The Unofficial Midway Point Overwatch League All-Star Rosters

The Overwatch League is around the midway point of the season, and with two stages and a playoff left to go, it’s important to recognize the players at the top of their positions making the biggest impact for their team.

Now, the rosters were selected for their specific role. For instances,  Byung-sun “Fleta” Kim is a projectile main but can go hitscan and often does. Regardless of this fact, Fleta is a projectile main because that’s his primary role. Only supports don’t make the distinction, but it’s important to recognize the divide between main healers and projectile healers (I didn’t make the distinction).

The 20 best players in the Overwatch League according to their roles. The decision-making process took some heavy analytical thought and pinned uber-talented players against each other. Ultimately, the 20 players on these rosters are as close as you’ll get to the actual all-star game, which takes place after the season in August.

Hitscan Main

Photo via OWL Twitter

Atlantic: New York Excelsior Saebyeolbe

Sub: Philadelphia Fusion Carpe

Pacific: Los Angeles Valiant Soon

Sub: Los Angeles Gladiators Asher

Saebyeolbe is undoubtedly the best Tracer in the Overwatch League, but Terence “SoOn” Tarlier has been a force for the Los Angeles Valiant in the inaugural season. Unfortunately for the Pacific, the Atlantic is riddled with top-level Tracer play. Facing Saebyeolbe is one thing, but having Carpe on the bench is just cruel.

However, Choi “Asher” Joon-seong is starting to establish himself as the premiere Tracer main in the Pacific and is showing a greater ability to win heads up against other Tracer’s. Regardless of SoOn and Asher’s continued advancement in the Tracer-heavy meta, there’s no better player than Saebyeolbe and Carpe comes as a close second.

Projectile Main

Photo via Overwatch League Twitter

Atlantic: New York Excelsior Libero

Sub: Philadelphia Fusion EQO

Pacific: Seoul Dynasty Fleta

Let me preface this by saying that the league’s best projectile main was just suspended indefinitely which drastically shakes up, not only the Boston Uprising roster but the rest of the Atlantic in terms of playoff placings. In his absence, the New York Excelsior add yet another name to the unofficial all-star game starting lineup as Hae-song “Libero” Kim slots in as the next best choice. The other quick rising name on the list is Fusion’s Josue “EQO” Corona who helped totally transform Philadelphia into a dangerous playoff team.  

As for the Pacific, Byung-sun “Fleta” Kim was a natural choice, but outside of his expert level Genji and versatility on many offensive minded heroes, there’s really no other players that came close throughout the Pacific. In recent months, Fleta’s been flat, as has most of the Dynasty roster, but there’s no doubting that a more cohesive team could set Fleta off on a number of different heroes. If an all-star game ever does happen, watch for Fleta to win MVP.

Main Tank

Photo via Overwatch League Twitter

Atlantic: London Spitfire Gesture

Sub: Houston Outlaws Muma

Pacific: Los Angeles Gladiators Fissure

Sub: Los Angeles Valiant Fate

The most intriguing matchup of the entire match will undoubtedly be seeing the former Spitfire main tank against their current starter. Baek “Fissure” Chan-hyung vs. Hong “Gesture” Jae-hee alone would sell tickets. Looking through all the roles, no other matchup seems as balanced as the main tanks. Gesture and Fissure have proven to be the most lethal Winston’s with their high damage totals and thus belong on these squads.

Austin “Muma” Wilmot and Koo “Fate” Pan-seung are no slouches either. The two of the better spacing Winston’s leave such a huge mark on their teams and are very deserving of all-star spot despite the lack of gaudy damage numbers. In fairness, these players don’t have the plays that show up in the kill feed, but their presence is felt even more than the best damage dealers.

Flex Tank

Courtesy of: owl report

Atlantic: Houston Outlaws Coolmatt

Sub: new York Excelsior Meko

Pacific: Seoul Dynasty Zunba

Sub: Los Angeles Valiant Envy

Flex tank is always the kid at the party having the most fun. This statement applies to all these tank players, and each one should be looked at as the unsung heroes on their teams. Now, Matt “Coolmatt” Lorio has the best survivability of any D.Va player, and is incredible at turning disadvantageous fights with D.Va’s maneuverability. However, Kim “Meko” Tae-hong is equally good at controlling fights and does a great job distracting for his dynamite damage mains to get in.

The Pacific throws Kim “Zunba” Joon-hyuk, who historically have been the strongest flex player in the world dating back to Apex. This hasn’t changed much since that time, Zunba is the player putting the Dynasty in the best position to win with his methodical and space controlling push style. As for the subs, Kang “Envy” Jae-lee currently is unemployed but based on stats alone, Envy was the most damage intensive D.va in all of the Pacific. Looking forward, expect Indy “Space” Halpern being the next strong D.Va main in the Overwatch League.

