Philadelphia Fusion 3 - Dallas Fuel 1
The Philadelphia Fusion kicked off the final week of Stage 3 with a 3-1 win over the Dallas Fuel on Wednesday in Burbank, California.
Against other teams in the Overwatch League, the Fusion might have had an issue not fielding star DPS Lee "Carpe" Jae-hyeok, but against the hapless Fuel, it wasn't a problem. Instead, the duo of Josh "Eqo" Corona and Simon "snillo" Ekstrom helped the Fusion take the win, with Eqo carrying the lion's share of the load.
That's not to say that the Fusion looked like its normal dominant self, though.
In its three map wins, Philadelphia really struggled to put pressure on the Dallas backline until Eqo's Genji used his Dragonblade, which led to lackluster attacking rounds from the Fusion. Dallas, however, is still a team fueled by poor roster choices and a lack of team identity, so the Fuel could hardly do much better. Still, if this is what the Fusion is like without Carpe, one has to hope that he comes back soon while the Fusion's playoff hopes are still alive.
The Fuel did everything it could to try and find wins in this series. It used the uncommon triple-tank composition it has grown so accustomed to in recent weeks without star Tracer player/DPS Hyeon "EFFECT" Hwang; it put struggling DPS Dylan "aKm" Bignet on Tracer; it swapped out its two remaining main tank players; but nothing seemed to work. Surprisingly, DPS/flex player Brandon "Seagull" Larned was the rock for the Fuel, carrying the team on several different heroes, including Junkrat, Mei, Hanzo and Genji.
While the Fuel only managed to pick up a win on Junkertown after the series was already decided, that win still is something Dallas can hang its hat on as it looks toward building for the future.
The Fuel doesn't have much time to rest before facing the New York Excelsior at 11 p.m. ET on Thursday, while the Fusion prepares for a huge battle with potential playoff implications against the Los Angeles Valiant at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday.
-- Noah Waltzer
Los Angeles Gladiators 3 - Florida Mayhem 0
The Los Angeles Gladiators picked up a hard-fought 3-0 win over the Florida Mayhem on Wednesday at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
While the final score might not show it, this was by no means an easy win for the Gladiators. Florida fought tooth-and-nail on just about every map and Los Angeles work for the win. The Mayhem showed some resiliency that we haven't seen from it in quite some time. This resulted in a draw on Temple of Anubis, as the Mayhem focused down Gladiator support Benjamin "BigGoose" Isohanni time and again, preventing the Gladiators from making a cohesive push on offense.
For all the good that Florida did to draw the first map, though, Los Angeles resorted to turning in clutch push after clutch push on the final three maps to take the series. Every time that it looked as though the Mayhem was going to pick up a win, the Gladiators would find a miracle to take a point.
At the forefront of this was DPS Lane "Surefour" Roberts, who continued to make his case for best Widowmaker in the league. He outplayed Mayhem DPS Ha "Sayaplayer" Jung-woo at just about every turn, which ended up being just enough for the Gladiators to snatch this win away.
Despite narrowly surviving the series, however, the Gladiators still has plenty of room for growth. Sure, the Mayhem did well to make this series close, but it's still a team with only six wins to its name in 29 tries this season, while the Gladiators are on the cusp of a playoff berth.
Most of the struggles Wednesday seemed to be centered around communication, as the Gladiators looked disjointed in many of the fights in this series. As a result, Los Angeles was forced into making furious pushes to barely win points. This may have worked against the Mayhem, but it certainly won't fly against better competition.
The Los Angeles Gladiators will need to iron out any kinks in a hurry as it faces the Boston Uprising, which is undefeated in Stage 3, at 7 p.m. ET on Friday. The Florida Mayhem will close out Stage 3 against the San Francisco Shock at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday.
-- Wyatt Donigan
San Francisco Shock 3 - Houston Outlaws 2
The San Francisco Shock held the Houston Outlaws at bay with a 3-2 series win on Wednesday night at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
The Shock is now out of the playoff hunt, having lost one too many maps in this series. Misery loves company, however, as the Shock played spoiler to the Outlaws and took it out of the playoff picture as well.
San Francisco seemed to solve some of its personnel issues in this match by opting to play DPS and Tracer specialist Jay "sinatraa" Won over the more versatile DPS Dante "Danteh" Cruz. Pairing sinatraa with fellow DPS Park "Architect" Min-ho was just what the Shock needed, with both DPS players necessitating enough individual attention from the Outlaws that the other could do his job effectively.
Architect got off to a slow start in the beginning of the series, losing many Widowmaker duels to Outlaws DPS Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin, but redeemed himself on Oasis as Pharah and Sombra with clutch plays to seal the game for the Shock.
Houston appears to suffer from some of the issues that have plagued the Shock throughout Stage 3, as most of the team's defeats came when the players were too far apart from one another. Main tank Austin "Muma" Wilmot was the primary culprit, leaping into the Shock's backlines as Winston and often getting two or three key kills, only to turn back and realize that the rest of the Outlaws had fallen. LiNkzr made the agressive plays work early in the series with plenty of long-range picks as Widowmaker, but when the picks stopped coming, the quick dives from Houston proved to be its downfall.
The San Francisco Shock will round out its Stage 3 at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday against the Florida Mayhem. Houston Outlaws plays its final game of the stage at 6 p.m. Saturday against the Seoul Dynasty.
-- Travis Elliott