The past week was definitely not one you wanted to miss as it was filled with top-notch esports action. There was a crazy conclusion to the Stage 1 Call of Duty World League regular season and some very surprising results to conclude Stage 2 of the Overwatch League. We’ll dive into what happened in both leagues, and quickly check in on how the Madden Ultimate League is going as it nears its conclusion in April.
We speculated last week that there was going to be an intense conclusion to the Stage 1 regular season and it turned out to be exactly what happened. It was do or die this week for all of the teams still in playoff contention and perhaps even more important was avoiding relegation. Evil Geniuses failed at accomplishing this task, losing all three of their series this week gave them a 5-9 season record putting the roster up for relegation before Stage 2.
eUnited on the other hand was able to do the unthinkable and start their week off with an incredible 3-2 series victory over first place FaZe Clan. This gave Clayster and friends all the confidence they needed to easily roll over both Evil Geniuses and Splyce, dropping only a single game in those two series. With Unilad losing to FaZe Clan in their opening match before winning their other 2 series on the week, eUnited and Unilad both had 7-7 records through the round robin. Having split their head to head it ultimately came down to eUnited’s two fewer map losses, giving them the final playoff berth and leaving Unilad on the sidelines until Stage 2.
At the top of the standings FaZe Clan and Luminosity battled it out for first place in the final series of the regular season. FaZe demonstrated why they have been on top all season long however, dispatching Luminosity gaming with relative ease in a 3-1 series victory.
The playoffs commence on April 6th with all four quarter-final matches being played that day. The action will begin at 4 PM EST and you can tune in via the official twitch stream.
The second stage of the Overwatch League has come to a close after another incredible stage finals. Much like in Stage 1 one of the all-Korean rosters emerged victorious while Seoul Dynasty found themselves outside of the stage playoffs despite entering the final week in the top 3. The Shanghai Dragons struggles continued throughout the entirety of this stage as well. They again failed to find a victory giving them an abysmal 0-20 record on the season. The full standings after the conclusion of Stage 2 have been updated and can be found here.
This stage it was the Philadelphia Fusion who would play spoiler to the Dynasty’s playoff hopes after Seoul was surprisingly taken down by a Houston Outlaws team that has struggled for the majority of Stage 2 despite being in the top 3 in Stage 1. As Philadelphia had won their opening match against the Gladiators only the Valiant stood between the Fusion and a spot in the playoffs. The resulting match was one of the best of the week as the teams traded victories ultimately requiring a full five games, and all three rounds in the final game on Illios, for Philadelphia to emerge as the victor and clinch their playoff berth.
Philadelphia wasn’t done upsetting the narrative most fans and analysts expected to unfold in the playoffs either. Much like Stage 1 these playoffs would not disappoint, adding a tremendous amount of excitement to the middle of the season The semi finals were against the Stage 1 champion London Spitfire, who had only lost two matches throughout all of Stage 2 and decisively beat Philadelphia 4-0 in week 2. With London winning the opening match in the series the odds seemed heavily stacked against Philadelphia, but responded with dominant 2-0 performances on Nepal and Hanamura to take the lead in the series and put London up for elimination. With their backs against the wall the Spitfire won a hard-fought match on King’s Row 4-3 to force a game 5.
Despite how well Philadelphia had played it still seemed far-fetched that they would close out the series, but played an incredible match of Route 66. Offensively Philadelphia was able to march the payload down the map and secure all three checkpoints, while managing to hold London short of the third capture. The Fusion had done it, Stage 2 wouldn’t feature another all Korean final.
Waiting for them in the finals were the first seeded New York Excelsior who finished the Stage with a record of 9-1. Riding the momentum of their victory over London, the Fusion quickly stormed out to narrow victories on Route 66 and Lijiang tower putting them just one victory away from the Stage 2 title. It seemed at this point however that Philadelphia simultaneously ran out of gas as New York found their groove. The Fusion were shut out on Volskaya Industries in game three and held to simply capturing the payload on Hollywood forcing a deciding final match on Gibraltar. Here Philadelphia looked better offensively moving the payload through two of the map’s three stages but were unable to stop New York’s progression, completing the reverse sweep.
The Stage Playoffs have proved to be an excellent method of breaking up the long season and adding tremendous amounts of excitement into the weekly schedule, especially with how competitive they have been resulting in some excellent matches for spectators. The end of Stage 2 means the league will take a recess for a week, before returning to action on April 4th.
Eight weeks of the regular season are now in the books for this year’s Madden Ultimate League but the top of the standings is still highly contested in both the Elite and Legend Conferences. The Elite conference has played fewer matches so far but at this point contains the only player to currently be undefeated, Blocky, who sits atop the conference with a 4-0 record. He already has a 2 game advantage over Young Kiv who is currently in second in the Elite conference with a 3-2 record.
On the Legend side of the bracket Problem is currently in first boasting a 6-2 record while Drini is currently 6-3 in second place. The two already squared off and it was Problem who emerged victorious 31-21. With 6 of the 8 players currently having at least 4 victories, the race for first place is still anybody’s game.
Making the final playoff tournament is the ultimate goal for these teams as that will significantly contribute to their earnings, in addition to the $1000 prize for winning each regular season match.