Overwatch League Stage 1 Playoff Race Becomes Clearer

Nicholas Barth,

February 9, 2018 10:45 PM

Stage 1 of the Overwatch League ends on Saturday and two teams needed to take care of business on Friday night in order to have any chance of securing one of the coveted playoff spots.

Friday's matches saw four teams looking to end their up and down Stage 1 season with a win, while two teams had to win convincingly in both of their matches to have a chance to play in the Stage 1 playoffs and secure a share of the $125,000 prize pool. The 2-7 Dallas Fuel went up against the 4-5 Los Angeles Gladiators in a battle between a team who disappointed mightily in Stage 1 and one of the most inconsistent teams in the league. The 3-6 San Francisco Shock looked to spoil the 6-3 Seoul Dynasty's playoff chances, while Seoul needed a 4-0 sweep of the Shock to get their playoff hopes alive. Finally, the 6-3 Los Angeles Valiant looked to keep their playoff hopes alive, but needed a dominating victory over the 0-9 Shanghai Dragons to accomplish this. Here is how all of the action went down.

Dallas Fuel - Los Angeles Gladiators

Eichenwalde played host to the first map of the match and saw the Dallas Fuel execute a tremendously well done defense to stop the Gladiators from even capturing the payload. This resulted in Los Angeles coming away from their attack round with 0 points. All the Fuel needed to do was secure the payload and they would start the match with a win. Dallas would do just that with an impressive offensive attack that saw them secure the payload and secure the 1-0 map victory and 1-0 match lead. 

Both teams would make their way to Temple of Anubis for the second map of the match. Both teams were able to put together strong attack rounds to push the map to a 2-2 tie. Dallas was able to fortify Point A in Los Angeles' second attack round and deny them from getting any points. This opened the door for Dallas to capture Point A in their second attack round to grab the 3-2 map victory and a 2-0 match lead going into halftime. Pongphop "Mickie" Rattanasangchod, 26 eliminations and 15,550 damage blocked, and Christian "cocco" Jonsson, 20 eliminations and 11,650 damage blocked, led the way for Dallas to grab the map with their exceptional tank play.

Map three would take place on Oasis and once again the Dallas Fuel were able to continue their impressive play from the first two maps and capture the first two hills without too much opposition from the Gladiators. This would give the Fuel the 2-0 map victory and a gauranteed match victory at 3-0. Timo "Taimou" Kettunen, 12 eliminations to only one death, delivered surgical shot after surgical shot with his McCree to push Dallas to the win.

While map four on Dorado did not matter in the grand scheme of things, the Los Angeles Gladiators wanted to avoid ending Stage 1 by getting swept. They made sure to start the map out hot to avoid this by jumping out to a 3-0 lead in their first attack round. All the Gladiators had to do to win the map was to stop the Fuel from delivering the payload to the end of the map. They were able to accomplish this and grab the 3-0 map victory and finish the match with a 1-3 loss. Lane "Surefour" Roberts, 22 eliminations to only 4 deaths and 56% scoped accuracy with Widowmaker, led the Gladiators to the win. 

With the win, the Dallas Fuel end Stage 1 with a 3-7 record. The loss dropped the Los Angeles Gladiators to a 4-6 record. Both teams will be looking forward to Stage 2 and with the potential that each team showed throughout Stage 1, it is not out of the question to see either of the organizations improve greatly in the near future. 

Mickie of the Dallas Fuel doing his best to cheer up a teammate.

Mickie of the Dallas Fuel doing his best to cheer up a teammate.

Source: Overwatch League

Seoul Dynasty - San Francisco Shock 

Hybrid map Eichenwalde was where the second match of the day would begin and it would see the Seoul Dynasty take advantage of a unorganized defense by the Shock to secure the payload and deliver it all of the way to the end of the map. The successful attack round gave Seoul a 3-0 lead going into their defense round. San Francisco was able to put together their own strong attack round and utilized strong team coordination to tie the match at 3-3. The Shock only had one minute in their time bank attack round and were not able to break through Seoul's defense, especially Byung-Sun "FLETA" Kim and his dominant Pharah play. The Dynasty were able to break through the Shock's defense on their second attack round and secure the 4-3 map victory and take the 1-0 match lead. FLETA, 15 eliminations to only 3 deaths, and Jun-Hyeok "Bunny" Chae, 26 eliminations and 12,771 damage done, were too much for San Francisco to handle.

Map two took place on Temple of Anubis and it began with the San Francisco Shock putting together an ironclad defense that prevented the Seoul Dynasty from capturing Point A, resulting in them going into their defense round scoreless. Feeding off of the momentum from their defensive round, the Shock executed a perfect dive composition to break through Seoul's defense and gain control of Point A. This gave the Shock the 1-0 map victory and tied the match at 1-1. Andreas "Nevix" Karlsson and his strong D.Va play, 13 eliminations to 0 deaths and 3,207 damage blocked, was at the forefront of the Shock's victory. With the map loss, the Seoul Dynasty were shockingly eliminated from Stage 1 playoff contention, as they needed four map wins against the Shock to have a chance of making it. 

