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Beta Key Giveaway Week 3: Winners have been selected!

Published on 2018-03-29 12:45 AM

Ending with an incredible set of back-to-back tiebreaker matches, Stage 2 is finished. The New York Excelsior are the Overwatch League’s Stage 2 champions after they reverse swept the Philadelphia Fusion 3-2. The events that led to Stage 2’s final battle were a cascade of happy accidents and unhappy upsets. Let’s breakdown what happened.

Week 5 Day 1


Match(es) of the Day

Philadelphia Fusion vs. Los Angeles Gladiators

Florida Mayhem vs. San Francisco Shock

The match between the Gladiators and the Fusion set the stage (heh) for how the Stage 2 finals were going to play out. The two teams were #3 and #5 respectively, with the pesky Seoul Dynasty sitting precariously in the #4 spot. All three teams were gunning for the prized 3rd spot — the last berth in the finals — as top dogs New York and London had effectively secured seats number 1 and 2 respectively. This showdown between the 6-2 Gladiators and the 5-3 Fusion established the starting line in the race for the finals.

The Fusion ended up winning the match 3-1, constructing the specific conditions the three teams would have to follow in order to clinch the spot. The Gladiators needed to beat Boston 4-0, Seoul had to lose and the Fusion needed to lose or at least not win by more than three maps. For Seoul to snag the final seat, they needed to beat Houston 4-0, while also praying for the Gladiators and Philadelphia to lose. Philadelphia, on the other hand, needed to beat the Gladiators by three maps or more, needed Seoul to lose. If Philadelphia didn't end up beating Valiant by three maps or more, they could still claim the #3 spot if the Gladiators either lost or failed to win by three maps or more.

Simple right?

While watching the Fusion roll the Gladiators wasn’t the most exciting of matches — no tiebreaker finishes or anything like that — its outcome had further reaching consequences, thus making it an important watch.

The match between the Florida Mayhem and the San Francisco Shock was also an important watch even though it didn’t have any real impact on the Stage 2 Finals. Tracer savant Sinatraa, a player signed for a $150,000 per year salary, made his debut with the San Francisco Shock after reaching eligibility age.

Ask anyone, any analyst, or any casual observer. Ask New York’s Saebyeolbe, or Philadelphia’s Carpe and Snillo, or London’s Profit, or Dallas’s Effect — a good Tracer can be the wheel you break a team on. Adding Sinatraa to the Shock’s lineup was meant to strengthen a middling but steadily improving team. And going against a similarly middling but improving team like Florida, this could have been the Shock’s break from mediocrity.

But not this time.


The Shock went onto lose their second match of the week against Boston, proving that ringers can, but won’t always, save your team.

Week 5 Day 2


Match(es) of the Day

Seoul Dynasty vs. Houston Outlaws

Dallas Fuel vs. New York Excelsior

Another day, another set of two matches worthy of highlighting. Seoul Dynasty needed a decisive 4-0 victory against the Outlaws to beat out Philadelphia for the #3 spot in the stage finals. Seoul was favored to win, maybe not by how much they needed to win, but most predicted a Dynasty victory. Looking at history, the last time these two teams faced each other Seoul did indeed win and Houston had been on a bit of a downward spiral starting the week at 3-5. A win here could have cemented Seoul’s place in the finals, making it difficult for the Gladiators or the Fusion to rack up the points they’d need to supplant them.

But Houston played spoiler to the Dynasty’s plans, eeking out a win on Watchpoint: Gibraltar, preventing Seoul from taking the match to a tiebreaker finish. With that loss, excluding calamity for the other teams, Seoul was out. But the fate of Stage 2 Seoul Dynasty was largely preventable, as the old saying goes: every map matters. Seoul could have been in a much stronger position had they not given up maps to weaker teams Shanghai and Dallas earlier in the stage. They, in turn, wouldn’t have needed to win against Houston by so much to secure their spot. But they would have still needed to at least win. A resurgent Houston denied them that.

I can’t end this week without also talking about the Dallas Fuel. Roster shakeups and role changes worked in their favor against the New York Excelsior, a team effective in their ability to analyze their opponent and adapt accordingly. Going into this match, NYXL probably prepared for a team composition they were used to: Mickie on D.Va, Taimou on Winston, AkM and Effect on DPS.

But that’s not the team composition they got.

