This week the Six Pack takes a look back at an action-packed Stage 2 that saw its fair share of exciting moments and out of game drama.
1) NYXL’s Retribution- A Liber(o)ating Final
The NYXL were all set to face off the London Spitfire in the Stage 2 finals and exact revenge on their fellow Korean comprised team. Their loss to London in the Stage 1 finals and in the second week of Stage 2 was no doubt fresh on NYXL’s mind going into the finals and it seemed like they would get their opportunity at redemption. Everything was set up perfectly, except for one little snafu. The London Spitfire wasn’t the team that NYXL was facing in the finals. Instead, they were matched up with Philidelphia Fusion, a team that upset the Spitfire in the semifinals. And so NYXL was faced with an entirely new and unexpected opponent to contend with.
Suddenly the specific game plan that the team had meticulously planned over the past few weeks began to crumble, as the Fusion used aggressive tactics and unexpected flanks to take a 2 to 0 lead in the series and put NYXL on the brink of a second consecutive finals loss. So what did the team do next? Simple. They threw out their pre-planned game plan and went back to what made them such a fearsome team throughout entire Stage 2 and the choice paid off. Leading the way in this comeback was DPS player Hye-Sung ‘Libero’ Kim. A player who going into the finals on Sunday had yet to play any Widowmaker in the Overwatch League’s second stage. Facing elimination on Volskaya Industries, Libero came up with a series of clutch kills as Widowmaker to give NYXL the win and the momentum going forward.
From there the team won a convincing fourth map and managed to outlast the Fusion in a close fought map five on Watchpoint Gibraltar. The NYXL have only lost three times all year, twice in regular season play and once in the Stage 1 Finals. They are without a doubt the most dominant team in the Overwatch League and they should continue to rack up wins and playoff appearances on their path to the end of season championships.
2) Scintillating Debuts: Sinatraa, Fissure and Snillo
One of the most exciting aspects of the Overwatch League’s second Stage was the opening of the trading/signing market which saw the addition of a number of new players as well as a couple of in league trades. From Dylan ‘aKm’ Bignet and Dong-Jun ‘Rascal’ Kim to Joonas ‘Zappis’ Alakurtti and Josue ‘Eqo’ Corona, there were a number of new faces that stood out, but three of them rose above the rest.
While Eqo has become one of the best DPS players in the Overwatch League, his teammate, Simon ‘Snillo’ Ekstrom’s impact has arguably been even more impressive. Snillo’s Tracer play in the Stage 2 Playoffs is a significant reason as to why the Philidelphia Fusion made it as far as they did, as he regularly dominated the enemies DPS heroes while wreaking havoc on their supports.
??? When you STICK the Pulse Bomb WHILE DYING. @overwatchsnillo #OWL2018
In many ways, his play in Stage 2 was reminiscent of NYXL’s lethal specialist playerDo-Hyeon ‘Pine’ Kim, who missed out on Stage 2 for personal reasons. Snillo was a large part of the Fusion victory against the London Spitfire in the semifinals and his deployment against NYXL was almost enough to give the Philadelphia the finals win. Above is a clip of his insane pulse bomb that he hit in the deciding fifth game against the London Spitfire that helped Philly win the series.
Credit to all of the great Stage 2 debuts, but no player’s Overwatch League introduction was as exciting as San Francisco Shock DPS player Jay ‘Sinatraa’ Won’s was. Sinatraa made an impact on the Overwatch League community even before he entered the stadium with fans sporting his jersey and cheering him on via social media in the weeks leading up to his debut. Last Wednesday he finally played his first game and showed flashes of why he is so highly regarded along the way. With the Shock down 2 to 1 against Florida, Sinatraa mowed through the enemy team, clearing the point and tying the series in the process. If he can continue to make plays like this going forward then the Shock is going to be a scary team to face in Stage 3.
And that's how you make an impact on your DEBUT! Big plays from @sinatraa and the squad help us take Route 66 and force a decisive game 5!!
It’s hard to believe that there was a time that Chan-Hyung ‘Fissure’ Baek wasn’t a staple in the L.A. Gladiator’s lineup. His Stage 2 addition transformed the squad from a middle of the pack team into a Stage playoff contender and he did so with flair. Fissure has been the Gladiator’s best player since he joined the team and he especially stood out in the match against his former team, The London Spitfire.
The breakup wasn’t personal, but it still had to sting. On February 20th the London Spitfire traded away tank player Fissure to the L.A. Gladiators for cash considerations. On Saturday, March 10th the teams met in an emotion-filled game that ended up being one of the highlights of the Overwatch league’s Second Stage. No longer in the shadow of Spitfire main tank Gesture, Fissure started the game with a flurry, impressing with his aggressive Winston play and shutting down the Spitfire attack. Did Fissure use his knowledge of the Spitfire to help defeat them? Possibly, but knowledge only goes so far and the reason why the Gladiators ended up winning the match was his skill and tenacity.
At halftime L.A. held a 2 to 0 lead and Fissure kept pressing after the break, pulling off an insane performance on Kings Row and outdueling Gesture’s Reinhardt. London did end up winning the fourth and final game, and that spark bodes well for their next meeting. While we didn’t end up getting the semi-finals match between these two teams, they do meet in week four of Stage 3 and that’s a game that you will want to watch out for.
4) Top Plays of Stage 2: Eqo, Booping, Teamwork + More!
Stage 2 was full of tantalizing plays, but there were five that stood out among the rest.
But what would a professional sports league be without some out of game drama to keep things fresh?
On March 11, 2018, the Dallas Fuel released a statement announcing that they were cutting ties with Felix ‘xQc’ Lengyel. At the time xQc was serving his second multi-game suspension and had only appeared in six games for the Dallas Fuel. This story stands out because xQc was brought in to be Dallas’s main tank but with his conduct on stream led to him falling in hot water with management and the Overwatch League. In the end, xQc’s Overwatch League journey was loud, intense, and rather short.
Since then he has stayed in the Overwatch loop, often streaming and commenting on games but he has not been signed to an Overwatch league team and there is no solid lead that he will be signed. That being said xQc should be a shoo-in on the Canadian roster for the upcoming Overwatch World Cup as Blizzard announced the 2018 edition a couple days ago.
6) Stage 2 MVP: Yeon-joon ‘Ark’ Hong
There were many standouts players in the Overwatch League’s Second Stage, with new additions like Eqo and Fissure as well as consistent performers Sableyobe and Birdring. That being said, no player played a larger part in their team’s success than NYXL’s support maestro Ark. In many ways, Ark has been the guiding force for his team’s success so far. Although not as flashy as his teammates or his fellow support player Jjonak, Ark’s use of Ana’s sleep dart skill and his uncanny ability to survive as Mercy, let the rest of the NYXL relax and play their best.
According to Winston Lab, an Overwatch stats website, Ark is ranked as the number two player in the world, behind teammate Jjonak and that ranking doesn’t take into account his leadership abilities which were crucial to NYXL’s success in Stage 2. The way Ark is able to cycle through support characters is invaluable for the NYXL and his sleep darts have bordered on the supernatural.