Gaming Editor Roshni Patel rounds up another thrilling stage play-off Sunday of the Overwatch League, which saw new faces take on the mighty New York Excelsior
As stage 3 of the Overwatch League came to a close, it was time once again for the stage play-offs, where this time 4 teams would battle it out for the $100k bonus and the crown of stage 3 champions. While there was great reason for the city of Los Angeles to rejoice, as both LA teams made the cut, the Boston Uprising’s unbelievably perfect 10-0 stage earned them the pleasure of picking their semi-final opponents, picking the LA Gladiators as their “warm up” match for the finals. This left LA Valiant to face the number 2 seed, New York Excelsiors (NYXL).
Determined to prove Boston wrong, and get revenge for Friday’s 3-1 loss, the Gladiators came out swinging on escort map, Junkertown, with the 1st shot fired by DPS Widowmaker Surefour, directly landing on support Mercy Kellex, opening up the fight immediately and allowing them start strong. Boston returned to the map and the match in full force, whittling away the Gladiators’ lead on Junkertown, and then all but slaughtering them throughout the rest of the semi-finals, full holding on assault map Temple of Anubis, denying the Gladiators even a single third of the control meter and finishing the series swiftly 3-0.
And the second of the semi-finals was wrapped up just as fast, as league leaders NYXL took on the second LA team. After starting with ‘Big Boss’ Pine for Junkertown who repeatedly sniped out and shut down Valiant, NYXL were able to take the first map with ease. However, this woke Valiant up, who pushed them to the limits on control map, Illios, before finally the NYXL won out in overtime. Finishing the match with another full hold on Temple of Anubis, NYXL sent Valiant back to the stands, to watch as they took on Boston Uprising in the finals.
It was the finals match up, Boston knew was coming, the one they initially wanted to avoid. But NYXL were hungry for revenge after Boston cut through them earlier in the stage. Coming in as the favourites and stage 2 champions, NYXL sought to hand Boston their first loss in almost 2 months. And incidentally, that’s exactly what they did, as they fought Boston tooth and nail to take the stage title, even tieing on Boston’s best assault map, Volskya Industries, where they were previously undefeated. While everyone on the NYXL team performed spectacularly, one player who was definitely out performing was New York’s star flex DPS Saebyeolbe, who often took matters into his own hands to win out a fight and constantly caused Boston trouble, no matter the map or the hero match up. And it was Boston’s constant disregard for Saebyeolbe’s impact on the game which ultimately spelled their demise, as left unchecked, he was able to decimate their defence.
Bathed in confetti once again, NYXL once again took the stage title and an extra $100K, after cutting short Boston Uprising’s almost unbelievable winning streak, which brought them all the way to the stage finals and earned them a $25K bonus of their own. As the stage 3 ends, Boston are now comfortably placed 2nd in the league, and will almost undoubtedly make it into the inaugural season play-offs. For the LA teams and the rest of the wild card teams however, its back to the drawing board, as they refresh and return prepared for the challenges of stage 4, and their last opportunity to make it into the season play-offs. The pressure is most certainly on.