The first week of Overwatch League’s second Stage has come and gone and it has already produced its fair share of interesting storylines and shocks. This week the Six Pack takes a look at those stories while also looking ahead to the remainder of Stage 2.
1) Stage 2: A Whole New Meta
Stage 2 has brought a number of changes to the Overwatch League with new to heroes, team additions as well as a number of different maps. On the hero side, Mercy’s ultimate ability has been heavily downgraded and no longer grants an automatic resurrection. As a result, death is far more permanent in Overwatch League’s second stage. Junkrat also received a nerf to his mine ability and, as a result, wasn’t used often in the first week.
Interesting to note is that as a result of these changes, heroes like Lucio and Sombra are now more popular and were used in every match last week. The lack of resurrection has also led to some new teams rising to the top of the league, as well as others stumbling as a result. The Dallas Fuel and Philadelphia Fusion are very much on the rise while the LA Valiant and Boston Uprising are stumbling far behind. It’s admittedly strange not seeing Mercy used in every game and the few times that she was used in week one stood out. Since death is more permanent, the games have also been much faster and at times harder to follow. It remains to be seen if week two will continue these trends but it’s a safe bet that new strategies and insights will continue to emerge as the stage continues.
2) Best Match: Seoul Dynasty vs. San Francisco Shock
One of the most surprising moments from last week’s action was how exciting the game between the Seoul Dynasty and San Francisco Shock was. The Dynasty went into the game fired up and feeling rather confident after their 4 to 0 win against the L.A Valiant. The Shock, on the other hand, were looking to start off their Stage 2 with a better effort then they showed in Stage 1.
In Map 1, on Hanamura, Seoul came out with an aggressive dive defence and managed to hold point ‘A’ for a good while, before falling to Nikola ‘Sleepy’ Andrew’s Zenyatta play and the strength of the Shock’s DPS play. On point ‘B’ San Francisco managed to keep their momentum going, with Gael ‘Poko’ Gouzerch coming through with a timely self-destruct that cleared the Dynasty off the point and gave the Shock the complete attack. On their subsequent defence, the Shock stood tall and Sleepy managed to out-duel Seoul’s DPS star Byung-sun ‘Fleta’Kim, hold on point ‘B’, and give the Shock the early 1 to 0 lead in the series.
On the next map, both teams traded wins and the Shock looked very much like the team that could take down Seoul. With his team trailing slightly, Dante ‘Danteh’ Cruz managed to land a great pulse bomb as Tracer and flip the point in the Shock’s favour.
However, Seoul managed to use their ultimate’s to dig deep and win the game 2 to 1 and tie the series at one win apiece. Seoul ended up winning the final two matches, taking the series 3 to 1 but the Shock fought till the end and showed that they are not a team to be taken lightly. Both teams will want to start week two off with wins as Seoul faces the Dallas Fuel today at 7 pm EST and The Shock face the L.A Valiant in the 9pm EST match. You can watch both games here.
3) MVP: Jose ‘Eqo’ Corona Philadelphia Fusion
The first week of Overwatch League Stage 2 brought with it a number of outstanding individual performances. Shoutout to Dylan ‘aKm‘ Bignet, Chan-hyung ‘Fissure‘ Baek, and Kim ‘Rascal‘ Dong-jun who all had scintillating debuts for their teams in week one. One player, however, rose above the rest, and that player was Eqo. The 18-year-old Israeli player wasn’t eligible to compete in Stage 1, as he was still 17, but last week he officially arrived and put the league on notice.
His game so far can be described best by one word: unstoppable. Eqo’s use of Genji and his dragon-blade ability has simply been masterful, as he regularly killed three or more enemies in one go. He also very much set the tone for the Fusion and his aggression lead his team to two commanding victories. A video sample of his dragon blade carnage is featured below:
Eqo corners the enemy team and gets a brutal 4.5K! @Eqo_bot #OWL2018
Eqo also played for Israel in the Overwatch World Cup last year and amazed in his two matches this week. First against The Boston Uprising, who looked all but unstoppable heading out of Stage 2, but fell quickly to Eqo’s blade and the Fusion’s teamwork, and secondly against the Florida Mayhem who never really put up a fight. What’s more is that Eqo blended seamlessly with fellow DPS player Carpe. If this keeps up, the two are going to be a scary duo to face all season long.
