Overwatch

Overwatch League Hero Spotlight: Moira

Stage 1 of the Overwatch League began on January 10th and ended on February 10th; let’s look back throughout Stage 1 to see how the hero Moira impacted games. Moira, a support hero, who was released earlier in the year, saw some playtime due to her unique kit which other supports don’t provide – area-of-effect healing. Teams in the Overwatch League crafted specific strategies around her on maps such as Horizon Lunar Colony and Junkertown, enabling them to catch teams off guard and achieve success. Moira is one of the main reasons that Quad-Tank compositions are being seen more frequently within the game.

Impact of Quad-Tank

Known as the Deathball approach, the Quad-Tank + Moira + Lucio approach is nearly unkillable: due to the large health-pools on tanks and sustained area-of-effect healing by Moira. Teams mainly use this strategy on Horizon Lunar Colony, forcing teams who have set up a high ground defense to engage them on the capture point. By removing the high ground advantage that defensive teams have, attacking teams can force a team fight that is favorable for them, usually resulting in an easy take on the first capture point. The clip below is from Stage 1 Week 3 between the Seoul Dynasty and New York Excelsior, showing how the NYXL successfully used the Quad-Tank + Moira composition against the Dynasty.

Countering Quad-Tank

Although nearly unkillable, a few teams have managed to stop the impact of a Quad-Tank composition. By getting an early kill on one of the healers, negating the push, or quickly generating their hero’s ultimate charge off the enemy tanks, teams have been able to reduce the composition’s effectiveness. Seoul Dynasty’s Byung-Sun “FLETA” Kim sets a record time for generating Junkrat’s ultimate – Riptire, allowing him to stop NYXL’s Quad-Tank push in overtime. The clip below is from a later moment in the same map between the Seoul Dynasty and New York Excelsior. The Seoul Dynasty also end up winning the map: Map 2 Horizon Lunar Colony 5-4.

Quad-Tank on Junkertown

In addition to its use on Horizon Lunar Colony, Quad-Tank has also seen little play on Junkertown. Teams mainly run Quad-Tank as a stalling strategy on Junkertown or use it occasionally to deny Widowmaker’s impact. With large health-pools on tanks, teams are forced to adapt and figure out a solution if they want to overcome this strategy. Below is a clip from the London Spitfire vs Philadelphia Fusion game in Week 1, showing just how hard it is to deal with four tanks on the enemy team.

Stage 2 Outlook

Although, not impossible to counter, it’s clear that a Quad-Tank composition is effective when executed well and used in the right situation. In addition to Moira’s abundance of area-of-effect healing, she can also deal with enemy threats more so than Mercy via the use of her Biotic Grasp, Biotic Orb, and Fade abilities. With the current state of Moira in the game and changes Blizzard made, making Mercy an overall weaker support hero, Moira is a strong choice in any composition. Filling the void that Mercy will leave, we can expect to see more Moira competitive play alongside different supports and tanks during Stage 2 of the Overwatch League. Stage 2 of the Overwatch League kicks back off on Wednesday, February 21st.

 

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Featured Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment/Overwatch

Videos Clips: Overwatch League

OWL Stage 1 Playoffs

Spitfire Take Flight in Stage 1 Playoffs

The last games of the Overwatch League Week 5 were underway as teams looked to clinch their spot for the Stage 1 Playoffs and a share of $125,000. Only three teams could make the playoffs, but as the standings currently stood five teams were in the running – New York Excelsior, London Spitfire, Houston Outlaws, Los Angeles Valiant and Boston Uprising. Two major games on the last day of the Stage 1 regular season decided what teams would be in the playoffs and which ones wouldn’t.

Making the Playoffs

The first game of Week 5 Day 4 was none other than the New York Excelsior vs London Spitfire, followed by the Houston Outlaws vs Boston Uprising. With hopes and dreams of being crowned the Stage 1 champions, these games were nothing short of competitive, both series going the distance with a Map 5 tiebreaker on Lijang Tower. The New York Excelsior ended up securing a Map 5 win, a 3-2 series win over the Spitfire and sole possession of first place. Even with the loss, the Spitfire managed to clinch a playoff spot based on map win differential during the regular season.

With two teams in the playoffs only one more team could make it. That team being the Houston Outlaws, who won 3-2 over the Boston Uprising. With the Stage 1 playoffs set, the London Spitfire tried their hand against the Houston Outlaws – one of the few teams who beat them in the regular season. The winner then looked for their shot to beat the kings at the top of the table, the NYXL.

