I LOVE THIS LEAGUE! Toward the end of stage one, if you would have told me that the Florida Mayhem versus the Los Angeles Gladiators would have been a thrilling match, I would have said you were biased by your hometown love. But the change of fortunes for these two have been mindblowing. Enough of the preamble, last week I was 7-5 in my predictions bringing me to 32-16 for the stage.
MOTD: DAY ONE
THIS IS OVERWATCH LEAGUE AT ITS FINEST. What a match! The first place New York Excelsior versus the second place Seoul Dynasty was what elite level play looks like. The first map which was Hanamura, a two point assault map, went 10 points ending with the Excel taking it 6-4. Seoul came back with a 2-1 win on Nepal to tie things up going into halftime. They then took Hollywood 2-1 looking to close things out on Gibraltar only to lose 3-2 which forced a trip to Ilios for a map five where New York sealed it 2-0. While the latter part of stage one showed that Seoul might have lost something in the transition from Apex to OWL, that doubt has been erased. As much as I’d like to see some variety among the top three teams, the all-Korean rosters are on fire.
Seoul honestly looked great, but New York from top to bottom was outstanding. Mano and Meko as a tank duo are always in the middle of everything but do a wonderful job peeling for the back line. That back line of Ark and Jjonak is the best in the league with the former being the best healer and the latter returning to form as the best DPS . . . I mean Zenyatta. And lastly the DPS duo of Saebyeolbe and Libero is unreal. I’ve given Saebyeolbe a lot of love and for good reason. But I’m giving the MVP this match to his counterpart. Libero on many other teams would be the best player by far similar to Fissure on the Gladiators. But his ability to flex onto almost any DPS character and make an impact is something I would strive to emulate if I wasn’t a support player myself. He plays what his team needs him to play and does a hell of a job doing so.
MOTD: DAY TWO
While the downward spiral of the Outlaws was originally fascinating to watch from the highs they achieved in stage one, it’s simply sad now. Granted, they faced off against the biggest surprise of stage two in the red-hot Los Angeles Gladiators. After a back and forth map one on Volskaya Industries going to Houston and a 2-1 victory for LA on Lijiang, King’s Row was a defensive showcase with the final score going 1-0 to the Gladiators to go up in the series 2-1. And, after a resounding 3-0 victory by the Outlaws on Gibraltar, the series looked all but over. But the classic Houston curse of being abysmal at control point maps reared its ugly head once again losing 0-2 on Ilios and 2-3 in the series overall.
The Gladiators, while sloppy at times, mostly played very well from top to bottom. They also showed some flexibility on the final map where Shaz and Big Goose (support players) switched onto Tracer and Sombra, respectively while Hydration (a DPS player) played Lucio. Sure, they weren’t top tier on these roles, but the fact that they made this decision on the series-winning map goes to show how much confidence they have in their roster. In terms of an MVP, did Fissure play great? Of course he did. How about Asher on the Tracer? He’s becoming more and more consistent. The support duo of Big Goose and Shaz are top three in the league, but my MVP goes to the young gun Hydration. His Junkrat play was stellar, but he is one of the only players who somewhat consistently brings out Doomfist which is the most exciting hero to watch by far. Not only that, but he performs well using him. The one two punch (no pun intended) of Hydration and Surefour looks to be improving each week.
MOTD: DAY 3
Ah, the battle of the teams of who no one knows what to think of. Both the Valiant and Uprising had strong stage one performances with both in position to have made the playoffs. However, Los Angeles has looked hot and cold in stage two with Boston finally getting their act together after an abysmal first two weeks. One key factor for the Uprising is the return of their main tank, Gamsu after some time away from the team which has made a massive difference.
The coordination with him in the middle is spot on and him and Striker are one of the deadliest DPS/Tank duos in the league. However, the Valiant still looked strong. By all accounts, Boston should have won map two on Lijiang Tower after getting to 99% on two points, but LA fought back to win the map along with Route 66. But the Uprising just pulled off the win on Ilios ending the map 2-1. For the MVP, I bounced around between Striker, Gamsu and even Note who has played consistently well. However, I’m going to give it to Dreamkazper for this match. Gamsu created the space for Kazper, but he closed the deal primarily on Pharah and especially Widowmaker on the final map.
MOTD: DAY FOUR
Seoul had a rough week. Not only did they have to play the first place New York Excelsior on day one but had to end their week against their rivals, the London Spitfire. They’ve played two matches against each other, and Seoul has yet to win a map going 0-8 in cumulative score. While the map scores indicate a close match overall in favor of the Spitfire, (4-3, 2-0, 3-2, 3-2) it didn’t necessarily feel that way. For me, it seemed like London was always in control even when losing points on maps.
It’s back to the drawing board for the Dynasty who have now fallen behind the Gladiators in the stage two playoff race. The lone bright spot for Seoul was Zunba who was not only consistent on the D.Va but aggressive as well. He played fantastically, but the MVP goes to someone on the winning team, and that would be his counterpart Woohyal. The D.Va player was incredible all match racking up more final blows than his DPS teammate Birdring and more than either Fleta or Munchkin on the Dynasty. After watching this match, it’s hard to say that the stage final will be anyone other than London versus New York.
Next week is the final week of stage two! Here are my predictions:
- Day 1: Gladiators over Philadelphia, San Francisco over Florida, Houston over Shanghai
- Day 2: Seoul over Houston, New York over Dallas, San Francisco over Boston
- Day 3: Seoul over Florida, Philadelphia over Valiant, London over Shanghai
- Day 4: London over Dallas, New York over Valiant, Gladiators over Boston