Week 4 stands as Shanghai’s last hope for a win this season. With games against the Shock and the Gladiators in Week 5, the Dragons need to give everything they have to beat their similarly struggling opponents this week. Otherwise, the Dragons will go down as the worst inaugural team in professional sports history.
The Shanghai Dragons have been a frustrating team to watch. Not because all of their games are lifeless, crushing defeats, but because all of their games lately seem to be so damn close. The scores may not reflect it, given that they haven’t even reached a game five since April, but each map of their numerous 4-0’s and 3-1’s all looked winnable at one point or another.
Things have been improving outside of the game for Shanghai, too. After weeks without one, the Dragons brought in a new translator, Lin, to assist with their well documented triple language barrier. Now the team is learning Chinese, Korean, and English at a decent clip- which helps a lot in a game as communication-focused as Overwatch. Even so, there’s a lot to work on for the Dragons if they want to take down Florida or Boston this week.
Don’t feel so free, Freefeel
Peixuan “Freefeel” Xu is Shanghai’s resident Zenyatta main, but you wouldn’t guess it from the way he uses his ultimates. They often come too late to save his team, like here (at 16:15) when the Dallas Fuel threw their Graviton/Dragonstrike combo at Fearless and Geguri in the front line. Freefeel used his Transcendence after the two tanks died, wasting the ultimate and forcing Altering to use his Valkyrie to keep the remaining Dragons alive. More well-timed Transcendences will mean more fight wins. Those are at a premium for Shanghai right now.
Freefeel also dies the most of any Zenyatta in the league, with nearly 6 deaths per ten minutes. (For context, most other Zenyattas like Shaz, Boombox, Rawkus, and Unkoe sit between three and four deaths/10min.) His opposing supports aren’t exactly the safest players either, though. Zuppeh and Zebbosai, who die 5.74 and 5.8 times/10min, and AimGod and Neko die 5.16 and 4.85 times/10min. If Freefeel can position himself more safely and take fewer risks against the likes of Sayaplayer and Striker this week, he’ll be that much more effective for his team.
Fear can be good
Like Freefeel, Fearless can often step just a bit over the line in a team-fight, which is easily punished by coordinated back lines. He dies 6.48 times/10min – which is tied by Gamsu’s deaths/10, and actually ahead of aWesomeGuy’s 7.03 per 10. Gamsu averages more eliminations in that time span than Fearless, though, which reveals that his support line is more invested in – and more capable of- keeping him alive through a team-fight. Freefeel getting his act together will help Fearless by default, but he needs to make his Zenyatta’s job a little easier. That means no crazy charges, or at least a little more communication on when and where he’s going.
Just let the man do his job
The most important piece of the puzzle so far for the Dragons has been Weida “Diya” Lu. He is the definition of a hard carry for Shanghai right now. His damage/10min is not amazing – probably thanks to his 7.70 deaths/10, which is, uh, really bad. But his accuracy and aggression can often pull Shanghai back into fights they would otherwise lose. If Freefeel can manage to keep the rest of the team alive as Fiveking focuses on pocketing Diya… that’s a scary thought. Diya could probably take over the whole world with that kind of power.
And even if he can’t, just a little bump might be enough to win the day for Shanghai. One less death, one more kill… those can be game-changing. Give Diya what he needs. He will give you what you want.
[Insert endearing pun here]
Geguri plays an important role in the “give Diya as much space and survivability as possible” strategy, too. Assuming Fearless can avoid dying so much, her capabilities as a peeler for her back line increase exponentially (since she doesn’t have to spend as much time diving in to save her main tank, or using bubbles on him, etc.) If she can focus more on keeping Diya and his entourage alive in the back, while Fearless (safely) holds the line up front, we’re in business.
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Featured Photo Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment