A history lesson in setting Overwatch League records
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The Shanghai Dragons’ Lee “LeeJaeGon” Jae-gon rides around Lijiang Tower as Lucio. He plays as an opportunist, waiting on the enemy team to be pulled together by his teammate’s Orisa, or even just to rotate along the edge of the map. That’s when he strikes, speeding in off a wallride and pushing everyone close-by off the map, from heavy tanks to key healers. Enemies try to avoid the setup for this by avoiding those edges, but there’s no helping it. As the next point shifts and pitfalls continue populating the map, this is no longer feels like a control map. This is LeeJaeGon’s record-setting playground, where he can boop whoever he wants off the point and back into their spawn.

The Overwatch League is full of moments like this, where players transcend the bounds of regular expectations to accomplish something historic. Some, like LeeJaeGon’s, arise out of countless hours of practice and help erase old legacies like the Dragons’ winless season. Others arise out of opportunity, a sudden burst of greatness that seizes a narrow window. And a few bubble up from a place of pain, reminding everyone that even struggling teams can set records.

Regardless of their origin, history is worth remembering. So, after combing through old matches and the Overwatch League’s Stats Lab website, here are some of the most notable records and the stories around them.

Setting the bar for boops

The moment above is one of the nuttiest Overwatch League records set to date because it is also arguably one of the hardest to replicate. In setting the record for most environmental kills on a map against the Seoul Dynasty in the June Joust tournament, he reached double digits in environmental kills.

“LeeJaeGon is chaos incarnate, and while he can have moments where he feeds, he makes up for it with his skill,” Achillios said. “Wild is the best way to describe him, and the fact he set this record confirms that.”

Shanghai Dragons Overwatch League record
The Shanghai Dragons fight together. | Photo provided by Robert Paul for Activision Blizzard

As a long-time caster in the Korean scene, Achillios’ connection to LeeJaeGon’s past made him even happier to see the record get set as he cast the game live.

“Seeing that record gave me vindication from watching him on RunAway,” Achillios said. “Even though that support duo split with him going to Shanghai, the hype around him was justified. It was beautiful to see him surpass those expectations as he got this record, coordinating with Koo ‘Fate’ Pan-seung’s Orisa pulls to get all those kills.”

Hungry, hungry Defiant

One from the Countdown Cup stands out in particular when it comes to records set during the 2021 season. On Havana, the Toronto Defiant set a new record against the Washington Justice. Off-tank Choi “Michelle” Min-hyuk negated five ultimates, beating the previous record by one. Five may not sound like a particularly high number, but the timing window for D.Va to eat most ultimates is very small. That’s why Toronto Defiant assistant coach Lee “HoChiLee” Dong-young was so proud of the accomplishment.

“I was proud because sometimes you tell players as a coach what they need to do, and they agree with you but can’t do it due to mistakes or miscommunication,” HoChiLee said. “Getting it done is a different thing, and Michelle got it done.”

Toronto Defiant Overwatch League records
Toronto Defiant fan celebrates alongside a crowd. | Photo provided by Ben Pursell for Activision Blizzard

As an off-tank for the Seoul Dynasty last year who didn’t get much playing time, Michelle wasn’t re-signed and joined free agency. In joining the Defiant, the team and coaches like HoChiLee said they appreciate what an opportunity that has been for the team.

“In one scrim, Michelle ate five Blizzards on King’s Row,” HoChiLee said. “Being a more player-focused coach who has experience with tank players, seeing him play that way is nuts. It’s crazy how consistent he is at eating ultimates.”

The Fleta Deadlift records

Recently retired star player Kwon “Striker” Nam-joo has a fairly interesting record of his own. Dedicated Overwatch League fans know of the ‘Fleta Deadlift,’ the term used to explain when a player gets more than 50% of a team’s final blows on a map. The term was named after Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun, who was a star that performed well in both losses and victories. However, Striker holds the record for most Fleta Deadlifts in the league’s history. Out of everyone in the league, Striker has seven, all from his time on the Boston Uprising. In comparison, Fleta himself only has one true Fleta Deadlift in the Overwatch League.

