By: Ollie Powell and Ian McCafferty
After a week of games, it’s still hard to completely get a handle on where most Overwatch League teams stand in Stage Three. If we look back to Stage Two, after week one Dallas and Houston were 2-0 and New York sat at 1-1, so things can change. Still, we can make some observations from what we’ve seen so far through 12 matches.
London with a road bump
Things do not look right at the moment with Spitfire, who have lost their last three games. There seems to be an air of uncertainty about what their best starting six is at the moment. Allowing Fissure and Rascal to leave looked questionable at the time, and downright folly now. However, they do still remain the second best team in the league despite recent results, and I don’t think this will turn into anything more than a blip in form.
NYXL is nigh unstoppable
Just how do you beat this team at the moment? Shut Saebyeolbe down, and Libero pops off. Dive Jjonak? Ark and Meko peel immediately. Player for player, I think they’re pretty even with the other two Korean rosters, but NYXL have a perfect understanding of how each other play. They’re always on the same page, even if that page is a mistake. Their reactive, rather than proactive, playstyle makes them difficult to counter dive, and taking the initiative against them leaves your backline exposed to the lurking SBB. Excelsior going 10-0 this stage is a real possibility.
The Outlaws remain the streakiest team in the league, but in their 4-0 loss to Boston, a big weakness was exposed: Jake. Any situation where he found himself on Junkrat, Boston would counter with Striker’s Jake-guided rip tires. There was a clear plan to push him off the hero he so often carries on, and it worked. With Jake on less effective heroes, it made diving Houston much easier because of the lack of a counter engagement from the Outlaws. They have a tough week ahead too, playing Philly and NYXL, but even if they come out the other side with a 1-3 record, I still expect them to improve on their standing from stage two.
New Valiant look good
There were a lot of questions for Los Angeles as they headed into Stage Three and so far so good. After sending UnKoe to Fuel, Silkthread to Gladiators, Grimreality becoming a coach and Envy being released, almost half the roster was new. Custa and Space were the new additions to the starting lineup and Agilities was back as second DPS alongside Soon. After all the strife, it worked out spectacularly in week one. The Valiant got an easy 4-0 over the Seoul Dynasty which is impressive even if Seoul didn’t play Tobi, Jehong or Zunba. Then they got an even easier 4-0 over Shanghai, which doesn’t seem impressive until you remember that they struggled with Dragons in Stage Two, winning a relatively close 3-0. Kariv and Custa looked solid as a new support duo, Agilities was back to form and the Tank duo of Fate and Super looked incredible. We’ll have to wait and see what they do against better opponents, but an 8-0 map start is pretty good.
Dragons need more work
While the Dragons still went 0-2 at the start of stage three, there were clear signs of improvement from the Chinese side. Geguri and Fearless look like a solid, flexible tank duo, Ado showed a lot of potential on Genji, and Sky is a big upgrade to their support line. The return of Diya will be a big plus too; expect him to start over Daemin for now to help ease the communication barrier between the Shanghai backline and tanks. There’s still hope they can pick up a win this stage.
Super and Space were worth waiting for
Week One saw the first matches for a couple of highly anticipated youngsters and they both delivered. Super was hailed as the piece that would finally change the Shock and did he ever. Super’s aggressive dive play fits right alongside Sinatraa’s and gives the Shock a solid main tank. He held his own against Fissure in match one which is a feat itself. Shock may have lost 4-0 to Seoul but that was probably the closest match of the day. Super is good and he makes the Shock’s ceiling all that much higher.
Space was a revelation as well, as we’d heard so much about Super, but not that much about Valiant’s newest flex tank. There was some confusion as to why LA would cut Envy, one of the league’s best D.va players, but clearly it was because they new what they had in Space. Space’s Roadhog carried Valiant at times this week and his D.va was great as well. Add in shotcalling skills and it appears as if his future is very bright.
Sayaplaya already laying a claim for best widow in the league
My word. We heard a lot of good things about Sayaplaya before his Mayhem debut, especially how he was considered the best Widowmaker in APEX by many of his peers. But seeing it for yourself was a completely different experience. Many thought of Carpe as one of the best snipers in the league, but on Route 66, Sayaplayer wiped the floor with him. The standout moment was his hookshot over the billboard by the first capture point, catching Carpe with a headshot as he sailed overhead. We’ll be watching all further Mayhem games with a lot more interest now.