The first quarter of the 2019 Overwatch League season has come to a close in an explosive fashion. Now, it’s time to take a look back at some of the best matches played throughout the stage. These four games are the brightest moments and most exciting matches of season two, stage one.
Boston Uprising vs Dallas Fuel - Week 5
The Boston Uprising’s upset over the Dallas Fuel didn’t have direct playoff implications, but this match would position the winner as a likely candidate to receive a playoff berth.
This match caps off a fantastic story that surrounds the Uprising. Fusions, their academy main tank who was added to the starting roster at the last minute, has been a force to be reckoned with all season long. Paired with him this match was ace Zenyatta player AimGod, who had an amazing series against Dallas. Their leadership late into the series was pivotal in Boston’s comeback victory.
Dallas took a commanding lead within the first two maps, but Boston was able to adapt to the Fuel’s style — specifically, their Sombra. This led to a massive momentum shift. Control ended with a 1-2 lead for the Fuel and King’s Row was a lot more of the same. However, Boston roared back after the half and fully held the Fuel from scoring any points on Dorado drawing the game into a fifth map, where Boston narrowly emerged victoriously.
Vancouver Titans vs Chengdu Hunters - Week 4
The Chengdu Hunters’ near 2-3 upset against the Vancouver Titans in Week 4 was not only entertaining but deceptively insightful. Not only did the match show that the Titans were mortal, but they struggled against a team playing so many different styles.
To expand, the Hunters are most known for their stellar DPS compositions and their Wrecking Ball based compositions that teams specifically have to prepare for. What ends up happening is that Chengdu pulled out all the stops and even showed off a solid grasp of the triple tank and triple support composition, which was a rarity for them to actually use and find success with. The Titans didn’t roll over and die on the maps they lost, making each game a fierce battle. Credit has to be given to Chengdu’s main tank, Ameng, who has been one of the best Hammond players in the world, who also found a good amount of success on Reinhardt in this match.
One thing to keep an eye out for is how Ameng uses Reinhardt’s Earth Shatter. On Route 66 he’s constantly using his ultimate to counter the Titans engagements and slowing down their constant aggression. We can praise the Hunters for their improvements until we are blue in the face, but at the end of the day, the Titans were able to adapt and overcome the metaphorical grab bag that the Hunters can tend to be.
This match is for those who are tired of the goats meta, and I’d encourage people to follow the Hunters for more quirky and unique strategies.
New York Excelsior vs Seoul Dynasty - Stage Quarterfinals
The New York Excelsior’s 1-3 upset at the hands of the Seoul Dynasty was shocking, to say the least. This was the Atlantic Division Leader losing to the 7th seed. Seoul single-handedly ruined most experts predictions of having the NYXL meet the Vancouver Titans in the stage playoff final. Another thing to note is that just a few weeks earlier, Seoul lost to NYXL 1-3 in the regular season. However, Seoul deserves a lot of credit because of how prepared they were going into this match.
The NYXL continued their very passive and reactive playstyle, which did not pair well into Seoul’s more methodical Sombra composition. One theme that you can keep in mind as you watch the match is how and when Michelle uses Sombra’s Hack. He’ll end up hacking NYXL’s support line when they have a key team fight ultimate ready to be used to counter NYXL’s engagement.
This is a match teeming with energy and a myriad of memorable plays. It has got to have a nod as one of the best, but not the best match of the stage.
Vancouver Titans vs San Fransisco Shock - Stage Finals
Esports can be subject to some grand finals that are incredibly underwhelming, but Stage 1’s finale between the Vancouver Titans and the San Fransisco Shock was one to remember. The Titans traded repeated blows with the Shock map after map, going all the way to map seven of the best of seven series.
It felt like nearly every member from Shock had an ace moment in this match. Viol2t was hot almost all match but peaked during King’s Row. Moth was excellent all game long, displacing people and finding picks. Super’s Earth Shatters were halting the Titans advances. And ChoiHyoBin found a ton of pressure from the outskirts of each team fight. With all of these positives, how could the Shock lose?
Well, the Titans are cut from a rare cloth.
In the end, the momentum of the match shifted on Rialto, a map that generally is viewed as difficult to finish. The Vancouver Titans blitzed through the map and set a world record, completing the map with 4:26 left on the clock. To contextualize this, the Titans finished with more time than they started with!
This match had the competitive Overwatch world on the edge of their seats and delivered an amazing match packed with high-level play and entertaining moments -- and because of that, Titans victory over the Shock is my favorite match of the stage.