BURBANK, Calif. — After 409 days, the longest shedding streak in skilled sports activities historical past has come to an finish.
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The Shanghai Dragons defeated the Boston Rebellion on Friday at Blizzard Area to cleanse the demons of a year-plus finest forgotten.
Since changing into a franchise on the inception of the Overwatch League, the Dragons have identified nothing however futility. For 42 matches, the gamers marched on stage hoping for a victory. And every of these 42 occasions, they watched as their opponents celebrated as an alternative.
Within the inaugural season, the Dragons performed in 40 matches and completed winless. The crew tried to make each change doable — gamers, coaches, administration — to attempt to safe that elusive first victory, however all of them fell brief. The Dragons exited Blizzard Area on the finish of the 2018 season with their heads hung low, unable to provide the loyal fan base they created all through the season the second they’d all been ready for.
The crew that broke the streak Friday is nothing just like the group that performed throughout Season 1, and all however a few the faces of the franchise are new. The one participant remaining from the Shanghai Dragons’ debut, Weida “Diya” Lu, did not play a single minute in Shanghai’s first victory.
For thus lengthy, Diya, the star of the hapless Dragons, pushed himself to attain his objective of scoring a victory, however by no means fairly acquired to the end line. His new roommate within the Dragons’ crew home, South Korea’s Jin “YOUNGJIN” Yong-jin, took the baton from Diya and crossed that end line.
For the primary time of their historical past, the Shanghai Dragons did not want an ethical victory. They acquired the actual factor over the Rebellion.
Shanghai Dragons off-tank Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon, proper, walks out along with her crew throughout opening day of the Overwatch League on Feb. 14 at Blizzard Area in Burbank, California. Robert Paul for Blizzard Leisure
“I acquired to really feel the power of the gang after we took our first set in opposition to Hangzhou,” YOUNGJIN mentioned. “At that time, I used to be pondering, ‘Wow, what if we actually gained a recreation? How would they react?’ After we gained on the Horizon map, and I noticed your entire crowd rise up, I used to be actually moved by that.”
In its first two matches, Shanghai confronted two of essentially the most talked-about growth groups coming into the yr, the Hangzhou Spark and the Vancouver Titans. In opposition to the Spark, the Dragons put up a valiant effort however, as typical, had been left with nothing however pats on the again and the promise of subsequent time. Vancouver was a good worse outing, the newcomers made up of South Korea’s strongest minor league franchise RunAway leaving little doubt which was the higher crew.
To make issues worse, the three Chinese language growth groups — the Spark, Guangzhou Cost and Chengdu Hunters — all managed to win a match.
The Dragons had a yearlong head begin and had been nonetheless surpassed by their fledgling counterparts.
“I do know lots of people speak concerning the final season and make a comparability between the groups,” mentioned YOUNGJIN, who joined the crew solely initially of this yr, “however I would be actually grateful if the followers did not evaluate us. As a result of the earlier roster, additionally they tried their finest, so I believe it is unfair to be judging them like that.”
Now, toting their first victory and an total 1-2 report — at the moment higher than final yr’s Pacific Division champion Los Angeles Valiant (Zero-2) — YOUNGJIN and the remainder of the new-look Dragons are able to look towards the long run as an alternative of trying again on the previous. A majority of the present roster wasn’t there when the winless season occurred, and the gamers are prepared to color a brand new identification for a franchise that’s sick of being left behind.
Shanghai needs the world to know it is not a charity case. It might need taken 409 days for the Dragons to win their first match, however they hope it will take solely seven extra till their subsequent victory, with the crew’s subsequent scheduled match in opposition to Chengdu.
“On the very least, if issues go effectively, we are able to make it to playoffs as a result of that was our objective,” YOUNGJIN mentioned. “And if we do our very best for the remainder of the season, we are able to make the finals.”