The San Francisco Shock are maybe the winningest crew within the Overwatch League’s short five-year history. They’re the one crew who can boast back-to-back grand finals victories. And through Stage 2 in 2019, the League needed to invent a brand new classification of excellence when the Shock not solely by no means misplaced a sport, however they by no means dropped a single map, sweeping all their opponents in what was dubbed the “golden stage.” And regardless that, final 12 months, they by no means got here near the sort of dominance they loved in 2019 and 2020, they’re nonetheless a pressure to be reckoned with and a perpetual ache in my facet the best way the Yankees are to common baseball followers.
Which makes the Shock’s embarrassing loss to the Los Angeles Gladiators over the weekend one of many sweetest issues I’ve watched shortly — and undoubtedly my favourite second of OWL Season 5 to this point.
All final week, the League ran its first cross-regional event of the 12 months — the Midseason Insanity. It was a protracted week of matches, that includes among the scrappiest Overwatch I’ve seen this season. Up till this level, Season 5 had been kinda boring with matches that have been typically whole blowouts. However for the Midseason Insanity, rattling close to each match was an in depth 3-2. Broadcasts that sometimes clocked in round 4 to 5 hours have been operating eight to 9 hours lengthy, lengthened with a further fourth sport over the standard three and the truth that plenty of video games went right down to the wire. It was a tricky slog to look at, particularly as a result of my Shanghai Dragons typically performed the later matches within the day.
The ultimate match on this lengthy week of a event was between the Shock and the Gladiators, groups that have been the primary and two groups, respectively, within the Western area. For the season to this point, the Shock have been wanting like they have been again to their previous selves as they’re presently undefeated within the common season. However that good file didn’t translate to a win throughout the first event of the 12 months… nor on this one.
In truth, from the beginning of the ultimate match, it appeared just like the Glads had them chilly. The Gladiators rapidly put down the Shock 3-0, with the primary one to 4 maps the winner. It appeared just like the match could be a decisive 4-0 victory for the Gladiators — a uncommon sweep in a event that’s been nothing however hotly and carefully contested matches. However veteran Overwatch League followers know to by no means declare a 4-0 prematurely, particularly towards the Shock.
Effectively, congrats on profitable Midseason Insanity, Gladiators. There is not any means Shock comes again from an 0-3.
— London Spitfire (@Spitfire) July 24, 2022
This tongue-in-cheek tweet from the London Spitfire (a crew that’s having its finest season ever and was cruelly and unfairly knocked out of the event by the weaker Florida Mayhem) is each a curse and a warning. The Shock are the masters of the reverse sweep, and, true to type, shortly after this tweet, the Shock clawed out of their 0-3 gap, profitable the subsequent two maps in a row.
By that time, I used to be apoplectic. It was already late Saturday night time. I used to be drained and wholly unenthused in regards to the prospect of watching a finest of 4 go to map seven. I like good, aggressive Overwatch, however typically a bitch simply be drained.
The sixth map of the match was an escort map by which groups compete to push a payload the furthest. Each groups accomplished the primary spherical of pushing, with the Gladiators ending with an extended time financial institution. The Shock made good use of their inferior time allotment and did a superb job on protection, consuming up the Gladiators’ time benefit. However then the wheels got here off the payload.
The map was in additional time, and for payload maps, that’s a essential time. In case you’re an attacking crew and also you step away from the payload, it is going to keep put, time will run out, and you’ll lose. If a defending crew steps away from the payload, the attacking crew will be capable of push it to wherever the payload stopped the earlier spherical, and the defenders will lose.
For the ultimate spherical of this ultimate map, the Shock have been the defending crew. All of the Shock needed to do to probably win the map and take it to a ultimate map seven was to remain on the payload and win the struggle. Right here’s how that performed out.
In case you’ve watched Overwatch League for any size of time, you understand what that is. That could be a C9 — a colloquial time period meaning a crew misplaced a map as a result of they weren’t enjoying the target. It’s so named after the esports group Cloud9, which dedicated the unique sin means again within the sorely missed days of the Overwatch Apex event.
It’s the most ignominious means a crew can lose. It’s like tripping on the end line of a race since you, in your hubris, didn’t suppose you wanted to tie your shoelaces or standing inventory nonetheless as a tennis ball whips by you when your opponent has the benefit. And it’s the funniest rattling factor I’ve seen in an Overwatch League match ever. Think about preventing so arduous to return again from an 0-3 deficit, solely to lose, not due to the power of your opponent however due to your individual unlucky and simply preventable actions. I couldn’t consider it. Nor may Overwatch League Twitter.
It’s the most Midseason Insanity factor on this planet…nay, essentially the most Overwatch League season 5 factor on this planet…for this banger match to finish
— Liz Richardson (@mizliz_) July 24, 2022
It HAD to finish in a C9. LMAO
Unreal event, congratulations @LAGladiators effectively deserved. Again to again titles!
— Jack Wright (@JawsCasts) July 24, 2022
In fact, there’s no solution to know if the Shock would have gained in the event that they hadn’t dedicated the best sin in aggressive Overwatch, and I’ve nothing however sympathy for the Shock’s followers as a result of, whew, it’s by no means enjoyable to see gamers unhappy like that.
However that’s Overwatch League, child. There’s a operating joke that the League is scripted with writers planning how groups win or lose. The truth that the San Francisco Shock, the gods’ most favored Overwatch crew, misplaced by way of C9 once they have been mere moments away from essentially the most spectacular comeback in League historical past undoubtedly takes it from joke to conspiracy idea ranges. It’s moments like this that remind me why I like this League — the tales write themselves.