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Let’s OWL with Jammy! Week 4 Highlights (Season 1)

Week 3 may have been so epic you could probably be forgiven for going in to this past week with the knowledge that nothing will compare. That is, of course, until you see Spitfire dominate Dynasty taking them to a 4-0, Uprising sweeping both LA teams 4-0 and even seeing Dallas Fuel win a control map over NYXL, ending their unbeaten control map streak alongside the formidable streak Pine held as well as denying them from regaining the top of the leader board.

Is Week 4 worth watching? Absolutely!

Spitfires Flying High:

After finishing this week 7-1, the London Spitfire are currently sitting on top of the overall leader board with only one week to go before Stage One concludes. Houston Outlaws are currently sitting in 4th with a 5-3 record. This means Spitfire only need to win one match next week to secure a place in the stage one playoffs. Should they win both, they will end Stage One on top and face off against the winner of the 2nd and 3rd spots for that end of stage bonus. But what exactly makes them so good?

If we look at their line-up, they are the only team in the OWL that has a full 12 man roster. This is great for a number of reasons; first, they can organise full internal scrims as a means of practicing new strategies without showing their hand to the other teams. Second, they can afford to specialise their different players onto specific heroes and maps making them more effective if the six are chosen around specific strategies the team has prepared. The third reason, probably the most effective for the team, is the fact they have 12 star players with completely separate styles. This enables them to switch up so often it is hard for their opposition to read how London will play before the match begins. We saw this come into full effect against Seoul Dynasty, where not only did London field 11 players out of their 12 man roster, but actually lead Seoul into benching their star player Ryujehong and field Gido in an attempt to throw off London’s gameplan. Needless to say, this didn’t work out too well for Seoul.

Not only did London beat them across all four maps, but they didn’t allow Seoul to take a single point until Map 4, Dorado, where Seoul took two but were not even able to finish the map.

Watch Game 1 LDN @ SEO Stage 1 Week 4 from OverwatchLeague on www.twitch.tv

The closest Seoul got was a 98.2% take on first point Numbani, which was actually held by perfect ultimate use and targeting by London. Watch the clip above and pay attention to how Gesture uses his Primal Rage to contest the point, push back Seoul’s only healer and create space for Closer to come back with the Valkyrie. This play set the tone for the remainder of the four map set and showcased just how head-and-tails above the competition Spitfire are in terms of coordination and set plays.

But how are they so cohesive under pressure against one of their toughest opponents? If you look at the line-up they played against Seoul on Numbani, you’ll notice they have Closer and HaGoPeun on Supports, Gesture and WOOHYAL on Tanks and finally Profit and Hooreg for DPS. That’s right. That is the exact APEX Season 4 winning GC Busan line-up. Arguably the world number one team going into the OWL. The number two team going into the OWL is a close one to call, but would be between Lunatic-Hai, who make up the foundation of Seoul Dynasty (Ryujehong, Tobi, Zunba, Miro and Gido) and Kongdoo Panthera, who became C9Kongdoo as they joined the Cloud 9 team to form the London Spitfire. So not only do London hold the former best team in Overwatch, they also hold Birdring, Rascal, Fissure and Bdosin who all hailed from the 2nd/3rd best team in Overwatch.
If that wasn’t greedy enough, they also successfully recruited Fury from Team Liquid and NUS from Meta Athena – two very well-known teams in the Korean Overwatch scene.

Can they be stopped? Obviously we saw the wildcard that is Boston Uprising take them to task in Week 3, claiming that one game win from them, but now they face off against the Houston Outlaws and NYXL to close out Stage One. As a slightly biased fan, I have high hopes in London’s ability to take Stage One.

Is Doomfist EFFECTive?:

So, the Dallas Fuel went into week 4 with a 1-5 record and currently sit 10th on the overall leader board. I’m sure I’m not the only one surprised by their current form, coming into the OWL as former Contenders winning Team EnvyUs and in a previous article I claimed they were in the front running for taking the league.

Watch Full Match | Philadelphia Fusion vs. Dallas Fuel Stage 1 Week 4 from OverwatchLeague on www.twitch.tv

Incorrect predictions aside, they went into this week without a chance of reaching stage one playoffs. Not that they let this get them down, as you can see in the video above they were all smiles coming into both matches. (as an aside, if I could have any wish it would be to have my own pocket-sized Mickie for whenever I needed a little pick me up!)

In true EnvyUs form, instead of getting tilted at their current record, the team tried out many new and interesting strategies in an attempt to break the current meta strats being run on the maps they played. We saw them field the classic Envy line-up of Taimou, EFFECT, HarryHook, Chipshajen, Mickie and Cocco across both their Week 4 matches but what was completely unexpected was seeing EFFECT field Doomfist for a considerable amount of game time.

