The first games of the 2020 Overwatch League are in the books, with hyped-up atmospheres at the New York and Dallas homestands. Our writers were there to see it all. Here are their most unexpected takeaways from each opening day game.
Defiant 3, Eternal 1
It shouldn't be surprising to see former Element Mystic DPS player Jeong "Xzi" Ki-hyo pop off in his debut with the Paris Eternal. While on EM, Xzi was known for his snipers like Widowmaker, McCree, and Hanzo. A highlight moment from him, regardless of how the Eternal looked, was definitely expected.
What was stunning about Xzi's performance today was that his best-looking hero by a fairly significant margin was Symmetra. On Lijiang Tower in particular, Xzi led his team to a 2-0 cap, including a 0-100 cap on Night Market with consistent Symmetra DPS that caught Toronto by surprise. While he was beaten by Andreas "Logix" Berghmans in the Widowmaker 1v1s and looked a bit out-of-sync with his team on McCree, Xzi dominated on Symmetra, already opening up the DPS pool going forward and using her more consistently than a simple transport onto a point.
-- Emily Rand
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NYXL 3, Spitfire 1
One of the questions we asked prior to this weekend is "Who are the London Spitfire?" Although that has yet to be answered, what they do know about this group of talented young players is that they don't drop their first control map, which was previously a London Spitfire staple.
The Spitfire were more competitive than I anticipated against the New York Excelsior. New DPS Gil-seong "Glister" Lim made highlight plays on the opening map of the series, Control on Lijiang Tower, and continue to be a shining star throughout the series, most notably on McCree. New York was clear and away the better team on Saturday but for a team who were mostly, prior to joining the Spitfire, under the radar, they certainly showed they have potential. Looking forward to seeing them play the Paris Eternal on Sunday.
-- Jacob Wolf
Titans 3, Gladiators 2
As the 2020 Overwatch League season began, it wouldn't have been a surprise to see both Ryu "Ryujehong" Je-hong and Kim "Birdring" Ji-hyeok call it a career. For Ryujehong, breaking down in tears on the Seoul Dynasty last year, it seemed like the end had come for one of the game's most iconic players. And for Birdring, the question was if he even had the drive to play the game anymore, having already won a league championship in the inaugural season.
While it would be foolish to draw conclusions from a single game, both icons had blistering starts to new beginnings with Ryujehong on the Vancouver Titans and Birdring with the Los Angeles Gladiators. Ryujehong wasn't expected to play much behind one of the best flex-supports in the league in Lee "Twilight" Joo-seok, but there he was on opening day, coming in where his signature Ana fired up the Dallas crowd. For Birding, although the Gladiators fell in a close 3-2 series, he was resembling the form that had people anointing him the best player in the world back in 2018.
-- Tyler Erzberger
Valiant 3, Fuel 1
Before the season began, it would have been an easy bet to put the Los Angeles Valiant at the bottom of the standings. They had turned their back on the team's loyal fans and seemingly cut their entire roster budget, even going as far to transfer their superstar homegrown talent Indy "Space" Halpern to cross-town rivals Los Angeles Gladiators. To add insult to injury, the team abandoned its iconic green and gold colors, introducing a powder blue scheme for its 2020 season.
Yet, through the grapevine, the Valiant's makeshift roster was doing well in scrimmages. Then, when they finally took the stage for their first match against the hometown Dallas Fuel, the rumors became reality as the new-look Valiant took down the crowd favorites. What was expected to be a rebuilding season for the Valiant might actually turn out to be the greatest coup the league has ever seen. Gladiators with Space are 0-1 and the taped together Valiant are undefeated. What a league.