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Of all the redemption arcs in Overwatch League history, none have compared to that of the Shanghai Dragons. The team experienced a 0-40 inaugural season and revamped their entire team before the 2019 season.
After getting their first win, the Dragons were on fire. They took the stage three championship last year, defeating the San Francisco Shock. Shanghai made it to the postseason but ended the 2019 Overwatch League season in 11th place.
With a largely successful team, the Dragons have made minimal changes over the offseason. They dominated the recent Shanghai Masters invitational where they swept their fellow Chinese teams in a set of showmatches.
Overwatch Contenders staple Seo “Stand1” Ji-Won steps in as the main tank for the team after the departure of Noh “Gamsu” Yeong-jin to the Dallas Fuel. He showed up in a big way at the Shanghai Masters invitational but may not be at the level of other Overwatch League tanks. Lee “Fearless” Eui-seok, the Dragons’ former main tank from the ill-fated inaugural season roster, waits in the wings. After producing great results on Shanghai’s Contenders academy team, Team CC, he returns to the league with renewed purpose.
Off-tank Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon returns with the Dragons and remains the only female player in the Overwatch League. While she didn’t see much playing time last season, stalwart off-tank Kang “Void” Jun-woo is there to share stage time in 2020. Both will have to step out of their D.Va comfort zone to compete within Hero Pools.
The newest addition to Shanghai’s support lineup is former RunAway main support Lee “LeeJaeGon” Jae-gon. Despite his huge success in the Overwatch Contenders scene, he has a lot of pressure riding on him as the team’s only main support. Yang “Luffy” Seong-hyeon and Kim “Izayaki” Min-chul return to share flex support duties.
Last season, DPS stars Yang “DDing” Jin-hyeok and Bae “diem” Min-seong defied Overwatch League expectations by regularly carrying the Dragons to victory. Diem’s hitscan expertise kept Shanghai’s ground game interesting while DDing’s Pharah rained justice from above. If given the same space and freedom the Dragons gave them last year, the duo may come back to haunt enemy teams in the exact same way.
Lee “LIP” Jae-won, from Overwatch Contenders Korea, brought destruction as Reaper at the Shanghai Masters games. This proves he can stand alongside legends like Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun, formerly of the Seoul Dynasty. Fleta has a mastery of heroes that few players in the Overwatch League have achieved. As Hero Pools takes over, he’ll be an invaluable asset to Shanghai’s bottom line. DPS Lu “Diya” Weida is on a two-way contract with Team CC this year.
Before the Shanghai Masters invitational, many analysts had concerns about Shanghai’s new additions. After the team completely dominated the friendly competition, many of those concerns disappeared. While the tank line is still the most questionable part of the team, Fearless is likely committed to completing a redemption arc after his inaugural season performance. Main support LeeJaeGon, normally used to healing aggressive tanks, will be able to keep up with him.
The most dangerous part of Shanghai is, for the second year in a row, their damage lineup. DDing and Fleta have incomprehensibly deep hero knowledge and can flex to anything necessary for their team to succeed. Diem and LIP can share the rest of the duties if necessary. With some coordination, they should be able to contend with any damage line in the league.
At time of writing, it’s unknown when the Shanghai Dragons will play their first match of the Overwatch League season. Their matches were affected by cancellations of homestands due to the coronavirus, but details are forthcoming as to makeup options for those games.