Support Mains

2018-03-25 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Atlantic: New York Excelsior JJoNak

Atlantic 2: New York Excelsior Ark

Sub: London Sitfire BDosin

Pacific: Seoul Dynasty Tobi

Pacific 2: Los Angeles Gladiators Shaz

Sub: San Francisco Shock Sleepy

The Atlantic has an undeniable advantage in the support department from the stacked Zenyatta’s to the strong Mercy and Lucio play. Bang “JJoNak” Seong-hyun is changing the game as a hybrid-support player with Zenyatta allowing for players to have an impact on all aspects of the game. Choi “BDosin” Seung-tae is no slouch, coming in at second overall in damage output, but no one compares to JJoNak.

The Pacific would have the old Lunatic-Hai duo of Jin-mo “Tobi” Yang and Je-hong “Ryujehong” Ryu, but both have underperformed this season and fell well below their standards of healing. Tobi is still considered one of the best straight healers, but his ability to survive isn’t as efficient as it used to be before this season. It was also tough only choosing one from the Los Angeles Gladiators Finnish-duo, but since the Mercy patch, Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara has separated himself in the Pacific.

For what it’s worth, Ark is still the best overall Mercy and continues to play her and other supports at the highest level possible. Nikola “Sleepy” Andrews is one of the bigger surprises, as his confidence has grown tremendously through this first season. Sleepy’s starting to become a premiere Zenyatta damage dealer.

Take a look at these rosters and tell me this isn’t something that audiences would watch.

Atlantic Roster

  • Saebyeolbe
  • Libero
  • JJoNak
  • Coolmatt
  • Gesture
  • Ark

Bench

  • Meko
  • Muma
  • BDosin
  • Fate
  • EQO

Pacific Roster

Starters

  • Soon
  • Fleta
  • Fissure
  • Tobi
  • Shaz
  • Zunba

Bench

  • Asher
  • Fate
  • Envy
  • Sleepy

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Feature photo via Overwatch League Twitter!

Boston Uprising win the preparation game after a 2-0 Stage Three start

The Boston Uprising end the week as the hottest team in the Overwatch league. A complete team effort gets them through one of the roughest weeks in the stage three schedule and sets them up nicely down the line. It also helps in terms of overall seeding, as the Uprising go from sixth to fourth and are close behind the Seoul Dynasty and London Spitfire.

Continually, beating two divisional opponents in a tight race is always important. The 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Fusion was an enormous win considering the Fusion just came off a successful trip to the end of the stage playoffs. On Saturday, the Uprising completely and utterly dismantled the Houston Outlaws, winning in one of the most one-sided games of the season.

Two MVP Candidates on the Uprising DPS-Line

The Uprising has a lot going for them at this moment. This team had little expectations outside of their own building at the start of the season, most saw them as a bottom-four team. With that in mind, pushing the best teams midway through stage three is an excellent sign, and even more important is the emergence of both Jonathon “DreamKazper” Sanchez and Nam-joo “Striker” Kwon at the damage positions.

Both players were known as talented players entering the Overwatch League, but to say both players would be considered MVP-candidates past the midway point is insane. But here we are, Uprising constantly upping their game and finding new ways to use their terrifying damage duo to throw off opposing teams, and after shutting down Jiri “LiNzkr” Masalin and Jacob “JAKE” Lyon, it’s safe to say both players belong in the conversation for best player.

Consider this, among all OWL players Striker currently has the best kill-death ratio of any player and is the top three in all major statistical categories. DreamKazper, on the other hand, leads most categories among the league leaders for projectile players and is the one player who is in the top five for total damage from a non-hitscan player.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the Uprising victory today and how each player was used. First, the acknowledgment of all the heroes played in today’s match were staggering. A combined six heroes between the two, and in most instances, those switches worked. Looking at Striker’s day, he played a great deal of Junkrat when he’s normally primarily stuck on Tracer. However, on maps like Temple of Anubis, a map the Uprising are 6-0 on this season, he couldn’t be touched from the high-ground. Same goes for Junkertown, and the few times Striker switched off Tracer.

On to DreamKazper, who surprisingly took on Widowmaker duels from Linkzr and came away with an overwhelming lead in head-to-head kills. Putting that in perspective, LiNzkr doesn’t lose in that department. It’s one area the Outlaws always have the advantage on, but DreamKazper made sure that wasn’t the case Saturday. In fact, DreamKazper was having so much success specifically finding LiNzkr, that it brought down the entire Outlaws gameplan. No one could get started on offense and this is the reason why.

