During the 2020 Overwatch League season, the Shanghai Dragons’ accomplishments mirrored those of North America’s standout team, the San Francisco Shock. COVID-19 restrictions stopped the teams from battling until the Grand Finals bracket. Many fans expected an eventual Grand Finals match between the two teams, but the Seoul Dynasty—and Shanghai’s own mistakes—sent the team home with a third-place finish.
Since then, the Shanghai Dragons have been on a “revenge tour,” winning both the NeXT Cup and Esports Shanghai Masters tournament during the offseason. The Dragons made small but valuable roster changes, filling gaps before they face the rest of the East region in 2021.
Shanghai may have lost stellar main tank Lee “FEARLESS” Eui-sok to the upgraded Dallas Fuel, but head coach Moon Byung-chul finally nabbed his favorite player for the Dragons. Former Florida Mayhem main tank Koo “Fate” Pan-seung brings a stable, veteran presence that Shanghai sorely needs.
In the off-tank role, Kang “Void” Jun-woo will likely reprise his impressive 2020 performance. Shanghai’s tank line has a lot of potential, but it may be a weak point in this championship-tier team if Fate and Void can’t flex to fit changing metas.
Last year, main support Lee “LeeJaeGon” Jae-gon and flex support Kim “Izayaki” Min-chul were an absolute nightmare for enemy teams. Leejaegon nabbed a 2020 Role Star award for his high-risk, high-reward playstyle. To balance that chaos out, Izayaki aims to stay consistent and terrifying on heroes like Zenyatta and Ana.
Former Chengdu Hunters flex support He “Molly” Chengzi has also joined the Dragons as the team prepares for possible double flex support metas. But Molly will likely be relegated to the bench while Izayaki and LeeJaeGon continue their reign of terror into 2021.
Shanghai stockpiled DPS players over the offseason, adding Atlanta Reign standout Jeong “Erster” Joon. The team also retained hitscan players Bae “Diem” Min-sung and Lee “LIP” Jae-won. Erster’s deep hero pool should help balance the team as new metas arise.
No matter how many DPS players Shanghai adds, however, no one compares to 2020 Overwatch League MVP Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun. Able to flex to numerous heroes and take over teamfights, Fleta will remain a serious threat to teams everywhere in 2021. His Echo play during the NeXT Cup was critical to Shanghai’s eventual win.
After achieving enormous success during the 2020 season and banking two tournament wins during the offseason, the Shanghai Dragons will likely remain the “raid boss” of the East region. The team is obviously gunning for a championship and will be more motivated than ever after tasting success and defeat in the 2020 postseason.
Expect a heated rivalry with the Seoul Dynasty, who denied the Dragons’ dreams of a Grand Finals trophy match against the San Francisco Shock. Newly “upgraded” teams like the Guangzhou Charge may also be able to give Shanghai a challenge, but the Dragons’ devastating DPS line could even the score every time.
On April 17 at 4am CT, the Shanghai Dragons face off against the Guangzhou Charge to kick off the East region’s Overwatch League season.