Overwatch League season four kicked off this weekend, with new players, a couple of fantastic upsets and a perfect, game-winning Reinhardt Earthshatter by Houston Outlaws player Myung-heum “Jjanggu” Cho.
Two-time Overwatch League Champions the San Francisco Shock played the no-time Overwatch League nothings Houston Outlaws on Sunday. Traditionally, this is a one-sided match. The last two times these teams met, San Francisco beat Houston 3-0. But 2021 is a new year, and new rosters, new coaches, and one returning veteran have made the Outlaws one of the most exciting teams in the new season. Yes, I’m serious.
The Outlaws and Shock were tied 2-2 on Havana, the sixth and final map of the game (an early draw forced the teams to play beyond the requisite five maps). Havana is an escort map that requires teams to push a payload as far as possible within the time limit. Before the map began, it looked like the Shock were on their way to completing one of their famous runbacks. After going down 0-2 at the beginning of the match, they clawed their way back to even the score and, after Houston’s attack run on Havana, it seemed as though the Shock had this match wrapped up. To win, all they had to do was push the payload just a little bit further than the Outlaws—an easy task since their defense stopped Houston’s payload at a paltry 85 meters, or just before the first point on Havana. That’s a short distance—if the Shock won one or two decisive team fights, it would have been over for Houston, and it got very close to being over for Houston.
Then came god’s most perfect Earthshatter.
Jjanggu’s Earthshatter is the definition of perfection in terms of sneakiness, number of players caught, and overall impact. Look at how Jjanggu crept into position, sneaking around to flank the Shock while their attention was solely focused on the rest of the Outlaws. His timing was impeccable, as fellow Outlaws rookie and tank partner Min-jun “Piggy” Shin triggered his D.Va’s Self-Destruct at the same time Jjanggu’s Earthshatter lands. Together, the Earthshatter and the Self-Destruct combined at the perfect time to incapacitate then kill, ruining the Shock’s chance at victory. In an instant, everyone on the Shock was dead. The overtime wick was extinguished, and just like that, the Houston Outlaws planted their flag as the team to look out for in 2021.
This is the kind of Earthshatter that gives me goosebumps. Of all the big plays to watch in competitive Overwatch, there is nothing more satisfying than a good Earthshatter. Long ago, when the Overwatch League was still the Apex Tournament and everything was good and nothing hurt, Sang-hoon “Kaiser” Ryu, main tank of the storied RunAway team, made his reputation on these backbreaking shatters.
Later, the Vancouver Titan’s (and Kaiser’s former RunAway teammate) Sang-beom “Bumper” Park brought his signature “flanking shatter” to the League with all its devastating glory.
Now Jjanngu can take his place among such hallowed comrades, and add his “Hammer Down!” to the highlight reel of the gods.