As the 2020 season of the Overwatch League enters its last chapters, the Shanghai Dragons have a chance to redefine the image they built in Season 1 as the 0-40 team. The team has changed significantly since then, but they have a chance to build a new, long-lasting legacy this season. There are many potential paths ahead for this team and they have it in their hands to leave the dark memories of their first season behind.
Scenario 1: The Greatest of All Time
If the Shanghai Dragons win the Countdown Cup and do well in their two remaining games after the tournament, they have the chance to shatter the record of the Vancouver Titans from last year. Vancouver had an 89% win rate (the Dragons could achieve a 93% win rate this season). This would turn them into the most successful regular season team of Overwatch League history.
Furthermore, unlike other successful regular season teams like New York Excelsior, they have proven in the May Melee that they can withstand the pressure and win against strong opponent’s in important playoff scenarios. They would be set up for a hugely successful playoff run. Even though this is the most challenging path to take it is far from impossible and the reward would be a record that is almost impossible to beat.
Scenario 2: The Ultimate Shanghai Anime arc
A more likely but still impressive scenario for Shanghai could have them bust out of the Countdown Cup and missing out on the big regular season record. Instead, they could make a comeback for the actual playoffs. This is the most likely scenario for them due to the incoming changes for Genji.
While Genji is already on the decline due to the changes in Brigitte´s armor packs, the shuriken nerfs that have not yet hit the Overwatch League are very likely going to be a death sentence for the hero´s competitive viability. Shanghai were able to win the May Melee before the Genji buffs went live against the Seoul Dynasty in their strongest form of the year. However, they lost out against Guangzhou during his strongest point. While Shanghai themselves have shown that they can play the Genji, the APAC region is stacked with DPS talent that could threaten their run.
Despite that, stumbling so close to the goal but still pushing through adversity (with a little help from the new patch) could be even more poetic for Shanghai. After struggling so hard in Season 1 and showing an early glimpse of greatness in Season 2, a hard-fought and close victory at the end of the season would feel even more satisfying than simply pure dominance.
The Dragons’ Flame Burns Brightly
The Shanghai Dragons have never looked better, but the two outlines here are still very optimistic. It is still a long way for this team that has looked strong in its region but has yet to go up against any North American teams. Either way their path turns out, even if they fail in the playoffs, this season should be a moment of immense pride for any fans of the Shanghai Dragons. No longer are they a team that receives sympathy fans for their struggles. With star talent and intelligent leadership, they have established themselves as a consistently strong powerhouse of the Overwatch League. And no matter how this season ends, the future is bright.
Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
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