Ilios would be the stage for map three and saw Seoul bounce bounce back from the disappointment of the previous map to capture the first hill and take a 1-0 lead. The Shock would rise to the occasion against the Dynasty and respond by taking the second hill to tie the map at 1-1. Continuing the excellent play that they had been throwing at Seoul for the whole match, the Shock were able to capture the third and final hill on Ilios to secure the 2-1 map victory and take a 2-1 match lead. Dante "Danteh" Cruz's solid DPS play with Tracer, 19 eliminations and 9,558 damage done, alongside Nevix's strong D.Va performance, 22 eliminations to only 5 deaths and 8,704 damage blocked, were the deciding factors in San Francisco's win.

Dorado would play host to the last map of the match and Seoul came out strong. The Dynasty raced the payload to the end of the map to grab a 3-0 lead. San Francisco would put together a strong attack round and push the payload close to the end of the map, but the Dynasty were determined to force a game five and held strong to stop the Shock from gaining another point. Seoul would take the map with a score of 3-2 and tie the match at 2-2.

This exciting series would be decided on the tiebreaker map of Lijang Tower and saw Seoul take the first hill and the 1-0 lead. Rallying behind some highlight plays by their superstar support player Je-Hong "ryujehong" Ryu, 15 eliminations and 5,911 healing done, the Dynasty were able to secure the second hill and take the 2-0 map victory and win the match with a score of 3-2.

With the win, the Seoul Dynasty improved to a record of 7-3, but their ultimate goal of making the Stage 1 playoffs was not realized, due to them not being able to go 4-0 against the Shock. San Francisco dropped to a record of 3-7 to end Stage 1. Both teams will now look at their highs and lows of Stage 1 and will look to improve on their deficiencies going into Stage 2. 

Ryujehong of the Seoul Dynasty celebrating a map win.

Ryujehong of the Seoul Dynasty celebrating a map win.

Source: Overwatch League

Los Angeles Valiant - Shanghai Dragons

Our final match of the day saw Numbani as the battleground for the first map between the Los Angeles Valiant and Shanghai Dragons. It was a high scoring affair, as the Valiant were able to break through Shanghai's defense and deliver the payload all of the way to the end of the map. This gave Los Angeles a 3-0 lead, but the Dragons would not go down easily and were able to put together their own strong attack round to tie the map at 3-3. Los Angeles was not willing to let Shanghai ruin their playoff chances in the very first map and they showed this determination with an exceptional second attack round. They would score two points to secure the 5-3 map victory and the 1-0 match lead. Pan-Seung "Fate" Koo and his dominating Winston performance, 41 eliminations and 22,672 damage blocked, was the driving force behind the Valiant's win on Numbani.

Temple of Anubis was the second map of the match and it was another grand performance from Fate and Kang-Jae "Envy" Lee of the Valiant, as the two tank players combined for 61 eliminations to only 8 deaths and 16,167 damage blocked. Shanghai was able to secure Point A in their attack round, but the combined might of Los Angeles' tank players turned Point B into an impenetrable fortress. The Valiant were able to utilize the exceptional play from their tanks players in their attack round to secure both points and the 2-0 map victory. This would put Los Angeles up 2-0 on the Dragons going into halftime. 

Map three of the match took place on Ilios and saw the tank duo of Envy and Fate, 38 eliminations to only 3 deaths and 11,583 damage blocked, once again wreck havoc against the Shanghai Dragons. Alongside the excellent tank play of the Valiant, Terence "Soon" Tarlier would not let any of the Shanghai players have any room to move, as his laser like accuracy with Widowmaker kept them in hiding. Los Angeles would capture the first two hills to win the map 2-0 and guarantee the match victory at 3-0.

Junkertown would be the deciding factor in the Los Angeles Valiant making a chance for themselves to grab a spot in the Stage 1 playoffs. The Valiant were able to take care of business by executing a very well done attack round to take a 3-0 map lead. The hometown team was then able to hold off the last ditch effort by the Dragons to spoil their playoff hopes and stopped Shanghai from delivering the payload to the first point.

With the win, the Los Angeles Valiant improve to a record of 7-3 and took ownership of third place in the league and the last playoff spot for Stage 1. Unfortunately, the only way that the Valiant will be able to keep that playoff spot is if the Boston Uprising defeat the Houston Outlaws 3-2 on Saturday. The Shanghai Dragons drop to 0-10 with the loss and while a winless Stage 1 is nothing to be happy about, the Dragons can look upon the major improvements they have made in the stage and look forward to building upon these going into Stage 2.

Silkthread of the Los Angeles Valiant giving a smile to one of his teammates.

Silkthread of the Los Angeles Valiant giving a smile to one of his teammates.

Source: Overwatch League

Check out the official Overwatch League standings to see where your favorite team currently stands. Interested in more Overwatch League news? Check out our recap from day 2 of Week 5!


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