The Overwatch League hosted three North American matches on Sunday, featuring battles between the Los Angeles Valiant and Dallas Fuel, the Houston Outlaws and the Paris Eternal, and the Washington Justice and the Philadelphia Fusion. The Fuel won their first match in season three and the Fusion and Eternal improved their already excellent records. Each match was entertaining in its own right, but the Dallas Fuel game against the Los Angeles Valiant ended up being the most entertaining and competitive NA match in week nine.
Whereas Saturday’s North American matches appeared to be dominated by tank performances, on Sunday the difference makers were the DPS players. Generally speaking, the week nine meta encouraged aggressive DPS and Tank play, which made for some fast paced and exciting Overwatch action.
Dallas Fuel win their first match of Season 3
After a long series of losses and disappointment, the Dallas Fuel finally managed to claim their first victory of season three in their Sunday match against the L.A. Valiant. The five game series ended in a 3-2 victory for the Fuel. Not only did this match end the Fuel’s losing streak, it also offered diverse and exciting moments from both teams.
The Dallas Fuel played an off-meta composition this week, putting Gui-un “Decay” Jang on the Tracer rather than on the dominant pick of Torbjorn. Torbjorn ended up being a highly effective pick this week, with nearly every team running Torbjorn and Reaper for their DPS.
Despite Torbjorn’s dominance this week, the Fuel trusted Decay to find value in Tracer, even though she wasn’t in the meta. Overwatch League commentators Mitch Leslie and Matthew Morello questioned the Fuel’s Tracer pick throughout the broadcast, because picking Tracer almost necessitated that Decay pop off every single team fight to find any chance of success. Amazingly, Decay did pop off, even winning player of the match. On Volskaya, for example, he was able to pick up 11 final blows in the first half alone. Despite the theoretical problems with playing Tracer against a Torbjorn deathball composition, he was still able to backpack the damage and consistently carry engagements throughout the match by aggressively pushing the Valiant’s backline and landing big Pulse Bombs on the Valiant frontline.
Speaking of frontlines, the front lines for both teams looked really strong Sunday. Week nine’s deathball meta required that teams generally be closely grouped, which raises the stakes for the Valiant and Fuel Reinhardt’s looking to land their ultimate abilities. Fuel’s Main tank Young-jin “Gamsu” Noh landed multiple fat shatters on the Valiant, including one incredible Earth Shatter on the Valiant spawn to secure game 4.
On the other side, Sanglok “Dreamer” Song also landed highlight worthy earth shatters. Both Reinhardts were constantly engaged in a strategically complex frontline duel, trying to build ultimate charge, land shatters, and block opposing shatters.
On map three in particular we saw Gamsu and Dreamer trading shatters in a battle for front line supremacy. This duel was fascinating to watch develop over the course of the match, though in the end Dreamer showed off the most impressive Earth Shatter by jumping off the cart onto the highground to catch the Fuel by surprise on Route 66. Well played Dreamer.
All around, this was a great match. It was interesting to see the Tracer composition versus the Torb composition and both teams played very well. The Fuel looked better on Sunday than they have in a very long time.
The Philadelphia Fusion sweep the Washington Justice
The Philadelphia Fusion defeated the Washington Justice in a decisive 3-0 series. Sunday’s victory was the second victory the Fusion have taken over the Justice in season three. Philadelphia is looking like one of the top contenders this season, sitting on a 6-1 record thus far this season. The only teams who currently hold fewer losses than the Fusion are the Seoul Dynasty and the Vancouver Titans, both of whom have only played two matches thus far in season three.
The entire Fusion team executed to perfection throughout this match. The Fusion DPS in particular were unstoppable all game. Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee proved to the world the enormous damage-dealing potential of Torbjorn, even in professional play. Carpe put out a ridiculous 14,000 damage/10 minutes and scored over 17,000 damage on the second map, Volskaya Industries. Carpe was so confident, that at one point he killed the rival Torbjorn Corey “Corey” Nigra using Torbjorn’s hammer, in the middle of a team fight. After putting Corey down, Carpe playfully wrote “sit” in the match chat. Corey took the match chat ribbing pretty well, typing back “LMAO”.
Unsurprisingly, Carpe was named player of the match for his top tier Torbjorn performance. Carpe is one of the best DPS players in the Overwatch League and he demonstrated that today with his highly effective Torbjorn plays.
The Washington Justice were on the struggle bus in Sunday’s match. Their ultimate usage was poor, often burning both support ultimates on a team fight where a single support ultimate would have sufficed. Typically when mistakes like that happen they are either strategic errors, communication errors, or both.
There were several moments when the Justice could have taken a round but made strategic blunders which cost them dearly. One such blunder occurred on the third point on Busan. The Justice had the opportunity to win a close final fight, but Ho-Sung “TTuba” Lee let himself die to a turret before Reinhardt could get back to secure the point with him. The Justice players have demonstrated a great deal of individual skill throughout season three, but they need to clean up the mistakes if they want to take down a top tier team like the Philadelphia Fusion.
Paris Eternal continue to impress against Houston Outlaws
The Paris Eternal bested the Houston Outlaws in a 3-1 series in the final North American match on Sunday. The Paris Eternal improved their season record to 5-2 while Houston’s record dropped even further to an abysmal 2-6. Following week nine, the Outlaws held the second worst record in the league, with only the Boston Uprising holding a worse record. Luís “Greyy” Perestrelo started on support this week, following the abrupt retirement of former Paris support player Damien “HyP” Souville earlier this week.
Both Paris and Houston refused to play by the arbitrary meta rules of the Overwatch League. Rather than playing Reinhardt and D.Va, the Eternal opted for a Reinhardt and Sigma tank core at various points in the series. Both teams seemed to prefer Doomfist duels over Torbjorn duels. This match was one of the only matches in week nine without a significant Torbjorn presence in every game. Instead, the Eternal and Outlaws both ran deathball comps with primarily Doomfist and Reaper on DPS.
At halftime, the Outlaws were actually looking pretty decent. They were able to pick up the first map on Nepal and they performed well on Paris Assault, though Paris would eventually take… well, Paris. The second half, however, was all Eternal. The Houston Outlaw’s team coordination seemed to degrade as the series went on. During map three, Dante “Danteh” Cruz missed the entire Paris squad with his EMP, leading to a lost teamfight for the Justice. Missing an EMP with Sombra is devastating since it charges so slowly and is massively powerful.
The biggest factor in the Paris Eternal victory was their DPS players. Terence “SoOn” Tarlier and Nicolas “NiCOgdh” Moret were able to gather essential opening picks throughout the match, which made winning teamfights relatively easy. Soon’s Reaper and Nicogdh’s Doomfist were definitely the highlight of the match between Paris and Houston.
On the final map, Hollywood Hybrid, Soon and Nicogdh finished with 22 kills, whereas the Outlaws DPS only held three kills between the two of them. Nicogdh also changed the course of key team fights on Dorado to secure that map for Paris. Nicogdh won player of the match for his impressive Doomfist plays.
Although the Houston Outlaws are not the most dangerous opponents, Paris still looked really strong. Over the past few weeks, Paris has set themselves up as one of the strongest teams currently playing Overwatch.