The “long” wait is over. OWL is back for Stage Two. With the latest patch bringing in a much wider variety of play styles, Baptiste, new match rule changes, expect to get a whole lot of action this Stage. Better yet, we will be getting a preview of OWL outside of Los Angeles in Week Four for the “Ultimate Weekend” in Dallas, but more on that later on this season. For now and always, let’s look at the winners and losers.
- San Francisco Shock: One map away from winning Stage One, San Francisco has come back with a vengeance. Despite playing weaker teams, San Francisco completed two sweeps against the LA Valiant and Guangzhou Spark. Looking ahead, they will play two Stage Playoff teams (Toronto and Philadelphia), but aside from that this is a much easier schedule. All things considered, expect to see them in a higher seeding this stage than last.
- Boston Uprising: Much like their baseball counterparts, the Boston Uprising has perfected the art of reverse sweeps. This weekend marked the second and third, consecutive, regular season, reverse sweeps, dating back to Stage One against the Dallas Fuel. Boston has become the exact opposite of the Houston Outlaws. A word of caution, though: repeated comebacks are not a recipe for success, so the stronger the Uprising starts, the better they can be.
- Meta-diversity: Is GOATS completely gone? No, it’s still the most popular comp overall, but is it dominating the league anymore? Also no. We saw more dive-like compositions on control and assault maps, and GOATS-like comps in escort and hybrid maps. That’s not to make the comps out to be map specific, but there is an actual variety in compositions again. As a matter of fact, Chengdu and Washington set a record for different characters used in a single match. Getting so much variety is both good for the teams in building their skillset, and the fans for diversifying the feature presentations.
- Atlanta Reign: Losing always sucks. First, Atlanta’s superstar, Dafran, retired from the League to focus more on his Twitch stream in the offseason between stages. Then, they got reverse swept in their first match without Dafran by the aforementioned Boston. Finally, the London Spitfire swept the Reign in their second match of the weekend. Even though bad starts can be forgotten with better play, this was one of the worst possible starts Atlanta could have had.
- Fissure: On the sixth crusade, the Revenant finally fell. Fissure has lost to one of his former teams for the first time in his career. The LA Gladiators earned the distinction after taking Seoul to a five map bout. It was one of the nice, peculiar statistics for casters to bring up when the situation called (read Fissure vs. Spitfire or Gladiators), but alas, it is now etched into the stone markings of history.
You’re reading that header right, that is a question mark after the word “wow.” The reason coming from the final match of the weekend:
Ok now look long and hard at the middle two maps, Anubis & King’s Row. Long story short, it’s uncommon that you get a 1-0 map score in OWL, a second one right after is straight up unheard of. So I had to go back and rewatch these maps, and…well…when Torbjorn is racking up kills to hold the line and the map, something very weird is going on.