Mickie on main tank, Seagull, a flex player usually seen on DPS on off tank D.Va, with Effect and Rascal — a trade pick up from the London Spitfire — on DPS roles. You can hear the confusion and surprise in the caster’s voices when the team set up is announced. Dallas is obviously trying new things and it ended up working for them, like when they tried this Mei/Reaper combo, a pair of heroes not often seen outside of desperation stalls in overtime on maps like Hanamura and Route 66.


Unorthodox composition aside, Dallas still lost, but for a team on a precipitous losing streak to utterly surprise the best team in the League enough to take them to a tiebreak map is impressive. Dallas is down, but not out, look for them to improve in Stage 3 (for real this time.)

Week 5 Day 3


Match of the Day

Philadelphia Fusion vs. Los Angeles Valiant

While not firmly in control of their fate, the Philadelphia Fusion didn’t have too many win conditions to restrict them. Just win and hope the Gladiators don’t win better. A 4-0 sweep of the Valiant would have guaranteed them their spot, but the Valiant, though unable to play spoiler like Houston did Seoul, made the Fusion earn it. This game ended up being scary close, with Philadelphia winning a final point on the tiebreaker map.

Week 5 Day 4


Match of the Day

Boston Uprising vs. Los Angeles Gladiators

If you were a Los Angeles Gladiators fan, you knew this match was going to be a tough one to watch. The Gladiators needed to play perfectly — just one dropped map would be enough to end their impressive run for the finals.

This was a tall order given the Gladiators were due to face the Boston Uprising, out of the finals running due to some earlier in the stage stumbling but now on a three-game winning streak. The Gladiators pulling out a 4-0 victory over them was going to require Boston to play extremely out of character.

Just like the Fusion vs. Valiant match, Boston made the Gladiators sweat, taking the game to a final decisive point in a final tiebreaker map. In the end though, the shields didn’t come up fast enough.

The Finals

Philadelphia Fusion vs. London Spitfire

To appreciate why this match was so amazing, you have to have an understanding of the history between these two teams. Philadelphia has played London twice and never took a map from them. In eight maps, the most Philadelphia has ever been able to win against them was three points. In the map pool line-up, London was undefeated on Gibraltar and Hanamura, while Nepal was the Fusion’s worst performing control point map.


Those were the first three maps in this match that’s to a best of five. So it’s largely understandable with this wealth of data to guess the Fusion might not win.

And it certainly started out looking that way. London full held Philadelphia on Watchpoint: Gibraltar. Philadelphia won Nepal, a map they almost never win, but their first shining moment in the series was Hanamura.


London was at 90 percent completion on point A. Most teams, in fact every team that isn’t New York, would have let this point go and set up a good defensive position on point B. The risk just isn’t worth it. If the Fusion barrel in and all die, that means London would have had ample opportunity to take most if not all of Point B before Philadelphia could even respawn. But even with that in mind, Philadelphia went for it. It was a super risky gamble that paid off thanks to a great Dragonblade and an even better Support stagger. Now London doesn’t have enough time to contest. In the previous round Philadelphia couldn’t take Objective B, so to win, they stopped London from even taking Objective A on a map London has never lost.

Crazy right?

London came back highly annoyed in King’s Row but they still had to contend with Philadelphia playing on their best map. London was saved by a very aggressive Gesture on Reinhardt and by winning the Graviton Surge eating contest.


In a match full of reversals: London beat Philadelphia on King’s Row, their best map and the one they were most favored to win. Finals matches are best of five, it’s now tied 2-2 so the final map, Route 66, was for the win. Philadelphia brought in Snillo for Eqo, put him on Tracer, and nailed the coffin shut on London.

With Snillo on Tracer freeing up Carpe to play on Widowmaker, the picks they got frustrated London’s Birdring so bad he could not pick a hero and stay put. Birdring played Widowmaker, McCree, Genji, and Bastion and still could not find a way to stop this baby faced angel of death.

London before this match had never lost Hanamura or Route 66, Philadelphia served them L’s on both to advance to the final round of Stage 2 against the New York Excelsior.

New York Excelsior vs. Philadelphia Fusion

New York prepared for a different opponent, they said as much. And for the first two maps of the finals they played as much and lost as much.

