Didn't watch the last weekend and wonder if it's worth catching up? No worries, we got you.

20:30, 20 Feb 2020

The second week of the Overwatch League was a short one, with only 4 matches being played. Unfortunately, only one of them turned out to be close, with the other three ending in 3-0 stomps. On the upside, the one that ended up delivering was likely not the one you were expecting as the Washington Justice took the fight to a still cautious Philadelphia Fusion. The weekend had once again been plagued with technical pauses and production issues, as well as occasionally sloppy observing that barred viewers from seeing important key moments. The Philadelphia crowd made up for it, embracing their team’s success wholeheartedly in a fairly packed Metropolitan Opera House. Sadly it was a weekend in which we once again only had one homestand taking place due to the coronavirus barring teams to play in China. On top of that, further viral load was shared between several members of the Houston Outlaws, with many members suffering from the flu throughout the weekend. Missed any of the games and wonder if they’re worth catching up on? Here’s the overview: 

Philadelphia Fusion vs Washington Justice (3-1)

(View recommendation: 3.4 out of 5, Relatively close match, individual pop-offs, clutch moments)

The first match for the Philadelphia Fusion at home, at least on paper, looked like a doozy but turned out to be the closest series of the weekend. The first surprise the Fusion fielded was playing Poko on Orisa and D.Va for the entire series instead of newly signed off-tank super star Fury. Secondly, Ivy had established himself as a starter ahead of EQO, making good on the promise he had shown last season and the contenders season before joining the Overwatch League. For the Justice, the starting line-up looked as expected in a hitscan/Mei meta, with Corey and Stratus playing the entire match.

On Nepal-Village, the Fusion chose a composition of McCree/Baptiste/Orisa while the Justice started out with Doomfist/Reaper/Moira that aimed to find unexpected angles for picks while Carpe was on the lookout to contain these flanks. With the submap coming down to a 99-99% photo finish, Stratus sets up a sneak attack. Charging his Rocket Punch behind the little shrine on the border of the high ground portion of the map, he catches Alarm and kills Ivy with his ultimate, putting the Fusion in a nearly unwinnable 4v6 fight situation and they end up losing Village.

Staying in the game

On Shrine, teams choose more conservative compositions, relying on McCree/Ana/D.Va iterations and mirroring each other in the process. Fusion relied on a more stationary style, waiting for an opening and tried to bait the aggressive Justice into making mistakes, who, at least in the first two fights, didn’t live up to those expectations. Fusion’s first fight win, already way into the 80-percentiles, comes at the hand of a disabling Sleep Dart by Alarm, controlling Ellivote. As Stratus uses his ultimate, Poko gobbles it up and the Fusion retaliate with their own Blizzard, even maintaining an ultimate advantage while capping the point. Throughout the match, FunnyAstro would demand a lot of attention from Corey while rarely dying to him due to the slick movement that the Brit is known for. In the last fight on Shrine, Ivy gets caught out early into the fight but the Fusion attempt to hold on for dear life though they have to give up point control for a moment. As Carpe finds an equalizer by killing Stratus, he channels his Dead Eye but gets shut down by Ellivote and killed in the process. Ivy now rejoins the fight and the numbers are once again even, allowing the Fusion to pressure rOar who, without his own Mei, can’t get away and falls as well. While the Fusion can’t finish the map off of this fight, the Justice are forced to reengage without Ellivote and lose the fight accordingly, tying Nepal at 1-1. 

On Sanctum, the Fusion take the fight based on optimal positioning on top of the high ground with both Orisa’s shield and Immortality Field providing near-impenetrable cover and few ways to find off-angles for Corey to find picks. Sitting back on their porch, the Justice know that they will have to make the fight have more surface area as they rotate around towards the Fusion’s back entry, forcing the Fusion to take Justice’s porch instead but ultimately committing to the same fight they did before, once again fighting into the narrow and losing just the same. On the third engage, the Justice finally split up and threaten to take over the point, forcing the Fusion to divide up their team too as the clock ticks into 99-0 overtime. Finally finding breaking points (now due to the forced spread of Fusion’s composition) the Justice find a way back into the map. Holding onto the point in two decisive fights, the map once again turns into an all or nothing scenario. Enter the Carpe show. 

