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2022 OWL Week 1 Recap

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#1
Raisin

I’m insane and have nothing better to do, here’s a recap of all of the action from week 1 of the Overwatch League 2022 season.

LA Gladiators 3-1 NYXL

The first match of the season saw the debut of the post-Jjonak NYXL facing stiff opposition in the form of my preseason favorite, the LA Gladiators. On map 1, Kevster’s soldier provided the difference for LA as they took Lijiang Tower 2-1. Map 2 was more of the same, with Shu and Kevster rolling through Midtown to put LA on match point heading into Circuit Royal. On Circuit Royal, LA brought in 3 subs: ANS for Patiphan, Skewed for FunnyAstro, and Space for Reiner. These changes did not work out for LA, as NYXL took the map by holding the cart on their defensive half for over 4 minutes right before the final checkpoint. Yaki and Gangnamjin provided the heroics for NYXL on Echo and Lucio, respectively. Map 4 saw the return of Patiphan, FunnyAstro, and Reiner, and after a back-and-forth first few minutes of the new Push gamemode on New Queen Street, LA were able to break through and finish off NYXL for a 3-1 series win.

Raisin’s MVP: Shu (LAG, Flex Support)

SF Shock 3-0 Paris Eternal

The Shock debuted their new roster against an experienced Eternal roster that nonetheless seemed outclassed from the beginning by the talent Shock brought to the table. Map 1 was a fairly easy 2-0 for San Francisco on Ilios, with Proper leading the way. On map 2, King’s Row, Paris chose to swap out their tank, Vestola, in favor of Daan to play a more Winston-centric style. Though they were a bit more successful with Daan in the game, Shock still took the map convincingly. Map 3, Dorado, saw Shock bring in Kilo for s9mm to play Widowmaker, a move that helped San Francisco complete the map on offense before stopping Paris short of point 2 on defense to cap off the 3-0 sweep.

Raisin’s MVP: Proper (SFS, Damage)

Atlanta Reign 3-1 Florida Mayhem

Florida Mayhem kicked off their quest for redemption with their new roster against a team that has been stamped as a championship contender after finishing 2nd in 2021, the Atlanta Reign. Neither team made any substitutions throughout the match, so the Mayhem lineup of Checkmate, Hydron, Someone, Anamo, and SirMajed faced off against the Reign lineup of Kai, Nero, Hawk, Ojee, and Ultraviolet for all 4 maps. On map 1, Someone’s Winston was able to get more value than Hawk’s Doomfist, leading to a 2-1 win for Mayhem on Lijiang Tower. Mayhem’s choice to move to a close-knit, Reinhart-based team composition on Eichenwalde saw some initial success, but ultimately without a way to negate Ultraviolet’s anti-nades playing so close together came back to bite Florida and Atlanta were able to win the map, leveling the score at 1-1. On map 3, Gibraltar, Someone tried to play Roadhog on offense. Atlanta full held, and although Someone did eventually get some sense knocked into him and switched to Winston for defense, it wasn’t enough to prevent Atlanta from winning the map. He stayed on the Winston for map 4, Colosseo, but at that point Atlanta seemed to have figured Florida out and they took the map and series in decisive fashion.

Raisin’s MVP: Ultraviolet (ATL, Flex Support)

SF Shock 3-0 London Spitfire

London Spitfire started off their season inauspiciously by getting steamrolled by a clearly superior Shock team. Map 1 saw London attempt the classic EU strategy of playing Rein anywhere and everywhere, but without a second tank to pressure Shock’s back line or mitigate damage, Proper was free to fire away for kill after kill on an easy 2-0 Lijiang Tower win for SF. Map 2, Eichenwalde, was considerably more friendly to London’s Rein-centric style of play, but ultimately the talent gap between the two rosters was too much to overcome and Shock headed to Gibraltar on match point. For Gibraltar, London had no choice but to give up on the Rein strategy, so they brought in Poko for Hadi to play Zarya instead. Shock again replaced s9mm with Kilo to play Widowmaker. Again, Shock simply overwhelmed Spitfire, completing their attack with 2:07 in their time bank before stopping London short of point 2 to finish off a 3-0 series and a 6-0 week for the 2-time champions.

