The first and way too obvious negative was the Dragons’ slow start. Shanghai lost their first two matches on a map differential of six, their worst stretch in two consecutive games. This is largely in part to their lack of experience both in the league and as a team. Especially putting Young-jin “Gamsu” Noh in the starting lineup just four days after being transferred from Boston. Although that isn’t considered to be a bad move, the inexperience showed against Vancouver. Luckily, the Dragons were able to overcome and later generate three wins in the stage.
Another negative could be that GOATs is certainly not Shanghai’s strong suit. Yong-Jin “YOUNGJIN” Jin is a Soldier and Genji main. Jin-hyeok “DDing” Yang is a Pharah specialist. Min-seong “diem” Bae is a hitscan specialist tracking half the time with Zarya. That alone is three DPS players that were incredibly successful in Contenders. These three players queue up on off-heroes, and the Dragons have still managed to earn three wins.
Building off of the last negative, no one has even seen Shanghai in their final form. Overwatch as a whole is due for a meta change in this next patch, as it favors DPS heroes. Once this meta evolves and becomes active; watch out. For the time being, Shanghai continues to improve in the 3-3 composition. After their first two matches, the Dragons had a map differential of 12-10 to finish stage 1.
The reason for the jump in success is that the Dragons found their trump composition. Sacrificing the D. Va for Sombra (for the most part), DDing has laid EMP after EMP to shut down Shanghai’s opponents. This has helped allow the rest of the Dragons to sweep up the eliminations. This is apparently evident on King’s Row and Gibraltar, as the Dragons went 4-0 on those maps.
Throughout Stage 1, diem has remarkably continued to climb the ranks in several statistical categories. Ranking in the top 20 in both eliminations and damage, his most impressive stat is fourth in final blows. This not only speaks about his tracking ability but also his in-game awareness. Not only does diem have remarkable tracking, but his ability to recognize when to help teammates is one of the best in the league. For a meta that raves the importance for teamwork, diem exemplifies this characteristic best.
Thoughts on Stage 2
As this team continues to improve, it may add to Shanghai’s benefit that they didn’t make the Stage 1 playoffs. This will allow the Dragons to prepare for their Stage 2 Week 1 opponents; the Gladiators and Excelsior. These will both be tough matchups, and Shanghai will have to perform their best team play to date in order to gain at least one win.
With 22 more days until their first Stage 2 matchup, the Dragons should be excited about their schedule. Eighth place for the Stage 1 playoffs will likely include a couple 4-3 teams, which is more than realistic for the Dragons. Playing teams like Chengdu (who they have already beaten 4-0), Florida, Houston, and Washington, one would be willing to bet that Shanghai will have an inaugural stage playoff berth very soon.
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