Everything is winnable for Carpe

Switching over to Widowmaker (while Alarm moves to Ana), Carpe decides he has had enough. While his tanks contest the point, Carpe only has eyes for Corey, trying to find the American on an angle. As Corey turns a corner into the upper mega-health pack room, he is immediately greeted with a bodyshot and gets submachine-gunned down by Carpe. Born in the clutch while some of his teammates fall, Carpe decides for himself that he isn’t going to lose this map. Sitting on top of the point’s walls, he’s looking for a pick and eventually finds Stratus, chopping his head clean off. Swiping towards the supports, he misses the first easier shot on a dancing ArK, but in good Carpe-fashion makes good on it as he snipes the Lucio during a long jump towards point. Ellivote reaches him a bit too late to shut those shots down and has to return to the point in order to contest it. While trying to find his own hero play, he shoots his Self-Destruct straight into the air but as he drops to the ground, it’s once again Carpe who sends him back to the spawn room. Carpe said winnable, so it was.

Saving Private Carpe

On Havana the Justice do a solid job on their defense, wasting a lot of Fusion’s time with generally well-coordinated play. Mirroring comps with McCree/D.Va/Ana, it takes all but the last fight for the team in orange to breakthrough. Fusion win the important first fight on point B and roll into the infamous second fight area on Havana B where historically so many attacks have ended. Philly initiate the fight trying to set up a trap in having Carpe wait in the very top right corner on Cat Walk, waiting for the best moment to use his Flashbang and get a kill. Corey smells it and answers with his own stun as both McCree’s look at each other in a double Spiderman pointing at each other moment. As Carpe drops to 5 HP, the Fusion protects their DPS player while a Fire Strike hits dangerously close on the wall right next to him. Making it out against all odds, the fight is briefly reset. Carpe tries to find a pick as an electric cowboy but is swiftly zoned by Corey’s ultimate. Ellivote had enough of Carpe’s shenanigans and takes him down in a room by himself. As rOar drops Alarm, the Fusion retaliates and equalize the fight with two swift kills onto Corey and Ellivote by the tank line. Trying to sneak one past the Justice, Sado tries to backcap the cart but is stopped by ArK. Investing a Blizzard, Justice can finally clean the Fusion up in this thriller of a fight. The Justice manage to hold Philly infront of point B, on the back of Corey finding a pick on Carpe and Ivy’s Blizzard being countered by ArK’s Sound Barrier.

Getting a fights worth of cart progress for free

Washington do better in timebank on their attack on point A and lock the cart in at about 1:30 left on the clock, with only a slight ultimate disadvantage for their first fight indoors. In return, Ivy finds a lot of value with his Blizzard and the Fusion win the next scrappy fight based on it. Without needing to kill anyone, the Justice manage to rotate and apply pressure well enough that they get a lot of cart progress out of it in the following fight. Now one fight away from winning the map and tying the series, the Justice continue their onslaught. The fight, unfortunately, is rudely interrupted by a technical pause. As the game continues several minutes later, Corey connects an important Flash Bang onto FunnyAstro who can not get away in time, then turns around on Carpe and kills him too. While the Fusion manage to kill rOar in another Blizzard, Alarm up above the gate doesn’t get an angle to support his team and can only try to go for a pick himself which he ultimately ends up failing at. While the rest of his team gets taken out on point, he can only watch as the Justice win Havana.

Real recognize real

On good ol’ King’s row, Fusion switch back to their Orisa and Baptiste composition on defense while the Justice stay default on McCree and Ana. Holding on point, Carpe tries to flank onto Justice’s backline but a sense of respect can be felt in his actions having found his match in Corey in many situations in the previous two maps, pulling back rather than gambling on his mechanical skill to solve the situation. Rather, he sits back and waits for Corey to commit to an angle and takes care of him surgically via headshot, forcing the Justice to retreat but not until Stratus spikes Carpe’s head off. With the spawn advantage, Justice go in and force the Fusion back under the arch, getting a tick in the process and later on even another one even though the Fusion are at a man-advantage after FunnyAstro kills Stratus while the Mei player uses his Blizzard. Carpe attempts another assassination through hotel as rOar’s shield breaks, allowing Sado to hit a monster of a shatter that ends the fight immediately.