Coach Crusty driving force behind Uprising

Coach Crusty before a match. Photo via twitter.com/BostonUprising

Here’s something that simply doesn’t get discussed enough and that’s coaching. Da-hee “Crusty” Park will never get the recognition he deserves for what he’s been able to get out of this team, but on the outside looking in, the Uprising is the best-coached team in the Overwatch League. It’s not only getting the best out of each player, it’s the traits they’ve instilled into these players. The fact that this team rarely overextends and always have Noh “Gamsu” Young-jin always in the right position to dive forward in attack or backward to defend allowing for everyone to play with a safety net.

Additionally, the compositional picks are also making it easier for the players. The Outlaws didn’t have answers for DreamKazper’s Pharah. The Outlaws don’t have a great answer for Pharah on the roster, but that’s the benefit of having DreamKazper ad the main projectile player. The versatility of the DPS-mains and their large hero pools gives Crusty plenty to work with. 

It’s quite remarkable to see the growth on this Boston Uprising team. There’s no player more on highlight alert than DreamKazper, who is just unconsciously good on most days. This team’s main problem is consistency, either win-or-lose, this team goes on streaks. Right now, they’re on a winning streak, but only time will tell if this type of play keeps up. Regardless, this team is hitting on all cylinders, and improving at a faster rate than most of the other teams in contention. Good coaching, talent, and the willpower to improve will keep them to their winning ways.

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Feature photo via Boston Uprising Twitter

Gladiators to Spare- What will LA do about its new tank problem?

The LA Gladiators have been one of Stage 2’s greatest stories. While their Stage 1 stats (8th place, 4-6 finish) left a lot to be desired, Head Coach David “Dpei” Pei had a plan to turn things around. As the trading window opened, the Gladiators moved quickly, securing Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek’s contract from the London Spitfire. One of the earliest moves of the season, Fissure’s short tenure with the Gladiators has been nothing short of miraculous. His addition raises some interesting questions, however…

 

The Great Enabler

Gladiators Hydration

2018-03-07 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Fissure is a fantastic main tank, which is a necessity for any team looking for a playoff spot in the Overwatch League. His true strength, though, might be what he brings out in the rest of his teammates. Jun-Sung “Asher” Choi, Joao Pedro “Hydration” Veloso de Goes Telles, and Lane “Surefour” Roberts have really figured things out this stage, and their performance at DPS has made life far easier for LA’s front line. With Mercy (mostly) eliminated from pro play, flashy one-off kills, or “picks”, are much more impactful. When you have a Pharah/Doomfist specialist like Hydration, or a flank-focused Tracer player like Asher, or a Widowmaker savant like Surefour… you get a lot of picks. Fissure knows this, and gets in the enemy’s face so his damage dealers can get down to brass tacks. There’s not a single team in the league that plays to this strength the way the Gladiators do, and their focus on supporting individual performance with strong team play has been wildly successful.

 

a team in sync

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

In the backline, Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara and Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni have continued their dominance, maintaining their status as one of the best support duos in the league. With a tank line as strong as theirs, the ex-Gigantti boys have been running riot. They make a recursive loop, of sorts- the tanks make more space, the healers stay alive longer, they heal the tanks more, who stay alive longer, creating more space, keeping the healers alive longer… you get the idea.

Fissure’s aggressive, intelligent main tank play also helps his off-tank specialist, Aaron “Bischu” Kim. The two keep each other alive in extended dives or frantic defenses, securing kills and space in equal measure. Enemy DPS players can’t simply push past the tanks to get to the juicy back line; they have to pay attention to Fissure and Bischu. And if they’re watching the tanks instead of, well, anyone else… they usually die.  

 

Trouble in Paradise

So we’ve established that having a top-3 main tank is a good thing. Hard hitting, investigative journalism at work. The Gladiators have taken that wisdom and ran with it, having reportedly signing Fissure’s former counterpart, Kang “Void” Jung-woo. Their performance on the Korean team KongDoo Panthera was the stuff of legends, and if Void has held onto his old skills, the top 3 conversation could be split wide open. The only thing is, there’s an ever-so-slightly awkward question to ask now that Void will be joining his old friend in LA. What’s gonna happen to the Gladiators’ other tanks?

