Note: This article was written before the matches on Saturday, June 13th were played.
This weekend the Overwatch League will start its second tournament circuit, the Summer Showdown. The Asian region saw a tight competition in the May Melee, with the Shanghai Dragons upsetting the Seoul Dynasty in a 7-map reverse sweep. By the looks of it, any team in Asia is capable of winning this tournament, but some are clearly favored over others.
In the May Melee, the Guangzhou Charge were able to go undefeated and capture the top seed to earn a bye to the Semifinals, adding an extra win to their season. Unfortunately, their success wasn’t matched in the knockout round, as they lost to the Seoul Dynasty. The Charge will be starting off the Summer Showdown with a rematch against the Dynasty, followed by matches against the Hangzhou Spark, Chengdu Hunters, and New York Excelsior. With Sombra and Echo banned for their first two matches, it’s unclear if they can run another DPS combination as effectively. However, with their flexible DPS lineup—consisting of Jungwoo “Happy” Lee, Yiliang “Eileen” Ou, and Charlie “Nero” Zwarg—anything is possible. Another uncertainty in the team is who will be playing main support. Jungyeon “Chara” Kim has been playing for the Charge while Alberto “Neptuno” Molinillo, was renewing his Visa. Now that Neptuno is back, who takes up the reins? The team has shown they have the potential for an upset, but for now it remains only a potential.
So far this season, the Spark have had more questions than answers. “Where is Ria?” “Can GodsB get help?” “Are they as good as last year?” One of those questions will hopefully be answered. The Spark have traded for Minho “Architect” Park, formerly of the San Francisco Shock, looking to upgrade at the Flex DPS position. Architect and Kyeongbo “GodsB” Kim are the former DPS duo from X6-Gaming, a Korean Contenders team. Their past synergy should have a positive effect on getting the team into shape. They will have some tough opponents this month, including the May Melee champions, the Shanghai Dragons. Unless we see them live up to their Season 2 performance, we can only predict the obvious.
New York Excelsior
The New York Excelsior have mostly looked like their usual selves this season. While they did earn an extra win as semifinalists of the May Melee, their loss to the Dragons wasn’t very graceful. With the Summer Showdown, they have the opportunity to either answer some of the questions surrounding their performance, or bring up some new ones. Their hitscan player Yeonkwan “Nenne” Jeong has finally rejoined the team in Korea. Their new main support player Kim “Mandu”Chan-hee is now of age to play. They signed Kim “Haksal” Hyo-jong from the now collapsed Vancouver Titans roster. NYXL have the pieces they need to succeed.
Nenne has had great moments on McCree and Widowmaker for the team, so his Ashe should be good if she’s still in the meta. Mandu is known to be more aggressive than Taesung “Anamo” Jung, which is a style the team has been trying to move towards this season. After his 25-3 season with Vancouver last year, we all know what Haksal is capable of; it’s just a matter of if he’ll be on the starting roster immediately. Their schedule seems to favor them, and they should bring a lot of momentum to the knockout stage.
Speaking of momentum, the Dragons seem to have all of it heading into the Summer Showdown. After beating Seoul in the May Melee Finals in a stunning reverse sweep, Shanghai managed to prove they’re the best team in Asia. Their only issue so far seems to be trying for too much flexibility. After beating the NYXL 3-0, the Dragons decided to let Euiseok “Fearless” Lee rest and put in Seo “Stand1” Ji-won at the main tank position. Fearless came back to a 3-0 deficit, and managed to help the Dragons win four maps in a row to win the series and the tournament. Their Summer Showdown performance will be a matter of the coaching staff setting the right lineup, which hasn’t been much of a problem for most of the season, and shouldn’t start being one now.
The Dynasty’s season has been all ups and downs. When running a double shield composition, they seem to be one of the best teams in the League. However, in any other composition, including dive, all that hype seems to fly out the window. After acquiring a championship trio from the London Spitfire—Junyoung “Profit” Park on DPS, Jaehui “Gesture” Hong on Tank, and Seungtae “Bdosin” Choi on Support—Seoul seemed destined to bring home a title. While the May Melee’s seeding stage disagreed, putting them as the 7th seed, the Knockout stage showed a lot more promise. They came within one map of winning the whole Tournament after fighting their way to the finals. Now, they’ve signed Sungjun “Slime” Kim on Main Support after he was cut from the Vancouver Titans. Will he replace Jinmo “Tobi” Yang, Seoul’s veteran Main Support player since Season 1? With the uncertainty at the Main Support position also coming into effect. there’s a lot up in the air. Seoul could see another rough patch, or a patch of brilliance.
The Hunters, being the only Chinese-speaking roster, and the only roster in Asia without a Korean player, have had an interesting history. They’ve mostly been known for wacky compositions involving Menghan “Ameng” Ding on Wrecking Ball. However, they have an extremely flexible DPS line, an underrated support duo, and most importantly, the ability to play to their strengths. Unfortunately, their strengths haven’t always been strong enough to contend with the upper tier of the Overwatch League. Outside of occasional upsets, most of their games have involved just getting outmatched by their opponents. Unless the coaching staff is able to find the perfect strategy or composition, it’s hard to see them at the top of the standings.
So far this season, London has proven that they can win some games, but since their move to Asia they’ve been struggling. After winning their first game against the Hunters, they have lost four straight matches, including a Quarterfinal showdown against the Dragons. With matches coming up against the Dragons, Hunters, Excelsior, and Spark, they have to come up with some answers on how to get back on track. With a twelve-man roster, it will be on the coaching staff to find that perfect lineup for consistent success, with the only mainstay seeming to be Lim “Glister” Gil-seong. Unless that perfect lineup is found, it’s hard to see the Spitfire coming up with a win.
As mentioned in the beginning, the May Melee was a tight competition, and the Summer Showdown looks no different. While some teams seem better than others, it’s a matter of who will step up in the moment. Rosters have been changed, compositions have been adjusted, now it’s on the teams to see who will be the best. Can the Dragons emerge victorious again? Will Dynasty or Excelsior get their revenge? or will a surprising new challenger emerge victorious? We’ll see in the coming weeks.