Stage 1 of the Overwatch League is in the books after five weeks of nonstop action. With 265 maps contested across 62 matches, we not only have a first-place team—the 9-1 NYXL—and a stage champion—the London Spitfire, but plenty of highlights, stats, Tweets, hype walkouts, and video content. Without further ado, here are the best moments from Stage 1.
THIS TOWN AIN’T BIG ENOUGH
Stage 1 of the Overwatch League inaugural season showcased the game being played at the highest level, and trying to identify just one standout match from five weeks of frenzied competition is a herculean task. But there was one match (discounting the Stage Finals) that ticked all of the boxes: the Battle for Los Angeles.
A burgeoning rivalry? Check. A tense five-map nailbiter? Absolutely. The Gladiators sent their purple-clad fan base into early elation by taking the first two games, but the Valiant spread their wings after halftime, roaring back to complete the reverse-sweep and claim the city as theirs—for now.The last three maps all went the distance, ending 2-1, 4-3, and 2-1 again. The Gladiators certainly didn’t make the comeback attempt an easy one for the Valiant, leading to a final showdown on Lijiang Tower. Even then, the first two rounds were 99%-99% coin flips, meaning the match would be decided at the last possible point of contention. Finally, at Night Market, Valiant tank Pan-Seung “Fate” Koo and DPS Brady “Agilities” Girardi took over, leading the green-and-gold to the match victory.
The first regular-season meeting between the Valiant and the Gladiators was not only an instant classic, featuring back-and-forth momentum swings and heroic plays throughout, it also set up future crosstown grudge matches as can’t-miss affairs.—Emerald Gao
HIGHLIGHTS FOR THE HIGHLIGHT GOD
From Battle Mercy to a crucial RIP-Tire, these five clips got everyone talking, earning the highest engagement across Overwatch League’s social channels in Stage 1:
JJONAK IS BETTER THAN YOUSong-Hyun “Jjonak” Bang is better than you, and he knows it. Recognizable by his golden hair on the stage and balls of steel in the game, the NYXL’s Zenyatta player took the Overwatch League by storm during Stage 1. Here’s a list of the many Zenyatta statistics he ranked top 5 in: Rate of Hero damage (1), rate of Orb Volley damage (1), rate of critical hit kills (1), rate of final blows (2), rate of eliminations (3), and rate of offensive assists (5).
As a quick statistical snack, let’s focus on just Hero damage and compare Jjonak’s damage to the league average rate. For players with more than 60 minutes of Zenyatta play time in Stage 1, it’s 5,551 Hero damage per 10 minutes. Jjonak’s is 6,881. In other words, Jjonak deals 24% more hero damage than the league average, which is just insane. But it’s just a day in the life of Jjonak.
How does this compare to other players across the league? Let’s repeat the exercise across all Heroes with several players with more than 1 hour of play time in Stage 1. The results? JJonak’s 24% more damage still reigns supreme, and it’s not particularly close.
|Hero||% above league avg.||Player|
Want to know one final reason why Jjonak is better than you? The other Overwatch League Zenyattas keep coming to me to tell me how his statistics are inflated by Yeon-Jun “Ark” Hong’s Mercy damage-boosting antics. But if this was true, why would Ark’s rate of damage boosted rank only 11th out of 26 Mercys in the league? Either Ark is only boosting Jjonak, or these other Zenyatta players are grasping for excuses. Either way, Jjonak doesn’t care. Jjonak is better than you, and he knows it.—Benjamin “CaptainPlanet” Trautman
TALKING THE TALK
Communication and teamwork are essential parts of Overwatch, which can present challenges for international rosters, such as the one from the Dallas Fuel. Over the course of Stage 1, they’ve come to realize that tackling these issues will take a group effort.
WALKING THE WALK
Throughout Stage 1, we saw some truly creative walk-outs, most notably by the Florida Mayhem, who had something prepared for almost every single match, but other teams also put their best foot forward. Here are just three of the best efforts to whet your appetite for more impressive team choreography in Stage 2 and beyond!
That's a bold entrance cotton, let's see if it pays off for them. pic.twitter.com/3Qep7eiiU7— Florida Mayhem (@FLMayhem) February 9, 2018
STAGE 2 META... IT COULD HAPPEN?