Boston Uprising 3 - New York Excelsior 2
The Boston Uprising surprised the New York Excelsior in a 3-2 victory on Thursday at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
While it wasn't without a great deal of effort, the win Thursday now makes three straight victories for a Boston squad that entered Stage 3 of the Overwatch League with limited expectations. It was also the first game without DPS Jonathan "DreamKazper" Sanchez, who was released by Boston on Monday.
Obvious questions pertaining to Boston's synergy were raised with the sudden release of DPS player DreamKazper, and while Boston did look like an entirely different team - it turned out to be a boon to its success, particularly during the aforementioned shutdown of Boston's Striker.
That was thanks in large part to main tank and Winston player Noh "Gamsu" Young-jin. In previous weeks Gamsu seemed to have a litany of communication issues that directly caused him to be separated from his team during critical junctures of the match, oftentimes ending up dead before the fight even started. Not on Thursday. Throughout the series, Gamsu dove deep into the enemy backline with precision, working in tandem with both of his DPS teammates to focus-fire weakened opponents and then leap back to safety.
So long as Gamsu can continue this same level of play, it's certainly possible for Boston to make a run at a Stage 3 playoff spot.
The Excelsior will look to rebound against the Houston Outlaws at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, while the Uprising squares off against a slumping Florida Mayhem at 8 p.m. ET that same day.
-- Tyson Tavolazzi
London Spitfire 3 - Florida Mayhem 0
The London Spitfire took down the Florida Mayhem on Thursday with a 3-0 victory in the Overwatch League at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
The Spitfire has been in turmoil as of late and dropped both its previous series in Stage 3 to Houston and New York, respectively. London had looked uncharacteristically poor on both a team and individual basis. In this series, though, London began looking a bit closer to its usual standards of play.
London DPS duo Kim "birdring" Ji-hyeok and Park "Profit" Joon-yeong played excellently this series, a welcome sight given how poorly they did last week, and the team looked like a unit again instead of six players at a loss for what to do next.
Despite the victory, this series was highlighted by the improvements made by the Mayhem more so than the Spitfire playing well. Florida DPS Ha "Sayaplayer" Jung-woo excelled throughout the series, especially on Numbani, where his McCree was in excellent form and beckoned back to his days on Meta Athena. Another recent pickup for the Mayhem, tank Kim "aWesomeGuy" Sung-hoon, made his debut Thursday and lived up to his namesake. He was a legitimate force on Winston, even besting London tank Hong "Gesture" Jae-hee in a few Winston duels throughout the series.
The series started close with a tie on the first map, Volskaya Industries, and there was almost another tie on the second map, Numbani. Florida's new lineup felt fresh and well-coordinated compared to the past. However, the Mayhem lost steam in the second half of the series, and a lot more work and practice needs to go in before this team can start giving the best teams in the league a tougher matchup for a full series.
The London Spitfire will take on the Philadelphia Fusion at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday while Florida will have the Boston Uprising as its opponent at 8 p.m. later that day.
-- Steven Nguyen
Philadelphia Fusion 3 - Houston Outlaws 2
In a thrilling five-game set to close out Thursday's Overwatch League action, the Philadelphia Fusion outlasted the Houston Outlaws for a 3-2 win at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
With the first two meetings between these teams going five maps, it was no surprise the two once again went toe-to-toe in an incredibly close battle. As much as Houston tried, however, it was unable to reverse its fate from the previous two series. Philadelphia, despite playing without DPS star Josh "Eqo" Corona, who served the last game of his three-game suspension Thursday, stood tall with a heavy-hitting series to pick up the win.
The name of this game was full-out offense, with both teams racking up points with relative ease across the series. Houston struck first on Volskaya Industries in the opening map, but it wasn't long before Philadelphia fired back on Numbani to lock up the series heading into the half. From then on, it was the Lee "Carpe" Jae-hyeok show as the Philadelphia DPS player put the team on his back during the final three maps. On Ilios, he lit up the Houston DPS duo of Jacob "JAKE" Lyon and Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin. Carpe tallied kills left and right with his Widowmaker as the pair continued to walk into his sights over and over without regard for their own safety.
Houston wasn't ready to let fans go home early Thursday night, though, as it full-held with suffocating defense in Game 4 to force the tiebreaker. On Oasis for the final map, Philadelphia came to life once again with an impressive 2-0 to secure the series. Not only did Carpe again shine on Widowmaker, but he also pulled out a pocket Zarya on the University control point to play the part of gatekeeper and prevent Houston from finally getting a win in this rivalry. Even though Philadelphia holds a 3-0 record against Houston, these series are never easy and will certainly be games to circle on the schedule moving forward.
Both teams will be back in action on Saturday, with Philadelphia taking on the London Spitfire in a Stage 2 playoff rematch at 4 p.m. ET and Houston facing the New York Excelsior in the next match at 6 p.m. ET.
-- Wyatt Donigan