Overwatch League Season 2: Stage 1 | Week 1 Recap - Upcomer

Overwatch League Season 2: Stage 1 | Week 1 Recap

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It’s finally back and better than ever. The Overwatch League, after a long off-season filled with drama and signings, is on for its second season. Exactly like I did last season for the last stage, I’m reviving my weekly recap series. For those who don’t know what my reviews were like, here is the first one I did. Essentially, I’m going over each team that played and giving them a rating out of ten based on their play just from this week. Not based on the off-season or their past, but just on results for the week in question.

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In this season, the schedule is much different from last season. Four matches per day, four days a week makes each team play one to two games per week. This doesn’t change how I rate them, just focuses more on both (or only one) of their games. Speaking of which, let’s go into the teams chronologically, starting with…

Philadelphia Fusion

The Fusion lost in the grand finals last year in fairly disappointing fashion to the London Spitfire. But they wanted to make up for it in season two, and this week clearly showed that. They started off the entire season in a rematch with the Spitfire, where they won three maps to one. Getting their revenge against London led into their second game of the season against the newly impressive Atlanta Reign. It was a close match, with both teams taking maps but ended with a traditional Fusion map five win. All players on the Fusion looked just as good as last season, with Carpe and Poko gaining their form as the maps went on. They ended the week with a great 2-0.

Two wins are the best way you can start, but the second game was not easy for them. They can improve, and if they do I don’t see them slowing down. I’m giving them a 7/10.

London Spitfire

The inaugural season champions started this season off by face-planting onto the ground. They showed moments of brilliance against the Philadelphia Fusion but lost convincingly 3-1. In their bounce-back match against new European team Paris Eternal, they failed to impress again and lost for the second time 3-1. Their three-tank three-support composition, thought to be great, failed against two teams who had experience with it. When Birdring could play Widow and Guard played Sombra they looked very good, but their coaching changes and overall gameplay lacked a lot this week. They ended the week winless, 0-2.

The plus side is that they faced two teams we expected to be great in this stage, and they can only get better. But, they didn’t put up enough of a fight. I’m giving them a 2/10.

New York Excelsior

The powerhouse that is the Excelsior continued their good season-based form. They started the league against two low-rated teams and won both. First off, against the heavily changed Boston Uprising, winning a surprisingly close game 2-1. But their second game was as different from the first as could be, a very dominant 3-1 win against the Washington Justice. In the Boston game, the best players were clearly Meko on Sombra and JJonak on Zenyatta. In the Washington game, the entire team played the three tank, three support to perfection. The only reason they lost a map was due to overconfidence and a very different team composition. A bright spot in both games was the new DPS player Nenne, who shined on Zarya. They ended the week with a solid 2-0.

Very similar to the Fusion, the two wins are great but the closeness on one of the two games raises some doubts. I’m giving them a 7.5/10.

Boston Uprising

The ultimate underdog team is back again, with another questionable roster. Just before their first match, they even traded one of their main roster players, Gamsu. They replaced him with World Cup star Fusions, who proceeded to excel against their first opponents. They lost a very close match against the New York Excelsior, 2-1. They did end their first week with a win against Houston Outlaws, beating them in a close game, 3-2. As mentioned earlier, Fusions looked great as a very recent call up to the roster, and the rest of the team performed admirably. AimGod played well in the Houston game, and so did Blase in his debut. They ended the week 1-1.

The first one in our list that went even in wins and losses did better than most expected. They can improve but did show weakness. I’m giving them a 6/10.

Seoul Dynasty

The most disappointing team of last season (according to me) has revamped their roster for season two. With new acquisitions and a brand new main tank, they started off the season much like last year. Their first game, against Fissure’s old teammates on the Los Angeles Gladiators, was a surprisingly close 3-1 victory. With the Gladiators also dealing with big new acquisitions, the Dynasty showed they adapted better. But, the week wasn’t perfect, as their second game was a disappointing 3-1 loss to underdogs Dallas Fuel. Fissure seems to have fit their role well, along with new acquisitions Michelle and Jecse. It was clear that they needed to work as a team better in the second game though, something they’ll get over time.

