After weeks on hiatus, we finally got back on track with OWL Season 3 and got our first look at the Chinese teams, as well as the overall return of the Pacific squads that we hadn't seen since Week 1.
With Sombra, Soldier: 76, Winston, and Lucio out of rotation as the banned heroes, most teams gravitated towards static double shield Orisa and Sigma compositions with Mei, Tracer, and Hanzo used as the most consistent damage dealers alongside Ana, Brigitte, and Zenyatta in the healing department.
In case you missed any of the action, here's the rundown of the entire Week 8 set of matches.
(Credit: Overwatch League)
Guanzhou Charge 0-3 Shanghai Dragons
In what ended up being a pretty one-sided affair, the revamped Dragons squad made quick work of a Charge that's mostly comprised by players that were already in the squad since last year, with the addition of flex tank Nam "Cr0ng" Ki-cheol and Spanish support Alberto "neptuNo" González.
For Shanghai, the long-awaited presentation of DPS mega-star Byungsun "Fleta" Kim paid dividends, as his rarely seen Tracer play alongside consistent usage of Mei ice walls completely outclassed Guangzhou.
Fleta wasn't the only fresh face the Dragons presented, with DPS Lee "Lip" Jae-won, tanks Seo "Stand1" Ji-won, Kang "Void" Jung-woo, and support Lee Jae-Gon all making their debuts, showing incredibly good cohesion, especially both tanks, setting up easy kills with the Orisa halt and Sigma's rock combo.
Tons to talk about with the DPS in that match, but shouts to the Shanghai tankline of Stand1 and @Void_OW for a pretty brutal Orisa/Sigma— BackpackMatt 🦉 (@MattMersel) March 28, 2020
Void hogged the kill feed but with an Orisa like that and Fleta's Mei setting you up... easy win for these guys pic.twitter.com/5kbZuAUw7w
The big Achilles heel for Charge was the overreliance on Jungwoo "Happy" Lee's prowess as a hitscan player - the Widowmaker pick in Route 66 worked for a big portion of the Guangzhou attack, recording 11 final blows, however, during the defence he didn't garner a single one, and when he decided to match Lip on the Hanzo, he was outshone in part due to the lack of synergy with his tank duo against Shanghai's.
Chengdu Hunters 2-3 Hangzhou Spark
In a five map thriller that included a reverse sweep, the Spark managed to barely edge out the classic off-meta, wacky, hyper-aggressive Chengdu style of play.
With the signings of Chinese prodigy and former Miraculous Youngster player, Xin "Leave" Huang, and flex support Chengzhi "Molly" He, the Hunters had the upper hand during the first half.
Hu "Jinmu" Yi's crazy antics on Pharah netted incredible results, taking both Ilios and Dorado, with the latter one being a dominant full hold that made Hangzhou seem like an uncoordinated, lifeless, and extremely frightened squad during their attack.
As it's often the case with a match involving the Chengdu Hunters, the opposition managed to adapt and took Numbani with relative ease and force a tiebreaker map with a very narrow win on Paris.
The Hangzhou squad surprised everyone with a strange substitution, adding flex DPS Sanghyun "SASIN" Song as their new off-tank for Oasis, in what turned out to be a positive change, as they managed to keep Leave in check, with SASIN eating two pulse bombs on the deciding round.
Toronto Defiant 3-1 Boston Uprising
The Canadian squad was the clear favourite, and although they stumbled on the third map, Defiant didn't struggle to secure a win against a Boston roster that's once again shaping up to be a bottom of the barrel type of side.
With controversy surrounding Uprising's flex tank Mouffin, who was accused of sexual misconduct, Boston had to make use of Dutch backup tank Thomas "brussen" Brussen for the first time in the season, managing to hold is own in a very lacklustre performance from the Uprising.
The first two maps when as well as you'd expect for them, failing to secure a point on either of them with DPS Min "Jerry" Tae-Hui trying his hardest to carry the team, recording 17 finals blow, equalling the tally the rest of his teammates amassed in total.
Despite not adapting properly for the third map, the damage dealers of Toronto - Lane "Surefour" Roberts and Brady "Agilities" Girardi - showed up big time on Hanamura, taking advantage of dreadful miscommunications from Boston's backline throughout the entire series.
I hate singling people out but myunbong... I haven't seen trances that bad in a while— BackpackMatt 🦉 (@MattMersel) March 28, 2020
even taking into account all crazy outliers, he now has the second lowest healing per transcendence in 2020
Rapel is the only one below him and has a quarter of the time played pic.twitter.com/WvIeS1tpMR
Los Angeles Valiant 0-3 Seoul Dynasty
You could feel the excitement from the Overwatch community when it was time for Seoul to take the virtual stage.
The only Korean based franchise has failed to live up to expectations two seasons in a row and decided to spend big in the offseason, signing three core members of London Spitfire's Season 1 championship squad - Junyoung "Profit" Park, Jaehui "Gesture" Hong, and Seungtae "Bdosin" Choi.
