After winning two championships and sweeping every team in the Overwatch League over the past few years, the San Francisco Shock are preparing to defend their throne in 2021.
This year, the focus will be less about proving talent and more about maintaining the level of excellence that Shock fans are used to. That said, the team will still be looking for the “three-peat” Grand Finals performance.
San Francisco’s management has worked hard to keep the core roster stable while adding new, talented additions but the road may be an uphill one as teams slowly catch up to the Shock’s tier of play.
The San Francisco Shock decided to keep its Main Tank Difference (MTD) squad around for another year. Media darling Matthew “super” DeLisi will likely take up the Reinhardt mantle once again alongside Yoo “smurf” Myeong-Hwan, one of the most devastating Winstons in the league. The two have enough ego energy between them to sustain a small country, but it’s deserved. Super and smurf are likely the most consistently impressive tanks around.
Off-tank Choi “ChoiHyoBin” Hyo-bin is once again on his own to cycle between Sigma, Zarya, and Roadhog as the meta calls for it. Thankfully, he’s pretty good on all of these heroes and can always call up a DPS to help out if he needs it.
Though the team lost the calm, collected voice of Grant “moth” Espe to the Los Angeles Gladiators, they swiftly replaced him with another Western main support standout. Former Paris Eternal member Brice “FDGoD” Monscavoir is a much more aggressive, risk-taking support, especially on Lúcio. But his skills can be sculpted by the rest of the team.
Park “Viol2t” Min-ki is labeled as a flex support, but Shock fans know that he’s honestly partially a DPS player at this rate. His Zenyatta and Ana plays are as deadly as they are interesting. Viol2t and Lee “Twilight” Joo-seok are both immaculate players, ready for any double flex support metas that might arise over the course of the season.
While some of San Francisco’s standouts stuck around, the team has integrated new talent into its DPS lineup. Former Guangzhou Charge flex DPS Charlie “nero” Zwarg never quite got his chance to shine in the East region. But with a dedicated starting spot and supportive teammates, he could easily take down most of the league.
London Spitfire rookie Lim “Glister” Gil-seong also impressed fans and analysts last year by standing out on an otherwise lackluster team. His talent must have also impressed the Shock, who will be putting faith in him as a hitscan specialist.
Shock staple Kwon “Striker” Nam-joo, who nabbed the 2020 Grand Finals MVP award for a wildly impressive performance, will be back destroying lives and dreams on Tracer this year. Some fans hope to see Sean “ta1yo” Henderson get a chance to move off the bench this season and into a position to show off his flexible, creative talents for the Shock.
Nobody needs to tell anyone that the San Francisco Shock are good. The team has only gotten better by adding new players who are hungry to perform on a two-time championship team. The real challenge to the Shock players in 2021 is sustaining their level of perfection and dominance when faced with competitors who are eager to tear them down.
Multiple teams, like the Los Angeles Gladiators, have mobilized rosters that are aiming straight for the Western crown. Across the ocean, teams like the Shanghai Dragons and Seoul Dynasty remember heartbreaking losses to San Francisco in last year’s Grand Finals. No champion makes it to the top without gaining enemies and the Shock are in the laser sights of every team this year.
Thanks to a solid support and coaching staff, the San Francisco Shock coasted through most teams in the 2020 season. Now that competitors have had time to recover and prepare, the Shock may have to work twice as hard to remain on top. If they make mistakes, teams will be waiting to capitalize on those slip-ups at every single turn.
The San Francisco Shock will face the Los Angeles Gladiators in an opening day California rivalry game on April 16 at 3:30pm CT.