Los Angeles Gladiators 3 - London Spitfire 2
The Los Angeles Gladiators edged out the London Spitfire in a 3-2 reverse-sweep during Overwatch League play on Saturday at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
With the win, the Gladiators clinched a Stage 4 playoff berth as well and solidified its spot in the season playoffs.
Despite a two-game losing streak entering this game, London looked to be in top form in the first half of the series. All eyes were on Spitfire DPS Park "Profit" Joon-yeong, who displayed superb Pharah skills that, for whatever reason, the Gladiators neglected to address. In addition to Profit's uncontested Pharah, main tank Hong "Gesture" Jae-hee also played out of his mind as Winston, creating space for his team and securing high-priority kills on the Los Angeles backline.
After halftime, though, the Gladiators came alive when team leader and main tank Baek "Fissure" Chan-hyung took control of the frontline and gave DPS player Lane "Surefour" Roberts the room he needed to take over Game 3 on Oasis as Pharah. While Surefour isn't normally the Gladiators' go-to Pharah player, he was also uncontested in the sky, and the Spitfire seemed unable to learn from the Gladiators' earlier mistake in the series.
Surefour also had help from fellow DPS João Pedro "Hydration" Goes Telles, who dazzled the home crowd as Doomfist in Games 4 and 5 on Watchpoint: Gibraltar and Nepal, respectively, while also showing a good understanding of Brigitte and Mei. This powerful DPS duo led Los Angeles as it became the only team in OWL history to win two reverse-sweeps in the same week.
The Gladiators will look to take out the Shanghai Dragons at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, while the Spitfire squares off against the Florida Mayhem at 6 p.m. ET Thursday.
-- Tyson Tavolazzi
New York Excelsior 2 - San Francisco Shock 1
The New York Excelsior snapped a two-series losing streak on Saturday with a 2-1 win over the San Francisco Shock at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
With a solid hold on a Stage 4 playoff spot and the No. 1 seed in the seasonal playoffs, the Excelsior didn't need to show much in this series and stuck to its standard lineups. The majority of the carrying was done by DPS Kim "Libero" Hae-seong's Pharah, who was a menace throughout the series, while support Bang "JJoNak" Sung-hyeon tore through the Shock and showed why he's one of the leading MVP candidates as Zenyatta.
New York didn't play perfectly; it showed some troubling difficulty using Brigitte and, while the Excelsior's supports didn't die, the frontline occasionally lost focus and got caught out of position.
Nevertheless, a win over a solid team like the Shock is nothing to look down at, especially considering the NYXL's previous two losses to Californian teams.
The Shock did what it could this series but just didn't stack up to the Excelsior. Main tank Matthew "super" DeLisi looked good throughout the series as he landed clutch Earthshatters with Reinhardt and dominated teamfights as Orisa in a Game 2 draw on Hanamura. Even though San Francisco entered the second half down 1-0, the Shock smothered the Excelsior on Oasis, but this proved to just be an outlier in this series.
Still, considering how far the Shock have come since stumbling out of the gate in Stage 1, losing to the best team in the world isn't too bad for this young team.
The Shock takes on the Los Angeles Valiant at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, while the Excelsior faces the Boston Uprising at 11 p.m. ET on Thursday.
-- Noah Waltzer
Los Angeles Valiant 4 - Houston Outlaws 0
The Los Angeles Valiant took a commanding 4-0 series win against the Houston Outlaws on Saturday to secure first place in the Overwatch League's Pacific division for the season playoffs in Burbank, California.
Throughout the Overwatch League's inaugural season, the Valiant has had its fair share of ups and downs, all leading to this matchup against fan favorites in the Outlaws. As is the custom of most of the Valiant's matches, no one member hard carried the entire series, as every player did their respective part, but the regular suspects found ways to stand out.
LA main tank Koo "Fate" Pan-seung, who has quietly put together an amazing first year, was game-changing as Reinhardt and won the frontline battle against the Outlaws' Austin "Muma" Wilmot. DPS Brady "Agilities" Girardi showed his flexibility in swapping around heroes and kept Houston's DPS players in check with apparent ease.
When Agilities wasn't picking up kills, it was because fellow DPS Terence "SoOn" Tarlier was taking heads as Widowmaker and outdueling the Outlaws' star DPS Jiri "LiNkZr" Masalin. After a long season of trials and roster changes, the Valiant showed that it has everything it takes to beat any other team in the league, earning itself a first round bye in the playoffs in the process.
The Outlaws, on the other hand, needed this win in a big way, as it now risks missing out on both the Stage 4 and season playoffs. Throughout the series, Houston simply seemed outmatched by Los Angeles in individual role matchups. Compounded with Houston's limited playbook as of late, and the end result is a disappointing sweep. DPS Jacob "JAKE" Lyon especially struggled opposite of Agilities and fell well short of his projectile counterpart's versatile effectiveness.
With the Outlaws now sitting two games behind the Philadelphia Fusion in the overall standings, and with a difficult schedule in the upcoming week, things will need to change for Houston, and fast.
The Outlaws face a must-win series in its next match against the Philadelphia Fusion at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday. The Valiant, meanwhile, looks to close out a perfect Stage 4 next week when it faces the mercurial San Francisco Shock at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
-- Noah Waltzer