The Gladiators Beat the Excelsior on Stage 4 Opening Day

Wyatt Fossett,

July 25, 2019 9:12 PM

After maintaining a completely undefeated streak in Stage 3, the New York Excelsiors drop match 1 of Stage 4.

Last stage saw both Los Angeles teams (the Gladiators and the Valiant) make grand strides towards relevance in the Overwatch League. However, when all of the ducks were counted, the purple-clad Gladiators were just on the outside of the Playoff picture looking in. So, with a shift in the Overwatch League role-lock rules, and the pride of the local fans on the line, the lions wanted to stand-up and roar to kick-off Stage 4. 

(courtesy Robert Paul, Blizzard Ent.)
(courtesy Robert Paul, Blizzard Ent.)

Across from them on the Blizzard Arena stage today were the New York Excelsiors. The always-contenders when it comes to the Playoffs are coming off yet another postseason choke at the hands of the eventual winners, the Shanghai Dragons. 

The stage was set. One team was trying to reassure their fans that their recent success and growth wasn’t a fluke, while the other team is trying to shake off another disappointing attempt to win a 2019 Stage Championship. 

The NYXL finished Stage 3--while the GOATs meta was still alive and well--as the only remaining undefeated team in the entire stage. Their only combatants, the Vancouver Titans, lost their first match ever with a few weeks to go in the Stage. Yet, there was no extra excitement surrounding the big apple squad come playoff time, because there is an expectation for NY to fail when it matters now. 

Day 1 of the 2019 OWL Stage 4 got things started in the final portion of the season, and it’s already off to an odd start, for fans of both teams. 

On every map except one, the Los Angeles Gladiators had the NYXL’s number. It was such a dominant performance, we had to check the scoreboard to see if it said “Playoffs” anywhere. Though the Excelsiors managed to get Map 3 off of the Gladiators, it was all Shields and Purple in the highlight reel. 

Part of the defiant LA victory has to do with the new role-lock ruleset that keeps teams restricted to fielding 2 DPS players, 2 Tank players, and 2 Support players. While the New York Excelsiors have been a formidable team since the Overwatch League began, it was during the reign of the GOATs meta that they truly shined. Now, they have to play a style of game that teams like the Hunters, Gladiators, Charge, and more have been playing for far longer. 

(courtesy Robert Paul, Blizzard Ent.)
(courtesy Robert Paul, Blizzard Ent.)

While Los Angeles fans should revel in today’s opening day win, the Excelsior fans may be in for a big of a concerning period while their squad tries above all else to regain some kind of footing in this evolution of the pro game.

The Overwatch League continues tomorrow (July 26th) with Day 2 of Stage 4. 


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