Striker Overwatch League records
Striker plays during a live match | Photo provided by Carlton Beener for Activision Blizzard

“So much of the inaugural Boston Uprising’s success was off of Striker, and he was the closest thing to the first season MVP besides Bang “JJoNak” Sung-hyeon,” said caster Seth “Achilios” King. “His time on the Shock is deadlift-less because the overall team around him was at his level and there was less opportunity for him to carry as he did in Boston.”

This season, the Chengdu Hunters own the most Fleta Deadlifts in the league, with three of five from MVP candidate Huang “leave” Xin. Leave has cornered the market, helping Chengdu fight for playoff success.

“Leave has always been extremely good, and every hero pool has been in his favor,” said caster Jack “Jaws” Wright. “Along with Ga9a’s flexibility on tanks, it gives him so much opportunity to pop off. Plus, the opposition he deadlifts against are surprisingly good in the Philadelphia Fusion and Seoul Dynasty.”

Even crazier, someone on the Hangzhou Spark reached new deadlift heights. Rookie of the year candidate Zheng “Shy” Yangjie surprised many fans with his skill as a hitscan player, but he pulled off the highest Fleta Deadlift percentage ever seen over the course of an entire match. Fleta Deadlifts are usually only applicable to individual maps because a match long deadlift has never happened, but Shy reached 85% of a deadlift earlier this season, meaning he got 42% of his teams’ final blows over the entire series. Considering he got 11% closer to the match-long deadlift than anyone has ever done so, as a rookie, it’s an insane stat.

“Shy has been dominating for the Spark this season,” said Jaws, “and with the other players on his team disappointing this year, he had to play that well to win that match against Guangzhou.”

Junkertown dominates map-long records

Some Overwatch League records are easier than others to break or replicate, but if you’re looking for final blow and elimination records, you go to Junkertown. For example, former Florida Mayhem member and current VALORANT player Ha “Sayaplayer” Jung-woo has the record for most final blows in a map — a whopping 42, five more than Kim “Birdring” Ji-hyeok in second. Sayaplayer’s explosiveness throughout his time in the league remains unique to this day, which made it all the sadder when he left the Overwatch scene.

Houston Outlaws DPS player Lee “Happy” Jung-woo set a more recent record in a match against the San Francisco Shock. In a Junkertown map they ended up losing, Happy set the record for most eliminations in a single map at 75. That record was eight eliminations more than the second spot and remains a hard record to beat due to the meta and the style of Junkertown.

“Junkertown is interesting because it lends to Widowmaker with its long sightlines from start to finish,” said Achillios, “and in the inaugural season, players like Sayaplayer could just go on off angles to get those kills and win fights single-handedly. At the same time, even in 2021, players like Happy can set records there because of the length of the map.”

The longest match in regular season history

With all that said, it’s wrong to talk about records without mentioning one that led to the Overwatch League’s most entertaining game.

The start of the 2020 season featured a match involving the Boston Uprising versus the Houston Outlaws. Both teams hadn’t won a single map at that point in the season, and one team had to finally do it. It wasn’t supposed to be a challenge.

This game ended up going the distance, but not in a regular way. In the two maps where drawing was a possibility, the teams drew. This stretched the match to seven maps and set the record for longest Overwatch League regular-season game at 1:23:33, excluding breaks. Including breaks, it took just more than two-and-a-half hours.

Boston Uprising Overwatch League records
Seo “Myunb0ng” Sang-min jumps around on Oasis. | Photo provided by Robert Paul for Activision Blizzard

“It was already branded as the battle of the worst teams in the league despite it being only the third week of the season,” said Josh “Sideshow” Wilkinson, one of the two casters of that match back in 2020. “It was a bizarre atmosphere because it was at the Washington Justice homestand. The live Justice fans there saw their team lose that same weekend, but they also managed to see one of the biggest and longest clown fiestas in the league’s history.”

Even without the type of Overwatch that was on display, the entertainment of the game never ended, from specific small mistakes to the prolonged length of it all.

“The length of that match will never be replicated for a good reason,” said Sideshow. “Both teams struggled to win fights cleanly, leading to longer scrappy engagements. Both teams made significant mistakes that levelled the playing field, meaning both teams were truly lost in the sauce.”

Polish-Canadian game enthusiast. I've been entrenched in gaming for as long as I can remember, with my first game being Pokemon Yellow and my most played games being Borderlands 2 and Overwatch. I have a degree in Film Studies, but writing about esports just makes my job all the better.