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Are the Shanghai Dragons the worst team in all of sports?

It's no secret: The Shanghai Dragons are bad. Really bad.
 
Every sport has dream-teams and meme-teams; for every New England Patriots there's a Cleveland Browns, and Overwatch League is no exception. As many of us watch the spectacular play of teams like NYXL or enjoy the roller-coaster rides of teams like Boston Uprising and London Spitfire, it's hard not to notice the other side of the spectrum.
 
As we near the end of Stage 3, each OWL team is starting to establish their story line and cement their fan bases. For many teams, each stage has presented fresh challenges, promoting the growth of both the players and the organizations as a whole. Despite these ups and downs however, one thing has remained consistent: Shanghai Dragons.
 
Although the Shanghai Dragons are the only winless team in OWL, they aren't the only team that's struggled. The bottom-of-the-pack each stage has consisted of Dallas Fuel, Florida Mayhem, and Shanghai Dragons. That's it. Are Dallas and Florida bad? Of course they are, but nobody is quite as good at being bad as Shanghai. For reference, let's examine some Stage 2 performances to show just how spectacularly bad Shanghai really is. Dallas (which finished in 2nd to last place with a 2-8 record) had a map score of -15. Shanghai had a map score of -35. Negative 35!! Shanghai was more than twice as bad as the next-worst team. In fact, Shanghai only won 2 maps out of 40. Wow.
 
Now that we've established just how bad the Shanghai Dragons are, let's put it into some context. The aforementioned Cleveland Browns are a good place to start: they made NFL history last year by achieving the worst season ever (0-16, tied with the 2008 Detroit Lions). So what makes the Shanghai Dragons any worse than the Cleveland Browns? The Cleveland Browns scored points. They forced 2 games into overtime and lost 4 games by 3 points or less. The Cleveland Browns could still compete. Shanghai can't.
 
Don't get me wrong, I didn't make this post to trash-talk Shanghai - I want them to succeed. I just found it interesting as a fan of both Esports and conventional sports to look at just how bad they've been thus far. I know that despite their lack of success, they still have their fans *cough @STDragon1* and with their name and region could easily be a major team in the future.
 
What do you guys think of the Shanghai Dragons performance so far?
Do you think they will be able to turn around their misfortune and become a serious contender in the future?
 
Curious to see who else has been enjoying this wild ride.

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PopularHanzo is great!

One consistent opinion that I’ve seen throughout the Overwatch community is that Hanzo is terrible. I happen to disagree. Hanzo’s buff just hit the PTR and I figured that there won’t ever be a better time to explain to you all why Hanzo Shimada is amazing.

Gameplay

Whether using scatter arrow or storm bow, Hanzo deals massive damage. One shot from scatter arrow does upwards of 400 damage if all arrows hit. Hanzo’s sonic arrow is also arguably one of the best utility abilities in the game, it practically replicates Widowmaker’s ultimate ability. Wall climb is an extremely useful ability that can get Hanzo out of danger, or help him reach a place to set up. Hanzo’s ultimate, Dragonstrike, is amazing. Dragonstrike has a beautiful animation and deals massive damage through walls, which means a good Hanzo can fire it without risking his own life.

Lore

In my opinion, Hanzo’s lore is some of the most interesting out of all the characters in Overwatch.

