image by Shanghai Dragons
Shanghai Dragons are possibly one of the most famous Overwatch League teams, with their fame coming from having the only female in the only female in OWL but unfortunately also from their world record loss rate. The team hold the world record for the most consecutive losses in a professional sport – currently at 42 games without win. So, what exactly is the issue for the squad? Why can’t they close out games and take victory?
After going down to 0-40 in the inaugural season of the Overwatch League, Shanghai Dragons saw a massive reshuffle – only keeping 3 from their original roster; Se-yeon ‘Geguri’ Kim, Eui-seok ‘Fearless’ Lee and Weida ‘Diya’ Lu. They rebuilt their squad, bringing in a host of Korean superstars – many from the likes of famous Team KongDoo Panthera/Uncia. And then, on February 12th 2019, just 2 days before OWL’s 2019 season kicked off, they brought in Young-jin ‘Gamsu’ Noh, the ex-Boston Uprising star. This new roster, on paper, looked set to dominate opening weekend – but once again, fell flat.
The opening series for SHD was against Hangzhou Spark, a new team that has quickly gained fame due to; 1) their logo, 2) their outrageously epic colour scheme and 3) their brilliance in the game. But that aside, SHD looked amazing as the doors opened on Busan – not playing a 3-3 composition seemed to work perfectly for them as they opted for a single tank with Min-seong ‘diem’ Bae shredding through his opponents with a Widowmaker.
But then disaster struck, from no real fault of SHD but more just from sheer brute force, Spark managed to push them off the point – or was it their lack of secondary tank? After bringing in an amazing tank and shotcaller such as Gamsu, even without much practice time with him, surely, he could have been chosen for their first game. While the team constantly held the objectives, the 2 tanks, 3 heal, Sombra lineup was not something they could contest – and Spark were privy to this, making sure they took advantage of it to take game 1.
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Moving onto Hollywood, SHD switched it up to a 3-3 and the hyper-aggressive nature of the team secured the first point with ease and they moved the payload forward but not for long.
The mistakes that I can honestly pick out from SHD go down to ultimate management – using them in a flustered solo manner rather than holding them to use together. Maybe it is the inexperience on such a massive stage from the likes of Young-jin ‘YOUNGJIN’ Jin who was pushed into a tank role after being known more for his dps prowess. Or maybe it is the lack of proper shot-calling – which could be fixed with ease in my opinion.
But all that said, the series was not over.
Horizon Lunar Colony was the next stop on the journey – and once again it seemed like inexperience from SHD which saw them getting opened up. A poor Rocket Barrage would give Spark the first point, even though Spark also used a very weird lineup. On attack SHD picked up a Reaper and after a short defense, they may have been one of the only teams to make the ‘tank-killer’ work. Geguri’s single tank Hammond was near perfect too and that is what got the Dragons into place for their game win. It was the same 3-dps lineup that Dragons utilized to take a victory – with YOUNGJIN’s Nano-boosted Reaper ripping through Spark.
Dragons faltered again on Rialto and the series was over – another loss registered for the team. Their next series would be against another newcomer to OWL this season, Vancouver Titans. This time around, SHD decided to go forward with Gamsu in place – but it still failed. A 0-4 series loss awaited the team and consecutive loss number 42 as well.
So, where is the problem?
From my own perspective, Shanghai Dragons have the qualities to make an amazing team and the perseverance to win a series at some point. However, it comes down to better team play at the end of the day – pushing together and not wasting ultimate abilities on the barest minimum of heroes. Diem has proven himself an amazing Widowmaker already and YOUNGJIN’s Reaper should definitely be feared – especially when you have the likes of Geguri and Gamsu on your frontline. But maybe the team need to give in to the 3-3 meta and this could be what finds them their victory.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) February 17, 2019
The Dragons have one upside to this week, they have only one series to play, although unfortunately it is against Boston Uprising. However, this may work in their favour as Gamsu is an ex-member of Uprising and maybe he will have some inside assistance. That said, in my opinion, their best shot at victory come against teams such as Philadelphia Fusion and Dallas Fuel – much like in the first OWL season.
Shanghai Dragons have the fans behind them, they have the passion and ability to win – they just need to mash everything together and find that formula. And then maybe, just maybe, that loss streak will end (even though it will still be a world record looming over the organization).