In the battle for California, Los Angeles Valiant—one of Overwatch League’s two hometown teams—kicked off the inaugural season of the Overwatch League with a win against San Francisco Shock.
As the first match of the league’s regular season, there’s not much history between the two teams, save the one preseason exhibition match held in December. It was there that the Valiant beat San Francisco Shock 3-2. But the Valiant have honed their dive composition, using a mixture of Zenyatta, Mercy, Widowmaker, D.Va, Tracer, Winston, Genji, and McCree.
The Shock looked poised to put up a fight against the Los Angeles–based team, but they were unable to be the antithesis to the Valiant’s dive. And that’s ironic: The Shock have prided themselves on their anti-dive style of play, perfectly poised to come up against the Valiant’s playstyle. For a number of reasons, the Shock were unable to play with the slow precision they desired.
Aggressive DPS play from Genji players Brady “Agilities” Girardi and Ted “silkthread” Wang—silkthread swapped in for Agilities halfway through the four-game series—kept the Shock on defense, while Terence “SoOn” Tarlier pushed the Shock’s limits with his Widowmaker play. The Valiant consistently targeted the Shock’s supports, Daniel “dhak” Martínez Paz and Nikola “sleepy” Andrews—two players who impressed fans with their stylish play in the Overwatch League preseason. Dhak’s speciality, of course, is Lúcio, a hero he played a lot in the preseason. But Lúcio has since fell out of favor for Mercy, and the support player struggled to match the Valiant’s Park “KariV” Young-seo.
The Valiant kept up their dive composition for the entirety of the four-game series, which led to their decisive first win of the Overwatch League. Dorado, Temple of Anubis, Illios, and Numbani? Not a problem for the Valiant, and they took the series 4-0. Aside from the first map on Dorado, where the Valiant beat the Shock 3-2 in what was somewhat of a struggle, the Valiant just played better than the Shock. Their positioning, their hero selection, their communication—they outplayed the Shock in most aspects of the game.
Game two of Overwatch League day one will pit Shanghai Dragons against the Los Angeles Gladiators at 9pm ET.