Stage 3 of the Overwatch League came to a close Sunday with an explosive set of matches. Both of the LA teams made the cut. Joining them in the number two spot was the top team in the League and defending Stage 2 champions, the NYXL. And at the top of the list was the undefeated Boston Uprising. Given the rules of the Stage, the Boston Uprising was afforded the opportunity to select their opponent for the Overwatch League Stage 3 semifinals. And they went with the LA Gladiators. An extremely dominant showing from Striker, in particular, clinched the victory for his team and the Uprising went on to the finals, surprising absolutely no one. Meanwhile, also surprising no one, the NYXL took down the LA Valiant in a clean, 3-0 victory. All that remained was the clash of the Titans.
The Boston Uprising managed to defeat the NYXL earlier in the Stage. This was despite their reeling from a major development that brought a lot of drama to the team. Losing one of their star DPS players, Dreamkazpr, following a very serious controversy, no doubt rocked the team. But they fought through that adversity and brought down the giant that is the NYXL. However, let it never be said that the New York team is one to let sleeping dogs lie. Boston handed them their only loss in the entirety of Stage 3. It’s safe to say they were looking forward to a little revenge. And it’s just as safe to say that the Uprising very much hoped to avoid clashing with them a second time. Either way, these two teams wound up facing one another in the finals. What followed was a match full of Overwatch League star performances.
The matchup to watch for much of the event was between Mistakes and Pine. As was said before, Pine isn’t simply a player to the enemy team. He’s something that happens to the enemy team. However, Boston did an excellent job of pressuring him and not really allowing him to gain the footholds he wanted. With Mistakes trying to match Pine’s stylish and lethal Widowmaker, there was a lot of pressure on him to perform. And he did his job on Route 66, which was yet another map where Pine’s been known to have extremely dominant showings. Unfortunately, despite very nearly nabbing a win on the map, the Uprising came up just shy of meeting New York’s distance. The NYXL had a much stronger first-point attack, largely thanks to their running an unexpected anti-dive composition. Their own stronger first-point defense gave them all the time they needed.
Nepal was an exceptionally close map, in which the NYXL once again pulled out a very unexpected strategy by playing a Bastion on Village. The strategy ultimately failed. But their star-power DPS (including “Frag-yatta” Jjonak) allowed them to take that point. Then, their superior crossfire play on Sanctum closed out the map win on Nepal despite a very good showing from Striker on Junkrat. Next came Volskaya, which was a map that Boston was dominant on. It was basically their home turf. It’s been their best map for the longest time. However, the NYXL are no slouches on it. Both teams managed strong first-point offenses. In fact, on the NYXL’s push, Saebyeolbe decided to casually wipe the entire enemy team, just about. So that happened.
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Despite that strong push, they weren’t able to secure the map with a great amount of time. Boston, on the other hand, did. Because of this, the team moved into time-bank. In an absolutely Herculean effort, both teams were able to defend Objective B. As such, Volskaya ended in a draw. This had to be disheartening for the Boston Uprising. Not being able to pick up a win on their best map just showed how much New York prepared for this rematch. Though a reverse sweep (with a map-6 tiebreaker) was possible, the game ended after Numbani. Pine came back in and history seemed to repeat itself. Boston simply wasn’t able to take the map win, losing the series 3-0.
This is especially disappointing to Boston fans, considering the outcomes of both of the previous Overwatch League Stages. In Stage 1, the NYXL went the full five maps against the London Spitfire. They were ultimately defeated, but it took all five maps. Later, in Stage 2, they defeated the Philadelphia Fusion in a reverse-sweep. A success they later repeated. In other words, once again a final game that went the full five maps. Now, in Stage 3, marks the first time the finals didn’t go the full five maps. Though that isn’t to say the Boston Uprising didn’t put on an incredibly impressive show. Every map came down to the wire… except Nepal. Mistakes did an excellent job of squaring off against Pine. The tanks played extremely well, especially Note, who kept bringing in massive D.Va-bombs. Oddly, the one component that seemed absent was a chance to see a high-end Tracer duel between Striker and Saebyeolbe. SBB definitely brought his backpack to carry around his team, a few times. Striker, while playing amazingly, didn’t really produce the same kind of one-man-carry performance he’s been known for.
Either way, both teams played their minds out. Congratulations to the NYXL for yet another Overwatch League Stage victory. But the season isn’t over just yet. There’s still Stage 4, coming up. It starts on May 16th, with the LA Gladiators taking on the San Francisco Shock. Then the Seoul Dynasty play the LA Valiant. Finally, the Shanghai Dragons look for their first win of the season in a match against the Dallas Fuel.