 

Stage 1 Playoffs Semifinal: London Spitfire vs Houston Outlaws

Map 1: Dorado

After the regular season matches finished up, and a short break for the playoff teams, the first playoff match between the London Spitfire and Houston Outlaws commenced. In the first ever Overwatch League playoffs teams had to win to a best of five maps to take the series, with a potential sixth map as a tiebreaker. With the series maps revealed, Map 1 between the Spitfire and Outlaws took place on Dorado. Commonly known for his Jakerat, Jake “Jake” Lyon’s Junkrat play defined the Outlaws defense against the Spitfire on the first two points of Dorado.

With grenades and mines all around, the Spitfire couldn’t seem to get past the minefield and into the backline of the Houston Outlaws. With a stellar defense on Dorado, the Outlaws held the Spitfire to only one point. The outlaws then carried their defensive momentum onto their attack round where they pushed the payload and finished the map, taking Map 1 on Dorado 2-1 against the spitfire.

Map 2: Ilios

Birdring: Courtesy of London Spitfire

With an unsuccessful Map 1 win, the Spitfire look to take Map 2 Control Point on Ilios. Dominate and deadly, the Spitfire DPS players Jun-Young “Profit” Park and Ji-Hyeok “Birdring” Kim had their way with the Houston Outlaws. Controlling team fights and finding kills, the Spitfire swiftly take both rounds on Ilios to secure a 2-0 Map 2 win. To the Spitfire’s credit, at the end of both rounds on Ilios, Profit had 24 eliminations and only died once – a commanding performance by the DPS from the Spitfire. Even though they got off to a slow start in Map 1, the Spitfire manage to tie the series back up 1-1.

Map 3 & 4: Temple of Anubis/Eichenwalde

After a dominate performance by the Spitfire on Map 2 they carried that momentum into the next two maps. The DPS for the London Spitfire shined againas they took both points on Map 3 Temple of Anubis and managed to full hold the Houston Outlaws on their defense – not giving them a single tick of the control point meter – resulting in a 2-0 Map 3 win on Temple of Anubis. With the Spitfire flying high and the Outlaws batter and bruised, the Spitfire look to finish the series with a Map 4 win on Eichenwalde. Able to capture the point and push the payload, the Spitfire take a point on their offensive round.

However, the story of Map 4 was the Spitfire’s defense, they again manage to hold the Outlaws and not give them the first point. A 1-0 victory on Map 4 means that London Spitfire win the series 3-1 against the Houston Outlaws, guarantees them at least $25,000, and a rematch in the Stage 1 Finals against the New Excelsior who they lost against at the beginning of the day. With the finals set, who will be crowned the first ever Overwatch League stage champion: New York Excelsior or the London Spitfire?

Stage 1 Playoffs Finals: London Spitfire vs New York Excelsior

Map 1: Junkertown

Map 1 took place on Junkertown and it was battle of the snipers. Birdring from the Spitfire and NYXL’s Do-Hyeon “Pine” Kim both contented for sight-lines, trading picks back and forth. At one-point Pine flanks behind the Spitfire with his Widowmaker and gets a casual four kills, nearly wiping the entire Spitfire team by himself. After the Spitfire regroup they manage to push the payload and capture all three points on Junkertown, with no time left. On NYXL’s attack they run triple tank with Seong-Hyun “JJonak” Bang on Roadhog, who normally plays Zenyatta in the support role, to mitigate the damage that Birdring could do. The NYXL quickly take all three points on Junkertown with just over four minutes left in their time bank to force an overtime round. With a very advantageous time bank left, the New York Excelsior take Map 1 on Junkertown with a score of 4-3.

Map 2: Oasis

Map 2 went to Oasis where the teams battled to control the point. The London Spitfire started off strong on both rounds of Oasis, getting the control point meter to 99 percent before having it flipped by the NYXL. To New York’s credit they fully held the point from 0 to 100 percent, locking out the Spitfire from both rounds and the map. After a Map 2 on Oasis that slipped out of the London Spitfire’s reach, the New York Excelsior were only one map away from being crowned as Stage 1 champs. And then they began to do it.

Maps 3, 4, 5: Horizon Lunar Colony, Numbani, Dorado

Map 3 Horizon Lunar Colony is where the London Spitfire began their reverse sweep. Unable to take down Birdring and the Spitfire’s overtime defense, the New York Excelsior fell to the London Spitfire. London Spitfire take Map 3 Capture the Point on Horizon Lunar Colony with a score of 3-2. Map 4 went to Hybrid on Numbani where the Spitfire displayed one of the most impressive defensive holds in all of the Overwatch League. Birdring was nearly untouched by the opposition during the match, dealing free damage and finishing off kills. With little success and unable to break the Spitfire’s defense the NYXL were full held, unable to take the point on Numbani.

