Dallas Fuel 3 - Boston Uprising 0
The Dallas Fuel shocked the Boston Uprising with a 3-0 win to open up Week 2 of Stage 4 in the Overwatch League on Wednesday at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
For the first time in three months, the Dallas Fuel beat a team other than the Shanghai Dragons. The fact that it came against the Boston Uprising, a team that went on a 14-game win streak between Stages 2 and 3, is quite telling and shows how the two teams have adjusted to the meta of Stage 4.
Adaptability has been key for the Fuel to start this stage, and that was no clearer than in this series. On just about every map, Dallas was the first to make adjustments in team compositions, which gave it a major leg up throughout the match.
Not only was Dallas on top of the mental game, but it also benefited greatly from the prowess of both Fuel flex tank Pongphop "Mickie" Rattanasangchod and DPS Timo "Taimou" Kettunen. Taimou almost single-handedly won his team Blizzard World with a spectacular flanking Death Blossom as Reaper, while Mickie was a terror with Brigitte and through the first two weeks has shown that he might be the best at the character in the entire league.
With Boston DPS Kwon "Striker" Nam-joo on Tracer throughout most of the series, Mickie had free reign to completely bully the opposing flanker and help his team to an upset win.
The Uprising, meanwhile, seemed wholly unable to make mid-game adjustments at any point. It seemed as though the team went into each game with a strategy and was content to force that square strategy into a round hole all series long.
This was most evident on Horizon Lunar Colony, when Striker refused to switch off of Tracer despite being dogged by Mickie's Brigitte. By the time Boston finally made any adjustments, it was often too late, the lack of flexibility meant a third-straight regular season loss for the Uprising.
Boston will look to get things back on track against the Los Angeles Valiant on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, while Dallas will go for its first 2-0 week since Stage 2 when it faces the Philadelphia Fusion at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday.
-- Wyatt Donigan
Los Angeles Valiant 3 - Florida Mayhem 1
The Los Angeles Valiant took down the Florida Mayhem with a 3-1 victory Wednesday at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
Starting off on King's Row, the Valiant looked poised to take the map, clearing all three points faster than the Mayhem, but Los Angeles still lost the map due to one factor: Florida DPS Ha "Sayaplayer" Jung-woo. Sayaplayer hit his stride on Widowmaker and decimated the Valiant's attempt at getting any progress in overtime to secure the map for the Mayhem.
While it was a good win, Florida's usual flaws -- poor ultimate economy and coordination -- came back to haunt it for the rest of the series.
Bouncing back from King's Row, the Valiant took Hanamura and Lijiang Tower. LA DPS Brady "Agilities" Girardi used Brigitte to put pressure on the Mayhem tanks and preventing Florida's backline from making plays. On top of that, main tank Koo "Fate" Pan-seung's Winston was a ruthless predator, chasing the Mayhem's DPS down and keeping them in check.
In addition, the Valiant also made smart adjustments throughout the series, especially on the last map, Watchpoint: Gibraltar. As soon as the map started, Agilities went back to base to swap from Genji to Hanzo because he saw that Mayhem DPS Kevyn "TivQ" Lindström was on Brigitte. That was just one example of LA's willingness to change compositions on the fly to keep Florida on the back foot.
The Mayhem takes the stage again against the Los Angeles Gladiators at 9 p.m ET on Thursday. The Los Angeles Valiant, on the other hand, will face off with the Boston Uprising at 7 p.m. on Friday.
-- Steven Nguyen
Los Angeles Gladiators 3 - Houston Outlaws 1
The Los Angeles Gladiators rallied to beat the Houston Outlaws 3-1 in the final Overwatch League series of the day Wednesday at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
With this win, the Gladiators has put itself in a good position for the playoff race early on in Stage 4. Los Angeles debuted its newest member, off-tank Kang "Void" Jun-woo, who subbed in for starting off-tank Aaron "Bischu" Kim twice in the series against Houston. It didn't seem to matter which off-tank was in, though, as the Gladiators executed set strategies with precision and always seemed to have someone to clean up kills and ensure the team's focus was on priority targets.
Every player for LA is capable of being the hero when the game is on the line. Case in point: Support player Jonas "Shaz" Suovaara. Shaz was in the spotlight against Houston for his playmaking on Oasis, where he picked off high-value targets as Zenyatta from across the map. There's still a long way to go before the postseason, but Los Angeles seems primed to break away from the rest of the pack.
The Outlaws looked set to make a run to the top of the table like the team did in Stage 1, but this performance against the Gladiators should have Houston worrying. Once again, the Outlaws began to break down when DPS player Jacob "JAKE" Lyon faced focused pressure from the enemy team.
While JAKE is benefitting from a meta that complements his hero pool, he couldn't make enough of a splash to consistently keep eyes off fellow DPS Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin. It was no help that LiNkzr failed to make much of the few opportunities that were given to him.
The Los Angeles Gladiators get an easier draw against the Florida Mayhem at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, while the Houston Outlaws will be tested against the San Francisco Shock at 11 p.m. ET on Friday.
-- Travis Elliott