| Tags: Overwatch
| Author Joseph Shay
Overwatch League Pro-Am West Week 1 Recap
Some OWL 2023 front runners stake their claim on the league in the preseason Overwatch League Pro-Am.
With the start of the Overwatch League 2023 right around the corner, this preview event has opened eyes for the teams that can thrive, and the teams than may crumble.
IT'S ALMOST TIME ⏰
The #OWL2023 Pro-AM tournament starts today at 1 PM PT! Which matches are you most excited for? pic.twitter.com/JRxwZU3pgr
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) March 23, 2023
With three Stage tournament level teams from the 2022 season, and two highly contestable Contenders teams, Group A was bound to be an exciting one. Though it didn't turn out quite how we thought it would. If Overwatch League fans heard a month ago that the San Francisco Shock would be fighting for the Vancouver Titans' spot at the top while the Florida Mayhem sat comfortably at the top, they wouldn't believe it, but here we are.
That's right, not only were Florida Mayhem able to clean sweep both of the high tier Contenders teams in their Group, but they had relatively smooth games against the other two Overwatch League teams in their group as well. The Mayhem dropped only one map, and it was to the Shock in the first match of the entire preseason. Even after that we saw the Shock struggle, dropping by the same 2-1 score-line to Trick Room as well.
They came back to beat both the Titans and Timeless to secure a spot in the top two so they could move onto the bracket. This is a mostly new roster for San Francisco, and as all long time fans know, the Shock are famous for not starting a season well and then going on to win a championship. Even so, the Shock qualified in a very competitive group, and seemed to be getting their dominant groove towards the end of the group stage. Coming away from this, the Titans definitely deserve praise as well, putting up a great fight against these other two OWL teams who are predicted to do extremely well this season. This may be the best Titans roster we've seen since 2019.
The expectation coming into this was that Atlanta Reign would roll over the competition with no contest, and London Spitfire would make it through on team experience. In reality, Atlanta Reign rolled over the competition with no contest, and London Spitfire made it through on team experience. Although this group didn't give us much in the way of surprises, it did deliver on performance. Atlanta Reign are just as dominant as expected, and were a joy to watch. They showed up every other team showing mastery of the loose meta and ability to not only be flexible, but force other teams to flex into less comfortable compositions and dominate the mind game as well.
Saints proved their worth by placing in the middle of the group in the only group containing only one Contenders team and four Overwatch League teams. While they should be very proud of themselves, the Los Angeles Valiant and Vegas Eternal look less than prepared. Los Angeles Valiant shows some promise and has the possibility of competing with the middle of the league teams at some point. Meanwhile, Vegas Eternal don't even look like they belong in the Overwatch League for the umpteenth year in a row. Jack “Vulcan” McArthur is a half decent Tank player trying to make room for Jesse “Dove” Palomo to carry the team, in which is impossible to do with his high Open Division level teammates unable to assist him. Dove deserves better, and like Aspire before him needs to be realized by a more competent team.
Groups A & B
Now that those two groups are finished, we officially have Florida Mayhem, San Francisco Shock, Atlanta Reign, and London Spitfire moving on to the Pro-Am West tournament. With the top two Contenders teams eliminated from the group stage, it is unlikely we'll see a Contenders team qualify for the tournament, but some really did give a great showing. Groups C & D are soon to come this upcoming weekend, so look forward to a preview of those groups before the second week of Pro-Am West begins!