Spare a thought for the Overwatch League players this week. Bamboozled and led astray by last week’s upsets, they are wandering around the maps with no regard for the fact that, and I cannot stress this enough, you have to stand on the point in Overwatch to win the game.
It doesn’t matter what map type we’re talking about, they are all about objectives and not kills. Please, competitors. I know you are under a lot of pressure. But you are causing me so much angst by forgetting this and I would appreciate it if you would stop.
Some Overwatch League fans have been quick to call “C9” ever since the term was coined. It’s named for the pre OWL-team Cloud 9 (who now own the London Spitfire) who unnecessarily stepped off the objective three separate times in a single match, each time losing the game despite winning the fight.
Usually, the comparisons are a little unfair. It’s easy for teams to be forced away from the point by crowd control abilities, or for members to miscommunicate in the heat of the moment about who’s babysitting the objective and who’s chasing kills. This week, though, there were some calamities.
The Shanghai Dragons’ Jin “Youngjin” Youngjin (I do like players who just use their names as their in-game tags, throwing everyone’s style guides into disarray) was both the first and the most egregious, leaving the payload when the team was deep into overtime, meaning just a second was enough to end the map.
The likely culprit here is the long pause that the payload has at that gate, tricking Youngjin into thinking it would be following behind him. People who have watched from his point of view also suggest that he also may have tunnel-visioned onto a critical-health member of his team and rushed to help, forgetting that his job was to anything but that. It seems unlikely that the Dragons would have won the game anyway, but, ah, they do still know how to break my heart.
Youngjin’s curse spread, though. The Houston Outlaws were one team that used this sudden spread of spatial unawareness to their advantage in their game against the Florida Mayhem. The best part of these is always how they sneak up on everybody, like here when the casters predict a “slower attack” and the way that the observers are totally focused on the action, meaning you can barely tell that it was the Sombra player Dante “Danteh” Cruz standing alone on the point when the game abruptly ends.
The Toronto Defiant also got carried away on one of their Hollywood attacks, but still managed to defeat the Boston Uprising. That's the second time that Boston have fallen to a team playing a member they've previously traded away; first it was the Shanghai Dragons and Noh “Gamsu” Youngjin, and this time it was the turn of Park “Neko” Sehyeon.
Neko also contributed to the trash talk being celebrated by some this week. On one hand, his seemed like creative and harmless poking fun, as he dropped the in-game spray of his former team after every fight, as if to say ‘I was one of you once.’ On the other hand, examples like the Atlanta Reign’s Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman screaming an insult about an opposing player while on stage seemed less sporting.
There's a way for rivalries to work, and the League courted that excellently this week by highlighting the mutual inspiration, friendship, and desire to triumph over one another between opposing healers Ryu “Ryujehong” Jehong and Bang “Jjonak” Sunghyeon. But with so many players being disciplined for unwelcoming or actively bigoted behaviour, it seems unlikely that this week's trend of "banter" will be able to continue without crossing the line, and if I had to guess, it will be sooner rather than later.
This is especially true when a bit of back and forth before a match is conflated with things like teabagging. Caster Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles might think that vocal dislike of the practice has dropped off because people who were talking about it aren’t “real fans,” but he seems to be looking in the wrong places. In the fan circles that I run in, I pretty much only see people talking about how it makes them uncomfortable.
And, come on. There are a million better ways to have fun and show off without pretending to shove your junk in your opponent's face. Have a little imagination. I'm sure Neko will help you out.
Enough of that, though: let’s get back to backcapping. This one by Grant “Moth” Espe might not have secured the map win for the San Francisco Shock, but his team did still manage to win out over the Washington Justice. Spare a thought, then, for their damage dealing specialist Chon “Ado” Gihyeon, the former Dragons player who still remains winless.
Those same sympathies go out to the Los Angeles Valiant, who continued their losing streak this week and are the first team to be completely unable to reach the stage playoffs. At the other end of the table, the New York Excelsior and the Vancouver Titans remain the only two unbeaten teams in the League, and are increasingly looking like the ones who might face off in the eventual stage one finals.
In order to sustain their win streak, the Titans will have to beat the Paris Eternal this week. Though the Eternal took a somewhat surprising 0-4 loss against the Atlanta Reign this week, they’ve looked like a strong team up until then, so it should be an exciting match. They’ll also face off against the Chengdu Hunters, who are fast becoming a fan favourite thanks to their off-meta strategies, even if they don’t seem to be especially effective.
The Excelsior will be looking to beat the Shock, and the Dragons will want to turn around this week’s loss against the Dallas Fuel, because for reasons I do not understand, the two teams will be meeting again this week. Hopefully this time Youngjin won’t go wandering off.
Until then, here’s the only acceptable way to accidentally leave the point: by having almost your entire team forcibly dragged into the well by Austin “Muma” Wilmot’s Orisa play.