Back For Round Two
It’s the start of a new stage. I hope you all enjoyed the week break between stages one and two. More importantly, I hope that all of the players across the twenty teams in the league were able to rest, reset, and are ready to come back onto the stage. Across the Overwatch League nearly every team has a lot of work to do. There’s only 21 matches left for each team not already there to get to the top of the table. For those teams at the top (NYXL and Vancouver) the task becomes how to hold onto their unbeaten streak and more importantly, position at the top of the table. Let’s get into the new week.
All-Star Voting Open
Last week the Overwatch League opened the voting for the 2019 All-Star game. In a news post on the league site the basic details of the All-Star festivities for the season were revealed. Just like last season you’ll be able to build your dream teams of both Pacific and Atlantic division talent. Standard 2-2-2 rules apply for the team compositions and you’ll need your Battle.net account to vote.
Player of the Week
Bumper: Main Tank, Vancouver Titans
The man who is fast becoming the legend. Bumper is an outstanding Reinhardt (and Hanzo) player who executes in his role on the Titans to perfection. Clocking in 131 eliminations in the Stage One Finals match he showed that he is a not a coward type of main tank. This is a very effective way to play of the Reinhardt in GOATs comp, but also a very risky way too. Trading safety for aggression allows the main tank to be another player of the team doing damage and setting up opportunities for the rest of the team. It’s risky since any mistake can be punished by the opponent. Bumper was caught several times in the Stage Final, with 50 deaths in that match, but the vast majority of the time it plaid off. mechanical skills melding with smart and aggressive play make him top tier. Right now this guy is the best in the aggressive Rein style, sorry Fragi.
— Vancouver Titans (@VancouverTitans) March 24, 2019
Titans fans will have to wait until Sunday to see Bumper in action again when Vancouver takes on Hangzhou at 3:30 PM Pacific time.
VOD of the Week
Stage One Final: Vancouver Titans (7-0) vs. San Francisco Shock (4-3)
As if it could be any of the other games from the playoffs. Possibly the best competitive Overwatch match of all time, this game went the absolute distance with all seven possible maps played. Far from the let down that many final games across all sports often become the Shock made the game as close as it possibly could be. At the end of the day the Titans took it all, but they really had to work for it.
Vancouver showed all of the strength they had this stage, but for the first time it wan’t quite enough. Not once but multiple times the Shock caught them up and took maps off of the Titans. It’s hard to say exactly why this was which is probably how Vancouver could come back some maps, but then fail again. Certainly San Francisco had been watching the tape from the season as they often executed on the exact player from the Titans that they needed to in order to win the match. Conversely, they Titans famous clutch skills come through again and again, winning them points they shouldn’t have been able to get.
RunAway seems to create these epic matches, whatever team they become or league they play in great games follow. If you want to see one of these great games, the current pinnacle of competitive Overwatch, a game with the two best teams in that place and time, then you need to see this match. Words don’t describe the emotional roller coaster that this match was. You just need to watch it.
Match of the Week
Los Angeles Valiant (0-7) vs. San Francisco Shock (4-3)
The first meeting of these two teams this season and the first since the California Cup. Though they share the same home state, the current state of these two teams couldn’t be more different. The Valiant have spent an entire stage being less than the sum of their parts. Currently sitting at zero wins this season is a bad look for the team that won their division last year. The Shock on the other hand are looking better every match. With some of the star talent they recruited long ago finally of age to play in the league they have been climbing up the table fast. Their performance in the Stage One Playoffs was superb, but not surprising given the squad they have this season.
All this said, it’s going to be a rivalry match. The California Cup is on the line here and that is all the motivation these teams will need to give it their all. Time and again, we’ve seen that when something is at stake for the players of the Overwatch League they rise to the occasion. The clutch plays, the hidden strats, it’s all possible for this match. Valiant has no business beating the Shock on paper, but when the chips are down anything can happen.
A week seemed too long a break when the action is this good. I can’t wait to get back to the fun. It’s more exciting then ever with the addition of a brand new support character to the mix. The pulse bombs fly as the Overwatch League returns this Thursday, April 4th at 4 PM Pacific time on Twitch.