The Spitfire walk away with a Map 4 victory on Numbani 1-0, series tied 2-2. Map 5 Escort the Payload on Dorado was the final map of the series and someone was walking away as the victors. That team was the London Spitfire. They completed the reverse sweep against the NYXL, winning Map 5 Dorado with a score of 2-1. What turned out to be a marathon of a day and a run through the playoff gauntlet, the London Spitfire took flight as they were named the first ever Overwatch League Stage 1 Champions.

 

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Featured Image Credit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch

Overwatch Week 2/13 News

On the off week between the Overewatch League stages one and two, there’s still plenty of news and reports coming in. With game director Jeff Kaplan talking about upcoming hero changes, to reports of new players joining different teams, there’s something for everybody. After the exhilarating five weeks of Overwatch, many teams look poised to change-up strategies. Some teams like New York Excelsior and the London Spitfire are oozing confidence coming into the second stage. Others, like the Shanghai Dragons and Florida Mayhem will look to turn their season around.

Play Symmetra you cowards!

Currently Overwatch has 26 heroes available to play. Their roles vary between offense, defense, Overwatchtank, and support. Symmetra is placed within the support role. Many who play supports have a problem with this, as currently her only viable way to support is to use her ultimate. With this, she may either place a teleporter or shield generator. She has no ability to heal, and only a minor moving shield she can deploy. This is the main problem with her role as a support. She is not viable when compared with others like Ana or Mercy. These heroes can heal and sustain their teammates. Symmetra, for this reason, is incredibly difficult to fit into a team composition.

Because of all this, Symmetra was the only hero that did not see any playing time during stage one of the Overwatch League. This led to many humorous posts and posters clamoring for someone to show her some love, much like the photo to the right. The good news is that Jeff Kaplan knows Symmetra isn’t on par with the other heroes. In a recent forum post, Kaplan stated that, “Symmetra will require more work to get into a better place and therefore take longer to address”. Ideas for the hero have not been revealed, but it is a good sign that the development team knows there is more to be done to do her justice.

Hanzo, what could have been

Another hero that has been receiving tweaks and ideas for improvement is Hanzo. The main problem players have with Hanzo is that his ability scatter arrow rewards players for aiming at an enemies feet. This was not the intention of the ability. As a sniper, Hanzo and his abilities should focus on a player’s aim. Geoff Goodman took to the forums to share some of the ideas the Blizzard development team had been working on.

Overwatch

Source: Play Overwatch and Blizzard Entertainment

The first attempt they tried was giving Hanzo a fast-moving, shield piercing arrow. While it required aim, the team felt that it’s piercing nature was still frustrating to those utilizing the utmost positioning of barriers. They then focused on keeping scatter arrow but changing its properties. Instead of splitting into multiple arrows as it currently does, they tried making it a ricochet mechanic. With one or even two bounces, the arrow was deemed fair, although incredibly hard to use. It would require extreme knowledge of every map, and how the arrow would bounce off each area. While fun to use, it wasn’t a consistent enough ability that would lead to players feeling let down.

A final rework was a new ability. It would be a reload of his cooldowns, and would require around two or three seconds of animation to effectively use. While it seemed like a good fit for his scatter arrow, the recon ability of sonic arrow became to powerful with such fast resets. Ultimately, Goodman ends the post saying that while none of these have worked, they’ve narrowed what can be done to make Hanzo more rewarding to play.

 

Overwatch League receiving Girl Power

Rumors and reports are abound that the Shanghai Dragons are looking to add some more players to their roster in an attempt to perform better during stage two. One of the most intriguing of these are reports of the team signing professional Overwatch player Geguri. Geguri is actually Kim Se-yeon, a South Korean pro player. If these reports turn out to be true and the Dragons do sign Geguri, they will add the first female player to the Overwatch League. This is exciting news as it would allow a breaking of the gender barrier. Geguri is an extremely talented player who can add a new energy and dynamic to a struggling team. Her play as Zarya is actually so well executed, many professional players reported her for cheating. Geguri was cleared of any cheating by Blizzard, and many who accused her issued apologies for doubting her ability.

(Update: She has officially been signed according to reports)

Check out a few highlights of her play on Zarya here.

The Dragons are also reportedly in the mix to sign a few other Korean players. Both  Lee “Fearless” Eui-Seok and Cheon “Ado” Ki-hyun are set to join Geguri in signing. If this is true, that would mean that Shanghai is not ready to call it on their Overwatch season and that they’ll continue to tweak their roster to find the best fit. With three more stages to go, there is plenty of time.

