For a good portion of the Overwatch League’s existence, the mere mention of the San Francisco Shock has evoked images of gleaming trophies and immaculate success.
The two-time championship team fell from grace in 2021, however, once other heavy-hitters like the Dallas Fuel and the Shanghai Dragons stepped up their game. For the first time in several years, the Shock didn’t make a Grand Finals appearance, and the Dragons snatched away their spot as the league’s most unbeatable team.
Heading into 2022, San Francisco completely dismantled its roster and lost one of its biggest superstars in Matthew “super” DeLisi, who retired from competitive play. Though one generation of Shock superstars is headed out the door, the team is banking on the skills of talented rookies to drag it back to its former glory.
San Francisco’s only holdover from its championship rosters—or even its 2021 roster—is veteran support Viol2t, who had a strange turn as a dual healer and hitscan player last year. This time around, he’s likely to stick to flex support duties, even if his Zenyatta can be considered a DPS sometimes.
The Shock’s most impressive offseason signings came in the form of a highly-rated trio from O2 Blast out of Overwatch Contenders Korea. FiNN will be joining Viol2t in the support line while kilo and Proper—one of the most hyped-up rookies entering the league this year—will be handling most of the DPS duties.
Rounding out the damage lineup is another Contenders favorite, this time from the North American side of the circuit. S9mm (pronounced like his first name, Sam) has been a flex DPS staple for years and will likely take up any hero necessary to fill for the team.
Of all the new additions to the Shock, tank Coluge will likely have the most pressure on him from the Overwatch League community. He’s joining the league as a rookie and he’s theoretically filling the shoes of super, which feels like a lose-lose scenario. But his tank skills should speak for themselves.
With top-of-the-line coaches like Crusty, who has whipped numerous San Francisco Shock players into championship quality, the team certainly won’t be lacking talent and hunger. No team has a chip on its shoulder like the revamped Shock roster and they’ll likely play with a passion few other teams will manage.
No matter how talented the players are, concerns always arise when a team depends on a roster full of new players for success. The Overwatch League brings unbelievable pressure and stress to even the most battle-tested players. If the coaching staff—or longtime player Viol2t—can’t lead the rookies through rough patches, San Francisco’s redemption arc may be over before it starts.
As if that wasn’t enough, new players will have to deal with the most brutal of critics: Shock fans themselves. After a single loss or poor performance, some sectors of the team’s fans on social media immediately turn against the players and staff members.
If San Francisco’s rookies can resist the pressure of the league and stay as far away from Reddit as possible—focusing only on their play and self-improvement—the team has a chance to be one of the most impressive in the West Region.