Raisin’s MVP: Coluge (SFS, Tank)

Boston Uprising 3-2 Vancouver Titans (Game of the Week)

Week 1’s most entertaining matchup came from two teams who appear to be headed for the bottom of the league standings. It might be a bit early to call this one a true Toilet Bowl, but this was certainly not a flawlessly played match. Map 1, Ilios, was a 2-0 win for Boston, as Valentine’s Genji tore through the Titans with ease. Map 2, Midtown, saw Boston shoot themselves in the foot a bit by bringing in MCD for Crimzo in part to play Zen on defense, where he was unable to find much value as Vancouver tied up the series 1-1. On map 3, Circuit Royal, Boston made the somewhat surprising decision to sub out star dps Striker for Victoria, a move that paid off as the Uprising won the map convincingly with their unusual Sigma-Brig-Zen composition. Map 4, Colosseo, saw the return of Striker and Crimzo for Boston, who held the lead for most of the map until a clutch tac visor from Shockwave pushed Vancouver over the top to send the match to a map 5. It is worth noting that at this point in the series, Vancouver were 2-0 in maps where Shockwave played, and 0-2 when he was subbed out for Aspire. Naturally, that meant Aspire played map 5, a 2-1 victory for Boston on Oasis powered by the surprise appearance of the Marve1 Doomfist and an unfortunate C9 to end the match.

Raisin’s MVP: Shockwave (VAN, Damage)

Houston Outlaws 3-0 Dallas Fuel

The first live event with spectators in the Overwatch League since the pandemic began, the Battle for Texas pitted a heavily favored Dallas team against the ever-confusing Outlaws. Immediately, Houston pulled out a surprise in the form of Danteh on tank, there to 1-trick Doomfist in a meta favoring Winston play. This innovation, combined with strong Echo play from Pelican, allowed Houston to neutralize Dallas’ star Winston player Fearless, leading to a 2-0 win on map 1, Oasis. Map 2, Midtown, saw Dallas swap out Fearless’ Winston for Hanbin’s Zarya, but again Houston were able to shut Dallas down, with the dps duo of Mer1t and Pelican thoroughly dominating the map. On map 3, Dorado, Houston played possibly the best single map any team played this week. Switching out Danteh’s Doomfist for Piggy’s Dva and moving Lastro from Lucio over to Mercy, Houston was able to leverage a masterful use of the high ground on point 2 to prevent Dallas from reaching the 2nd checkpoint before pushing through with just under 2 minutes remaining to secure the map and the upset.

Raisin’s MVP: Lastro (HOU, Main Support)

#2
Raisin
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Washington Justice 3-1 Toronto Defiant

The fifth iteration of the Toronto Defiant roster kicked off the 2022 season against a team known for high-end talent and inconsistent results, the Washington Justice. Map 1, Ilios, was a convincing 2-0 for Defiant, with Muze’s Winston consistently finding more value than Kalios’ Zarya and D.Va, and Decay struggling to find value on Genji for Justice. On map 2, Midtown, Washington brought in their preferred Winston player, Mag, and thanks to a long hold midway through the 2nd point on their defense, Justice were able to tie the series up 1-1. Map 3, Circuit Royal, was where Justice's talent truly began to shine through. Bringing Kalios back in for Mag, Washington played the same Sigma-Brig-Zen composition as Boston had earlier in the week, taking advantage of Circuit Royal’s long sightlines to allow Happy to basically kill everything with Widowmaker. Whether Toronto put Heesu on Widowmaker or Sombra to try to counter Happy, they were unsuccessful, as Washington took the map and a 2-1 series lead heading into map 4, New Queen Street. Map 4 was a tightly contested affair, with Mag’s Doomfist facing off against Muze’s Winston. Ultimately, Washington was able to gain the upper hand and finish off the series thanks to strong play from Happy and Decay as well as some timely help from Push mode’s forward spawn mechanic.

Raisin’s MVP: Happy (WAS, Damage)

Atlanta Reign 3-0 NYXL

Atlanta looked to build off of the momentum gained from their win over Mayhem by making a strong statement against a New York team that looked rather middling in their loss to Gladiators. Map 1, Oasis, started off with Ultraviolet instantly winning the first team fight for Atlanta with a huge anti nade, and the Reign cruised from there, winning an easy 2-0. Map 2, King’s Row, was a little better for NYXL, as they were able to contain Kai’s Soldier and generate some fight wins with Yaki’s Genji, but ultimately Nero’s Tracer and Reaper play were too much for them to handle and Atlanta won the map. On the final map, Route 66, a really bad C9 on their defensive half put New York in a hole they were ultimately unable to climb out of, as Atlanta closed out the series for a dominant 3-0 sweep.