A Shift in the Meta?

Overwatch

(Photo Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment)

Stage one of the Overwatch League featured the latest patch applied before the stage began. Now, the teams will have to adjust to a different patch. Two of the key heroes of stage one have been nerfed.

Mercy is the most notable, as her Valkyrie will no longer be the focus of every team fight. With a fixed one resurrect charge, her time in the meta may fall out of favor for other supports. This could allow Ana and Moira to shine. Their abilities fit a more up-tempo style of play that could see teams like the Dallas Fuel having a better record. Junkrat is also receiving a nerf to his concussion mine damage. Instead of doing a flat-rate of damage, the damage will now fall-off with distance from the mine. While this does make Junkrat technically weaker in general, the aiming abilities of many of the top players should still be able to utilize his mine’s effectively.

Sombra has also had some new tweaks placed on the public test realm. Her hacked medpacks will no longer give her ultimate charge. To balance this, her hacking and EMP would now effect more abilities. While this is a balancing act, many feel that it will allow Sombra to flourish more in a competitive scene. With a key support in Mercy receiving major changes from stage one to stage two, many teams may switch their play styles. This is what Overwatch is all about, constantly shifting the meta. The dive meta will most likely reign supreme, but Mercy may find herself sitting on the sidelines.

 

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London Spitfire Win OWL Stage One: Defense is name of the game

The players that make up the London Spitfire have enjoyed a wealth of success in their short careers. Following the royal road to an Apex title, earning the title as the best team in Korea, and now winning the stage one championship in dramatic fashion over the New York Excelsior. A pattern is forming and it involves the heart of the Spitfire roster and winning everything.

BDosin happy after winning the stage one championship. Photo via https://www.flickr.com/photos/londonspitfire/with/39319450275/

London went down two games to a New York Excelsior team with a nearly unblemished record, on the biggest stage. The Spitfire needed to rally to become the first Overwatch League champion. This was a team that struggled to find their footing and lost winnable games due to lack of teamwork in stage one. It was a process, one that required serious trial and error.

Fortunately for London, they employ the strongest defensive unit in Overwatch history. A suffocating, relentless defense that’s been the main driver behind the success of GC Busan and now the London Spitfire. In fact, throughout all of stage one, the Spitfire had the most shutouts on non-control maps.

Now, this type of defensive effort goes back to the Apex days. GC Busan made a living off strong defensive holds. Even with an uncoordinated offensive attack, GC Busan would always find a way to hold offenses on the first point. The GC Busan spirit is embedded into this team. Add in the helping hands of Kim “Birdring” Ji-hyuk and Choi Seung-tae (to name a few), who have helped elevate an already ridiculously talented GC Busan roster. 

Shutting Down the NYXL

In game four on Numbani, the Spitfire got off to a rough start on offense, barely capping the first point and failing to reach the second point. At the end of that attack, it felt like the momentum had suddenly shifted back to the Excelsior. The lack of ultimate kills despite good ultimate economy was the difference, but Kim “Rascal” Dong-jun out positioning the Excelsior on the high-ground with Soldier 76 turned the last and most important fight.

The Spitfire’s Numbani offense only lasted a few meters longer before getting shut down. The reverse-sweep hanging in the balance on a map that’s notorious for easy offense was London’s most dangerous situation. Only a world-class hold against a team fielding Park “Saebyeolbe” Jong-yeol and Kim “Libero”  Hye-sung would do the job. Luckily, Birdring is one of the most dangerous Widowmaker players on the planet and stepped up in the moment.

The Excelsior continued to dive at Rascal on Junkrat, who was isolated on the high-ground near the first point on Numbani, spraying down the street. The dive exposed Rascal, but it gave Birdring easy shots onto he NYXL healers. JJoNaK struggled to avoid Birdring using Widowmaker’s grappling hook to get the extreme height and tracking BDosin on the low-ground targeting him on Zenyatta. It was scary a one-two punch.

By the same token, Hong “Gesture” Jae-hee played a fantastic zoning Winston. In the event of a disadvantaged fight, the Spitfire would disengage around the backside of Numbani first point and re-engage with a dive, led by Gesture pushing the Excelsior into bad spots. The use of ultimates on defense for the Spitfire is much more organic and valuable. Gesture’s primal rages were game changers.

Dorado

Heading into game five, the Spitfire were riding a wave of momentum entering a map they’d beaten the NYXL on earlier in the day. The pressure was also flipped over to the Excelsior who were scrambling to avoid the reverse-sweep. The Excelsior stuck it out with Saebyeolbe and Libero on the dive and the Spitfire moved back to Profit on Junkrat over Rascal.

