OWL Stage One Recap
After suffering two losses earlier in the week, London Spitfire came back and defied all odds to take the first stage of Overwatch League play over New York Excelsior.
It was a nerve wracking week of action for many Overwatch League fans as they watched their teams duke it out for a top three finish heading into the final stage of play. Of the 12 teams participating in the league, there were still six teams in contention for the spot if they could secure 2-0 weeks and Houston Outlaws did just that as they were able to upset London Spitfire in a commanding 3-1 series.
The heartache would continue for London as they were humbled by New York in a super close five game series that saw both teams pushing one another to get over their opponent. Profit started the action early with a dominant Junkrat performance in game one, but Libero did great to rebuttal in the second game as his triple kill on the point helped his team avoid a 2-0 deficit.
New York would go on to pull ahead in game three as they secured the third game on the back of Jjonak and Pine’s stellar aiming on their respective heroes. London Spitfire retorted with a close 3-2 victory on Dorado, but the final game of the series was the exact exclamation point New York needed to pull ahead as London Spitfire continued to show their struggles on control point maps.
Even though four teams technically had enough wins to qualify for playoffs, Houston Outlaws and London Spitfire were selected for the Sunday playoff due to their map win/loss differentials. In the Sunday semi-final, Houston Outlaws came out guns blazing as they ran over London to take the first map. Houston were rebuffed by the return of their best hit-scan player LinkZr as he missed week four due to sickness.
Regardless of the early push, the rest of the series was a game of inches as Profit and Birdring found great position for their heroes to do damage and ultimately took the series out of Houston’s hands. Profit took MVP for this series as he was able to demonstrate an immense level of skill with highlights on Genji, Reaper and Junkrat.
In the Stage One finals, it was quite obvious that New York had a stacked team with multiple damage threats on their side, but the fundamental ‘glue’ to the NYXL roster has been Support player Jjonak as he has shown a level of proficiency on Zenyatta and Roadhog that has yet to be equalled in the Overwatch League. On top of that, Pine’s unreal aiming ability on Widowmaker was making life extremely difficult for London as they dropped the first two games of the series with little to show for it.
While Profit did a lot to keep London afloat during the semis, the series against New York was a clinic on how to do damage for Birdring as he put London on his back and rallied his troops for a victory in game three. Jjonak is infamous for his snipes on Zenyatta, but it was Birdring who found Jjonak time and time again as he prevented New York’s most consistent player from settling into any kind of groove, slowly turning the tides in London Spitfire’s favor.
The last game of the series had a lot at stake with everything on the line for the first stage of Overwatch League play. London Spitfire encountered New York Excelsior on Dorado, and once again, London won the map 2-1 to come away with the victory. Dorado was also one of the two maps that London won on their last encounter. This time, Birdring, Fury and Bdosin put the framework together for London to pull out ahead and reverse sweep their opponent. After fourteen games over the course of the day, it was a well deserved, hard-fought victory that crowned them champions of Stage One, as well as winning the $125,000 USD prize pool.