Overwatch League: This Week’s Action

Overwatch League Stage

2018-01-25 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

OverwatchScore Recaps are back!

Austin ‘thinkhard’ White and Brittany “Briggsycakes” Gonzalez recap this past weekend’s matches. We’ve developed a new format to hit each match quickly in case you missed them. So sit back, and enjoy 4 days worth of games in about 2,000 words or so.

Stage 1 Week 4

Day 1 (Thursday March 7)

 

Atlanta Reign v Los Angeles Gladiators

Map 1Map 2Map 3Map 4Map 5
ATL0310
GLA2423

 

Takeaway/Insights:

Atlanta came into this match pretty heavy favourites over Los Angeles. The Gladiators showed signs of life this late in the Stage though and absolutely rolled over the Reign. While the Gladiators couldn’t finish the Stage with an above .500 record, they refused to finish close to their cross town rivals the Valiant and started the week off with an upset that brought the fans some joy.

 

Los Angeles Valiant v Philadelphia Fusion

Map 1Map 2Map 3Map 4Map 5
VAL02231
PHI23102

 

Takeaway/Insights:

The first two maps felt like a continuation of the Valiant’s bad luck this Stage. Philly looked quickly like they would take this match. Something clicked though and the Valiant of 2018 returned to force 5 maps. After their lackluster performance through the first two it really looked like the Valiant were going to break their losing streak. The crowd behind them was incredible, but they just couldn’t pull it out, losing in a close Map 5. If you enjoy roller coasters, I would recommend watching this match, but it isn’t for the faint of heart (especially if VAL fan).

Toronto Defiant v Chengdu Hunters

Map 1Map 2Map 3Map 4Map 5
TOR2123
CHU1032

 

Takeaway/Insights:

Toronto came into this week sitting in a possible playoff position. Chengdu came in as a relative fan favourite for their refusal to fully embrace the 3-3 (Goats) meta. The analysts were not favourable to either of these teams coming into the season, and while the Hunters have lived up to a ‘hot and cold’ reading, the Defiant have thrived thus far.

Map 2 (King’s Row) showcased one of the better full holds the OWL have seen. Toronto were wiped off the point following what looked to be a game changing Mercy ult on a fully charged Pharah by Chengdu’s Yveltal; however, the Defiant were able to make it back on the point with what looked like less than 5% remaining in the Hunter’s capture. Definitely one of the better series of events so far this Stage.

Day 2 (Friday March 8)

 

Paris Eternal v Vancouver Titans

Map 1Map 2Map 3Map 4Map 5
PAR1212
VAN2323

 

Takeaway/Insights:

Vancouver sits just behind the NYXL in Stage 1, but they’re both undefeated. A pretty convincing win over the Eternal cemented the Titans into at least 2nd place, but coming into this week with NY only playing one more game to the Titans three, there remained a chance Vancouver could jump the early favourites in the standings. 4-0 wins are huge for the map differential obviously, and this win had to put the pressure on the Excelsior to perform.

 

New York Excelsior v San Francisco Shock

Map 1Map 2Map 3Map 4Map 5
NYXL2562
SFS1451

 

Takeaway/Insights:

For a 4-0 victory, this was probably one of the least convincing. NYXL managed to take every map off the Shock, but it never really looked like San Francisco were out of this match at any point. The Shock finished this match at an 3v3n .500 (3-3) in the standings, but remain in the playoff hunt and deservedly so. Losing to the NYXL is nothing to be ashamed of, and the Shock made NY work for every map win.

 

Dallas Fuel v Shanghai Dragons

Map 1Map 2Map 3Map 4Map 5
DAL2335
SHD1224

 

Takeaway/Insights:

The day of 4-0s continued as the Fuel overcame the Dragons. Dallas’s win put them into playoff contention and a very comfortable spot no less, while the loss eliminated Shanghai from Stage playoff contention (admittedly a lot later than the Dragons have ever been eliminated from that possibility).

Shanghai has improved 10 fold over last season, already winning 3 matches. The Dragons look to be improving as the Stage progresses too, and while this minor setback looks bad (4-0) they kept the game pretty close throughout (Map 1 itself was a marathon, watch point 3 if possible). Looking forward, I fully expect the Dragons to again pressure for a Stage playoff spot in Stage 2.

 

Day 3 (Saturday March 9)

Los Angeles Valiant v Houston Outlaws

Map 1Map 2Map 3Map 4Map 5
VAL1330
HOU2232

 

Takeaway/Insights:

Los Angeles Valiant were playing to get out of Stage 1 with a single win. No one saw this coming though. The Valiant were one of the more powerful teams last year, and everyone fully expected them to continue their winning ways. So far it looks like the loss of Soon…and some questionable decisions by management, may have hamstrung the Valiant.

Houston has been pretty hit or miss this Stage. Last year they underperformed expectations, and so far this year they’ve continued in their own ‘good but not great’ footsteps. The win puts them at .500 and into a position where they could still conceivably clinch a Stage playoff spot, but it will take some help from others to do so.

 

Seoul Dynasty v Washington Justice

Map 1Map 2Map 3Map 4Map 5
SEO2433
WAS0324

 

Takeaway/Insights:

Xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx.

 

Guangzhou Charge v Los Angeles Gladiators

Map 1Map 2Map 3Map 4Map 5
GZH2301
GLA0422

 

Takeaway/Insights:

Xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx.

 

Hangzhou Spark v Toronto Defiant

Map 1Map 2Map 3Map 4Map 5
HZH1123
TOR2324

 

Takeaway/Insights:

Xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx.