Getting the bigger slice of the pie

Losing the next fight in which both teams dump a lot of ultimates onto each other, the Justice’s timeclock is now down to a mere minute. Falling onto the backside of the point, Stratus places a significantly better wall and cuts Ivy and Sado off their team with a clean cutoff from Hotel to Arch. While Carpe evens the fight by killing Aimgod, each second the fight goes on favors the Justice with their respawn advantage. Carpe even wins the duel against Corey, but Poko succumbs to Ellivote’s Self Destruct at the same time. As the Swede remechs, he boosts onto Carpe and narrowly manages to kill the McCree. Keeping count, the Fusion have killed a player more at this point, but Aimgod reenters the fight quickly and Nanoboosts rOar, whogoes to town on the rest of the Fusion’s team. While Carpe rejoins on Tracer too and even gets two kills, respawn advantage eventually overwhelms the Fusion and let’s the Justice cap point A.

More flanks than a BBQ

Due to dying so late into point A, the Fusion can not take position at the beginning of streets phase. On the flipside, because the Justice only capped in overtime, only 2 minutes remain for them to lock in point B. Interestingly, we get our first taste of Corey on Tracer in Streets which allows him to be even more flanky. Justice is playing ring around the rosie with the Fusion, rotating wildly around Factory until everyone is confused enough for Carpe to not be able to keep track of Corey and the Tracer takes him down. Ellivote shows off his dislike for floaty BS devices, first eating Ivy’s Blizzard and quickly disposing of Alarm’s Immortality Field. Not yet done with his onslaught, Ellivote drops a fat Self Destruct that forces Poko to expose himself and Alarm to die to it outright, allowing the Justice to finish point B.

Fusion’s A and B attack

Once again having had to use all of their timebank, point C turns into a one fight scenario in which the Fusion overwhelms the Justice despite Corey’s best efforts on Widow. On their attack, the Fusion remain on their Orisa/Baptiste composition. Carpe had stayed fairly defensive on their defense and giving Corey the respect he had earned, staying mostly on his stairs of Hotel. On the other side, Corey again tries to find a pick on the flank and gets quickly shut down by Carpe. While Stratus gets his Blizzard up earlier than Ivy, it only delays the inevitable as the Justice remain without kill pressure and eventually give up point A. With huge 5 minutes in timebank, the Fusion also get the cart pushed deep into Streets. Due to the Fusion not having to invest as many resources into winning A (because Corey had died so early by not respecting Carpe), they can now cash in on their Blizzard in the narrow parts of streets and - together with a big Earthshatter - clean house easily, capping point B.

Five minutes and no intention to give up

The Justice were now confronted with the hard task of defending King’s Row third for five full minutes. Doing so admirably at first with Corey on Hanzo and finding picks on Carpe several times, eventually, the Fusion manage to space out the Justice wide enough to even force a C9 and win the map rather uneventfully.

An ungodly place - Temple of Anubis

On Anubis, the Hanzo-spiel continued. Throughout the evening it felt like that Corey would throw a pick at Carpe and see if he was willing to mirror and Carpe would nod in spawn and make the switch too, challenging each other on the flanks frequently. On Anubis, too large plays defined the map outcome. The first one took place as Fusion narrowly managed to cap point B with merely 14 seconds left on the clock. As the Justice seem to be getting off a clean attack on point A, Sado gets locked into a room with the rest of the Justice next to the point. Sado is one of the last remaining three members on point A and enters the room next to the point. He swings onto Stratus and Ellivote who almost die instantly in the process. Landing a huge shatter, Sado charges rOar who only survives briefly due to Aimgod’s Immortality Field. As it runs out, Sado corners the other three remaining members and disposes of them too. What a hero play.

