Hello there! After a long off season (188 days to be precise) for the Overwatch League, the 2021 season has finally started! I am super excited to be writing these posts again so without further ado, let’s get started!
One of the first things I noticed as I tuned into the opening weekend’s broadcast was the production quality of the graphics on screen and the general smoothness of the broadcast. Don’t get me wrong, the OWL graphics team has always been pretty good but this year they have really stepped it up. All the stats look extra crisp, I love the font usage. I also love the lo-fi beats and map visuals they are using for breaks. Just absolutely stellar work.
The Watchpoint desk year consists of Soe, Danny, Custa, and Reinforce. It is really good to have Danny back on the OWL desk, he adds another layer of hilarity to the whole affair. Not to mention his wild predictions are uncannily correct. I love the little skits that Watchpoint are doing this year too, very funny.
The broadcast stream this year has also added a 4K option and it is great to see OWL in a resolution higher than 1080p. I don’t have a 4K screen but I put the stream in 4K just to see the extra fidelity. I didn’t care about getting a 4K screen/monitor before this but now it’s something I’m considering. It’s also great to have YouTube’s new clip feature available for the OWL channel, a much needed addition that was missing last year.
Before this OWL season started I was watching the new Contenders seasons to see what the meta was going to be like. It looks like there are going to be two distinct kinds of compositions in play at the highest levels.
The brawl oriented rush composition consisting of the Mei/McCree DPS line up combined with the Reinhardt/D.Va tank line backed by the Baptiste/Lucio support line. This rush composition’s main strategy involves the use of the Mei wall and high speed Lucio engages along with the Baptiste immortality field for sustainability in fights.
The dive oriented double composition consisting of the Tracer/Ashe DPS line up combined with the Winston/Zarya (hence double bubble) tank line backed by either a Ana/Brigitte or Zen/Brigitte support line. The double bubble’s main strategy seems to be using the Zarya allied bubble combined with Winston’s jump to dive targets. Ana’s nano-boost is also a key ultimate in this composition as it provides the diving Winston with more endurance.
There are some variations on the theme with the use of the Wrecking Ball/D.Va tank line to replace the Winston/D.Va. We occasionally see the Junkrat or the Symmetra come out on specific maps but for the most part OWL teams are sticking to the aforementioned composition types.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this meta evolves throughout the coming weeks and to see which teams master them and I’m especially interested to see how teams that clash in compositional style figure out each other’s weaknesses and strengths in this current meta.
There were 14 games this week and since this is the first week I think they are all worth watching just to see what teams are doing. But I want to pick out a few of the games I think are really exceptional.
A note, this year teams are divided by region, 12 teams in the West competing in Europe and North America and 8 teams in the East competing in China and South Korea. For more details on this go here.
Houston Outlaws vs Dallas Fuel [West]
The first match of the season was an absolute banger. This battle for Texas went the distance to a map 5 as both teams took maps off each other. Ultimately, the Outlaws were able to win and to me this year’s Outlaws roster is looking the best it has been since the inaugural season.
Chengdu Hunters vs Shanghai Dragons [East]
This one is a 3-0 blowout. If you thought it was the Dragons doing a stomping, you would be…wrong. The Hunters came out in this series and absolutely stomped on the Dragons. This series is worth a watch, just for that second map where it looks like the Dragons were lost. This one really fucked up everyone’s predictions. We are in the Chengdu zone now folks.
Houston Outlaws vs San Francisco Shock [West]
This series is the best one this week. If you can only watch one series from this week, make it this one. A map 6 affair with Houston stomping the Shock with Happy on the hitscan role. A draw on map 2 , and then the Shock start a reverse sweep on map 4 and bring the series to a decider map 6 of Havana where a full hold on point A by the Shock led to an incredible fuller hold by the Outlaws. With a revitalized tank and DPS lineup backed by the solid support line, the Houston Outlaws are a team not to be trifled with going forward. Here is a clip from the final moments of this match if you want to see how incredible this series was.
Toronto Defiant vs Atlanta Reign
The last series of the week was also another map 5 banger, Atlanta looking dominant in the first two maps and then Toronto starting the reverse sweep and bringing it back to Busan to end it out. I’m really happy to see this current iteration of the Toronto roster do well and I’m looking forward to them improving over the season.
A absolutely stellar start to the 2021 season. Everything was basically perfect, the games were good, the Watchpoint desk funny, the casters hype, the production on point. Shoutout to everyone at the league doing an incredible job and making this possible.
I can’t wait for what next week has to bring, we haven’t seen a bunch of teams play yet and I’m curious to see what those teams are going to bring to the table. We also haven’t seen the VikkiKitty/Jaws caster duo yet so that is another thing to look forward to.
See y’all next week!