However, the formula for the Spitfire closing out the series was similar to their Numbani and Horizon defense.  Give Birdring Widowmaker sightlines and protect him by using the tanks aggressively. Kim “Fury” Jun-ho on D.Va combined with Birdring to dive on every player Birdring weakened from the backlines. It was a beautifully choreographed play from the Spitfire defense.  

Together with the strength of Birdring and the tank play, Profit’s laser focus on taking out the Excelsior supports stunted many NYXL attacks. On multiple occasions, Profit’s delayed rip tire got to the backline and took out Hong “ArK” Yeon-joon on Mercy and JJoNaK on Zenyatta to ruin the Excelsior’s day. Profit’s play was incredible, single-handedly forcing the opposition to back up and stay aware of Profit’s positioning.

In the final analysis, it’s clear the Spitfire still haven’t completely gelled as a team offensively. However, the players on that roster have a talent for zoning defense and ultimate usage. It’s scary because this squad is only going to get better from here on out. The players of the London Spitfire keep winning. No matter the situation, they pull it out. That’s a strong trait for a team to display early on.

Overwatch League Power Rankings

Overwatch League Power Rankings: Stage 1 Week 4

We will be releasing these weekly before the week’s matches get started, so make sure to check back in.

As we head into week 4, we saw some surprising results last week. With the top dogs going down, the power rankings have been shaken in a major way for the first time since week 1.

12. Shanghai Dragons 0-6 (matches against excelsior & spitfire)

Overwatch League Power RankingsIt is not only their record that is keeping them in last. Just about every match they have played so far hasn’t been close. They have won a total of four maps this entire season. Overall, they just look completely overpowered and out of sync. Their DPS can’t seem to keep up with the many strong duos throughout the OWL.

That being said, they have looked better. Going into week 3, they had only won one map. This past week, they won three and sent the Fusion into a map five. While they lost, they looked more coordinated and like they were starting to get into a groove. It is possible that they have figured out some of their major issues and may be able to pick up a win, but we highly doubt it will be this week as they face the Excelsior and Spitfire.

11. Florida Mayhem 1-5 (Matches against Gladiators & Shock)

Overwatch League Power RankingsOne would think that this team would be doing much better. They have struggled mightily, and last week was no different. They seem to always give a fight at the beginning, then once they get down, they putter out. Their team chemistry doesn’t seem to be there, and that was their main advantage over most of the other teams heading into this season.

This week, they play against two beatable squads in the Gladiators and Shock. San Francisco in particular could be a good matchup for them. If they can come together as a group and win their games this week, they could climb up the power rankings pretty quickly.

10. San Francisco Shock 2-4 (matches Against Outlaws & Mayhem)

Overwatch League Power RankingsOn our preview and recap videos, we have been saying for awhile that the Shock need to get away from just relying on Babybay. Well, they have that part down, but sadly, he is dying at a very high rate as teams are focusing him. He has died 437 times, which is about 200 more times than Birdring. They need to protect him and just try to win as many games as they can until Sinatraa is old enough to play sometime around the third stage.

San Fran starts off this week against one of the hottest teams in the league. If they can upset them, that will help their stock quite a bit. As for their match against the Mayhem, this is an opportunity for them to get their third win against a team that has struggled. If the Shock can pull out a win this week, they will have separated themselves from the bottom tier.

9. Dallas Fuel 1-5 (Matches against Fusion & Excelsior)

Overwatch League Power RankingsYes, it is a little odd to have a team with one win above the 2-4 Shock, but records don’t mean everything. The Fuel have had a tough schedule and have struggled more than just about any team with their chemistry. They have plenty of talent and showed it last week by getting a win. If they can bring themselves together and finish out maps, which are things they have struggled to do, then they will be looking a lot better.

This week, their schedule does not get any easier. They play against a solid Fusion team to start it off and then against the Excelsior, who knocked off the Dynasty last week. If they can pull out one win this week, they will be looking a lot better and could maybe finish the stage with a decent record.

8. Los Angeles Gladiators 2-4 (Matches Against Mayhem & Uprising)

Overwatch League Power RankingsWe are having a hard time completely reading this Gladiators team. They show so much promise in some games, like when they went toe to toe with the Valiant. Then they got swept by Houston, who is a good team to be fair, but the Gladiators just looked overpowered in those games.

