Seoul Dynasty 3 - Florida Mayhem 1
Seoul Dynasty is no longer in control of its own Overwatch League Stage 2 playoff destiny despite defeating the Florida Mayhem 3-1 on Friday at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
The Florida Mayhem has been surging recently, even though the team has yet to bring in a majority of its Stage 2 additions. This has been in large part thanks to DPS Andreas "Logix" Berghmans' lights-out play on Tracer, which made it all the more confusing when the Mayhem opted to put DPS Kevin "TviQ" Lindstrom on the hero for the series against Seoul. Although TviQ is a better DPS player between the two, riding the hot hand of Logix's Tracer has been working for the Mayhem lately. The change ended up biting the Mayhem as the only map it won was Hollywood, where TviQ moved to Junkrat and Logix was back on Tracer duty.
The Seoul Dynasty has the talent beat any team in the Overwatch League, but unfortunately for the pre-season favorites, the team can't seem to stop beating itself. After a humiliating and playoff-threatening loss to the Houston Outlaws earlier in the week, Seoul needed a clean sweep of the Mayhem to remain firmly in the playoff picture. That didn't happen, and it came down to the Dynasty's long-standing struggles with enemy Junkrats, which the Mayhem abused to take a map off Seoul.
By dropping a game here, Seoul's map differential now sits at a plus-9, and if the Philadelphia Fusion or Los Angeles Gladiators win their final matches this week, the Dynasty will miss yet another shot at a stage title.
The Dynasty is finished for the week and will have to cheer on the Los Angeles Valiant and Boston Uprising as its title hopes rest on the outcome of those matches. The Florida Mayhem, meanwhile, is also done for the stage and will now put its full focus on Stage 3 in a couple weeks.
-- Travis Elliott
Philadelphia Fusion 3 - Los Angeles Valiant 2
The Philadelphia Fusion beat the Los Angeles Valiant 3-2 on Friday at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California, but the win was yet another bungled chance by a playoff team to clinch its Stage 2 postseason spot.
The Philadelphia Fusion, which has looked demonstrably better after sending DPS star George "ShaDowBurn" Gushcha to the bench in favor of Josue "EQO" Corona, found itself in trouble against the Valiant because the DPS players and opposite starter Lee "Carpe" Jae-hyeok couldn't figure out their roles.
The players' hero pools overlap heavily, which led to some awkward swapping during Friday's match. On several occasions, Carpe forced EQO to play Tracer so that he could move to a hero like Widowmaker. The Fusion got back to business in overtime, utilizing EQO's flexibility and moving Carpe back to the Tracer, but by then the damage was done. Although Philadelphia persevered to earn the win, the team's title hopes are now in jeopardy. The Fusion will need the Los Angeles Gladiators to drop at least one map Saturday against the Boston Uprising in order for Philadelphia to claim the third and final playoff spot.
On the flip side, a retooled Valiant support and DPS lineup has helped Los Angeles continue its gradual return to form. This is the second time the Valiant have tinkered with its support and DPS lineups this season, reversing the previous change by sending Park "Kariv" Yong-seo back to the support role and bringing Brady "Agilities" Girardi off the bench to play DPS once again.
Having KariV back in the support lineup has made the Valiant look more comfortable in matches and given the team the ability to play more aggressively. In the series against Philadelphia, KariV's elusive Mercy play frustrated the Fusion as it provided no easy dive target on attacks, whereas before Benjamin "Unkoe" Chevasson's Zenyatta was the clear and primary target.
Though the Valiant's Stage 2 title hopes were dashed long ago, it can take a small victory in denying the Fusion an assured playoff spot.
If the Fusion do not return for title bouts on Sunday, the team will be back in action for Stage 3, facing the Boston Uprising at 9 p.m. ET on April 5. The Valiant will finish its Stage 2 against the New York Excelsior at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday.
-- Travis Elliott
London Spitfire 4 - Shanghai Dragons 0
The London Spitfire ran through the Shanghai Dragons in a 4-0 sweep on Friday to conclude action during the penultimate day of Stage 2 of the Overwatch League at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
The London Spitfire brought out its substitutes against the Shanghai Dragons, and for good reason too. Shanghai has yet to win an Overwatch League match, and that, coupled with the absence of DPS Chao "Undead" Fang due to personal issues, unsurprisingly saw Shanghai look utterly disorganized. There couldn't have been a more drastic opposite to the Dragons than the Spitfire, who looked practiced and collected Friday. The Shanghai Dragons took just one point in the four-game sweep.
London support Jo "HoGaPeun" Hyeon-woo, support Jung "Closer" Won-sik and DPS Lee "Hooreg" Dong-eun controlled Shanghai Dragons despite making some sloppy mistakes. Both Hooreg and HoGaPeun took aggressive positions that wouldn't work against most teams, such as in Round 3 Hollywood: The Spitfire was able to rush the balcony high-ground while its tanks played on-point in the first section of the map. In most cases, leaving a backline so heavily exposed would mean disaster for a team, but London was still able to dominate fights.
On the other end, the Shanghai Dragons lacked a solid backline and frontline, resulting in a disastrous feedback loop. The Dragon's newest DPS addition, Chon "Ado" Gi-hyeon, would attempt to cover for his team by dealing solid damage, but due to a lack of healing from support players and a lack of protection from tanks, Ado could barely scratch his opponents.
Meanwhile, tanks Junjie "Xushu" Liu and Lee "Fearless" Eui-seok struggled to bully their opponents' frontline because they couldn't get healing, and the lack of damage and zoning left Dragons' backline exposed, turning its support players into spoon-fed mincemeat for London.
London Spitfire has guaranteed its No. 2 seeding heading into the Stage 2 playoffs, with a tune-up match scheduled against the Dallas Fuel at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday. The Shanghai Dragons, meanwhile, will look to come into Stage 3 with a brand-new roster against the Dallas Fuel at 7 p.m. ET on April 7.
-- Christiaan Kutlik