Let’s be honest, coming into this game, on paper, we all feel like the Seoul Dynasty should destroy the San Francisco Shock….right?! Well if Valiant showed the OWL world anything Wednesday, it’s that the Dynasty has an exploitable Achilles’ Heel. Seoul’s Support play is severely lacking as of late. I’m not sure if this is the result of attempting to change things up against London, or just that the rest of the League has caught on to how Seoul plays. If any player can take advantage of the seemingly crumbling Support players on Seoul, it would be San Francisco’s own Sleepy. Did Seoul rebound? Did their communication issues continue? Were the SF Shock able to quiet the Dynasty dreams of reigning supreme? Seoul needed to win all four maps to keep their Title Match hopes alive. Would they be able to do it, or would San Francisco keep to their name and Shock the Dynasty, as I predicted, forcing 5 maps and knocking Seoul out of the race?
Stage: Stage 1 – Week 5 – Matchday 19
Match: Seoul Dynasty vs. San Francisco Shock
Map 1, Eichenwalde
Fleta started the game by trying a quick cheese, choosing Widowmaker to attempt a kill on Babybay, but then switched directly to Pharah. Led by said Pharah (and his mid-air kills on SF Babybay’s own,) Seoul took control of the payload almost immediately, giving themselves 4:30 to push to the second checkpoint. In the next fight, Seoul swept San Francisco off the map, and nearly pushed to the gates- which fell on the proceeding teamfight, as the Shock briefly (but fruitlessly) rallied. Ryujehong snuck behind enemy lines, harassing the Shock and allowing the rest of his team to push the payload uncontested. This attack seemed to never stop, as the Shock had no answer for Fleta’s Genji and Bunny’s McCree. The fast-paced Dynasty absolutely shook the Shock and claimed maximum points on offence.
San Francisco came out on offense even faster than Seoul, taking the payload and giving themselves over 5 minutes to push through the streets. Babybay’s Pharah chunked almost everybody on the Dynasty, allowing his teammates the opportunity to finish off the enemies. This map was a story of Pharahs, as Babybay and Fleta both looked absolutely perfect on the offense. Seoul was able to kill a lot of time defending Eichenwalde’s gates, as the San Francisco attack seemed to stall. Seoul’s ultimate management seemed lacking this game, as they would dedicate everything to take down Babybay, even though it never quite worked. Babybay flexed and got his team to the 3rd point, having played 3 different heroes to near perfection in the attack.
Onwards to extra time. Shocks attempt at an extra attack proved fruitless, as they weren’t able to take even a tick off the Payload. Seoul had the seemingly guaranteed task of taking only one tick off the Payload. Babybay’s Pharah led an impressive defense, but it proved futile, as Seoul was able to take more control of the point than San Francisco, and ultimately the map. Babybay may have gained the heart of the internet with his flexing, but Fleta flexed all over the SF Shock, absolutely dominating this map on what is becoming his signature hero, Pharah.
Map 1 Result: 4-3 Seoul Dynasty
Map 2,Temple of Anubis
Seoul’s Attack started out seemingly uncoordinated. San Francisco, led by Danteh’s Junkrat and Babybay’s Widowmaker, kept the Seoul players from the point- ultimately making the Dynasty look less like a team on the verge of a title match, and more like the middle of the pack team that their record suggests. With desperation, Seoul threw themselves at the point once more, but it proved fruitless, as the San Francisco defense stood strong, and took out Ryujehong as well as Weeked right at the beginning of their last push. The Shock needed only to grab a single tick (1/3rd) of point A to win this map, and really hurt Seoul’s chances at a title match appearance. It took them less than 1:30 to both take the map and spoil the Dynasty’s stage 1. Seoul has had a habit of bringing Weeked in on Assault, but in the last match of the Stage, in a must 4-0 situation, why they took Fleta out puzzles me. This move may have cost them an opportunity at $100,000.
Map 2 Result: 1-0 San Francisco Shock
Map 3, Ilios
Control Point A: Well
Maybe it was being knocked out of Title match contention, maybe it was just that the pressure finally broke them, but Seoul came out on Ilios looking like the team who should lose. Fleta came back in, but Babybay’s Pharah seemed more effective to start. After some time, Seoul was able to tie up the control 69%-69%, and quickly surpassed San Francisco. With an adrenaline shot of “poise and class,” as the casters mentioned, Seoul took point A and the lead.
Control Point B: Ruins
Fleta vs Babybay again. Widowmaker vs. Widowmaker. This point came down to a 99%-99% tie and ended with Bunny just barely being able to jump to the point as Tracer.