This week, LAG face a very beatable Mayhem and should be able to play a competitive match against the Uprising. If they can finish this week at .500, they will move up the power rankings. Also, it will make their playoff chances a lot higher, which is something we have to start looking at as we head into week 4.

7. Los Angeles Valiant 4-2 (Matches Against Fusion & Uprising)

Overwatch League Power RankingsThis Valiant team is almost starting a trend for themselves. They went 2-0 in week 1, 0-2 in week 2, then 2-0 again last week.

Could they fall victim to themselves this week? Superstition aside, this team is similar to their LA counterparts, but better. They have more positive moments and look like they could beat anyone at times, then they look very beatable at others. If they can stay even keel, expect this team to make some noise.

In their week 4 matches, the Valiant are playing two teams on the rise in the Fusion and Uprising. This could be the week where we see who the Valiant truly are. Winning both of this week’s matches will put the Valiant very near the top and show they are a true force in the league. Losing both will may point out where they will need to improve for the next stage.

6. Boston Uprising 3-3 (Matches Against Gladiators & Valiant)

Overwatch League Power RankingsBoston pulled off probably the biggest surprise of the Overwatch League thus far. Beating London proved that this team is starting to put it together. Not only that, but they went on to beat a Fuel team that is looking much stronger than in previous weeks. This could be a team to watch in their last four matches as they could be giant killers for the rest of the stage.

This week, they play both of the hometown favorites in the Gladiators and Valiant. If their win against the Spitfire wasn’t just a fluke, then their winning streak could easily go to four games. This is a scary team if they catch fire, and everyone in the league should be on the lookout for them.

5. Philadelphia Fusion 4-2 (Matches Against Valiant & Fuel)

Overwatch League Power RankingsPhilly beating New York was amazing. It showed they are actually a good team. Everyone had wondered going into week 3, and they made their mark by going 2-0 and beating arguably the best team in the league. Their goal now is to make sure they solidify their spot as a a top-tier team and make the Stage 1 playoffs.

This week, the Fusion will be facing two teams that are looking to build off their week 3 success. Overlooking either of them would be a huge mistake for Philly. They will have to bring their best and win both games to have a chance to make it into the top three and have a chance at the Stage 1 title.

4. Houston Outlaws 4-2 (Matches against Shock & Dynasty)

Overwatch League Power RankingsIs there a hotter team than the Outlaws? Probably not.

Jake and LiNkzr are showing why they are one of the best DPS duos in the league. They have won four straight matches and 16 straight games. All of that being said, they have not played a top six team in the last two weeks. We know they can beat lower-tier teams in a convincing fashion, but they will need to do more in the coming weeks.

This week, they start off against the Shock, who they should be able to beat relatively easily. Then they play their toughest team since they played New York in week 1, the Seoul Dynasty.

Houston is right outside of the top three because of their two losses, but their map wins are 19-6, which is second only to the Dynasty’s 20-4. They need to win their first match and take at least a map or two off the Dynasty to push their way into the top three.

3. London Spitfire 5-1 (Matches Against Dynasty & Dragons)

Overwatch League Power RankingsLondon suffered their first loss of the season to the Uprising. They had been looking beatable, but were still easily a top-tier team. Most are assuming their loss comes from a lack of playing together and having many good players on one team. They will need to keep working on team cohesion in order to stay in the Stage 1 playoffs at the third spot.

This week, they face arguably the best team in the league in Seoul. Then they face the worst in the Dragons. If they can win their first match against the Dynasty, they will be sitting pretty not just in the power rankings, but they will also most likely make their way into the Stage 1 playoffs because they should easily beat the Dragons.

2. Seoul Dynasty 5-1 (Matches Against Spitfire & Outlaws)

Overwatch League Power RankingsIt was really hard putting this squad at No. 2. They’re the only Korean team with a loss to another top Korean team. The Excelsior showed the Dynasty’s weaknesses last week, and trust us, there aren’t many. That being said, they easily deserve a top-tier spot and will most likely continue to stay up here.

Seoul has the hardest schedule this week. They will face the other Korean squad in the spitfire and then face arguably the hottest team in the league, the Houston Outlaws. The Dynasty will get to show the league what they are made of. Will they crumble to another Korean team and the top US team, or will they prove everyone who said they were the best team in the league correct? We personally cannot wait to find out.

1. New York Excelsior 5-1 (Matches Against Dragons & Fuel)

Overwatch League Power RankingsAt No. 1 we have NYXL. Even though this team lost to the Fusion, they were able to beat the Dynasty.

What does that means? Who knows? It probably doesn’t matter though as they were able to win without playing Pine at all. It might be that Pine is exclusively used on Ilios, but either way, New York proved why they are the top team with that win.

