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Overwatch 2Feb 12, 2018 1:30 pm CT

First Stage of Overwatch League crowns a victor

People who haven’t been following the first season of Overwatch League super closely might be a bit confused that we’ve already named a winner. It is a bit odd, but crowning a stage champion every five weeks before the big finals allows us to get a clearer snapshot of how a team performs on each patch. It also gives a clear marker for when the meta will change — when Stage two begins on Wednesday February 21, they’ll finally be playing with changes to Mercy and Junkrat that went active for players in January.

Watching the final bracket shape up this weekend was almost as satisfying as watching the actual matches play out. The Los Angeles Valiant achieved what seemed to be impossible by knocking the Seoul Dynasty out of competition on Wednesday. The Uprising and the Outlaws defeated their opponents on Thursday, meaning the Valiant, Uprising, and Outlaws had a tie match score, so the team with the most map wins would join the three-team finals bracket. After the Valiant took all four maps from the Shanghai Dragons Friday, everyone had their eyes on the Outlaws and the Uprising, who were facing each other. If the Outlaws won, they’d move on to the final bracket. If Boston won by two maps or more they would go on. If Boston won by just one map the Valiant would squeak past both and join the final bracket. It went to a tiebreaker map, which the Outlaws eventually won.

The Outlaws did quite well on Dorado, but the Spitfire goose egged them in the rest of the maps, meaning two of the three Korean powerhouse teams would face off in the finals.

Watch Full Match | Stage 1 Final | London Spitfire vs. New York Excelsior from OverwatchLeague on www.twitch.tv

The full finals were some of the best, most hotly contested Overwatch matches to date. Pine and Birdring had an epic Widowmaker duel which ended in New York taking Junkertown on the re-assault. New York continued to look dominant on Oasis, and it seemed as though London’s fate was sealed. However, London made a strong showing on the Lunar Colony map, pulling a near full hold on the re-assault and then taking the map. Numbani was extremely one-sided, with London fully holding New York, and then taking the first point with ease. New York just barely failed to push the cart to point two on Dorado, but did a great job holding London to just before that point, until the RIP Tire DoA so poetically called “the $100,000 ultimate” from Profit’s Junkrat found Ark’s Mercy. London clinched the map and put a bow on the Mercy meta in one fell swoop.

League commissioner Nate Nanzer has already announced that the next playoff will not occur the same day as regular matches, so hopefully nobody’s going to have to have another fifteen hour day like the one London had.

When we return in two weeks, in addition to a new meta, we’ll have new faces to discuss. The trading window has opened, and it hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice that the London Spitfire were the only team fielding a roster large enough to literally scrim themselves. We’ve already written about Geguri and some upcoming talent for Shanghai, and it seems the Florida Mayhem are adding at least three new players too. Expect more information in the next couple weeks. We’ll see you Wednesday February 21 for the start of stage two.

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