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Bischu and Luis “iRemiix” Galarza Figueroa were signed together from Kungarna after season 1 of Overwatch Contenders. They’ve been apart lately, though, with iRemiix riding the bench as the Gladiators ride out Fissure’s explosively successful introduction. Bischu’s off-tank play is as solid as ever, but I worry that he won’t last long once Void flies into LAX. iRemiix’s contract is already up on the trading block, per Rod “Slasher” Breslau from ESPN, and his Korean-Canadian counterpart might soon join him.

What do you think will happen? Will Void fill a specialist role, keeping Bischu consigned to D.Va duty? Or will both of the Gladiators’ original tanks have to find new homes? If so, where will they go? Will a team buy them both, a package deal to reset their front line? Or will the Puerto-Canadian bond be broken for good?

 

 

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Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul and Blizzard Entertainment

 

Overwatch

Overwatch: Sombra nerf possibly incoming

Overwatch’s favorite hacker recently received a buff. Boosting her hack has allowed Sombra to join the Overwatch meta since her speedy hacks have outweighed the tweaks to her ultimate. These buffs, it seems, were too much. Many fans have complained about the speed of it, as it allows a minimal window of time to react. She’s almost impossible to stop if she catches you by surprise.

I’m the Quick, you’re the dead

Sombra

Courtesy of Overwatch and Blizzard Entertainment

If only we could all be like McCree. His voice line sums up how you have to be to catch Sombra when she’s hacking you. You’re most likely dead if you don’t. Her hacking speed increased, only taking 0.65 seconds to disable abilities. With that small of a reaction window, you best be quick about it. Her hack also disables more abilities. Movement abilities like Mercy’s guardian angel, Genji’s wall-climb, and even Pharah’s jetpack are no match for Sombra.

The boost to her hack has also granted her increased range. This range can be infuriating when flying high in the skies as Pharah, only to begin plummeting from a half-second hack. Giving her some form of vertical range drop-off could be a great answer to this, as she could always translocate in the air and hack Pharah that way.

The Buff got Sombra mostly right

Sombra

Courtesy of Overwatch and Blizzard Entertainment

Sombra’s tweak to her ultimate feels much more natural. Gone are the days of every fight on Volskaya involving an EMP. With the extra abilities effected, a greatly placed EMP feels extra good. Sombra is in the offense category for a reason, she’s not meant to be a healer. It’s great utility, and makes sense as an offensive preventative, but taking away the Ultimate charge gain from it feels right.

The accuracy boost granted to her pistol also feels great. Sombra is now able to pump out much more consistent amounts of damage at closer ranges. Couple this with a five second increase in her Translocater ability, and she’s almost a second Tracer. Everything Blizzard tweaked about Sombra works, except her insane hack.

I get that she’s one of the world’s best hackers, but completely melting Zenyatta’s is downright savage. Landing a speedy, sneaky hack onto a Zenyatta leaves the poor Omnic with 50 health. With the added accuracy boost, that’s one support down almost immediately. Sure, the Sombra might get taken down after the kill, but I’d trade offense for a support any day.

 

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Featured image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Boston Urpising map loss streak extends to 12 in loss to New York Excelsior

The Boston Uprising is in the midst of a season-derailing losing streak. Three straight losses while dropping 12 straight maps are putting their playoff life in jeopardy. Facing the top half of the standings hasn’t made life easy on the Uprising, but winning zero games is a steep drop-off from stage one.

Boston game plan is faltering

The lack thereof adjustments made since the Mercy-meta met a swift and painful end, is giving the Uprising some issues. So far, the Uprising is the one team who’s shown that the lack of constant resurrection is an issue for their tanks and especially their damage mains. The patented Uprising dive hasn’t nearly been as effective.

Moving forward, the onus will fall on their ability to channel that play style in this new meta-game.It’s been a work in progress for Kristian “Kellex” Keller and Park “Neko” Se-hyeon, as the two have been out-of-sync, in terms of ultimate timings and positioning. It’s hurting the production of Jonathan “DreamKazper” Sanchez and the tank lines aren’t able to get the right dive-timings when the shot calling is all over the place.

Not to mention the confusing Uprising game plan, and lack of serious cohesion in target switching off opponents. For instance, on Kings Row, the Excelsior like to position the tanks on the low-ground as the rest of the team runs through the apartment. On multiple occasions, Lucas “NotE” Meissner made a dive onto the NYXL supports, only to be called back to engage the tank line. The team looked lost in certain areas, and shot calling is to blame.

The Slow Starting Boston Uprising

It’s not all bad for the Uprising. Yes, they’ve put themselves in quite the hole. Luckily, even with four consecutive losses dating back to the final game in stage one against the Outlaws, this team has shown the capabilities of turning around the season. Let’s not forget this team started 1-3 in stage one before a win over the eventual stage one champions jump started their season.

