New York Excelsior earns back-to-back stage titles

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Overwatch League Power Rankings through April 30 (5:32)

The top 2 remain steady in this week's edition of the Overwatch Power Rankings, but the final spots are up for grabs with four teams sitting at 4-4. (5:32)

New York Excelsior 3 - Boston Uprising 0

The New York Excelsior claimed the Stage 3 title with a 3-0 win over the Boston Uprising on Sunday at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.

Both New York and Boston brought plenty to the table for the vaunted final matchup. The Excelsior was playing in its third straight stage final and trying to become the first back-to-back champion in Overwatch League history, while the Uprising was riding high on a 10-0 Stage 3 regular season to go along with an overall 15-series win streak.

In the end, the depth of the Excelsior roster won out against the league's hottest team.

All throughout this series, "close but no cigar" was the theme for this Uprising team. Just when it looked like Boston was going to break through the defenses of New York, the Excelsior reminded everyone that it is still the best team in the Overwatch League.

On Route 66, Boston was stuffed during its final, furious push to secure the third point. On Nepal, the Uprising managed to get to 99 percent on both Village and Sanctum, only for the incredible depth of NYXL to win out in the end. On Volskaya Industries, Boston pushed New York to the brink, with the map going into the timebank stage before ultimately ending in a draw. On Numbani, the Uprising again got to the final point only to come up meters short of a win.

The driving force behind New York's victory was its versatility. Standing out the most was its trio of players that played Widowmaker throughout the series. While hitscan DPS star Kim "Pine" Do-hyeon is the most notable, the fact that both Kim "Libero" Hye-sung and Park "Saebyeolbe" Jong-ryeol played the hero at a high level allowed this team to remain flexible at every turn and pick apart Boston with relentless aggression.

As good as Pine and Libero were, though, it was Saebyeolbe who earned Player of the Series honors by cutting down the Uprising with his signature Tracer and pushing New York to a second straight stage title and the $100,000 prize that comes with it.

Not only did New York manage to overcome the 15-series win streak of Boston and get its revenge from a defeat at the hands of the Uprising back in Week 2, but it closed out the stage finals in fewer than five games for the first time this season. Fans will now have to wait quite a while for another rematch between these teams, as they don't face off again until Week 5 of Stage 4. Stage 4 will begin May 16.

-- Wyatt Donigan

Boston Uprising 3 - Los Angeles Gladiators 0

The Boston Uprising showed why it enters Sunday's Stage 3 playoffs as the No. 1 seed with a clean 3-0 sweep of the Los Angeles Gladiators at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.

Boston was confident in selecting the Gladiators as its semifinal opponent, confident in trash-talking the Gladiators at the pick reveal on Saturday, and confident in its play Sunday. As he has all stage long, DPS Kwon "Striker" Nam-joo was unstoppable on both Tracer and Junkrat, carving the Gladiators up along with the rest of Boston's dive, but he had help in a huge way from his fellow DPS.

Uprising hitscan DPS specialist Stanislav "Mistakes" Danilov had arguably the best OWL match of his young career. He went nuts early on Widowmaker and dealt a staggering 15,700 damage compared to Gladiators Widowmaker specialist Lane "Surefour" Roberts' 9,000 damage dealt in Game 1 on Junkertown.

The Gladiators came in as the fourth seed after having to rely on the Los Angeles Valiant to help secure a playoff spot, and not much was expected of this squad. Even still, Surefour had some good moments this series, but it wasn't enough to put the Gladiators over the top. The Los Angeles frontline duo of main tank Baek "Fissure" Chan-hyung and off-tank Aaron "Bischu" Kim looked particularly lackluster in this series despite usually being one of the best frontlines in the league.

The Gladiators now await the start of Stage 4 on May 16, while the Uprising will play against the winner of the New York Excelsior vs. Los Angeles Valiant semifinal at 8 p.m. ET later in the day.

-- Noah Waltzer

New York Excelsior 3 - Los Angeles Valiant 0

The New York Excelsior crushed the Los Angeles Valiant in a quick 3-0 sweep to advance to the finals of the Overwatch League Stage 3 playoffs Sunday at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.

New York won the series by countering the Valiant with specific plays that kept Los Angeles locked down in the long run. However, it at first looked like Los Angeles was going to dominate this series. On the its attack side on Junkertown, the Valiant was able to roll the Excelsior thanks to DPS Terence "SoOn" Tarlier and Brady "Agilities" Girardi. SoOn won early control of the map thanks to his great Widowmaker plays that shut down his opponents, while Agilities cleaned up with his Junkrat and Genji.

It took NYXL off-tank Kim "MekO" Tae-hong scoring a triple-kill with D.Va's Self-Destruct and DPS Kim "Pine" Do-hyeon popping off to take back control. Once New York regained its composure, however, it was over for the Valiant.

The team countered all the Los Angeles Valiant's key plays by making a series of off-meta plays that the Valiant simply couldn't contend with. Playing a strange double-sniper and triple-tank composition on its attack of Junkertown, New York breezed through the map with impressive ease. The unconventional strategy worked as DPS Kim "Libero" Hye-sung tore through the Valiant with his Hanzo, mainly thanks to the hero's Dragonstrike ultimate.

Libero continued being a major player on the next map of Ilios. Playing Pharah, he zoned choke points with a flurry of rockets instead of trying to chase kills. His Concussion Mines, for example, were key in bouncing the Los Angeles Valiant off the map on Ilios: Lighthouse.

The final map, Temple of Anubis, was little more than a warm-up for the Excelsior heading into the finals, as it easily pushed past the Valiant one last time to clean up the 3-0 sweep.

New York will play the Boston Uprising in the Stage 3 finals in the final match of Sunday, while the Los Angeles Valiant will return in Stage 4 to fight Seoul Dynasty at 9 p.m. ET on May 16.

-- Christiaan Kutlik