Last night saw some top-tier Overwatch being played with two awesome, 5-map games. The Boston Uprising duked it out with the number one team in the Overwatch League, the New York Excelsior. Then, later in the night, the longtime rivalry between the Philadelphia Fusion and Houston Outlaws continued. Even the matched between the London Spitfire and Florida Mayhem had a few truly impressive moments from Florida. In the current meta, with new heroes, the map pool expanding, and players settling into new strategies, it’s clear that the Overwatch League will only get better.
The first matchup of the night was, by far, the most surprising. The Boston Uprising had a lot to prove after the release of Dreamkazper. And they’d be doing so against the toughest team in the league. Bringing in Mistakes to fill their former teammate’s shoes made all the difference. Volskaya is one of the Uprising’s best maps. It’s unsurprising that they took the win, frankly. A series of smart hero swaps and some expert target prioritization made sure the ball was always in their court. Gamsu popping off on Winston didn’t hurt, either. Just to make a statement, Boston managed to win the final team fight despite a 5-Ult disadvantage. Statement made.
Numbani saw some really tight team play on the part of the NYXL, adapting to the Uprising’s strategy by targeting Neko in the backline. They managed to do something rare on Numbani, holding at Point B. So it was no surprise that they won it. Next up was Ilios, where NYXL subs in Pine. As anyone watching the Overwatch League knows, by now, Pine isn’t just a player to the enemy team. He’s something that happens to the enemy team. And he definitely happened. But then came Junkertown, where Boston completed the map and held on Point C, leading to a Map 5. And what a Map 5 it was. Ultimately, Boston pulled off the impossible, ending the NYXL’s winning streak with an amazing 3-2 upset.
The match between the London Spitfire and Florida Mayhem was just as surprising in many ways. The outcome was predictable. But the play from Florida was very fresh. The Mayhem continue to work with some roster changes, which is going to impact team cohesion. Despite this, they put on an excellent showing. Dealing with Sayaplayer, in particular, was an especially bad time with the Spitfire. He and Tviq actually managed to force a Draw on Volskaya. Unfortunately, London looked completely unstoppable on Numbani. Furthermore, Florida’s lack of ability to run slower comps hurt them on Nepal, losing them the series. Then, on Route 66, Florida spends two whole points trying to dive into McCree-Roadhog. Needless to say, it doesn’t work out for them and the Spitfire win 3-0. Still, there was some good Overwatch being played by both teams. For the most part.
But it didn’t end there. The final match of the night saw a longtime Overwatch League rivalry return. Historically, not a single game between the Philadelphia Fusion and Houston Outlaws has gone any less than five maps. That tradition holds strong, after last night. In a match that once again went the distance, both teams went head to head for the third time. The first map, Volskaya, went the way of the Outlaws. Primarily a product of their punishing the Fusion’s over-aggression. There was also an amazing Double Two-Man self-destruct at the end, Coolmatt answering a Poko-bomb with a Poko-bomb of his own to break open a win on the point.
But then there was Numbani. Both teams managed to complete the map, leading to a time-bank round. Some amazing flick-shots from Carpe don’t hurt. Furthermore, Boombox goes to town on the Zenyatta. This time there’s no response to the Poko-bomb on the last fight. But overall the game was won through the Fusion’s smarter positioning and mind games. Then there was Ilios. Much like Pine, Carpe is just something that happens to teams if they’re not careful. Despite them trying to make things hard for him on the McCree, practically turning the map into a bouncy house of boops, his aim stay true. Then, on Ruins, the entire team seems to content to just sacrifice themselves to his Widowmaker. They spend a solid two minutes peaking into him and fail all attempts to pressure him, leading to a totally one-sided Point B.
But even more one-sided was Junkertown, going the way of the Outlaws. Put plainly, Junkertown is their playground. Houston managed to hold on Point A. That just doesn’t happen. Unless you’re the Houston Outlaws. So, of course, this goes to Map 5. And what a map it is. But. In a completely dominant showing, Carpe and Snillo clutch out a Point A win. Then comes Point B. The Fusion bring in the multi-Tank, running the Reinhardt, Zarya, and D.Va. The Outlaws have an excellent initial response to this. They have Jake swap to his signature hero, Junkrat. Then they put Linkzr on Reaper. Unfortunately for them, the burst just isn’t enough to stop Fragi’s Rein play and he goes off. Jake saves the match from being entirely one-sided with a 3-man Rip-Tire. But it isn’t enough.
In the end, history repeats itself and the Fusion win the map for another Map-5 win over Houston. There was a lot riding on this game. It would’ve determined if Houston could climb in the standings and if Philly dropped at all. Both teams have been highly competitive, so far, each making it to the playoffs (Houstin in Stage 1, Philly in Stage 2). But of the two, only Philly has made it to the finals.
Today’s matches also show some promise. The LA Valiant looks to continue their undefeated streak against the Dallas Fuel. The Shanghai Dragons aim to prove themselves against the San Francisco Shock. And the Seoul Dynasty will duke it out with the LA Gladiators, hopefully not sans-Fissure, this time.