It’s time yet again to continue our look back at the Overwatch League’s opening season. Season 2 is slowly but surely getting closer and we’re only halfway through our retrospective, so without further ado, we give you stage 3.
Overwatch League Watch
Let’s get the predictable and uninteresting updates out of the way first. The Shanghai Dragons still couldn’t cut the mustard and came out of the third stage winless once again. We didn’t mention this before, but their roster was half-Chinese and half-Korean, so when their sole translator left abruptly in this stage, things went from bad to worse. Said interpreter would also not be replaced until late in stage 4.
Ryujehong replaced Miro on the Dynasty’s main tank role and was a downgrade in every sense of the word while Fleta was having a harder time carrying the team with his DPS.
The Fuel had a ton of internal drama and players and coaches alike started attacking each other on twitter, their toxicity even driving Effect to leave the team to nurse his mental health.
The Outlaws were still a pretty mediocre team, with Muma and Coolmatt’s strong tank showings marred by subpar support and especially DPS players. Jake and Linkzr were fine with their own characters, but neither could play the meta-centralizing Tracer that well. Now that all that’s out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff.
The Good Stuff
The Gladiators added Void, the zany Zaria, on tank and Silkthread, the DPS player who can play more heroes than a spider can catch flies. These guys were a significant advantage for their team, but honestly, almost everyone on the active roster at this point was playing above the league average. The Californian team had become a bigger threat than they ever had been.
The Excelsior added support player Anamo, who fit right into the team, letting them continue their dominant momentum from stage 2 without a hitch. There’s not much else to say of them, really. They were the best before and they still were in the present.
The Valiant made a whole clusterfuck of moves in stage 3, becoming nigh unrecognizable. We don’t have time to go over every last point on the smorgasbord of changes, but we will shout-out the previously mentioned Custa, who brought some epic leadership to the team and we credit their impressive stage performance to him as a result.
The Mayhem were just plain boring. Their memeable walkout antics and team humor were cut as though the organization believed a serious tone would translate to wins. The only fun part of the team now was the recently added Sayaplayer, who became known for his bombastic Widowmaker plays. If it sounds like we’re trying to imply that the Mayhem did better in this stage, we’re really not. Their attempts at coordination mirrored their name at this point and they often didn’t even look like OWL-level players.
On the other hand, the Shock’s signing of underaged players finally began paying off in this stage, as DPS star Architect, finally turned 18 and joined the main roster alongside main tank Super and main support Moth. This trio helped the team earn their best performance yet. They ended up barely missing the stage playoffs, but that’s just a testament to how strong their competition was.
Back on the negative end, the Spitfire had a big drop in quality. Birdring’s expert marksmanship was suffering because of a tragic, yet comical, wrist injury sustained by hitting his desk in frustration after playing Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy. Fortunately, Hooreg found his footing as the team’s new sniper after a few games and turned balanced their stage’s underperforming first-half with a strong second half, showing London fans that all was not lost.
On the other hand, the Fusion almost completely fell apart. They positioned themselves poorly, had some bad aim streaks and Boombox was activating his ultimate seemingly at random. Compared to the proficiency they showed in stage 2, it was honestly pretty sad.
We saved the best for last though, with Boston, where everyone’s eyes were during the stage. They had a pretty bad start, not because of hard losses, but because one of their star players Dreamkazper was caught in the act of trying to establish a sexual liaison between himself and two underage fans. This was in spite of the former being an adult and having a girlfriend, so needless to say the Uprising announced his suspension within a few hours and news of his termination came shortly thereafter. It was definitely the right decision from an ethical standpoint, but it meant that the mid-tier team would lose their strongest DPS player and things seemed grim. But they weren’t. Kazper’s replacement, Mistakes, went from an unproven wildcard to a top player practically overnight. Better yet, the rest of the team was doing just as good, with a solid support and tank line and Striker played a deadly Tracer, able to pull off both clutch kill streaks and game-winning stalling tactics. The team absolutely owned the stage 3 and made OWL history by being the only franchise to this day to go undefeated in a stage.
So that was the main part of stage 3. A lot of changes to certain teams and very few for other ones. The last thing of note is that this was when Blizzard changed the stage playoff rules from allowing the top 3 teams to the top 4. For that reason, we’ll save the playoff recap for next time, so be sure to look out for part 4 of our retrospective and let us know your stage 3 highlights in the comments below.