Stage 1 is done and past, the London Spitfire took home $100.000 following a nail-biting win over the Houston Outlaws, and all teams went for a well-deserved break…well, that should have been the case in theory. Because this little “off-season” was in fact a very active one, with teams reinforcing themselves with new names, and of course, also preparing in order to push themselves to the very last limit from now on.
After a little more than 10 days pause, the Overwatch League returned this week for the start of Stage 2 with many questions waited to be answered. Will the top teams be able to maintain the form? And will the teams in the lower half of the standings be able to show signs of improvement? And whom of the new signings will impact their team the most? Well, it is way too early to make any concrete assumptions, but if this week has shown anything, is that we will be heading to a very entertaining and somewhat unpredictable Stage 2.
But did you happen to miss any of the action? Don’t worry. I prepared for you a list of some of the moments from this week. So sit tight and enjoy the show!
Spitfire still flying
Yes, they lost a very close match against the Outlaws to open out their week, but the all-Korean showdown against the New York Excelsior was a win of the highest class – mostly due to the fact that both teams displayed a high level (albeit not perfect) Overwatch. The match which opened with a completely one-sided display on Volskaya Industries, with Profit going rampage, followed by moments of great defensive performance at the final point on Gibraltar following tough losses on maps 2 and 3.
A dominant show on Ilios decided the match in favor of the Champions, who surely feel relieved following the tough loss on Friday. Next week against Florida and Philadelphia they definitely have all it takes to keep the momentum going, even if the latter one definitely put on a great show this week…
… by showing a dominant display against Boston followed by a near-perfect destruction of Florida, where conceding only a single point throughout the entire series – point A at Gibraltar, resulting in the 8 map wins and 0 losses for the Philadelphia Fusion, who consolidated themselves in the top half of the standings. With both Carpe and Eqo melting through their adversaries’ defenses, Fusion actually made both matches look easy, which surprised me a lot, considering they were battered by Boston when they last met just 2 weeks ago. So to conclude, fusion really is showing big signs that they will be a pain to be dealt with, and that the fight for the playoffs will be even fiercer throughout this stage.
With the first big test of the stage versus London approaching fast, does the Fusion have what it takes to show such a consistent performance against the top sides as well and be a real contender for a playoffs spot?
It was a special week for Dallas, with the return of xDc following his suspension during the last stage. But even more memorable was how they actually played, and despite having collected just 3 wins so far, they opened up Stage 2 with two convincing wins over Shanghai and the LA Gladiators in order to move up in the standings – which of course gives the whole squad an injection of confidence for the remainder of the stage.
Another highlight from them was provided by AKM, who absolutely destroyed the Gladiators while taking point A on Hanamura As a 76 main (bring the hate, I am prepared), just beautiful to watch.
But who actually are the top teams now?
One thing is sure….the difference between the teams sitting atop of the standings with the ones sitting currently at the bottom has never been so small. With sides like Philadelphia and Dallas delivering very strong performances this week, they can very one turn to be a real headache to the top teams of the league.
And the teams currently at the bottom shouldn’t be ignored either, despite still not managing to pick up the all-important “W”: Florida and Shanghai especially are the ones to pay attention, considering the big number of new signings both teams have announced for Stage 2. Will any of these players help to bring them up into the standings?
Close matches between the Top 4
Who doesn’t love a close affair? Well, I for one do! Especially when the match question is played by teams of extraordinary skill. Both Outlaws – Spitfire and Spitfire – Excelsior matches were extremely high-quality matches, being ultimately decided by mere details. But a more proactive meta can also be the reason for that, especially due to the lack of a certain hero…
Bye Mercy (well, not entirely, but still…)!
That is right, who would have guessed that by not having resurrections all over the place could lead to some really interesting and bombastic teamfights? Yes, maybe some teams, used to having the pocket resurrection available almost all the time, played a bit too aggressively at some point, but definitely it is a nice change to see fights being by actually who gets the decisive outplay to open up the opposition instead of, you know, decided by whom run out of support first.
And of course, it is nice to see more variety on the support role, with Lucio taking the second support (from barely 12% to over 74% pick ratio!) slot alongside Zenyatta with the occasional Moira and Ana making their presence.
Mickie being Mickie
A soft moment before Dallas Fuel’s match, with Mickie proving a lighthearted moment with teammate xQc – who just returned from his suspension. There is hardly a better way to welcome a teammate back! And of course, they won the match, so even more reason to celebrate! As very well put by that Reddit thread, I think we all should be like Mickie, right?
It looks absolutely majestic, so it definitely wouldn’t be fair leaving it out of the list. The reasoning behind it is what truly makes it so special, as the player honored his late father, who passed away two weeks ago.
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