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The Overwatch league is a push into establishing a structured esports league for Overwatch. Blizzard first announced the Overwatch League at Blizzcon 2016 and followed it up with almost a year of planning. The gap left in Overwatch esports during this time left a lot of dismayed fans. But the community’s response to the Opening day of Overwatch League has been nothing short of impressive. With over 400,000 fans tuning into Twitch for the first day, one can definitely call the League a success.
The Overwatch League consists of twelve teams in its first season. Slated for expansion in subsequent seasons, the League bears a strong tilt towards North American teams. There are nine teams from North America, One from Europe, One from South Korea and finally a Chinese team from Shanghai to finish the lineup. Each team is allowed a maximum of twelve players, with teams being allowed to substitute players after each map. The Overwatch League has seen investments from several non-endemic to esports investors such as the Kroenke family, Robert Kraft, Hersh Interactive amongst others. At the same time, we have some well-known esports organizations involved in the regular handling of the teams. EnVyUs, Misfits, Immortals, and Cloud9 are some of the most well-known esports organizations with rosters in multiple titles.
The Overwatch League started on January 10th, 2018 and will continue through August 2018. The league comprises four stages, each stage having five weeks of matches. The top three of each stage will receive prize money, along with show matches on the last Saturday of each stage. These so-called ‘title matches’ will be held on the last Saturday of each stage and feature the best players fighting for a prize money.
We are into Week 4 of Stage 1 with teams closing the gap between them and the top of the table.The last week saw all three Korean teams take a hit and lose a series each. It was a week where the gap between the western and the Korean teams has closed. Languishing at the bottom of the table is Shanghai Dragons. Dallas barely won their first series but are still a long way from the top of the league.
The Overwatch League will also have a Player Transfer Window which commences from the day following the last day of Stage 1 (February 11, 2018) and will close one day before the start of Stage 3 ( April 3, 2018).
You can check out more information on the official website at Overwatchleague.com.
Credit to Liquipedia
Regular Season – January 10th – June 16th, 2018
- Matches in the Atlantic and Pacific Divisions will play out live from the Blizzard Arena each Wednesday through Saturday. Though the season is divided into four stages, wins and losses will count towards teams’ full-season records and all-important seeding for the postseason. On the last Saturday of each stage, the top teams will compete for hefty bonuses and the title of stage winner.
- Stage 1 – January 10th – February 10th, 2018 
- Stage 2 – February 21st – March 24th, 2018
- Stage 3 – April 4th – May 5th, 2018
- Stage 4 – May 16th – June 16th, 2018
- All matches in the Regular Season will consist of four-map sets
- Each Stage of the Regular Season will have its own 8 map pool.
- The top team in each Division, and the next top 4 finishers from the entire league, advance to the Championship Playoffs in July.
New York Excelsior vs San Francisco Shock
New York Excelsior
New York Excelsior Roster:
New York Excelsior is currently second in the Stage 2 standings. They are just behind Seoul Dynasty who are yet to lose a single match so far. The New York Excelsior, however, has also played some of their matches with Mano playing as a support on the team. Ark has a wrist injury which might take some time to get him back in the game.
The wrist injury for Ark definitely is a disappointing one as he is one of their best players. His playstyle on the support heroes is extremely versatile and he focuses more on enabling his teammates rather than providing damage. With Jjonak comprising the other half of the support duo, there is a definite synergy within the support backlines. Jjonak provides the damage from the backlines, while Ark is the healer on the roster.
Of course, there is so much talent in the support lineup that the opponent DPS often waste a lot of time in trying to eliminate these two players. This provides a lot of time and space for the rest of the team as they are much more efficient in their playstyle. The support lineup often receives a lot help from Saebyeolbe. His tracer play style is significantly different from that of the other Tracers in the League. He constantly challenges the opposing Tracer which forces them to have a 1v1 duel. Most of the times, this results in Saebyeolbe being able to eliminate the enemy Tracer. This frees up the NYXL support from the pressure and also leaves Saebyeolbe free to play his own game. It creates a huge advantage for New York Excelsior as they are able to then apply tremendous amounts of pressure on the enemy backlines.
Helped by the Discord orb and the efficient dive by Libero and Pine; NYXL often win team fights just because of Saebyeolbe’s playstyle. The other DPS on the team are Pine and Libero. Pine is mostly seen as a specialist player who is brought on the roster only on certain maps. With Pine, NYXL feel extremely pressured to play aggressively as a team. He requires a lot of resources, but he is a high-risk high reward type of player. We have all seen several clips of Pine single-handedly being able to demolish opponents.
New York Excelsior is owned by Jeff Wilpon, COO of New York Mets. They were the finalists during Stage 1 Title matches, which they eventually lost to London Spitfire.
San Francisco Shock
San Francisco Shock is owned by Andy Miller, the Chairman and Founder of NRG esports. Coming from an endemic background, a lot more was expected from the Shock. They have some really well-known names on the team but have not been utilising them to the full extent.
San Francisco Shock has a seven-man lineup which includes multiple Flex/DPS roles. The Shock ended 9th in Stage 1, which was a letdown for the team considering how some of their matches have gone down. The San Francisco Shock seems to be extremely strong, but then they end losing out on crucial fights towards the end of the timer. We have seen several maps where San Francisco would hold down the opponents several times but always fail in the last push. It has become a recurring playstyle for them where teams are constantly able to finish the map in the final and last push.
San Francisco Shock surprisingly has provided very less playtime for IDDQD. The world famous Mccree has been on the bench for most of the time of the SF Shock playtime. The team has been using Danteh and Babybay as their primary DPS. While they have been playing at a decent level, the San Francisco seems very rigid in their approach to the game. Babybay is well known for his Widowmaker play, however, he has had a difficult time in their recent matches. He was constantly being outmatched by Los Angeles Valiant Kariv on the widowmaker.
As a team, it seems that San Francisco seems underwhelming in their approach to the game. There are times when they are overly reliant on Babybay’s Widowmaker and other times would see them crumble as a team. It will be interesting to see how they perform against one of the best teams in the League.
There is no doubt that New York Excelsior is the better team in this match-up. The New York team has gone from strength to strength, despite using Mano as a substitute support player on the roster. The NYXL team has been making big changes to certain playstyles. This will help them present a surprise playstyle to their opponents.
Saebyeolbe is focussing more on damaging the tanks and the backlines for the opponents. However, it also means that he has been neglecting to peel for his own supports. This is a conscious decision for the team which brings about a different playstyle for the team. This will help them in subsequent matches where they face off against stronger teams.
San Francisco Shock has their work cut out for them as they come into this match. It is going to be a tall order for the Shock, but they will be trying their best to enable Babybay who remains the best DPS on the team.
We don’t expect San Francisco Shock to win this match and recommend a big bet on New York Excelsior.