This is the start of a weekly Overwatch League series that will be coming out every Wednesday. It will take a look back at the top three stories from the previous week as well as a look forward to the top three stories in the coming week.
(1) Boldest Strategy- Effect (Dallas Fuel)
The Dallas Fuel are off to a horrendous start in the Overwatch League and at 1-8 are easily the most disappointing team thus far. That being said among the husk of disappointment, there has been a bright spot in the form of DPS star Effect. He has been the team’s best player, regularly impressing with his bold strategies and inspired Tracer play. This week against the Philadelphia Fusion Effect pushed his experimenting up a notch as he attempted to play Doomfist to capture point A on Anubis. What made this so impressive was the fact that Doomfist is a character that has rarely seen thus far in the Overwatch League and not one that you’d expect someone to use in such a crucial situation. The other crazy thing is that his creative Doomfist charge almost worked out.
Unfortunately, at the end of the play Effect fell off the ledge and Philadelphia managed to clean up the point. That being said, the strategy was shown to be an effective one and it’s exciting to see strategies evolving on the Overwatch League stage. I doubt that we’ve seen the last of players using Doomfist on Anubis and we’ll certainly get to see more of EFFECT’s tantalizing strategies.
(2) Team of the Week – Boston Uprising
Here’s a bold statement: The Boston Uprising is the team to beat right now in Overwatch League. That may sound like hyperbole talking about a team that has three losses on the year, but nonetheless, the moniker is one that they fully deserve. Coming off a week in which they defeated the undefeated London Spitfire, followed by a close win against the hapless Dallas Fuel it wouldn’t have been out of line to expect a solid performance from the team in week 4. However, two 4-0 sweeps against the league’s LA teams is a result that only the most die-hard of fans could have foreseen.
The team is very much led by the dynamic leadership and slick Genji Play of their DPS star Jonathan “DreamKazper” Sanchez but what has made Boston such a dominant team these past two weeks has been their communication. Gamsu, Striker, Note, Kellex, and Neko have combined with Dreamkazper to create one of the most in sync and exciting teams to watch. The fact is that even when Dreamkazper was being shut down last week, or focused heavily on by opposing teams, other players like Striker and Note rose to the occasion and pulled off match altering plays. Boston is a team that came into the league with the goal of turning heads and making some noise and they’ve certainly done that and more. It no longer feels right to call them the Uprising, because this team has officially risen.
Viewers were treated to a back and forth affair on Friday night, in a game that showcased a higher amount of parity than expected. In fact, going into the game, Seoul Dynasty was actually considered an underdog, as they had lost a couple of matches, including a 0-4 sweep at the hands of the London Spitfire. On the other side, The Houston Outlaws went into the match riding a five-game winning streak and sporting a fair amount of swagger.
Houston started strong, claiming map one in decisive fashion before losing two closely contested matches to Seoul. Facing a must-win on Junkertown Houston ran into some issues courtesy of Seoul DPS Fleta’s stellar Widowmaker play, but still managed to win the game and force a decisive fifth map.
Seoul would go on to capture Lijiang Tower and win the match 3-2, but the game could have gone either way. It’s also worth noting that Houston gave Seoul a run for their money, even without their star DPS player, Linkzr, who missed his second straight game due to illness. Come playoff time this could be a matchup keep an eye on and I wouldn’t be surprised if this game was the start of a heated rivalry between the two squads.
(4) Most Exciting Signing – Overwatch League’s First Female Player
It’s official, The Overwatch League has signed its first female player, Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon. Geguri, a Korean, who is widely regarded as the best Zarya player in the world and she will be joining the league’s Chinese team, The Shanghai Dragons. She originally announced her signing on Twitter earlier this week but didn’t mention which team she was going to be playing for. This led to speculation from fans and analysts that Geguri would probably end up playing for NYXL or another full Korean team. Which makes her move to Shanghai all the more surprising.
Geguri plays Zarya at such a high level that she was accused of cheating last year, and was forced to show a live feed of her streaming to clear her name. Being a trailblazer is nothing new for Gegurri, as she was the first female player to be signed to an Overwatch APEX team. (The competitive Overwatch League in South Korea)
Her addition is a much-needed one for the Dragons, as at 0-8 they are the worst team in the Overwatch League thus far, and the only one still searching for a win. On top of Geguri, the team is also believed to be in the process of signing two other Korean speaking players in Lee “Fearless” Eui-Seok and Cheon “Ado” Ki-hyun. The first chance to see Geguri and all the teams new signings will be as early as February 21st when the Shanghai Dragons take on the Dallas Fuel to kick off their second stages.
(5) Week 5 Biggest Game– LA Valiant vs Seoul Dynasty
The obvious answer here is the finals of the Stage 1 playoffs, but seeing as we don’t know who’s going to be playing in the game, it doesn’t really count as a choice. As a result, the biggest game with the clearest playoff implications is Friday nights matchup between the Seoul Dynasty and L.A Valiant. The Dynasty come into the game as masters of their own fate, as with a win they are all but guaranteed a spot in the Stage 1 Playoffs. L.A, on the other hand, are in must-win territory, if they have any hope of making the finals. What’s more, is that if any non-Korean team is going to make the stage 1 finals, then it will most likely have to come at the expense of Seoul Dynasty dropping to fourth.
(6) Playoff Picture– Parity on the Horizon
Right now the Stage 1 Playoffs are all but set mathematically, with NYXL, London Spitfire, and Seoul Dynasty holding down the top three spots. As mentioned before, the biggest possibility for change involves the Seoul Dynasty and if any non-Korean team is going to find itself in the playoffs, it will most certainly be at the expense of Seoul. The top three teams in the Overwatch League qualify for the Stage 1 Playoffs, and the second and third seed teams play each other at 7 p.m. PST this Saturday with the winner meeting the top-seeded team in the final. The teams will be playing for a $125,000 USD prize and we should be in for some exciting matches.
While the stage 1 playoffs are exciting, the future of the Overwatch League is arguably even more exciting. Teams like Houston, Boston, and Philadelphia have genuinely surprised thus far and while London, Seoul and New York have mostly dominated, they have also been shown to be fallible. It seems that going into the second stage teams are optimistic, and even those at the bottom of the standings have a chance to rebound with the signing period coming into effect. That being said, teams like Dallas, Shanghai and Florida will have to show improvement quickly, or they could soon find themselves out of the playoff picture for this inaugural season.
What are your most anticipated matches for Week 5 of the Overwatch League? What has stood out to you so far in Stage 1? Let us know in the comments below!
Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Zubi Khan’s story on the Overwatch Mural in Toronto and Remington Joseph’s article on Overwatch’s match fixing scandal.