This week should be relatively easy for the Excelsior. They play a Dragons team that they should 4-0 and a Dallas team that has failed to put everything together. We expect the Excelsior to win and most likely hold this top spot as they prepare for the Stage 1 playoffs.

 

We hope you have enjoyed our power rankings! Please let us know where you have the teams or let us know if you disagree with where we put your favorite team. Check back next week to see where we place everyone after what is sure to be an exciting week 4.

 

Featured image from alpha.wallhaven.cc

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

The NYXL proving that the Overwatch League is wide open

When the Seoul Dynasty announced they were acquiring the most successful Overwatch team in the game’s short history, Lunatic-Hai, the Overwatch world crowned their season one champion. How could a team with such a prominent history falter? Well, after their first matchup with a top-three roster, the tune around the league has changed dramatically.

The New York Excelsior entered their match against the Dynasty following a hard-fought loss to an underrated Philadelphia Fusion squad. It was the Excelsior’s first loss of the season, and the first time they looked vulnerable. Heading into a fist fight with the consensus best team meant this team would have to make serious mental and in-game adjustments to get a win.

Mind you, this match was on the heels of the two most heart-throbbing and intense matches of the season. With the Excelsior falling to the Fusion and the London Spitfire losing on the fifth map to the Boston Uprising, beating the top Korean teams wasn’t inconceivable anymore. Now, with the pressure of ending week three at 0-2, The Excelsior showed the league that the Dynasty is mortal.

The game plan for NYXL

NYXL talking some strategy before facing the Seoul Dynasty. Photo via twitter.com/NYXL

If a team wants to have a chance against the Dynasty, it not only is going to take a full cohesive team effort, but it will require players outperforming their counterpart in key positions. Let’s start with the talk of the league in Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun. Shutting him down is imperative to any sort of strategy against the Dynasty.

For example, Fleta deals the most damage on a litany of heroes for Dynasty. On top of his absolutely filthy Widowmaker play, his Genji and Pharah are world class, and early in the season, he’d completely shut teams down with his damage output. The NYXL made this a priority, and fortunately having a force like Park “Saeyeolbe” Jong-yeol and Kim “Libero” Hye-sung to counter Fleta actually worked out.

NYXL’s Support Duo continues to dominate

However, it wasn’t just putting Libero on Pharah and both NYXL DPS players out dueling Fleta on the Widowmaker. No, the most important factor to the Excelsiors’ win was a player who I believed separated himself from the other support mains in the Overwatch League. Bang “JJoNak” Sung-hyeon is now firmly in the conversation for MVP with his DPS-like Zenyatta play.

The combination of JJoNak’s survivability on the back-line, damage output and healing output, coupled with Hong “Ark” Yeon-joon getting the brunt of the healing duties on Mercy, has made that support line extremely difficult to break. It was the main difference between the two squads last Saturday. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Ryu “Ryujehong” Je-hong struggle that hard.

Is the NYXL the best team in the Overwatch League? 

It’s a long season. It might be tempting to crown the Excelsior as the best team now, but there are too many games left to believe anything’s figured out. We still have yet to see the London Spitfire matchup with either of these two teams. And based on the roster makeup of the Dynasty and Excelsior, NYXL has the means to counter the Dynasty better than anyone.

Furthermore, there’s still plenty of time left for all these teams to develop more chemistry and gain more momentum.The top-three front-runners are clear, but the standing of the teams right behind them is unclear. Teams like the Los Angeles Valiant, Fusion and Uprising have displayed plenty of game knowledge and talent.

The emergence of the Excelsior support players and the deep bench leads me to believe this team can pull it off. But, with the transfer window approaching, and the fact that most teams have already drastically improved, it feels unlikely to stay that way.

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Featured photo via NYXL Twitter

 

And the Overwatch League Week One MVP is…

The opening week of the Overwatch League has now come and gone, and after two games a piece the teams are already starting to separate themselves. In similar fashion, certain players stood out amongst the talented group and flashed early on.

It is no surprise, the best teams in the league are the heavy-Korean teams such as the Seoul Dynasty, London Spitfire, and New York Excelsior. All of whom ended the first week at 2-0. The other undefeated team is the one surprise from this week, the Los Angeles Valiant sweept their matches ending the week up 7-0 in games.

Who was the week one MVP?

After the dust settled, four players stood out among the rest of the player pool. The first player to be mentioned is Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun for the Seoul Dynasty. Unlike any other player this weekend, Fleta went above and beyond with his hero pool. Seven unique characters all combining to do massive amounts of damage and help carry the Dynasty to a 6-1 weekend.