4) Most Interesting Match (Week 2): Philadelphia Fusion vs. Houston Outlaws
I just finished raving about Eqo and his debut week in the Overwatch League so it seems fitting that his team is featured in the match of the week. The Houston Outlaws and Philadelphia Fusion are both undefeated and face each other this Thursday at 9 pm PST. A win for either team would be massive, keeping them undefeated as well as building on their current momentum.
Last week Houston defeated the Stage 1 Champion London Spitfire in a close fought match, as well garnering as an easy win against the Boston Uprising. Philly took out Boston and Florida and will face their biggest test yet against the Outlaws. With the new Meta change the game should be wide open and action-packed, and a whole lot of fun to watch.
In many ways, the game is going to pit of two different play-styles against each other with Houston’s rock solid defence facing off against Philadelphia’s aggressive offence. The match will most certainly come down to Houston’s tank play, led by Muma versus Philadelphia’s DPS play, led by Carpe. These two teams do have a little history between them as they met once back in Stage 1 with Philadelphia winning a close fought battle 3 to 2. Their rematch will be another tight matchup, with Houston likely gaining some revenge and pulling off the win.
5) Stage 2 Power Rankings: The Best
1) Seoul Dynasty (2-0)
Heading out of Stage 1 Seoul Dynasty was a team with a chip on its shoulder. They were front-runners for the playoffs but ended up collapsing near the end of the Stage and missing out entirely. Last week, however, they showed that the Dynasty is back and they’re in it to win it. Seoul dismantled the LA Valiant, a team that cost them a playoff spot last Stage, 4 to 0 and kept rolling in a closely contested match against the better than expected San Francisco Shock. The Dynasty is dominant again and is out to prove themselves, which is a scary notion for teams going up against them in the future.
2)Houston Outlaws (2-0)
The cocky Houston Outlaws were dynamite in Stage 1 and have begun Stage 2 looking even better than before. Their tank play has been stellar and somehow the team has continued to improve. Many experts thought that Houston would take a step back with the changes to Junkrat and Mercy, but Houston has shown that they have serious staying power. Throw in the fact that one of their wins last week came against the Stage 1 champion London Spitfire, and it is clear that this is a team to be reckoned with. Can anyone stop the Houston Outlaws? Maybe. Maybe not. At any rate, it’ll be an exciting ride to find out.
3) London Spitfire (1-1)
The Stage 1 Champions took a bit of a step back this week, as they suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Fusion but showed that they are still a top team with a win against NYXL. London has shown that they are clutch performers when the games matter the most, and they are still very much one of the top teams in the league. They did lose some player depth in Fissure and Rascal’s departure in between stages, but London is perhaps the deepest team in the league, and Profit and Birding more than have what it takes to take them back to the championships.
4) NYXL (1-1)
It’s strange to have the NYXL in fourth as the team is currently at the top of the overall standings. That being said, the team has shown a lack of finishing power, especially against London. NYXL held a 2 to 1 lead against the Spitfire in their match from last week but still managed to lose by a score of 3 games to 2. So yes, they are currently the overall win leaders but they have some growing to do if they want to be considered the best. On a bright note, it was nice to see the team utilize Pine in week one as he brings excitement to any match that he’s involved in with his slick DPS play.
5) Philadelphia Fusion (2-0)
The Philadelphia Fusion are a team on the rise and looking to do some serious damage going forward. With wins against the NYXL and Houston Outlaws, the Fusion had an impressive Stage 1 and they are only getting started. While they surprised many with their six wins and four losses, the Fusion is set to do even better throughout Stage 2. Their week consisted of two 4-0 wins in which they showcased their aggressive play-calling and top notch DPS talent. Carpe, Shadowburn, and EQO combined to form a lights-out DPS trio and they will continue to be a formidable challenge to the opposition going forward.
