The 2021 Season of the Overwatch League kicked off in the Eastern Region on Saturday with wins by the Philadelphia Fusion, Shanghai Dragons and Chengdu Hunters.
The Fusion (1-0), one of the teams that moved from West to East, took a 3-1 series win against 2020 Grand Finalist Seoul Dynasty (0-1). Philadelphia is without several of the team’s new acquisitions, such as DPS Niclas “sHockWave” Jensen, and some of their standout Europeans including main support Daniel “FunnyAstro” Hathaway. The Fusion found good replacements for their Eastern Region stay, including former Dynasty main support Jin-mo “tobi” Yang.
All eyes were on Fusion all-star DPS Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee and flex support Kyeong-Bo “Alarm” Kim, however. Carpe’s fragging power was on full display and led to a strong 2-1 win on Oasis.
In Game 2 on Blizzard World, the Dynasty were neck-and-neck with the Fusion but fell apart in their overtime attack push, giving the Fusion a 2-0 lead going into the break. Seoul rebounded in Game 3 on Dorado, full-holding the third point on defense to pick up a 3-2 win.
Philadelphia exploited Dynasty’s weak spots on Temple of Anubis, preventing Seoul main tank Jaehui “Gesture” Hong from finding any successful dives.
The Fusion rode a surge of sublime play and solid decision making to a 3-1 series win, despite picking up half of their roster within the last few weeks. The win should boost the Fusion’s confidence moving forward, while the Dynasty will have to regroup.
In other action Saturday, Shanghai (1-0) took a 3-0 sweep over the Guangzhou Charge (0-1). Last season, the Dragons were seen as favorites to potentially win the entire league, led by MVP DPS ByungSun “Fleta” Kim, but fell short in the final four. The Dragons wasted little time reasserting themselves as a team to beat in the East.
It’s one thing for any DPS duo to go against Fleta and his hitscan DPS partner Jae Won “LIP” Lee, let alone for rookies to try and rise to such an occasion. That’s exactly what Guangzhou DPS Sehwan “Choi Sehwan” Choi and Zou “MYKaylee” Zijie did. Despite the 3-0 scoreline, the series was actually close throughout each game.
Shanghai took a scrappy Game 1 on Lijiang Tower by 2-1 before heading to Blizzard World, where Guangzhou forced a 3-3 tie. After the break, the Dragons returned to their world-beating form from last season, dominating Dorado in a 1-0 full-hold before finishing the series with a 2-0 sweep on Temple of Anubis.
Finally, Chengdu (1-0) took its first win of the year over the new-look Los Angeles Valiant (0-1). The Valiant’s new roster and coaching staff had low expectations placed on them but showed some fight despite the Hunters’ 3-1 win.
Chengdu took Lijiang Tower 2-0 with ease, threatening to breeze through the series, but Los Angeles fought back on King’s Row, taking Game 2 by a 3-2 score to force a 1-1 tie going into the break. From there, the Hunters stayed on top, taking a wild Havana game 3-0 in Game 3 before taking Game 4 on Volskaya Industries 2-1 to secure the series win.
Week 1 continues Sunday with three matches:
-Toronto Defiant vs. Vancouver Titans
-Atlanta Reign vs. Florida Mayhem
-Dallas Fuel vs. Los Angeles Gladiators
Overwatch League standings, with win-loss record and map differential:
1. Shanghai Dragons (East), 1-0, +3
T2. Philadelphia Fusion (East), 1-0, +2
T2. Chengdu Hunters (East), 1-0, +2
T2. San Francisco Shock (West), 1-0, +2
5. Houston Outlaws (West), 1-0, +1
T6. Hangzhou Spark (East), 0-0, even
T6. Paris Eternal (West), 0-0, even
T6. Toronto Defiant (West), 0-0, even
T6. Vancouver Titans (West), 0-0, even
T6. Washington Justice (West), 0-0, even
T6. Boston Uprising (West), 0-0, even
T6. Atlanta Reign (West), 0-0, even
T6. New York Excelsior (East), 0-0, even
T6. Florida Mayhem (West), 0-0, even
T6. London Spitfire (West), 0-0, even
16. Dallas Fuel (West), 0-1, -1
T17. Los Angeles Valiant (East), 0-1, -2
T17. Los Angeles Gladiators (West), 0-1, -2
T17. Seoul Dynasty (East), 0-1, -2
20. Guangzhou Charge (East), 0-1, -3
–Field Level Media