Stage One Overview and Texas Comeback Story for Overwatch League
Within the first stage of its first season, Overwatch League (OWL) has shown greater potential for eSports on a global scale. In the past, the critically acclaimed FPS Overwatch has been played in separate leagues for each part of the world (e.g. North America, Europe, and Korea). Starting in December 2017 with its Season Zero, the Overwatch League combines the best of the best from around the world, and throws them all onto the same stage. Some of these teams came into OWL pre-stacked like Dallas Fuel (formerly EnvyUs), and some teams are comprised of entirely new rosters. After watching the star players featured in series such as Contenders, APEX, and even the 2017 Overwatch World Cup, predictions could already be made about the outcome of the highly anticipated OWL. Home team biases aside, the real competition was projected to be between Seoul Dynasty (Lunatic Hai) and Dallas Fuel (EnvyUs). Now that Stage 1 has come to a close, neither team are even present in the standings.
The North American underdog story of OWL comes from our other Texas team, the Houston Outlaws. The Outlaws are a partly organized roster, some players coming from the Contenders team FNRGFE. Having pre-existing team synergy should have given an upper hand, but unfortunately fell flat early into Stage One. That was until their crushing win against the Shanghai Dragons. The Outlaws proceeded to dominate with five consecutive match wins, with a map win streak for 18 of those 20 rounds. Needless to say, this win streak made up for previous losses and then some. Map wins are crucial for tiebreakers going into the stage finals, and last Saturday it came in clutch as they advanced to Stage One semi-finals over Boston Uprising. This match was INTENSE. Outlaws needed the win to go to semi-finals for the night, Boston needed to stop Outlaws at least 3-1 to go to semi-finals, and Los Angeles Valiant stood idly by hoping the teams would ruin each other’s chances and send them through.
In the final point of the tiebreaker map, Outlaws secured their entrance to the semi-finals, where the inevitable fatigue and frustration cost them against the London Spitfire. In the end, Spitfire took the Stage One title, with New York Excelsior trailing. Ironically, the Outlaws will play the Spitfire in their first match of Stage Two, which begins February 21st. Excited to see how patch updates, new metas and compositions will affect the next phase.
Above: Me posing with players Austin Wilmot (Muma) and Matt Iorio (coolmatt)