Hunters stun Excelsior on busy day in OWL

With the Summer Showdown in the league’s collective rearview mirror, teams on Saturday showed signs of what to expect down the road. From fun role swaps to somber retirements, from near upsets to 3-0 sweeps, the second day of Week 24 in the Overwatch League had a little bit of everything.

In theAsian-Pacific region, 17th-place Chengdu Hunters (5-14) surprised the fifth-place New York Excelsior (13-6) with a thrilling 3-2 overtime win. All season long, Chengdu’s struggles with adapting to hero bans has been well documented, while New York’s plethora of star-caliber DPS players on the roster was supposed to leave the Excelsior ready to handle any meta.

Unfortunately for New York, this week’s hero bans of Orisa, Mei, Widowmaker and Ana allowed the stars to align for Chengdu as everyone got to play their specialty hero, which turned the series on its head and left the Excelsior playing the Hunters’ game. New York started strong with a 2-0 win on Nepal and a 2-1 win on Temple of Anubis. After halftime, though, Chengdu figured out how to slow down New York and took Havana 2-1, Numbani 3-2 and Lijiang Tower 2-0 to complete the reverse sweep.

Over in the American Region, the fourth-ranked San Francisco Shock (16-2) took a 3-0 win over the bottom team in the league, the Boston Uprising (2-14). The Shock were committed to trying new things in this series, namely fielding all-star tank Matthew “Super” DeLisi as a DPS.

In all three maps, Super played Genji to decent success, though San Francisco’s overwhelming dive might have had more to do with the final outcome than Super’s play. Sure, Super put up 30.7 eliminations per 10 minutes with only 3.6 deaths per 10, but with DPS Nam-joo “Striker” Kwon dominating as Tracer, Super could’ve done nothing and the Shock were still likely to win. The Shock took Oasis 2-0, Hanamura 3-2 and full-held Route 66 3-0 for the 3-0 series win.

In a match whose ramifications will spread beyond the standings, the Atlanta Reign (8-6) took a 3-0 sweep over the Los Angeles Valiant (8-8) in a battle of the eighth- and ninth-place teams after news Friday that Reign DPS Andrej “babybay” Francisty had retired from Overwatch. For Atlanta, babybay was not only a good fragger but a key leader in the locker room, so the Reign will have to find someone in their ranks, like DPS Joon “Erster” Jeong or Hugo “SharP” Sahlberg, to step up and fill those voids.

As far as carrying power, the Reign relied on DPS Tae-Hoon “Edison” Kim throughout the series, which worked wonders. The Valiant were unwilling to run the popular Genji-Tracer dive compositions that the rest of the league had tried, instead running Ashe and allowing Edison’s Tracer to run wild. Atlanta capitalized with a 2-1 win on Ilios, a 2-0 full-hold win on Volskaya Industries and a 5-4 OT win on Route 66. With the win, Atlanta takes sole possession of eighth place in the standings from the Valiant, who slide to ninth.

Back in the APAC region, the third ranked Guangzhou Charge (17-6) took care of business against the London Spitfire (6-8) in a 3-1 series win. The Charge looked confident and in control throughout the series, losing Nepal 1-2 to the Spitfire before coming back with a 2-0 win on Volskaya Industries, a 3-2 win on Watchpoint: Gibraltar and a 3-2 win on Eichenwalde. Elsewhere, the Hangzhou Spark (8-10) took a 3-0 sweep over the struggling Seoul Dynasty (8-8). The Spark looked unstoppable while the Dynasty looked lost in what team compositions to play, a recurring theme for Seoul. Hangzhou took Busan 2-0, Temple of Anubis 2-1 and Route 66 4-3 in the win.

In the American region, the Los Angeles Gladiators (7-6) picked up a much-needed win over the Vancouver Titans (4-10), taking a 3-0 sweep. The Gladiators finally looked comfortable and knowledgeable about what to play after months of uncertainty, while the Titans were still trying to figure out how to get value out of DPS Dalton “Dalton” Bennyhoff’s Genji. Los Angeles took Lijiang Tower 2-0, Temple of Anubis 2-0 and Watchpoint: Gibraltar 4-3.

Finally, the Toronto Defiant (7-10) picked up a 3-0 win over the 19th-place Washington Justice (3-14). Both teams opted for very slow play styles, leading to a mistake-ridden series in which the Justice couldn’t get anything started. The Defiant took Ilios 2-1, Hanamura 2-1 and full-held Havana 1-0 for the 3-0 series sweep.

Week 24 of the Overwatch League concludes on Sunday with three matches:

–Paris Eternal vs Toronto Defiant

–Atlanta Reign vs Florida Mayhem

–Boston Uprising vs Los Angeles Valiant

Overwatch League Season 3 standings, with match record (W-L), map record (W-L-T) and map differential:

1. (Pacific East) Shanghai Dragons, 20-2, 47-12-1, 35

2. (Atlantic South) Philadelphia Fusion, 17-2, 44-17-0, 27

3. (Pacific East) Guangzhou Charge, 17-6, 41-35-0, 6

4. (Pacific West) San Francisco Shock, 16-2, 38-11-2, 27

5. (Atlantic North) New York Excelsior, 13-6, 43-23-2, 20

6. (Atlantic North) Paris Eternal, 13-6, 35-27-0, 8

7. (Atlantic South) Florida Mayhem, 11-5, 30-20-0, 10

8. (Atlantic South) Atlanta Reign, 8-6, 30-18-0, 12

9. (Pacific West) Los Angeles Valiant, 8-8, 27-31-0, -4

10. (Pacific East) Hangzhou Spark, 8-10, 30-37-2, -7

11. (Pacific East) Seoul Dynasty, 8-8, 18-26-1, -8

12. (Pacific West) Los Angeles Gladiators, 7-6, 27-24-4, 3

13. (Atlantic North) Toronto Defiant, 7-10, 28-34-0, -6

14. (Pacific West) Dallas Fuel, 6-8, 24-30-0, -6

15. (Atlantic North) London Spitfire, 6-8, 22-30-0, -8

16. (Atlantic South) Houston Outlaws, 6-12, 29-41-3, -12

17. (Pacific East) Chengdu Hunters, 5-14, 27-45-1, -18

18. (Pacific West) Vancouver Titans, 4-10, 14-32-0, -18

19. (Atlantic South) Washington Justice, 3-14, 17-44-1, -27

20. (Atlantic North) Boston Uprising, 2-14, 12-46-3, -34

–Field Level Media

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