Houston Outlaws 4 - Dallas Fuel 0
Houston Outlaws embarrassed its cross-state rival Dallas Fuel in a 4-0 drubbing on Thursday at the Blizzard Esports Arena in Burbank, California, to start Day 2 of Week 2 in the Overwatch League.
After losing both series during the opening week, Dallas was pegged to come out firing here in Week 2. On the contrary, Houston took over early and made Dallas look as though it was grossly overhyped coming into the season.
Dallas began the match by dropping the first map, not a cause for concern as the Fuel is known for playing from behind early on in any given series. The panic began to set in on Map 2, when Dallas struggled heavily to take the first point and floundered on the second point of Horizon Lunar Colony. Houston then barreled through Dallas, hardly losing any time on the first point and taking the second with relative ease.
Houston continued its dominance, specifically by focusing on keeping Kyeon "EFFECT" Hwang, arguably Dallas' best player, out of the fight. Meanwhile, Houston DPS Jake "JAKE" Lyon, later named the player of the game, proved that he was more than just a Junkrat spammer. Often called "JakeRat" by teammates and analysts, JAKE went off as Genji, focused down Dallas key players and frustrated his pursuers, which allowed Houston to control the pace of each game.
Dallas made no changes after its initial setback, dug in its heels and sunk regardless of pregame lineup shuffling. The Fuel left Timo "Taimou" Kettunen out until Game 4 and kept Felix "xQc" Lengyel on the sidelines altogether, and the team also yanked Jonathan "HarryHook" Tejedor Rua out of the starting lineup despite his convincing performances against Seoul Dynasty and the Los Angeles Valiant in Week 1.
Dallas won't have much time to make further adjustments as it has to take on the London Spitfire at 11 p.m. ET on Friday. The Outlaws, meanwhile, will have a full week to prepare for its matchup against the Florida Mayhem at 9 p.m. ET on Jan. 25.
-- Travis Elliott
New York Excelsior 3 - Los Angeles Valiant 0
Both New York Excelsior and the Los Angeles Valiant had undefeated records on the line, but the Excelsior came out on top with a 3-0 win.
The first map of Junkertown reflected New York Excelsior's flexibility early on. While starting with a traditional "Pirate Ship" composition with Bastion on Payload while Orisa and Roadhog tank, New York changed up its lineup when its offense began to stall out en route to the second point. On the other side, Los Angeles exhibited less flexibility by failing to make the necessary adjustments. When its offense fell limp trying to capture the point at Junkertown, DPS Terrence "Soon" Tarlier stuck to his Bastion pick even as LA took the fight to the streets and not onto high-ground.
Excelsior support Bang "JJoNak" Seong-Hyun turned out to be a star player this series thanks to his pinpoint accuracy on Zenyatta. More than once, JJoNak shut down important players with ease, including an early fight on Oasis that turned into a decisive New York victory.
Los Angeles finally found its stride late into this series when it was on offense on Numbani for Map 4. The Valiant's dive composition, with Koo "Fate" Pan-Seung's Winston and Lee "Envy" Kang-Jay's D.Va, finally began to work. With New York tank Kim "Mano" Dong-gyu no longer on Orisa and no real zoning potential on New York's part, Fate was free to dive and get clean picks. However, this change came far too late into the series, and the Valiant could only bring the final map to a stalemate to end the series with a draw.
Los Angeles Valiant have another matchup against an undefeated squad coming at 2 p.m. ET Saturday when it faces the London Spitfire, while the New York Excelsior will face another Los Angeles team with the Gladiators ahead at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.
-- Christiaan Kutlik
Los Angeles Gladiators 3 - Philadelphia Fusion 2
The Los Angeles Gladiators scraped out a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Fusion to close out Day 2 of Week 2 of the Overwatch League.
While both teams certainly had skill, neither seems strong enough to beat out the top dogs of the league thus far, making this series a middle-of-the-pack scrap. From the start, Los Angeles played passively while Philadelphia almost always found picks before major teamfights got underway. The Gladiators eventually calmed down, but the Fusion focused down key targets more efficiently to win Game 1 on Junkertown.
The ball kept on rolling for the Fusion as the match went to Anubis for Game 2, as Lee "Carpe" Jae-hyeok's Widowmaker kept constant pressure on the Gladiators and led Philly to an easy map win. After halftime, though, the aggressive Gladiators we saw push Seoul Dynasty to its limits came out to play on Ilios in Game 3. While Fusion DPS George "ShaDowBurn" Gushcha's Pharah did well on Ilios, Los Angeles seemed unfazed and out the Fusion after a back-and-forth map to claim Ilios by a score of 2-1.
Game 4 on Numbani looked like it'd be a close finish, too, with Philadelphia getting stopped just before finishing the map. It was clear, though, that LA had put its shields up, and the Gladiators barreled through Philadelphia on offense and forced a Game 5 tiebreaker on Lijang Tower.
In the end, the Gladiators emerged from the arena as the victors, taking the map 2-0 in two close rounds on the back of series MVP Joao Pedro "Hydration" Goes Telles to complete the 3-2 reverse sweep.
Both the Los Angeles Gladiators and the Philadelphia Fusion go up against the New York Excelsior next, with the former facing New York at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday and the latter at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday.
-- Liam Craffey