The inaugural season of the Overwatch League began Wednesday with three matches, including a battle between top-tier teams Dallas Fuel and Seoul Dynasty. Here's a rundown of Day 1.
Seoul Dynasty 2 - Dallas Fuel 1
In a fitting end to the first day of the Overwatch League's inaugural season, the Dallas Fuel and Seoul Dynasty lit up the stage, with the Dynasty walking away with a 2-1 win on Wednesday at the Blizzard Esports Arena in Los Angeles.
With the Fuel and Dynasty comprised of the former Lunatic-Hai and Team EnVyUs squads, respectively, sparks were sure to fly over the course of this series. While the teams are largely the same, the playstyles are new and improved, as the new-look Seoul Dynasty left behind holes in both its offense and defensive lineup to form a powerhouse of a team. Despite its strengths, the team was by no means invincible against Dallas. The Fuel took Junkertown by storm with support Jonathan "HarryHook" Tejedor Rua leading the charge with a Bastion pick, allowing the team to release a cacophony of bullets to put the Dynasty in doubt early.
Undeterred by the early success of Dallas, Seoul found its footing with DPS Byung-sun "Fleta" Kim and support Je-hong "ryujehong" Ryu teetering on the edge of excellence all night. Both players pulled out snipers Widowmaker and Ana, respectively, and acted as spears, expertly taking out key targets that allowed the team to finally squeeze out the victory over the craziest Temple of Anubis in OWL's early history. All the while, Fuel DPS star Hyeon "EFFECT" Hwang matched blow-for-blow with Fleta in the series, bringing in his own flavor of excellence to Widowmaker's sniper rifle. While Seoul eventually notched out a 2-1 victory, this series proved that diamonds surely form under pressure, as these teams set the bar for what is poised to be an explosive first season of the Overwatch League.
Dallas will have until Friday at 7 p.m ET to prepare for its next match against Los Angeles Valiant, while Seoul will look to continue its winning streak on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET against the Los Angeles Gladiators.
-- Steven Nguyen
Los Angeles Gladiators 4 - Shanghai Dragons 0
The Los Angeles Gladiators continued the Southern California romp Wednesday with a 4-0 sweep over the Shanghai Dragons in the second match of the opening day of the Overwatch League at the Blizzard Esports Arena in Burbank, California.
While the Los Angeles Valiant looked dominant in its win over the San Francisco Shock earlier on Wednesday, that win paled in comparison to the destruction of the Dragons that came at the hands of the Gladiators. The Gladiators looked clean and polished, but the Dragons looked to still be in preseason form throughout this one-sided trouncing. At every point in the series, the Gladiators had complete control over the pace of the game and simply did whatever it wanted to with no opposition from Shanghai.
The Gladiators fired on all cylinders and displayed great teamwork as it ran the hapless Dragons down thanks to the rotating DPS core of Joao Pedro "Hydration" Veloso de Goes Telles, Joon-seong "Asher" Choi and Lane "Surefour" Roberts. Los Angeles left Shanghai ducking for cover at every moment under a barrage of Pharah rockets, Widowmaker snipes and Genji shurikens. Meanwhile, Shanghai's DPS duo of Chao "Undead" Fang and Weida "Diya" Lu were unable to make any impact whatsoever. Without any momentum from the frontline, the Dragons were swiftly swept aside, with every one of the Gladiators picking up highlight reel moments in this thorough stomp.
Shanghai will have a day to lick its wounds before coming back on Friday at 11 p.m. ET to take on the Shock, while the Gladiators will watch the competition duke it out before closing out the week against the Seoul Dynasty on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.
-- Wyatt Donigan
Los Angeles Valiant 4 - San Francisco Shock 0
In the first match of the inaugural season of the Overwatch League, the Los Angeles Valiant took the San Francisco Shock out with a 4-0 sweep.
While the preseason series between these teams made this matchup look pretty close, the Valiant proved that the previous series was an outlier with a convincing outing to open the season. At almost every moment of the series, the Valiant was in full control while the Shock looked to have no sense of how to take over the game. Outside of Temple of Anubis in Game 2, no games went to the tiebreaker overtime round. Shock DPS star Andrej "babybay" Francisty tried to get the team teamfight wins with Genji and Widowmaker, but he was routinely outplayed by the likes of Valiant DPS players Brady "Agilities" Girardi and Terence "Soon" Tarlier.
The multi-faceted DPS core of Valiant demonstrated the difference between these teams and exposed the Shock as too one-dimensional. Outside of a few plays, Shock DPS Dante "Danteh" Cruz couldn't bring much to the table, which put too much pressure on babybay to carry. As soon as babybay went down, the Shock caved, its suspect defensive setups falling apart, giving the Valiant far too much room throughout the course of the series.
Both teams will be back in action on Friday. The Valiant will have its work cut out with a matchup against the formidable Dallas Fuel at 7 p.m. ET while the Shock will face the Shanghai Dragons at 11 p.m. ET.
-- Wyatt Donigan