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With the Overwatch League Pre-season finally starting, viewers and players alike can finally get a taste of what it is going to be like going into actual league play, and taking words from both players and fans alike, “Boy is it going to be sick”.
Firstly, the stage is mental. As per the image above it is a massive screen, and we mean massive. No, it is not a projection, that is a screen. It displays team colors, player portraits, and oh, it is also a spectator screen all the way around to the sides. So live viewers can get a full widescreen view into a map.
Now initially one will say, “oh that’s a cool light fitting at the top”. That is no light fitting though. All Overwatch players out there, think for a second if you turn it a hundred and eighty degrees around, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Well the answer is simple, that circle up there synchronizes with point capture counters, in real time.
Now, it can’t be all perfect, and following the Overwatch World Cup, we were left with a similar disappointment, the chairs. For no apparent reason whatsoever, Blizzard has gone with office chairs for the league’s arena, swaying away from the usual trend of gaming chairs which other Esports have clung to.
Before we go into how matches kicked off, it should be mentioned that due to logistical issues, Philadelphia Fusion pulled out of pre-season, and their match on day one was filled in by San Francisco Shock.
On Day one we had three amazing back to back matches, Florida Mayhem vs San Francisco Shock, Los Angeles Valiant vs San Francisco Shock, and Seoul Dynasty vs Shanghai Dragons.
Map one took these two teams to Dorado, now taking into consideration that everyone is starting fresh, no predictions are possible these are top of the crop that teams could get their hands on, and they’re out to prove themselves.
Mayhem pushed the attack first seemingly getting a good read on Shock as they went pretty quickly through the first point. Only for Dhak to seemingly put his foot down and get BabyBay into the form he was required in, as he started dropping Mayhem players one after the other for a second point hold. BabyBay would push his exceptional form on widow to the attacking phase as Shock swiped through the distance needed for a Dorado win with a score of 2-1 on distance reach.
The second map saw the teams heading to an unusual Temple of Anubis. Now, keeping in mind viewers just wanted matches to go the distance, and the distance it went as the match went into a second round of play with both teams capturing two points on their first push. On the second round however, Florida Mayhem seemingly got a read on Shock and managed to hold them with around a fifty-six percent cap on point two. This proved to be insufficient though as they failed to meet that percentage on their own push ending the map with a score of 4-3 and an overall series score of 2:0 in favor of San Francisco Shock.
Map three saw us going to Oasis. Shock seemed to have faltered initially on this map, even dropping the first round to Florida Mayhem. They would however, pull back the second round to tie up the map score. Round three then had Florida fans already on their feet as a 99% to none was on screen, only for them to sit back down as Shock capped it and held it to a full 100% bounce back, to bring the series 3-0.
The final map of the series would turn out to be Florida Mayhem’s redemption. On Eichenwalde, Florida pushed cleanly through, capping all three points swiftly with a pretty hefty time bank of over a minute. They would then have some trouble holding San Francisco Shock back, but were always etching their time off, putting them into a corner. Until time was running out, then they struck and wiped shock at their final second, to stop them from completing the map, bringing the series to a final score of 3-1 in favor of San Francisco Shock.
Day one, also saw two other clashes with LA Valiant also taking on SF Shock, and Seoul Dynasty taking on the Shanghai Dragons.
LA Valiant, previously Immortals as they held on to their roster, managed to sneak a win with a 3-2 score against SF Shock, whilst the tigers of the Seoul Dynasty shocked the world with a 4-0 win over the Shanghai Dragons.
The Overwatch League Pre-season Day 2 followed and you can find a recap here. If you missed the action, you can also find all the VoDs on the official Overwatch League Website!
Stay posted for more Overwatch League coverage, here at esportsonly.com!