenade on the ground. This denied healing to the entire enemy team that was clumped up in the corner. At the same time, the rest of the team dove on the weakened enemy and eliminated them instantly. This set them up with such an ultimate ability advantage that made it impossible for New York to catch up. A play like this was only possible because the whole team perfectly followed up on a great idea.
Fast & Furious: Shanghai Edition
Finally, the defining feature of the Dragon´s gameplay was their high-acceleration style no matter what composition they played. Giving their opponents no time to breathe, the entire Shanghai team put constant pressure on their enemies and forced them on the back foot. This included Lee “Leejaegon” Jae-Gon ambitious speedboosts on Oasis University, Euiseok “Fearless” Lee´s extremely aggressive but intelligent Winston play, Fleta´s unstoppable force on Genji or Tracer, and Lip´s extremely fast EMP pace.
The Shanghai Dragons combined all these elements to crush their enemies this weekend. Even further, they have established themselves as the favorite for the playoffs to finish the most successful season in Overwatch League history. This team is ready to take on the world.
The featured image is a Game Captured by: Robert Paul
Image provided courtesy of the Overwatch League
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