Thoughts on week 8 of Overwatch League 2020

The Overwatch League returns after two weeks of no games and it returns in a fully online fashion. Esports, now with more E. There is a lot to talk about this week so let’s get started!

Talent and Production

Oh boy, everyone is now working from their homes and that with it brings along with all sorts of issues.

Lots of audiovisual issues. On Sunday, there were a lot of audio issues, we could only hear Uber out of only one channel and then we couldn’t hear Mr X at all. Shoutout to Uber and Mr X for making the situation more of a fun meme than an annoyance. Left channel ASMR, indeed.

Issues with players having disconnects because everybody is playing online now instead of LAN. Honestly, there weren’t as much of those so the god of packets was with us this week. 🙏🏾

Huge props to the league’s IT team who no doubt were dealing with a whole set of new issues that crop up when everyone is using a work-from-home setup. Y’all MVPs.

Speaking of MVPs, I gotta give a mention to Soe’s cats Nori and Miso who did the hero pool picks for next week. We will talk about next week’s bans later.

The Meta

So this week’s hero bans for those who forgot:

  • Winston
  • Soldier 76
  • Sombra
  • Lucio

Since this is the first week we get to see the Chinese OWL teams play, it was interesting to note the split in meta between the western and Chinese regions. The Chinese regions seem to favour more of the Wrecking Ball based chaotic dive compositions. The western teams seem to lean towards double shield (Rein/Orisa). With Lucio gone, it was much harder for teams to engage and disengage quickly which made things like Mei Blizzards more effective.

In my opinion, the games involving the Chinese teams were more fun to watch because of the sheer chaos factor.

The Games

There were a total of ten games this week so lots of games to choose from! I’m going to pick two series that I thought were the most interesting viewing.

Chengdu Hunters vs Hangzhou Spark

YouTube VOD for Chengdu Hunters vs Hangzhou Spark

This is what I would like to call peak Chinese Overwatch, extremely chaotic. The Hunters played their signature Wrecking Ball with Ameng at the help. Jinmu playing Genji. Yveltal just going full battle Mercy on the Spark. Guxue bringing out the Reinhardt on map 5. An exciting reverse sweep.

Los Angeles Valiant vs San Francisco Shock

YouTube VOD for Los Angeles Valiant vs San Francisco Shock

This one was a bit of a shocker. Coming into this the San Francisco Shock had lost a game to the LA Gladiators the previous day but the desk was still predicting the Shock to win the series. Instead what we saw was a Shock team that was extremely unsure and lacking strategy. They seemed just..lost. The LA Valiant on the other hand seemed extremely well practised on the double shield composition. KSP had the game of his life.

I’m a bit concerned about what the Shock has shown in general this week. They seemed unprepared for the meta and for the most part we didn’t see the championship calibre gameplay that we saw from them last year. I hope this is just a off week for them and not something that is going to become a pattern for them this season.

Miscellaneous tidbits from the other games

It was lovely to see all the Chinese teams play. The Shanghai Dragons are looking fairly well put together and a force to contend with (let’s forget about that match against the Hunters, yeah?).

Speaking of strong teams, Seoul Dynasty made their debut this season and they are looking very good as well. Just a solid roster which is doing all the right things. Looking forward to to what they can do from this point on.

The Toronto Defiant got a win against a very weak Boston Uprising and it was hard for me to tell if they improved or if Boston was just playing that badly. Either way, I’ll take the win.

Concluding thoughts and next week’s hero bans

I for one was very glad to have Overwatch League back on considering the surreal and trying times we live in at the moment. Even with all the production issues, it was a welcome respite. I expect next week there will be fewer production issues as the folks who handle that stuff figure out all the kinks in the system.

Let’s get into the hero bans for next week, as I mentioned before it is now a weighted system. The draw picks this week was done by Soe’s two cats Nori and Miso. That’s right folks, we have actual cats drawing the heroes we ban for a global esports league. Peak esports is here.

So the hero bans for next week are:

  • Wrecking Ball
  • McCree
  • Mei
  • Brigitte

It happened folks!! Mei is finally banned and we have Nori to thank for this one. All hail our new cat overlord.

I was seriously losing it throughout this entire segment folks, the cat shenanigans are hilarious, I’m going to embed the video for the segment if anyone else wants something funny to watch.

I’ll leave y’all with that, see y’all next week!