It’s impossible to not lead any conversation about the Shanghai Dragons with their record: 0-30. Their map score is 17-105-1. If you’re a fan of the Shanghai Dragons, you watch the team lose a lot. There’s no way around that. Even after the team welcomed new talent, including Ado and Geguri, they continued to lose. Even after they pushed the Philadelphia Fusion to five games, picked maps up off Seoul, and even took a map off two-time champions NYXL, they cannot bring a match home.
The Shanghai Dragons have become the wounded puppy of the league, with fans gathering around them and urging them on. While the Dallas Fuel continue to flounder and the Florida Mayhem failed to capitalize on their brief glimmers of hope, they still haven’t lost a match to the Dragons. Even fans who originally found the Dragons contemptible are starting to cheer them on. Sometimes it’s pity, more often it’s the feeling that we’re all watching one of the greatest underdog stories of all time. Geguri, one of the most popular players in the League, has further bolstered the Dragons’ defense squad.
The Dragons are so beloved by fans that when Carpe teabagged Ado in a match, the crowd booed Carpe.
Carpe is a serial teabagger; he teabagged Effect in February... but it was teabagging the Dragons that drew ire from fans. It’s a paradox; as the Dragons continue to lose, their fanbase grows.
The Dragons are turning into a sports underdog myth for many fans. The problem is with classic underdog stories, something happens—they get a coach in their corner, Air Bud joins the team and it’s discovered that there’s no rule that says a dog can’t play basketball, someone comes up with a Moneyball system ... There needs to be some kind of internal change that can allow for consistent growth and success. Even if the Dragons manage to scrape out a win against a team, that doesn’t change the internal problems that led them to go 0-30. A 1-39 team will not be much of an improvement over 0-40.
Those players are struggling to find solid coaching infrastructure, and things remain tumultuous behind the scenes. Yesterday, the Dragons announced a coaching change due to health issues.
Staff change: Wang “RUI” Xingrui is stepping down as the head coach of Shanghai Dragons today due to health issues. The team are grateful for RUI’s contribution during his tenure. The coaching team will be headed by Son “Kong” Jun Young, the assistant coach, for the time being.— Shanghai Dragons (@ShanghaiDragons) May 10, 2018
This is the second major coaching change for the Dragons since March, when Chen Congshan “U4” stepped down as the head coach.
Staff change: Effective immediately, Chen Congshan “U4” steps down as the head coach of Shanghai Dragons. He will formally leave the post after a transition period of one week. Current assistant coach Sun Jun Young “Kong” will act as a stand-in coach.— Shanghai Dragons (@ShanghaiDragons) March 6, 2018
While other teams do AMAs or discuss internal issues on Twitch (for better or for worse), the Dragons remain frustratingly opaque. While the team has earned the love of the fans, the question of what is happening internally remains. Without proper leadership and infrastructure, the Dragons may end up chasing their tail for the rest of the Overwatch League’s inaugural season.