The San Francisco Shock are in a prime position to continue dominating the Overwatch League into 2020. Despite some select departures, the lineup from 2019 remains and continues to look strong on paper. Keyphrase: on paper. There are a number of things I want to bemuse that may come to bite the Shock in the rear. For now, however, here are my thoughts on what the roster looks like, and where they’re headed.
Before I start, let’s go over the recent departures from the team.
Nevix (To Defiant)
Arguably the least visible member of the Shock, Nevix has had his fair share of play in the 2019 season. As one of the initial pickups for the Shock in the inaugural season, Nevix showcased his flexibility in the off-tank role. That string of play, however, would not last. Once ChoiHyoBin arrived in the Spring of 2018, Nevix appeared much less frequently, only playing a total of eight maps in 2019. Sure, he came out once or twice to ensure a victory, but he provided no more than what ChoiHyoBin could.
Above all, though, Nevix’s tank skills brought the Shock to where they are now. The memories were special, but it was high time to move on.
Arachne (For NineK)
The main comparison point to make with Arachne and NineK here is their experiences with Contenders teams. Arachne, on the one hand, tells a much more storied history. He led Talon Esports to multiple titles like 2018 Contenders Season 2: Pacific as well as both Pacific titles for the 2019 seasons. NineK, the leaving assistant coach, hit his stride with the Shock in mid 2018, only arriving after a short stint with NRG in 2018 Contenders Season 1: Pacific.
On that note alone, Arachne should add more experience to the coaching staff of the Shock in 2020.
Now, onto the current roster.
Sinatraa, Architect, Rascal, and Striker
It should come as no surprise that the DPS of the Shock are the stars of the show. Jay “Sinatraa” Won alone defined the 2019 season. As one of the vocal stalwarts of the team, he has been at the helm of their success in 2019. His proficiency on a number of DPS heroes (Doomfist, Sombra, Tracer, etc) will surely continue to provide for the Shock in 2020. Architect, in contrast, has had a fairly smaller range to work with. Most of his time has been on Bastion and Reaper, which is not bad by any measure. If his role required it, Architect could easily switch to an array of DPS, and he would surely enjoy it if it were between Widow or Genji.
Rascal and Striker are two further extremes of each other in terms of DPS. Rascal fills the holes in the DPS lineup where no one else can; he performed well on both Mei and Pharah and I think he will continue to do so. Striker, however, is a bigger question mark for me. Though he does fill the Reaper role quite nicely, it is a bit hard to imagine his usage will increase unless something drastic changes in the meta. To me, Striker looks to be going down the route of Nevix: slowly eased off into a niche substitution until either he fits better into a future composition or he is let go. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
Super, Smurf, and ChoiHyoBin
Here, I’m going to start with ChoiHyoBin, simply because of how much gravitas he has had. His impact on the 2019 season has been so significant, in fact, that looking up his stats on the Overwatch League website gives an unexpected error (as of the writing of this article). Still, I think he is the strongest tank the Shock have, with an uncanny ability to play Sigma at a high rate. The meta shift will determine how useful that will be in time.
Super, on the other hand, would undoubtedly be happy with this most recent PTR patch. Orisa has been his staple hero for the 2019 postseason, and I can FEEL his contempt. Watching him play Orisa has been fun, but I know deep down he misses Reinhardt and the rest of his main tank pool. Then comes Smurf, who has been the Shock’s go-to Orisa player for almost all of the postseason. He is definitely the most apt but post-PTR patch, we will see if he or Super is favored in the main tank slot.
Moth and Viol2t
And now we arrive at our two supports. If there is anything I wanted to say about these two, it is that a third support may not be necessary. Moth has been a powerful force on the team, planning and setting up plays for the team to follow through on. His Lucio play only adds onto his accolades.
Viol2t, as well, fills an important role in his Moira play. Again, the meta is signaling big changes, so Viol2t’s experience may or may not change depending. With both Ana and Zenyatta to fall back on, I suspect Viol2t will be as effective in 2020 as he has been.
Final Thoughts (and Worry)
Throwing back to when I emphasized “on paper”, the Shock do look to be in a stable position for the 2020 season. However, this does come with what I believe is the biggest point for the Shock: do not slack. With teams picking up and releasing talent (even outright reshuffling), the threats against the champions grow even larger. The same skill and competition the Shock dished out is required to be there on day one of 2020. Boot camp is a go for the team, but the results of it are yet to be determined.
Despite that, I am still confident in the Shock going into next season. If the tank lineup settles in quickly, the Shock will continue to be a force of nature. If more Stage Final and Grand Final victories are what the team wants, there is yet still more work to be done.
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