This week, rather than focus on one central theme, we are going to catch up on a few smaller points relevant to the Overwatch League. While Boston's Overwatch League-best 12-match win streak is certainly impressive, and New York's 25-3 record is nothing short of incredible, there are some smaller stories that deserve the spotlight.
In two cases, we will look at key players on teams just outside the playoff picture and how they can help their teams get into the mix. In the other, we will look at whether or not going first on a map is relevant to success.
Houston sits one game out of the playoffs despite holding a top-five map differential in the league. A key to it making the playoffs will be the maintained consistency of its main tank.
Austin "Muma" Wimot has been one of the most consistent main-tank players in the league this season. According to Winston's Lab, he has had a player rating of at least 900 in 23 of his 29 matches. Muma has played in every match for the Outlaws and is second on the team with 23 hours and 58 minutes played (Shane "Rawkus" Flaherty is first with 24 hours and 59 minutes).
One of the ways Muma has been able to stay onstage is his ability to stay alive in the game. According to Winston's Lab, Muma averages 4.47 deaths per 10 minutes and accounts for 5.7 percent of his team's first deaths, both lowest among all main-tank players (minimum six hours playtime). He is also the only main tank to average the fewest deaths per 10 minutes on his team.
By staying alive, Muma extends more teamfights and gives his DPS and support players a chance to make plays and get the picks needed to come out on top.
A resurrecting G00se
Since the Gladiators acquired Baek "Fissure" Chan-hyung at the start of Stage 2, it has been a different team (Gladiators has an 11-7 record in that span). One of the players who has benefited most from that addition is support player Benjamin "BigG00se" Isohanni.
According to Winston's Lab, BigG00se has played 64 percent of his time on Mercy this season. In Stage 1, he rated eighth out of 15 Mercy players with at least two hours on the hero. Since Stage 2, and the addition of Fissure, he is rated fourth out of 11 Mercy players with at least four hours playtime.
One area in which BigG00se has improved his game is with his resurrections. According to Winston's Lab, in Stage 1, he ranked 11th out of those 15 Mercy players in resurrections per 10 minutes, compared to fourth since the start of Stage 2. With all of the attention and space Fissure demands, BigG00se seems to have had an easier time finding those resurrections. Mercy may have gotten a nerf between Stage 1 and 2, but BigG00se definitely got a buff with Fissure.
Is there a distinct advantage to going first?
One feature of the Overwatch League is that a team consistently goes first or second on every map in a match depending on whether they are "home" or "away". In baseball, being the home team (batting second) is seen as an advantage, because you always know exactly how many runs you need.
Theoretically, the same goes for the Overwatch League. No matter the map deficit after the other team goes, the home team knows exactly what it must do to respond.
We decided to look at the numbers for the league when it came to home and away matches this season, and so far, there has been a surprising result: home teams have generally fared worse.
The top six teams in the standings are collectively 59-24 when going first in a match (plus-94 differential), a .711 win percentage, compared to 56-29 (.659 win percentage, plus-72 differential) when going second.
While the difference in win percentages is small, the map differential is intriguing. Teams to go first are 22 maps better overall than those that go second. Among the top-six teams, the only two better at home than in away matches are Boston and Philadelphia. Consider this: the Excelsior is undefeated when going first (13-0), but all three of its losses this season have come at home.