This Week in Overwatch League: Stage Two, Week One

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A new stage started this week and with it came a new patch, new hero, new map, and lots of surprises as a new meta took form before our eyes. Anyone tired of the supremacy of GOATS was relieved to see the new meta and I think we are going to see some shake ups in the standings as we move through this stage. But that is the future, and today we are looking back to the week that was. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at those standings.

A note: For these articles we will be following the stage standings. If you want to see the full season standings check out the Overwatch League website for all the information.

With six teams getting out to an undefeated start in stage two there is definitely a feeling that some teams have properly prepared for the flexibility of the new meta. Some teams made last-minute trades, such as the Boston Uprising’s trade for rCk between stages to increase their hero pool. Others have clearly spent time simply perfecting their play against the up and coming team compositions as the New York Excelsior have done, showing you can still play a lot of GOATS if you are good enough at it.

While the uniqueness of the Chengdu Hunters may not have produced the prettiest victories, their unpredictable gameplay shows that the element of surprise can not be denied. The variety of approaches used by these early successes just got to highlight the breadth of Overwatch the current meta seems to allow.

Boston put their fans through a roller coaster this week as they put themselves into the Overwatch league record book as the first team to get three consecutive regular season reverse sweep wins. While their ability to keep their cool and come back from the deficit is an impressive trait, such victories can carry a large toll on the mental fortitude of players. A may be win a win, but I’m sure the Boston won’t complain if they could get a win before half time in the coming weeks.

The brightest thing to be taken away from the performances this week is the sheer number of heroes that Boston was able to utilize. Everything from previously forgotten heroes like Roadhog and Tracer, to staples like Reinhardt and Zarya. Once Boston got rolling in each match it seemed like they had always had a new trick to show their opponents. Now we just have to see how many more tricks the Uprising can pull out of their hats.

After coming just short of making stage one playoffs, the Los Angeles Gladiators have come out looking refreshed and ready for a whole new meta. With star DPS players like Decay, Hydration, and Surefour, all finally being able to flex their muscles with the heroes they are known for playing. The team is no longer being forced to a meta locking Zarya pick. the Gladiators could certainly find themselves, not only making stage two playoffs, but possibly even in the top half of the standings.

After going the distance against the Vancouver Titans in the stage one grand finals in a heartbreaking series that went the full seven games, the San Francisco Shock seem determined to have another crack at the grand finals when stage two playoffs come around. Not only are they undefeated, they haven’t even lost a map. They clearly took the off week between stages preparing for this new stage, and with a full roster capable of fully utilizing the depth of options available to teams this stage, the Shock are poised to possibly make the big run and managing a perfect stage.

Let’s Talk About the Meta

The meta game had grown fairly stale by the end of stage one with GOATS composition being the overwhelming favorite team setup. Now, all that has changed as a bevy of new team compositions have shown up, and have seen success. And while there are still several areas where you will see GOATS remain a very popular pick for teams, the compositions teams are choosing are based much more on the map being played. Which is much healthier for the game as a whole, as variety keeps things much more interesting.

On control maps, we’ve seen lots quad DPS while defensive play on assault maps has been dominated by Orisa/Baptiste bunker compositions, which has led to a number of interesting counters – not the least of which was a Symmetra centered attack that the opposition couldn’t figure out what to do with. While payload/hybrid maps have been so varied it often comes down to not just which map they are playing, but which point is being fought over.

There has also been an increased trend of teams dropping back to spawns to swap up their compositions when they discover what’s being played against them. This was most notable in Boston Uprising’s second reverse sweep of the week as they allowed the enemy to get the initial capture on the point to swap out their team and then proceeded to defeat their opponent.

This level of counter compositions will greatly reward teams that have players with deep hero pools as being able to flex your compositions mid game will prove of critical importance as the stage continues.

Player of the week

Just days after the announcement that rCk had been traded from Dallas Fuel for Boston Uprising’s starting off tank NotE and rCk was showing how much flexibility his presence would bring to Boston’s line up. Granting them a Sombra player that proved pivotal in their victory over Atlanta, which was followed up with a wide arrange of great play making in the follow-up win over Toronto, including some clutch bombs, and rCk has already silenced any nay sayers who questioned the decisions of the Boston coaching staff.

That’s  all we’ve got for stage two week one. Hope you will be back on Wednesday for our regular preview looking at week two.

‘Til then, keep playing the point!