E-Sports: From Loser Record to the Throne
Published by Giselle
July 19, 2019 10:47 am
For many, it is already the highlight of the season.
As number eight of the league, the Shanghai Dragons made it straight into the playoffs of the third OWL phase and defeated not only – contrary to all expectations – the two teams that had been highest in the league so far, but also the title favourite San Francisco Shock in the final.
The team’s tremendous performance is so surprising because they had made rather negative headlines between January 2018 and February 2019. During this time, the players suffered one defeat after the other. Even if they could win a card now and then, they never won a game.
The Dragons lost 42 matches in a row and went down in eSports history as record holders. Even in classical sports, there are few such defeat series.
Shanghai under pressure right from the start
At the end of 2017, the Shanghai Dragons were among the first seven franchises to buy their way into the Overwatch League, hoping to showcase Chinese talent.
Right at the beginning, however, things went wrong due to delayed visas. Also, the mainstream media soon caught the team’s eye and speculated to put even more pressure on them.
When they lost their 40th and last game of the first Overwatch League Season 0:4, they were officially considered the worst team in sports history.
The roster also started to move when the entire Chinese team was dismissed in September 2018, and only three South Korean players were kept in the team. One of the players kept was Kim “Genguri” Se-yeon, who was the first woman in the league to get involved.
Roster change provides an upswing
New coaches were hired, six new Korean players added to the team and trained hard.
On February 23rd, the hard work paid off as the Dragons managed to dominate Boston Uprising and break the defeat streak. From then on, it slowly went uphill.
In the first phase of the second season, they had to be content with 13th place out of 20, but in the second phase, they made it to eighth place and thus into the playoffs, even if they clearly lost against San Francisco Shock – the later winner of the phase playoffs.
Reaching the playoffs of the third phase was a challenge that was only narrowly overcome in the end, but soon bore greater fruit.
Dragons crown upheaval with the title win
The win against New York Excelsior in round one of the playoffs looked like a 4:1 win against Vancouver Titans. In the final against San Francisco Shock, however, it became really exciting again when the duel entered the decisive seventh round, but in the end, the sensational victory of the loser team was certain, which was thus allowed to go home with prize money of 200,000 US dollars.
They will be able to prove on July 26th whether they can maintain this performance permanently. On the opening day of the fourth phase, they will have to play directly against the Vancouver Titans again.
So we will see if the current success is only a short phase or if the Dragons plan to stay at the top.