Charlie Niner - The man who saw an opening

It takes a while for the Justice to get going on point A. Eventually, they find Carpe hiding on the upper floor where the mega healthpack is located and kill him, later taking out Alarm too and collapsing onto point A and taking it. For nearly four minutes on point B, the Justice banged their heads against the defense only managing to get two ticks until that one fateful fight. The Fusion managed to deplete Justice’s timebank so much that the team from the capital is out of time for another clean attack. Knowing this, the Fusion take an aggressive approach to defense, bringing the fight to the Justice in front of the Arch choke on B. While the Fusion start off the fight well, killing members of the Justice, ArK goes for a last-ditch effort and runs to touch the point. Realizing the severity of the situation too late, Funnyastro tries to get there as ArK boops him off, allowing the Korean to channel the rest of the way and bringing home one of the more memorable backcaps.

Too long, didn’t read

Unfortunately for the Justice, their efforts remain in vain and in the end, the Fusion brought it back on Anubis, winning the series 3-1. Throughout the night, a lot of fights had revolved around the flanks, with both Carpe and Corey matching each other for the most part. With Ellivote also showing a great performance, the match got reasonably close despite perhaps preconceived power level differences between the teams. Justice showed themselves much more cohesive than their reputation of a bottom tier team might suggest, often running circles around the Fusion. The star-studded roster overall shined through though, flashing their pound-for-pound advantage on many occasions. Alarm convinced on both Baptiste and Ana and Sado underlined his position as the only starting main tank. A clutch Carpe was the difference maker at least on Nepal and otherwise paced himself, perhaps knowing that he didn’t need to win the match by himself and therefore not taking unnecessary risks. Justice plays around Corey, Carpe is just the cherry on top for the Fusion.

Florida Mayhem vs Houston Outlaws (3-0)

(View recommendation: 2.0 out of 5 - Mayhem with interesting comps, Outlaws answer poorly)

Judging at least by scrimbux, the match between Mayhem and the Outlaws looked to be interesting. Both teams with new strong additions and about the same average estimated power level were facing off. It was also a meeting of two teams from different “scrim bubbles,” a term that had developed when teams started scrimming the same 5-8 teams due to half of them being inaccessible due to latency differences or because the teams would be facing each other soon.

Unfortunately, the series took a different turn when the Outlaws ran into Mayhem’s Ana/Brigitte support line on Busan, trying to answer it with a yet unseen backline of Brigitte/Lucio. Moreover, the Outlaws had opted to field Hydration on Mei and Blasé on the hitscan heroes, the latter certainly being a surprise with both hitscan specialists Danteh and LiNkzr on the bench. Florida fielded their own surprise hitscan choice in BQB, who convinced both on McCree and Widowmaker. Florida would not lose a submap on Busan, going up in the series at 1-0. 

It initially looked like the Outlaws could come back into the series by full holding the Mayhem on Havana point A even in unlikely scenarios where they looked outmatched in the ultimate economy. On their attack, the Outlaws again counted on the unorthodox Brigitte/Lucio backline, but found few answers to the now subbed in Sayaplayer’s Widowmaker. On the last attack with mere 6 meters left to push but only 30 seconds left on the clock, the Outlaws wait out both the Infra-Sight duration as well as a sleep on MekO to get one more attempt in. Despite Outlaws’ precaution, Sayaplayer takes Blasé’s head clean off, leaving the Outlaws without their major source of damage. Even Jecse’s Sound Barrier can’t keep Sayaplayer from getting the follow up kill on Rawkus, giving Florida a 2-0 lead in the series.

Out of tune

Rolling out on the second map, Eichenwalde, the teams had mostly stuck to their compositional range they had shown off in the first two maps. Unfortunately, the game was bogged down by long technical pauses. The Outlaws had looked off in their timing and execution, epitomized in the following play: As the Mayhem win the first fight for point A on their attack, the remaining Outlaws members retreat with the goal of reengaging the point. Unfortunately, MekO doesn’t reach the point in time, causing him to get frozen and eventually staggered, giving the Mayhem an easy time pushing the cart in front of Castle.  

