With the 2021 Overwatch League Season starting just around the corner, the San Francisco Shock have their sights set on adding a third championship to their trophy cabinet and solidifying their dynasty within Overwatch Esports.
With only a few changes in the off-season and with the majority of the team and the coaching staff staying the same from the 2020 season, this version of the Shock are the clear-cut favourites and are the measuring stick for the rest of the league.
The Shock were one of only one of a handful of teams that have kept their tank line from the 2020 season and there is no wonder why. The tank line of Matthew 'Super' DeLisi, Yoo 'Smurf' Myeong-Hwan and Choi 'ChoiHyoBin' Hyo-Bin are arguably the best tank line in the league with each player being elite at their heroes and they all have shown a high level of play through multiple seasons in multiple metas against the best teams in the world. This solid foundation of tank play alone will propel the team into the upper echelons of the table and give a great foundation from which their new additions can work from.
The only glaring issue that seems to be apparent on paper within the Shock tank line, is the lack of an elite Hammond player. While Smurf seems to have played the majority of the wrecking ball in competitive matches, the performance has been above average with his play looking good within the team system of the Shock but there have been very few standout solo moments which would be expected from a player like Smurf. With many of the new tank players in the league having a very good to elite Hammond, one of the players will need to step up and fill this hole. However, the Shock and their coach Park 'Crusty' Da-hee have shown on multiple occasions their ability to improve their players and this issue should be fixed if it does arise during the season.
The only other issue present within the tank line is ChoiHyoBin's Zarya. While it is passable, it is the only hero ChoiHyoBin seems too not be elite at. While it did improve as the season progressed it still leaves a lot to be desired. However, just like the Wrecking Ball conundrum, the coaching staff will help in improving his play.
During the off-season, the Shock decided to not renew Dongjun 'Rascal' Kim's contract and their star hitscan player from the 2020 season Seonchang 'ANS' Lee retired. This created two massive holes within the DPS line of the Shock in both their hitscan and flex DPS role. However, the Shock were able to get star rookie hitscan player Lim 'Glister' Gil-seong from London Spitfire and flex DPS player Charlie 'nero' Zwarg from Guangzhou Charge. These two players help in filling up those holes and both have very high base levels of play, with it being argued that their peaks could be equal to or higher than that of their predecessors..
The Shock also retained the services of Kwan 'Striker' Nam-joo and Sean Taiyo 'ta1yo' Henderson. Retaining both players, specifically Striker, allows Shock to have their DPS to specialize on certain heroes but keep their team flexibility as high as possible. However, the role of ta1yo within the Shock system has been kept undetermined within the league as he has struggled to get a starting spot on the roster. The only true issue that seems to stand out within the DPS line is the presence of an elite tier Sombra player. While Striker has played the largest amount of Sombra for the team and his performance has been above average, it seems like the only hero that this DPS line does not have an elite player on at the moment.
The support line consists of two flex supports, Park 'Viol2t' Min-ki and Lee 'Twilight' Joo-seok, and 1 main support, Brice 'FDGod' Monscavoir. This is an amazing support line despite the loss of Grant 'Moth' Espe to the Los Angles Gladiators during the off-season. The flex supports are arguably the best 2 flex supports in the league and have a great array of hero diversity. They are also both playmakers and have an extremely high level of base performance.
The addition of FDGod to the Shock show their intention to win a third championship and solidify their place in Overwatch and Esport history. While FDGod is know for his aggressive playmaking Lucio play and his mechanical ability on that hero, questions about conflicting playstyles between him and the Shock's starting hyper-aggressive flex support Viol2t need to be mentioned. The duo of Viol2t and Moth worked as Moth's more passive playstyle balanced out Viol2t's aggressive qualities and protected him from flankers or aggressive tanks. However, if the Shock can't update their system with their new addition or the synergy between the backline is off it could be an issue within the season. However, FDGod has shown a high level of understanding of the game and his role within the Shock system so in conjunction with the coaching staff, his role within the team should be ironed out.
Overall, there only seem to be minor issues with the 2021 San Francisco Shock roster with only certain hero issues or playstyle clashes. The team has a very high skill floor and one of the highest skill ceilings in the league and is one of a only a few teams that have all players being proven at an overwatch league level. With the help of the coaching staff, all inherent issues will be solved within the first few weeks of the season and with the team able to play every meta to the highest level the third championship and the solidifying of the dynasty looks to be on the horizon.