6) Dallas Fuel (2-0)
So much for the hapless Dallas Fuel! In between stages, the team went out and acquired two new DPS players in Akm and Rascal, a move made an immediate impact. AKM has been electric as Soldier 76 and Rascal has impressed with his Genji play as well. Also, the fact that xQc has served his suspension is great news for the Fuel, as he showed this week that he can be a difference maker when he’s not serving suspensions. In a Stage where resurrection is being used less, Dallas’ DPS strength is all the more important. They could make some serious progress and even progress as far as Stage championship, something that only a few weeks ago seemed impossible.
6)Stage 2 Power Rankings: The Rest
7) LA Valiant (1-1)
It seems a little strange to put the Valiant below the Dallas Fuel, considering how the teams fared in Stage 1, but that’s simply a barometer of how the teams are currently trending. The Valiant had a good 1st Stage in which they almost qualified for the playoffs, as they won big games against their LA rivals and the much-hyped Seoul Dynasty. Last week, however, The Valiant looked rather flat, losing 4 to 0 to the Dynasty and looking shaky against the lacklustre Shanghai Dragons. With one win and one loss, the team is far from out of the playoff picture, but they need to improve their play quickly or face that very possibility.
8) LA Gladiators (1-1)
Will the real LA Gladiators please stand up. The Gladiators underperformed in Stage 1 and it’s not really clear what this team is really made of. On one hand, they were able to beat the Philadelphia Fusion and come close to knocking off their LA brethren, but the team also got blown out of the water a couple times as well. They began Stage 2 rather well with a decisive win against the San Francisco Shock but were simply outmatched by the resurgent Dallas Fuel. The addition of Fissure is a welcome one for the team and his impact was immediately noticeable in the two games that LA played last week. Going forward, the Gladiators simply need to work on their consistency if they’re going to make a run for the playoffs in Stage 2 and beyond.
9) San Francisco Shock (0-2)
At 0 wins and two losses, the Shock is probably tired of moral victories, but the team showed some flare against the Seoul Dynasty and actually looked like they might win their matchup. The team is only getting better and the new Meta is a big plus for them. What’s more, they have one of the best players in the world right now in Sinatra. The problem is that Sinatra is still 17 and as a result, cannot play in the Overwatch League yet. That being said, when he does turn 18 he’s going to be a big boost to his team as he’s currently ranked #1 in the Overwatch world leaderboard. Until then, Babybay, Sleepy, and Danteh are going to have to hold the fort and make sure that the team isn’t too far out of contention when Sinatra finally arrives.
10) Boston Uprising (0-2)
Oh, how the mighty Boston Uprising has fallen. It pains me to put Boston this low on the list, but the sad truth is that they have been downright dreadful so far in Stage 2. Coming out of Stage 1 Boston was confident as they very much shocked the Overwatch world with their play, going from early season basement dwellers to playoff spot contenders. They were very much the most surprising team of Stage 1 but, up to this point, the new meta isn’t doing them any favours. They lost both of their games by a score of 0 wins to 4 and simply looked disjointed. Their dynamite DPS duo of Striker and Dreamkazper came out of the gate flat and were overpowered and outclassed by the Fusion and the Outlaws. That being said, Boston is better than they’re currently playing and should improve as the Stage continues.
11) Florida Mayhem (0-2)
The first thing that has to be said about the Florida Mayhem is that they have some great team energy. Their intros are always interesting and the team seems to be having lots of fun. The problem is that their energy and excitement out of the game has so far failed to translate into wins in actual Overwatch League matches. At one win and 11 losses, they currently sit at second last place in the standings and need to improve quickly or risk being written off entirely. Also, with the Shangai Dragons having signed some new players, the clock is ticking for the Mayhem and if they don’t step it up soon, they could very well be the new basement dwellers.
12) Shanghai Dragons (0-2)
Shanghai is currently sitting at 0 wins and 12 losses in the Overwatch League and at this point are just biding time until Geguri and their other signings get their visas approved and are able to arrive to save this team. Simply put the Dragons haven’t been great, but the team has shown improvement and while they’re in last place right now, they are a team with lots of potential and one that could make some noise when their signings arrive. Until then, Shanghai Dragons fans can just sit back, relax and try not to get too down. The Dragons may be slumbering but they could very well be on the brink of awakening.