With less than a day to go until the Stage 1 playoffs the teams competing today had a very tough time ahead of them. Two of these teams had to take a win without losing a single map to their opponents, so they were surely feeling the pressure. Let’s take a look at how they managed in the face of such slim odds.
Game 1: Los Angeles Gladiators vs Dallas Fuel
A disappointing result for the Gladiators here; Dallas have certainly not been the best team so far in the League but they managed to find their footing here and almost take a clean 4-0 sweep. They were able to take the first three games on Eichenwalde, Temple of Anubis and Oasis while only dropping a single round to the Gladiators, and despite being known for possessing the only reverse sweep in the League so far LA are unable to pull it out of the bag in time. The fourth game on Dorado ended with a very neat 2-0 victory to them, but it came too late as Fuel had already claimed the series. The Gladiators were simply not up to par in their first three games, and while it’s true they made a significant improvement during the last match it wasn’t enough.
Player of the Match: Taimou (DF)
Taimou had some amazing plays in this series, though surprisingly coming more from his uncommon Roadhog pick than anything. The Gladiators had only one answer to him in the form of Surefour, but Taimou’s ability to flex picks and grab key kills when necessary was enough of an advantage to take the game for Dallas Fuel.
Our Honourable Mentions:
In spite of a positively crushing defeat, the Gladiators did have some excellent moments and plays. Surefour’s Widowmaker really shone later on in the series, and fellow DPS player Hydration also stood out. Bischu’s great D.va play also helped the Gladiators take such a convincing win on Dorado. The Fuel tank combo of Mickie and Cocco was too much to bear however, and both these players deserve special mentions for their stand out plays. Finally a mention goes to resident Fuel Mercy main Chipsajen, who is quickly becoming one of the best Mercy players in the League as a whole. After her nerf this weekend however we’ll see how far Chips can go without his coveted main.
Game 2: San Francisco Shock vs Soeul Dynasty
This was a tense game for Souel Dynasty, as the Korean team had to take their win without dropping a single map to keep their chances at the playoffs still alive. This is another story of disappointing ends however, as despite narrowly taking the first game on Eichenwalde they proceeded to be completely run over by the Shock on Anubis, losing both rounds in very quick succession, and thus their dreams for a Stage 1 playoff victory were dashed by a team who couldn’t contend for it in the first place. Soeul lose the next game on Ilios, and even after taking the fourth game on Dorado they force a tiebreaker on Lijang Tower, just about winning the series by the skin of their teeth afterwards. The Shock can be happy with their performance though, as they kept a truly renowned team from making the playoffs at all. A bittersweet victory for Soeul Dynasty
Player of the Match: Fleta (SEO)
Fleta’s ability to hard carry his team is completely undeniable. Overwatch is a game where teamwork matters far more than the ability to carry the rest of your team, but the sheer strength of Fleta’s Pharah and Widowmaker, (coupled with some pretty poor mistakes from his teammates considering they’re a world class team), really took his team to a victory that was otherwise undeserved. Both teams here have a habit of playing completely around their star DPS’, Fleta and Babybay respectfully, but the rest of the Dynasty team need to step it up for Stage 2.
Our Honourable Mentions:
As previously mentioned in detail Soeul were carried by Fleta, that much is clear, but that’s not to say that some of the rest of the team didn’t have some good moments. Despite a rocky start Ryujehong’s Zenyatta and Mercy pulled through in the latter half of the series. Bunny’s Tracer and Zunba’s D.va also really stood out on occasion. Sleepy’s own Zenyatta made for a surprisingly powerful damage dealer for the Shock, and Nomy and Nevix made waves as a solid tank duo once more. As a team the Shock absolutely played better than their opponents, but occasionally one player is all it takes.
Game 3: Los Angeles Valiant vs Shanghai Dragons
Another high tension game here as local team LA Valiant, like Soeul before them, could not drop a single game to their opponents. Many would see there matchup as lucky then, as they were pitted against the Dragons who thus far had an abysmal win/loss record in Stage 1 of 0-9, failing to win a single game. It should come as no surprise then that Valiant took a hearty 4-0 sweep against the Dragons after all. However it would be remiss to say the all-Chinese team put up no fight whatsoever, as they did not make it easily for the hometown favourites. The significant pushback from the Dragons left many Valiant fans biting their nails towards the end of each round, as they managed to push many of the maps they played on to a tense overtime. A very strong performance from the Dragons on Numbani would almost have you forgetting their place in the standings, and despite losing all their subsequent matches in the series they were praised for the down-to-the-wire style gameplay they brought forth. Against very slim odds Valiant keep their chances for the playoffs alive, but their fate is no longer in their hands as they must wait and see where the other teams in contention fall in the standings now.
Player of the Match: Envy (VAL)
Envy’s D.va play once again showed why he is one of the best the League has to offer. Some very nice aggressive play, coupled with exceptionally well placed Self-Destruct ultimates, gave Valiant the clean sweep they needed to make the playoffs. Not much else can be said for this player, he is recognised as one of the best D.va players for a reason.
Our Honourable Mentions:
Diya and Undead were stand out damage dealers once again in this game, they’re never quite enough to take a win for their team but the plays these two have produced are certainly up to Overwatch League standard. The legendary Soon took his team to a comfortable win with his always impressive Tracer gameplay, and shoutouts are deserved for Unkoe’s Zenyatta and Kariv’s Mercy who kept the Valiant team running with well placed ultimates and surprising yet key eliminations.
Day 4 of the League starts very soon, as many of the teams are still left to play their last game before the playoffs a few hours later. At this moment anyone could still make for a serious contender, so be sure to stay tuned and catch all the excitement as Stage 1 nears its peak.