Hanzo grew up as one of the two scions of the Shimada Clan. The Shimada Clan was led by Sojiro Shimada, Hanzo’s father. The clan made their money by selling weapons and illegal substances. From a young age, Hanzo and his brother Genji were trained to take over when their father died. Their training included martial arts and war tactics, both of which Hanzo excelled in. When Sojiro died, the leader’s responsibilities fell to Hanzo, who took his job very seriously. Genji was very different. Genji would rather live a playboy-like lifestyle and rarely contributed anything to the clan’s well being. The Clan Elders confronted Hanzo about this and asked him to try and straighten Genji out. When Hanzo spoke with Genji, Genji refused to assist the clan. Hanzo reported this to the Elders and they gave him a new order. Kill his brother. Hanzo took up his sword and fought with Genji. Hanzo won the duel and killed Genji, cleaving him from his right shoulder to his left ribs. The act broke Hanzo’s heart. He abandoned the Shimada Clan and swore never to fight with a sword again, leaving his behind in the Shimada Temple. The Shimada Clan sent many assassins after Hanzo as they considered him a traitor, Hanzo slew them all with ease. The archer took up work as a mercenary, taking money to kill people. All while searching for someone who could defeat him in combat and end his suffering. None could. Hanzo returns to the Shimada Temple yearly, on the anniversary of Genjis death. While there, he leaves incense and offering as a way to honor his brother. One of these times, Hanzo was confronted by a green and gray cyborg.
The cyborg confronted Hanzo and they dueled. The fight climaxed when the cyborg sarcastically asked Hanzo if he thought he “honored his brother Genji with incense and offerings?” Hanzo responds with “you do not have the honor to say his name!”, before firing a Dragonstrike at his opponent. The cyborg responds by pulling the sword off of his back and summoning a dragon of his own. The cyborg guides Hanzo’s dragons back at him, where they pass through him (this would’ve certainly killed him in game). Hanzo falls to his knees, defeated. The cyborg dashed toward Hanzo and presses a knife to his throat. Hanzo, thinking he has finally found his match, asks the cyborg to kill him. The cyborg responds with with “No, I will not grant you the death you wish for, brother”. The cyborg reveals himself to be Genji, brought back to life by Overwatch. Genji backs away from Hanzo and removes his mask, revealing his identity to Hanzo.
Hanzo is shocked, Genji tells Hanzo that “the world is changing, [and] it is time to pick a side”. Hanzo responds with “the world is not like the stories our father told us, and you are a fool for believing it so!”. Hanzo knocks an arrow and aims at Genji. Genji calmly says “perhaps I am a fool, for believing that there is still hope left for you, but I do”. As the last words leave his mouth, Genji disappears in a puff of smoke, leaving behind only a feather, a reference to his childhood nickname, Sparrow.
I think that Hanzo’s story is incredibly heart wrenching and touching. Hanzo was forced by the Clan Elders to murder the only family he has left (the lore makes no mention of his mother) and he is driven to near suicide by the act. Even after Hanzo learns that Genji is still alive, he still feels awful. The relationship between the two brothers may be the best relationship between two Overwatch characters. Their relationship remains very tense as Hanzo refuses to accept what his brother has become. From a story standpoint, Hanzo is incredibly interesting.

I hope I managed to change your point of view on Overwatch’s resident archer. I’m sorry if this was a little long, I got kind of carried away. Please leave in the comments whether or not I changed your opinion, and thanks for reading!

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Behind the Team: Los Angeles Valiant


Okay folks here’s part 3 of my series, “Behind the Teams”! Today I’ll be discussing the other Los Angeles team, the Valiant, and how they’ve performed so far in the Overwatch League.
 
The core of this team used to consist of players from Immortals (as they were a part of the franchise when they bought-in), but Valiant has since recruited several talents from other teams along with a handful of free agents. Their biggest pickups being uNKOE and SoOn who were brought in from the accomplished French team “Rogue”, while Silkthread and numlocked were recruited as free agents.
 
However, since stage 3 started, Silkthread was given to the Los Angeles Gladiators, uNKOE was traded for Dallas Fuel Custa, KSF was picked up from contenders team Simplicity and Bunny was recruited from the Seoul Dynasty. Alongside these trades and pickups, Korean offtank player “Envy” was also dropped. In an attempt to clean up the “toxic” environment that had been previously living within the team.
 
Brand 6/10
 
I'm not a huge fan of the color scheme or logo, but I can appreciate the minimalist approach they took and the decisions that went into creating the Valiant brand (as it is a subsidiary of Immortals). When this brand first launched I was incredibly disappointed with the approach they were taking. Their Twitter feed during its inception was awful, perhaps they were overly excited to share their enthusiasm with the rest of us, but they posted a lot of meme lord garbage that came off as adolescent. I was caught off-guard because that wasn't something I was expecting from Noah Winston (the owner of Valiant and Immortals), especially during the earliest and most crucial stages of developing the brand identity. Since then, they've steered to a more professional appearance and are quite involved with their fans, but they still have more work to do before they can erase my first impression of them.
 
