The Overwatch League Six Pack has been rebranded to the Overwatch League Rundown. But fear not! Just like the L.A. Gladiators after their acquisition of Fissure, the new series is new and improved but also features the same heart and soul as before.
1) Stage 3 Outlook: Parity Has Arrived
There was a time not too long ago when the NYXL, London Spitfire and Seoul Dynasty were the undisputed top three teams in the Overwatch League. With rosters comprised exclusively of Korean players possessing immense talent and pedigrees, the three teams were at the forefront of the Overwatch League in Stages 1 and 2. While the Spitfire, NYXL and Dynasty still currently hold the top three places in the overall standings, the Stage 3 standings have told a completely different story.
The Stage 1 Champion London Spitfire currently sit in 9th place and have looked completely out of sorts. The Spitfire have only won one out of their four matches and their DPS duo of Ji-hyeok ‘Birdring’ Kim and Joon-Yeong ‘Profit’ Park have been strangely silent. The Seoul Dynasty currently sit in sixth place in Stage 3 with 2 wins and 2 losses, after losing to both L.A. based teams and notching wins against the Dallas Fuel and San Francisco Shock.
As it stands, only the third place NYXL currently holds a Stage playoff spot, with the L.A. Valiant and Boston Uprising holding down the #1 and #2 spots. The Valiant started off the Stage with a huge 4-0 sweep of the Seoul Dynasty, a team that had embarrassed them in the team’s previous match and haven’t dropped a map since. Boston, on the other hand, began Stage 3 with perhaps the toughest schedule of any team as they faced the Philadelphia Fusion, Houston Outlaws, NYXL and Florida Mayhem. What’s been most impressive is the team’s ability to win maps when it matters most as Boston played in three game 5’s in the first two weeks, winning them all.
That’s not to say that the Korean comprised teams are out of the running because the fact is that they’re still top-notch teams. That being said, it seems like parity is finally here and that’s an exciting prospect especially as we get closer and closer to the playoffs.
2) Best Match: Boston Uprising vs. NYXL
The shift in league hierarchy was very much on display in the best match of the week, between the Boston Uprising and NYXL. Going into the game NYXL had won both matchups between the two teams in a convincing fashion and they also had only lost three matches overall. The Uprising were also playing their first game without their star DPS player Dreamkazper since he was let go by the team for allegedly inappropriate conduct with an underage fan. Overall, no one really gave Boston much of a chance at competing in this match, and the team was more than happy to prove their doubters wrong.
Boston started off started off strong on Volskaya Industries, capturing the full two control points and holding NYXL to just one. Young-Jin ‘Gamsu’ Noh stood out in the match, only dying once and completing eight final blows along the way. On Numbani, the NYXL took back momentum with an inspired defence and boop filled attack led by Hye-Sung ‘Libero’ Kim.
From there both teams managed to win a game, which brought the series to an all-important tie-breaking match on Oasis. Boston started off strong, capturing the first map without much competition from NYXL and Se-Hyeon ‘Neko’ Park managed to get a number of key kills as support player Zenyatta. On map two, NYXL managed to get their control meter all the way up to 92% but ended up falling just short, thanks to some top-tier Tracer play by Nam-Joo ‘Striker’ Kwan and Neko’s ability to stay alive.
The win serves as both a massive upset and a signifier that solidifies Boston’s spot at the forefront of the league, even with the recent drama. As for NYXL, the team played well and simply needs to continue playing their game. Here’s hoping we see this teams face-off in a playoff series soon.
3) Personelle Change: Dallas Fuel Fire KyKy
In what seemed like an inevitability, the Dallas Fuel have officially parted ways with their head coach Kyle ‘KyKy’ Sauder. KyKy has been the coach of the Fuel since the beginning of the Overwatch League and going into the season the team was expected to challenge for a championship. What has transpired since can only be described as disappointing as the Fuel have suffered through a myriad of out of match drama, along with communication problems and lack of consistency in their lineup. At 6 wins and 18 losses, the Fuel under KyKy have been unable to reach their sky-high expectations.
It’s not unusual for a professional sports team’s coach to lose their job after the team underperforms and it’s clear that whatever the dynamic was between KyKy and the Fuel players, it wasn’t working. In the meantime, Emanuel ‘Peak’ Uzoni will take over as interim head coach and the Fuel are expected to announce a permanent head coach in the coming weeks. The Fuel also announced the release of DPS player Dong-Jun ‘Rascal’ Kim, due to his “unwillingness to communicate.” Rascal was acquired by Dallas back on February 20th, in a trade with the London Spitfire, and was expected to bring much-needed DPS depth to the Fuel.
4) Top Moments: Sleep Darts, Deadeyes and Angels
a) Goodnight Effect
Have you ever seen a Mercy player use a resurrection to bate an enemy Tracer player into the sights of a sleep dart? Well, now you have.
Stanislav ‘Mistakes’ Danilov was all but resigned to play off the bench for the Boston Uprising. The DPS player didn’t see much of any in-game action in Stage 1 or 2 as he was behind Jonathan Sanchez in the team’s depth chart. Then the scandal hit. With only a couple of days before their game against NYXL, Mistakes was forced into the starting DPS role and he somehow managed to excel.
The Russian born player manufactured kills when they mattered most, helping the Uprising defeat the NYXL in a close fought five game series that saw him go up against some of the best players in the world. His play on DPS hero Widowmaker stood out the most, as he managed to go wreak havoc on the NYXL supports and even outduel phenom player Kim ‘Pine’ Do-Hyeon at times. In his next game against Florida, Mistakes almost single-handedly won them the game and his explosion in week 2 has certainly put the league on notice. Also, his post-game interview against NYXL is easily one of the most honest and grin-filled ones that we’ve seen so far.
Wednesday: L.A. Valiant vs. L.A. Gladiators 7:00 PM EST
The Battle of L.A. kicks off this week’s Overwatch League action and it’s going to be an interesting one. The Gladiators have been a team on the rise for a while, and the Valiant are undefeated so far in Stage 3. Look for this one to go the distance.
Thursday: Philadelphia Fusion vs. New York Excelsior 11:00 PM EST
NYXL came back from a 2-0 deficit to complete the reverse sweep and win the Stage 1 finals against the Fusion. Now, the two teams are tied in the standings and their match on Thursday promises to be one of the best we’ve seen so far.
Friday: Shanghai Dragons vs. Florida Mayhem 9:00 PM EST
If the Shanghai Dragons are going to get their first Overwatch League win, it’s going to be this week and it’s going to be against the Florida Mayhem. That being said, no team wants to be the first to lose to the Dragons and the Mayhem will no doubt put up a fight.
Saturday: Dallas Fuel vs. Houston Outlaws 8:00 PM EST
Both of these teams had 2-loss weeks last week, but their matches have always been heated. This is a bigger game for Houston than Dallas, as the team is on the cusp of a playoff spot. The game will probably come down to a tank matchup between OGE and Austin ‘Muma’ Wilmot/ ‘FCTFCTN’ Campbell.
Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Alex Handziuk’s article on The DreamKazper Allegations and his interview with Mercy Voice Actress Lucy Pohl.