Overwatch League Semifinal Preview: NYXL vs. Philadelphia Fusion

2018-03-25 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

This Stage 2 finals rematch between the New York Excelsior and Philadelphia Fusion will bring all the hype you could ever ask for. But who’s gonna actually win? 

The question isn’t as easy to answer as you might think. Sure, the NYXL are a rock-solid team. They have all the pieces they need to make it home for a Grand Finals appearance. They’ve got Jjonak. What their opponents bring to the table, though, is pure chaos.

Philly are the new Houston, masters of controlled ridiculousness designed to throw opponents off guard at every turn. Fights never finish when they’re supposed to. Kills appear out of thin air. Their strats are weird, their pushes are weird, their team is weird. It shouldn’t work, but it does. Until it doesn’t.

Riding such a thin line between “we totally know what we’re doing” and “we no longer have control over this situation” is a very dangerous hobby for the Fusion. This strategy (for all its flaws) has yielded some of the coolest moments in Overwatch League history, like Carpe’s “no, decide when the fight ends” play on Lijiang Tower, or Neptuno’s frequent multi-frags.


fusion neptuno frags

Image Courtesy of the Overwatch League



That said, this aggression can and has been capitalized upon by teams throughout the regular season, including New York. While the Fusion gave NYXL their first ever loss back in Stage 1, their record since then has been 0-4 with a -8 spread. That’s not a good look when a Grand Finals spot is on the line. Something will have to change.


11January 25Philadelphia 3-2
22March 9New York 3-1
32 (stage title)March 25New York 3-2
43April 19New York 3-2
54May 30New York 4-0


Case by Case

When compared directly, New York have the advantage at nearly every position. Their tank line has more experience, synergy, and flexibility. Their Mercy isn’t quite as bloodthirsty as Neptuno, perhaps, but that’s more than covered by Regular Season MVP Jjonak. And Libero, Saebyeolbe and Pine all have some of the best sniper play in the league, in a meta that’s all about snipers. Philly’s only advantage is EQO, really- his projectile play is some of the strongest in the league. Junkrat and Pharah aren’t the most viable picks right now, but so far the Fusion have made it work. Will that luck hold against the NYXL? Eh… we’ll see, I guess?


The Verdicts

We’ve asked our team of analysts and writers to give their thoughts on who’s coming out on top this week, and why. 


Sameer “Texas” Karim:

  I have NYXL winning this one. I think New York just out-performs Philly at every role, especially the tank line. Philly has that explosive potential thanks to Carpe’s raw mechanics, and that may win them a match, but overall NYXL is the better team!

Connor “GoopyKnoopy” Knudsen: 

Contrary to popular opinion, I actually think the Fusion have an advantage in this series. While some have claimed the NYXL were sand-bagging towards the end of Stage 4, I would claim that they’re simply not as dominant in a less dive-focused meta. With their momentum coming off the Boston series, more experience in the current playoff meta on stage, and the incredible play we’ve seen from EQO and Carpe, I give the advantage in this series to the Fusion.

Austin “RogueBludger” White:

  Philly will win the first round, I think. New York will show up a bit rusty, but this will still be close. That first series might be a 3-1 or 3-2 for the Fusion, but New York will pull a Spitfire and double sweep the Fusion 6-0 to advance into a Grand Finals spot.

Darien “AgentQ52” Zhao:

  The main reason I think NYXL will win over the Fusion comes down to straight consistency. Almost every game that they’ve played at full effort shows their clear and continuous dominance. The Fusion, on the other hand, have had some very high highs and some very low lows. Just looking at the records so far, I have to favor NYXL to win here.

Nina “Missie” Schneider:

NYXL or Philly? That’s a hard one. I think the double sniper could be great for NYXL, as they could run Pine as one of the best Widowmakers. Libero and Saebyeolbe have a big hero pool, so they could play whatever else they would need. We also saw a lot of Orisa and Roadhog, which I think might favour Philly a bit more. We already know how well EQO and Carpe played last week and how great the team did overall. A lot of pro’s and con’s for each team, NYXL definitely have the advantage of observing their enemy. But I will go with Philly. Neptuno will carry his team with his Battle-Mercy, ending in a 2-1.

Brandon “thibbledork” Padilla:

Look, at the end of the day, New York can’t lose this series. It would be a tremendous upset for the Fusion, but it would also be one of the most disappointing stories in the short history of the OWL. New York have been too dominant all season to lose now. They’ve got a hometown crowd waiting for them at the Barclays Center, and I don’t think Philly would be able to maintain their momentum against the Valiant or Spitfire if they made it to finals anyway. While the Fusion will give us an entertaining set of games, they will fall as all teams have fallen against New York.

Brandon Padilla
Brandon has followed competitive gaming since 2008 and has been featured several times in PCGamer Magazine, and has bylines with The Game Haus and Afterwatch. His mix of in-depth analysis and experienced opinions lends itself well to coverage of the Overwatch League.Follow Brandon on Twitter!
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