Olivia R. July 15, 2019
The Shanghai Dragons are the Overwatch League Stage 3 champions.
After an intense seven-game match, the Dragons defeated the San Francisco Shock 4-3. Along with the $200,000, the Dragons have earned their first stage championship.
"Started from the bottom, now we're here! After a wild seven maps, we come out the Stage 3 champs! We couldn’t have made it this far without your love – so here’s to you!" the Dragons exclaimed on Twitter.
Their now-pinned announcement was accompanied by a giveaway. Any fan who likes and retweets will automatically be entered to win a Shanghai Dragons keyboard, one of five jerseys, or one of 10 goodie bags.
The Los Angeles Valiant then chimed in by congratulating the newly crowned champions. "You guys deserved it, what a fairy tale it’s been," the Valiant said on Twitter.
Shanghai Dragons' journey to the top
The Valiant's tweet sums up why this victory isn't just any other OWL team winning any other match. The Dragons had started Season 2 with a 0-42 losing streak, the longest on record. They were, without question, the worst team in the league.
But with help from their new tank and in-game leader, Young-jin "Gamsu" Noh, the Chinese team found a new attitude, and a new record. Instilled with confidence, the Dragons finished Stage 3 in eighth place with a 5-2 record.
The Dragons surprised fans, analysts, and teams alike when they defeated the New York Excelsior in their first-ever playoffs game. Using DPS-heavy strategies, the Dragons toppled the favored NYXL, the team many consider to have popularized GOATS in the OWL.
Shanghai Dragons defeat San Francisco Shock in stage three playoffs
The Shock were quite confident going into the playoffs. Making the finals was essentially a foregone conclusion, with the only uncertainty being whether they'd meet the NYXL or their biggest rival, the Vancouver Titans. Though it may have been a matter of strategy or playstyle, the San Francisco Shock looked as though they underestimated the Chinese team.
The first map was Oasis, where the Dragon's Bae "Diem" Min-seong showed off his deadly accuracy with Widowmaker. The Shock had brought out their substitute DPS players, Kwon "Striker" Nam-joo and Park "Architect" Min-ho, which didn't seem to be a problem for the sniper.
On Numbani, the Shock brought back tank Matthew "Super" DeLisi and DPS Jay "Sinatraa" Won. But the Dragon's DPS Jin "YoungJIN" Yong-jin easily plowed through them with Doomfist, giving the underdogs a 2-0 lead.
The Shock concerned casters once again when they chose Horizon Lunar Colony as the control map, despite having a better record on Paris. The map allowed Jinhyeok "DDing" Yang to dominate on Pharah, bringing the Dragons to match point.
The Shock then chose Havana, where they returned to form and denied the Dragons even one point. Hoping for a reverse sweep, the Shock took both rounds on Illios, despite Yang "Luffy" Seong-hyeon's impressive Ana plays. San Francisco brought the series to a nail-biting 3-3 on Eichenwalde, by holding the Dragons off Point A at the 90 percent control mark.
But the Dragons shattered the Shock's hopes for a reverse sweep on Dorado. DDing's Pharah and Diem's Widowmaker took full control of the map, and the Shock barely even pushed the payload past Point A. The last game was rewarded to the Dragons, who took the series 4-3.
"I've been a pro gamer for the past five years and this is the only time I've actually won a big tournament. This means a lot to me," said Gamsu.