High-Low: Overwatch League Week 2

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High-Low: Overwatch League Week 2

The second week of the Overwatch League was hosted by the Philadelphia Fusion, and it brought a Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee and Corey “Corey” Nigra filled highlight reel. The weekend’s matches showed us what players are capable of after the off-season, but more than that we got to see which teams have potential, and which may hold the bottom half of the rankings. Since only four teams played over the weekend, this rundown will be discussing the ups and downs of the weekend as well as what the performances mean for week three.

The Highs

Beginning with the highs of the weekend, the Philadelphia Fusion came out and put on a show for their hometown this past weekend. Not only did the team seem to thrive at home amongst fans, but on stage, their performances rarely faltered into full-blown mistakes. Philadelphia could be paving a path to redemption after falling off last season in part to the inability to play GOATS at the highest level. Su-min “SADO” Kim had some clutch shatters on Reinhardt and has obviously put some time into the hero since we last saw him play in September. The team did an excellent job of managing space and simply disengaging from an enemy nano to come into the next fight with more resources.

Elliot “ELLIVOTE” Vaneryd on the Washington Justice is phenomenal at managing flanking enemy damage players, especially McCree's. At moments, Carpe had a hard time finding key sightlines due to ELLIVOTE staying on him, but it's Carpe so this was no easy task. At the end of the season in 2019, Corey and Ethan “Stratus” Yankel started to find their footing and made a significant impact in a short time by playing actual damage heroes. Stage Four was their bread and butter and now they’ve decided to keep the hot streak going into 2019.

The Lows

The main topic of discussion in the lows for this weekend comes from the Houston Outlaws, a team that looked unable to adapt the entirety of the series. There were numerous rumors and reports about members of the Outlaws being sick with the flu, hindering their performance over the weekend. With that being said, the Houston Outlaws have an almost full roster, giving them at least three to four options in players for each role. In theory, the Outlaws have some heavyweight talent that could take them far in the League, but currently, the team needs some time to find solid footing.

Being versatile is the key to success for most teams within the Overwatch League, even when the odds were against them last year the Houston Outlaws managed to pull out some impressive wins. This weekend they stuck with a failing Jeffrey “blasé” Tsang and Austin “Muma” Wilmot despite losing team fights and remaining unable to take a single map the entire weekend. The Houston Outlaws only have three tank players with Muma being their only main tank with Alexandre “SPREE” Vanhomwegen and Tae-hong “MekO” Kim being the off-tanks. Mek0 couldn’t keep the pressure on Carpe the same way that ELLIVOTE did and he looked visibly exhausted on stage while Sado played with Muma for all three maps.

The Florida Mayhem came into the weekend heated against the Houston Outlaws but fizzled out on Sunday with a 3-0 loss to the Philadelphia Fusion. There is no doubt about the talent on the team, especially in young damage player Jun-ki “Yaki” Kim, but there are members on the team who would be best reserved for an in case of emergencies. The performance of the Mayhem against the Fusion was disappointing, and the team looked out of their element for a majority of the series. Jun-soo “Kris” Choi’s choice to play Brigitte over Lucio during a few of the maps left the Florida Mayhem at a speed advantage when engaging and disengaging with fights. The Mayhem also has a problem of dumping ultimates in a fight hoping that the odds would be in their favor, but it was good seeing Jung-woo “Sayaplayer” Ha going up against Carpe on Widowmaker.

The inability to adapt as we saw in week one with the London Spitfire, and now with the Houston Outlaws and Florida Mayhem, will be a burden for teams with strong rosters but weak communication and teamwork.

Sizing Up the competition

Week three will give the most comprehensive look at how the Atlantic Conference is shaping up in the power rankings. The New York Excelsior versus the Philadelphia Fusion match that starts off Week Three will be the deciding factor of where the Fusion belongs in the League. After their performance at home, Carpe and the rest of the Fusion squad are looking mean especially given that Jun-ho “Fury” Kim is on the bench and has yet to play with the powerful squad. The New York Excelsior will also be taking on the Houston Outlaws who acquired off-tank Mek0 from the NYXL in December of last year hoping to bolster their tank line. Watching the Outlaws' performance in Philadelphia over the weekend was a major low, and there is serious doubt about the ability of this team to break the top 10.

The Washington Justice will be playing the London Spitfire and Paris Eternal, two teams that in theory should be fairly easy for them to overcome. The Paris team is very similar to that of Washington with some stand out damage heroes and a solid support line to enable engagements. Going into Week three we have still yet to see over half of the League compete, a majority of which being Asiatic based teams with entirely new rosters. It is disappointing for the league to still not address the issue and deny these teams a chance to showcase what they have been working so hard for in the off-season.

Regardless, matches will kick off on Saturday, February 22nd at 1PM Mountain Standard Time and as usual can be viewed from the Overwatch League Youtube channel here.

Malik Shelp
Malik specializes in esports photography, videography, video editing, and graphic design. He has also written Overwatch and Dota articles for over 2 years for DBLTAP and other esports outlets. You can learn more about Malik on our About page.