London Spitfire 3 - New York Excelsior 2
In another instant classic between these two teams, the London Spitfire took down the New York Excelsior in a nail-biting 3-2 series on Friday to start Day 3 of Stage 2 of the Overwatch League in the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
Both teams came into this matchup limping, as the Spitfire had lost its first series of Stage 2 to the Houston Outlaws, while the Excelsior had won its Stage 2 debut but was still without support Hong "ArK" Yeon-Jun, forcing tank Kim "Mano" Dong-Gyu to flex onto support. Despite these setbacks, both teams didn't seem to miss a beat and played at a blistering pace.
The difference in this series was the same one that won London the Stage 1 title over New York: its ridiculous DPS players. The duo of Kim "birdring" Ji-Hyeok and Park "Profit" Jun-Young ran roughshod over the Excelsior. With NYXL support star Bang "JJoNak" Seong-Hyun missing his normal support partner, the Spitfire capitalized by diving on him at every turn, putting pressure on the Excelsior's most consistent performer.
In the face of that constant pressure, the Excelsior still enjoyed some success at times by playing dive and overwhelming the Spitfire's supports, but the team looked like it simply didn't do its homework before the match. From not knowing how to deal with Sombra in Game 1 on Volskaya Industries, where she is a common pick, to putting in DPS Kim "Pine" Do-Hyeon in the tiebreaker map, where he struggled as Genji and Widowmaker, New York simply looked lost. Granted, the Excelsior has a world-class excuse with ArK's absence, but a loss to London this early in Stage 2 is a sour pill to swallow nonetheless.
The London Spitfire looks to continue its winning ways against the Florida Mayhem at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, while the New York Excelsior prepare for a showdown with its New England rivals, the Boston Uprising, at 11 p.m. ET on Thursday.
-- Noah Waltzer
Dallas Fuel 3 - Los Angeles Gladiators 1
The Dallas Fuel took down the Los Angeles Gladiators on Friday to continue its winning streak, showing a new face to close out its first week in Stage 2 of the Overwatch League in Burbank, California.
Main tanks of the league beware, the king of the jungle is back and ready to rumble. Returning after his suspension for the duration of Stage 1, Fuel main tank Felix "xQc" Lengyel made his OWL re-debut against another world-class tank in the Gladiators' Baek "Fissure" Chan-hyung. Both tanks managed to create opportunities for their respective teams, but the key difference in this matchup came in how both teams capitalized, or didn't in the case of the Gladiators.
This is the best the Fuel has looked in months. With new DPS additions, Dylan "aKm" Bignet and Kim "Rascal" Dong-jun, slotting into the starting lineup perfectly alongside ace Tracer, Hwang "EFFECT" Hyeon, the Fuel's firepower was fearsome, obliterating the Gladiators throughout the series with its cohesive brawling style. It might have looked like sheer chaos, but the Fuel was comfortably in the driver's seat during this match, smashing through the second half of play after dropping Game 2 on Lijang Tower.
Meanwhile, the Gladiators have questions that need to be addressed for this team to make a splash in the league. Can the Gladiators learn to adapt mid-series to its opponents? Will the Gladiators learn how to properly manage its ultimate economy? Can this team win games without huge performances from DPS and projectile specialist Joao Pedro "Hydration" Goes Telles? Only time will tell, but, with the rest of the league rapidly improving, the Gladiators' time might be running out.
The Dallas Fuel prepares for a clash against the Seoul Dynasty at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, followed by the Los Angeles Gladiators attempting to get back on track against the winless Shanghai Dragons later that night at 11 p.m. ET.
-- Noah Waltzer
Seoul Dynasty 3 - San Francisco Shock 1
After falling behind early against the San Francisco Shock, the Seoul Dynasty took home a 3-1 series win on Friday of the Overwatch League at the Blizzard Arena at Burbank, California.
Seoul Dynasty's status as a top-tier team continues to remain in question after what the Shock pulled on it in this series. The underdogs knew they could not beat the Dynasty through standard teamfights, especially when Seoul's stars, DPS Kim "Fleta" Byung-Sun and support Ryu "ryujehong" Je-Hong, were shining. Instead, the Shock decided to try and never give Seoul the opportunity to teamfight throughout the entire series.
The Shock made a habit of drawing the Dynasty into the open and making the most of the space by spreading out and peppering the Dynasty with fire. This strategy worked in Game 1 on Hanamura, where the map layout allowed for spread-out positioning, preventing the Dynasty from capturing the second point. However, on subsequent maps, like Hollywood and Watchpoint: Gibraltar, San Francisco got stuffed.
Unlike the Shock, Seoul was much more eager to force fights. After getting caught in the Shock's trap early on, the Dynasty showed its signature ability to adapt mid-series, finding holes in the Shock's strategies.
Instead of fully jumping into the Shock with its dive composition, the Dynasty put Fleta on Widowmaker, where he tore through San Francisco by landing devastating headshots on crucial targets and picked off the backline without putting himself at risk. In addition, tank Gong "Miro" Jin-hyuk put on a masterclass performance as Winston, returning to his old 2016 form, when he was considered the best Winston in the world.
With these elements coming together, the Dynasty stormed back against the Shock, taking a 3-1 series win despite getting the wind knocked out of it in Game 1.
Seoul Dynasty try to keep its winning streak alive at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday against the Dallas Fuel, while the Shock faces off against California rivals, the Los Angeles Valiant, at 9 p.m. ET on Friday.
-- Christiaan Kutlik