Overwatch League Week 4 Recap: Chengdu and Shanghai go all-out

Overwatch League Chengdu Hunters Shanghai Dragons

The fourth and penultimate week of Overwatch League’s first stage is over. There were plenty of interesting matches this week, from top-tier matchups to more underrated ones. All of these matches showed stage playoff implications, whether for getting in or falling out.

Up to this point, the only teams that had solidified their spot in the playoffs were the top two teams in the league: the unbeaten New York Excelsior and the Vancouver Titans. Meanwhile, the only team that was eliminated was the poor Los Angeles Valiant, which was trying to avoid a win-less stage one. The rest of the teams in-between were all viable to make it into playoffs with their games remaining. It was this week that led to more teams being officially eliminated, but it also led to one more confirmed playoff berth for stage one.

This recap series I’ve been doing is going to change slightly from now on, to focus on the most entertaining games of the week. These games (which I will link) will be highlighted, and I will describe the teams’ results and how it will affect them in the future. Near the end of the article, I’ll mention the rest of the teams and their performances, whether they’re trending up or not. I’m going to try to limit the games in this recap to two or three.

When people looked at this week, one day stood out: day two. New York trying to get the perfect stage, Vancouver trying to cement their dominance, and the Dallas/Shanghai rematch. However, we’re looking at the two best matches today, and neither was from day two. Let’s with the most entertaining and surprisingly close game of the week.

Vancouver Titans vs. Chengdu Hunters

This was the most David-versus-Goliath game of the season according to all analysts and fans. The dominant Titans team that has mastered this meta versus the scrappy underdogs that refused to play it. The second-ranked team in the league versus a team consistently in the bottom five. But this game was the closest game I’ve seen in the league, only matched by another game that happened on the same day.

Maps 1 & 2

The match started with what people expected, a map victory on Control to the Titans. Sang-beom “Bumper” Park continued his aggressive play on Reinhardt, sweeping through the Hunters’ Wrecking Ball-focused compositions. But when the next map, Hollywood, came around, the Hunters turned it around. They brought in Lo “Baconjack” Tzu-Heng and played a weird dive composition on defense involving the Wrecking Ball and D.Va. Their great teamwork ended up working out, holding a solid defense and winning the map to tie the series. Already, this confused casters and analysts. The Hunters’ last two matches were dominant losses, a 4-0 loss to the Dragons and a 3-1 loss to the Defiant. They had moments of brilliance, but they were going to get outclassed by the Titans, right? There’s no way they could win.

Maps 3 & 4

Then the third map came in, Temple of Anubis. The Hunters managed to hold second point on defense and got both on their attack to be 2-1 up in the series. Chengdu was about to do what no team has done so far: beat the Titans. One of the standout moments of this entire series was something the Hunters weren’t known for: playing the three-tank, three-support composition. Their main tank player Wei “jiqiren” Yansong is still in China waiting for his visa, leaving Ding “Ameng” Menghan to fill that role. It looked like Ameng wasn’t used to Reinhardt, but this match was his best match of the season. He wasn’t only standing up to Bumper’s aggression; he was outplaying him. This was apparent in their fourth map, Route 66. They did end up losing an extremely close map, but Ameng was clearly holding up to Bumper.

Tiebreaker and result

This led to a map five that was a pretty one-sided loss for the Hunters, leading to Vancouver continuing their winning streak. But the game was insanely close for something people wrote off as an easy Vancouver win. Chengdu took them to the fifth map, showing cracks in the Titans’ confidence besides their winning streak. If you have time to only watch one Overwatch League game from this week, watch this one. It truly had everything.

However, the second best match of the week happened on the same day, just two matches earlier.

London Spitfire vs. Shanghai Dragons

On one hand, people did expect this game to be close in comparison to the Vancouver/Chengdu match. On the other hand, these teams could not have started the season with different expectations. London is the former champion, winning the inaugural season in convincing fashion. Shanghai was the win-less team, with most of its old roster being exiled and reforming into something relatively new. Yet, these teams are pretty close in the standings, with London having the better chance to make the playoffs for stage one. The Dragons had already won their first ever match, but London will always be a tough opponent.

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Maps 1 & 2

This game started off in a familiar way, with London dominating on Control to get the first map convincingly over Shanghai. It was clear that Jae-hee “Gesture” Hong wasn’t as comfortable on Reinhardt as other tanks. But London’s teamwork was obviously more coordinated and experienced than that of Shanghai. The second map was also not very close, but it was now Shanghai looking comfortable, pushing cart all the way and full holding London. One of the catalysts to this hold was Jin-hyeok “DDing” Yang, dominating on Sombra along with great Reinhardt play from Young-jin “Gamsu” Noh.

Maps 3 & 4

Map three was Temple of Anubis, where London seemed to get its game back and completely shut down Shanghai on both attack and defense. Their attack wasn’t amazing, but their defense was a comfortable full hold. One of the standout players on London was Seung-tae “Bdosin” Choi, always seeming to be on top of the enemy supports. But then, another swing of the pendulum and Shanghai was dominant once again. For the second time in the match, they pushed the cart all the way to the end before full holding London. DDing and Gamsu once again looked amazing, coordinating perfectly. Plus, Shanghai performed one of the biggest back-caps in Overwatch League history on Route 66.

Tiebreaker and result

This led us to another map five: Ilios. Shanghai started off weak, losing the first map, but the next two maps were as close as could be. All maps were scrappy and fun to watch, with the first two having proper DPS heroes and intense moments. The last map ended up going to overtime, with the counter above 99% to 99%. But in the end, Gamsu blocked a bomb and landed a charge that led to a won game. The Shanghai Dragons finally won a five-map series, against a formidable and hungry opponent.

London now has to win its last match to have a shot to make it into playoffs without looking into map differential. Shanghai is looking scary going into stage two, already improving on last season.

Rest of the league

In other news, the Valiant lost both matches this week to cement their 0-7 record in this season so far. Shanghai lost their rematch against the Fuel, putting Dallas in a good spot to make playoffs. The Toronto Defiant won both matches this week to be the third team to clinch a playoff spot. And last but not least, the Los Angeles Gladiators won an important match against the Guangzhou Charge. That loss put the Charge in risk of falling out of a playoff spot in the league.

The teams that were officially eliminated from the stage playoffs this week were the Gladiators, the Spark, the Dragons, the Hunters, the Mayhem, the Justice, and the aforementioned Valiant.

The playoffs are almost here, with the stakes rising. Interested in the previous weeks? Be sure to follow the recaps, with Week 3 being the most recent.


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