To Embrace The Unknown: Overwatch League 2022 Playoffs

Volamel 2022-10-26 03:55:37

What a long, strange voyage it's been. Through reckonings of scrap, dreams devoured, and crowns abandoned, the 2022 Overwatch League playoffs have finally found land. However, as the fog of change quickly encroaches on our fleet of teams, one question stands above all; which of them will embrace the unknown? Six of the finest vessels Overwatch can muster have abandoned their anchors and race towards destiny. Each looking to carve out a space amongst the stars. Yet, what separates them from the pack is the tale their sails tell.

Goodnight Sun. Goodnight Moon?

  Much like in life, "forever" is a concept for lovers and storybooks. To expect the Shanghai Dragons to repeat their dominance is to ask the sun to work overtime. Where once Shanghai leveraged its lead, they now stand respectfully side to side with their peers. The giants that once towered over the league last year now look more mortal than ever before. Their players are still good, but greatness is for those whose sails have maintained the gale of multiple seasons. However, we've seen Kim "Fleta" Byung-sun and the Dragons work magic before. With their legacy on the line, can the defending champions part the haze that has plagued them all year and emerge as the leading force from Asia?  The clock stays ticking, Shanghai. Is it time we say goodnight?  

Feeding Fire

  English fails us when we attempt to conceptualize nostalgia.  Cultures the world over have their own words, but one has to wonder if the Dallas Fuel have to choke down those feelings as they prepare to disembark. After establishing themselves as North America's Polaris with multiple top finishes in 2021, they were forced to settle with bronze in the final moments. However, this season is different. While Overwatch 2 stoked the embers, Dallas held some of the best accelerant money could buy; Choi "Hanbin" Han-been. With their sea legs under them, Hanbin and the Fuel enter playoffs out in front with something to prove.  Will the Fuel drown in that familiar sinking feeling of what could have been?  There is something in the air. Could it feed the fire?  

Under The Rader

  It is wise to understand the difference between humility and weakness.  Truth be told, the 2022 London Spitfire does have humble bones, but that stands exclusive from their performance. Under the shade of giant frigates and corvettes, the nimble Spitfire skims the ocean's surface, dodging convention and expectations alike. Bisecting both their opponents and community perception with their adherence to environment and identity, Hadi "Hadi" Bleinagel and his merry mates blitz headlong into the fog of the unknown, not away from it.  Is it possible to recapture their 2018 glory? No one expected you to make it toward deep waters, yet here you stand.  What say you, London? How far will this tailwind take you?  

A King's Landing

  Some say the sea can't be tamed. While that's true, it doesn't particularly forget either.  Deep beneath the surface, history is buried. Tales of heroic feats, of champions uncrowned, and of dreams dashed. Those memories are better left buried for the Seoul Dynasty--buried, but not forgotten. With the game's greatest captain, Park "Profit" Joon-yeong, at the helm, South Korea's only representatives are not here to take part, but to take over. The Seoul Dynasty look not just for another star to hoist but to finally finish a voyage nearly four years in the making. And their captain looks to legitimize his legacy for those who haven't yet bent the knee.  Is this where the world recognizes Profit as the emperor of the sea?  Time will tell. Can't tame the tide, but he's the closest to controlling it.   

Don't Corner Death

  Backing an injured animal into a corner is a recipe for chaos.  Now, what happens if that animal is fighting to preserve not only itself but its pack? No matter what blows you deal, what cannons you fire, you cannot count out the San Francisco Shock for exactly one reason. If you corner Kim "Proper" Dong-hyun you will lose an eye. While they've yet to live up to their championship expectations, one thing is clear; San Francisco will drag you down into deep waters, watch you struggle, and mercilessly continue to move forward.  With two on the board, is it time for the Bay Area to earn their third Overwatch League title? Don't tempt Overwatch's dream eater. Wouldn't advise cornering death.  

When Opportunity Knocks

  Seizing the day is fine and good right up until you realize days are not built equally.  For one reason or another, the Los Angeles Gladiators are a criminally predictable team. Good but not great, a bronze medal team earning a bronze medal finish, and while it's nothing to scoff at, it leaves the world wanting. L.A. is owed one at this point. This is a franchise that has never been hurting for talent and resources and yet their history lacks a distinct amount of trophies. And if the start of the season is anything to go by, the Gladiators have rolled up their sleeves and called all hands on deck. With two MVP candidates and explosive rookies like Corey "Reiner" Scoda, they've found their time to strike.  Is this just another washed-out season for the Gladiators or is this where California will know a new champion? Someone is at the door, Gladiators. Is today the day?
Like a carpet welcoming them to shore, the choppy waters of change surround Anaheim, California. Whether we like it or not, there is nothing clear about what's to come. What will prove to be meta with such a late playoff patch? Who will find the hero current and ride the wave until they crash ashore?  Tropical Storm Kiriko has already plundered the global SR economy, what novel concepts could she usher in the professional realm?  Rookies have been all the rage, is this where we salute our veterans on their way out much like the bittersweet send-off we had for Overwatch 1? We've witnessed the different philosophies of the West and the East, under time constraints does that only further skew perception or does it homogenize the styles at work?  On October 30th, the final stretch begins. The rain of the 2022 Overwatch League playoffs will flood the fires, sink the doubtful, and cast away the directionless.  This dock has a capacity of one One to find the relief of champions. One to finally met the momentum-less land they've been yearning for. One to tearfully hoist all their dreams and aspirations above their head.  To embrace the unknown is to win. So, are your eyes open?
Images via Blizzard Entertainment

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