EFFECT is, in my opinion, one of the greatest DPS players in the league. He is well known for both his Tracer play and his incredible carry potential. That is not to say he doesn’t play other heroes to great effect (heh.) as we saw him field McCree successfully in Week 3 and it’s been silently known he is an incredibly accomplished Genji, even if we don’t see him on the hero very often.

Doomfist is an incredibly niche hero who we have really only seen played for a limited time by the LA Gladiator’s Hydration on first point Dorado, but Fuel elected to run him against the Philadelphia Fusion to mixed results.

Watch Game 2 PHI @ DAL Stage 1 Week 4 from OverwatchLeague on www.twitch.tv

The most interesting aspect of EFFECT’s Doomfist play is how he utilised his massive burst potential and surprising mobility to attempt to break the classic Orisa shield/ Widowmaker combo so often seen on first point Anubis and if it weren’t for a slight miss-step it could have been rather effective.
Watch the clip above, or the desk analysis here.

The Sign-up Window is Open, Mayhem Calls For Aid!

Talking of 12 man rosters and underperforming teams, Florida Mayhem are currently sitting just behind Dallas in 11th place with a 1-7 record with their 6 man roster. But, all is not lost, the new signing window is officially open and it’s no surprise to see Mayhem secure a new player right off the bat. As of the start of Stage Two, Zappis (Formerly NiP and later team Gigantti) will join Mayhem and his old teammate Zuppeh, most likely in the Flex Tank position. What effect will this have on the Mayhem? Well, at this point it’s hard to say, but I’d expect this would relieve a lot of the pressure currently on Manneten and allow him to flex out a little more into the DPS roles he built his name on.

The signing window is open all through Stage Two until April 3rd so expect to see multiple roster changes until Stage Three. Is that Shanghai I hear calling…?

Final Week of Stage 1:

So, Stage One will conclude at the end of next week and the standings couldn’t be more important. Next Saturday, whichever teams are 2 and 3 in the league will fight it out for the chance to face the league no.1 for a hefty stage winner’s bonus, but who’s in contention?

Currently at the top of the board we have the Spitfires and the NYXL on 7-1 records. In a convenient piece of poetic justice, the London/NYXL matchup is the final match for both these teams in Stage One. The winner of the match will either guarantee a top three finish, or top the league entirely depending on how they performed in their first match of the week. The loser will need to have won their first match of the week in order to guarantee their place in the playoffs. Seoul Dynasty are currently sitting on a 6-2 record and in 3rd place. If they manage to win both their matches against the Valiant and the Fusion they guarantee a top three finish. Should they lose either match, they open the third place spot to Houston, Boston, LA Valiant or Fusion depending on how their matches play.

So, which matches should you watch next week? The most exciting will be the clash of London to the NYXL for league superiority, although other matches to keep an eye on would be both of Seoul’s vs the Valiant and Fusion but also the Fusion/Boston match and both of Houston’s matches vs. London and Boston. These are the matches that will decide the top half of the table exiting Stage One and are most likely to set the pace for the remainder of the league. I can’t wait!

The playoff matches will be held on Saturday, after the regular matches have concluded.

-Jammy

Weekly Scoreboard

STAGE 1 // WEEK 4 – JANUARY 31, 2018

VALIANT

4

0

FUSION
MAYHEM

1

3

GLADIATORS
OUTLAWS

3

1

SHOCK

STAGE 1 // WEEK 4 – FEBRUARY 1, 2018

FUSION

4

0

FUEL
NYXL

4

0

DRAGONS
SPITFIRE

4

0

DYNASTY

STAGE 1 // WEEK 4 – FEBRUARY 2, 2018

SHOCK

4

0

MAYHEM
DYNASTY

3

2

OUTLAWS
GLADIATORS

0

4

UPRISING

STAGE 1 // WEEK 4 – FEBRUARY 3, 2018

DRAGONS

0

4

SPITFIRE
FUEL

1

3

NYXL
UPRISING

4

0

VALIANT

Current Standings:

(Number in brackets is Overall standing.)

PACIFIC DIVISION

#1 (#3)

DYNASTY

6 – 2

#2 (#6)

VALIANT

5 – 3

#3 (#8)

SHOCK

3 – 5

#4 (#9)

GLADIATORS

3 – 5

#5 (#10)

FUEL

1 – 7

#6 (#12)

DRAGONS

0 – 8

ATLANTIC DIVISION

#1 (#1)

SPITFIRE

7 – 1

#2 (#2)

NYXL

7 – 1

#3 (#4)

OUTLAWS

5 – 3

#4 (#7)

FUSION

5 – 3

#5 (#5)

UPRISING

5 – 3

#6 (#11)

MAYHEM

1 – 7

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