Day 2 of the final week leading up to the Stage 1 playoffs was every bit as thrilling as the first. Another 6 six teams competed against each other today, including the 2 top teams in the Overwatch League standings who were both vying for that first place spot in the playoffs. Some surprising results also came from some mid-level teams today, so let’s jump into the breakdowns.
Game 1: Philadelphia Fusion vs Boston Uprising
A landslide victory for Uprising here, they're widely considered one of the more dangerous teams in the League for good reason, not counting their only middling standings. Well-known damage dealers Shadowburn and Carpe made some game changing plays for Fusion, but ultimately it was not enough to stop the well rehearsed onslaught from Uprising. A quick 2 map victory on Eichenwalde gave Uprising an early lead, and despite a hard fought second game on Horizon Lunar Colony Philadelphia fail to take even a single game from their opponents. Another desperate struggle for Fusion on Ilios as they scramble to take a map from Uprising, but the well oiled Boston machine takes another clean game and secures the series. Fusion finally manage to take a map on Junkertown, although it comes too little too late at this point. A quick turn around from Uprising ends the series with a dominant 4-0 victory.
Player of the Match: Striker (BOS)
Striker's Tracer was a huge deciding factor in how easily Uprising took this game. With his surgical back-line kills and close to effortless teamwipes, Striker performed a lot of the heavy lifting for his team, securing them the victory and excellent map difference score they needed to still have a shot at the playoffs. With many other powerful Tracers in the League it can be hard to stand out, but this Uprising player blinked ahead of the rest in this game.
Our Honourable Mentions:
While it's true Striker was the star player for his team, the now legendary tank duo of Note's D.va and Gamsu's Winston opened up so many holes in the Fusion lineup, allowing their DPS' to run riot without opposition multiple times. Note's impressive kill count and Gamsu's excellent dive timings were all Uprising needed to run over their competition. Despite a major loss Shadowburn's Genji did have some great Dragonblades, and Neptuno's Mercy alone was more than a match for the Uprising supports, so they definitely deserve special mention.
Game 2: New York Excelsior vs Florida Mayhem
Everyone expected this game to be a complete whitewash; and true enough it was. But considering Mayhem have been running second from the bottom in the standings and Excelsior are at the very top this was a great game to watch. Mayhem have not been playing well recently, in fact not since they were known as the more aggressive Misfits some time ago, and this shows in their standings. Perhaps Excelsior were taking it easy, or overconfident, or maybe this is the beginning of the return of a top tier team. Regardless despite losing heavily to their opponents Mayhem put up an amazing fight, surprisng everyone with how they played in their first match on Eichenwalde. They even took the second game on Horizon Lunar Colony to a draw. They fail to show for the rest of series as Exclesior kicks it into high on gear for the remaining two games on Ilios and Junkertown, ending with a clear 3-0 win, however it cannot be overstated how well Mayhem performed in the face of such overwhelming odds.
Player of the Match: Ark (NYXL)
Ark's Mercy stood out from the swath of other Mercy mains leading up to her massive nerf this weekend as he stood strong as a reliable backbone for Exclesior. Without his clutch revives and ultimates Mayhem just might have caused one of the greatest upsets of the League so far. It's rare for a support player to be recognised as Player of the Match by those watching in the arena so it's nice to see it happen when it's deserved.
Our Honourable Mentions:
Jjonak's well known Zenyatta deserves mention not for his ability to support his team with healing, (that role was filled by Ark anyway), but for his incredible ability to out-snipe opposing Widowmakers and out damage their Tracer's, truly an uncommon but welcome sight. Tviq led the very strong Mayhem team in the first half of the series, and Manneten playing many different tanks also deserves credit.
Game 3: London Spitfire vs Houston Outlaws
Another amazing match to watch, featuring two of the best teams in the League without a doubt. Spitfire is currently outmatched only by Excelsior, but winning their game against said team tomorrow could even this score. The Outlaws have a much harder time in their attempts to reach the playoffs, but thanks to such a decisive win over one of the best teams the dream is still alive. Taking the first three games, (and a guaranteed win of the series against Spitfire), without losing a single map, the Outlaws were set to take a clean 4-0 sweep against their oppenents, a feat completely unmatched at this point in the League. After already losing the series to the Outlaws Spitfire did turn it on for the last game on Dorado however, and that map difference score could come back to help them make first in the playoffs later on.
Player of the Match: Coolmatt (HOU)
According to many, Coolmatt's D.va is practically unmatched in the whole League, and such a claim really came to light in this game. Many also argue D.va is the strongest hero in the current build of the game, a perfect "Tankssassin" thanks to her huge damage, and this fits Coolmatt's style superbly. He practically filled the role of DPS all on his own, such a well played aggressive D.va is rare indeed. Special mention must go to his removal of both support ultimates and an incredibly sneaky Self-Destruct during the first game on Eichenwalde. It cannot be overstated how much of a win condition Coolmatt was for the Outlaws.
Our Honourable Mentions:
Spitfire's own resident DPS Birdring was running amok as usual, and despite the loss his signature Tracer still left many holes in the Outlaw's lineup. Muma's Winston and Roadhog were both exceptional in opening up the Spitfire defence, so special mention must go there. Finally Houston Outlaw's very own Jake was as powerful a player as ever. His Junkrat, (nicknamed the Jakerat for obvious reasons), picked up many key kills and stopped some powerful pushes from Spitfire, sometimes almost single handedly.
With a full day of matches tomorrow, (Saturday 10th February), the competition is reaching it's final stages, and with so little difference between many of the top teams the game is set to change yet again.