Overwatch League May Melee Tournament Has Concluded
The much-awaited Overwatch League May Melee has officially concluded! To say that it was one of the most exciting and action-packed moments in OWL history would truly be an understatement. Four days and 18 matches had to transpire for two regional champions to emerge: San Francisco Shock and Shanghai Dragons.
2020 hasn’t been kind to Blizzard. Just when they started their localized, homestand experiment, the COVID-19 pandemic came out of left field and put things to a halt. The viewership numbers took a hit, their hero pool system needed a tune-up, and one of their most marketable and talented players (who also happened to be last year’s MVP and champion) decided to retire. Oh, and did we mention that “small” first-person shooter that took the world by storm — Valorant? Riot’s upcoming FPS did more damage to the Overwatch League than most people realize, and it’ll only continue causing problems as time goes on.
Still, Blizzard desperately needed a home run to keep viewers engaged and fortunately they found one with last week’s May Melee tournament. Those who were itching for some top-tier Overwatch certainly had their wishes fulfilled as we saw some of the best Overwatch of the year. It was also a welcome reminder of just how entertaining and spectacular the game can be at its best. There were no hero pools in place, teams had more than enough time to acclimate, and come up with unique strategies. With a fairly flexible meta in place, fireworks were all but guaranteed.
A Big Win for Both Teams
The San Francisco Shock were the big favorites coming into the tournament and with good reason. Even though they’ve lost a couple of their incredible players, they have looked about as dominant as everyone expected. They didn’t break much of sweat against the Dallas Fuel (3-1) and Los Angeles Valiant (3-0), although the Florida Mayhem certainly gave the Shock a run for their money. The Mayhem are quite a talented, resilient bunch, and even writing such a thing evokes a strange sense of bewilderment. It wasn’t that long ago that they were one of the worst teams in the entire League. What a difference a couple of months can make! Still, they couldn’t quite compete on the Shock’s level. Despite this loss, their stock went up considerably, and their 3-2 upset win over the Philadelphia Fusion in the semifinals tells us one important thing. They’re not to be underestimated going forward.
The Shanghai Dragons, however, had a slightly harder journey en route to becoming the Asian champions. They first had to go through a very game London Spitfire (a nail-biter of a series which the Dragons barely survived), after which we saw a fairly one-sided shellacking over the fan-favorites New York Excelsior. The finals against Seoul Dynasty (a team that both dominated and was dominated upon in equal measure over the last couple of weeks) took the cake. Seoul was up three maps to zero after which came a historic turnaround. After barely beating Seoul on Junkertown, Shanghai was able to complete the reverse sweep and give us a full Best of 7 for the ages — a series that was not for the faint of heart.
Both champions will receive $40,000 for their incredible efforts. The Overwatch League will return on June 13. Blizzard will once again stage three weeks of play followed by yet another regional tournament, aptly named the June Melee. If it ends up being even half as entertaining as the one in May, we’ll be in for one heck of a ride.