Pine signing autographs after the win. Photo via the Overwatch League

As for the unsung heroes of the opening week, how about Terence “SoOn” Tarlier and the Valiant taking the league by storm? Led by SoOn and his backline Tracer play the Valiant rolled through the San Francisco Shock and came out victorious even though they were the underdog against the Dallas Fuel. SoOn’s presence made the difference with his constant pressure that worked wonders alongside Valiant’s dive composition.

Looking at the New York Excelsior roster, there are a few names that took a big step this weekend. Kim “Pine” Do-hyeon’s flashiness on the Widowmaker and McCree or Park “Saebyeolbe” Jong-yeol rolling on Tracer made it a tough decision to make. One Excelsior separated himself from some of the other support mains in the league

Bang “Jjonak” Sung-hyeon was responsible for huge picks, a great deal of healing, fight winning transcendents, and a ridiculous amount of healing on Zenyatta. It truly was an all-around great performance. In terms of best Mercy play, one half of the Dynasty dynamic support-duo, Jin-mo “tobi” Yang, was nasty with Valkyrie, moving in-and-out of danger in a flash.

It’s hard to pick a favorite of the London Spitfire roster considering that roster still feels very much in the air. Keep an eye on the Spitfire to have a more fluid starting roster in the future.

Drumroll Please

As for the best of the weekend, it’s quite simple, Fleta was the workhorse for the Seoul Dynasty. Anytime the Dynasty needed a hero switch and a big push, Fleta would switch and the Dynasty would win. It’s nice to see a wide variety of top-end talents at multiple heroes and position making a name for themselves. Now let’s see if they do it again in week two.

 

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Featured photo via Overwatch League

New York Annouces Team Name and Roster for the Overwatch League

In a formal announcement to the world, the New York ownership group of the Overwatch League revealed their new name, logo and roster, according to Jacob Wolf of ESPN. Without further ado, I present the New York…Excelsior?

This can’t be right. Excelsior? The word to describe superior quality at hotels and newspapers? Ok, I’ll give them a pass on the name. Finding a catchy, marketable and familiar name is hard. That’s fine. I’m sure their logo will make up for the team name.

Photo via https://blizzard.gamespress.com/Esports-Overwatch

…what happened? The last thing I remembered before passing out was some blue wavy lines that…oh no, oh god no, it can’t be…

Yes, the decision on the logo and team name are, uh, interesting, but the decision makers got one thing right: the roster. It won’t be the most talented roster, but it will be good enough to compete against the best teams. New York will have a high-powered Korean team that should generate some excitement.

Let’s make it clear, the Overwatch League is going to be chalk full of talent on the player end, but an ownership group filled with inexperience on the esports end might not be fully prepared for what’s to come. I’m not here to criticize a new, innovative league that is trying to build the scene, but there seems to be a disconnect between the fan base and the owners.

The New York Excelsior join the Shanghai Dragons, Seoul Dynasty, Boston Uprising, Dallas Fuel and last but not least the Las Angeles Valiant, for the inaugural season. London’s team announcement will be soon along with the six remaining cities.

Luckily, despite the disconnect, the league will be highly competitive. Overwatch, as a competitive entity, is still a mess in terms of the structure of the scene. The Overwatch League will be a remedy to fix that with all the talent available in the pool. At the very least, it will centralize everything and is guaranteed to capture the interest of potential fans.

Is the Overwatch League out of touch with h fans?
Now, this has little to do with silly names and ridiculous looking logos. It has more to do with a league that has invested millions of dollars into a game that’s still building a following. The 30 million player base is clouding the minds of executives making the competitive Overwatch scene feel bigger than it actually is.

Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/ogn

Approximately, OGN’s Apex gets 23,000 views on Twitch per broadcast (courtesy of esc.watch). Now Apex might not be the bet control to get an accurate number for how many Americans are tuning into Overwatch broadcast. From what I’ve seen, most Overwatch streams don’t get over 30k viewers. It’s dramatically smaller than the biggest games in esports currently.

Important to realize, there’s a major difference between a casual and hardcore player. 30 million players might sound sexy to potential investors, but that’s no guarantee of a successful league. Popular games have failed in the past to gain a competitive audience, as the game has to be exciting to watch more than anything.

Thankfully, the majority of fans are outside of the United States. Even if the American population doesn’t take to it, Asia and Europe have plenty of fans to fall back on. It’s the job of the league to take that player base and turn it into fans. First time in esports history, fans can cheer for their hometown team. It’s a great opportunity to really build something sustaining in esports.

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