Stage 2 is officially in the books and we are now half way through the 2019 season! After 2 stages of intense action we can safely say we have a clear picture of who the true contenders for the championship are, and who may be close if more playoff shenanigans happen like last season. There have been plenty of surprises, with teams moving up and down the rankings wildly. With the development team apparently intending no changes to specific heroes incoming, it is rumored that changes may be happening elsewhere in the game’s infrastructure, more on that later though, because we need to start talking about the teams that played this stage.
While some teams went beyond expectations and did really well this stage, there were some teams that really failed to meet the mark of what they are capable of in this stage. The Houston Outlaws had one of the worst stages in Overwatch League history after seemingly trying to fit a square peg into a round hole for the entire duration of their stage. The talent lined up on the roster isn’t strong enough to play the three-three composition in the current state of the league. Exploring more creative avenues to surprise teams like the Chengdu Hunters have done, while finding times to effectively use the Three-Three composition but also finding times to beat the composition with a different look. However, Houston was not the only team to struggle in this stage, Toronto went from having one of the best records in the league and looking like a silent but strong competitor to losing 5 of their games and ending up being a .500 team that is right on the edge of the playoff cut line.
It wasn’t all gloom and doom for teams though, some teams had a really impressive stage and legitimately surpassed expectations. The Los Angeles Valiant finally won some matches, and were even in the running for the stage playoffs throughout most of the stage. Speaking of stage playoffs, the first two Chinese teams to ever make a stage playoffs played this stage, with both the Shanghai Dragons and Hangzhou Spark having impressive stages all around. The Spark had a major upset in the playoffs over the reigning champion London Spitfire and advancing to the semifinals of the stage playoffs. The shanghai dragons were the first to take a map off of the San Francisco Shock, who had what has been named a Golden Stage. San Francisco went through the entire stage 2 regular season without losing a single map. The playoffs went almost as well for this team in this stage as well.
Only 3 teams from the previous playoffs returned for this stage’s playoffs, which meant we had an all new slate of teams trying to dethrone the top 3 teams and proving themselves as a legitimate contender in the league. While no team really stood out particularly well against the major 3 teams, most of the matches were fun and closer than some expected. The major story of the first round was the Spark upsetting the Spitfire, the inconsistency of the Spitfire was their ultimate demise as they played well throughout the entire regular season but just couldn’t compete with the Spark in the end. The NYXL’s match against Vancouver proved to be everything people had hoped for from two of the best teams in the league. While not necessarily close on paper, the actual match was tightly contested and was entertaining throughout. While Vancouver won it is safe to say that they were definetly tested in the process. And with the Shock winning their match against the Spark in a quick 4-0 fashion, this set up a rematch of the Stage 1 Playoffs of two unstoppable teams in an epic match. THis match lived up to the hype of the last one as the Shock gave Vancouver everything they could handle and more. Ultimately San Francisco won with a map to spare, beating Vancouver 4-2 in the finals.
While it was said at the end of last stage, it is worth saying it again now, the GOATs meta might finally be dead, rumors of a forced 2-2-2 composition coming to the league are swirling around (This is coming from Slasher on twitter, his twitter profile is linked to his name.) And, on a personal note, I think it may be closer than we all expect, I can see an announcement coming during the all-star break and premiering there. If all of that comes true, we will finally see an end to the Three-Three meta and we can see some real damage characters again soon. It may be a whole new world in the Overwatch world in a few weeks but only Time will tell if we get this feature sooner rather than later, here’s hoping for all of our competitive scores.
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