I know, how can I state that the bottom mid-table team of the Seoul Dynasty is the most disappointing team in the Overwatch League? Surely either the Dallas Fuel or the Shanghai Dragons deserve that title. Well, I hold the opinion that the team that is the worst to support isn’t the worst team in the league, it is the most mediocre. With both Dallas and Shanghai, there are very reasonable excuses for why they couldn’t play up to their fans expectations. But the Dynasty? They consistently held themselves back and let down their fans every stage.
Now, I am not saying that these players are bad. The players on the Dynasty are clearly great players, but their coaching and lack of a consistent strategy led to a disappointing season by anyone’s standards. This team was touted to be the best team in the league before the league started. But they ended up never reaching a single playoff game. How did it all go wrong? Let’s start at the beginning…
Stage 1 (January 10 – February 10)
Going into the league, this team was poised to be the frontrunners alongside the other two Korean rosters of the New York Excelsior and the London Spitfire. How could they not be? They had one of the faces of Overwatch as their team captain: Ryujehong. As one of the older players in the league, this experience matched with the pure talent of their roster had to lead to playoff contention. And everything shown in the first stage held that belief. They played very well off the bat, winning 7 out of their first 10 games. Fleta was proving himself as one of the best attackers in the league, along with the good team coordination.
Very unluckily for them though, the Stage 1 playoffs weren’t the same as later on in the year. At this time, the stage playoffs only qualified the top three teams rather than the top four. Seoul was that fourth team; falling under the Excelsior, Spitfire and the Outlaws. But they could only get better from here, right? They only missed out on these playoffs with a couple mistakes.
Stage 2 (February 21 – March 25)
Alas, they started to slip up. While the last stage was very close, this stage led them to miss the playoffs by a larger margin. With an even stage of five wins and five losses, they weren’t bad. But this was supposed to be the best team in the league. As time went on, the team started to look more and more disjointed. As pointed out by the Watchpoint analysts early on, the team didn’t have a style. They were neither an attack focused nor a defense focused team. Their strategies would vary differently from game to game, and Stage 2 was the start of parity becoming very visible in the league.
Needless to say, a five-win stage led them to miss the playoffs yet again to New York and London, with Philadelphia making it in the third spot. They needed to improve and were only a couple changes away from getting that wanted playoff spot.
Stage 3 (April 4 – May 6)
Those changes that the fans wanted didn’t seem to happen in Stage 3 either. While they were enthusiastic to change their ways, they ended up with a very similar stage to Stage 2. Even their record stayed the same, with a mediocre five wins and five losses. Fleta seemed to have become less flashy, and Ryujehong was being focused like crazy. Their tank duo never seemed to be the same two players throughout the stage, which eventually led to the infamous change of Ryujehong from support to the main tank. While it looked like it was working for a match or two, the experiment didn’t hold over time. With the changes Stage 4 were bringing, they knew that this was a temporary change.
They didn’t make the stage playoffs for the third time in a row, but they still had a good chance for both Stage 4 and the overall playoffs. They just had to do well in Stage 4.
Stage 4 (May 16 – June 17)
Honestly, I don’t think even their fans expected them to make it into the Stage 4 playoffs for one reason: their trouble with adapting to other teams. While they played a good game, people came into their matches knowing what to expect from the players. Another key quote I remember the Watchpoint team saying was that their team looked like 6 grandmasters in quick play with voice chat off. They had the skill and a decent amount of coordination, but just not enough for the league. They ended the final stage with a record of three wins and seven losses; their worst stage. This led to them being knocked out of both the stage playoffs and the overall playoffs, ending in eighth place.
Why are the Dynasty the most disappointing team?
Many factors. The key factor has to be their rankings in most people’s predictions before the league started. This was supposed to be the top tier team that all teams had to prepare against, but instead became a bit of a joke. While they still held a decent record where they won more games than they lost, they just purely didn’t have the strategy and teamwork that was needed to get into the playoffs.
But how can they be more disappointing than the Fuel or the Dragons? Well, the Fuel (unlike the Dynasty) had a very good Stage 4, where they made it into the playoffs via map differential. I know the easy counter to that point was that if the four-team playoff format was incorporated from the start, Seoul would have made it into the Stage 1 playoffs in the 4th seed. But if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, as they say. Don’t get me wrong about Shanghai either, they had a very disappointing season as well. But they were expected to have a very poor season, as the talent they had just weren’t good from the start. Nobody expected them to be winless, but everybody expected them to be a bottom tier team.
To finish off this team focused article, I think the Seoul fans deserved better. Not as much as the Dragons fans did, but they deserved almost as much. There is nothing worse than having reasonable hope for a team and see poor management and poor teamwork be their downfall (I know personally, I’m a Sens and a Southampton fan). But this also means that your team is still only a few changes away from being a top-tier team. Next season will be their proving ground, and I personally can’t wait.