Shanghai Dragons vs San Francisco Shock
For our first match of the day, we have an absolutely fantastic clash between two stellar teams -- the San Francisco Shock, and the Shanghai Dragons. If you're just joining us and haven't watched much of the Overwatch League's sophomore season, you're probably scratching your head. Or perhaps you're laughing.
"How can a match be either exciting or fantastic when Shanghai's involved?"
No one's really blaming you. The aura of failure and disappointment is still strong whenever Shanghai steps foot on stage, and yet the organization is starting with a completely different roster -- one that's immensely more talented and infinitely more capable.
It's not even a competition: these Dragons are deceptively strong and ferocious. In fact, let's take that statement up a notch -- they're great. There's something no one thought could ever happen, or at least not in such a short time span.
After losing both of their matches in week one against the Los Angeles Gladiators (1-3) and the New York Excelsior (0-3), they managed to string four wins in a row against a plethora of different opposition, and are currently sitting at a very respectable four wins and two losses, with an acceptable plus four map differential. As it stands right now, they're ranked seventh in the standings, and are, by proxy, a playoff contender.
That's a great record overall, but there's a problem -- they're up against the San Francisco Shock now, so they're basically looking at a guaranteed loss. Losing would push them to a 4W-3L record which, while perfectly acceptable, is taking them away from their goal -- the playoffs. To make matters even worse, the Hangzhou Spark is right on their tail. They're basically neck and neck in the standings, although Shanghai does have a better map record, something that could become the deciding factor once all is said and done.
It will go down to the wire. A photo finish, if you will.
The notion of Shanghai beating a currently undefeated San Francisco Shock kind of feels like a deviation towards science fiction, but then again, New York have just lost to Atlanta Reign, and Boston took down the (also undefeated up to that point) Los Angeles Gladiators. These huge, confusing upsets can happen. They're a reality, so there's no reason why one couldn't happen this game as well.
The reason why it's perhaps unlikely to happen is because San Francisco looked rather unbeatable any time they stepped foot on stage. They're basically playing with their food at this point, and it's more a matter of "how much will they outclass their next opponents", rather than "can they win". They're just that good; almost confusingly good and capable.
The Dragons are no slouch. That's a fact. They're deceptively strong, but then again, they're up against a team that's arguably number one right now. Beating San Francisco is a tall order for any team, let alone for one that's still gelling and developing synergy.
For Shanghai, this will be do or die in a way, and even though they could still squeak into the playoffs with a loss, getting a win here would not only net them a huge upset but would also lock down their playoff spot.
Perhaps the biggest issue for Shanghai at this point is the fact that Seoul and Hangzhou are playing a day afterwards, and the outcome of that single game is completely up in the air. If Seoul wins, Shanghai proceeds to the playoffs. If, on the other hand, Hangzhou emerges victorious, they could spoil Shanghai's celebration party. They would have the better overall win/loss tally and the map differential wouldn't play a factor.
So Shanghai either has to pull off a miracle upset here, or hope for Seoul to step up and defeat the Spark. The former seems rather unlikely; the latter, on the other hand, is perfectly possible.
As for the San Francisco Shock, well, what can one even say about such an immense giant?
They're just incredibly strong right now, and they're showing no signs of stopping. It's hard not to look ahead as well; to think about what their inevitable finals clash will look like and whether or not they're going to be able to finally emerge victorious for once. They deserve it, after all, especially after so much hard work and dedication.
In the end, we have to pick a side, and we simply have to go with the San Francisco Shock. They're undeniably one of the best -- if not the best -- teams in the Overwatch League right now, and they're showing no signs of regression. In fact, they're improving at a staggering pace, and they're already a behemoth. We can only hypothesize on their potential skill ceiling, and whether or not they even have such a thing.
We're going with the Shock on this one, but Shanghai has the right tools at their disposal in order to make this into a highly competitive scrap. Either way, the viewers will win out the most, regardless of how this clash eventually resolves.
|San Francisco Shock||1.05||5||Win|