The Overwatch League Rundown will now be published twice a week! On Monday, we’ll take a look back at the top stories from last week’s Overwatch League action and on Wednesday we’ll look ahead to the most exciting moments of the upcoming week!
1) A Changing Meta: Goodbye Dive, Hello Brigitte
Stage 3 of the Overwatch League was perhaps the least exciting in terms of new inclusions to the in-game formula. The Stage’s map pool consisted exclusively of map’s that we had seen before, with the exception of Blizzard World, and the influx of Sombra play wasn’t all that interesting. Thankfully, Stage 4 is finally here and with it comes the exciting addition of support character, Brigitte. Her debut is very much a meta-changing one as her ability to deal considerable melee damage while also handing out passive healing to her team creates a whole new pool of strategies to draw from. And while she is technically a support, Brigitte very much pulls double duty and can also be used as a tank due to her durable shield and combo damage.
As a result, Stage 4 will also feature much fewer dive compositions, which was easily the most popular team setup in the Overwatch League so far. Instead, there will no doubt be an influx of tank-based compositions, as teams make use of Brigette’s healing and fighting style. This should also lead to support character, Moira, being used more, as she provides great chain healing that’s really effective when working with tanks. Another exciting aspect of Brigitte’s debut is that her melee based combat style makes her a close-range fighter, which means that viewers should easily be able to keep track of fights involving her.
It’s unclear which teams this new meta will help out the most, but be sure to keep an eye out on the previously docile Dallas Fuel and the recently stuttering London Spitfire who have both shown a knack for tank based compositions in the past.
A couple weeks ago the Dallas Fuel fired their head coach Kyle ‘Kyky’ Sauder and it seemed like only a matter of time until the former Team USA coach found a new home. That new home has finally been revealed as KYKY is now the assistant coach for the Houston Outlaws. This move isn’t all that surprising as he has been hanging around the Outlaws recently and was spotted in the background of one of their team videos a couple weeks back. As for his old team, the Outlaws are geographical rivals with the Dallas Fuel and this move should further stoke their rivalry.
Also, while KYKY didn’t have much success with the Fuel this season, the move to Houston makes a lot of sense for him and the Outlaws. KYKY was the coach of Team USA’s 2017 world cup squad that featured Outlaws players Jacob ‘Jake’ Lyon, Shane ‘Rawkus’ Flaherty, Matt ‘coolmatt’ Iorio, and Russel ‘FCTFCTN’ Campbell and his addition should bring with it some familiarity as well as some immediate chemistry. That chemistry could very well prove crucial as the Outlaws currently find themselves in seventh place league-wide and only one spot out of an end of season playoff position. The team will need to play their best in Stage 4 in order to qualify. They’ll have a chance to do so when they open up their Stage on Thursday with an 11:00 PM grudge match against the London Spitfire.
3) Location Change: Overwatch League Finals and Playoffs
The Overwatch League announced last week that the Grand Finals will be taking place at the Barclays Center in New York. Until this point, all Overwatch League games have taken place at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California. While the setup there is sharp and the boom of Sour Patch sponsored thunders sticks has been deafening at times, the arena does suffer from a seating capacity of only 450 people. On the flip side, The Barclays Centre seats 19,000 and while all of the seats may not be used, it will still be easily the largest crowd for a game in the history of the Overwatch League.
Also, if the Overwatch League is going to succeed and grow going forward, then the response to the Grand Finals will no doubt be instrumental. In a previous Overwatch League Rundown, I talked about how the League is looking to have home stadiums for each team at some point in the next two years, and the response to this final will no doubt effect whether or not that plan goes forward. That being said, the majority of playoffs will still take place at the Blizzard arena in Los Angeles beginning on July 12th and running until the 22nd. From there, the top two teams will make the trip to New York City where they will prepare for their best of three series that takes place from the 27th to the 30th of July.
The first-ever Overwatch League Grand Finals will be held at @barclayscenter in Brooklyn, New York!