This Week in the Overwatch League: Stage Two, Week Two

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Stage 2

Week two was a whirlwind! New strategies, and some surprising splashes made by those teams that hadn’t gotten to play in the new meta last week were just some of the highlights we witnessed this week as the season rushes toward the half way point. And not just of season, but several teams have also passed the half way point for the stage already. So let’s take a look at the standings to see how they are faring.

A note: We are following just the stage standings in these articles. If you are interested in the full standings you should check out the Overwatch League site here.

While we still have six teams undefeated at the top of the heap, they aren’t all the same as last week as the Boston Uprising was dealt their first loss this week, and the Dallas Fuel came out strong to win both of their matches, opening their stage strong.

It isn’t just the top of the standings that continue to come into focus as the bottom is also forming up. With four teams sporting winless records after multiple games, we are seeing a scene becoming a clear. With the last stage being extremely murky, this stage looks more and more likely to have more games with expected winners and losers as we move forward.

The Battle for Los Angeles

The bi-seasonal showdown between the two home teams was hosted at the Blizzard Arena this past Sunday. With the Valiant coming off a strong showing earlier in the week, and Gladiators going into the match undefeated this stage, the arena was buzzing with excitement to see always looked forward to showdown.

The Gladiators came out to a strong start when they took Leijang Tower 2-0 fending off early leads from the Valiant both times to claim a two-oh map victory. But the Valiant weren’t ready to call it quits yet. The teams then traveled to Hanamura where they ended the half with a map draw. While it wasn’t the victory the Valiant wanted they, and the many vocal fans in the arena keeping the energy high, took it as the first stop toward a turnaround. However, it wasn’t meant to be. After an impressive offensive start on Eichenwalde, capturing point a with little trouble, the Valiant wasn’t able to capture any further points on the map.

With their backs against the wall, and honor at stake, the Valiant put up a strong point a defense as the Gladiators had to threw themselves at the Valiant repeatedly before finally breaking through. Once point a was taken, it was a grinding defeated as the Valiant wasn’t able to ever fully put the brakes on the Gladiators. The Valiant did manage to take the final map to Go out on a high note and keep the green flame burning till the next Battle for Los Angeles.

After hard-fought defeats at the hands of the Los Angeles Gladiators and the New York Excelsior last week the Shanghai Dragons came back to show they wouldn’t let those loses bring them down. Defeating the Chengdu Hunters  3-1 this week was particularly impressive as the Dragons went off script with some of their compositions, baffling the Hunters, who are much more accustomed to baffling their opponents, not the other way round. With bunker compositions, and a bevy of damage dealers of every type being thrown at them, the Hunters were never able to find their footing. Couple that with several stand out performances, led by some amazing D.Va play by Geguri, and Shanghai showed that they could yet rack up a few more wins this stage.

London Spitfire got a little payback on the Philadelphia Fusion for their defeat at their hands to open the season, and while a two-one-one victory isn’t the most decisive victory it has to help the Spitfire gain a bit more stability and confirm that it really was the GOATS meta that was causing so many of their struggles during stage one. And while that meta has subsided, it is still a comp that they will need to continue to improve on if they want to keep their winning streak intact as they face off against some of the top teams in the league.

The Dallas Fuel had their debut this stage with a match against the Toronto Defiant, and they showed just how much preparation they got in with that extra week off. The incorporation of recently traded for off tank NotE seems to have been seamless as he not only gave the impressive performance he became known for on Boston, but even flexed his muscles on Orisa, Hanzo, and even Tracer, showing some versatility that never appeared during his tenure with the Uprising.  But there could be no doubt about the harmony of Dallas’s players as they cruised to an easy four-oh victory over the Defiant.

The impressive performances continued for the Fuel as they turned the win into a streak as they defeated the Paris Eternal in a two-one match. The Fuel continued to show adaptations as they took familiar compositions and put some different twists to it, such as adding the Winston to a classic Orisa bunker composition to great effect. The match was easily dominated by main tank OGE who spent the game controlling engagements, separating the Eternal’s team formations, and most impressively, doing little dying. Winston is a notoriously tough hero to keep alive as he is often called on to make that initial encounter to break an enemy’s attack. But picture perfect control on the part of OGE, couple with excellent support from his team, lead to an undefeated start to stage two for the Fuel.

Even though the Battle for Los Angeles didn’t go their way the Los Angeles Valiant still had reason to celebrate. They broke their losing streak which had lasted for all of stage one, and while the Los to the Gladiators wasn’t what they were hoping for, they still showed some great plays and moments, keeping the outlook for the games to come as brighter than they were before.

Player of the Week: OGE

In case my gushing earlier didn’t tip you off, OGE impressed me to no end this week. Coming into a new meta, while coming off a rough ending to last stage as they just missed a playoff berth, and having to coordinate with a new tank partner in NotE, this guy still brought everything you could ask for, and a bit more, from a top-tier tank player.

That’s it for our coverage of stage two week two of the Overwatch League. I hope you’ve enjoyed and that we will see you back here on Wednesday when we take a look at all the excitement coming our way in week three.

‘Til then, keep playing the point!