London Spitfire 4 - Philadelphia Fusion 0
London Spitfire came up aces against Philadelphia Fusion in a 4-0 sweep Saturday at the Blizzard Esports Arena in Burbank, California, to start Day 4 of Overwatch League competition.
After a successful outing against the Houston Outlaws earlier this week, Philadelphia decided to change up its roster a bit, subbing in support Jeong-hwan "Dayfly" Park to shore up its support spot against the Spitfire. Dayfly didn't play in Philadelphia's win on Thursday, and the team's lack of cohesion was clear throughout the series, as the Fusion struggled to get on the same page and react to the aggression coming from London's flankers. That's not to say that Dayfly played poorly on an individual level but, as a team, things just weren't clicking whatsoever.
While Philadelphia was grounded, the Spitfire soared on the back of impressive showings from all members. The DPS duo of Joon-yeong "Profit" Park and Ji-hyuk "birdring" Kim lit the Fusion up all series long, both playing several heroes to great effect.
This series was much more than just a DPS display, though, as every member of the Spitfire who played put in a highlight-reel-level performance, particularly main tank Jae-hee "Gesture" Hong, whose ability to create space and make plays earned him player of the game honors. There were times where London tried out-of-the-box strategies that ended up backfiring, but it never set the Spitfire back too far. With London looking to challenge for the top spot in the Atlantic Division, a big win over a contender to the divisional crown is a boon heading into the second week of Stage 1.
Philadelphia looks to get back on track when it takes on the San Francisco Shock next Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, while the Spitfire prepare for a battle against the Dallas Fuel on Friday at 11 p.m. ET.
-- Noah Waltzer
New York Excelsior 3 - Houston Outlaws 1
Houston fought valiantly on Saturday, but it crumbled under the superior firepower of the New York Excelsior 3-1 in the Blizzard Esports Arena in Burbank.
Simply put, New York was on another level when it took on the Outlaws, and not just because it had the human highlight reel, DPS Do-hyeon "Pine" Kim, waiting in the wings. Support star Sung-hyeon "JJoNak" Bang dominated throughout the day, whether it was on Bastion on Junkertown or Zenyatta for the rest of the series. Even on the support character, he sometimes beat out his own DPS teammates in highest damage dealt while taking home player of the series.
If JJoNak wasn't carrying, the stellar DPS duo of Jong-yeol "Saebyeolbe" Park and Hye-sung "Libero" Kim was keeping Houston at bay with phenomenal performances on Tracer and Soldier:76, respectively. When Pine came into Game 3 on Ilios, as is becoming his specialty, he hard-carried the control map in ridiculous fashion, basically winning the NYXL both rounds to lock up the map before dabbing his way back to the bench.
Houston's struggles, meanwhile, were put on full display, as a lack of a star Tracer player is becoming an issue. Sure, the squad has Matthew "Clockwork" Dias, who saw playing time in Games 3 and 4, but he got exposed next to one of the premier Tracers in the world in Saebyeolbe. The DPS position might be the least of Houston's worries, though, as the tanks and supports failed to make an impact in the series, looking shocked as New York's aggression caught Houston off-guard. After winning on Junkertown, Houston was forced onto the back foot for the entire series, which is no way to try to take on one of the best teams in the world in the NYXL.
The Outlaws will look to improve next week, starting with a matchup against the struggling Shanghai Dragons at 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday, while the Excelsior will take on fellow undefeated team the Los Angeles Valiant, at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday.
-- Noah Waltzer
Seoul Dynasty 4 - Los Angeles Gladiators 0
The Seoul Dynasty continued to show why it is the team to beat in the Overwatch League by sweeping the Los Angeles Gladiators 4-0 to cap off Overwatch League competition Saturday.
Before the match, Gladiators coach David Pei told his players, "I don't care what their name is, I want you to go out there and play like it's any other game." The Gladiators did just that, opening up the first map with a convincing performance and taking the Dynasty into a tight overtime contest, but the skill gap between the two squads proved to be too large.
Despite continually pushing Seoul onto its heels, the Gladiators found Dynasty DPS player Byung-Sun "Fleta" Kim to be the thorn in their side as the early MVP candidate came up clutch throughout the series. He held the Gladiators off on Junkertown in overtime, and he picked off support player Jonas "Shaz" Samuel three times in a little over a minute. From then on Fleta only grew stronger, no matter his hero.
The Gladiators' performance prior to halftime was admirable and scrappy in what has come to be known as the team's signature style. DPS player Jun-Sung "Asher" Choi's performance seemed to be driving the Gladiators early on, though he often whiffed on key ultimate usage and flopped in crunch time. Despite its victory on opening day, the seemingly lesser of the two Los Angeles teams has shown it has much to improve on when facing down premier talent.
The Dynasty never flinched despite a spunky Gladiators squad playing the first half uncomfortably close. Seoul switched up the roster in every game, swapping out support and DPS players. Despite all of these swaps, Sang-Beom "Munchkin" Byun, who had an incredible series against the Dallas Fuel earlier in the week, never saw the stage.
Seoul Dynasty gets only four days of rest before playing the Florida Mayhem at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Gladiators will get an extra day of rest before a much more even matchup with the Philadelphia Fusion on Thursday.
-- Travis Elliott