In a matchup of two teams trying to find their footing, both the Dragons and the Gladiators opened Stage 2 with an excellent match. Including a new patch, Shanghai looked to counter the Gladiators DPS stars with their own DPS play.
— Shanghai Dragons (@ShanghaiDragons) April 5, 2019
As the Gladiators opened up with Lane “Surefour” Roberts in the starting lineup, the Dragons showed no mercy. Yong-Jin “YOUNGJIN” Jin came out on Soldier: 76 and reminded everyone of his days before OWL. YOUNGJIN was able to do plenty of damage, as he even received a nano-visor from Seong-hyeon “Luffy” Yang in the second round. Young-jin “Gamsu” Noh spent the whole map just bullying Gladiators, as the main tank rolled on Hammond and even had a double melee elimination. Los Angeles had no answer for Shanghai, and the Dragons look to carry their momentum into the later maps.
The Dragons have struggled on Anubis throughout Stage 1, and this match was no different. All looked promising, as Shanghai easily capped point A with over six minutes in the bank. The squad rolled out on Ana, Mercy, Junkrat, Reinhardt, Zarya, and Brigitte. Gui-un “Decay” Jang would annihilate any attempt to reach point B, including a graviton surge that ended in a team kill. Shanghai’s final attacks were fruitless, despite Gamsu’s earth-shatter and fire-strikes eliminating a few Gladiators.
Los Angeles attacked full-steam ahead, capping point A almost as quickly as Shanghai. The Dragons looked like they would stall, but a double-support ultimate in a single moment would haunt them later. The Gladiators slowly peeled Shanghai one-by-one, eventually leading to a cap to tie up the series.
In the closest match of the series, Shanghai looked to excel on one of their best maps. Jin-hyeok “DDing” Yang matched with Son “CoMa” Kyung Woo and ran a Pharmercy composition, as a critical resurrection would help cap point A. Jun-woo “Void” Kang created a defensive stop again and again, including a three-person elimination on a D.Va self-destruct. Despite his struggles on Junkrat, DDing would eventually gather a rip-tire elimination that led to a full cap in overtime.
João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles and Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara ran a Pharmercy of their own, and the Dragons had no answer. Rocket barrage was critical in team fights to cap both points A and B, and Decay’s graviton surges were well timed. DDing would commit to the Junkrat, but again struggle until the end of the round. A double-elimination rip-tire helped stall pushes, but the Gladiators would cap with a much bigger time bank.
Overtime was short, sweet and all Los Angeles. Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni would open up the first and only Baptiste play in the series, smacking CoMa to end the Dragons’ push. Decay dominated in the massive timebank that Los Angeles owned, including a quick double-elimination on Genji.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) April 5, 2019
After an exciting and close matchup, this was certainly an underwhelming finish to the series. The Dragons started off on the attack once again, and YOUNGJIN opened up with his signature DPS hero in Doomfist. With trying to build ultimate charge and maybe find a rocket punch elimination, the Dragons soiled their run on this hero. Waiting too long to switch, Shanghai was behind in all facets and couldn’t even reach point A.
Chang-hoon “rOar” Gye made the Dragons pay, as a primal rage ultimate pushed three off the map right before the first curve. In the final fights, Shanghai would finally switch in a GOATs composition, but it was all for nothing. Los Angeles pushed easily, taking less than two team fights to reach the golden box of victory.
As many people believed that the Shanghai Dragons would thrive in a DPS-centered meta, this series proved otherwise. In practicing GOATs for several months in the season’s preparation, it was obvious that the new lineups were not as cohesive. Support ultimates were stacked on top of each other, Shanghai stayed too long on heroes such as Junkrat and Doomfist, and they couldn’t defend GOATs. Give credit where credit is due, Shanghai pulled out a non-DPS lineup and committed to it. They’ll need to be at the top of their game, as they face off against the NYXL on Saturday.
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