Control Point C: Lighthouse
Babybay on Widowmaker took out Fleta’s Pharah with the first shot on this point. Seoul took the point first though, quickly gaining 14% control and then promptly losing it. Babybay’s long-range on Widowmaker kept Seoul on their toes, and even after a couple flips in control of the point, the Shock walked away victorious.
The social media jokes continued ad nauseam and I’m starting to feel bad about the one I made at the beginning of this article. Shock absolutely shook the OWL world, handing Dynasty their second map loss of this match, rubbing salt in the wounds.
Map 3 Result: 2-1 San Francisco Shock
Map 4, Dorado
Seoul started on offense, and San Francisco started with a pretty conservative defense. Fleta’s Widowmaker shined yet again, allowing his team free movement as the Shock ran for cover. Point A fell quickly, giving Seoul nearly 5 mins to push point B. On the march towards point B, the fans were treated to the true Seoul. Point B fell with ease, giving Seoul a bit over 3 minutes to push the final checkpoint. Fleta’s Widowmaker continued to prove that all other Widowmakers must pay tribute to him, while Tobi and Ryujehong seemed to remember that they are a support duo, and worked together. Their push towards point C mostly continued the dominance, as, through layering ultimates, Seoul was able to take full points and put Shock in a hard position, requiring claiming the entire map to take the match.
Dhak loves Babybay. That’s what I learnt from the beginning of the Shock advance. He will rez that boy no matter what. Unfortunately for the Shock, Seoul dropped players left and right. About 75% of the way to Obj B we were treated to a great 4 Support Ultimate fight, as both teams threw everything at each other. With less than 5 meters to Obj A, Seoul repelled the San Francisco attack, dropping the time to under 1 minute. Finally, after a prolonged fight in which each Widowmaker sniped seemingly countless heads, San Francisco was finally able to take the point and gain just over 2 minutes to push Obj B. In a fight on the pad San Francisco was able to push Seoul off the payload and score their second point. The Babybay/Danteh duo on Shock looked prolific and made Fleta/Bunny look at times, like the insipid challengers rather than incumbent champions. In a last-second defence, Seoul held on to their hopes of winning, as Miro pushed Shock player after player off the payload to finish the map and win map 4, forcing a fifth.
San Francisco found every possible gap in Seoul’s armour during this one, but Seoul was able to hold on, just. Would San Francisco repeat their control performance on map 5, or would Seoul’s experience bring them victory, even after losing their Title Match chances?
Map 4 Result: 3-2 Seoul Dynasty
Map 5 Lijiang Tower
Control Point A: Night Market
San Francisco continued their good fortune, taking first control of the Point here on Lijiang Tower, securing 22%. In a quick push led by Bunny’s Tracer, Seoul gained control, harassing San Francisco all the way back to their spawn. Fleta’s play on Pharah was again transcendental, but San Francisco was able to mostly avoid him. Immediately proving me wrong, Fleta unleashed nearly an entire Barrage Ultimate into D.Va’s Defence Matrix, killing himself and handing control of the point over to San Francisco. Seoul ultimately regained control though, winning point A and taking first blood on the final map.
Control Point B: Garden
In a switch from the last control map, Fleta came out on Widowmaker, while Babybay chose the Pharah. Neither seemed to have the upper hand on the other, as most of the action was away from one or both of them. Babybay’s aggressive play put the Shock into a plethora of situations, both good and bad. Shock was able to gain 30% control before Dynasty took over. From there, Fleta seemed to find his confidence again, using his rifle to knock down every Shock head that popped up like a woodchuck. San Francisco found themselves transfixed on Fleta, often burning most if not all of their ultimates in attempts to kill the DPS god.
Map 5 Result: 2-0 Seoul Dynasty
Match Score: 3-2 Seoul Dynasty over San Francisco Shock
Without Fleta, the Dynasty roster just doesn’t seem to have quite the bite that the OWL world thinks they should. Fleta’s Pharah and Widowmaker are both prolific and prove to be the measuring stick all others will be compared to. Even though Seoul looked shaky, Fleta was able to provide them shelter to weather the storm. Moving forward he will have to work on his ability to manage tilt, but Fleta will go down as one of the best Overwatch DPS players.
Match Rating: 7/10
San Francisco didn’t get a win today, but they were the heroes of the Western world. Their Valiant play against Seoul may have actually been just what Valiant (LA) needed to claim a spot in the Title Match games.