Photo via Boston Uprising Twitter

To say nothing of DreamKazper’s struggles, which have made it stressful on the tanks who are tasked with doing more damage on the front-lines, and put more emphasis on Kwon “Striker” Nam-joo to win Tracer-duels against the best Tracer’s in Overwatch. DreamKazper found success on Widowmaker against the Fusion, but his constant hero switching is showing a deeper problem. The team is pressing, and when DreamKazper’s not pulling out his huge dragon blades or stopping opposing teams Widowmaker’s, it’s trouble.

However, the Uprisng have the luxury of playing the latter half of the season against most of the bottom six teams. It starts Friday against the Florida Mayhem, who have shown improvement, and the Shanghai Dragons to start week three. It’s a chance to get their footing back and gain some momentum, before heading into their week three matchup against the London Spitfire. A win over the Mayhem puts them in the same situation as stage one.

In spite of 12 straight dropped maps and quite honestly well-below average performances, there’s still hope, but this team will need to dig themselves out. It’s also important to remember that regardless of how stage two plays out, the Uprising is still in contention for the playoffs at the end of the year. One more loss could send this squad spiraling. A win over the bottom two teams is imperative to making a playoff push.

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Featured photo via Boston Uprising Twitter

Dallas Fuel still looking for lineup answers after 3-1 loss to the Seoul Dynasty

The Dallas Fuel is the main candidate to make the biggest jump in terms of record from stage one to stage two. The trade for Kim “Rascal”  Dong-jun and signing heavy sought-after free agent Dylan “aKm” Bignet revitalized a talented Dallas Fuel roster. Unfortunately, the Seoul Dynasty brought the newly formed Fuel roster back down to earth.

There’s still a question of how the Dallas Fuel looks to use their new DPS-mains. Early on, aKm has been the primary hitscan player with Hwang “EFFECT” Hyeon on Tracer. Rascal will often replace aKm, keeping Effect focused on his role. It comes down to map preference, and the Fuel is still feeling it out. The use of Effect does deserve a spotlight considering his lack of production against the top OWL Tracer players.

Munchkin Steals the show

Photo courtesy of Overwatch League

In my eyes, Byeon “Munchkin” Sang-beom was the standout in the 3-1 for the Seoul Dynasty. Yes, Kim “Zunba” Joon-hyuk was everywhere on the D.Va, but it was Munchkin’s survivability and constant full-clips that had the most positive effect for the Dynasty. The Dynasty made a substitution on Hollywood moving out Munchkin for Choi “Wekeed” Seok-woo to play Genji. The move led to Effect with more space to work and not have Munchkin continually bully him. It was the one map win for the Dallas Fuel.

It was a total team effort from the Seoul Dynasty. Predictably, letting Yang “tobi” Jin-mo focus on Lucio and Ryu “Ryujehong” Je-hong play more reactionary on Zenyatta makes them that much scarier. By no means were Jonathan “HarryHook” Tejedor Rua and Scott “Custa” Kennedy bad, it was actually quite the opposite, but with all the pressure Zunba and Munchkin can do to support mains, it allowed the Dynasty supports to thrive.

The biggest mismatch in the loss for the Dallas Fuel was trying to contain the two-man wrecking crew of Zunba and Gong “Miro” Jin-hyuk. It’s not often Pongphop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod looks that bad in the D.Va matchup, but the aggressive anti-dive defense from the Dynasty made it really tough on both Mickie and Félix “xQc” Lengyel. The sheer advantage in eliminations-to-death ratio shows how dominant the Seoul tanks were yesterday.

A Small Stepback for the Dallas Fuel

However, it’s not all bad for the Dallas Fuel. A small step back, sure, but even in a 3-1 loss, they showed plenty of fight. It felt as if a game five was certain to happen after a third point hold on Route 66, but the Dynasty’s timely hero changes on the last point and stalling tactics held on. The lack of in-game adjustments and coaching adjustments continues to be a work in progress.

The Fuel will end week two facing another 2-1 team in the Los Angeles Valiant. It’s gut check time for a Fuel squad who not only needs wins to stay competitive for the stage two playoffs but as a team who desperately needs wins to get back in the overall playoff conversation. A loss against the Valiant would be a major blow to their chances and will kill the good feeling the new acquisitions have brought to this team.

Lineup Questions Persist for both the Dynasty and Fuel

Despite the win, the move off the hot hand in Munchkin to Wekeed was questionable from the Dynasty coaching staff. Add the Dynasty to the list of teams struggling to find cohesion with their DPS players. Week one was all Chae “Bunny” Joon-hyuk and Munchkin has thus far received all the week two playing time. It’s another work in progress, but Munchkin’s starting to separate himself from the pack.

