Our first week of hero pools in the Overwatch League was an interesting one. It was a benefit for some teams to see the removal of aim-intensive hit scan heroes. It also didn’t seem to make much of a difference for other teams. In a vacuum, you could say that some of the results this weekend might be upsets. But it’s really hard to tell considering the turn around times for every team to allow them to adjust to the meta shift. At the very least, this is an indicator of things to come as different heroes continue to rotate in availability from week to week. So, let’s see how each team performed.
Florida Mayhem: Disgusting…
Out of every Overwatch League team that attempted to field Mei this weekend, the Mayhem was the only team that found any significant success in it. It was absolutely revolting. Yaki had some of the most tilt-inducing Mei plays. He definitely looked like the best player on her this weekend.
Real talk though, the entirety of the Mayhem played really well. I especially want to shout out Kris and GNJ (Gangnamjin) for how they played on map 2 of that series. Surefour and Nevix were going after the two of them relentlessly on that map and they just wouldn’t die. It was just beautiful support play from those two. Florida lost a little bit of footing on map 3, but of course, here comes a big bomb from Gargoyle to save the day. All that on top of Yaki’s absolutely disgusting Mei play. It just seemed to be too much for Toronto to handle. Also, BQB jumping on Ashe on map 3 was a nice little treat. I don’t think he did much on her besides make Agilities swap off of Pharah though. Even so, it was still nice to see.
Toronto Defiant: Ya blew it
This game was Toronto’s last chance to show me that they’re the real deal in the Overwatch League. You could at least make the excuse that the loss to Houston last week was because they finally started to figure things out. They also got a boost from the hometown crowd. There’s no excuse for losing like this to Florida though. You can’t even blame it on hero pools. They were already an established dive team before the pools. On top of that, Florida mostly ran bunker compositions throughout the entire series. With this and their loss to Atlanta, it’s probably safe to say that Toronto just can’t deal with bunker comps when running dive. That’s going to have to be something they’ll need to figure out going forward if they want to continue being a dive team.
Houston Outlaws: The Zenkai Boost Is Real
After a rough start to the season, some things are finally going Houston’s way. They get their first win in front of their home crowd and then they roll Paris. The hero pools certainly favored them this week. Paris was also clearly unsure of the compositions they wanted to run throughout the entire match. However, I still question whether or not they would even be in this hole if they actually knew what they wanted to do at the beginning of the season.
I honestly think if Linkzr got the kind of playtime that other damage players in the Overwatch League got, he’d probably be way better and they’d likely be at least a .500 team at this point. I also still have minor concerns for Muma going forward. He looks terrible on any tank that’s not Winston or Wrecking Ball. He possibly dodged a bullet since Houston doesn’t play next week and Winston is off the table for next week’s matches. But if they do happen to play during a week where Winston happens to be out of rotation, I hope he’s stepped up his static main tank game or turns into Ameng. He’s probably Houston’s second weakest link in that regard outside of Blasé on McCree. Also, that spawn camp from him on map 3 was absolutely disgusting.
New York Excelsior: I’m sorry, Saebyeolbe
I feel so bad for SBB. I really do. Nenne has performed a lot better compared to SBB. I appreciate New York giving him his shot this season, but New York just looks like a better team when Nenne in the lineup. It just sucks because SBB gave the home fans assurance that he was back and all that good stuff during their week 1 homestand. But since then, his performances have been rather lackluster.
You would’ve thought this week would be the chance for SBB to really come alive on his main hero. But they lose the first map to the Justice and then immediately sub him out for Nenne. Nenne then instantly turns New York around in the next map. He puts on a strong performance throughout the rest of the series. We haven’t really seen that out of SBB so far this season, at least not at a consistent clip. It’s sad to say, but there’s a good chance we might not see SBB back in the lineup again unless it’s a garbage-time match against some of the weaker teams in the Overwatch League. And the weaker teams are who they’ve mostly been playing so far this season.
Washington Justice: Stratus Is The Spectator’s Sombra
Washington is one of the rare teams that performed about as expected this weekend. They pick up a solid win against the current worst team in the league before receiving a gentleman’s sweep against New York. What I didn’t expect was Stratus’s Sombra play. This guy plays a pretty fast and loose Sombra. Against Boston, he was almost guaranteed to let an EMP rip every time he got one. Quantity over quality is definitely the name of his EMP game. It’s to the point where sometimes his team isn’t always in position for the follow-up. It can be very much feast or famine with EMP’s like those. His boon though is that he charges them up pretty fast. At one point against Boston, he let an EMP rip in one fight and then already had another one charged up for the very next fight.
Against New York, he was able to keep up with Libero in the match up pretty comfortably. The difference between New York and Boston though is that New York actually adjusted around Stratus’s fast and loose play after the first map. It wasn’t until map 4 that Stratus opted to use the threat of the EMP against New York to stifle their offense on point B. Washington certainly knows how to set up a point B defense on Horizon. At any rate, I find Stratus to be a pretty exciting Sombra player to watch. While he doesn’t always hit the best EMP’s in the world, he’s almost always guaranteed to fire off a bunch of them in a game.
Atlanta Reign: This Was Just Unfair
Well, the good news is that Atlanta definitely knows how to embarrass bad Overwatch League teams. All six guys basically looked like they were doing whatever they pleased against an incredibly confused-looking Boston squad. There really isn’t much in the way of analysis here. It was literally taking candy from a baby for this squad. They might as well not even have played this game and just gave Atlanta the ‘W’. So, Atlanta played like the team we expected them to be after their first match against a struggling Boston squad. I’m honestly more interested in seeing how they’ll perform against New York next week. That’ll be their real test.
