The back-to-back champions of the Overwatch League, San Francisco Shock, may see the end of their reign this season.
San Francisco Shock is a legendary team in the Overwatch League. They were the first to complete a golden stage in the League, not losing a single map during an entire stage. Then, San Francisco Shock became the first team to have swept every other team in the Overwatch League. Last year, the Shock became the first back-to-back champion in the Overwatch League.
However, the Overwatch League 2021 Season is not looking as bright as the previous editions for San Francisco Shock. The back-to-back champions of the Overwatch League are missing their second tournament finals. The team failed to qualify for the June Joust final seed, raising the eyebrows of fans all over the world.
San Francisco Shock does not have the same roster as before
San Francisco Shock underwent several changes this off-season. The team lost its main support player and in-game shot-caller, Grant "moth" Espe. He was playing with the Shock since 2018, helping the team find their balance and wipe out the competition.
Brice "FDGod" Monsçavoir from Paris Eternal joined San Francisco Shock to fill this main support empty role. While the French player is impressive on Lucio, he lacks the experience leading the team that Espe had.
Dong-jun "Rascal" Kim and Seonchang "ANS" Lee also left the team at the end of the Overwatch League 2020 season. Rascal is one of the most versatile players in the League, mastering almost all heroes from the game. ANS is a hitscan specialist, deadly with his Widowmaker. He left Overwatch for Valorant, where he plays for T1 Academy.
To fill these two DPS spots, San Francisco Shock signed Charlie "nero" Zwarg and Gil-seong "Glister" Lim. Nero is a flex DPS player that won the Overwatch League 2020 Summer Showdown with Guangzhou Charge. Glister played his first season in the Overwatch League last year, with London Spitfire.
These changes do not mean San Francisco Shock is any less powerful than it was in the previous seasons. The team is home to some of the best talents in the League and is looking forward to making a 3-peat by winning a third title of Overwatch League Grand Champions.
San Francisco Shock, the team to beat in the Overwatch League
As San Francisco Shock is the team to beat, other teams give their all during their games against the Overwatch League champions. Matthew "super" DeLisi is leading the charge for the Shock but was systematically separated from his team by a Mei wall during the match against Dallas Fuel. Without their main tank, the rest of the team quickly fell apart.
The main issue of San Francisco Shock is its lack of flexibility. The team usually has a very offensive playstyle, which other teams learned how to counter. Whenever an enemy player starts picking on some of the Shock, the team takes too long to react. Leaving enemies unpunished is a key factor to losing a game in Overwatch.
The overall level in the Overwatch League is higher than it was before. All the teams now have very good players, with promising rookies from the Contenders learning the ropes with veterans from the League.
San Francisco Shock can no longer rely on its trademarked aggressive playstyle. To win this new edition of the Overwatch League and make a 3-peat, the team will have to step out of its comfort zone to surprise the other teams.
The Overwatch League champions are missing their second tournament playoffs in a row. However, they still have the capacity to overcome these hardships and stay in the race to win the Overwatch League Grand Finals for a third time.
the first one in 2021 🖤 pic.twitter.com/yxqLu6ZFlo
— San Francisco Shock (@SFShock) March 11, 2021
The next game of San Francisco Shock will be on June 25, for the beginning of the Summer Showdown tournament. They will face Los Angeles Gladiators and their former teammate, Grant "moth" Espe.