Back to the Fuel roster, finding the right spot to run Rascal or aKm will come off trial and error. aKm got good run on strong Soldier: 76 maps and switched onto Pharah on Hollywood. The decision to go with Rascal on Route 66 was questionable considering aKm was much more warmed up and starting to present problems for the Dynasty. The move to Rascal, who ended up playing 76 anyways, didn’t have the same effect on the match.

Regardless, both teams have a good problem here. The talent on both rosters is immense and finding playing time for all these talented players is a task. Good players will be on the bench as it’s inevitable, but finding the right balance and using substitutions timely will separate the best coaches from the worst. It’s a small issue, but an issue nonetheless and something to track heading into the rest of stage two.

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Featured photo via Seoul Dynasty Twitter

Seoul Dynasty decisions raise questions after missing out on stage one playoffs

Halfway through stage one of Overwatch League the geniuses of the world seemed to have it all figured out. The Seoul Dynasty were the clear favorite. Teams such as the Boston Uprising and Houston Outlaws weren’t considered actual threats yet. The London Spitfire were the dysfunctional Korean team.

Fast forward only two weeks later, the world of Overwatch has flipped on its head. The Seoul Dynasty are on the outside looking in. The most prestigious organization in the game completely fell apart. Losing to the London Spitfire and New York Excelsior is one thing, but getting swept by the Los Angeles Valiant and coming close with the Outlaws and San Francisco Shock is something entirely different.

Underperforming Players

The onus of the struggle doesn’t fall on one certain aspect, but the collection of decisions and underperformances. The coaching staff has even resorted to trying new lineups and testing different combinations. Overall, the roster decisions have proven to be costly. Sitting Ryu “Ryujehong” Je-hong and keeping Kim “KuKi” Dae-kuk on the bench in favor of Gong “Miro” Jin-hyuk.

The regular cohesiveness isn’t quite there for the Dynasty lately. Outside of having Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun hard-carry with a litany of destructive heroes, the rest of the team is struggling to work together. Fleta’s picks seem to be the one thing keeping this team moving forward.

Going back to Miro’s play, it’s obvious that he’s not on the same page with his supports right now. Miro’s getting caught out with bad positioning at a high rate. He’s failing to make the normal plays we see out of his Winston and it all stems back to the lack of synergy between Miro and Yang “tobi” Jin-mo. Tobi’s known as one of the premier support players in Overwatch history, but being forced into the Mercy role has limited his value.

Tobi is an excellent Mercy, but it’s just not his top choice in his hero pool. Considering this along with Ryujehong and Miro’s struggles is the most probable cause for this team missing out on the playoffs.

The Munchkin/Bunny/Wekeed Dilemma

As I previously stated, Fleta is a wrecking ball crashing through your window. In many ways, he’s able to single-handedly pick up the slack for his team with his mind-boggling playmaking ability. It’s not only that but his timeliness on hero picks to get the best possible matchup.

The problem isn’t Fleta, it’s the revolving door of half-Tracer mains that can’t seem to earn that second DPS spot. The best teams in the Overwatch League are incredibly deep at the DPS position. The Dynasty don’t have the same luxury when they’re still trying to find the right spot for each player.

Chae “Bunny” Joon-hyuk is presumably the most talented of the group, but he has no versatility whatsoever. If The Dynasty to play strictly dive, like the Boston Uprising or Philadelphia Fusion, Bunny would be a mainstay on the starting lineup, but that’s not always the case. Byeon “Munchkin” Sang-beom is the most experienced, but is limited similarly to Bunny in terms of hero pool.

If the Dynasty look to improve the roster heading into stage two, look for that spot next to Fleta to be a priority. For the time being, the same rotation of players will continue. Fleta is the focal point of any Dynasty game plan so being able to work to his strengths will benefit the entire team. In many instances, Bunny seemed to be the one that meshed the best.

Benching Ryujehong not out of the question

No one is safe on this team after a disappointing stage one, not even the highly regarded Ryujehong. There’s a scenario where talented Zenyatta player, Mun “Gido” Gi-do, gets more starts over Ryujehong. Even Tobi could potentially be subbed out for a better Mercy. Everything is on the table if this continues.

One thing to consider is the new meta plays similar to the olden days when Lunatic-Hai was the best team in Korea. Mercy getting nerfed will open up the door for more creative support picks and giving the Dynasty more weapons at their disposal. In any case, the Seoul Dynasty will be just fine. Even if it takes some minor or major tweaking, this team is too talented to stay down for long.  

