After going 9-1 for the second straight stage, the Excelsior walked their way to another stage win beating the Uprising 3-1-0.
Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
Boston came in without losing a single match in Stage 3 and they quickly handled the Gladiators earlier in the day. With that kind of momentum many thought that the Uprising would win or at least make this a tough series, they would be wrong. While Boston wasn’t bad they struggled in many areas during this series. They attempted a comeback after tying at Volskya and were close on Numbani but, they couldn’t finish off either map
Striker was easily their MVP of the series as he did just about everything in his power to try and keep Boston in this series. Mistakes had flashes but was clearly outmatched against the Excelsior’s DPS. The player who probably had the toughest match was Kellex as he struggled to get ult charge due to constantly being picked off.
As for New York, they proved that they are absolutely the team to beat for the season one finals, and there is still one whole stage left.
The DPS trio of Pine, Saebyeolbe, and Libero took over the series very early on. Saebyeolbe looked unstoppable throughout and made the case for why he is one of the top DPS in the league. JJonak was his usual self as he hit headshot after headshot keeping the Uprising on their heels.
New York has been one of the top teams since the beginning of the season. They were beat by London in the Stage 1 finals but now have back-to-back Stage final wins to go along with the best overall record in the league.
It will be interesting to see if they lose anyone or make any changes over the stage break. We saw London lose talented players in Rascal and Fissure as they wanted to play more. If the Excelsior lose any of their DPS or supports then their depth could be hurt.
The rest of the league have one stage to figure out New York or they will continue to dominate their way to a season 1 championship.
Wow. That’s all I can say after this match. The Boston Uprising were doing well early in the stage… and then Dreamkazper happened. Without their offensive linchpin, plenty of people had their doubts (myself included) about the Uprising’s chances in their next game against New York. New York! How cruel! A team that looked like it could be falling apart, forced up against the most dominant force in the Overwatch League?
Things looked grim, to say the least. Turns out, we needn’t worry. Montecristo said it best- the New England Patriots’ “next man up” philosophy is alive and well in Boston, and the Uprising have proven that they have the depth to make their mark no matter who they put on stage.
Two stages down with two stages to go and at the halfway point of the regular season the picture of best teams and players is becoming clearer. The New York Excelsior have separated themselves as the best team with their staggering amount of map wins and their stage two win over the Philadelphia Fusion. NYXL is the best team, but do they feature the league’s best player?
Stage two featured many breakthrough performances as the skill gap continues to close between former Apex players and the rest of the world. It’s been made abundantly clear that the talent pool is not centrally located, and after Josh “EQO” Corona bust onto the scene in stage two and dramatically improved the Fusion dive, no player can be underestimated.
Additionally, stage two featured plenty of established Apex players making their patented big plays. Kim “Libero” Hye-sung for the stage two champs showed his versatility by filling and producing with many different heroes. Similarly, Kim “Birdring” Ji-hyeok played that same role for the Spitfire, and continues to terrorize teams with his ridiculous skill and big play potential.
Other names who deserved consideration, the Outlaws Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin single-handedly won games in stage two. Hong “Gesture” Jae-hee didn’t make this list because of his deaths per 10 minutes, but in terms of damage from the main tank, there’s no one better. Let’s not forget Austin “Muma” Wilmot proving himself as one of the three best main tanks or Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun who’d be in the top five with more consistency.
Philadelphia Fusion Carpe
On championship Sunday, Lee “Carpe” Jae-hyeok was unconscious on Tracer and Widowmaker against the NYXL. This performance was more-or-less what Carpe will do on a daily basis. Outside of adding another playmaker like EQO and having an aggressive tank with Joona “Fragi” Laine play disruptor, Carpe’s freakish aim and game sense was the main reason the Fusion almost took the stage two title.
In terms of survivability as a Tracer, Carpe’s one of the best with a kill-death of 4.21 per 10 minutes which is good for fourth among active players. It’s not only his survivability on the opponent’s backline, but his ability to find those priority targets. Carpe’s arguably the next best Widowmaker behind Linzkr. If you need proof, watch the Widow’s in the stage two playoffs fail miserably in the sniper battles.
London Spitfire Profit
Similarly to the NYXL, the Spitfire have many players who are on the brink of breaking into the top five, but no player had the impact that Park “Profit” Joon-yeong had throughout stage two. Sure, Libero gives them that much-needed utility, but in terms of damage dealer, Profit’s been invaluable. Profit is the backbone to a feverishly aggressive team, spearheading it all.
Looking at the most kills throughout the league, Profit sits in second with 515 total kills and is in the top three in most statistical categories. Profit’s not the best Tracer in a Tracer driven league, but he’s really close to taking that top spot and has more versatility as a hitscan than some of his counterparts.
