ESTNN's Malik Shelp walks fans through everything that happened at the OWL Atlanta Homestand Weekend.
The Atlanta Reign Homestand is all wrapped up, and it was vastly different from the Dallas Fuel Homestand that happened earlier this year. Different, for sure, but different isn't always bad. My name is Malik and today we're going to break down the Atlanta Reign Homestand, the matches that took place and the memes that came out of it.
Atlanta Reign Homestand Breakdown
The Memes were Strong with This One
The Atlanta Reign Homestand was inherently meme-y, with Dafran showing up in a chicken, cardinal, Phoenix-looking mascot costume, and Dafran and Mangachu competing in a Torb Hammer 1v1. The stadium design of the event was refreshing, and while it looked significantly less packed than the Dallas Fuel Homestand, the crowd was just as loud.
The caster desk was there in all its glory but only featured half of what looked like a well-made Atlanta Reign Homestand backdrop. The other half was partially reserved for fans, but also bolstered a large Bud Light stand. I get it, large organizations have to appeal sponsors, but having an underage child waving around a Bud Light sign is a step too far.
OWL Atlanta Homestand Matches
Speaking of television, congratulations to the Overwatch League for their airtime on ABC and ESPN. I can't tell you how many posts I've seen on Reddit and Twitter about people being surprised by its prevalence. Atlanta's opening video was sick and set a new bar when it comes to team openers. But let's get down to the meat and bones of the past weekend – the matches.
Saturday, Day 1
Day 1 was rife with surprises and jaw-dropping moments, but none more so than watching the Atlanta Reign taking home their first win of the Season. Let's be honest, though. This isn't Rocky; the Atlanta Reign simply won two matches at the end of a stage.
Florida Mayhem vs. New York Excelsior
Florida tied up a map with the New York Excelsior, and I'm honestly not surprised. BQB and Fate did work this weekend, and Hagopeun's support kept them pushing forward on Volskaya.
Philidelphia Fusion vs. Washington Justice
The Philadelphia Fusion put in the work against the Washington Justice, but the Justice didn’t go down without a fight. Carpe went head to head with Corey on Widowmaker and Eqo and Stratus battled it out in the skies as Pharah. The teams basically played mirror compositions throughout the maps. At the end of it all though, the Washington Justice played very similarly to the Fusion, but the Philadelphia Fusion are just the better team.
Guangzhou Charge vs. Shanghai Dragons
The Guangzhou Charge upset the Shanghai Dragons on Day 1, leading many people to raise eyebrows at what the future of Shanghai would look like. Last week I would have said the Guangzhou Charge were a forgettable team, but now it seems like they are vying for our attention. Happy constantly went toe-to-toe with Diem, which is no easy task. DDing struggled to find the right angles as Pharah at times, and the Charge capitalized on that and took home the win.
Sunday, Day 2
Shanghai Dragons vs. Philadelphia Fusion
On Day 2, Shanghai came back into the fray and let everyone know that they are not to be underestimated. The Dragons came back fierce and deadly, picking apart the Fusion and exploiting Sado's moments of weakness. Gamsu has come into his own as the main tank for the Dragons, but DDing and Diem truly put on the pressure against anyone they face. It will be exciting to see what the Shanghai Dragons can pull off against the NYXL this weekend.
Guangzhou Charge vs. Washington Justice
The Charge slapped a 4-0 on the Washington Justice and Nero got to demonstrate his versatility. He played everything from Genji and Brigitte to Roadhog and Tracer. While he didn’t excel at any one hero, was impactful with his play. The Washington Justice has shown signs of life, but they fail to consistently perform at the level needed to win maps and games.
Atlanta Reign vs. Florida Mayhem
The Atlanta Reign ended the Stage in style by winning their game against the Florida Mayhem 4-0. Maybe all Atlanta needed was a little hometown love? Expectedly, the New York Excelsior beat the Toronto Defiant 4-0, but Logix and Mangachu are welcome additions to Toronto's roster.
The Dafran vs. Mangachu 1v1 was fun to watch, with Dafran dropping the smack talk. But the big showcase was Bren's 1v1 against Babybay and the walkout was, intriguing. Bren didn't manage to keep his shirt on long, and we got a taste of what would happen if the WWE bought out the Overwatch League.
Going into this weekend we have Stage playoffs starting Thursday featuring the Houston Outlaws vs. the Vancouver Titans, while the Shanghai Dragons face off against the undefeated New York Excelsior. On Friday, we will see the Seoul Dynasty take on the San Francisco Shock, and the L.A. Valiant will get the opportunity to prove themselves against the Hangzhou Spark.
For one, I think that we will see the Titans and NYXL clean up on Day 1. On Day 2, however, I think the Seoul Dynasty can beat the Shock and that Hangzhou Spark continue their recent success. Let me know what you guys think will happen during the playoffs and what match you are looking forward to.
Images VIA: Ben Pursell for Blizzard Entertainment