Capping a season marked by changes, whether it was the introduction of hero pool rotations for the first time in the league’s history, to the online adjustments forced by COVID-19, the Overwatch League 2020 Grand Finals were in many ways a celebration of the tenacity and determination of not just the two teams competing, but for the league as a whole. And as far as a celebration goes, you couldn’t have asked for much better. With most of the matches going down to the wire, both the Shock and the Dynasty clearly had their eyes on the prize. Let’s take a look at what went down map by map.
Map 1 – Oasis
With the map starting on control, the Shock came out looking great. While the first point went 100-99 in their favor, the Dynasty never really looked in control, despite the close score. Always playing catch up, and with their support players under constant harassment from Striker playing the Tracer, they never really found their footing. And while the first point showed some strength from Seoul, the second point fell apart completely.
When the second point went to University things went downhill quickly for Seoul. Smurf, running the Hammond, joined Striker in a constant harassment campaign of the Dynasty’s back line. Without their supports, everything quickly fell apart as the Shock took the second point 100-0 and the early lead in the Overwatch League 2020 Grand Finals.
Current score: Shock 1, Dynasty 0
Map 2 – King’s Row
Having lost the first map, Seoul elected for the hybrid map to be Kings Row. With the Shock being first to attack they open up with a Symmetra strategy that allows them to steal the high ground thanks to Symmetra’s teleporter. Caught flat footed, the Dynasty never mange to recover their point a defense and the Shock manage a quick take that gives them the momentum they need to roll all the way through point b. It isn’t till Profit comes in clutch for Seoul, delivering a quick three kills that finally stops the Shocks forward progress.
With just over five minutes built up to take point c Seoul was in desperate straights to make a stand. And for a while it looked like they might just succeed. Having burned over four minutes in a surprising hold the Dynasty made it clear they wouldn’t rollover lightly. But in the end, the Shock managed to finish the map.
When it came time for Seoul to attack, they choose a more traditional route toward point a. Rotating through the hotel, they attempted to push onto the point. However, this surrendered the high ground to Shock’s Ans playing Widowmaker. This was a costly mistake. Having gotten bogged down, the Dynasty only barely squeak out the point capture in overtime. But once they got rolling, it looked like Seoul wouldn’t be stopped.
While the cart never ceased forward momentum from point a to b, capturing point c proved to be another matter. Even with their lighting fast time capturing b, the Dynasty were left with under two minutes to try to crack point c. It would prove not to be enough. The Overwatch League 2020 Grand Finals would see a second map go the way of the Shock.
Current Score: Shock 2, Dynasty 0
Map 3 – Hanamura
In a choice that perplexed every analyst covering the game, the Dynasty elected for the assault map to be Hanamura. This was surprising as the Shock had not lost a match at that location since the inaugural 2018 season. Having amassed an impressive 18-0 win streak there. Seoul needed a plan to defeat San Francisco in their best map.
Seoul opened the map with their own attempt at a tricky Symmetra attack. However, theirs falls short of initial success. With the cheeky play having failed the Dynasty went back to the standard double sniper attack that has been so popular during the playoffs. Once they make the switch point a falls in fairly short order. With a little over four minutes left on the clock, Seoul had to try to finish off the map.
This time it was the Shock that needed to pull out a huge hold to keep their opponent from completing the map. And just like Seoul in their previous map, they fell just short. After throwing back several attempts on the part of the Dynasty, the Shock crumbled with a scant 11 seconds left on the clock. The Shock would have to complete the map with time remaining if they wanted to go up three oh in the series.
As the Dynasty came out on defense they once again showed a deviation in their team composition from the norm. With DPS player Prophet electing to play Pharah, the Dynasty were looking to mix things up. But Prophet’s fame as a Pharah player had preceded him, and the Shock came out with both their flex support player Violet running Baptiste, as well as their off tank having switched to D.Va, to counter just that eventuality. And it worked. After only a brief hold, the Shock took point a and moved on to try to finish their attack.
But the attack on point b saw the Shock make a choice that puzzled. Since point b is indoors Prophet promptly switched off of Pharah to go back to playing long ranged hit scan. However, Violet didn’t change off of Baptiste for his standard Zenyatta pick. The absence of both the discord orbs, as well as transcendence were clearly felt. Only once the situation was too late to salvage did Zenyatta make an appearance. Seoul managed to hold the Shock to only two ticks of point b. Not enough to force another attack. Seoul was on the board in the Overwatch League 2020 Grand Finals.
