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Five questions we want answered for Overwatch League this week

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

We're back with another week of questions we want answered in the Overwatch League! Without further ado, let's get started.

On a scale of awesome to awesome, how awesome is it that Mei is banned this week?

Arda Ocal: Soe's cat Nori deserves a full time job on the analyst desk for this act of divine awesomeness. We do a "who won the weekend" weekly article with ESPN Esports and I actually voted for Nori to win. I want variety, and I want prominent meta defining heroes banned now and then, and it was about time Mei got ousted. So, to answer the question literally, awesomely awesome... which is also how I would describe Nori the catgoat.

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Are the Shock in trouble after an 0-2 weekend?

Ocal: No. It's one weekend. So what, they lost two games. There are two immense things to adjust to: playing online and hero pools. One of those things alone would be enough, but both at the same time will take getting used to. Of course there would be casualties, and SF got the brunt of it. But this weekend is even more visible because they were so dominant last season, so any perceived sign of weakness will be amplified.

Tyler Erzberger: They're not in trouble, but it is a wakeup call. In this online format and how topsy-turvy the schedule is, we aren't going to see teams in their peak condition. For some teams, coupled with the weekly curveball known as hero pools, this chaos is something they love. Pound-for-pound in an optimal training system with no hero pools, the Shock should be untouchable. This type of season, though, it really is a new ballgame, and the Shock will need to learn to adapt to their new surroundings if they want to repeat as league champions.

Emily Rand: The Shock lost to the Gladiators who, despite being stomped by the Seoul Dynasty, look to be a pretty good team. The more worrying loss is the series against the Valiant, although the Valiant are definitely better than their roster on paper would suggest and were the surprise "scrim god" team coming out of preseason. More than any other team I still think the Shock have the most flexible talent in the league, which will always be to their benefit, but I can't help but wonder how much the scheduling delays affected them going into last week. It's not panic time yet.

Who's really the best Chinese team?

Ocal: It's too early to tell. All Chinese teams went 1-1 this past weekend. Hero pools complicate things. Shangahi might have an edge due to depth, but I don't want to definitively give an answer yet. If we broaden the scope to include South Korea, then Seoul is my answer for now.

Erzberger: Give me Shanghai. Chengdu is the most flexible, Hangzhou seems to be the most clutch, and Guangzhou might be all-around the best Chinese team, but I think the Dragons are the most talented. When push comes to shove, I'm going to put my money on the team with the most talent.

Rand: I will back the Chengdu Hunters until the day I die. With the exception of this week, because Wrecking Ball is banned. But after that, until the day I die. Chengdu can beat any team in the Overwatch League. They also can lose to any team in the Overwatch League. Their close loss to the Hangzhou Spark was in very standard Chengdu fashion and their win over the Shanghai Dragons was decisive. Chengdu are a team that you can always bet on to at least make a splash, even against opponents who are heavily favored.

Could the Valiant be legitimate title contenders?

Rand: I think the Valiant will be a solid playoff team, but will be outpaced by stronger rosters like those of the Seoul Dynasty or even the San Francisco Shock, who they beat last week but face again this week on a new hero pool rotation. For me, until I see it in execution, I think the Valiant still lack the hero flexibility of some of the other Overwatch League rosters to be a title contender.

Erzberger: They can cause upsets, but in a round-by-round playoff format, I can't see where they take down a series of teams to win it all. The great equalizer, though, is this landscape we currently find ourselves in, where hero pools along with the rocky online scheduling creates a world where a team that's in-sync with momentum behind them can do some serious damage in the playoffs. I think they can make a Cinderella run, but I wouldn't currently put them in that upper-echelon of true title contenders.

Can the Overwatch League stay legitimately competitive with online play and split regions?

Rand: As I said last week, I'm still not the biggest fan of hero pools on top of everything else that the league is dealing with. However, I don't think this is an online play issue. My issues with any competitive integrity of the league are rooted in dramatic meta shifts, which would have happened regardless of an online or LAN environment. As for split regions, this is where the messiness of the delayed schedule and homestand cancellations really hurt. Atlantic Conference teams have played at least four and up to seven matches already, where most Pacific Conference teams have played only two. This was unfortunately out of Blizzard/Activision's control, but combined with hero pools I do think it already has affected how well teams have done and I can't help but wonder how some of these Pacific teams would have performed in earlier weeks with different hero pools.

Erzberger: Honestly? I don't know at this point. Forget about hero pools, there are teams that just can't play each other because they're halfway across the world. Vancouver and Seoul have moved back to South Korea where they can play against the Chinese teams, but will they even get to play the rest of their Pacific rivals? The reason why League of Legends is able to finish off their domestic leagues is because they're all playing in a centralized location. How are we even going to have a postseason when six of the teams (and maybe more) can't even play against a majority of the competition?

The only solution I can think of is there being two separate playoffs between the western and eastern teams and then holding an ultimate final in a central location once teams can actually travel to one another, but it's all theorycrafting. It's a difficult situation for all sides and I don't envy the schedule makers or executives that have to find answers for their almost impossible question.

Ocal: Yes, it can. Like I said above, hero pools and online play is a lot. Nobody is disputing that. It will add variables that wouldn't surface on LAN. But this is the best solution. Split regions is a necessity because of this. We may be having a completely different conversation if the internet becomes a scarce resource, however.

Saturday

Defiant vs. Justice

  • Arda - Defiant 3-0

  • Emily - Defiant 3-2

  • Jacob - Justice 3-0

  • Tyler - Justice 3-1

Gladiators vs. Fuel

  • Arda - Gladiators 3-1

  • Emily - Gladiators 3-2

  • Jacob - Gladiators 3-1

  • Tyler - Gladiators 3-1

Valiant vs. Shock

  • Arda - Shock 3-2

  • Emily - Shock 3-2

  • Jacob - Shock 3-1

  • Tyler - Shock 3-0

Sunday

Dragons vs. Spark

  • Arda - Dragons 3-2

  • Emily - Dragons 3-2

  • Jacob - Dragons 3-2

  • Tyler - Dragons 3-0

Hunters vs. Charge

  • Arda - Charge 3-2

  • Emily - Hunters 3-2

  • Jacob - Charge 3-2

  • Tyler - Charge 3-1

Outlaws vs. Eternal

  • Arda - Eternal 3-1

  • Emily - Eternal 3-2

  • Jacob - Eternal 3-1

  • Tyler - Outlaws 3-2

Fusion vs. Justice

  • Arda - Philly 3-1

  • Emily - Fusion 3-1

  • Jacob - Fusion 3-1

  • Tyler - Fusion 3-1

Fuel vs. Valiant

  • Arda - Valiant 3-1

  • Emily - Valiant 3-0

  • Jacob - Valiant 3-1

  • Tyler -Valiant 3-1

Monday

Hunters vs. Dragons

  • Arda - Dragons 3-2

  • Emily - Hunters 3-2

  • Jacob - Dragons 3-1

  • Tyler - Dragons 3-0

Charge vs. Spark

  • Arda - Charge 3-1

  • Emily - Charge 3-2

  • Jacob - Charge 3-1

  • Tyler - Charge 3-2