London Spitfire 4 - Boston Uprising 0
The London Spitfire walked away with a 4-0 victory in the Overwatch League on Friday over the Boston Uprising at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
The Stage 1 playoff matchup we never got to see finally came to fruition, but the Boston Uprising is in a much weaker state than it was in Stage 1. The Uprising has been struggling in this meta while the Spitfire seems unfazed by the changes. This series was a perfect microcosm of that, as the Spitfire simply did whatever it wanted to from start to finish.
In the first half, Boston tried to stand up to London with aggressive defense, solid ultimate management and team positioning. However, the Spitfire made fewer mistakes across the board, showing off the extreme polish the team has become known for. It waited for its chance to strike and used overwhelming firepower to win maps. London DPS Park "Profit" Joon-yeong on Tracer and main tank Hong "Gesture" Jae-hee on Winston were able to dance around the objective and turn around otherwise lost teamfights. It was this ability to adapt to every situation that easily allowed London to go into the second half with a 2-0 lead.
A handful of Overwatch League teams, London included, have reversed-swept opponents after halftime, but Boston had no such luck. London had clearly determined Boston's main weakness, its limited composition pool, and exploited it masterfully. Whether this was by London using tank-heavy compositions or beating out Boston using mirrored compositions, the South Korean roster always ended just one step ahead of Boston. In the end, the Uprising couldn't pick up a single map in the loss. While Boston had looked strong in its last two outings, it was made to look mortal once again when matched against the Stage 1 Champion Spitfire.
The London Spitfire next play against the Los Angeles Gladiators at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, while the Boston Uprising will have a few days off before facing the Dallas Fuel at 7 p.m. ET next Wednesday.
-- Liam Craffey
New York Excelsior 3 - Philadelphia Fusion 1
The New York Excelsior stopped the Philadelphia Fusion in its tracks with a 3-1 victory on Friday at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
The Fusion has found its kryptonite in the form of all-South Korean rosters, as all three of its Stage 2 losses have at the hands of the league's squads made up of South Korean players. While the Fusion looked strong against the likes of the Houston Outlaws and Boston Uprising, it has looked much weaker in the face of stronger opposition.
The Excelsior's ability to force the Fusion to play into its hands proved to be the deciding factor in this match. New York had an easy time predicting and countering Philadelphia's attacks. If Fusion flex tank Gael "Poko" Gouzerch tried to get aggressive and go into New York's backline with his D.Va, Excelsior DPS Park "Saebyeolbe" Jong-ryeol would simply blink into the Fusion's backline as Tracer and easily clean house to punish the dive.
It's not as though the Excelsior simply walked all over the Fusion, however, despite the 3-1 final score. All four maps were incredibly competitive, with each one being decided by just a single point. What allowed New York to get over the hump was its superior ultimate economy management and overall polish. Any time that the Fusion would start to get the upper hand, the Excelsior simply readjusted and came back with one final teamfight push that kept the Fusion down for the count. While the Fusion may not have taken the series, picking up a map against the team at the top of the standings is still a moral victory it can hang its hat on.
With the toughest stretch of its Stage 2 schedule in the books, the Fusion will now look forward to a matchup with the floundering Shanghai Dragons at 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday, while the Excelsior will have South Korean showdown with the Seoul Dynasty in the preceding match at 9 p.m. ET.
-- Wyatt Donigan
Houston Outlaws 3 - Florida Mayhem 2
The Houston Outlaws closed out Friday's action in the Overwatch League with a nail-biter of a series, clinching a 3-2 reverse sweep against the Florida Mayhem in Burbank, California.
Coming into this series, the Florida Mayhem was near the bottom of the OWL standings, with its only win of the year coming against the winless Shanghai Dragons back in Stage 1. After the first two maps on Friday, though, it looked poised to earn win No. 2 against one of the teams that competed in Stage 1 playoffs.
On Hanamura and Lijiang Tower, the Mayhem took big wins on the back of strong performances from both its DPS players, Andreas "Logix" Berghmans and Kevyn "TviQ" Lindstrom. The two were in rare form in the first half of the series, taking turns carrying and shutting down the Outlaws' backline. The Outlaws, meanwhile, looked dazed and unmotivated, simply going through the motions while the Mayhem ran roughshod in the 2-0 half.
After halftime, though, Outlaw DPS star Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin came alive and carried the Outlaws on Hollywood and Watchpoint: Gibraltar. LiNkzr's Widowmaker devastated the Mayhem, which couldn't get in position to shut LiNkzr down like it had in the first half of play. With LiNkzr being simply unstoppable, the Outlaws rattled off back-to-back close wins, leading to a tiebreaker on Ilios. By this point, the once-energized and vibrant Mayhem already looked defeated, unable to so much as mount an organized attack on the Outlaws before Houston took the final map 2-0 to complete the 3-2 reverse sweep.
This series wasn't clean for Houston by any means, as there were several mistakes made throughout, such as poor positioning from the Outlaws' supports and DPS Jacob "JAKE" Lyon taking far too long to make an impact across a couple of the characters he played, but having come in on an 11-map losing streak (13 if you count the first two games of this series), the Outlaws will surely takes this win and move right along.
The Mayhem looks to bounce back when it faces the Dallas Fuel at 8 p.m ET on Saturday, while the Houston Outlaws prepares to take on the red-hot Los Angeles Gladiators at 11 p.m ET on Thursday.
-- Noah Waltzer