Philadelphia Fusion 4 - Florida Mayhem 0
The Philadelphia Fusion closed out a 2-0 start to Stage 2 of the Overwatch League with a 4-0 sweep of the Florida Mayhem at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
This series wasn't remotely close. The Fusion was merciless from start to finish, with DPS Lee "Carpe" Jae-hyeok leading the way. From full-holding Hanamura on defense to steamrolling Nepal 2-0, the Fusion could do no wrong, bolstered by the recent addition of DPS Josue "Eqo" Corona, who has had a noticeable effect on this team as well. The Fusion is playing like a top-five team in the Overwatch League, though today's series wasn't the best judge considering the strength of the Fusion's foes.
The Mayhem faces many problems, all of which have been present since Day 1 in the OWL. Abandoning supports when diving, failing to kill key targets in dive, mismanaging ultimate economy and generally playing uninspired Overwatch are the pillars of the Mayhem's constant struggles.
It's about to get tougher for Florida, too. The Mayhem prepare to battle the New York Excelsior at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, followed by the Fusion taking the Boston Uprising at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday.
-- Noah Waltzer
Houston Outlaws 4 - Boston Uprising 0
In a series that was much more exciting than the 4-0 score would suggest, the Houston Outlaws knocked down the Boston Uprising on Saturday in Week 1 of Stage 2 of the Overwatch League at the Blizzard Esports Arena in Burbank, California.
The Houston Outlaws showed why it finished in second place in the standings during Stage 1 with a hard-fought victory over the Boston Uprising just days after a 3-2 victory against the Spitfire. Earlier in the week, Houston had some communication issues that led to a couple dropped maps to the Spitfire. Today, however, the Outlaws' execution and hero targeting was unparalleled.
DPS studs Jake "Jake" Lyon and Jiri "LiNKzr" Masalin worked together in tandem to pick apart overextended Uprising tank player Noh "Gamsu" Yeong-Jin multiple times on every map for easy team advantages. Boston played well as a top-5 team in the OWL should, but seemed to be slow to adapt to the new meta, giving the Outlaws the leverage it needed to take full control of the series.
Not to be outdone, Outlaws main tank Austin "Muma" Wilmot was a superstar in his own right as he controlled the battlefield with fearsome frontline play on Winston and Reinhardt. Muma had some especially juicy plays on Horizon Lunar Colony, where he blocked multiple Earthshatters from Gamsu's Reinhardt and made some huge plays of his own resulting in team kills and a quick 2-0 victory.
The implications from this series could have a huge impact going forward in Stage 2, as the Uprising drop to a 0-2 record in Week 1 with a dismal map record of 0-8, while the Outlaws boast a 2-0 record in Stage 2 with wins against two top teams.
Houston doesn't have much time to rest as it faces another unbeaten Stage 2 team, the Philadelphia Fusion, at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, while the Boston Uprising will follow up against the New York Excelsior at 8 p.m. ET.
-- Tyson Tavolazzi
Los Angeles Valiant 3 - Shanghai Dragons 0
Bouncing back from its loss to the Seoul Dynasty earlier in the week, the Los Angeles Valiant held off a feisty Shanghai Dragons in a 3-0 victory to close out Week 1 of Stage 2 of the Overwatch League on Saturday in Burbank, California.
When Los Angeles took the stage Saturday, it brought surprises from the start with the use of a three support lineup featuring Park "Kariv" Young-seo, Stefano "Verbo" Disalvo, and Benjamin "Unkoe" Chevasson. Bringing in Kariv to play DPS heroes, such as Widowmaker and Soldier:76, allowed DPS Terence "SoOn" Tarlier to stay on his signature Tracer, which was a massive boon for Los Angeles. SoOn's ability to weave in and out of the backlines of Shanghai and drop multi-kill Pulse Bombs with relative ease proved to be far too much for the Dragons to handle.
Even with this new strategy for the Valiant, this series wasn't as easy as the final score may indicate. The Dragons put on a fantastic performance on Hanamura to open the series, sticking with Los Angeles stride for stride to force a draw. Even in the face of the Valiant's aggressive dive, the Dragons managed to clamp down when it mattered most to make the match interesting to start out.
From then on, however, the Dragons fell back into its ways of old and seemed unable to stop the Valiant from running away with the final three maps. The Dragons had moments of brilliance on Lijiang Tower to force map point, and on King's Row to almost pick up a win, but the Valiant found its stride and pushed past the Dragons to take the series. Despite the loss, though, Shanghai did have its moments, and once it can get its new players, including Kim "Geguri" Se-yeon, to join the team, it could finally pick up that elusive first win.
The Los Angeles Valiant will next face its Bay Area rivals in the San Francisco Shock at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, while the Shanghai Dragons will take on the Los Angeles Gladiators directly after at 11 p.m. ET.
-- Wyatt Donigan