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Stage 2 finals and All-Star events make for a great week in Overwatch

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Expert
17th May, 2019
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It has been a very solid week for Overwatch League fans.

Over the weekend we got the Stage 2 finals. Unfortunately for Australians, the timing to watch these matches live was pretty rough. The good news is that nothing too unpredictable happened.

The first match-up on Friday had the poor Shanghai Dragons going up against San Francisco Shock. Shock have had the biggest winning streak ever seen in the Overwatch League without even dropping a map.

Meanwhile, this is the Dragons’ first chance at the final so it felt a little bit rude to pit them up against such a strong opponent, especially when they faced them not even a week before.

Impressively, Shanghai managed to stop Shock’s winning streak. Well, sort of.

They started out way stronger than anyone expected and got themselves the map win on Oasis. This ended Shock’s streak and it was cool for last season’s worst team to be the first to scratch their armour.

Geguri walks out with her Shanghai Dragons teammates at the Overwatch League.

(Photo: Robert Paul/Blizzard Entertainment)

The Dragons continued to put up a good fight with almost all of the matches being fairly competitive.

I’ve been watching San Fran roll over other teams with relative ease all stage so it was impressive. However, in the end, Shock won the rest of the four maps.

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Then we saw Hangzhou Spark up against London Spitfire. Honestly, I was surprised to see either of these teams even in the playoffs.

It always feels like London are losing – they’re certainly not the same team who won the season last year.

This was proven when they lost 3-1 to Spark. Victory wouldn’t last long for the boys in pink, though, as their next match-up was against San Francisco, who easily beat them 4-0. It was a massacre.

Saturday saw both games end in 3-0 victories. First was New York Excelsior’s win against Los Angeles Gladiators, then Vancouver Titans destroyed Dallas Fuel.

NYXL is another team considered one of the best in the league but we haven’t been seeing that lately. They might have won against Gladiators but in their next match, Vancouver defeated them 4-1.

Some of these games were close but the Titans have a tendency to give up matches rather than destroy their opponents.

This is where they differ from San Francisco Shock. You don’t get the win streak they had without having a mindset to destroy all enemies.

Titans like to feel out the opposing team. They don’t mind feeding a little if it helps their strategies in the long run.

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San Fran, on the other hand, have a taste for blood and an insatiable appetite for fresh meat.

San Francisco Shock players Super and Sinatraa celebrate an Overwatch League victory.

(Photo: Robert Paul/Blizzard Entertainment)

This could be why they were victorious in the main finals against Vancouver.

These two teams are steps above the rest of the pack in the current meta.

There’s a significant gap between these two outfits and those next in line, and it’s only getting bigger.

And San Francisco are ahead of Vancouver – they may have lost their map streak but I’m expecting this team to go on winning games for a while to come.

Excitingly, San Fran is a mixed team. Shock is made up of people playing from a variety of countries, backgrounds and languages.

This is often seen as a potential weakness due to communication and style issues, but I love that San Francisco has gone on to prove that these factors can be a strength.

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If any team was going to be so superior, I’m glad it was this one – even if their colour scheme is very ugly.

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To add to the fun of a finals weekend, right now we are midway through the All-Star games. This means we’ve seen a much more fun side of Overwatch, and we need a little more of this.

Things like fun game modes like Widow vs Widow sniper duels or all DPS are such a welcome change.

Maybe it’s because we’re so thirsty for some diversity after so much GOATS, but this breath of fresh air is fantastic.

It’s nice to be reminded that Overwatch is a fun video game at its core, which can be easy to forget when the competition is so strong and the metas are so stagnant.

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It’s also giving us an opportunity to see not only heroes we may be missing, but also players. A lot of the big DPS stars have been sitting on the bench all season in this tank and healer meta, and finally they’ve been let out to play.

If you’ve missed the All-Stars event and are feeling a little fed up with the Overwatch League, you should go back and rewatch the stream. It will rekindle your enthusiasm and it has me excited for when the meta inevitably shifts once more.