Another even team. This one was slated to do better than last year, but their start is actually worse than season one. Let’s see how they react to it. I’m giving them a 5/10.

Los Angeles Gladiators

The first local Los Angeles team to play had a weird first week. They faced the newly edited Seoul Dynasty, which they lost 3-1 to. They clearly gained great new players in Roar and Decay, but their communication wasn’t great yet. But their second game was an immense improvement, playing a dominant-looking San Francisco Shock. They came out with a close but deserved 3-2 win. Surefour looked uncomfortable on Zarya for the Seoul game but improved a lot for the Shock game. Roar started off as a risky player but worked a lot better with his team in the second game. Shaz impressed again, still considered one of the best Zenyattas below JJonak. The best player was BigGoose though, an amazing Lucio this season.

This is the third even team in a row, but their improvement left their fans with a good taste in their mouths. I’m giving them a 6.5/10.

Toronto Defiant

The first Canadian team to grace the Overwatch League stage ended their first week in a close but good fashion. This is the first team in this list to only have one match this week, and they took it the distance. They faced the Houston Outlaws, a mediocre team from last season, and a good litmus test for them. Not only were they the first Canadian team on stage, but they also provided the first reverse sweep of the season. That win, a 3-2 win, showed true resilience for a team playing for the first time on stage. Ivy and Envy, while not starting off well, finished the game well. Envy especially had a lot of flexibility and his experience showed in leading his team to the win.

It’s tougher to judge Toronto just on their one game, but considering their opposition and how they won, there is a limit. I’m giving them a 6.5/10.

Houston Outlaws

Much like London, people expected the Outlaws to perform better in this meta. Houston got the flexible DPS player that they needed in Danteh, and had a great lineup of tank players. But they didn’t all see the stage at the same time, a questionable decision. Their first match was against the new Toronto Defiant, an expansion team. Their second was against fellow low-rated team Boston Uprising. Unfortunately for them, they lost both games in map five, and got reverse swept by Toronto. Danteh and LinkZR were bright spots, but Rawkus and Muma were inconsistent and that cost them.

I can see them improving, but it’s more on consistency and coaching. I’m giving them a 2/10.

Atlanta Reign

The hype behind the debut of this team was intense. Dafran’s return to professional Overwatch, the underrated pickups, and the winnable first match. They faced the Florida Mayhem first, dominating them in the first 4-0 sweep of the season. Their second match against a strong Philadelphia Fusion, losing in a very close 3-2 game. Dafran impressed on Zarya and Tracer, even playing well on Torbjorn. Pokpo and Daco seemed not to miss a beat moving from Contenders to the Overwatch League. Erster worked well with Dafran too, living up to the hype. It was unfortunate that he couldn’t beat Carpe, but they are much stronger than people thought.

Another even team, but an impressive one. I’m giving them a 6.5/10.

Florida Mayhem

The Florida Mayhem came into season two almost like an expansion team given that all of their original roster (bar Tviq) was released. Their new Korean acquisitions seemed promising, but risky. This showed in their only match of the week. Much like Toronto, it is hard to judge a team solely on one game, but boy was this one a stinker. The Florida Mayhem’s only match of week one was against expansion team Atlanta Reign, which they lost convincingly to, 4-0. Hagopeun looked great back on stage, but the rest of the team disappointed heavily. BQB, a highly regarded Sombra player, got outplayed by Dafran, someone who didn’t play Sombra often.

Dafran’s Sombra in comparison to BQB’s.

Much like London and Houston, the good news is that they can only get better. The question is if they will. I’m giving them a 1/10.

Want to hear the rest of the teams’ results from this week, along with my team of the week? How did the other six expansion teams fare in their starting games? Part 2 will be up shortly after this one.

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Michael Czar
Polish-Canadian game enthusiast. I've been entrenched in gaming for as long as I can remember, with my first game being Pokemon Yellow and my most played games being Borderlands 2 and Overwatch. I have a degree in Film Studies, but writing about esports just makes my job all the better.