Atlanta Reign (7-7) vs New York Excelsior (12-2)
These two teams haven’t met since their last match in April. The Atlanta Reign shocked the league, upsetting the otherwise dominant New York Excelsior with a decisive 3-1 victory. Some say Bang “Jjonak” Sung-hyeon and company took their feet off the gas, Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman and the Atlanta Reign want to show their first win wasn’t a fluke. Taking two maps off New York would clinch the Atlantic Division for the London Spitfire so this game had a ton of weight.
Oasis: Atlanta 2-1 New York
This grudge match started with a GOATS mirror, both groups taking turns capping the point on University. Atlanta cycled ultimates well after losing the point and a few subsequent fights to New York to overcome the blue crew to take the first stage.
New York answered back on Gardens, forcing the issue on Atlanta who never got an offense going. The Reign looked the weakest they had all season against the regular season juggernauts.
The Reign would win the first map by playing their hearts out on City Center. Winston GOATS mirrors went the way of Atlanta allowing them to go up 1-0 over NYXL.
Hanamura: Atlanta 3-4 New York
Nathan “frd” Goebel subbed in for Donghyung“Daco” Seo as the second map started. Atlanta ran the triple DPS/Wrecking Ball composition into New York’s Reinhardt 3:3. Once they had the correct ultimates, Atlanta won the first point off of a well-timed Rocket Barrage from Jun “Erster” Jeong. Frd’s self-destruct killed two and Atlanta completed the map.
The Excelsior show Atlanta how it’s done and took point A within a couple of fights with Dogman playing out of his mind in this losing effort. New York completed Hanamura after a series of huge plays from both teams. Frd got himself caught out and lost his mech before the last fight started. Atlanta had no time bank so both teams got an additional minute.
In an impressive push, Andrej “Babybay” Francitsy led the first point charge but couldn’t finish the assault and complete the map again.
New York won the longer game, claiming Hanamura after completing the first point and destroying Atlanta in the one fight they needed. Things would be tied 1-1 going into halftime.
Blizzard World: Atlanta 2-1 New York
Atlanta may have lost Hanamura but the momentum was on their side. These teams would clash mirrored compositions on the third map and New York would immediately take the first point. Daco got a triple kill to prevent NYXL from snowballing through the streets phase after having the initial upper hand. The Excelsior soon found themselves failing to capture the second point.
The Reign would attack Blizzard World with another triple DPS/Wrecking ball look, making quick work of the New York GOATS defense. They would secure the map by carving the Excelsior in half with a Dragonstrike and preventing them from touching the payload in its final meters with Hyeonjun “Pokpo” Park’s Minefield. With a 2-1 lead, Atlanta looked to end their day on the fourth map.
Junkertown: Atlanta 2-3 New York
The Atlanta Reign struggled to push the payload past New York. Facing the end of their round and a fifth map, Atlanta pulled together to complete the first round in overtime, Dogman continued to force poorly-timed Transcendence’s from Jjonak. New York was truly on their back foot for the first time in this series, staggering through and wasting ultimates on streets. Jjonak redeemed himself and his squad was able to string together defenses that left the Reign just shy of point C.
In a callback to their last bout on King’s Row, Atlanta attempted to keep the Excelsior in their spawn. The plan backfired horribly and New York coasted to through Junkertown bringing the match to a map 5.
Lijiang Tower: Atlanta 2-0 New York
Like players possessed, Atlanta stormed onto the Garden of Lijiang Tower and quickly took control of the point. After some outplays from Kim “Mano” Dong-gyu, the point would flip to New York at 99 percent. The New York Excelsior would hold the point before losing it at 53 percent. Atlanta dug in to stave off New York and enter Night Market on match point.
Unwilling to lose without a fight, the Excelsior were kings of the second round. That is, until Atlanta took the point from them. The Reign stood their ground kept New York short of revenge and would go on to win the series, edging out a 100 percent to 98 percent victory.
Player of the Match: Dogman
The key to success was focusing Mano, the main tank for the Excelsior, and keeping pressure on the rest of the front-line. New York pours resources into Jjnoak so Atlanta abused that play style.
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