Around the OWL: NYXL stutters, London Spitfire pick up steam
The first week of role lock is officially in the books for the Overwatch League, and the ripples in the meta have already been set for each team. In a welcome return to the forefront, teams like London, Washington Justice and Guangzhou Charge picked up some convincing wins with the meta seemingly in their favor. On the other end of the coin, NYXL seemed out of sorts as they were put to rest by a streaky LA Gladiators who eventually fell to the Houston Outlaws later in the week.
While the meta hasn’t been completely figured out, there’s still plenty to analyze for teams that have put together an identity outside of GOATS. The other teams still looking for their next best winning strategy have time running against them with the end of regular season play rapidly approaching.
Vancouver, Guangzhou…. And Chengdu?
This week saw a number of teams finish with 2-0 records to start the stage on the right foot. Vancouver Titans dominance could’ve been predicted, but Chengdu’s continued ability to knick wins in Game 5 have put them in the same conversation with London and Guangzhou this week. The Hunters have had plenty of experience with DPS, but their awkward triple DPS comps of the past were not going to be able to fly in Stage Four. Wins over Philadelphia Fusion and Boston Uprising don’t make them world beaters, but their ability to grab wins in the regular season will go far for their hopes at a playoff run.
London Spitfire also went 2-0 and looked impressive doing so with big time highlights coming from their Championship winning DPS Park “Profit” Joon-yeong. Not only that, but Kim “Fury” Jun-ho and Hong “Gesture” Jae-hui’s triumphant return saw them put up performances that were similar to their height as the best Tank line in the Overwatch League. Profit by himself is a highlight reel waiting to happen, when the rest of London Spitfire click alongside him their potential to success increases tenfold.
Guangzhou Charge have come into Stage Four with a personal chip on their shoulder. After a gutsy 3-2 win over Philadelphia Fusion, the vision for this Guangzhou team is starting to take shape and their DPS talents have taken center stage. The duo of Lee “Happy” Jung-woo and Charlie “nero” Zwarg has steadily impressed against DPS duos that are seemingly better on paper. Happy has gone toe-to-toe with some of the best players in this league and has looked damn near impeccable against even the finest talents like Carpe and DDing in recent weeks.
Their tank line continues to do the job, and while they don’t really get the credit they deserve, Oh “Rio” Seung-pyo and Hong-jun “HOTBA” Choi have steadily improved in their roles week after week regardless of the roster changes Guangzhou have endured as a team. The next couple of weeks will be the most testing stretch of the season for the Charge schedule wise. If the talent is ready to overcome the odds, expect Guangzhou to break many hearts in Weeks two and three, or suffer the consequences of possibly being on the outside of playoff aspirations.
Something to strive for
Regardless of their standings in Stage Four, teams like Washington Justice and Atlanta Reign have given their fans something to cheer about in the final weeks of regular season with their ever-improving squads. Washington Justice were the laughing stock of the league for a short period this year, but their constant team changes in an attempt to bring stability to the team have finally paid off and their roster has been flourishing in the aftermath.
Corey “Corey” Nigra has been an absolute revelation for the D.C. outfit, as his Widowmaker statistics are amongst one of the most efficient in the league. In a DPS meta, it becomes easier for teams to rally behind their damage dealers that pop off and have extraordinary games. For Corey, that type of advantage comes easy and his team have been doing their part to capitalize on that win condition. The strength of schedule for Washington is also mightily in their favor this Stage. A respectable 5-2 finish is the bare minimum for a team that finally has a bite as strong as its bark.
Atlanta Reign have also impressed this week in spite of their roster deficiencies in front of Hangzhou Spark. Their Korean tank line of Seo “DACO” Dong-hyeong and Park “Pokpo” Hyun-jun continues to anchor this team no matter the opposition. In a meta where their DPS players finally get to deal damage, Joon “Erster” Jeong and Ilya “NLaaeR” Koppalov look comfortable on stage with their pocket picks in use.