After a short break dominated with last-minute player transfers and movements, the Overwatch League resumed last week exactly where it left off. High-tier pro Overwatch action with ever-evolving storylines which were equal parts predicted and totally unexpected. Here are the top six things we learned following this week’s matches:
1. Seoul Dynasty Can’t Afford to Bench Ryujehong
Being a Dynasty fan myself, it pains me to admit that they are mediocre with the absence of their talisman Ryujehong. Benched in the match against the Valiant, Jehong saw his team again, for the second time running, lose to the Los Angeles Valiant in an otherwise very winnable matchup. They might have boosted their roster with the additions of several players but the fact remains – they cannot afford to rest their core starters if they are to make this stage finals. Not just yet.
2. Dallas Fuel Aren’t Out of the Woods Yet
Following the questionable roster movement and strategies leading up to this week, the Fuel somewhat silenced their critics who were also banking on the Dragons to notch their first win last Thursday. However, despite winning the game 3-1, the Fuel weren’t out of the woods yet and their frailty was again apparent as they succumbed to the Gladiators. The bright side though, is that they have found a stable core to bank on and with Seagull forming a solid tank partnership with Mickie, are looking in much better shape than they were at the beginning of stage 2.
3. Valiant Knows How to Beat the Dynasty
Despite the drama surrounding the team for the past few weeks, the Valiant stepped up and again showed everyone that they still had what it takes to beat the Koreans. With new addition Custa in the starting lineup, the Valiant looked like a brand new team as they outplayed the shellshocked Dynasty in all departments. The 4-0 win over Shanghai was a formality but with the Shock and Fuel next in line, notching wins in those matches will definitely propel them back on the track they were on during stage 1.
4. So Does Houston With the Spitfire
At present, there are very few certain things in this world – death, taxes and Houston Outlaws defeating the London Spitfire. Coming out of a troubled stage 2, the Houston Outlaws, playing without a God-tier Tracer somehow managed to outgun the Spitfire who had the likes of Birdring and Profit in their lineup. However, it has to be pointed out that the maps in this series were stacked against the Spitfire who were never great in control maps and after losing on Blizzard World, had an uphill climb to win the series – two of which were played on Nepal and the title decider, Oasis.
5. Boston May Be Stage 3’s Breakout Team
Just like Houston Outlaws in stage 1 and Philadelphia Fusion in stage 2, the Uprising may be this stage’s breakout team. They are gelling very well and Dreamkazper is turning into one of the league’s deadliest DPS players. He outplayed the Fusion DPS players and repeated the feat when his team dismissed the Outlaws – fresh from dominating the Spitfire – 4-0 earlier today. Assuming that their internal issues are far behind them, we might see a strong stage playoff push from the Uprising, while also solidifying their spot in the seasonal playoffs.
All that progress may come to naught if Mistakes fail to emulate Dreamkazper’s exploits on stage. Following Jonathan “Dreamkazper” Sanchez’s dismissal from the team following his inappropriate behavior involving a fan who happens to be a minor, the Uprising have lost half their firepower and are now in danger of falling out of the hunt completely.
6. Despite All the Shock Results, 4th – 7th Is Where the Real Fun is At
Throughout the season, we can expect a surprise result of two, with the Dynasty, Spitfire and even NYXL suffering the odd losses to teams they should be beating comfortably. But if you’re in it for the drama, then teams currently occupying fourth to seventh in the overall standings – Uprising, Fusion, Valiant, Outlaws – should be your focus.
The drama comes in thick and fast and week-in, week-out, there’s always a spanner thrown into any of these team’s progress. Be it suspension, contract termination or the typical teamwork-related issues. While we’d love to include the Gladiators into the mix, their weak Stage 1 puts them a few games behind and currently have eighth spot locked in for a considerable period. The recent dismissal of Dreamkazper halts Uprising’s progress while both Valiant and Outlaws are still sorting themselves out following a disastrous Stage 2. Our pick for Week 2? The Fusion to overtake the Uprising to momentarily lock in the fourth spot.
The Overwatch League resume tomorrow with the following matches: