Philadelphia Fusion 3 - Los Angeles Gladiators 1
The Philadelphia Fusion opened Week 5 of Stage 2 of the Overwatch League with a crucial 3-1 win over the surging Los Angeles Gladiators on Wednesday at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
Both teams were in contention for a top-three finish to lock up a Stage 2 playoff spot while also fighting for the unofficial title of Best in the West. While Los Angeles had a high-profile win against the London Spitfire earlier in Stage 2, the Gladiators could not withstand the Fusion's onslaught on Wednesday.
The series was tied at one apiece going into halftime, with the Fusion holding Hanamura while the Gladiators took a 2-0 map win on Nepal, but things got decidedly worse for the Gladiators in the second half.
After fielding the DPS combination of Joao Pedro "Hydration" Goes Telles and Choi "Asher" Jun-sung for the first half, the Gladiators decided to put in DPS Lane "Surefour" Roberts, who was brutalized by the Fusion. The combination of Fusion DPS Lee "Carpe" Jae-hyeok and Simon "snillo" Ekstrom destroyed Surefour's Widowmaker time after time, with Carpe's Widowmaker routinely winning duels whenever snillo's Tracer wasn't one-clipping Surefour in the backline.
Try as the rest of the Gladiators might, it simply couldn't do anything with Surefour out of commission. To put an exclamation point on things, Philadelphia even spawn-camped Surefour in Game 3 on Hollywood before full-holding the Gladiators on Route 66. With Carpe leading the way, the Fusion took the 3-1 win, earning Western bragging rights and a win with playoff implications.
While both teams will still need some help from the Seoul Dynasty or London Spitfire to make it into the Stage 2 playoffs, there is still plenty to take away from this series. Philadelphia got a huge win against a surging Gladiators squad, and Los Angeles continued to show progress from being a pretender in Stage 1 to a contender in Stage 2 and beyond.
The Fusion's next game comes against the Los Angeles Valiant at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, while the Gladiators close out the stage against the Boston Uprising at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday.
-- Noah Waltzer
Florida Mayhem 3 - San Francisco Shock 2
The Florida Mayhem outlasted a rejuvenated San Francisco Shock on Wednesday in a 3-2 win at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
At long last, the moment Shock fans have been waiting for has come. DPS mega-star Jay "sinatraa" Won's debut in the Overwatch League showed exactly why the Shock gave him the highest reported contract in OWL's early history.
Team USA fans will remember his Tracer, arguably the best American-born Tracer in the game today, and his Zarya being particularly brutal during the Overwatch World Cup, and he brought out both Wednesday. The Shock also showed how it would divide playing time between the other DPS players, with Nicolaj "babybay" Francisty and Dante "Danteh" Cruz being subbed in and out for their respective hero pools while Sinatraa took up the Tracer specialist mantle.
Despite sinatraa's solid play in his debut, however, the Shock couldn't escape the poor coordination and suspect ultimate economy issues that have plagued the team throughout both Stage 1 and 2.
The Mayhem, which has been on an impressive run over the last few matches, seemed mechanically outgunned, but Florida's coordination ultimately won out. What's more, hitscan DPS Andreas "Logix" Berghmans continued his personal renaissance and helped the Mayhem get to Game 5 on Ilios, where the team's synergy paid off.
San Francisco looks to pick up a win to close out Stage 2 when it faces the Boston Uprising at 11 p.m. ET on Thursday, while the Mayhem battle the Seoul Dynasty at 7 p.m. ET on Friday.
-- Noah Waltzer
Houston Outlaws 4 - Shanghai Dragons 0
The Houston Outlaws took a solid 4-0 sweep in the Overwatch League over the Shanghai Dragons on Wednesday at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
Shanghai put tank Wu "MG" Dongjian on DPS with its main DPS Fang "Undead" Chao having gone back to China with no return date currently known, but the substitution was more of a band-aid than a permanent solution. Overall, the team simply lacked the cohesion to push past a hungry Houston squad. Hope isn't fully lost for Shanghai, however, as Wednesday finally saw the debut of DPS Gihyeon "Ado" Chon and tank Lee "Fearless" Eui-seok, with tank Kim "Geguri" Seyeon on track to be with the team before Stage 3.
The team's new additions could be just what Shanghai needs to shed a bit of light on a bleak start to the OWL.
The Outlaws itself hasn't been doing well in Stage 2 but decimated the Dragons from start to finish Wednesday. With Shanghai not putting up much of a fight, it's a bit hard to judge how this team will fare against more formidable competition, but it was a strong showing for the struggling team nonetheless.
DPS Jake "JAKE" Lyon, in particular, showed off newfound prowess on Tracer, which allowed his team to feel comfortable fielding a variety of team compositions without DPS Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin wasn't in the lineup. While the Stage 2 playoffs are out of the question for Houston, finding that Stage 1 spark and getting back on track for Stage 3 is surely the main focus for this team moving forward.
The Shanghai Dragons' final game this stage will be against the London Spitfire at 11 p.m ET on Friday, while the Houston Outlaws try for a second victory against the Seoul Dynasty at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday.
-- Steven Nguyen