Day 4 (Saturday March 10)

Paris Eternal vs. San Francisco Shock

Map 1Map 2Map 3Map 4Map 5
PAR0122
SFS2330

 

Whoa. What a fall.

Takeaway/Insights: Paris was out to make a statement, defeating the champion London Spitfire and the Los Angeles Gladiators in their first two games, and a strong showing by Finnisi capped off with a quadruple self-destruct kill on final map Dorado seemed to show promise for the nascent team. But after two 4-0 sweeps in a row, mismanagement of support ults during the match,  as well as going against a much smoother San Francisco Shock team, the Eternal’s stage playoff hopes aren’t looking very likely as the Shock all but dominated them. There is a bit of silver lining; by taking a map from the Shock, they force them to work for their playoff berth. Paris plays Washington next week, giving them a chance to make it, however the road will not be an easy one.

London Spitfire vs. Shanghai Dragons

Map 1Map 2Map 3Map 4Map 5
LDN20101
SHD03032

 

Takeaway/Insights:

Whoa. What a match.

There is not a single person watching that can deny that this game was one of the most insane, wacky, and entertaining matches this season so far. Eschewing the meta GOATs play on the final map, the DPS players on both teams took full advantage of the extended brawl between Diem’s Widowmaker and Profit’s Tracer and Hanzo bringing back dynamic plays that were sorely missed from the 2018 season. Each team had something to prove: London needed this win to have a chance at the stage playoffs while Shanghai needed to prove that they were not the same 0-40 team from last season (spoiler alert, they are not). But in the end, it was Shanghai who reigned supreme, with DDing’s impressive tactical crouch back-cap on Route 66, and a drawn-out, intense brawl on map 5 (Ilios) that puts London in a very tight spot. If you have a chance, watch this match.

 

Florida Mayhem v. Boston Uprising

Map 1Map 2Map 3Map 4Map 5
FL0240
BOS2352

 

Takeaway/Insights:

Whoa. What a mess.

It has become increasingly obvious that the tank line of Note, Colourhex, and premier shot-caller Fusions is probably one of the most solid ones in the League. Fusion’s reminding the team that they need a clean sweep to have a chance at the stage playoffs, along with incredible ult combos with Note, proved him to be one of the best shot-callers in the league.

Colourhex’s Zarya play boasted an incredible amount of damage that all but melted the entire Mayhem squad, who despite a scary comeback attempt near the second point of Dorado, looked lost as heck, as BQB’s Sombra was hunted down relentlessly. Even after a final impressive EMP, Aimgod avoided it and used Transcendence as the Uprising cleaned up and took home the sweep, continuing their road, albeit a difficult one, to the stage playoffs.

As for Florida? Even though they were eliminated, as one caster put it, “Well, it could be worse. They could be Valiant.”

 

Vancouver Titans vs. Chengdu Hunters

Map 1Map 2Map 3Map 4Map 5
VAN2113
CDH0222

 

WHOA. Just…WHOA.

Takeaway/Insights:

Like most teams at this point, Chengdu needed to win this game to have any chance of making the playoffs. One of the more straightforward teams vs. one of the most non-linear ones, in terms of strategy, would only serve for a very interesting match. Chengdu proved that even against one of the toughest teams in the league, they aren’t just “wacky,” they are adaptive and should be seen as a formidable force to be reckoned with as this season continues.

This was shown on Ilios, when Jimnu’s Pharah was uncontested for a minute bringing Chengdu’s total damage to 32,000 vs. Vancouver’s 20,000 (wow). Yet Vancouver rallied and shut it down, giving them the first map, 2-0, securing their place as the Pacific Division champions.

Chengdu struck back on Hollywood; however, confusing Vancouver once again with an old school double sniper strat that for some reason Vancouver was unable to counter. And despite Twilight’s impressive Ana play shutting down not one, but two major offensive ults in Ashe’s B.O.B and Junkrat’s RIP-tire, Chengdu seemed to expose an adaptation weakness in Vancouver as they took the map.

On Anubis, variety continues to be the spice of life for Chengdu. They took the first point quickly using the 2-2-2 strat, but failed to adapt quickly to 3-3, falling short of taking point two. Vancouver, showing excellent understanding of 3-3, as always, were confident in taking this map given their mastery of the meta–

–but no. Chengdu proved that they were not just a one-trick wacky pony, showing that they were just as good at GOATs by beating Vancouver at their own game, ultimately taking the map in another brawl.

On Route 66, Chengdu went back to basics, for them at least, and started off the map with quad DPS, but Seominsoo was having none of that, using McCree to make quick work of the quirky team, forcing them to go back to 3-3. And while Ameng’s Reinhardt dominated Bumper’s very easily when it came to Earthshatters, in yet another close match with 28 seconds left, Vancouver was able to bring it to a map five.

Finally, on Nepal, Chengdu’s luck began to run out in somewhat unfortunate ways, with Elsa losing his self-destruct while falling into the pit on the first map, followed by Ameng and his Minefield. Their playstyle despite these interesting turns was uncharacteristially passive for the Hunters; despite the fight being messy on both sides. But Vancouver prevailed, showing everyone why they are real contenders in the league and remain undefeated, despite Chengdu making them work like hell for it.

And while Chengdu was eliminated from playoffs, they should be proud of their performance, as they may have revealed some chinks in the Titans’ armor.

Brittany
Brittany "Briggsycakes" Gonzalez is a litta bitta switcha hitta Trinirican winna from Philly/New York who now resides in California as the Los Angeles Valiant's official hypewoman/meme victim. She can easily be bribed with apple pie and macaroni and cheese and thrives when writing about her own personal experiences regarding humanity's place in the esports/social media age. Don't @ her unprepared. Follow Briggsy on Twitter here.
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