Star NYXL Tracer player Saebyeolbe didn’t play much Tracer at all those first matches. He played Roadhog instead, choosing to protect his healers in the backlines from the same Fusion dive composition that devastated London. NYXL Libereo went sniper scope to sniper scope against Philadelphia’s Capre with mixed results.

At half-time, Philadelphia was up 2-0. It looked like they were going to carry their momentum from their previous win forward and sweep the final match.

So what did New York do differently? How did they come out of a 0-2 slump to full hold on Volskaya? Or, what errors did Philadelphia commit that the Excelsior were able to capitalize on to win? Difficult to pinpoint exactly what it was that kicked the NYXL back into gear but on Volskaya they started playing like themselves again. Saebyeolbe, back home on his Tracer, landed a particularly critical pulse bomb on Fragi, ending Philadelphia’s defense and allowing Saebyeolbe to do what Tracers do: kill healers.


Support and main tank gone with seconds left, New York finished the map with a full hold against Philadelphia. After that, earning a tick on point A was a foregone conclusion, especially with Libero pulling off kills like this.


New York, after getting rolled the first two maps, made it look easy.

It was much easier to discern what Philadelphia did right against London: Carpe’s complete lockdown on Birdring, Boombox’s Zenyatta keeping critical teammates alive at critical moments. Snillo. Poko’s Zarya. The amazing 90 percent re-contest on Hanamura.

It is much, much harder to figure out what went wrong for them against New York (or right depending on which side of the aisle you sit.) Philadelphia made mistakes that helped New York along, (ulting at bad times for example) but they weren’t playing the same way they did against London. That could be thanks to fatigue. But I think part of it was New York finally realizing who it was they were playing against and coming back to how they themselves play Overwatch. New York is and has been the top team in the League. In regular stage play they went 9-1, overall they’re 18-2. I think once they got over being spooked out and unprepared for a phenomenal, intelligent, and flexible Philadelphia Fusion, they played exactly how they have usually played for this entire season.

Final Thoughts

One great thing about the League so far is that once a Stage ends, there’s immediately something to look forward to for the coming Stage. Last time it was meta changes that drastically shook up the standings (paging Houston), this time it’s new players (Geguri!!!) and new coaches and teams we’re used to dismissing (Florida, Dallas, and San Francisco) on their second wind. Great job New York and incredible job Philadelphia. See y’all in Stage 3.

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 2018-03-28 06:51 PM

Overwatch League News
This week, New York was crowned as the stage 2 champions, the new Dallas Fuel main tank was suspended and Shanghai's Geguri arrived to make her debut in stage three.


Newest Overwatch Heroes Added to Blizzard Avatar Choices
Brigitte and Moira avatars were recently added to the Battle.net Avatar choices.


Published on 2018-03-27 10:33 PM


The newest addition to the Overwatch roster, Brigitte Lindholm is a mechanical engineer and adventurer. Although in the game she can be found under the Support banner, she is considered to be a Support/Tank hybrid as she features many similarities with the Tank class. She provides armor and healing like a support character, but she also has a powerful shield like her mentor Reinhardt. This has lead to some (happily) comparing her to the Paladin class that can be found in many other video games, typically RPGs, and most notably in Blizzard’s own World of Warcraft.

What Can She Do? — Gameplay and Abilities


Brigitte carries a shield and a flail. But this is no normal flail. The striking head is connected to a retractable chain, allowing her to strike multiple enemies in one blow as well as stun them from a distance. She can also bash enemies with her shield if they get too close for comfort.

Though a capable fighter, her main focus is defending those around her and aiding them as best she can. Sometimes that means using her shield to prevent blows from landing on them, and other times it means throwing out repair packs to heal and protect.

Her repair packs are quite different from her father Torbjörn’s armor packs, which players are already used to. The main difference, of course, is that they heal allies but they also give an extra bonus on top of that: any healing over their max health gets added as armor.

Her ultimate ability, Rally, gives her increased movement speed and provides extra armor to all surrounding allies.

Who Is She? — Backstory


Brigitte Lindholm (pronounced more like Bri-GEET-tah than Bridget) is the youngest daughter of Torbjörn and Ingrid Lindholm. Of all their children (we don’t actually know how many there are, but they do have quite a few grandchildren) Brigitte was the only one to show an interest in her father’s work. As we can see in her intro video, she took an early interest in engineering, so much so that she built some armor for her seemingly reluctant cat.

