After surprising Overwatch League fans and analysts alike by making it to the playoffs in Stage 1, the San Francisco Shock are continuing to show their dominance in Stage 2. On Week 1, the Shock defeated Los Angeles Valiant and Guangzhou Charge without dropping a single game.
While fan-favorite Jay “sinatraa” Won and his team seemed quite confident on stage all weekend, Upcomer’s managing editor Aaron Mickunas had to ask:
What a difference from the playoffs last stage, when the sixth-seed Shock were off the analysts’ radar. When it was believed that the New York Excelsior and the Vancouver Titans was the only plausible finals match. Of course, once the Shock 4-0’d Philadelphia Fusion in the semis it was an entirely different story at the analyst desk.
And now, the San Francisco Shock are one of the teams to beat.
“There wasn’t that much pressure against the Valiant,” admitted Sinatraa. “But a team like Shanghai Dragons last season, who went 0-40… We were their last match of the season. And I was so scared.”
You don’t want to be the team to break that losing streak.
No. You want to be the team that defeats the Vancouver Titans. And the San Francisco Shock were close. So close. The back and forth finals match went on to for the max seven games, the Shock holding on until the very end.
“Yeah, I do. We just choked last time. We can’t choke again.”
“I mean, they’re really good. But we threw the last map for no reason. It all just snowballed.”
Despite the eventual loss, the intense match solidified San Francisco Shock as one of the top GOATS teams for many OWL fans. Yeah, everyone can play GOATS pretty well in the League. You can’t be bad at GOATS. Not a lot of mechanical skills are required. But then there’s teams like NYXL, Vancouver, and San Francisco Shock who are really good at GOATS.
“You just need good coordination and you can be the best GOATS team in the world,” said Sinatraa. “But most teams don’t have that next-level teamwork.”
“It’d be good and bad,” contemplated Sinatraa. “We’re nasty at GOATS, but our roster has so much flexibility. With STRIKER and Architect on the bench, we have crazy potential. If it comes to dive with Tracer, we have the best Tracer in the world: STRIKER. We have Smurf, a really good Winston, and Architect, a nasty Widow.”
In other words?
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“We’re ready for anything.”
Meanwhile, while GOATS is still a thing: Sinatraa, first known for his nutty DPS plays, has become quite popular for his Zarya. Sinatraa doesn’t think Baptiste and Zarya are that compelling of a pair. But for now, GOATS is still dominant. And Sinatraa is dominant with one of its key players: Zarya.
“I think I’m a top three Zarya.”
“Nenne and SeoMinSoo. But I don’t know the order.”
Even though Sinatraa has proven himself on Zarya, he brought out a lot of Sombra in the first week of Stage 2. Super also played a lot of Winston. Breaking away from GOATS may already be a thing. Just a slow thing. With the new hero, and the new competitive map pool, San Francisco Shock is still experimenting. They’re still trying to see what the meta really is.
“No, it’s only the first day.”
With their newfound top tier placement in Stage 2, the Shock may have a bit of pressure. Maybe not against the Valiant, but to stay on top in general. According to Sinatraa, the team takes practices pretty seriously, especially the days before their matches.
“You always want to treat scrims intensely,” he said. “We always keep the intensity up to almost match level.”
The Shock even take the fourth game seriously, even after taking the first three maps. Which does explain their impressive 4-0 victories.
“Yeah, it sucks.”
“We try not to… Most teams relax on the fourth map. It’s hard because you auto default to that. You already know you won. But we try to take map 4 really serious. Map differential really matters at the end. Last stage, we were nail-biting because of map differentials. So we take it really serious.”
The San Francisco Shock will be back on April 12, facing the Guangzhou Charge once again.