The old rivalry between the New York and Philadelphia Overwatch League teams continued to entertain fans this past weekend. Fans of both teams could watch them play in person in an exciting pre-season exhibition match, one of the first of its kind. The Philadelphia Fusion, who squared off against the London Spitfire in the playoffs of season one and finished sixth in the overall standings, put on a show for their supporters at a local venue in their hometown. Meanwhile on the East coast the New York Excelsior, who finished at the top of the league standings in the inaugural season, similarly played in person for their fans.
On a new patch of the game and a new metagame present, this match was likely going to be very different than anything we have seen in the past. Fielding most of their strongest players on both teams, this match looked to be an excellent example of what the second season may provide. This was also some of the first gameplay seen on some of the newer maps, including Busan and Rialto. It started rather rough for the Fusion, with New York looking very strong - but going down two maps in a series is not something that Philly is afraid of. Rallying together and even briefly trying out a different composition on Volskaya Industries, the Fusion managed to secure the next two rounds to tie the series 2 - 2. It wouldn’t entirely be a Philly match if it didn’t go all the way to the fifth map! Both teams frequently utilized the popular triple tank, triple support composition commonly known in the community as “GOATS,” with many teams fights to have the same hero lineup on both sides. Fan favorite players including Jjonak and Carpe among others were crucial in executing this heavily team-focused style of play. When it was needed Philly brought out the formerly common double sniper lineup, however in the end GOATS seemed to be the more effective choice.
At the end of the night, New York was able to clutch out the victory on the last point of Lijiang Tower after a hard fought, back and forth set. Both sides looked to be at nearly top form and provided a very entertaining experience for fans of either team. Spectators who saw the match live were also able to meet fellow supporters of their team, and could even meet the players themselves. Those in attendance commented on how intense and incredible it was to be there in person and cheer their team on with fellow fans. With another close match in the books for these two teams, this storied rivalry continued to provide for fans watching everywhere. If this set is any indicator for what is in store in season 2 of the Overwatch League, it looks like it will be an exhilarating and enjoyable season.