Overwatch League: Recap of the Stage 2 Week 1
A new meta in the Overwatch League generally means new rosters being put into the limelight and this week was no different. After a disappointing playoff run, New York Excelsior returned to form as they won both games this week without dropping a map. Boston Uprising also picked up two wins (although not as clean) as they improve to 6-3 overall this season. The ascension of Los Angeles Gladiators has fully taken root as they took big wins over Shanghai Dragons and Seoul Dynasty this week. Chengdu Hunters also continue to defy the odds as they join the double win club for the first time this past week, and their roster seems to have finally picked up steam.
Boston Uprising are quite possibly the most volatile team in the Overwatch League at this stage. Every week, it seems like they should be handed a loss but somehow, the collective intelligence from player and coaching staff always pulls them through. In their past three wins, Boston have won all three in reverse sweep fashion. Being down 0-2 in any match is a daunting experience, but Boston’s ‘never say die’ attitude has kept them well above water since last stage.
At this point, Boston Uprising haven’t dropped a game since Week 3 of Stage One. On paper, their roster hasn’t been up to par to merit their 6-3 record, but the magic really comes in player switches as Boston are no strangers to making 3-4 swaps on a regular basis in between games. Just like last season, Boston Uprising have tailor made their squad to optimize themselves at every point of a match, no player is misused (generally) on map rotations and the results have been palpable to say the least.
While you can argue that Boston Uprising aren’t the best team in terms of skill, their ability to play out the matches on a case by case basis is unlike any other team in the league right now. Outside of the obvious top three teams, Boston can beat just about any OWL roster with ample preparation.
Falling out of favor?
We knew the Atlanta Reign were going into Stage Two in revamp mode after losing Dafran, but the losses this week left much to be desired. In essence, Atlanta lost their x-factor when Dafran left the team, and it’s going to take a bit of time for them to find that spark of creativity going forward. Their series against Boston was extremely winnable, but Atlanta simply cracked under pressure as Boston remained stoic in their counter attacks.
While a player like Dafran might have not necessarily won them the series, Atlanta Reign still lacks that veteran presence that can ground this entire team and bring them back to form while they’re on stage. The ability to pop off is still there, but Atlanta’s creativity remains bottled by their emotion. If they can continue to keep that in check during tense series like this, they may be able to sneak out wins and return to playoff prominence.
Guangzhou Charge also had a tough week of competition, albeit against much stronger opponents, in Week One. Guangzhou were regarded as a mid-tier team at the end of Stage One, and that stigma still remains as they were decidedly swept by two solid teams in Paris Eternal and San Francisco Shock. Guangzhou seemed to have reached their ceiling as a roster, they can regularly beat the bottom of the table teams but have peaked against a certain caliber of opposition.
LA Gladiators continue to climb
We mentioned this last stage during Week Four, but the resurgence of Los Angeles Gladiators has fully taken shape with this week’s action unfolding. LA Gladiators are now 4-0 on their last four matches, and these wins were more emblematic of their dominance as LAG played a high-paced game to 3-1 both Shanghai Dragons and Seoul Dynasty. Across the board, the Gladiators have been impressing as a unit, but Jun-woo “Void” Kang really came into his own this week as he found clutch D.Va bombs at a few different points this week.
Main tank prowess continues to be the road to success for a few different maps this stage, and LA Gladiators’ lineup has that role covered in spades. Even when the meta shifts, LAG still have Surefour and Hydration primed and ready on the sidelines in case of an emergency. Realistically, the weak points on this roster have been patched up so nicely by their complimenting parts, and the LA Gladiators have a real shot at establishing themselves as a playoff threat with their extremely easy schedule this stage.