After a short break, the Overwatch League resumed with a new map pool, a new patch, and a selection of new signings for Stage 2.
The Mercy nerfs have opened the door for more varied support compositions and aggressive dive styles, and with only a week to prepare, all teams scrambled to figure out their best options. While the meta is still in flux, one thing is for sure is that with resurrection relegated to a more niche ability, it means positioning will be vital as any errors can be fatally punished.
Genji has also taken a backseat, as Soldier: 76 becomes more prevalent in double hitscan combinations. The introduction of King’s Row and Lijiang Tower also saw a flurry of Reinhardt play too, allowing fragi to remind everyone why he sets the standard for that hero. Dallas Fuel and LA Gladiators showed off their new signings that look to be worthwhile purchases, while San Francisco Shock recovered from a bad opening game to give one of their best performances so far against Seoul Dynasty. The Games of the Week were dominated by playoff rematches this time around though.
Game of the Week: London Spitfire vs New York Excelsior
The two best teams from Stage 1 clashed again in this belter of a series, with another back and forth affair and stellar performances on both sides.
NYXL were without main support player ArK due to a wrist injury, so Mano had to fill in on the backline. Despite the setback, it didn’t stop the NYXL going blow for blow with the star-studded London Spitfire roster, with Saebyeolbe getting the crucial kills as always.
For Spitfire, Closer was back to his best form on his beloved Lucio, and helped re-establish the dominant support line that was so key to GC Busan’s victories pre-Overwatch League. While some of the maps were one-sided the fights within it, were a spectacle to watch as both teams vied for dominance. These two teams are forming quite the rivalry, and this was another great installment.
Other notable games:
Another rematch from the Stage 1 playoffs saw the London powerhouse up against a Houston Outlaws team that seems to be thriving early on in this new patch.
The return of Boink into the starting lineup and the ability to utilise SPREE’s impressive Zarya look to set up Houston to go a step further than they did in Stage 1 this time around. London Spitfire looked impressive as well, but struggled on specific maps, particularly Profit and birdring, who were unable to find space consistently. Muma was the main reason for this, as he separated and contained the Korean stars, once again making a good case for being the best tank in the league. While some maps were one-sided, it was an entertaining tussle between two of the best teams in the world right now.
One of the more surprising games of the week happened, as a much improved San Francisco Shock pushed Seoul Dynasty to the limit.
Looking to be one of the teams that have adapted the fastest to the new patch, Shock put on a show, and while the scoreline may not have been what they were looking for, the way they contained Fleta is admirable. Strong individual performances from Danteh and sleepy were the highlight, helping keep Shock in it throughout the four maps. If the San Francisco Shock can maintain this level, they will be a dangerous team in Stage 2. On the other side, Seoul looked more comfortable with the absence of Mercy, and it was a treat to see Tobi back on Lucio.