Even a God-King can Bleed
What a way to close out the regular season. The last stage finals of the Overwatch League were not only the most exciting stage finals, but maybe the most exciting day of Overwatch this season. The Blizzard Arena sold out for the day and the fans were not disappointed. Gladiators and Valiant fans are the closest any team has to a home crowd and they got to see not only both home teams clash, but one take the win. The Valiant defied predictions and defeated New York to win Stage Four. Let’s get down to how the day went.
Last Battle of LA
This game was supposed to be one of the best of the day and it did not disappoint. Both teams were in absolute top form as they traded fire strikes and D.va bombs. The five map series was exciting the whole way through and while the Valiant won, the Gladiators made them work for it.
The Valiant came out with a full hold of the Gladiators on Watchpoint: Gibraltar to start off the series. The Gladiators answered back with a 4-2 win on Horizon Lunar Colony that tied it up at the half. The two teams continued to trade maps for the next two games as the Gladiators took Lijiang Tower 2-0 and the Valiant snatched up King’s Row 3-2. It all came down to a final game on Dorado. This one went to the Valiant who secured the map with another full hold.
Dallas’ Last Stand
The Dallas Fuel road to redemption ended here but what an ending it was. This team had struggled on and off the virtual field for the first three stages. The last five weeks were different though and the 10th ranked team actually made it into the stage finals. With the Gladiators choosing the Valiant as their opponent this left the Fuel to take on the top of the league NYXL.
The match started off in favor of New York with Watchpoint: Gibraltar and Horizon Lunar Colony both going to that team. After the half Dallas rallied shutting them out on Lijiang Tower and handing them a rare loss on King’s Row. Now 2-2 the game went to a map five that, as earlier in the day, didn’t disappoint. Dorado eventually went to NYXL but Dallas gave them their best fight of the season.
The Grand Final
The stage was set for the best stage grand final yet and it really was. Though it only went to four maps this series had the energy and excitement of ten. Valiant went into this in their best form. They’ve looked good all season, but only in this final stage have they taken over the table, nearly going undefeated in stage Four. NYXL locked up the best record of the season before the stage had even ended. They’re technical prowess has allowed them the execute even non-meta comps. That said, their last few this stage haven’t been at the same level. Low scoring maps were the norm across this series. Not surprising since these are the top two teams in the league. This match may even be a preview of the Grand Finals coming next month.
First map, Dorado, started the series off with a Valiant victory 1-0. NYXL would strike back on Hanamura taking a point and keeping LA from doing so. Tied up going into the half both teams came back hungry on Oasis. The Valiant proved the better team in the final two maps. They shut New York out on both Oasis and Blizzard World to win the series 3-1.
Congratulations to the Los Angeles Valiant on their victory. They have become the first non-Korean roster to win a stage final in the Overwatch League. The team doesn’t have too long to celebrate though as season playoffs start next month in July. As they finished at the top of their division they will receive a first round bye. Make sure you use all of these matches to fill the Overwatch League void in your life until then.