Overwatch
Overwatch
World

Overwatch League: Week One Recap

It's even more popular than anticipated.
Overwatch League: Week One Recap
Unless you’ve been completely unplugged for the last couple of weeks, you’re probably aware that the inaugural season of Overwatch League has begun. From January 10 through 13, all twelve teams played two games each in front of cheering fans and anxious media at the gorgeous Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California. In what will undoubtedly go down as one of the smoothest launches of any esports league, we were treated to the highest quality of professional Overwatch the world has ever seen. After launch-week madness had concluded, the Los Angeles Valiant (who didn’t drop one map), Seoul Dynasty, London Spitfire, and New York Excelsior came out undefeated. On the other side of the fence, the Houston Outlaws, Florida Mayhem, Shanghai Dragons, and, surprisingly, the Dallas Fuel, were all unable to secure a set win, starting their Overwatch League journeys at 0-2. The rest of the teams, including the much-anticipated Philadelphia Fusion, came out with a win and a loss.

Best Match

Blizzard knew what they were doing when they chose to have the Dallas Fuel and Seoul Dynasty close out day one. It’s the one match everyone was waiting for between two rosters that have plenty of history together. For Dallas, there’s Team Envy – the only Western team to win an Apex tournament in South Korea, and Overwatch Contenders Season One champions. Then you have Seoul, built from one of the most feared South Korean teams of all time – Lunatic-Hai. It was the marquee matchup for Overwatch League, and it delivered. It all started on Junkertown, where Dallas gave their American audience a glimpse of hope. The Fuel came out with an immediate Roadhog hook off an Orisa Halt!, getting a kill on Jin-Hyuk “Miro” Gong, and setting the pace for the rest of the map. Everything seemed to snowball in favor of Dallas, who played with confidence, creativity, and precision. Timo “Taimou” Kettunen was particularly impressive on Roadhog, keeping his hook accuracy near 60% and always coming up clutch with ultimates. Dallas would hold Seoul to two points, taking the crucial first map away from the South Koreans. [caption id="attachment_100240" align="aligncenter" width="602"]Timo "Taimou" Kettunen Timo "Taimou" Kettunen (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)[/caption] The Fuel bottled up some of that lightning from Junkertown, because the next map, Temple of Anubis, started out in much the same way. In one of the fastest point B captures of the week (and probably ever), Dallas walked away with 6:14 left on the clock after casually putting down any resistance by the Dynasty. Things got very tense, very fast, however. Riding on the back of Kim “Fleta” Byung-Sun’s brilliant DPS display on Widowmaker and Genji, Seoul managed to keep pace with Dallas, pushing Anubis to four points a piece in extra rounds before coming out on top for a final score of six to five. After dropping Ilios unceremoniously, Dallas headed to the final map, Numbani, needing something to desperately go their way. Things were looking up after they pushed the payload for three points, but Seoul answered right back, securing the set victory with a draw. Probably not the cleanest 2-1 victory you’ll ever see, but it was a bit poetic seeing these two specific rosters ending things the way they did.

MVP

Without a doubt, the most valuable player coming out of week one was also the deadliest Widowmaker – Fleta from the Seoul Dynasty. He landed impossible shots from ridiculous angles against both the Dallas Fuel and the Los Angeles Gladiators. No other player kept the pace that Fleta did by a longshot. What’s most impressive, though, is how Widowmaker works right now in relation to what Fleta is able to accomplish with her. [caption id="attachment_100239" align="aligncenter" width="601"]Seoul Dynasty Seoul Dynasty enter the arena (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)[/caption] There’s no question that Widowmaker’s value is through the roof right now in the Mercy meta. Getting those headshots keeps Mercy’s res timer going, but if you aren’t consistent, it can sometimes be difficult to build a push off of those kills. Well, Fleta didn’t have to worry about that. According to Winston’s Lab, Fleta racked up an absurd 39.8 PTK, or “Percentage of Team’s Kills”, against the Los Angeles Gladiators with 22 minutes on Widow. To say he’s setting the bar high for other DPS players is a massive understatement.

Unsung Hero

Flexibility is going to be important for every team as the season progresses. As some have said, conventional roles will likely go out the window for Overwatch League since teams will have their pick of specialists for every map. For Dallas, Jonathan “HarryHook” Tejedor Rua is more than just a flex player – he’s reliable on a multitude of heroes. From Bastion to Lucio and Soldier to Zenyatta, HarryHook represents the heart and soul of the Dallas Fuel, much like he did for Team Envy before. He might not get all the flashy kills, but he’s always in the thick of it, guiding his team to victory. If week one is any indicator, we’ve barely seen the surface of his deep hero pool and expansive game sense.