The first week of the Overwatch League playoffs ended with upsets in both sets. Philadelphia Fusion and London Spitfire move on to face the two best teams in the league in New York Excelsior and Los Angeles Valiant. London are having a mini-resurgence at the best possible time while Philadelphia outclassed a Boston Uprising on the decline. Let us take a look at this week’s semi-final matches.
New York Excelsior v. Philadelphia Fusion:
Game 1: Wednesday, July 18. 8 p.m. EST
Game 2: Saturday, July 21. 7 p.m. EST
Game 3: Saturday, July 21. 9 p.m. EST
Philadelphia’s series with Boston went the extra mile after Boston came alive in the second set. But the Fusion managed to get the better in this new single-support, triple-tank meta. Isaac “Boombox” Charles had no problem switching between Zenyatta and Roadhog, and Gael “Poko” Gouzerch got to show off his famed D.va skills again. Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee has proved his worth to be on the South Korea World Cup team.
Given that New York have been resting for a few weeks, in theory, they should have no problem dealing with the Fusion, just like any other team they faced this season. The prime example would be the Stage 2 finals between these two teams. But in the last few weeks of the season, New York started to look sloppy. They lost sets to the Los Angeles Gladiators, Boston Uprising, and Los Angeles Valiant. With plenty of time to regroup themselves, the Excelsior should be calmer and more collected than when they lost to the Valiant in the Stage 4 finals. New York’s DPS options need to sharpen up to make the most of this sniper-tanky meta. League MVP Seong-hyun “Jjonak” Bang does not need to switch off his Zenyatta to do well in this new meta, but he can just to show off.
Prediction: New York should have an easy time getting through to the grand finals, though it will not be as easy as people think.
Los Angeles Valiant v. London Spitfire:
Game 1: Wednesday, July 18. 10 p.m. EST
Game 2: Friday, July 20. 7 p.m. EST
Game 3: Friday, July 20. 9 p.m. EST
Something must have snapped in London collective head after the Gladiator’s infamous King’s Row flank. Where they said “No More! We are the Stage 1 Champions!” Because the Spitfire, who had not beaten the Gladiators in a series all season, played the most aggressive way they have all season, shutting out the Gladiators 6-0 in maps for the day. They worked to make the Gladiators uncomfortable at every turn, kept the damage coming with triple-tank or triple-DPS. Seung-tae “Bdosin” Choi made the switch from a Zenyatta to a Roadhog player, complimenting Jae-hyi “Gesture” Hong’s Orisa play to frightening levels. Jun-young “Profit” Park and Ji-hyeok “Birdring” Park got their mojo back as a sniper duo. But they also got lucky that Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek had a meltdown and falling out with the Gladiators at the worst possible time.
With one Los Angeles team down, the Spitfire now have the Valiant to look forward to. Given the meta changing to single-support, Young-seo “Kariv” Park should see more time on either DPS or tank duty outside of his Zenyatta. Brady “Agilities” Girardi and Terence “Soon” Tarlier need to be at the top of their games if they are going to win the sniper duels. I have no doubt Pan-seung “Fate” Koo and hold his own against Gesture, but he needs help to deal with the aggression.
Our players of the day are @PROFIT_OWL & @GestureOW who had incredible performances to secure victory today! #OWL2018 #TheFirstPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/6I68keDrSz
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) July 15, 2018
Prediction: The Valiant will put a swift end to whatever resurgence the Spitfire come up with.
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