With Overwatch League’s top team facing the tournament’s worst-ranked roster, the outcome was nearly set in stone. But what no one expected was just how competitive a series it was. No, there wasn’t really a chance for Shanghai to win, but the team showed serious improvement in a very short time span.
Of course, Seoul Dynasty won their Jan. 24 Overwatch League matchup against the Shanghai Dragons, but the Dragons showed signs of life we haven’t seen often from the Chinese roster. Their performance shows major improvement since their last match—against Florida Mayhem—on Jan. 19, which is impressive against a team like Seoul.
Whether it was a fluke or not, we’ll just have to wait and see. Seoul appeared to have let up on Shanghai just a bit, making mistakes they may not have made against teams they take more seriously.
The series started on Numbani, where Shanghai scored two points to Seoul’s three, before moving on to Temple of Anubis and Oasis. By the time the series reached Oasis, the match was called in Seoul’s favor. The fourth map, Dorado, was played regardless of map score—and that’s where Shanghai took a map off Seoul. It’s something Seoul likely never saw coming, and a major point for Shanghai.
Not only does it show improvement within the Chinese team, but it shows that Seoul—the team many find unbeatable—does have weaknesses that can be exploited. If Shanghai can take a map off Seoul, any other team in the Overwatch League can, too.
But despite Shanghai’s map win, today’s matches continue the Overwatch League’s streak of Korean dominance, with Seoul Dynasty and London Spitfire—who beat San Francisco Shock in a 3-1 series—leading the standings with an undefeated 5-0 record. New York Excelsior, also a fully Korean roster, remains undefeated as well, albeit with a 4-0 record, as they haven’t played their fifth game yet. They’ll look to take that fifth point on Jan. 25 against Philadelphia Fusion.