The first day of S4W4 came to a close with a bang. Boston snuck by Seoul to get their first win, Shanghai continued their winless season (though they came the closest they’ve ever been to victory against the Florida Mayhem,) and the Houston Outlaws shocked the Fuel in a convincing 3-1 victory. Crazy stuff!
Match One – Seoul Dynasty vs Boston Uprising
Boston may have had an undefeated Stage 3, but they came into this match winless in Stage 4. Their true form lies somewhere in between those two extremes. Boston may or may not make season playoffs, but they should end the year somewhere around .500.
Seoul were predicted by many at the beginning of the Season to be the favorites to win it all. In Stage 1 it looked like they just might live up to the hype. Since that first Stage, the story has been one of underperformance. They have yet to make Stage playoffs and look like they’re on the wrong side of the season playoff bubble as we approach Grand Finals.
This match has huge playoff implications as both teams sit just on the edge of a season playoff spot.
Match Score – 3-1 Boston Uprising
Boston’s hold on BlizzardWorld was impressive. Seoul needed Overtime to take the first point and never even made it to the second. Boston’s turn on BlizzardWorld was just a bit better, and that sorta set the tone for the rest of the match. Neither team looked overly dominant, and this really was a match of “who is going to lose” not “who will win”. With the exception of an exciting Control map, Seoul seemed out of sync. Boston capitalized on their adversaries occasional apprehension and took a much-needed victory, their first of the Stage.
Match Two – Shanghai Dragons vs. Florida Mayhem
Los Angeles turns red every time Shanghai play. The crowd is never as excited nor exciting to hear as when Geguri and her boys are on stage. This match is definitely their best chance at getting that elusive first OWL win with only 2 weeks remaining in Season One.
Florida was playing an away match in front of the Shanghai crazed fans at Blizzard Arena. The Mayhem have only won 6 matches this season, 3 of those coming against Shanghai so far. Will they sweep the Dragons (like every other team looks to be doing) or will the Dragons be able to eke out their first win?
Match Score – 3-2 Florida Mayhem
This map didn’t slow down for a second. Map 1 was decided by mere milliseconds. Mayhem inched out to an early lead but the Dragons were having none of it as Map 2 went their way convincingly as they managed to take max points and keep a full hold while on defense. At this point in watching I could barely formulate thoughts let alone sentences as the Dragons just consistently came out ahead of Mayhem. Control was a fiesta, culminating in what I feel (not confirmed) was Shanghai taking their first ever Map lead. Everything seemed to be going smoothly as the Dragons rolled over the Mayhem defense on the fourth and what we all hoped was final map. Then…the record came to a screeching halt. Florida’s attack absolutely demolished Shanghai’s defense. That changed the dynamic of the match, ultimately giving Florida the advantages they needed to take the victory.
Match Three – Dallas Fuel vs Houston Outlaws
The battle for Texas. Most stages this on is a bit underwhelming. Houston is so far ahead of Dallas in the overall standings that it’s practically a given they will win. This Stage however, there seems to be a change in the air, as Dallas find themselves in a favorable position on the Stage standings, and Houston looks like the lesser Texan Team.
Match Score – 3-1 Houston
This game wasn’t as exciting as our second of the day. Houston v Dallas was billed to be an exciting one, but the Fuel just seemed like a step behind the Outlaws for much of the match. Map 1 went the way of Houston in what seemed like a close contest. Dallas drew second blood taking Map 2 in pretty impressive fashion. Map 3 fell in favor of Houston as their Control play was much tighter than Dallas’s on the 2nd and 3rd points. That all seemed to promise viewers that a Game 4 to be remembered. The script wasn’t in the stars, however, and Houston managed a convincing full hold of Dallas on Dorado. This left the Map and Match with a “Not if but when” narrative, and the Outlaws didn’t make the fans wait long for what we all knew was inevitable.
And so Week 4 of OWL’s Fourth Stage begins. The games today were good, with the Florida Mayhem vs. Shanghai Dragons shining as a standout. This match was all for pride, having no implications in the playoffs for neither Stage nor Season. I don’t think the dire circumstances of that game could be replicated, nor will be for quite a while. A team in search of their first win after 36 losses, and a team just looking to find any way to lose a match in spite of having the best Widowmaker in the league. If you missed any of the matches this is the definite “Must-Watch” of the bunch.
Week 4 continues tomorrow as the LA Valiant look to solidify their positions at the top of the table with a victory over the London Spitfire. Then LA Gladiators look to depose OWL kings NYXL as they too attempt a bid as a top tier team. Finally, the action will finish up with the San Francisco Shock taking on the Philadelphia Fusion in what looks to be a match with huge playoff implications. Both teams are currently on the outside looking in considering Stage playoffs, while Philadelphia also has a chance at the League Playoffs to play for. This should be a good middle of the pack slugfest.
Player of the day:
Sayaplayer. There is not a single player better at their main hero than JJonak is at Zenyatta…Sayaplayer on Widowmaker puts some doubt in that statement. The man has been accused of cheating due to his insane crit accuracy, and today he sniped heads seemingly at will. The Korean was the difference in Florida’s match against Shanghai. Sayaplayer is quite possibly the main reason the Dragons remain winless.
Geguri. If Fissure is the king, then Geguri reigns as Queen. Her tank play is slowly elevating Shanghai. I think that any team and/or plan built around her has potential to be dynamic. Unfortunately, the Dragons are currently just not good enough. This team may have won our hearts, but they are yet to win a game, and not for the lack of a world class tank.