As the second stage of the inaugural season of Overwatch League kicked off, former underdogs came out swinging and fresh faces made their mark on the competition.
However, it was the Meta that was the standout performer in week one. Mercy, previously picked in essentially every map during stage one, will take a backseat this time around.
The changes to Mercy’s ultimate ability have knocked her off of her pedestal, opening up the league to a slew of team compositions that we didn’t get to see in stage one.
The addition of Moira to the roster has also shaken up the league. We are seeing a lot of Moira picks thanks to her fantastic ability as an AOE healer, as well as her ability to help finish off kills in team fights.
Playoff competition is increasing
Seoul Dynasty came out ready to take London Spitfire’s throne. They secured a 4-0 sweep against Los Angeles Valiant and followed up with a big 3-1 win over the San Francisco Shock.
After narrowly missing out on the playoffs in stage one, Seoul Dynasty seem ready to shake thing up and bring the heat this time to ensure that they don’t miss out again.
The Houston Outlaws have come out swinging too.
The Outlaws were without a doubt one of the most consistent teams in stage one, starting out slow but climbing higher and higher to finish up in the playoff spots.
However, they were unable to come through a hard fought victory against stage one champions London Spitfire. Yet, they got revenge for their defeat with a 3-2 victory over the reigning champions in their opening game.
They managed to pushed the game to a fifth map and steal a surprising victory. They showed stellar coordination and managed to overrun the Spitfire in team fights where their London opposition had the advantage.
The Outlaws are definitely worth keeping an eye on during this stage. They are one of the top contenders thanks to their fluid communication and ability to swing even the most dire odds in their favour.
Later in the week the Outlaws went on to a 4-0 sweep against the Boston Uprising, one of the middle ranked teams of stage one.
New York Excelsior’s dominance is slipping away
Despite losing to the Outlaws, Spitfire redeemed themselves with a victory over New York Excelsior over five maps.
That made it twice in a row that London Spitfire had overcome Excelsior, who were expected to win the first stage.
Excelsior remains popular due to its star-studded roster. The team employs some of the most skilled players in the world, most notably popular DPS player Kim “Pine” Do-hyeon. However, the adaptability and depth of the Spitfire roster continues to outdo them.
Not only did they lose their match against the Spitfire, but they lost a map in their other week one match against the Florida Mayhem.
The Mayhem have consistently been one of the poorest teams in the league, so the fact that they were able to take a map from Excelsior is indicative either of their improvement or Excelsior’s decline.
Interestingly, the map that Florida Mayhem won was Lijiang Tower, a control point map. Control is one of Excelsior’s specialties because of Pine. Throughout stage one he lost just a couple of control maps in total, so it is a big deal that an underdog was able to take a map from Excelsior in the opening week.
Dallas Fuel needs xQc
Stage one upsets Dallas Fuel have made sure to come out of the gate at speed in stage two with the intention of showing that they are ready to start playing for real.
The Fuel were a point of controversy and division in stage one due to events surrounding one of their star tanks. xQc was banned for the majority of stage one for directing homophobic slurs at a fellow professional. However, having served his ban, xQc has returned for stage two and wasted no time getting his team back on the path to glory.
Dallas Fuel were among the favourites at the start of the season due to their roster of experienced players and preseason performances. The expectation was that they would be the best North American team in the league at the very least.
However, they left many people disappointed and confused when they failed to meet expectations. They went on to finish second from bottom in the league above only Shanghai Dragons.
The Fuel will be hoping for better things this time round, having taken 3-1 victories over Shanghai Dragons and Los Angeles Gladiators in the opening week.
The Fuel currently sits ninth in the Overwatch League overall standings with five wins and seven defeats. However, with one of their main players back on the roster, as well as an exciting new DPS player in the form of Dylan “aKm” Bignet, the team will be optimistic that stage one was just a blip.
A new leader is coming
Right now, Excelsior is holding strong at the top of the rankings with ten match wins.
However, the Dynasty and Outlaws are hot on their heels in second and third with nine wins.
The Dragons, despite their persistent efforts, are yet to find a win in the season. However, if their recent map wins are indicative of anything, we can expect to see the Dragons find their groove in this stage and pick up some wins.
Despite being in second place in the rankings, the Outlaws are actually in the lead in terms of map wins. They have taken 37 maps and dropped only 15.
This goes to show that the Outlaws are not a team that get swept aside easily. The Outlaws are a team that do not lose without taking their opponent to the very end.
That is a testament not only to their ability as a team, but their morale as well. You can see in between rounds and maps that the Outlaws maintain a positive attitude throughout and do not let defeats get to them.
The Outlaws are definitely one to watch during stage two as they stand to make life difficult for the usually dominant Korean rosters.
If they remain consistent throughout, we can expect them in the playoffs again. They could even go one step further and win stage two.
The Fuel enter the stage as underdogs, but are beginning to show signs of their true potential. Expect them to climb the ranks as the stage progresses.
London Spitfire look likely to hold strong too. They have depth and variety to take big victories and cause an equal amount of upsets. With Mercy’s role reduced, Bdosin’s Zenyatta should have more option to dominate the field as stage two progresses.