The final day of Stage 1 is upon us at last. 5 weeks worth of matches have all lead up to this point, as the last few teams battle it out for their playoff chances. It couldn’t have been more of a perfect story to close out the regular season, so time to take a look at the teams managed
Game 1: New York Excelsior vs London Spitfire
To open the day with such a clash of titans certainly was an eye opener. NYXL have held the first position in the standings for most of the League, with Spitfire right behind them the whole way. A win here was a guaranteed placement into the playoffs for both teams, and in the very possible event that Spitfire lost 4-0 they would have been out of contention. A hard fought match took them all the way to the tiebreaker game on Lijang Tower, but in the end it was the top dog Excel who managed to pull out a narrow win when it mattered most. Truly an incredible game to start the day really.
Player of the Match: Jjonak (NYXL)
Jjonak’s Zenyatta is well known for being cut from a different cloth as most other Zen mains. That of course is to say he’s a complete killing machine. To see a Support/3rd DPS player on any team is rare for sure, but Jjonak manages to fill the role perfectly. In this match alone he did 7000 more damage than the average League Zenyatta, with a whole 15 more eliminations too. A flex this impressive can’t be overlooked.
Our Honourable Mentions:
As ever, Pine’s Widowmaker play was far above impressive and he certainly took Excel to many teamfights win in this game, as he has done in the past. Ark’s ability to play such a steadfast Mercy is always worthy of special mention, as he dies so little compared to many other Support players. Birdring will, as he always does, receive praise for his exceptional DPS play. Someone who few think is underrated and left in the shadow of his team sometimes though is Bdosin. Some brilliant Zenyatta plays come from this member of Spitfire, rivalling that of Jjonak himself, though Bdosin’s supporting abilities are far higher when compared to his damage with great ultimate usage.
Game 2: Houston Outlaws vs Boston Uprising
A very specific set of circumstances must have occured during this game for different teams to make the playoffs, so try to keep up with me. The Outlaws needed a win here, doesn’t matter how much by as long as they win, and they would make it into third. Uprising needed a win of at least two maps to make it in themselves, but if they had won by only one game LA Valiant actually would’ve made it in. Outlaws fans rejoice then as their team narrowly takes the victory out from under Boston Uprising. These were both two incredible dark horse teams towards the end of the Stage, so it came as no surprise to anyone that this series was also taken to a tiebreaker Game 5. It actually ended up being an underdog style reverse sweep comeback for Houston in the end, as losing the first two games on Eichenwalde and Anubis clearly didn’t phase them. Some quick wins on Ilios, Dorado and finally Lijang Tower carry the Outlaws to a well deserved third place in the playoffs.
Player of the Match: Linkzr (HOU)
As the Outlaw’s famous Jake spent most of this series being solo targeted and shut down, the DPS had to be picked up somewhere. He who filled that role ended up being Houston’s constant “X Factor” Linkzr. His ability to cover for Jake throughout this serious was truly astounding, and he even managed to go toe to toe with Uprising’s own terror DPS Striker, pulling out on top in the end.
Our Honourable Mentions:
Have we mentioned already that Coolmatt is a complete monster? Because he is. And honestly he was definitely a contender for Player of the Match again, even over Linkzr. No one needs to hear us gush about his D.va all over again, but just remember going into Stage 2 this a player to watch. Bani’s Mercy is quickly becoming one of the best in the League, so he certainly deserves mention. Honestly this section could go on and on about every player in this game, from either team, but that would be abnormally long so we’re not gonna do that. But every member of the Outlaws and Uprising performed exceptionally here.
Game 3: Florida Mayhem vs Philadelphia Fusion
Wouldn’t you believe it, another tiebreaker game! Although this game had no impact on the remainder of Stage 1 the score will still be very important to both teams further down the line when it’s taken into account at the end of the season. And ignoring the playoffs for a second this was still a great game to witness, with top level plays from both teams that really showed they’re capable of playing with such titans. It was a back and forth game, as so many in the Overwatch League have been so far, with each team alternating who won every match. In the end though it’s Philadelphia Fusion that take the win, and they’ll be sure to thank themselves for such a win later.
Player of the Match: Carpe (PHI)
Some brilliant and diverse DPS play from Carpe ultimately was what allowed Fusion to narrowly take their last win of the Stage. His Widowmaker and Tracer really stepped up to the plate when they were needed, and the occasional Mcree pick brought Florida Mayhem’s lineup to their knees. Not much more can be said, Carpe is an Overwatch League level DPS player; the title should speak for itself.
Our Honourable Mentions:
The stars of this game really were the supports from both teams, Zebbosai and Zuppeh for the side of Mayhem, and Neptuno and Boombox for Fusion. All four of these players were outstanding all throughout the series, mostly due to their consistently well played Support ultimates, which are notorious for being a nightmare to time correctly. Player of the Match could have easily gone to any of these four in our opinion, but special mention to Zebbosai whose ability to flex onto a Tank role truly stood out and helped his team on many occasions.
So that’s it, the regular games for Stage 1 are all over now. You may be wondering why our coverage of the playoffs isn’t here as they were played in the same session, but don’t fret as those games will be getting a page all of their own. It is the playoffs after all!