The top of the Overwatch League table now looks as many thought it would at the beginning of the season: The all-Korean rosters of New York Excelsior, London Spitfire and Seoul Dynasty hold the top three spots. One unexpected thing, though: It's not Seoul at the top. The Dynasty sits third in the league at 15-7, with a plus-18 map differential. Although that is good, the Excelsior is 20-2 with an astronomical plus-54 map differential, best in the league by 24 points over London.
Where is Seoul falling short?
Let us start with the basics: Seoul is 0-4 against teams above it in the standings (0-2 against both London and New York), and it is 15-3 against teams below it. Eleven of the Dynasty's 15 wins have come against the bottom five teams in the standings.
In fact, Seoul is actually closer to seventh in the standings (Houston Outlaws, who are 13-9 with a plus-14 map differential) than first. For the rest of this piece, we will look at how Seoul closes the gap between itself and New York.
The gap between ryujehong and JJoNak must close
Coming into the season, many expected Je-hong "ryujehong" Ryu to be the top support player in the league. To this point in the season, however, that title belongs to Sung-hyeon "JJoNak" Bang of the Excelsior. Both players utilize Zenyatta as their primary character. Zenyatta is an offense-driven support character, and to this point in the season, JJoNak has been better at tapping into Zenyatta's offensive capabilities.
Seoul has to find a Tracer
Through the first two stages, Seoul flip-flopped between Joon-hyuk "Bunny" Chae and Sang-beom "Munchkin" Byeon as its main Tracer. Then, as the signing window closed between Stages 2 and 3, Seoul sent Bunny to the Valiant, making Munchkin the team's lone Tracer main. According to Winston's Lab, Munchkin ranked seventh out of 11 players with at least six hours play time on the hero through Stage 2.
Opening Stage 3, Seoul did not show a lot of confidence in its Tracer play. According to Winston's Lab, Seoul played Tracer only 52 percent of the time, lowest in the league and nearly 50 percent lower than the league average for the week (78 percent). Seoul even decided to try Byung-sun "Fleta" Kim on Tracer. His 15 minutes and 49 seconds on the hero this past week were close to double the amount he played in the first two stages combined (8 minutes, 21 seconds).
One of the ways the Dynasty tried to offset the lack of a Tracer was by playing more triple-tank team compositions. Seoul used three tanks 10.3 percent of the time in Week 1, second-highest in the league behind the Shanghai Dragons (11.8 percent) and three times the league average (3.1 percent).
Stop tinkering with the lineup
Seoul opened Stage 3 not just down a Tracer main but also without its two starting supports (Jin-mo "tobi" Yang and ryujehong) and starting D.Va (Joon-hyuk "zunba" Kim) in the lineup against the Valiant. That match was an 0-4 loss.
The last and only time the Dynasty failed to win a map was Week 4 of Stage 1, when it sat ryujehong against the London Spitfire. Seoul recently sat Fleta in a 3-1 loss to the Houston Outlaws in Week 5 of Stage 2. Both losses contributed to the Dynasty not making the Stage Championships, which is not a part of the final standings but does reward teams with a considerable amount of prize money. Consider also that dropping games and maps to inferior teams could end up costing Seoul in playoff seeding, if it makes it.
It is still unclear whether the Dynasty has all of the pieces to play to its preseason potential. The lack of a Tracer, inconsistent lineup play and inability to get the most out of its star supports could leave Seoul behind New York and London come playoff time.