News

Titans Flop Pacific East Debut, Shock Take Back California Crown

Aaron Alford  | 
SF Shock

The San Fran Shock have now redeemed themselves against but LA Valiant and LA Gladiators. (Photo courtesy Blizzard)

Overwatch League week 10 featured a disappointing return for the Vancouver Titans, a historic accomplishment from Fusion DPS Carpe, and one of the worst C9’s in a long time from the Washington Justice. The action was capped off with the SF Shock redeeming themselves against the L.A. Gladiators.

The Overwatch League banned Sombra, Reaper, D.Va, and Ana from the hero pool for week 10. Without D.Va to eat her Blizzards, Mei was a common threat in the week 10 meta. Last week’s Mei ban led to widespread usage of Torbjorn in her place. Although there were less Torbs this week, several players still pulled out Torb including Lane “Surefour” Roberts and Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee.

Vancouver flops their Pacific East debut

The Vancouver Titans returned to competition in week 10, after an extended hiatus during which they relocated their team and operations from Canada to South Korea. Because they are now playing from South Korea, the Titans are now competing against Pacific East teams.

The Titans faced the Guangzhou Charge on Saturday and the Chengdu Hunters on Sunday. Although they were considered the favorite in both of their matches, they ended up losing both matches in a decisive fashion.

In Saturday’s match against the Guangzhou Charge, Vancouver came out with a Hammond/Winston dive composition. The strategy did not work for them, however they continued to commit to it throughout the series, only switching to a double shield composition briefly on the second map, Eichenwalde. The Charge on the other hand used an Orisa/Sigma double shield composition throughout the match which proved much more effective. The Charge swept the Titans 3-0, after the Titans C9’d on the final map, Volskaya Industries.

On Sunday’s match, the Titans were facing the 2-4 Chengdu Hunters. The Hunters defeated the Titans in a 3-1 series. The Hunters are by no means a top tier team this year, but even they were able to dispatch the scattered Vancouver squad with relative ease. The Titans came into this match with a classic Reinhardt/Zarya composition, but they were not able to keep up with the unconventional and diverse array of heroes displayed by the Hunters.

It’s possible that the Titans are just shaking off the rust from their extended break. Perhaps they have not yet adapted to the play style of the Pacific East division. Whatever the problem, the Titans looked very vulnerable in week 10. The Titans did certainly not look like their usual championship caliber selves.

Fusion extend their lead in the OWL standings

The Philadelphia Fusion cemented their place as the best team in the Atlantic South division. The Fusion took revenge on Paris Eternal, the only team to beat them this season. They also defeated their divisional rival the Atlanta Reign. All around, the Fusion are increasingly looking like the team to beat in North America.

They started off Saturday by reverse sweeping the Paris Eternal. Paris defeated Philadelphia all the way back in week 5 of season 3. This weekend was the Fusion’s first opportunity to respond and they took full advantage. Although Paris was up 2-0 at half time, the Fusion were able to take the series in a thrilling 3-2 sweep.

Carpe played with his usual ingenuity and aggression. He was able to return to McCree this week, however he played a large variety of heroes throughout the series, including Torbjorn and Tracer. Although Carpe made a large number of game defining plays, it was Fusion Flex Support Kyungbo “Alarm” Kim who received player of the match. Alarm demonstrated incredible versatility, playing high levels of Zenyatta and Baptiste throughout the series. When the Fusion brought Alarm on for season 3, he arrived to a good deal of hype. He definitely lived up to the hype Saturday.

The matches between the Fusion and Reign have always been nail biters, often coming down to a fifth game or even a single point on a map. Sunday was no exception, with the Fusion taking the series 3-2. The winner of the match was decided by a single team fight.

The Atlanta Reign and the Philadelphia Fusion are both powerhouses of the Atlantic South division. As such, there was a lot at stake in this clash of divisional titans. The Reign had never defeated the Fusion in regular season play, so the Reign had a lot of prove. Unfortunately, they failed to win the match against the Fusion yet again. Despite their loss, Atlanta looked really strong on Sunday. One of these days they will defeat the Fusion.

Carpe makes becomes first players to land 4000 kill blows

Not only did Carpe win player of the match on Sunday, he also became the first Overwatch League professional in history to achieve 4,000 final blows. He accomplished his 4,000th final blow using Torbjorn, of all heroes, after showing off some very sneaky Torbjorn play all throughout week 10. Achieving the first 4,000 kill career is a historic accomplishment and cements Carpe’s legacy as one of the greatest damage players to ever plug in a mouse and keyboard.

Carpe’s personality has been on display for the past couple of weeks. On Saturday Carpe jokingly plugged his own YouTube channel in the game chat after pulling off an amazing play against the Eternal. Last week, Carpe wrote “sit” in the chat after taking down the Justice DPS Corey “Corey” Nigra. When you are as good as Carpe, you can afford to kick back and make jokes in the chat.

If you are going to watch one match from this weekend, the Fusion vs. the Reign is a good pick if only to see Carpe make history.

Shock take back the California crown

The Shock defeated the L.A. Gladiators in a 3-0 series on Sunday. The victory was decisive, which is exactly what the Shock needed to rebuild their hype after a rocky return to Overwatch back in week 8.

In week 8, The San Francisco Shock lost to both L.A. Valiant and L.A. Gladiators. The losses were embarrassing not only because the Shock were on a 22 map win streak before week 8, but also because they lost to both of the regional rivals. In week 9 the Shock were able to redeem themselves against the Valiant, and in week 10 the Shock were able to defeat the Gladiators to complete their redemption arc and reclaim the title of best in Cali.