They did not disappoint.
Dismantling an LA side that only showed prominent signs of life on Eichenwalde, Profit and his damage-dealing partner Dongeon "Fits" Kim, ran a train over the Valiant, managing 67 total final blows between them against 66 from the entire opposition.
San Francisco Shock 1-3 Los Angeles Gladiators
In what was the first of many upsets, the SoCal team took the win against NorCal rivals and current OWL champions.
Gladiators posed a serious threat on paper with a star-studded lineup, and they weren't messing around for the first half of the match, with a spotless exhibition on Route 66, full holding the champions with tank duo of Minseok "OGE" Son and Indy "Space" Halpern leading the charge.
The Shock raised eyebrows with the lineup they presented, with rookie Seonchang "ANS" Lee seeing playtime and 2019 MVP winner Jay "Sinatraa" Won nowhere to be seen.
Sinatraa would eventually be brought into the mix to fill the flex tank position, looking for the synergy between him and main tank Matthew "Super" DeLisi, working with a map win and a draw, but it was too little too late when it came to breaking Gladiators momentum, closing the series with a carry level performance from Chris "MirroR" Trinh on the Doomfist.
Chengdu Hunters 3-0 Shanghai Dragons
After looking like a cohesive unit against Charge, Shanghai decided to play the scrappy game Chengdu is always known for by swapping Stand1, Fleta, and Lip for their Control map, bringing in Jinhyeok "DDing" Yang, Minseong "diem" Bae, and Euiseok "Fearless" Lee,
The momentum gain from the Hunters was impossible to stop even when the Dragons reverted to the lineup that swept Charge.
A big part of it simply was getting outperformed mechanically, with no solution to the Jinmu problem paired with the overall aggressiveness of the Hunters style, Shanghai got overwhelmed and vanished from the set.
Huangzhou Spark 2-3 Guangzhou Charge
On paper, a five map set is always indicative of a good, nailbiter of a match. In this case, it only served to prolonge a sloppy, excruciating mess that everyone just wanted to see the end of.
Spark's problems came to light as it's clear -just like last year- there's not a difference-maker on the team outside Qiulin "Guxue" Xu's Winston or Hojin "iDK Park's Lucio. With both heroes banned, Huangzhou just looked like a bland forgettable team.
Charge saw their tank line take matters into their hand, with both Seungpyo "Rio" Oh and Nam "Cr0ng" Ki-cheol dominating the neutral game with more consistency.
Florida Mayhem 0-3 Atlanta Reign
An expected result and complete wash in favour of the Reign. Florida Mayhem continues to scratch the bottom of the barrel despite very interesting individual talent.
Thoroughly outpaced by Atlanta in every role, the big standouts were Kim "Edison" Tae-Hoon, Andrej "babybay" Francisty, and Petja "Masaa" Kantanen. Edison, in particular, had a phenomenal Route 66, claiming 21 final blows and preventing Mayhem from putting themselves on the board.
As for Florida, there are signs of hope with former Runaway star Kim "Yaki" Jun-ki looking competent even in defeat, going toe-to-toe against Edison on the Tracer one vs one.
Seoul Dynasty 3-0 Los Angeles Gladiators
The final score doesn't tell the whole story of the match. Seoul took the first half with supreme ease, partially thanks to the Gladiators reluctance in swapping from a Doomfist, Reinhardt, and Zarya composition that was getting no value.
It was until Eichenwalde came along that any semblance of competitiveness was seen from the Gladiators, who still only managed a draw when everything was going in favour for them - but come Volksaya, a simple positional error from OGE was enough for Seoul to capitalise and run away with the series.
Fits capped off his impressive weekend with 77 final blows in just four maps, getting close to breaking Dynasty's record of most final blows in a single match.
It's held by him too.
Los Angeles Valiant 3-1 San Francisco Shock
Without a doubt the biggest upset of Week 8. San Francisco got stunned by a very scrappy Valiant side that saw the likes of Kai "KSP" Collins or Caleb "McGravy" McGarvey rose to the occasion in a big way. 80 final blows for the British damage dealer meant he tied the Valiant's record held by Terence "SoOn" Tarlier since 2018.
Issues with Shock's lineup continued as they tried to rotate Sinatraa from damage to tank, looking to patch up Hyobin "ChoiHyoBin" Choi's woeful display as Zarya and Wrecking Ball, prompting a whole new set of problems.
A lot of fans correctly pointed at the inclusion of Minho "Architect" Park in the healer department, replacing World Cup winner Grant "Moth" Espe, as another misuse of the vast roster Shock possesses.
Dongjun "Rascal" Kim had a fringe appearance and was non-impactful, fueling rumours about his possible departure from the team.
It'll be interesting to see how the teams continue to develop when the League returns next week with a whole new set of bans.
Check out OWL's YouTube channel for the full VOD's and highlights of every match.