Boston Uprising: Just So Frustrating
Boston has a lot of problems. I think the most notable one on display this weekend is how they can’t seem to stop shooting themselves in the foot. I remember in one of the pre-game shows, Hex was talking about how he doesn’t think Boston has an identity. Personally, I think they do have one, and it’s that they have no killer instinct. It feels like a lot of the players on the squad, especially Mouffin, seem more concerned with just having a good time than actually wanting to win games. I’m sure this makes them great teammates. It keeps spirits high and all that. But there just seems to be a severe lack of a winning attitude with this squad. You can see it in their play and how they act on stage, especially against Washington.
They just keep giving up every single advantage they have over to their opponents. Their ultimate usage is poor. I don’t know how many blizzards Colourhex threw away this weekend, but it was a lot. They can’t even seem to find a composition that works for them. It’s just incredibly frustrating to watch. I can only imagine how an actual Boston fan must feel about this team.
Paris Eternal: This Is Scary
So, there were some questions about Xzi’s flexibility coming into this weekend. I don’t think anyone is questioning his talent coming out of it. If anyone somehow thought he wasn’t rookie of the year material, this weekend is undeniable evidence that he is. Even in the loss to Houston, Xzi looked like the best player on the squad. His Tracer looked just as good as Soon’s, if not maybe slightly better. And Soon just so happens to be my favorite OWL player. Some of the pulse bomb sticks Xzi had on map 3 looked so incredibly clean. It just wasn’t enough to turn it around for them against Houston.
I was expecting the Xzi/Soon lineup for Paris against Philly after that Houston game. I was not prepared for the sheer havoc this new DPS duo would wreak though. Not only was this probably one of Soon’s best Tracer performances, but it was also Xzi showing off how much of an absolute flex god he is. Tracer, Soldier, Hanzo, any hero he played this weekend, he played it at an incredibly high level. He gave Danteh a run for his money against Houston and practically outperformed Ivy in just about every match up against Philly. Things began to slow down for them in the second half of the Philly game, but even so, this is still one of the best DPS duo performances so far this season. If these two continue to play like this regularly, it spells trouble for the rest of the Overwatch League.
I just wish they hadn’t done it to Philly…
Philadelphia Fusion: Some Things Never Change…
Oh, what the hell. Where do I even begin? I’m getting real tired of being known as the team that loves to go to map 5’s in the Overwatch League. As a spectator, I appreciate it. It was the best match this weekend, absolutely. As a fan, I hate it, and it’s hard for me to even re-watch the game because of that. There are only so many heart attacks you can put up with as a fan before you start seeing it as less of a gimmick about the team and more of an issue with the team. So I apologize, but I’m not going to be very objective with this one.
First off, the first control map wasn’t a complete 100% to 0% in either round. So even though we lost, I didn’t feel too bad about it because both teams are really good control teams. However, I did feel we had to win the next three maps. I did not want to go back to another control map against Paris at that point. That, unfortunately, didn’t happen and Philly dug themselves into a 2-0 hole. I’m sure they were probably as unprepared as I was for the Soon/Xzi combo. But Jesus Christ, they played like absolute chumps on map 2. It was the worst ever Junkertown defense in OWL followed by an abysmal offense that relied on a classic Poko bomb just to capture the first checkpoint!
After the first two games, Philly bounced back with a strong hybrid and assault performance. Though, their overall play was still shaky at times. I didn’t like how long it took for them to win that hybrid map on the attacking end. I also think they were overthinking their first attack on Hanamura point B, playing too defensively and allowing Paris to recover instead of taking their chance to pressure the objective. And throughout all this, that damn map 5 was still looming overhead.
Also, it feels like Sado now has a better Reinhardt than Winston. This is weird to say considering the guy is known for his Winston play. I appreciate the fact he stepped up his Reinhardt game in the off-season. It looks like his Winston game only maybe marginally improved during that time though. I don’t think Sado is a bad Winston overall by any means though. He was honestly probably the second-best Winston to play this weekend behind Muma. But he does sometimes commit to some of the most ill-advised dives I’ve ever seen. On Blizzard World alone there was a point where he literally dived in and immediately died like 3 times in a row while virtually getting nothing done.
In a dive composition, sometimes the Winston is going to die. This, to me, is otherwise fine as long as the Winston does something that puts the team into a favorable position before they go down. Sado has a knack for diving in and doing nothing to help the team before he dies on Winston. Otherwise known as being a feeder… It wasn’t as egregious in this game as it has been in the past, but there were signs of it here and there.
Anyway, we go to map 5 and Soon clutches it out for Paris. This is exactly why I did not want to go to another map 5.
This is going to be weird to say, but I think the most cathartic moment about this game for me was seeing the Fusion players hanging their heads over their keyboards after the loss. It translates to me exactly how I feel about this entire game: “You did this to yourselves.” I hope they take this tough loss and turn it into a Zenkai boost for their next match because I’ll be damned if they go to map 5 against London. That would be nothing less than salt in the wound, win or lose. London very much feels like how Philadelphia used to be back in season 1. Or at least I hope that’s what they used to be. We won’t really know until then.
With Winston out of the rotation for next week, it’ll be interesting to see Sado back on Reinhardt if that’s where the meta shifts toward again. I also wouldn’t mind seeing EQO step in for Ivy again. I understand they put him on Brig in this match because he probably has more experience with the hero due to GOATS, but it’s not like Philly was a great GOATS team, and FunnyAstro looked fine on Brig. Plus, this ain’t GOATS anyway. Considering how Ivy actually performed in that off-damage role this match, it just makes me wonder if the good old Carpe/EQO damage lineup might’ve made a difference. I know I’m probably being a little harsh, but only because I genuinely want to see this squad improve, as a fan. I think that starts with just avoiding the same traps they’ve been falling into for the last 2 years.
What did you think about this week’s Overwatch League games? Leave your comments below!
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