By Steven Toroni
Week Two of Stage 2 wrapped up with all three series of the final day ending in a 4-0 result. Perhaps the most noteworthy victory of the week goes to the Philadelphia Fusion who defeated the Houston Outlaws in an upset.
Many new Heroes have been added to the pro meta in Stage 2, and Week Two was no exception to teams adjusting lineups to counter their opponents properly. Lucio has become the most-used support hero now that Mercy has been nerfed substantially and as a result, matches have become even faster than they were in Stage 1.
Like the Fusion, teams like the Florida Mayhem and Dallas Fuel are doing their best to make a name for themselves by posing a threat to the upper-echelon of the Overwatch League such as the New York Excelsior and the London Spitfire. But it is crucial for the teams with something to prove to capitalize on their opportunity when it is presented, like the Philadelphia Fusion did in Week Two.
Week Three Projections
The highly anticipated encore of Josh “Eqo” Corona will have to wait until Week Three. The prodigy who made a polarizing debut in Week One tweeted after the Fusion win against the Outlaws that he was too sick to play in the contest. The match did not start in Philadelphia’s favor as they would find themselves in a 2-0 deficit. The Outlaws won their second match behind some excellent defense with a Bastion and a Reinhardt, both of whom are hardly used in the professional meta, and held off a Fusion attack in the close proximity of the Nepal objective. However, the Fusion found their groove with Georgii “Shadowburn” Gushcha, who replaced EQO for both of the Fusion matches in Week Two. Shadowburn ran Genji almost exclusively for the entirety of the match. With two supports, two tanks, and a Tracer, Shadowburn’s Genji gave Philadelphia speed and substantial DPS to help lead their comeback.
Shadowburn played a part towards the nail-biter of a finish against Houston, and would be relied upon again against the London Spitfire later in the week. The Fusion were swept in the match without their best player, EQO. Surely, they will need him in Week Three as the Fusion will be taking on the Excelsior and the Seoul Dynasty who are currently one and two in the Overwatch League standings. Look for EQO to act as a flex role against these teams while the Fusion continue to field two supports and two tanks with a Tracer. Speed will be the name of the game as they look to take down two of the best teams in the league in Week Three.
After a disappointing start to Stage 2, the Uprising responded with a decisive victory over the Florida Mayhem. Jonathon “DreamKazper” Sanchez and Nam-Ju “STRIKER” Gwon led an offense-oriented meta in this match that featured both of the Boston stars as Genji and Tracer respectively. STRIKER makes his living as Tracer by playing an in-and-out style; constantly farming percentage points towards his Ultimate and then Blinking into the action to inflict destruction on opponents with Pulse Bombs. He did just that in Week Two against Florida as Tracer; STRIKER was out of his mind, racking up 134 eliminations (with only 18 deaths) which included 68 Final Blows. The 37,567 Hero damage inflicted is even more impressive considering that only 13 of his kills were from Pulse Bombs.
This kind of effort from STRIKER will be welcomed by Boston in Week Three. They take on a Shanghai Dragons team that has yet to achieve their first win in 14 matches in the Overwatch League. It would benefit Boston to stay on their A-game against a hungry Shanghai squad because they will be facing the Stage 1 Champion London Spitfire in the same week. London plays with a similar meta as the Uprising, mostly fielding a Zenyatta and a Tracer with two tanks.
Look for Boston to continue to use STRIKER as Tracer and have DreamKazper handle flex duties. Dreamkazper finding his stride with a DPS hero early could pay-off in a match where they will certainly need stability from the position. While both squads like to switch between Mercy and Lucio at support, Boston may want to switch to Moira to give them an offensive edge. Moira will not sacrifice mobility and can inflict damage in multiple ways. Pairing Moira with a Zenyatta against London would maximize their versatility on offense by using two supports that can be used as DPS Heroes.
Philadelphia missed EQO right away against London in Week Two. The reigning champions got off to a hot start against the Fusion, led by Jun-Yuong “Profit” Park and Ji-Hyeok “Birdring” Kim who came out of the gates flexing their stuff. The two DPS players seemed to come into the match with a very loose gameplan centered around their two main threats. The versatile duo combined for seven hero changes before the first map was completed; showing off their diversity and cohesiveness as a unit. Profit locked in with Tracer and Birdring was dominant as Genji as the Spitfire went on to sweep the series for games to none.
Look for the Spitfire to play around with different lineups early against Boston. While they usually roster two supports (one being a Zenyatta), two tanks, and two DPS heroes, London knows that it benefits them to find as many successful lineup combinations as they can.
Being able to figure out what works, while still being able to handle their business makes London a tier above the rest. Boston is no slouch and will be coming into the match with an offensive oriented approach, so expect London to decide quickly what meta they want to stick to. Last week against Philadelphia London even fielded a three-tank lineup which may be utilized to counter Boston’s high-powered attack.
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