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Featured photo via Seoul Dynasty Twitter

The First Ever Battle of Los Angeles in the Overwatch League is a Classic

There’s something special that happens when two rival teams matchup. Michigan vs Ohio State, Packers vs Bears, Yankees vs Red Sox, and now the battle for Los Angeles in the Overwatch League. A 3-2 Valiant victory over the Gladiators in the first official Los Angeles matchup started this rivalry out on the right foot.

In dramatic fashion, the Los Angeles Valiant pulled out the reverse sweep. A hard-fought loss on Eichenwalde and a rather outmatched loss on Horizon Lunar Colony set the stage for one of the biggest comebacks in the early season. It also happened in front of the most raucous crowd the Blizzard Arena has seen yet.

Envy and Agilities. Photo via LA Valiant twitter

How the Valiant turned it around

In a season filled with sweeps, the Valiant showed the rest of the league how it’s done when down 0-2. The halftime break resets them mentally, and the necessary adjustments were made with a focus on the tank line. The moment Lee “Envy” Kang-jae and Pan-seung “Fate” Koo switched up the positioning to more objective focused the game turned.

The ability of the Valiant tanks to constantly keep pushing up and make the brunt of the Gladiators game plan to focus on slowing down the tank-line, opened it up for Ted “Silkthread” Wang and Terence “SoOn” Tarlier on the damage mains. On Illios, the ground game was simply dominated by the Valiant tanks. All it took for a Valiant victory was picks from Silkthread on Pharah or SoOn on Widowmaker, and that’s exactly what happened.

Once that first win happens, it’s a snowball effect. A little doubt starts to creep in and a semblance of worry crosses their minds. Even if the win on Ilios was too close for comfort, the Valiant finally had some success in the kill feed.

The key moment in the game didn’t happen in-game. No, that moment was switching back to Brady “Agilities” Girardi over Silkthread. It’s not only that Agilities hero pool is more conducive to maps like Junkertown, but that he was one of the few doing major damage during the two losses. In a few instances, the Junkrat was a key in controlling space.

The final game of the match is the highlight of the early season. The crowd had reached a fever pitch, and there was clearly not a soul in that arena looking away from the screen. In surprising fashion, the Gladiators made some major lineup changes heading into the pivotal game of the series.

Gladiators Decision to bench Bischu backfires

Photo via LA Gladiators twitter

The Los Angeles Gladiators typically stick with the standard composition of two attack-two tank-two support. The move to replace Hyung-seok “Bischu” Kim in favor of another damage-main in Lane “Surefour” Roberts turned out to be the difference between the Gladiators winning or losing. Even with Surefour having the ability to go Zarya, losing that committed D.Va main seemed to be the difference.

It’s not the macro-decisions that were the downfall of the Gladiators, it was the micro-decision making and the revolving door of DPS substitutions for the Gladiators. It’s still unclear what exactly is working for the damage mains up front. All their substitutions are mapped based and not really focused on how a player is performing at the moment. Oftentimes, Choi “Asher” Joon-seong or João “Hydration” Pedro Goes Telles get subbed in after playing a very strong game.

It was an epic first game between the two Los Angeles teams, and it was incredible to see the crowd split into purple and green jerseys. Even if it’s a young rivalry, the fans passion is real. The importance of building and sustaining these rivalries is what can separate the Overwatch League from other esports

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Featured photo via LA Gladiators twitter

And the Overwatch League Week One MVP is…

The opening week of the Overwatch League has now come and gone, and after two games a piece the teams are already starting to separate themselves. In similar fashion, certain players stood out amongst the talented group and flashed early on.

It is no surprise, the best teams in the league are the heavy-Korean teams such as the Seoul Dynasty, London Spitfire, and New York Excelsior. All of whom ended the first week at 2-0. The other undefeated team is the one surprise from this week, the Los Angeles Valiant sweept their matches ending the week up 7-0 in games.

Who was the week one MVP?

After the dust settled, four players stood out among the rest of the player pool. The first player to be mentioned is Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun for the Seoul Dynasty. Unlike any other player this weekend, Fleta went above and beyond with his hero pool. Seven unique characters all combining to do massive amounts of damage and help carry the Dynasty to a 6-1 weekend.

Pine signing autographs after the win. Photo via the Overwatch League

As for the unsung heroes of the opening week, how about Terence “SoOn” Tarlier and the Valiant taking the league by storm? Led by SoOn and his backline Tracer play the Valiant rolled through the San Francisco Shock and came out victorious even though they were the underdog against the Dallas Fuel. SoOn’s presence made the difference with his constant pressure that worked wonders alongside Valiant’s dive composition.