Los Angeles Gladiators Fissure
In terms of sheer impact on his team, Baek “Fissure” chun-hyung outshines nearly every player in the league. All the evidence is in the record before and after stage two for the Los Angeles Gladiators. Fissure’s presence changed everything for this team, and the rest of the roster is benefiting from a smart main tank who puts them in good positions.
Now, Fissure’s not the best tank in terms of overall damage; that designation belongs to Gesture. His survivability reigns supreme though. His job is to make it easier for the damage mains, and it’s hard to argue that any other tank has done that better while still dealing plenty of damage. Fissure is an incredibly smart player and the Gladiators are now starting to build around him which is scary for the rest of the league.
New York Excelsior JJoNak
Let me preface this decision by saying it’s not easy picking between two teammates who both severely outplayed the rest of the players in their particular role. Seong-hyun “JJoNak” Bang is another player similar to EQO that was pulled off the ladder, and after two stages, he’s proved in a short amount of time that he’s the best support main in Overwatch by a pretty good margin.
There are many reasons why JJoNak is so coveted as a Zenyatta main. It’s not only that he essentially plays the role of another damage main, but that even when a team dives on top of him, he’s so good in micro-situations that it’s no guaranteed kill. He’s in on every play in one way or another and constantly finding final blows. JJoNak leads all support mains in kills per 10 minutes by a few kills. It’s almost unfair to compare other support mains to this monster.
New York Excelsior Saebyeolbe
The best Tracer, and currently the world’s best player in New York Excelsior’s Park “Sabyeolbe” Jong-ryeol, who’s been the face of consistency in a league that demands that to be the best. Saebyeolbe is a wrecking ball of destruction, and that’s proven by his impressive statistics. First in total kills, damage, and he has the best kill-death and has a pretty healthy lead in all of those categories.
The NYXL sit at 18-2 on the season and are now the clear favorite to be holding the trophy at the end of the season. Saebyeolbe’s imposing Tracer play is the main reason this team finds themselves in this spot. It’s not just the unbelievable positioning, constantly outsmarting opponents, and one-clip prowess. It’s a constant struggle to find and kill Saebyeolbe, and that’s shown through his utter ridiculous kill streaks. He does it all and is the best Tracer in the most competitive role in the Overwatch League.
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The past couple weeks in Stage 2 have been nothing but full speed ahead for the New York Excelsior. With a big upcoming game against the Seoul Dynasty at the beginning of Week 4, the results could drastically influence Stage 2 playoff seeding. As of right now, the NYXL and Seoul Dynasty are the top two teams in the Overwatch League, with the London Spitfire closely behind. The NYXL may be ahead in the overall standings, yet the Seoul Dynasty still find themselves leading the pack in Stage 2. Nevertheless, both teams are pushing themselves so that they can get the top spot going into the Stage 2 playoffs. With an epic match on Wednesday, March 14, will Seoul be able to slow down the NYXL or will the NYXL silence Seoul’s roar?
Both teams have so much star-power and talent on their rosters that there is a marquee matchup in every role. It is hard to argue that there are better players who aren’t already on either of these two teams. With such great players in every position, the two main matchups that I am going to focus on is support and DPS.
It is safe to say that the teams who have the best supports have found the most success so far in the Overwatch League. Supports provide tangible things such as healing and damage, but also intangibles such as communication, leadership and the ability to track other team’s abilities. Support is a very powerful position when the right players are in and working together. In this coming matchup both teams have the best Zenyatta players in the league – Seong-Hyun “Jjonak” Bang on NYXL and Je-Hong “Ryujehong” Ryu on Seoul Dynasty. Both players drastically alter the game with their play. Whichever Zenyatta can give their team an advantage with an early pick on the other team and can use their ultimate more effectively in team fights, will ultimately give their team a greater chance of winning. The clip below shows Jjonak’s impact in a team fight.
Let’s not forget about the DPS matchup! The two-big flex DPS players to watch is Hae-Seong “Libero” Kim from the NYXL vs Byung-Sun “FLETA” Kim from Seoul. Both players can play just about every hero at a high level. In Overwatch, a game where counter picks can make a huge difference, expect to see many different heroes come out from these players in an attempt to counter the other and ultimately give their team an advantage. In addition to Libero and FLETA, expect to see a big Tracer matchup out of NYXL’s Jong-Ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park and Dynasty’s Sang-Beom “Munchkin” Byun or Jun-Hyeok “Bunny” Chae. All three Tracer players have their own unique play style, which helps their respective team dictate the pace of the game. The clip below shows the impact of Seoul Dynasty’s DPS players, helping secure a team fight win against the Philadelphia Fusion.
It’s undeniable that these are two of the best teams in the Overwatch League. However, who is really the number one team in the game? With an epic matchup between the Seoul Dynasty and NYXL that went all the way to a map five in Stage 1, and now has playoff implications in Stage 2, this rematch is one that you do not want to miss. Will Seoul prove that they are again the greatest team in Overwatch or will the NYXL flex their strength and show why they are the number one team in the overall standings?
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