Philadelphia Fusion 3 - Florida Mayhem 1
The Philadelphia Fusion got back on track on Saturday with a 3-1 win over the Florida Mayhem in the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
After suffering a tough overtime loss to the Boston Uprising on Thursday, the Fusion returned to form in a big way, sweeping through the first two maps of the series without much contest. While Florida tinkered with DPS lineups, Philadelphia's double hitscan core of Lee "Carpe" Jae-hyeok and Simon "snillo" Ekstrom tore through the Mayhem, with snillo on Tracer and Carpe flexing between McCree and Widowmaker. After halftime, the Mayhem put up more of a fight on Ilios in Game 3, but Philadelphia's proficiency with dive compositions was simply too strong.
Even so, the Mayhem proved that the Fusion still has some flaws, and Philadelphia DPS Josue "Eqo" Corona is sorely missed. The Fusion has to be eager for Eqo's suspension to end so it can be more flexible with its DPS hero selection.
The Mayhem, meanwhile, continued to struggle in the same ways that have plagued the team all season long. Florida's problems were highlighted in Games 1 and 2 on Volskaya Industries and Numbani, respectively, as it continually abandoned its supports while playing an uncoordinated dive composition.
Interestingly, all three of Florida's map losses came when Kevyn "TviQ" Lindstrom was in the game, but Game 4 on Route 66, the Mayhem's sole win, came without the veteran DPS. The lethal combination of Andreas "Logix" Berghmans and new addition Ha "Sayaplayer" Jung-woo was potent and seemed to alleviate some of the pressure on the Mayhem's backline, allowing the Mayhem to win the map in convincing fashion. Sayaplayer's Widowmaker was huge for the Mayhem, and the newcomer used creative off-angles and flanks to find picks on the Fusion. It wouldn't be surprising to see Sayaplayer get more time on-stage if he keeps up these performances.
The Mayhem next face the London Spitfire at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, followed by the Fusion taking on the Houston Outlaws at 11 p.m. ET.
-- Noah Waltzer
Boston Uprising 4 - Houston Outlaws 0
The Boston Uprising closed out a phenomenal opening week to Stage 3 of the Overwatch League on Saturday with a commanding 4-0 win over the Houston Outlaws in Burbank, California.
Coming into this one, both Houston and Boston were 1-0 in Stage 3 after taking out tough opponents in dramatic 3-2 series. While the two had followed near-identical trajectories of rising in Stage 1 and falling in Stage 2, it was Boston that emerged head and shoulders above Houston after this series.
Boston's most impressive feat wasn't just sweeping the Outlaws but the manner in which the Uprising won. The team, known mostly for its dive composition, ran diverse team setups to get the job done in this one. From classic dive comps to more pick-oriented lineups featuring DPS players Jonathan "DreamKazper" Sanchez and Kwon "Striker" Nam-joo on Widowmaker and Junkrat, respectively, Boston showed off its versatility and kept Houston on its toes.
Despite the new hero lineups, this was the same Boston fans have come to know. The squad played intelligent team-based Overwatch the likes of which propels it into the early conversation for Stage 3 playoffs contenders.
Houston, meanwhile, saw some familiar problems. DPS star Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin had a tough time against the Uprising; he played several heroes throughout the series but ultimately did not do enough to gain any meaningful ground. The rest of the team, meanwhile, heavily underperformed, from DPS Jacob "JAKE" Lyon's inconsistency to flex support Shane "Rawkus" Flaherty's lack of impact.
Even main tank Austin "Muma" Wilmot struggled, although that's not surprising given the caliber of his counterpart, Noh "Gamsu" Young-jin. The Outlaws' problems go beyond memes about Tracer players and JAKE's Junkrat, as it is now clear the team needs LiNkzr to pop off to have a shot of winning. Houston has to figure out a solution to its problems fast, or else will risk missing the postseason altogether.
The Uprising has a crucial battle coming up next week against the New York Excelsior at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, while Houston looks to get back on track when it takes on the Philadelphia Fusion at 11 p.m. ET that day.
-- Noah Waltzer
New York Excelsior 4 - London Spitfire 0
The New York Excelsior utterly dominated the London Spitfire in a 4-0 sweep to close out Saturday's Overwatch League slate at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
New York Excelsior and London Spitfire might be two of the best teams in the league, but London looked like a shell of its former self on Saturday. Save for a few short instances sprinkled throughout the series, London looked incredibly scattered compared to New York. The Excelsior stuck closely to its favorite compositions and players, only making two substitutions in the match, while Spitfire swapped at least one player in every map.
London's indecision was etched on it across the series, and the team paid for it in the end.
The Excelsior did stumble a few times in the series but still looked miles better than its rivals. This was clear from the very first map as New York took both points on Temple of Anubis in less than five minutes thanks to the likes of support Bang "JJoNak" Seong-hyun and DPS Kim "Libero" Hye-sung. Libero swapped between Genji and Junkrat depending on the situation, often taking the latter on defense in order to chunk down tanks. With New York's offense centering itself around quick picks, its diving tanks prevented London from finding a solid foothold.
Despite the loss, London still found isolated moments of solace thanks to its DPS players, Park "Profit" Joon-yeong and Lee "Hooreg" Dong-eun.
On Nepal: Sanctum, both Profit and Hooreg bullied their rivals and took advantage of New York's slow DPS core with a burst composition of Junkrat and Widowmaker. This bursting approach didn't work on the whole map, however, as New York quickly adapted with a tank-heavy composition by the next point, Nepal: Village.
It was this adaptability and overall team cohesion that ultimately pushed New York to a crushing 4-0 victory.
New York Excelsior will carry its win into a matchup with the also-unbeaten Boston Uprising at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, while the London Spitfire will look to gain its footing in Stage 3 against the Florida Mayhem in the next match at 9 p.m. ET.
-- Christiaan Kutlik