Or ‘Why The Players, People, and Fans of the OWL are Great’
Tonight saw the last match of the Overwatch League Stage 3, week 4. The night at the Blizzard arena ended with the Philadelphia Fusion facing off against the Shanghai Dragons. Anyone who has been watching the Overwatch League recently would know at least two things about this match-up. First, The Fusion went to the Stage 2 championships recently, barely falling to the NYXL 3-2. Second, the Dragons haven’t won a match yet. Going into tonight’s games they had the worst record in the league at 0-27.
Comparing this to the Fusion’s 16-11 record and taking into account the recent Stage finals appearance by Philly, this match seemed pretty one-sided. Despite signing some extremely talented players Shanghai had still fallen to Mayhem and Fuel earlier this stage. With the next to closest teams having beaten them, things looked grim for the Dragons. They recently had further losses to the Dynasty and Uprising, and after Philly would have to play London and New York. In fact, grim doesn’t cover it. They didn’t have a prayer for the rest of this stage.
All of this makes what happened tonight even better. Against all predictions the Dragons traded map wins with the Fusion taking the Orange to a map five. Facing down the Fusion was no easy task, just ask the NYXL, but the Dragons proved themselves worthy competition. Oasis proved a bridge too far for the Dragons but they put on a truly impressive show.
Just as impressive as this showing from the Shanghai Dragons was the outpouring of support for the Chinese team from the rest of the league as the match went on. The little blue bird was squawking and all that came out was love for the Dragons. Twitter posts from several teams, players, and people around the league cheered on the Dragons.
From Some of their fellow teams,
If @ShanghaiDragons get their first win today, we'll buy their jersey.
— Los Angeles Gladiators (@LAGladiators) April 29, 2018
— Dallas Fuel (@DallasFuel) April 29, 2018
— London Spitfire (@Spitfire) April 29, 2018
Teams weren’t the only ones showing their support though. Some of their fellow players tweeted as well.
I don't have a lot of energy left in me right now but I'm giving what I can #FightingForGlory
— Austin Wilmot #FireOn (@Muma) April 29, 2018
I have never been as into a match as this @ShanghaiDragons match… PLS DO IT
— Scott Kennedy (@Custa) April 29, 2018
And all this just scratches the surface of the fans on twitter. Go see for yourself the tweets from today with the team hashtag #FightingforGlory. Some of the best were:
— natalie ☆ (@FirestormOW) April 29, 2018
#FightingForGlory MAKE HISTORY SHANGHAI!! We’re all cheering for you!!❤️🖤
— ✨lora✨@kh crunch🗝 (@onelora) April 29, 2018
My bad mood after seeing Seoul get clean swept is now gone omfg i get on Twitter and all I see is OWL team accounts, OWL players, practically everyone cheering on Shanghai my heart can’t take this!!! #OWL2018 #FightingForGlory
— depressed dynasty stan (@thebiggestcuck) April 29, 2018
This last tweet is the one that really illustrates the major takeaway here. The Dragons have the worst record in the league by far. Instead of being forgotten though, the whole league is pulling for them to break the losing streak. No one wants to be the first to lose to them sure, but no one wants them to end the season without at least one W. And that’s a good thing.
Yes, competition and rivalries are important. They’re very important in fact. More important for the success of the league though is that all the teams are functionally ‘part’ of that league. If the league gets to the point that some matches are not being watched because of the team or if a team because so outpaced by the rest of the league then it becomes a problem. A problem that will effect the entire league. For the league to succeed, and it could still fail, all of the teams need to be competitive and all need to be supported.
The support for Shanghai as they push for that first win shows that while they will still be hunting their first win, the Dragons are not a forgotten part of the OWL. In a form of competition with a reputation for it’s toxicity, the people in and around the Overwatch League did the exact opposite.
At the end of the night the 3-2 victory was claimed by the Philadelphia. The Fusion now sit dead center of the table at 6th in the season standings. They are tied with but just behind Houston to be 6th in the stage rankings as well. Like all the teams above them they have a big week coming up. Shanghai have difficult games against London and NYXL coming up, but after tonight I think anything could happen.