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

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The Overwatch League hosted its first Homestand weekend as the Dallas Fuel played host to seven other teams this week for a shortened two days of play. And while the matches on day one all went pretty much the way most would expect, things got categorically more interesting on day. Let’s take a look at the standings.

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

Firstly, there can be no question about how successful the Homestand was. The crowd was going nuts constantly, the energy was just through the roof. I cannot wait for the Atlanta Homestand next stage. As much as I love the Blizzard Arena it was great just getting this glimpse into the future of the Overwatch League and it has me looking forward to next season so much!

And as we look at the results of this Homestand Weekend we can see a rapidly crystallizing playoff picture. With most teams only having a single game remaining, there is only so much movement left to happen. With five of the spots locked down, the remaining teams will be scrambling for the remaining three spots. But, that is the future. Let’s take a closer look at some of the performances that happened this past weekend.

 

The Battle for Texas

Going into the match there were many who wouldn’t even expect this to be a match. The Houston Outlaws have struggled this year, while Dallas has had both stronger showings in their matches, as well as the expectation of the roaring home crowd. However, the crowd proved to be a bit more divided than many expected, and someone forgot to let the Outlaws know they were so outclassed.

The matched started out at Lijiang Tower, and the results were pretty much how the predictions had expected. While the Outlaws showed up for a strong showing at point b, that didn’t stop them from being beaten two-oh and got completed rolled on point a. But that was where the Fuel’s dominance faltered.

The Dallas Fuel started on the attack as the match moved to the Temple of Anubis. But there the Fuel’s aggression was checked, as they failed to capture point b, acquiring on 53% of that point. When the Outlaws took their turn on the offensive they proved they were here for a match. And even though the Fuel gave a strong showing on defense they eventually crumbled. Allowing the Outlaws to tie up the match going into half-time.

When the second half started it was time for the hybrid map of King’s Row. Both teams crushed their opponents point defenses as if they weren’t even there. The defenses toughened after the initial blitzes, but in the end, only the Dallas Fuel was able to complete the map. Allowing them to move ahead in the series 2-1, and looking for match point.

The second map of the half was payload at Watchpoint Gibraltar. Dallas Fuel got the first attack, and got off to a blazing start, only to get ground to a halt as the Outlaws used the high ground in the hanger area of the map to great effect. With time dwindling the Fuel eventually managed to break the hold and push the payload to its final destination.

When the Outlaws took their attack they were nearly stopped on point a, as the Fuel brought an amount of long-range damage the Outlaws had no answer for. But due to a critical error, the Fuel allowed themselves to get grouped up. From there, the Outlaws used Zarya’s Graviton Surge, which broke the Fuel’s defense. It was still hard-fought, with many team fights going each way, but in the end, the Outlaws completed their attack and forced overtime on Gibraltar.

With both teams having little time in their time banks the tension was so heavy in the arena. One team fight win by the defense and either offensive would fail. The Outlaws took the offensive first, and while they put up a valiant effort they failed to capture the first point. The eyes turned to the Dallas Fuel. It looked bad initially, as the Fuel stalled under the first overpass, but thanks to a timely EMP that deprived the Outlaws of their abilities, and then, deprived them of the match.

The Battle of Texas lived up to and even exceeded, the hype. It was a great way to end the first of the Homestand weekends. And it will be a tough show to follow-up.

After losing their first game of the weekend against Hangzhou, The Chengdu Hunters dominated the London Spitfire, as the unique compositions, and leanings to DPS heavy teams left the Spitfire scratching their heads. Eventually, the Spitfire even attempted play into the unusual style of Overwatch Chengdu thrives in, but they couldn’t beat the Hunters at their own game. With one game left to go in the stage, the Hunters chances of a stage two playoff berth aren’t extinguished yet.

The Los Angeles Valiant didn’t manage a win to bring back with them to LA, but no one can say it wasn’t for lack of trying. While they struggled on Saturday against Dallas, and the full energy of the home crowds cheers for the Fuel, they brought a whole different game to bear against the Seoul Dynasty, and came so close to pulling the rug out from under Seoul in what would ultimately be 3 – 2 loss for the Valiant. If just a few clutch plays had landed differently, and if just a few head-scratching support ultimates hadn’t been misplayed, the match could’ve gone very differently. But that has largely been the story for the Valiant all season. But hopefully they will continue improving and stage three will be when the Valiant stretch their wings again.

Player of the Week

The Chengdu Hunters owed no small part of their stunning upset over the London Spitfire to their star DPS player JinMu, who stole the show this week, particularly whenever he was lighting up the sky with his unparalleled Pharah play. Showing an uncanny ability to balance situational awareness of his own character, managing to keep an unrelenting barrage of damage raining down on his opponents, and keeping the enemy formation broken up with Pharah’s knockback attacks, we are reminded, as long as there are players that can play DPS to this level, GOATS will never be the only meta.

That it for this Recap of stage two-week four of the Overwatch League. Hope you enjoyed the Homestead weekend, especially if you were lucky enough to be present in person. I hope you will join me later in the week when I preview the last week of stage two.

‘Til then, keep playing the point!