Raisin’s MVP: Nero (ATL, Damage)

LA Gladiators 3-1 Boston Uprising

The heavily favored Gladiators probably came into this match feeling pretty good about their chances having witnessed the nonsense that was the Uprising’s win over Vancouver. The series kicked off on Ilios with Gladiators playing their “A” lineup (Patiphan, FunnyAstro, Reiner), and while Boston were able to win some fights thanks in part to Striker’s performance on Soldier, ultimately LA took the map 2-0 behind some strong play from Patiphan and Kevster. Eichenwalde saw Boston play the best they looked all week, with Punk’s Zarya leading the way to a convincing map win as Boston held LA before point 2 on defense and then pushed to victory with just over 2:00 remaining on their attack. Heading into Gibraltar, both teams made subs, with ANS and Skewed coming in for Patiphan and FunnyAstro on the Gladiators’ side, and Boston bringing in Victoria, Itsal, and MCD for Striker, Punk, and Crimzo. ANS’ signature Widowmaker pick proved to be too much for Boston to handle, as even when he wasn’t killing everything the fear he struck in Boston’s hearts gave LA all of the space they needed to win team fight after team fight. Kevster’s dragonblades provided the cleanup as LA went up 2-1 heading into Colosseo. Map 4 saw the return of the lineups used by both teams for the first 2 maps of the series, and while Boston was able to generate some push late in the map, the advantage LA gained from unlocking forward spawns first ended up being a difference maker as Patiphan and Kevster closed out the map, and the series, for the Gladiators.

Raisin’s MVP: Kevster (LAG, Damage)

London Spitfire 3-0 Vancouver Titans

In a matchup between two teams that went a combined 1-29 last season when not facing each other, each side was looking for a chance to shake off an ugly start after playing poorly in loses earlier in the week. Oasis showed that London were willing to stick with the Rein composition they’d used against Shock despite not being successful with it in that match, but this time, perhaps due to the fact that they were facing a much weaker opponent, London were able to find success, as Hadi and Backbone were able to generate tons of space for SparkR to shoot from behind, leading to a 2-1 victory for Spitfire. Map 2 was King’s Row, famously friendly to Rein, and London took advantage, stopping Vancouver halfway through the Streets phase before pushing to the mark with over 2:40 remaining to put the series win within one map. That map was Route 66, where London was forced to swap to a Winston composition, which ultimately resulted in a really bad C9 on their offense right before the final point. Vancouver were in a pretty good position to take the map, but strong play from Hadi and SparkR shut down the Titans’ attack short of the 2nd point, ending the match in a 3-0 win for London.

Raisin’s MVP: Hadi (LDN, Tank)

Florida Mayhem 3-1 Paris Eternal

Two teams looking to shake off losses earlier in the week faced off in what seemed like an especially important test for Mayhem. If they couldn’t win this match, things would not look good. Oasis was a closely contested first map, with Daan finding some success on Rein, but ultimately Mayhem were able to use their ults more effectively, taking the map 2-1. Map 2, Midtown, featured an intense Genji duel between Naga and Checkmate, with each taking turns making big plays throughout the map. Ultimately, though, it was Glister’s Soldier play that decided things in Paris’ favor, as they were able to stop the Mayhem’s attack short of point 2 to secure the map win and tie the series up. Circuit Royal saw Paris make a substitution, bringing Vestola in for Daan in order to play Zarya. Mayhem appeared to win the map fairly convincingly, fully capturing all 3 points before holding Paris short of the 2nd checkpoint, however OWL ruled that Mayhem had used an illegal teleport strategy on their attack and had to redo that portion of the map, and though things didn’t go quite as smoothly for Florida the 2nd time around, they were still able to reach the mark needed for victory. Map 4, New Queen Street, saw Paris bring Daan back in place of Vestola, but this did not have the intended effect as Florida rolled through to finish off the series and claim their first win of the season.

