Boston Uprising 4 - Dallas Fuel 0
The Boston Uprising continued its dominance over the rest of the Overwatch League with a 4-0 win over the Dallas Fuel on Friday at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
To the surprise of nobody, the red-hot Uprising crushed a Fuel team with more roster changes than wins in this inaugural season of the Overwatch League. After full-holding the Fuel in Game 1 on Temple of Anubis, the Uprising refused to take its foot off the gas, dominating the pace of the series with ease to earn its 12th series win in a row.
Whether it was playing a slower pick compositions or fast dive, the outcome was the same. The potent Uprising core of DPS Kwon "Striker" Nam-joo and main tank Noh "Gamsu" Young-jin led the Uprising with lethal precision and coordination, which is nothing new in Stage 3. Boston's cohesion and intelligent play has given the team an 8-0 record in Stage 3, and the Uprising shows no signs of slowing down.
On the other hand, there's Dallas.
This series showed that while there are some solid pieces in the DPS department in the form of Dylan "aKm" Bignet, the rest of the lineup needs some major upgrades. The main tank position is still problematic, with the newly acquired Son "OGE" Min-seok not faring much better than the seldom-seen Christian "cocco" Jonsson. Simply put, the team will certainly need the offseason in order to retool this roster from the ground-up.
The Dallas Fuel next takes on the Philadelphia Fusion at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, while the Uprising faces the LA Valiant at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday.
-- Noah Waltzer
Los Angeles Gladiators 3 - Houston Outlaws 2
The Los Angeles Gladiators fought off a second-half surge from the Houston Outlaws in a close 3-2 series on Friday at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
In the first half of this series, the Gladiators steamrolled its way through the Outlaws by exploiting what has been a problem for Houston for a while now: its lack of a reliable Tracer. While Outlaws DPS Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin continues to improve as Tracer, Gladiators DPS Choi "Asher" Joon-seong was dominant in the heads-up role matchup, blinking circles around the Outlaws backline. What's more, the Gladiators' frontline showed up in a huge way, neutralizing the Outlaws' gameplan of giving DPS Jacob "JAKE" Lyon space to wreak havoc with Junkrat.
After somewhat falling apart in the second half, things looked grim for the Gladiators, but Los Angeles got right back on its feet after a 0-2 second half that led to a decisive Game 5. DPS Joao Pedro "Hydration" Goes Telles was clutch on the tiebreaker map of Oasis, despite a close 2-1 scoreline on the map. His presence as Sombra freed up Asher and main tank Baek "Fissure" Chan-hyung to do what they do best and blow up enemy backlines. While the Gladiators did pick up the win in the end, the series did expose some of its problems, such as poor control of tempo and reckless use of ultimates.
Houston has had problems for a while now, and those issues are becoming increasingly noticeable. By all accounts, this is a good team with solid players, but there's something that's not quite clicking. Again and again, ever since Stage 1, the Outlaws seems perpetually on the cusp of breaking free of the middle of the pack and re-establishing itself as a great team. But LiNkzr's heroics aren't enough to keep the Outlaws from the middle of the pack. Houston will have to work with what it's got player-wise and figure some way to break into the next level, or else risk getting swept aside by up-and-coming teams come end-of-season playoff time.
The Gladiators next take on the Florida Mayhem at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, followed by Houston squaring off against the San Francisco Shock in an important match for both sides at 11 p.m. ET that same day.
-- Noah Waltzer
Los Angeles Valiant 3 - Florida Mayhem 1
The Los Angeles Valiant secured a narrow 3-1 win over the Florida Mayhem to close out Friday's action in the Overwatch League at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
This was an uneven battle for both the Valiant and the Mayhem as neither could truly deliver consistent, or even predictable, performances. The Valiant started the series hot thanks to DPS players Chae "Bunny" Joon-hyuk and Terence "SoOn" Tarlier. The duo had almost complete control of the Mayhem's backline as its tanks struggled to disengage against Valiant's heavy frontline. On both Volskaya Industries and Numbani, Los Angeles swiftly dislodged its opponents from favorable positions, which gave Bunny and SoOn room to tear apart Mayhem's support players.
However, the Mayhem wouldn't go quietly.
Mayhem DPS Ha "Sayaplayer" Jung-woo turned up the heat on Ilios: Ruins. By securing early kills with his Widowmaker, Sayaplayer forced Los Angeles to play slowly and carefully, allowing Florida to build up ultimates. Mayhem's improving strength was also coupled with a lull in SoOn's performance. On Junkertown, Sayaplayer chewed up and spat out the Valiant DPS in Widowmaker sniper duels, and SoOn struggled to do anything at all as his team fell apart.
The Valiant had to desperately change its composition in its defense of Point C, eventually finding the perfect formula to shut down Sayaplayer. Without Sayaplayer's game-changing Widowmaker, the Mayhem failed to close out their dominant Junkertown attack. Los Angeles may have walked away with the win, but it still has some kinks to iron out heading into the final week of Stage 3.
The Florida Mayhem will next challenge the Los Angeles Gladiators at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, while the Los Angeles Valiant seek to dethrone the Boston Uprising at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday.
-- Christiaan Kutlik