Dallas Fuel 3 - Shanghai Dragons 2
The Dallas Fuel narrowly outmuscled the Shanghai Dragons in a tight 3-2 series on Wednesday to start Week 5 of the Overwatch League at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
Shanghai's best chance to find a win in Stage 1 went up in smoke, but the team went out swinging. Both Dallas and Shanghai bounced back and forth between dominating each other, with players like Shanghai's DPS Chao "Undead" Fang and Dallas' DPS Brandon "Seagull" Larned popping off throughout the series. At first, the series felt firmly in the hands of Shanghai, as Undead and Weida "Diya" Lu tore up the early stages of Eichenwalde with their respective McCree and Pharah picks. The underdogs looked like they would finally find a win, but Dallas took control in Game 2 on Horizon Lunar Colony, sending the series to a tie at the break.
Dallas snowballed into Oasis, easily the Fuel's best map, where both Seagull and Timo "Taimou" Kettunen went on an absolute tear in Game 3. Shanghai's attempts to go off-script with new hero choices, such as Undead's pocket Doomfist, didn't go well on Oasis, but the Dragons tore the Fuel up on Dorado and sent this series into Game 5. The Control maps of Lijiang Tower favored the Fuel, but the Dragons managed to push Dallas to a decisive third map for a shot at its first win. That's where Shanghai's fight gave out, though: Dallas thrashed its opponent on the final point and picked up its second victory of the stage.
Dallas Fuel will play its last game in Stage 1 at 7 p.m ET on Friday against the Los Angeles Gladiators, while Shanghai Dragons play at 11 p.m ET that day against the Los Angeles Valiant.
-- Christiaan Kutlik
Los Angeles Gladiators 3 - San Francisco Shock 1
The Los Angeles Gladiators took a convincing 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Shock in the Overwatch League on Wednesday at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
During Game 1 on Numbani, San Francisco used the map's open areas to great effect, with DPS Andrej "BABYBAY" Francisty using the free space to pop heads and carry the Shock to a Game 1 win. The Gladiators didn't seem fazed by the loss, though, and stood fast during Game 2 on Horizon Lunar Colony. Los Angeles moved around the map as a unit, never giving the Shock an opening to close in on kills. With San Francisco's star DPS stunted, the Shock couldn't mount any resistance and crumbled in a Game 2 loss.
Los Angeles DPS Lane "Surefour" Roberts kept the momentum going for the Gladiators on Oasis and cut through San Francisco as Genji. What won the Gladiators the map, and eventually the series, was its superior discipline. Holding onto ultimates and coordinating pushes well, Los Angeles played together, while San Francisco looked as it normally did: scattered and chaotic. Ultimately, San Francisco showed that it had the fragging power to keep up with LA, but the Gladiators had the teamwork advantage to seal the 3-1 series win.
The Los Angeles Gladiators next faces the Dallas Fuel at 7 p.m ET on Friday, followed by the San Francisco Shock taking on the Seoul Dynasty at 9 p.m ET.
-- Liam Craffey
Los Angeles Valiant 3 - Seoul Dynasty 0
In a stunning upset that changed the Stage 1 playoff picture entirely, the Los Angeles Valiant walked away from the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California, with a 3-0 victory over the Seoul Dynasty on Wednesday.
With the win, the Valiant is now tied with the Dynasty in the standings but a map ahead in map differential. At plus-nine in map results, Los Angeles moved into the final playoff slot with the victory Wednesday, and Seoul, at plus-eight, now has to watch the results of the 5-3 Houston Outlaws (plus-14) and Boston Uprising (plus-seven) all the more closely.
Seoul had been struggling in the last few games, while the Valiant seemed more coordinated and decisive than ever before as the stage neared its end. Dynasty DPS Kim "Fleta" Byung-Sun tried his best to bring the Dynasty across the finish line by hard-carrying against the Valiant's DPS core, but Fleta's heroic feats meant nothing in the face of the combined might of the Valiant.
LA DPS Terence "SoOn" Tarlier on Tracer and Support Benjamin "Unkoe" Cevasson on Zenyatta were crucial for the Valiant. Unkoe outperformed the typically stellar Seoul supports on Zenyatta, putting up more kills on the orb-thrower than his foes and handling one-on-one situations better, while Soon's Tracer dismantled the front and backline alike. Seoul lost all momentum -- and a chance at evening the map differential, at least -- after Game 2 on Temple of Anubis, where it tied with Los Angeles despite having six minutes in timebank to claim a point and take the map.
With a playoff spot potentially on the line, the Dynasty will attempt to climb back into the top three with a win against the San Francisco Shock at 9 p.m. ET on Friday. The Valiant, hoping to hold on to its playoff bid, takes on the Shanghai Dragons at 11 p.m. ET that day.