Raisin’s MVP: Someone (FLA, Tank)

Dallas Fuel 3-0 Washington Justice

Dallas, looking to take out their frustration stemming from being upset by the Outlaws in decisive fashion, brought the hammer down on a Washington Justice team that at least can be reasonably satisfied with a 1-1 week. Map 1, Lijiang Tower, saw the Dallas duo of Edison and Sp9rkle dominate their counterparts on Justice, leading to a 2-0 Fuel win. Eichenwalde was a continuation of this trend, with Edison’s Reaper putting in massive work containing Mag’s Winston and devastating the Washington backline. Hanbin came in for Fearless to play Zarya and Doomfist, setting up Edison and keeping him protected with bubbles while he killed everything. Finally, on Route 66, with Justice bringing Kalios in for Mag for the Zarya mirror, Hanbin looked to assert his dominance as the better OW1 off-tank. He did just that, as Justice were unable to get anything going on their attack, pushing the payload just 41.96 m before being stopped in their tracks. Dallas wasted no time pushing to that mark, completing a dominant 3-0 sweep.

Raisin’s MVP: Edison (DAL, Damage)

#3
Raisin
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Toronto Defiant 3-2 Houston Outlaws

Houston was coming off of a 3-0 win over Dallas. Toronto was coming off of a 3-1 loss to Justice, who we had just seen get destroyed by Dallas. Houston seemed to have a solid grasp of what they wanted to play, leaning on Pelican’s Echo to carry them in fights while everyone else just stayed alive. Everything was pointing to a Houston win. Houston, of course, lost, because that’s what they do. Starting off on Lijiang Tower, Pelican and Mer1t looked dominant until a C9 handed the map to Toronto 2-1. In classic Outlaws fashion, if they had simply done the simple things right they’d have won the match 3-0 but instead they wind up losing. Map 2, King’s Row, saw Pelican’s Echo cause too many problems for Toronto to handle, as Houston tied the series up. On Gibraltar, Defiant started off strong with a defense holding Houston before point 2 and a couple of picks giving them some early cart push on attack, but from there it was all Outlaws as Mer1t and Ir1s took over to put Houston ahead 2-1 heading into New Queen Street. Map 4 was where things turned around for Toronto, as they were able to exploit a weakness in Houston’s roster. With Danteh being a Doomfist 1-trick and Piggy being an OW1 off-tank, nobody on Houston can play Winston. Muze, however can, and his play on the hero could not be matched by the Outlaws, who, with Danteh playing all 5 maps in the series, were stuck on a Doomfist pick that seemed to be getting less and less value as the match went on. Due to the snowbally nature of Push as a game mode, once Toronto won a couple of fights early on, the map was basically over. Houston’s final chance to avoid stumbling was on Ilios, where despite some early success by Danteh, the space and pressure created by Muze on Winston overwhelmed the Outlaws and allowed Finale to run wild on Tracer, and the map turned into a rout as Toronto easily won Ilios 2-0 to finish off the 3-2 series win.

Raisin’s MVP: Muze (TOR, Tank)

Team of the Week: Atlanta Reign

Player of the Week: Ultraviolet (ATL, Flex Support)

Power Rankings (now split up by region because it makes more sense to do it that way, +/- compared to preseason rankings)

West

  1. LA Gladiators (+0)
  2. Atlanta Reign (+1)
  3. SF Shock (+4)
  4. Dallas Fuel (-2)
  5. Houston Outlaws (+1)
  6. Washington Justice (-2)
  7. Toronto Defiant (-2)
  8. Florida Mayhem (+1)
  9. Boston Uprising (-1)
  10. London Spitfire (+3)
  11. NYXL (+1)
  12. Paris Eternal (-2)
  13. Vancouver Titans (-2)

East

  1. Shanghai Dragons (+0)
  2. Seoul Dynasty (+0)
  3. Philly Fusion (+1)
  4. Hangzhou Spark (+1)
  5. Chengdu Hunters (-2)
  6. Guangzhou Charge (+0)
  7. LA Valiant (+0)

Note: Changes to rankings in East Division, despite 0 games being played, are due to reports about Chengdu having to sell off/cut some of their players because of financial issues.

#4
darkcvc
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raisin doing the lords work.

Outlaws #1

#5
evechamp2021
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It was Defiant's defence and picks that gave them an early push on the attack, but Mer1t and Ir1s took over to put Houston ahead 2-1 coming into New Queen Street

#6
SimplyMark_
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Frags
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outlaws on top baby.

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