It’s crazy to think that Overwatch has only been with us for three-and-a-half-years. When we think back to all the memories this game has given us, it seems like it’s been part of our lives for a lot longer. Whether it was a crazy shift in the meta, a team succeeding against all odds, or a standout player, Overwatch has given us some amazing moments.
2019 was no different. It was a year filled with highs and lows, all of which have remained etched into our memories, and will forever be a part of Overwatch iRL canon.
Shanghai Dragons’ First Win in the Overwatch League
The first season of the Overwatch League was memorable for many reasons, but few more notorious than the Shanghai Dragons and their incredible losing streak. Going into season 2, the Dragons had lost 42 matches in a row! The Dragons have one of the best communities in the world though. They stuck with them through thick and thin, cheering the underdogs on in every match.
That all changed this year, when the Dragons finally got their very first win in the Overwatch League. In what was a very one-sided victory against Boston Uprising, the fans and shoutcasters alike gave epic cheers at the end of this franchise milestone.
The Famous Dafran Grav
Many fans of Overwatch have probably heard of Daniel ‘Dafran’ Francesca. Occasionally controversial, but always loved, Dafran has been a well known celebrity in the Overwatch community for quite some time for being one of the best DPS players in the world and making Grand Master level players look like it’s their first game.
In 2019, it was announced that he would be joining the Overwatch League on the Atlanta Reign team. During his time on the team he delivered many moments. Using his unorthodox methods, Dafran would out wit, out play, and out maneuver the enemy team and often help carry the Atlanta Reign to victory.
But perhaps his most stand out play was when he pulled off a stunning ultimate using Zarya on Hollywood. Setting up on the lift, even the shoutcasters had no idea what he was doing. What came next would famously become known as … the Dafran Grav!
GOATS Meta Becomes a Dominant Force
Esports can do wonderful things for video gaming. For some select games, it can also do bad things. Logically it makes sense that when a game becomes highly competitive and there is big money on the line for tournaments, teams will invest a lot of time and energy into finding every little advantage they possibly can. The North American Contenders team called GOATS would deliver a meta to the competitive scene that would prove to be so powerful that it would essentially break the game.
GOATS meta was such a dominant force to be reckoned with, that almost every team in the Overwatch League would adapt it. Since no counter was discovered, teams had to mirror this team composition entirely. This strategy was loathed by fans and players alike, and continuously forced Blizzard to nerf characters to lessen its impact.
Sadly though, even after many patches, the meta remained, much to the disappointment of the community. Blizzard had one more ace up its sleeve though, and this leads us into the next big moment …
The Role Queue Meta-Shift
Due to the groans and general negativity surrounding the GOATS meta, Blizzard knew of one sure way to ensure its swift death and bring the fun back to Overwatch …role queue.
GOATS survival hinged on having a composition of three tanks and three support. Role Queue would ensure that every team was forced to have two tanks, two DPS, and two support at all times during a match. This wasn’t just an enforcement on the Overwatch League itself, but also, for online ranked and quickplay matches.
A collective cheer could be heard from every Overwatch player around the globe as the changes were very well received from professionals and casuals alike. The final split of the 2019 Overwatch League was forced to use the new meta and as a result it was one of the most well-loved and popular finals of any season!
Team USA Wins Overwatch World Cup
Before the Overwatch League, the Overwatch World Cup was the highest form of competition for this competitive shooter. Since 2016, fans have enjoyed a variety of countries squaring off to find out who had the best players in the world. In news that would shock absolutely no one, South Korea were the team year after year.
To better explain just how good they were, from 2016 to 2018, South Korea only lost one round in its three World Cup Grand Finals! That’s a staggering record of 12 wins and 1 loss!
Fast forward to 2019 and USA were ready to shock the world. Not only did they displace the reigning champions, South Korea, in the semi-finals, but they also took first place, beating the 2018 runners up, China, 3-0! A video can tell a lot more than words ever could, and you can watch the entire match right here.
Overwatch 2 was recently announced in a way that makes sure the base game will stay alive, so there are some exciting things on the horizon without having to worry about the playerbase being split. Here’s to next year’s big plays, meta shifts, and new content.