Week 2 of Overwatch League Role Lock Produces Chaos

By: Bryce L. Jackson

In an effort to kill the 3-3 “GOATS” meta, the Overwatch League implemented the 2-2-2 (2 DPS, 2 Tank, 2 Support) Role Lock rules in order to spice things up at the end of the season. Stage 4 Week 2 has yielded the fruits of that decision as massive plays leading to mega upsets.

This week started innocuous enough with a few close, competitive games with the #19 Washington Justice coming from 0-2 down to beat the #20 Florida Mayhem. The first sign that this week could be more interesting than what it seemed was the shocking defeat of the Stage 3 Champion Shanghai Dragons to the #18 Toronto Defiant 2-1 on Day 1. Sprinkling in other hotly contested matches such as a surprisingly close 3-2 Seoul Dynasty victory over the Los Angeles Valiant, a 3-2 victory of #4 Los Angeles Gladiators over the #13 Chengdu Hunters, and the highly chaotic 3-2 victory of the new-look San Francisco Shock over the Gladiators, we should have seen the writing on the wall for some interesting results into the rest of the week.

It began with a 3-0 win Guangzhou Charge, who are fighting to get into the Top 12 for the playoffs annihilating the Hangzhou Spark who have struggled with on stage and private issues in Stage 4. Then all hell truly broke loose.

The Florida Mayhem pulled off not only a victory over the defending champion London Spitfire but the Mayhem absolutely destroyed them. London headed in to the week looking like 2-2-2 allowed them to reach their final form, then completely laid an egg and dropped a goose egg in the final result. The more peculiar part of this match was the seeming disinterest of Spitfire players noted by casters and the desk. As if London either had to laugh to keep from crying at their performance of the bottom-ranked Mayhem or they’ve phoned it in since the Atlantic Division is weak and they have a comfortable placement in the playoffs.

Then Sunday happened.

There’s no lead up I can write that can do this monumental upset justice, as the Washington Justice rocked the Vancouver Titans 4-0. Nothing about this matchup made sense other than Corey being an insane talent of a DPS player and there are some mutant superhero powers of positivity possessing Stratus’ sunglasses. The Justice absolutely outplayed Vancouver, who once again seemed to stumble in adapting and running the comps the league is running, rather than run comps that suit their identity.

If that wasn’t enough, the last match of the week ended in a 4-0 Chengdu Hunters dismantling of the New York Excelsior. Cue the calls for sandbagging as NYXL completely faltered against the Hunters chaotic play. The tale of the match was in the DPS play as Jinmu popped off while NYXL’s 4 DPS players used in Saebyeolbe, Nenne, Libero, and Flower all failed to perform to expectations.

In the end, Role Lock has thrown the league into flux as teams try to find their footing with one of the many comp options. With 3 weeks to go in the season, and Sigma on the horizon in the playoffs, fans do not want to just expect matches for the remainder of the Overwatch League 2019 Season to follow preconceived expectations.