This past weekend we saw some of the best Overwatch we’ve seen in months – meta breaking drafts, intense teamfights that defied logic, and the longest Grand Finals we’ve had all year. There was a lot of Overwatch and many clutch moments, but which moments defined the playoffs? Well, we’ve got our top three storylines of the Overwatch League Stage Three Playoffs to celebrate the amazing weekend of Overwatch. In case you somehow missed who won the playoffs, there are spoilers ahead – be warned!
3. NYXL’s Playoff Curse Continues
Curses in esports are some of the most fascinating and confusing aspects of a team. Take NYXL for example. They went into the Stage Three Playoffs undefeated throughout Stage Three sitting atop of the Playoff seeding. They also sit in a comfortable second place thus far in season two with a comfortable 19-2 record. So the big question was how could a team that was 19-2 choke every stage?
It’s fun to muse about curses because it makes the situation less dire and less pressure on the players but the reality is that it seems like NYXL choke under pressure. They’ve faced most of the teams they played in the Playoffs before so it’s not a matter of being unprepared or unsure of how their opponents perform. It would seem that even against teams that ranked lower than them, NYXL cannot play under the stress or pressure of the playoffs main stage. And when compared to Shock who have made it to the Grand Finals three, yes three, stages in a row – it is apparent that the NYXL need to fix those nerves.
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2. The Valiant Have Arrived
While most people have focused on the Dragons win, the Los Angeles Valiant have also had an incredible journey this season. Valiant have spent most of this season in the bottom of the standings – Stage One they were 20th, Stage Two they were in 13th, and in Stage Three they finished in 5th. They made an incredible climb from last to 14th overall in the season and their growth was reflected in the fact that they made it into the Playoffs AND they made it to the semifinals.
Valiant struggled in the beginning of the season with player miscommunication, mismanaged ults, and poor player positioning. This Stage they truly showed that they had learnt from their mistakes and that they had reignited their passion for the game. Cheered on by enthusiastic fans and casters who were marvelled by their success, the Valiant truly flexed their wings.
1. The Shanghai Dragons Win the Stage Three Championship
If there was ever a series of Overwatch that would go down in the history books as one of the most iconic series ever, it would be the Shanghai Dragons and San Francisco Shock Grand Final series. Shock were looking to secure their second Stage Championship, while the Dragons were looking to erase the organization’s lackluster performance last year.
The Dragons came into the Grand Finals having slayed the Vancouver Titans, a feat only one other team in the entire OWL has been able to accomplish. Considering the Dragons made it into the Playoffs in the eighth spot, their victory over the NYXL was understandable given NYXL’s track record of choking in the playoffs.
The series was an intense seven map series that almost saw Shock complete a reverse sweep after the Dragons won the first three maps of the series. The shocking part of the entire series was how unrelenting both DDing and Diem were and how integral the two players were to the success of the team. DDing on Pharah was a sight to behold with perfectly timed Rocket Barrages, encompassing map pressure, and just brilliant plays. If you need any more proof, DDing being named MVP of the series and this fantastic clip should do it for you.
We picked our top three moments of the Stage Three Playoffs but there were a lot of huge plays and monstrous team wipes that we could’ve chosen. Instead we wanted to highlight the top three storylines of the Stage Three Playoff because sometimes it’s more than just the plays – it’s the players, the teams. Don’t forget to check out the highlights of the playoffs if you didn’t get a chance. We promise these matches are what makes the Overwatch League so exciting!