Esports

Overwatch League: Stage Two Competition Is Ramping Up

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Last week’s round of Overwatch League matches was wild ride full of sweeps, reverse sweeps and much needed wins. The Florida Mayhem (2-14) have been more coordinated as of late, and finally won their second match of the year against the Dallas Fuel (5-11). It’s been grim for the Houston Outlaws (10-6) over the last few games, losing yet again – this time to the Los Angeles Valiant (11-5) in shutout fashion. They did rebound for a reverse sweep of Florida in their second match of the week. The big winners of week three were the Los Angeles Gladiators (8-8), who swept the Valiant and pulled off a major upset against the London Spitfire (11-5). In case you’re curious, the Shanghai Dragons (0-16) are still winless on the year with only eight map victories.

Improvements for the Florida Mayhem

Throughout stage one, the former Misfits roster couldn’t seem to put anything together. Their dives were off, and their DPS didn’t show up when they were desperately needed. The results spoke for themselves, as Florida was only able to pull off one win for the stage.

Even though things are still a bit rough for the Swedes, they’re looking like a new team in stage two. Tim “Manneten” Bylund in particular has been a much more effective D.Va, finding better positioning and keeping his back line alive more often than before. His ultimate usage is still a little questionable, like when he lobbed – and sorely overshot – a Self-Destruct at the Houston Outlaws while defending point C of Watchpoint: Gibraltar this week. Saving it for zoning Houston off the point would have been a smarter option, leading to a subsequent loss of both the map and the set.

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Kevin “TviQ” Lindström has also seen much improvement in stage two. The legendary DPS player from Rogue and Misfits has struggled with being much of a threat lately, though some of that was due to questionable tanking from his teammates. Now that things seem more consistent and stable, TviQ has been popping off a lot more often. Against the Dallas Fuel, he had a 52/19 KDR with 19,765 damage done and 22 final blows as Tracer.

Now that they’ve signed some quality Korean players, Florida will likely deviate from their all-Swedish roster as soon as everyone is in Los Angeles. If they can work out the communication issues that other teams have dealt with, they should be able to put a few more W’s up on the board.

The unstoppable New York Excelsior

New York has been one of the most consistently overpowering teams in the league going back to stage one. They’re sitting on a gargantuan +36 map differential, with London and Seoul following with +23 each. Part of their success is raw talent, but most of why they’re so hard to beat comes from how fundamentally sound they are under pressure.

The Philadelphia Fusion (9-7) have been a very solid team, if not a bit streaky. For all their efforts this week, they fell short by just one point on the first three maps in their loss to New York. Even when the game was on the line, New York stayed very tight and coordinated, as we saw on Nepal. Their dives and flanks were a thing of beauty, and every player regrouped or found optimal positioning after every engagement.

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Jong-Ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park in particular dissected Philadelphia’s defenses and demanded attention on both Tracer and Widowmaker. His positioning on Shrine was nothing short of perfection, never overextending or chasing kills, but always giving enemy supports something to think about. Together with Dong-Gyu “Mano” Kim’s dives on Winston, Saebyeolbe kept New York in the fight against Philadelphia even when things were looking bleak.

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