The first stage of the Overwatch League came to an end with London Spitfire being crowned victorious. The London Spitfire roster played a total of 14 maps on the final day in order to win the title match and the $100,000.
The Final Day of Stage 1 saw very closely contested group stage matches. Eventually, the three teams in the playoffs were New York Excelsior, London Spitfire, and Houston Outlaws. New York Excelsior received a direct entry into the Grand Finals, due to their No. 1 seeding from the Group stage.
The Semi Finals saw London Spitfire facing off against Houston Outlaws. The match started off with a very easy victory for Houston Outlaws on Junkertown. But London had a very good comeback in the subsequent maps. They won three maps in a row in a very dominating fashion to secure their entry into the Grand finals.
New York vs London – Grand finals
The two Korean rosters battled it out in the finals for the prize of $100,000. Coming into the match, London had already played 9 maps in the day. They had played New York Excelsior earlier in the day. Later they played 4 maps ( which they won 3-1) against Houston Outlaws.
The Grand finals were best of five matches just like the semifinals. London Spitfire came into the arena with a dramatic entry earlier in the day. But for this match, they were serious and wanted to win. New York started the series off with two amazing map wins. But as we headed into the remaining three maps, London was able to mount their comeback, successfully.
Junkertown – The Wildcard
Junkertown was a very close match between the two Korean behemoths. London actually had the better time in Regulation time with a huge advantage over New York. But the New York defense was on point, with really strong Widowmaker plays by Pine. London was unable to go far in overtime and New York had a very easy win on Map 1. Pine had amazing performances on the map, which enabled New York to have such a strong showing.
Oasis – London’s worst map
Oasis has always been the weakest map for London Spitfire. The Korean team has repeatedly suffered losses on Oasis in the Group stages. Continuing their poor performance on Oasis, London lost map 2 as well. They were now facing the prospect of losing the Grand finals and placing second.
Going into the finals, not many expected London to be able to win Oasis against NYXL. Their poor performances on Oasis have not improved with time.
Horizon Lunar Colony
However, the London team had a very strong performance on the next few maps. Horizon Lunar Colony saw London have a blazing fast attack. They finished the map with almost 5 minutes remaining. While New York also managed to finish the map in regulation time, their time bank was nowhere near London. London was easily able to take the map in Overtime rounds and begin their comeback.
Horizon Lunar colony has been a consistent map throughout stage 1 and London have shown us some amazing strategies on this map. Surprisingly NYXL reapetedly tried the same strategy which was failing. Their tanks were getting decimated by the London defense, but instead of trying to back-cap the point NYXL did not show us any variety in their tactics.
Numbani – No entry into London’s defense
Numbani has been a map which saw London make exemplary plays. They always have good callouts on Numbani, but it still took them a lot of time to break the New York defense on Point A. Thie enabled NYXL to stop London before Point B. But London proved to be a tough nut to crack. Birdring’s Widowmaker was exceptional in the way he was hitting his shots. Numbani has been a strong map for London Spitfire and they proved it yet again with a first point hold against NYXL.
Dorado – The Title Champions Map
Coming into the final map, Dorado, Saebyeolbe proved to be a difficulty for London. Ultimately it was Bdosin who managed to take him down which opened the floodgates on Point A. Ultimately London were able to move past through to Point C, but they could not finish the map.
The London Spitfire team was hardly able to take down the intense dive put forth by NYXL. The NYXL roster was able to pick apart the London defense and were put to stop on Point B for quite some time. Repeatedly sticking to the Tracer + Genji duo, NYXL had no reply to Birdring’s Widowmaker. London Spitfire had some clutch RIP Tires from Profit which only helped them in clinching the title.
London Spitfire had the worst possible schedule going into the finals. Their day started with a group stage match against NYXL. This match went into the tie-breaker Lijiang tower. After playing NYXL on this 5 map series, London had to go up against Houston Outlaws in the semifinals. This was immediately followed by another BO5 Grand Finale series where they faced off against NYXL yet again.
I’m beyond proud of our team. They headed to the studio at 8AM played 14 maps over the next 14 hours against extremely skilled opponents and walked away with the W.
— Jack Etienne (@JackEtienne) February 11, 2018
In a span of 14 hours, London has played 14 matches. This is a very tough task for any player and definitely calls for a change in future title match schedules.
Nate Nanzer has already tweeted an upcoming change in the schedule for Stage 2. This will clear out the packed schedule and definitely be a welcome addition to the league.
Let me save you some time from tweeting @ me about the schedule: we are looking into playing Stage Finals games on Sunday starting Stage 2. That and other schedule news soon.
— Nate Nanzer (@natenanzer) February 11, 2018
A long way to go
The London Spitfires won the title matches for Stage 1 in the Overwatch League. However, they are still placed second in the league matches behind NYXL. London Spitfire obviously has a very tough season ahead as they are in close contention with the other teams in the league. With NYXL constantly proving to be their arch-rivals, London also has to deal with upcoming teams such as Boston, Houston, and the Valiants. And of course, Seoul Dynasty is a team that no one can take lightly.
The players have a ten-day break between Stage 1 and 2. This will give them time to relax and refocus
on their flaws. With several teams promising to sign new players, we will see new talent in OWL very soon. According to some reports, we might also see the first female Professional Overwatch player in the League.
Stage 2 matches will start from February 21st and continue till March 24th. The Player Trade window will open will open on February 11th. The Free agent signing period is currently open. All rosters will be locked till the end of the season on April 3rd, 2018.
You can follow the Overwatch league, it’s standings and live stream on overwatchleague.com