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Overwatch League Stage One: Playoff Recap

by - 2 years ago

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and the first five weeks of the Overwatch League seem to have gone by in a flash. On Saturday, the London Spitfire were crowned Stage One Champions and found themselves $100,000 richer after a marathon day of Overwatch. There were five matches on Saturday and they’re all worthy of a re-watch. London lost to New York in a preview of the eventual championship, Houston fought out a win against Boston to lock-in a playoff spot and Florida almost ended with a win against Philadelphia, and those were just the regular-season matches.

In the Playoffs, the Spitfire strafed the Outlaws 3-1 before moving on to the final battle with the Excelsior. Here, I’llΒ  go over the playoff matches and take a look at changes coming in Stage Two, which starts on Feb. 21.

London Spitfire 3 β€” 1 Houston Outlaws

Dorado LON 1-2 HOU

The first map in the best-of-five matchup took the teams to Mexico. London got the payload midway through the second stage before Coolmatt ground up the Spitfire offense and stopped London in their tracks.

On attack, Houston took a quick two points to win the map. The Outlaws were looking good headed into Ilios, but those two points on Dorado would be the only ones they got.

Ilios LON 2-0 HOU

The Outlaws would carry a bit of their momentum from the first map into Ilios, but only enough to capture 72 percent of the point. The Spitfire would be able to win consecutive teamfights and take the Lighthouse.

London would nullify the Outlaws on Well with a score of 100 percent to nothing and tie up the series at one map each.

Anubis LON 2-0 HOU

Anubis went quickly with London taking two points to start things off and stymieing the Houston offense. The Spitfire found themselves back on top after three maps and in position to head to the finals.

Eichenwalde LON 1-0 HOU

London were stopped on the bridge before the castle, and it looked like the Outlaws might steal a map to send it to a round five. But that man Profit is just too good with Rip-Tires. The Spitfire prevented Houston from capturing the point to lock-in their appearance in the finals.

New York Excelsior 2 β€” 3 London Spitfire

Junkertown NYXL 4-3 LON

Both teams got three points on their initial attacks, but New York finished with more than four minutes while London finished in overtime. London stalled out during their second attack, and the Excelsior were able to take an early lead in the finals.

Oasis NYXL 2-0 LON

London’s desert woes continued to the last weekend of Stage One. Oasis has been one of the Spitfire’s weakest maps headed into the weekend. They put up a fight but New York took a 2-0 win to take an early 2-0 match lead.

Horizon NYXL 2-3 LON

A similar map to Junkertown, only this time the Spitfire came out ahead. After ending with more time in the bank, London held kept New York from capturing A on their second attack. The Excelsior were still only one map away from taking the series, though.

Numbani NYXL 0-1 LON

Numbani went to London in a big way. After the Spitfire got stopped with one point on attack, it seemed like the Excelsior had set themselves up for another win and the Stage One crown. But London held on defense and prevented New York from unlocking the payload, sending us to a game five on Dorado.

Dorado NYXL 1-2 LON

This was it: the final map of the final match of stage one. The winners would also walk away $100,000 richer.

After looking shaky against Houston on Dorado earlier in the day, London seemed to have figured things out. the Spitfire pushed to within a stone’s throw of the third checkpoint. New York knew what they had to do to win.

One final stand on defense would clinch it for the Spitfire. The first match on Saturday saw London lose to the team they would beat hours later to become Stage One Champions. The championship was a reverse-sweep in true Overwatch League fashion.

Stage One was a wild ride, but it all starts over on Feb. 21 with Stage Two. No doubt there will be additional sponsors joining the league and players added to most of the teams in the interim. A few of these trades have already been announced, and any more will be covered here, by yours truly.

Saturday was a marathon that wore fans, players and league staff down. Comissioner Nate Nanzer addressed this shortly after the final concluded Saturday.

Moving the games to Sunday is 100 percent the right move here. It gives players (and fans) time to rest in-between matches. It also gives a little time for some hype to build around the matches. There wasn’t any time between the regular season and the playoffs, so an extra day might help to add a sense of accomplishment for teams and their fans as well.

No matter what, Stage Two will be filled with plenty more top-tier Overwatch play. Mercy may be leaving us, but that just means teams won’t be chained to the resurrect anymore. Some are saying this will lead to a Moira-dominated tank-heavy meta, but only time will really tell.

Stage One was full of surprises and was a ton of fun to watch. Stage Two will only keep the wild ride going.

Is it Feb. 21 yet?

Header photo credit: Robert Paul on Twitter.


Bill Cooney, aka: RedRhino, is a writer, editor and has been a loyal Blizzard acolyte ever since he installed StarCraft on his parent's Gateway. He mainly covers Overwatch and Overwatch League for Blizzpro.

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