London Spitfire 2 - Philadelphia Fusion 3
The Philadelphia Fusion secured another close win against rival London Spitfire with a 3-2 victory to start Saturday's Overwatch League at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
Fusion DPS Josh "Eqo" Corona returned after his three-game suspension, which meant Philadelphia and London added yet another exciting chapter to its growing rivalry. As has become the case in each meeting, this was a war of attrition and Fusion tanks Joona "Fragi" Laine and Gael "Poko" Gouzerch were invaluable to the team's win against the Spitfire despite strong resistance from London tank Hong "Gesture" Jae-hee and flex DPS Park "Profit" Joon-yeong.
Profit's deep and flexible hero pool was nearly Philadelphia's undoing, thanks to his ability to change from Junkrat to Roadhog to Genji on any map. London, however, struggled to have its tanks zone properly in tense moments, which was its undoing. Minor mistakes, like Gesture falling down the hole in Oasis: University or failing to block against an ultimate for a split-second on Temple of Anubis allowed its rivals to squeak out wins.
Meanwhile, the Fusion's tanks played an aggressive and fast game alongside DPS duo Lee "Carpe" Jae-hyeok and Simon "snillo" Ekström, players who continue to show improvement. Fragi's Winston found incredible sustain on Temple of Anubis and Blizzard World thanks to the impeccable timing of his ultimates, while Poko secured key kills that Carpe and Snillo whittled down.
Philadelphia's aggression was also its weakness in the second half of the series, however. Fragi's and Poko's insistence on hunting down kills had them ignoring fights on the objective. This was particularly disastrous on Junkertown and Ilios, maps where Philadelphia failed to get a single point. In the end, it managed to outlast London with a 2-0 win on the Oasis tiebreaker, picking up its first regular season win against the Spitfire.
Philadelphia Fusion will have a key fight against the New York Excelsior at 11 p.m. ET on Thursday, while the London Spitfire will look for its second Stage 3 win against the Boston Uprising at 9 p.m. ET.
New York Excelsior 3 - Houston Outlaws 2
The New York Excelsior closed out Week 2 of Stage 3 in the Overwatch League with a pulse-pounding 3-2 overtime win over the Houston Outlaws on Saturday at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
Hot off the heels of an upset loss to the Boston Uprising on Thursday, the Excelsior very nearly fell victim to its first 0-2 week of the Overwatch League. The defending Stage 2 champions seemed to have lost a step after dominating in Week 1, though much of that can be credited to strong gameplans coming out of the Houston Outlaws, which is still fighting for wins after picking up its first victory of Stage 3 in an overtime thriller against the London Spitfire.
Coming into this series, it was clear that the Outlaws had a plan in mind. Throughout the series, the DPS duo of Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin and Jacob "JAKE" Lyon did their best to shut down the NYXL's main tank, whether that be Kim "Mano" Dong-gyu or Song "Janus" Joong-hwa. With the Excelsior's frontline under heavy pressure, the rest of the Outlaws had room to operate, allowing the team to play its slower, more controlled style of offense.
Despite exposing weaknesses in the Excelsior's gameplan, however, the Outlaws simply couldn't keep up with the big gun of the Big Boss.
The Excelsior's DPS situation this stage has been complicated, to say the least, as the team seems to still be figuring out which DPS to accompany Tracer specialist Park "Saebyeolbe" Jong-yeol: jack-of-all-trades and projectile master Kim "Libero" Hye-sung or hitscan star Kim "Pine" Do-hyeon. Pine made a compelling case for himself in this series by going heads-up with LiNkzr, considered one of the best Widowmakers in the league, and getting the better of him on several occasions. Pine's electrifying play gave the Excelsior the spark to come back from a 0-1 deficit on the tiebreaker map on Oasis and carried New York across the finish line and avoid an embarrassing 0-2 week.
The Outlaws will look to pick up a crucial win when it takes on the Florida Mayhem at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, while the Excelsior prepares for a Stage 2 finals rematch against the Philadelphia Fusion at 11 p.m. ET that same day.
-- Wyatt Donigan
Boston Uprising 3 - Florida Mayhem 2
The Boston Uprising survived a late surge by the Florida Mayhem on Saturday, finishing Week 2 of Stage 3 in the Overwatch League with a 3-2 overtime win in Burbank, California.
The first half of this series seemed like it would be business as usual for the Uprising, who has surged into the top of the Stage 3 standings with a 4-0 overall record against some of the toughest teams in the league, notably the Philadelphia Fusion and the New York Excelsior. As with most Uprising games, the plan was simple: put DPS Kwon "Striker" Nam-joo in position to carry as Tracer and follow him up with one of the cleanest dive teams in the league. Steamrolling Temple of Anubis by full-holding point A and not allowing the Mayhem to take a single tick before taking Blizzard World, it looked like the Uprising would run away with a win, but Florida persisted.
With few exceptions, few other players in the league have made such an immediate impact on their team after joining like Mayhem DPS Ha "Sayaplayer" Jung-woo. In this Widowmaker-dominant meta, having one of the best Widowmaker players in the world gives Florida a new lease on life, especially when the team abandoned dive after halftime.
Playing a slower pick style, the Mayhem took two straight maps in surprisingly strong fashion, perhaps exposing some of the weaknesses of a Boston team facing restructuring after recent controversy. Fortunately for the Uprising, when the game went to Oasis, Striker went wild, picking up kills with aplomb on an uncoordinated Mayhem backline. It wasn't pretty by any means, and it was another series that went to five games for Boston, which has a nerve-wracking habit of not closing out series in regulation time but, nevertheless, the Uprising got the job done.
The Mayhem will next take on the Houston Outlaws at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, followed by the Boston Uprising beginning one of the toughest weeks possible in the OWL when it takes on the London Spitfire at 11 p.m. ET that same day.
-- Noah Waltzer