Houston Outlaws 3 - Florida Mayhem 1
The Houston Outlaws handled the Florida Mayhem in a 3-1 victory on Thursday at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
Houston was able to break a three-series losing streak with a victory over the improved but struggling Florida Mayhem. The commanding performance by Houston marks what could potentially be a comeback for a squad that earned a Stage 1 playoff berth but has since faded and become a middle-of-the-pack squad.
Outlaws DPS Jacob "JAKE" Lyon was a nuisance with Genji from the start on Temple of Anubis. He scored four easy kills with his first Dragonblade of the map, and Houston captured Point A directly afterward. On his trademark Junkrat, though, JAKE's efforts were stymied by the Mayhem's newest Winston player, Kim "Awesomeguy" Sung-hoon.
The Mayhem leaned on another newly acquired player, too, in DPS specialist Ha "sayaplayer" Jung-woo. Sayaplayer pulled out some flashy plays with Tracer and kept Houston's support players at bay to even the series 1-1, but he and Awesomeguy could do little else as the Outlaws ran away with the series.
The Mayhem had one glaring issue preventing it from further success, and that was keeping Kevyn "TviQ" Lindström on Junkrat. None of TviQ's RIP-Tires had much impact throughout the four-game series. When he switched to Genji, Florida looked like a team that could compete, but with Junkrat in the lineup the squad simply did not have the ultimates to square up with a team like the Outlaws.
Meanwhile, Houston hasn't looked this good since Stage 1. Outlaws DPS Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin showed great coordination with JAKE and controlled the pace for the entirety of the series, and the Outlaw tanks connected with the supports to ensure their safety during the heavy backline assaults that Houston endured from a desperate Mayhem.
The Florida Mayhem will look to rebound against the Shanghai Dragons at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, while the Outlaws square off against a slumping Dallas Fuel at 8 p.m. ET Saturday.
-- Tyson Tavolazzi
Boston Uprising 3 - London Spitfire 2
On Thursday evening, the Boston Uprising earned a 3-2 victory over the London Spitfire during Stage 3 of the Overwatch League at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
London's run through Stage 3 had been unusually troubling, as one of the consistent top teams in the league have looked uncoordinated and devoid of focus - up until Thursday. Spitfire supports Jo "HaGoPeun" Hyeon-woo and Jung "Closer" Won-sik played excellently, while HaGoPeun unleashed the full potential of Zenyatta by slaughtering the entirety of the Uprising on Numbani. Taking the first two maps of the series, the Spitfire looked to close out the series in dramatically quick fashion.
Refusing to hand the series over to its opponent, Uprising DPS Kwon "Striker" Nam-joo and Stanislav "Mistakes" Danilov tore up the Spitfire after halftime. Striker's Tracer and Mistakes' Widowmaker racked up kill after kill, making short work of the Spitfire lineup. The Uprising brought the series to a game five after two dominating victories on both Ilios and Junkertown.
The tie-breaker map on Oasis was the very definition of a close map but it was Striker's heroic efforts that swiped the victory out of the Spitfire's hands at the very last second with an incredible stealth play on Tracer. Sneaking past a distracted Spitfire moshpit, Striker managed to flip control of the point in overtime, taking a surprisingly offensive approach to the critical juncture. Without Striker making this play, the Uprising couldn't have extended the match timer and complete the reverse sweep.
The Boston Uprising will try for its sixth straight win when it takes on the Seoul Dynasty at 11 p.m. on Friday. The following day, the Spitfire face another difficult opponent in the form of the Los Angeles Valiant at 4 p.m.
-- Steven Nguyen
New York Excelsior 3 - Philadelphia Fusion 2
New York Excelsior landed another 3-2 reverse-sweep against the Philadelphia Fusion on Thursday to wrap up the day's Overwatch League slate at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
Philadelphia Fusion came into this Stage 2 finals rematch prepared. However, New York once again found a way to pull off a comeback after going down 2-0 early on. The Fusion played with precision in the first two maps, Temple of Anubis and Numbani, by baiting New York into traps and punishing New York's mis-positioning with vicious aggression. Philadelphia DPS Lee "Carpe" Jae-hyeok played an incredibly bold and aggressive Widowmaker. On both Temple of Anubis and Numbani, Carpe was able to push into New York's spawn doors and snap kills onto its support players. The high-risk plays from Carpe forced New York onto the defensive, a position it struggled to recover from.
It wasn't until the Excelsior subbed in DPS Kim "Pine" Do-hyeon after halftime on Ilios that the No. 1 team in the season standings was able to recover. Pine's long-range prowess allowed him to duel with Carpe and keep the Fusion's ace occupied enough for New York's tanks to get back on their feet. Pine was absolutely destructive on Ilios: Ruins with a flawless Widowmaker that allowed New York to walk away without suffering a single death.
Wisely, the Excelsior left Pine in the lineup for the two ensuing maps, Junkertown and Oasis. Junkertown became an utter slug-fest as both teams ran mirror compositions centered around Junkrat. New York squeaked away with a victory thanks to Pine once again winning sniper battles against Carpe. When the series finally came down to a third control point in Game 5 on Oasis, Pine was able to secure the reverse-sweep thanks to his signature McCree, which decimated Carpe and the rest of the Fusion.
The Philadelphia Fusion will need to recover from its loss when it challenges the San Francisco Shock at 7 p.m. ET on Friday. New York Excelsior, meanwhile, will face off against the Los Angeles Gladiators at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday.
-- Christiaan Kutlik