In sports, no matter what, there are great teams and poor teams. For hockey, you have your Pittsburgh Penguins and your Washington Capitals as well as your Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres. For soccer, you have your Barcelona’s and Real Madrid’s as well as your Sunderland’s and so on. But not many teams can claim the same thing that the Shanghai Dragons has gotten this inaugural season of Overwatch League.
The Shanghai Dragons have had a winless season. Not only that but that winless season includes the infamous 40 game losing streak. This losing streak broke the record of consecutive losses in professional sports. To add to the Dragons’ woes, this record was beaten before they were finished with the season. With 29 losses in a row, the Shanghai Dragons beat the Philadelphia 76ers record of 28 as the team with that depressing statistic.
I’m going to quickly go over the Dragons’ season, specifically their key games each stage. They didn’t only play poorly, but they also had a bunch of unlucky roster changes and quitters that I will go over. This is how they managed to be one the worst teams in professional sports history.
There wasn’t much expectation for the Shanghai Dragons as the league started. Their team looked mediocre at best and they predictably started off poor. 0-10 was their record, and the only game that showed sparks of life was a match against the Philadelphia Fusion. Unfortunately, they still lost 3-2.
But, as Stage 1 ended, they realized their team’s issue and signed more players to the roster. These players ended up being the key players that the Dragons would play for the rest of the season, but not without trouble. They announced their signings via Twitter, adding professional players such as recently announced all-star Geguri and all-around players like Ado, Fearless and Sky. While Sky didn’t get much play even after he arrived, the other three players were clearly going to be integrated into the lineup. Fans had hope for the future, but their new players wouldn’t arrive for Stage 2.
This stage ended up being one of their worst. With their new players still not in America yet, their team just purely struggled. They ended up only winning 2 maps in the entire stage and both against struggling teams. Their best player, Undead, was clearly their only player at times. Even then, he wasn’t the consistent kind of player who can carry their team to map wins, such as Carpe or Sayaplayer. To add to their struggles, Undead left back to China for personal reasons and their main coach U4 quitted the team in the middle of their stage. As they limped across the finish line of Stage 2, they were halfway done the season and still winless. Hope finally arrived in the form of the previously mentioned additions to the roster, but at the same time, the Dragons announced that Undead wasn’t coming back.
This was, by far, the best stage for the Dragons. And yet, they still ended up winless. In comparison to last stage’s 2 map wins total, they went up to 9. They took a map off of New York even at the end of the stage, as well as taking the Philadelphia Fusion to yet another map 5. They still weren’t great, but they showed a lot more fight than the previous two stages combined. Their issues mainly stemmed from the new integration of the Korean players into a Chinese team. This wasn’t helped by the poor performances of their support line: Altering and Freefeel. Yet things were looking up for the Dragons, with their team finally starting to gel together and getting map wins off of good teams. They had to win at least one game in Stage 4, right?
Everything was looking good, but then the meta change happened and Brigette was introduced. While we all knew that this would cause trouble for all teams in the league, it hurts to watch their first game against the Fuel in Stage 4. It was the equivalent to watching someone hit their head against the wall until they pass out. The wall, in this case, was Mickie and his use of the new hero Brigitte. As soon as they lost that match, every match where Brigitte was introduced against them led to their loss. They continued to play the same strategies that they did in Stage 3, and that just didn’t work at all. By the time they finally realized how to play around her, the season was over and they didn’t win a single match.
What now for the Dragons?
While this season was a very sad one for Dragons fans, there is still hope. The fanbase of the Dragons was quickly growing with their losing streak; everyone wanting them to win their first game. While their first win didn’t happen in the first season, there were games where the crowd inside the Blizzard Arena would go crazy when Shanghai played well. Even when they didn’t, the fans always had their back, and they ended the season more disappointed than sad. Even then, there is a strong case for calling the Seoul Dynasty more of a disappointing team than the Dragons, but being winless will give you that title.
When I mentioned at the start of this article that Shanghai got something many teams didn’t, I wasn’t only referencing their record losing streak. I was also mentioning their amazing and dedicated fanbase. As the casters themselves said on Watchpoint, the competitive Overwatch scene in Korea didn’t have much of a fanbase for the poor teams. There was a bigger rise in fans for the Overwatch League for the poorer teams, but none like the Dragons. They grew into a one-of-a-kind fan favourite, and while this didn’t lead to a win, it definitely led to some lifelong fans. Sign me up for next season, because I will watch every Shanghai game awaiting for their first ever win. I have complete confidence they will get it.