Players 8/10
 
As I mentioned earlier, the starting roster is heavily modified compared to the days of Immortals. The current lineup consists of Agilities, Fate, KariV, Space (I forgot to mention him earlier, he’s been on the team since stage 1 but wasn’t old enough to play yet), and Custa. These six players put on an incredible performance during the first week of stage 3, defeating both Seoul Dynasty and Shanghai Dragons 4-0. These are all qualified and capable players, and from what I saw in stage 1 and stage 2, I never thought the mechanics of any individuals were holding them back from winning. I believe, and Valiant have disclosed, that their biggest factor regarding a lot of their recent roster changes was to deal with the toxic environment within the team. They also recruited Custa, a stable in-game leader who always keeps his teammates cool-headed and can deal with bad situations in-game by calming down his teammates.
 
Storyline 3.5/5
 
So in stage 1 and stage 2, the Valiant had looked like a strong team at times, and at others, looked completely awful. There’s now an infamous video circulating the web where Noah Winston, the CEO of Immortals and Valiant is sitting in his car with player “Agilities” while explaining to him that he only has one more chance to prove himself capable of being on the main roster. At this time the team had a “sister team” that was filled by all of the “rejects” within the team. This environment came to be because of the Korean players and French players believing that they were better than the rest of the team, and swayed Noah Winston’s opinion about the other players. However, Noah made some tough decisions over the past few weeks and dropped all of the toxic players, namely uNKOE and Envy. They also did some internal reorganizing and disbanded the “sister team” in an effort to make all players feel as if they were part of the one Overwatch league team, and that they felt they had a chance to prove themselves and play on stage if they worked hard enough. So far it seems to be working, the Valiant team is a story about redemption, not so much as redemption due to loses, but redemption to earn its reputation back as a credible organization. There’s definitely a lot of cool and intricate pieces moving within this team currently.
 

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Behind the Team: Los Angeles Gladiators

Okay, folks here’s part 2 of my series, “Behind the Teams”. Today I’ll be discussing the Los Angeles Gladiators and how they’ve performed so far in the Overwatch League.
 
Los Angeles Gladiators
 
As one of the new teams on the block, the Los Angeles Gladiators were put together by the infamous tank duo from Kungarna, Bischu, and iReMiix. The full lineup includes Asher, Bischu, Shaz, BigG00se, iReMiix, Surefour, Hydration, Fissure, Silkthread, and Void. The roster is an international melting pot of experience and history. Surefour (one of the most notable members) played a big part in developing Overwatch as an esport when it first came out and was on Cloud 9 for more than a year. Other noteworthy prospects are Asher from CONBOX, Hydration (the star DPS player from Counter-Logic Gaming), Shaz from Team Gigantti, Silkthread from Valiant, and Fissure & Void from Kongdoo Panthera.
 
Brand 7/10
 
The logo and colors for this team are incredible, the Gladiators are not lacking in this department. However, a few points were taken off because their social media efforts have fallen flat in terms of synthesizing the team with Los Angeles; the Gladiators feel like an endemic esports organization, rather than an Overwatch League team representing the city of Los Angeles.
 
Players 7.5/10
 
The players on this team are improving with every player pickup. Recently this team benched iRemiix for Fissure, resulting in a large swing in momentum from losing, to winning. I would argue the star players are middle of the pack in terms of raw skill, but this deficiency is made up by their tank lineup which consists of Fissure and Bischu. Supports Shaz and BigG00se have also been solid throughout stage 1 and stage 2, leaving the Gladiators’ DPS as their primary weak point. However they hope to remedy this with their recent addition, Silkthread from the Los Angeles Valiant.
 
Storyline 2.5/5
 
Quite boring for now, their main rivals are the Los Angeles Valiant. However, the league needs more time to develop the Gladiator’s storyline because of how fresh the team is. Like a few other teams in the Overwatch League, the Los Angeles Gladiators were pieced together player by player (a strategy that is notorious for backfiring in Overwatch). However, they are beginning to enjoy the fruits of their labor as they recast their weaker players. So while their play wasn’t spectacular during stage 1 and stage 2, it’s been significantly improving since Fissure replaced the previous main tank. I think once Void comes in to aid Fissure with the tank lineup they will only become stronger. The Los Angeles Gladiators are an entertaining pick if you're looking for an underdog; especially if you're looking to support a Los Angeles team.
 
That’s all for now, #ShieldsUp!

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