London Spitfire 3 - Los Angeles Valiant 2
The Los Angeles Valiant finally got its wings clipped on Saturday by the London Spitfire, which picked up a crucial 3-2 win during the final day of Week 3 of Stage 3 in the Overwatch League at Blizzard Arena inBurbank, California.
Coming into this series, the Valiant had soared into first place in the Stage 3 standings with five straight series wins. Fueled by its new members, support Scott "Custa" Kennedy, tank Indy "SPACE" Halpern and DPS Chae "Bunny" Joon-hyuk, LA started the stage strong, but the Valiant failed to show it as it took a beating in the first half of this series.
The Valiant rallied back in the second half, though, on the back of superlative play from hitscan DPS Terence "SoOn" Tarlier, who tore the Spitfire apart on Tracer and Widowmaker. Unfortunately for the Valiant, it simply fell apart without SoOn in the lineup for Game 5 and quickly dropped the two points on Oasis to close out its first loss of the stage. The Valiant's first defeat comes at the halfway point of Stage 3, but the road ahead only gets tougher with teams like the Boston Uprising and the Philadelphia Fusion ahead.
Meanwhile, the Spitfire, who had struggled all stage long, finally showed signs of life on Saturday, reminding the rest of the league that this used to be one of if not the scariest team in professional Overwatch. Led by DPS Park "Profit" Joon-yeong, London looked more aggressive and assertive than in previous outings with clinical dives that disrupted LA's shaky backline.
The Spitfire, now with a 2-4 record in the stage, has struggled without star DPS Kim "birdring" Ji-hyeok, who was announced as having a wrist injury, but the team looks to be somewhat back on track after two hard-fought series this week.
The Valiant will take on the Houston Outlaws at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, while the Spitfire will face the Los Angeles Gladiators at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday.
-- Noah Waltzer
New York Excelsior 3 - Los Angeles Gladiators 2
The New York Excelsior pulled off another 3-2 reverse-sweep on Saturday, this time taking out the Los Angeles Gladiators at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
In what is becoming quite common for the Excelsior, it played down to the level of its opponents in the first half before eventually rising to the occasion. It almost feels as though the NYXL was getting bored of stomping through the league and wanted to give itself a bit of a self-imposed challenge.
Whatever the reason behind its inability to wrap up series quickly these days, New York continues to show that it always has a chance in a series as this was its second 3-2 reverse-sweep in a row.
For as great as the Excelsior looked on the final three maps of the series, the Gladiators looked just as good in the first half. With solid defensive showings on both Temple of Anubis and Blizzard World, Los Angeles held New York to just a single point, which made its offense a breeze as a result. The Gladiators fired on all cylinders as main tank Baek "Fissure" Chan-hyung held down the frontline while DPS Lane "Surefour" Roberts played at a high level to keep New York ducking for cover, giving the Gladiators a 2-0 lead at the break.
Once the second half started, however, it was Excelsior DPS Kim "Pine" Do-Hyeon's time to shine. He came in for Ilios and Junkertown to absolutely wreak havoc on the Gladiators with his Widowmaker. No one was safe from his grasp as Pine picked off players with impressive ease and prevented the Gladiators from gaining any traction. Los Angeles almost closed out the series on Junkertown, but the NYXL stopped it meters short of the finish to force a Game 5.
By that point, the Gladiators looked like a team that had its will stomped out, as New York easily took both points on Oasis to wrap up another incredible reverse-sweep.
Things won't get much easier for the Gladiators when it takes on the London Spitfire at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Excelsior face the San Francisco Shock in the next game at 9 p.m. ET.
-- Wyatt Donigan
Houston Outlaws 3 - Dallas Fuel 0
The Houston Outlaws closed out Saturday's Overwatch League action with a victory in the Lone Star Showdown, taking down the Dallas Fuel 3-0 in Burbank, California.
The Fuel considering all the controversy and recent roster changes that have surrounded the team. Dallas DPS Dylan "aKm" Bignet had one of his best performances to date alongside fellow DPS and Tracer specialist Hyeon "EFFECT" Hwang, while main tank Son "OGE" Min-seok continued to show his potential with this squad.
That wasn't nearly enough to take this series, though. After forcing a draw on Volskaya Industries, a historically strong map for this franchise dating back to its days as Team EnVyUs, the Fuel got beaten on every other map.
Houston DPS star Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin was a dynamo for Houston and earned player of the match honors as he led Houston in a stampeding over the Fuel. Houston picked up a 2-0 record this week along with a plus-5 map differential, which sets it up for an outside shot at the Stage 3 playoffs should it take down some tougher opposition in the weeks to come.
The Outlaws' next match is a crucial set against Los Angeles Valiant at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, followed by a battle of the bottom of the barrel as the Fuel take on the Florida Mayhem at 11 p.m. ET that same day.