The player of the match was Ans, who dealt 18 final blowers per 10 minutes throughout the series. Ans has been an impressive presence on hitscan characters throughout season 3 and he looked excellent today, especially on his signature hero Widow.

San Fran Shock

After the past couple weeks of strong performances, it’s safe to say that the Shock are starting to find their footing again.

Dallas Fuel win second game in a row

Dallas Fuel has had a very good two weeks. After more than 42 calendar weeks without a victory, the Dallas Fuel finally won a series in week 9. In week 10, the team followed it up by sweeping the Washington Justice in a 3-0 series.

During week 9, the Fuel won on the backs of Gui-un “Decay” Jang incredible Tracer plays. It was clear that they brought in that same off-meta attitude into Saturday’s week 10 match, showing off a ton of interesting and off-meta compositions that ended up really working for them. One example of an off-meta composition which the Fuel played was a combination of Orisa/Reinhardt Double shield, with dive DPS heroes Doomfist and Genji. Off-the-ball strategies are unpredictable and Washington struggled to respond.

Washington also showed one of the worst C9’s we have seen in a while, ceding the third point on Numbani to the Fuel after eliminating the majority of the Fuels players in a team fight. Elliot “ELLIVOTE” Vaneryd walked off the point for no apparent reason while his rival Orisa Gamsu easily escorted the cart to the end.

Whereas last week the victory was chalked up to Decay’s amazing plays on Tracer, this week it was Dong-ha “Doha” Kim who carried the victory, playing a variety of heroes including Doomfist and Pharah. Doha was named player of the match.

It feels like the Dallas Fuel are really starting to have fun with their games and their unconventional strategies are bringing success. Decay in particular is playing so many different heroes. Between Decay and Doha, in week 10 the Fuel played Doomfist, Pharah, Genji, Hanzo, Symmetra, Junkrat, Tracer, and Mei. The Fuel are finally coming to life and it will be exciting to see if they can keep up the momentum throughout the rest of the season.

Houston reverse sweeps the Toronto Defiant

The Houston Outlaws reverse swept the Toronto Defiant in a very close 3-2 series, evening the season 3 score between the two. Sunday’s match marked the first reverse sweep from the Houston Outlaws in two years. The Defiant looked very strong in the first half, easily taking the first two matches. However, the Outlaws came out looking like a completely different team in the second half, easily dominating the remainder of the series.

The biggest factor in the Outlaws’ success seemed to be their positioning choices. In the first two matches the Outlaws played close positions and pushed the Defiant, which didn’t produce enough openings for their DPS to deal damage. In the second half, the Outlaws held high ground positions and forced the Defiant to push them. When they played the defensive playstyle, the Defiant made more mistakes which Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin and Dante “Danteh” Cruz were able to capitalize on.

Danteh and Linkzr performed very well for Houston throughout Sunday’s match. Danteh played Tracer throughout most of the match while Linkzr played primarily Hanzo. Both DPS players took up aggressive flanking positions, often taking the Defiant by surprise. Linkzr was the player of the match. He has been around since the closed beta of Overwatch and he has been out of the rotation for a while. Based on how he played this weekend, you wouldn’t know that he has been inactive recently.

The Houston Outlaws also defeated the Boston Uprising in a 3-1 series on Saturday, making the Outlaws undefeated for the weekend.

The Houston Outlaws are now sitting at a 4-6 record which places them in the middle of the Atlantic South division behind the Fusion and the Reign.

This week featured some incredible matches. The Fusion and the Shock looked very strong, while the Titans looked weak. Every team seemed to adapt to the hero rotation differently, leading to a variety of unique strategies playing out. Although there was certainly a large portion of Mei plays, it was interesting to see the return of Torbjorn to the meta. It seems that although Mei has her place, Torb might also have a place in the Overwatch League.

Hero Bans for week 11

The Watchpoint crew drew next week’s hero rotations on Sunday. Week 11’s hero pools will not feature Reinhardt, Brigitte, McCree, or Widowmaker. The absence of Widow and McCree at the same time might make week 11 a good week for Pharah or other heroes who are usually countered by hitscan DPS.

Reinhardt is also a notable omission, as he has been a very common presence in the season 3 meta so far. Without Reinhardt teams tend to either play double shield with Orisa and Sigma or an aggressive dive composition like Winston and D.Va. It’s possible there will be a lot of dive compositions in week 11, since both Briggitte and McCree are key counters to dive due to their stun abilities.

Week 11 preview

Week 11 has been extended to start on Thursday with the L.A. Gladiators and the L.A. Valiant squaring off to decide the best Overwatch team in L.A. These two teams haven’t faced each other in an official match since the end of last season. The Gladiators are favored to win this match, but in a grudge match like this anything can happen.

Chengdu Hunters will be looking to settle the score with Guangzhou Charge in week 11, after losing to the Charge in week 9. Chengdu will also have a shot at revenge against the Shanghai Dragons, who they also lost to in week 9. This will likely be a strong week for Chengdu, since Yi “JinMu” Hu is an incredible Pharah player. JinMu will likely excel with two of Pharah’s main counters out of the hero rotation.

Coming off their two game winning streak, the Dallas Fuel will face their harshest test yet on Friday against the SF Shock. The Shock are favored to win against the Fuel, but the Fuel are definitely capable of defeating the Shock if they play their best.

There are nine games in total scheduled for week 11, be sure to tune in Thursday – Sunday to catch all the action.

 

Aaron Alford
Aaron Alford
Aaron is a 25 year old esports journalist who has worked with dotesports.com, upcomer.com, qrank.gg, among others. Aaron completed a Master's degree in Communication from the University of Dayton in 2018 (Go Flyers). Aaron has also worked as a national circuit debate coach and communication manager for emerging technology companies.