Looking at the New York Excelsior roster, there are a few names that took a big step this weekend. Kim “Pine” Do-hyeon’s flashiness on the Widowmaker and McCree or Park “Saebyeolbe” Jong-yeol rolling on Tracer made it a tough decision to make. One Excelsior separated himself from some of the other support mains in the league

Bang “Jjonak” Sung-hyeon was responsible for huge picks, a great deal of healing, fight winning transcendents, and a ridiculous amount of healing on Zenyatta. It truly was an all-around great performance. In terms of best Mercy play, one half of the Dynasty dynamic support-duo, Jin-mo “tobi” Yang, was nasty with Valkyrie, moving in-and-out of danger in a flash.

It’s hard to pick a favorite of the London Spitfire roster considering that roster still feels very much in the air. Keep an eye on the Spitfire to have a more fluid starting roster in the future.

Drumroll Please

As for the best of the weekend, it’s quite simple, Fleta was the workhorse for the Seoul Dynasty. Anytime the Dynasty needed a hero switch and a big push, Fleta would switch and the Dynasty would win. It’s nice to see a wide variety of top-end talents at multiple heroes and position making a name for themselves. Now let’s see if they do it again in week two.

 

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Featured photo via Overwatch League

Pharmercy guide: Rule the skies

It’s time to look into a guide that will help you rule the skies in Overwatch. That’s right, today we are going to be looking at the Pharmercy strategy.

The Pharmercy strategy, as the name suggests, consists of Pharah and Mercy. The purpose of this strategy is to give your team complete control of the skies. If your team controls the skies you can dictate engagements on your terms. As a result, you are able to blast the enemy into itty-bitty pieces.

However, before I break down this strategy, let me share one thing you should keep in mind.

Pharmercy is A team Decision

Always keep in mind that running a Pharmercy is a team decision. The Pharmercy strategy has Mercy focusing on pocketing Pharah. Which is good for Pharah because it provides her with a floating healer that can damage boost her. But it is also bad for the team because Mercy is farther away from them pocketing a roaming Pharah. So decide with your team at the start to run Pharmercy so that they can expect less healing. Otherwise, you risk tilting your team because they would expect Mercy to be near them and not pocketing Pharah. Speaking of pocketing Pharah, let’s shift to Mercy’s responsibilities. Much as it takes two to tango, it takes two to run a Pharmercy.

Mercy’s Job

Mercy’s job in the Pharmercy is to provide Pharah with healing and damage boosting her rockets. Seems like a simple concept. But in practice, it’s more complex. Especially when you factor in following a constantly moving Pharah.

A good way to tie yourself to Pharah is to make sure that you have the correct Mercy settings on. One setting you need to have on is Guardian Angel Prefers Beam Target. This setting makes Mercy fly to whoever her beam is on instead of who she is aiming at. And since in a Pharmercy your beam is almost always on Pharah and you will always fly to her.

Another thing to be aware of, as Mercy, is that you are pretty vulnerable in the air. Therefore you have to constantly be on the lookout for threats, in addition to healing and damage boosting Pharah. Also remember that Mercy’s damage beam applies damage when damage is dealt. Which means that Mercy can heal her Pharah and then switch to damage boost as the rocket is mid-flight.

Next, to the second part of our Pharmercy: Pharah.

Pharah’s Job

Pharah’s job is to get kills, just every other DPS character. And with a Mercy pocket, it makes her job even easier. So play Pharah like every other DPS with a focus on high priority targets like supports and other DPS.

But keep in mind that having a Mercy pocket does not make her invincible. Pharah can still die to a tremendous amount of burst damage. So don’t give the enemy a better chance by hovering a few feet above them. Always think about your positioning because it effects your Mercy’s positioning as well. At the same time be aware that Mercy does have five other teammates to heal, so don’t roam too far away.

By and large, Pharmercy can be a devastating combo to play against, but it can be stopped.

Pharmercy’s weakness

The Pharmercy’s weakness is hit scans. Heroes like Soldier 76, McCree and Widowmaker are what counters a Pharmercy. Even so, this does not mean that the people playing those heroes can actually hit Pharah or Mercy. Just be aware that the enemy hit scans will focus you, and if they frag you more than you frag them, then consider abandoning the Pharmercy strategy.

That’s it for the Pharmercy strategy. Hopefully this guide helps you control the skies. Let us know what you think in the comments below. The next article in this series will be looking at some of the new updates from the latest patch.


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