Speaking of Brigitte’s cat — it’s become a bit of an internet sensation among the Overwatch community. Also known as ‘Jet-Pack Cat,’ many Overwatch fans were dearly hoping to see the feline introduced into the game in some form. Who knows? Maybe it’ll show up in the waiting area of a new map!

Given all her early childhood excitement (and cat armor building), everyone expected that she would follow in her father’s footsteps, and she did… to a point. (She is a mechanical engineer, after all.) However, her area of expertise is in defense and armor building, as opposed to her father, who is a renowned weapons expert.

And though Brigitte loves engineering, she soon left the path of her father behind and started using her skills in a different — but no less noble — manner.

To properly understand the next part of her journey, we have to go back in Brigitte’s history. Way back, to before she was even born. In the lead up to Brigitte’s unveiling, we learned a little bit about Operation: White Dome, the mission that lead to Torbjörn losing his arm and almost dying. In fact, if it wasn’t for Reinhardt, he would have died. We learn about this in a letter Torbjörn writes to his pregnant wife, Ingrid, while he’s recovering after the mission. In the letter, he also mentions that he promised Reinhardt he could name the new baby (as long as Ingrid approves, of course) and that he would like to make him the baby’s godfather.

Reinhardt seems to be quite the fixture in the Lindholm family, as he can be seen reading a story to the Lindholm grandchildren in the Reflections comic, and it stands to reason that Brigitte has been hearing grand tales of his adventures all of her life.

With all that information, it should come as no surprise that when Reinhardt announced he was coming out of retirement to become a Knight-Errant, Brigitte asked him if she could come along as his squire. This is where the adventurer part of her occupation comes in (though the role of squire also allows her to do a fair bit of engineering).

After spending a while patching up both Reinhardt and his armor, Brigitte began wondering if there was a better way for her to help him. She wanted to be able to prevent those injuries from happening to him in the first place, not just trying to fix them once it was too late.

This leads us to her current mission and Brigitte as we see in her intro video. Brigitte built her own set of armor and trained with Reinhardt to learn how to fight. Now, instead of just tending to Reinhardt after the battles, she fights by his side. She does whatever she can to prevent the blows from landing, as she says.

In her intro video, she proclaims: “I am Brigitte Lindholm, and I will be your shield!” That pretty much sums her up as a character. She is determined to prove herself, to be a good squire to Reinhardt, and to do everything she can to protect her allies.

Where Can I Find Her? — Appearances Outside the Game


Outside of the game itself, Brigitte can be seen in several of the official “extras” Blizzard provides for fans who want to learn more about the world of Overwatch:

Honor and Glory: Brigitte can be seen at the beginning of this Reinhardt-centric short, where she tells Reinhardt that Winston’s call wasn’t meant for him, as Reinhardt has already given so much to Overwatch cause, only to be pushed out.

Dragon Slayer Comic: Brigitte and Reinhardt stop in a town for much needed supplies, only to discover the townspeople are being terrorized by a bunch of ruffians who call themselves The Dragon. In this comic, we get our best glance at Brigitte’s personality and strong insinuations that despite Reinhardt’s advanced age, Brigitte is the more responsible one of the duo. She also builds some armor for a little girl’s stuffed animal — she really likes building tiny armor, doesn’t she?

Reflections Comic: In this comic we see a brief window into the Lindholm family Christmas. Reinhardt reads to a group of Torbjörn and Ingrid’s grandchildren while Brigitte and her parents look on.

Torbjörn’s Letter to Ingrid: Although she doesn’t make a direct appearance, as she hasn’t been born yet, Brigitte is the main subject of this letter between an injured Torbjörn and his expectant wife Ingrid. It also gives us a little bit more information on the friendship between Torbjörn and Reinhardt, and reveals that Reinhardt named Brigitte and is her godfather.

Brigitte is playable now on PC and consoles.

jlmack13 is a content writer for the Overwatch section of MMO-C and HearthPwn. An avid fan of all Blizzard properties, while playing Overwatch she can be found bouncing between her favorites heroes (D.Va and Mei) or filling a role the team needs in any given match. The combination of cooperative and competitive gameplay in Overwatch brings her back to the game again and again, though she does frequently wonder if anybody has ever heard of the word “payload”.

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