Fights between the teams became increasingly scrappy, often trading back and forth and being so long drawn out that respawning players could participate in the same fight again. Finally mirroring the Ana/Brigitte, the Outlaws pushed the Mayhem towards last fight territory on the bridge, but a sneaky flank towards the top of the castle gave BQB the high ground advantage to shut down Blasé with the help of Gargoyle. Jecse gets smacked around by Karayan in the process and the Outlaws’ numbers quickly dwindled.
 

Just one little Blasé, left alone and cold in the dark

On the third point, the Mayhem rotate towards the high ground rafters and catch Blasé off-guard in the backrooms, taking him down while ultimates are being traded around the cart area. Once again playing the numbers advantage, Florida’s pressure overwhelms the Outlaws who can only stagger the cart into overtime. 

Now attacking, the Outlaws cap point A fairly quickly and with a large timebank roll into point B. Mayhem’s rotations, overall positioning, and timing had looked superior for most of the match and it once again became apparent when defending on top of Castle, where they shut down several of the Outlaws attacks. Finally taking point B, Houston have about as much time available as the Mayhem had on their attack for point C and the Outlaws find themselves in a very similar position, also pressed to make the last attack work. BQB, sitting once again up on the high ground, channels his High Noon and catches Hydration after which he turns on Blasé and kills him yet again. While the rest of the Outlaws clean up the court area, the incoming respawns can not be contained without any of the green team’s DPS alive and the Outlaws fail to push the cart in, losing the series in a clean sweep.

Too long, didn't read

Throughout the series, a surprisingly solid BQB on McCree and Widowmaker, always accompanied by Kris on Brigitte, took Blasé’s lunch money on several occasions. Often the Mayhem would out rotate the Outlaws and catch an unsuspecting member in the process while the Outlaws frequently tried to bring the fight to the Mayhem but too rarely succeeded due to their lack of decisive and coordinated moves. While the Brigitte/Lucio composition the Outlaws ran looked weird, it likely ultimately didn’t really determine the outcome of the match as much as a lack of execution of a style which was seemingly aiming to death ball over their opponents. The Outlaws didn’t look to be on the same page.
 

Houston Outlaws vs Washington Justice (0-3)

(View recommendation: 1 out of 5. A truly one-sided match that didn’t offer anything in the way of entertainment other than sadistic pleasure for the anti-Outlaws crowd)

Justice had revealed some vulnerability against the Fusion when Corey couldn’t find value on the flank. With no discernable counterforce against him and together with a cohesively playing Justice and a great Ellivote, the Outlaws who often looked scattered and unorganized had nothing to put against the Justice that evening. The game turned into a stomp with obscure occurrences, like Aimgod somehow managing to survive far away from his team on Junkertown. It was a rough match that offered little rewatch value, therefore really not showing a need to be summarized. A match so bad that it’s hardly going to be representative of either team’s future, at least hopefully. What a sad, sad game.

Philadelphia Fusion vs Florida Mayhem (3-0)

(View recommendation: 2.0 out of 5, Mayhem try a lot, but Fusion showed their class)

Based on the match against the Outlaws, the Mayhem looked to be an even tougher opponent for the Fusion than the Justice had been. However, the Fusion revealed their class, finally cashing in on their elite roster and leaving no chances for the Mayhem to find any openings in the series. Delivering a blueprint performance in this meta, the Fusion attained a level of play in which each member appeared deserving of their spot in front of their home crowd. If viewers had doubts that the Fusion were a team that had a say in the title race this year, their performance against the Mayhem silenced those as much as it was possible for a match this early in the season. The home team didn’t necessarily dominate because the Mayhem were falling apart like the Outlaws had, they simply were outclassed that night. Perhaps some might have expected that the Fusion would toy around with their food, giving the people a show with a potential substitution of Chipsa, but the team opted to deliver a focused performance to leave no room for interpretation that they would mean business this season. An appetizer of a match for any Fusion fan or connoisseur of great Overwatch. 

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