In a nail-biting five map series, the Shanghai Dragons were able to fend off the Seoul Dynasty and clinched the first Seed to the Overwatch League´s Grand Finals. The match was more than just entertaining. Seoul forced Shanghai to improve throughout the series and to adapt to Seoul´s unique playstyle. In the end, both teams played one of their best series of this year, but there could only be one winner.
On the first map, Shanghai´s pre-planned strategy was demolished by Seoul. As Joon-yeong “Profit” Park reached 10,000 career eliminations, his team outplayed Shanghai´s dive composition. Seoul used Roadhog, Sombra, and Ana to shut down any dive attempt from Shanghai. While Jae-won “LIP” Lee was consistently shut down on Sombra, Profit rained down Pharah´s rockets from above and Shanghai could not fit a hitscan in their composition that would have allowed them to shut Profit down.
In the close-quarters of the British streets, Shanghai´s composition came alive. MVP frontrunner Byung-sun “Fleta” Kim was able to use Tracer and Reaper to consistently put pressure on Seoul. Even though both teams mostly played the same characters, Shanghai´s map pick allowed them to shift the tide in their favor and they were barely able to win the Map 4-3.
On Assault, Shanghai began to adapt to Seoul’s playstyle. Unfortunately for them, their first approach failed. They put Fleta on Pharah, supported by Jae-gon “Leejaegon” Lee´s Mercy and LIP on Ashe to shut down the enemy Pharah. However, perfectly placed rockets from Profit and precise hooks from Jae-hee “Gesture” Hong shut down the opposing Pharmercy and forced them to swap. Seoul dominated Hanamura and moved to match point.
Havana was the turning point of the series. Shanghai were able to mirror the composition of Seoul. Even though Seoul´s Roadhog Sigma tank-line had been unique in the APAC region, Shanghai were able to match them. They went toe-to-toe on Escort, but Shanghai were able to stop Seoul before point three and win on their own attack round. The dynamic of the series was fundamentally changed at this point.
Seoul had lost their unique advantage. Now, they were on the backfoot. They decided to stick with their strongest composition for the final map. Meanwhile, Shanghai moved past simply mirroring the composition. For Control Center, they perfectly countered Seoul with a Mei and a Mccree. This included a perfect set play in which they engaged from the highest point of the level. They opened with a Blizzard, baited Profit into a Barrage, and then shut him down with the Mccree, who had remained at the top while the rest of the team dropped. Finally, on Gardens, the mirror composition was enough to end the map 2-0 and the series 3-2.
Despite how close the series was, its outcome puts both teams on different paths. Seoul were able to defeat the New York Excelsior in the Loser´s Final. However, they have become exposed. Their Grand Finals semifinal will be against the reigning champions, the Shock.
Meanwhile, Shanghai have once again proven themselves as contenders for the throne. They will fight Philadephia in their first matchup. While they are not an easy opponent, nothing has stopped Shanghai so far. The Dragons have proven that they can adapt to any opponent and are ready to enter the Grand Finals as the first seed of their region.
Featured image provided courtesy of Overwatch esports League Youtube
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