Despite their early loss to the Atlanta Reign in Week 2, Toronto certainly defied expectations with their victory over the Los Angeles Valiant on Sunday. Without Se-hyeon “Neko” Park for the first three games of the 2019 season, many fans and analysts wrote off any early success from the Toronto Defiant. With victories over Houston and Los Angeles to start the season, the reunited Defiant face even more adversity heading into Week 3.
Week 2 Recap:
Reign- 3 Defiant- 1
Toronto opened Week 2 against a surging Atlanta squad that lived up to their expectations. Despite Toronto claiming Busan to open the series, Atlanta preceded to capture the remaining three maps in rather decisive fashion.
Many of the Reign’s key plays throughout the series revolved around their main tank Hyun-jun “Pokpo” Park and their flex support Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman. The Defiant were plagued with incredible focus damage from Dogman’s Zenyatta on Numbani and Dorado. His impressive escape of Kang-jae “envy” Lee’s Self Destruct on Dorado seemed to put an appropriate cap to the series’ action.
Player of the Game: Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman
Defiant- 2 Valiant- 1
After splitting their first two matchups, Toronto headed into their matchup with the winless LA Valiant with a great opportunity. After once again claiming the opening control map, a draw on Hollywood resulted in Horizon Lunar Colony being the deciding map for the Defiant.
Against his previous team, envy really shined in his role with Toronto. Several of his Self Destruct kills created key advantages for the rest of Toronto to exploit in multiple teamfights.
Despite envy’s stellar performance, the Zarya matchup between Seung-hyun “Ivy” Lee and the Valiant’s Young-seo “KariV” Park seemed to steal the show.
Over the course of Toronto’s three matches, Ivy has clearly embraced his role as their primary DPS threat for the Defiant. His versatility and efficiency on Zarya offer a multitude of compositions for the Defiant and has Ivy ranked in the top 10 in both average damage and eliminations/10 minutes.
Player of the Game: Seung-hyun “Ivy” Lee
New York Excelsior (4-0) 3/1
Seeming to pick up right where they left off, the New York Excelsior begin 2019 with an impressive four wins and merely four map losses. Despite their preference to composition, New York have done a fantastic job grooming a 3-3 composition that works for them.
With an elite tank core comprised of Dong-gyu “Mano” Kim and Tae-hong “MekO” Kim, the Defiant will have their hands full dealing with such a talented duo.
Their rookie addition of Yeon-kwan “Nenne” Jeong has also already paid dividends as New York’s primary Zarya specialist. Currently averaging 11,514 damage/10 minutes, Nenne sits one spot below Toronto’s own Ivy at 11,602. Fans could very well expect another Zarya duel on their hands in Week 3.
Some analysts may not give Toronto much of a chance in this matchup; however, those same analysts have not yet seen the Defiant Roster at full strength. Neko will debut against the NYXL, finally uniting the starting core of Toronto together for their 2019 campaign.
With Neko firmly entrenched as the team’s starting flex support going forward, both Jae-yoon “Aid” Go and Joo-seong “RoKy” Park can finally shine in their appropriate roles as well. Within this tank and support dominated meta, synergy between teammates is key. With their roster finally solidified, the Defiant have a chance to knock off the 2018 regular season champs and really solidify themselves as contenders in 2019. Easier said than done however.
Prediction: Defiant- 1 NYXL- 3
Boston Uprising (1-2) 3/3
It had to happen to someone and unfortunately for the Uprising, Week 2 was not kind to the Boston faithful. With Shanghai finally claiming their first victory, Boston dropped their second match of the season without their star main tank Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth at the helm. Due to contract ineligibility detailed by the league, Fusions availability for Week 3 still remains unspecified.
Without their formidable shot caller leading the way, Boston looked lost against the hungry Shanghai Dragons on such short notice. Even if Fusions is to miss the matchup with Toronto, expect a much cleaner performance from the Uprising than previously displayed in Week 2.
Regardless of Fusion’s availability, the Uprising have shown to be very susceptible to incorporation of Sombra’s EMP. The powerful hacker has wreaked havoc on Boston’s 3-3 composition since Week 1. With versatile Sombra usage from both envy and Do-hyung “Stellar” Lee, Toronto could be incorporating the popular hero with devastating results.
Prediction: Uprising- 1 Defiant- 3
Week 3 Player to Watch: Se-hyeon “Neko” Park
Neko’s arrival couldn’t come at a better time for the Defiant. Although the team has found early success, there have been many visible mistakes from the young squad that have cost them dearly.
This will be many fan’s first exposure to Neko since Boston’s short lived playoff run in 2018. As a key part of Boston’s undefeated Stage 3, Neko’s return will bring stability to a roster on the verge of contention. Be sure to watch for much more well rounded Zenyatta play overall, with much more efficient Transcendence usage.
Featured Image Courtesy of Babak Pedram
Player Images Courtesy of the Overwatch League
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