Current Score: Shock 2, Dynasty 1
Map 4 – Watchpoint: Gibraltar
Having been served their first loss of the match the Shock elected Watchpoint Gibraltar for the payload map. With Seoul going on the attack first, they were clearly looking to capitalize on the momentum they had built up from their previous win.
If that was the plan, it almost failed them. Seoul struggled to get the cart moving at first. The Shock’s DPS dominated the high ground and proved to be a terror for the Dynasty to crack. But, even as the overtime wick was burning Seoul managed to finally push the payload to that first coveted point. There would be no full hold this map.
Just as with King’s Row earlier, once the Dynasty got going they were slow to stop. They managed to capture the high ground in the hanger and keep the Shock from managing to properly contest the cart for all of point b. With a stronger time bank now, it was looking like the momentum that had been slow to show up was finally making its appearance.
But just as the first two points in Seoul’s attack on Gibraltar mirrored their previous performance on King’s Row, it started to look like their point c attack would similarly fall short. But, with 18 seconds left on the clock Seoul finally broke the Shock’s defense and got their second successful attack of the match. Now would San Francisco respond in kind?
As the Shock were preparing to start their attack, the Dynasty revealed a surprise would be awaiting them. Prophet had elected to run Genji. While he has a long history with the character, Genji had not seen much play in the current meta. Nevertheless, there he was. And as the doors slide open to release the Shock’s attack, they soon discovered Genji’s presence as well. It was a surprise the Shock would not recover from.
Built on some excellent Nano boosts from Dynasty’s support Creative, combing with Genji’s dragon blade, the Shock were rebuked time and time again. So potent was Seoul’s defense that the Shock never managed to capture point a. It was a full hold for the Dynasty. And the Overwatch League 2020 Grand Finals suddenly got a bit more interesting.
Current Score: Shock 2, Dynasty 2
Map 5 – Busan
With the match returning to control the Shock went back to what worked so well in the first map of the match. With Striker playing Tracer, and their tank being Hammond, the Shock looked to break up the Dynasty’s supports once again as the map began at Mecha Base. But Seoul had a plan of their own.
Instead of going with the standard double sniper composition, they swapped in a Sombra. With Sombra’s ability to hack characters making her a formidable counter pick to characters like Hammond, who are dead in the water without their abilities, the Dynasty held their own with Shock. As the point passed back and forth between the teams, the capture percentages ticked ever higher. But in the end, the Shock managed to wrestle away a close 100-99 point capture.
For point b the map moved onto Shrine. Here the Shock came out to a strong lead. Bullying their way onto the point, they proved nearly impossible to dislodge. Only with some truly heroic Ashe play on the part of Prophet, which resulted in a quick five kills, were the Dynasty finally able to flip the point. But by then the Shock already had their capture percentage up to 99. Holding the Shock off for a full 100% hold turned out to be beyond Seoul’s abilities. The Overwatch League 2020 Grand Finals had come to match point.
Current score: Shock 3, Dynasty 2
Map 6 – Hollywood
It’s do or die time for Seoul. With the season on the line the Dynasty elect to have the next hybrid map be Hollywood. Once again, Prophet attempts to play his trademark Pharah for Seoul’s point a defense. Once again, the Shock predict this decision and run the proper counters for it.
It takes two pushes, but the Shock mange to break the point a defense in fairly short order. As the battle moves to point b Prophet decides to switch off Pharah for the Hanzo. And this time, the Shock adjust their own composition as well, to much better results as point b falls to their onslaught.
With a solid time bank built up Seoul once again finds its back against the wall. Just as the Shock look to push through for the win, Seoul sees huge clutch performances from Fits(on Widowmaker) and Marve1(on Sigma).
As Marve1 performed some excellent stalling, utilizing his defense powers to hold the enemy off, Fits flanked the enemy and popped off a series of head shots to break the Shock’s drive. Having been held just short of point c, the Dynasty now had a win condition they could make to force another map.
Seoul’s attack got off to a rough start however. With only seconds left, they just managed to take point a. As they moved into the second stretch of the map, the Shock took hold of the high ground, and would never surrender it. This proved to be Seoul’s undoing, as they would fail to capture point b.
Final Score: Shock 4, Dynasty 2
With the match a wrap, the only thing left to do was crown the Grand Finals MVP. This honor got awarded to the Shock’s star DPS Striker. His play across several heroes over the course of the match, most notably his Tracer play, was pivotal in the Shock’s eventual success. It was a well earned award. CONGRATULATIONS STRIKER!
And that’s it for the Overwatch League 2020 Grand Finals. It was a great match to watch, with great play coming from both teams. It feels like next season is so far away. And yet, I know it’ll be here before we know it.
‘Till next time, keep playing the point!