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by Published on 2018-07-25 03:04 PM

Controversial Sombra Changes and New Hero
A new patch is live, with changes to a few heroes, including Sombra.

by Published on 2018-07-24 04:24 AM

Overwatch League News and Highlights - How Philadelphia Fusion and London Spitfire WON!
The Overwatch League Semifinals were exciting this week, with wins for Philadelphia Fusion and London Spitfire.

Published on 2018-07-17 03:00 PM

The Overwatch League 2018 playoffs have begun. Four teams entered this past week, but only two could advance to the semifinals to face the Los Angeles Valiant and New York Excelsior.

Who was playing for a chance to go all the way to the top? The #6 Philadelphia Fusion, #5 London Spitfire, #4 Los Angeles Gladiators, and #3 Boston Uprising. Philadelphia faced off against Boston while London and Los Angeles settled their own scores in a map format a little different from regular season games.

These quarterfinal matches were played in a best of three series, where each game is a best of five maps. No more 4-0s — the first team to win three maps wins the series and ends the game. In cases of a tie, a fourth, fifth, or even sixth map could be played. If a team tied up the series 1-1, the third and final match would look a bit more like Overwatch Contenders, where the loser picks the next map and the winner chooses the side if applicable.

With all that out of the way, it’s time to take a look at what went down.

#3 Boston Uprising vs. #6 Philadelphia Fusion

Though Boston finished Stage 1 and 2 perfectly average and completed Stage 3 with a perfect 10-0 record, in Stage 4 they tanked. Only on the strength of that prefect stage did they earn their playoff spot. Do they deserve to be in the playoffs? Probably. In 3rd place? Probably not.

It’s curious that Philadelphia chose to brand themselves as the underdogs this playoff season when they’re up against a team like Boston. Their choice in branding stems from when, at the beginning of the season, no one thought much of this team. They didn’t play in the preseason, they were comprised of relative unknowns and had the least amount of time to gel as a team before the season began. With these handicaps though, they managed to stay in the running long enough to clinch the final playoff slot.

Unfortunately, Boston was unable to recapture the spark that led to them being the only team with a perfect Stage. The meta changed on them again with the addition of the Hanzo rework and regrettably for Boston, Eqo of the Fusion played the hero better. The series started with a 3-1 in Philadelphia’s favor, but Boston came back after the two day break, showing signs of life in the second match that also went 3-1; this time for Boston. Philadelphia, however, ended the series with an efficient 3-1, advancing to the semifinals where they’ll play the New York Excelsior.

#4 Los Angeles Gladiators vs #5 London Spitfire

London earned the first Overwatch League Stage Championship and were effectively never heard from again, losing to Philadelphia in the Stage 2 semifinals and failing to qualify in Stage 3 and 4. Like Boston, London skirted in the playoffs on the strength of past performances. Unlike Boston, at least London was trending upward with the streamlining of their roster and the return of Birdring from the injured list. But the Spitfire were dealt a cruel and unlucky hand, forced to face off against a team they’ve never beaten: the Los Angeles Gladiators.

One of the greatest rivalries in the League is between these two teams, even though on paper it’s not so much a rivalry as a one-sided bullying situation. In every encounter between these two teams, the Gladiators always grounded the Spitfire. The trade of main tank Fissure from London to Los Angeles made the rivalry a family affair, with Fissure taking every chance he had to pop off on and off the stage at his friends and former teammates.

The Los Angeles Gladiators were given a gift with the trade of Fissure. He’s talented, charismatic and...even more talented. Aided by Surefour and Hydration, DPS juggernauts that both qualified for their respective countries’ World Cup teams, the Gladiators went from an OK team to a great team….except when it’s time to close the deal. In both their Stage Playoff appearances and against their other rivals, the Los Angeles Valiant, the Gladiators would always fall, keeping them from winning the championships they’re clearly capable of with Fissure on the team. He’s the glue, their X factor, and their shot caller, so when the Gladiators released this statement, all hell broke loose.

With Fissure out, the Gladiators had to prove that while there’s an ‘I’ in Fissure, there’s no Fissure in team. They needed to prove they could be a team worthy of the playoffs without him. For the first game, they did, decisively beating London 3-0 and executing one of the greatest plays of the entire season.

Not only were the Gladiators alright with iRemiix as the main tank, London themselves looked lost, unable to attack, defend, and most importantly, adapt to team compositions. Gladiators fans breathed a sigh of relief and London fans dealt with the crushing reality that neither the World Cup nor the Overwatch League championships were coming home.

However, in a bamboozle perhaps greater than the ones committed against them in Game 1, London hit the afterburners and dismantled the Gladiators in six straight maps. Even Boston didn’t go home without taking a few maps off Philadelphia. It’d be easy to say London played for their lives but according to coaches and staff, they played for fun. They let go of all earthly attachments and remembered that Overwatch was supposed to be fun. Fury earned player of the match with crazy high kill D.Va Self Destructs while Profit was an unstoppable Hanzo of Death.

Combine that with no Fissure and an underperforming Surefour and Hydration, and the Gladiators ended their season not with a bang but a whimper. We haven’t seen a London like this since they took out the NYXL way back in the Stage 1 Finals. If they continue to play like this, they have an excellent (though not assured) chance of doing it again, this time in the Grand Finals.

The Road to New York

The NYXL will face the Fusion. The Valiant gets the Spitfire.

London stated in an after match press conference that Philadelphia has what it takes to beat New York. But this is the playoffs. No more throttling, no more suppressing power levels. New York did all that specifically to get to this point, so they could win this point. Or, New York has taken it easy for so long they might have forgotten how to turn the winning back on against a team that’s beaten them before when they were still playing like it mattered. In the quarterfinals, Philadelphia weren’t the underdogs they thought they were. Now, against New York, they are.

When it comes to the Valiant and the Spitfire, if ever there’s a match prime for an upset, it’s this one. The Valiant are a relentless team with so much talent and leadership. A stage ago there was no way London could beat them (and a stage ago in Stage 4 they didn’t). But with this new “were just gonna have fun and when we have fun we win” strategy, London might just have a chance. After all, the last time London played like this, the Valiant lost — twice.

Will Philadelphia pull off the upset? Will London? What will the Grand Finals look like and who will have the privilege of losing to the NYXL? The semifinals begin Wednesday, July 18. We’ll have our answers soon.

Ash, the first of her name, keeper of Zenyatta lore, protector of Hanzo mains and Mother of Shanghai Dragons, is a content writer for the Overwatch section of MMO-C and Gamepedia.
by Published on 2018-07-16 10:54 PM

Overwatch League Playoff Quarterfinal Highlights & News
Overwatch League continues, with some Quarterfinals action recently!

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