Uncertainty has plagued the Overwatch League for the past few months, but its return last weekend was some welcome quarantine entertainment. The League will indefinitely be held online for the time being, given the circumstances of current events in the world. Last weekend’s matches had a few hiccups on the technical side between audio cutouts and more than a few skipped frames. Despite that, the matches were as exciting as ever and featured some notable upsets. The Overwatch League has finally released the schedule for weeks 9 and 10, bringing forth a few redemption matches.
Match schedule for Week 9 is here!
We're also shifting live events for the remainder of the regular season to online matches.
— OverwatchLeague (@overwatchleague) March 31, 2020
The Overwatch League finally released its schedule for week 9 and 10, maintaining consistent time slots for when matches will take place. Going forward, all matches will take place at 1 a.m., 3 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. Pacific Time. Starting on Saturday, April 9, the Shanghai Dragons will take on the Hangzhou Spark at 1 a.m. At 3 a.m. the Chengdu Hunters and the Guangzhou Charge will face off for the first time of the season. Last week, the Chengdu Hunters seeded chaos amongst the enemy teams, forcing the Shanghai Dragons to stoop to their level. This week Wrecking Ball is banned from play, pushing Ding “Ameng” Menghan to adapt to a standardized playstyle.
Later on in the day, the Toronto Defiant and the Washington Justice will play against each other at 1 p.m. followed by the L.A. Gladiators shooting for an easy win against the Dallas Fuel at 3 p.m. Ending Saturday, the San Francisco Shock will get a redemption match at 5 p.m. against the L.A. Valiant. Last week both the Gladiators and the Valiant performed well, taking down the Shock with ease and seeding doubt about the former champions. The Dallas Fuel hasn’t played since the opening week of the Overwatch where they lost both of their matches to their home crowd.
The Chinese teams play during the late-night hours, the Atlantic Conference teams and the Pacific West teams play in the afternoon and evenings. On Sunday, the Chengdu Hunters will get their chance to take down the Shanghai Dragons once more. In a world where Wrecking Ball is unplayable, Ding “Ameng” Menghan may struggle.
Following that, the Guangzhou Charge and the Hangzhou Spark will compete in a tense rematch. Last week the teams went to a five map series that was back and forth constantly. The two are fairly matched in skill, but due to the small bubble they compete in, results are skewed. The Houston Outlaws and the Paris Eternal are next on the schedule and this will be a chance for the Outlaws to secure another victory in a favorable hero pool.
— OverwatchLeague (@overwatchleague) March 8, 2020
The last time the Philadelphia Fusion played, their win streak was shattered by the aforementioned Paris Eternal. This week they will be going against the Washington Justice. With Mei and McCree banned, expect lots of Tracer and Hanzo play. The last time McCree was banned, Soldier: 76 was swapped in, making this hero pool similar to the week where the Fusion lost.
Ending the week 9 of the Overwatch League is the Dallas Fuel versus the L.A. Valiant. The Valiant looked hot last weekend, defeating the San Francisco Shock with ease. The meta has shifted drastically for the Valiant, removing three heroes from play that were critical to their success. Once again though, it has been two months since we have seen the Dallas Fuel play, anything is possible.
The full schedule for this weekend and next week is below for easy viewing with local times for each match.
Even with the technical difficulties during the Overwatch League’s first weekend back, simply having matches to watch was a joy. Nearly every major traditional sports league has been canceled, and gamers are lucky that esports allow for competition anytime, anywhere.