Boston Uprising 3 - London Spitfire 2
The Boston Uprising opened Day 2 of Week 3 of the Overwatch League with a shocking 3-2 win against the London Spitfire on Thursday at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
With the victory, Boston became the first Western team to take a match off a South Korean roster in the Overwatch League and the first team to do so in the regular season. Boston, a heavy underdog going into its matchup with a previously undefeated Spitfire squad, managed to bring the combined record of the Overwatch League's South Korean rosters, which include Seoul Dynasty and New York Excelsior, to 14-1 in Stage 1.
Boston made it happen thanks to the DPS duo of Jonathan "DreamKazper" and Gwon "Striker" Nam-Ju, who obliterated the defenses of the Spitfire squad. Numbani and Temple of Anubis were frighteningly tense as both maps had to play out in the timebank stage, and the heroic efforts of DreamKazper gave the Uprising the opportunity it needed to get this upset. London DPS Kim "birdring" Ji-hyuk and support Seung "Bdosin" Choi-tae tried to stave off Boston, but as the match went on, it was clear that the Spitfire was surprisingly outmatched.
The Uprising made targeting supports a priority and were successful in flanking and picking off the enemy healers more often than not. Ilios went wholeheartedly in Boston's favor, but with some mistakes and remarkable Tracer play by birdring, London managed to force the tiebreaker match on Lijiang Tower. DreamKazper rained rockets on his opponents as Pharah, but he was aided by the efforts of tank Noh "Gamsu" Yeong-jin on Winston, whose Barrier Projector fended off several engages from the Spitfire. His play in the five-game thriller earned Gamsu player of the game recognition to go with the win.
London Spitfire will have some time to gather itself after the loss, but with a matchup against the Seoul Dynasty at 9 p.m. ET next Thursday, it'll have its work cut out for it. Meanwhile, the Boston Uprising will back in at at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday to face the Dallas Fuel.
-- Steven Nguyen
Philadelphia Fusion 3 - New York Excelsior 2
Not to be outdone by the Boston Uprising, the Philadelphia Fusion kept the rise of the underdogs moving along Thursday with a 3-2 upset win of its own against the New York Excelsior.
All three South Korean rosters had a strong shot at leading their respective teams to an undefeated Stage 1 after dominant performances tore through the Overwatch League for the first two weeks of competition. At the halfway point of Week 3, however, two of those three teams have suffered defeats, on the same day no less, at the hands of lesser opponents.
The Philadelphia Fusion came into this series as heavy underdogs to the Excelsior, and it showed with an early, uncharacteristically slow strategy on Numbani that ultimately led to its demise on the first map. The loss seemed to wake up the Fusion, however, as it fell back in line with its trademark hyper-aggressive style of play for the rest of the series.
At the forefront of the high-powered attack was Philadelphia's DPS duo of Lee "Carpe" Jay-Hyeok and Georgii "Shadowburn" Gushcha, who managed to do something that no team in the league has been able to do thus far: shut down Excelsior's DPS superstar Kim "Pine" Do-Hyeon. While it's nearly impossible to completely prevent him from going off for the entirety of a match, the Fusion duo managed to contain him enough to give their team a victory.
New York has been praised as an incredibly disciplined team, but as the pressure mounted Thursday evening, the Excelsior began to crack while Philadelphia flourished. Several maps were decided by just a few meters difference in terms of payload location, and the control point maps were often decided by one percentage point. Usually the Excelsior can rise to the occasion in those situations, but it was wholly unable to this time around as the Fusion shocked the world for the second time in as many series with this monumental win.
Philadelphia will be able to rest easy after its incredible upset victory as it will face the last-place Shanghai Dragons at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, while New York get the short end of the stick with having to face off against the league-leading Seoul Dynasty at 7 p.m. EST on Friday.
-- Travis Elliott
Houston Outlaws 4 - Florida Mayhem 0
After a day full of five-game series, the Houston Outlaws shut down the Florida Mayhem in a 4-0 sweep to close out Thursday's slate of games at the Blizzard Arena.
Coming off its a win last Thursday against the Dallas Fuel, the Outlaws seemingly didn't miss a step, absolutely dominating the Mayhem in a manner that gives credence to the thought that this team is a playoff contender. The Outlaws might have been a disappointment in the preseason, but now it looks to be among the best Western teams in the Overwatch League.
While the Outlaws looked strong and polished, the Mayhem were almost the complete opposite, as it limped across the finish line without taking a single map and only managing to secure a lone capture on the first map. With no means of improvisation or adjustments due to its scant six-man roster, Florida was simply unable to keep up with the Outlaws strategical versatility.
The Outlaws DPS duo of Jake "JAKE" Lyon and Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin were practically toying with the Mayhem by the end of the series. Enjoying such an immense lead allowed JAKE to veer off his signature Junkrat and show everyone that he's just as dangerous with Genji. He was zipping around Florida's backline with his Dragonblade, dicing up the supports and often managing to de-mech Florida's D.Va player, Tim "Manneten" Bylund. LiNkzr was equally impressive, shutting down the Mayhem's last push on the final map by himself as Widowmaker. The Houston sharpshooter picked off five heroes in a row to seal the game and the sweep for the Outlaws.
The Florida Mayhem will try its luck against the Los Angeles Valiant at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, while Houston will continue its quest to claim the title of best in the West as it takes on the Los Angeles Gladiators at 6 p.m. ET later the same day.
-- Travis Elliott