6:30 p.m. PDT
If there was any doubt about which team is top dog in the Overwatch League, the NYXL laid the debate to rest on Sunday at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles with an impressive 3-0-1 victory in the title match of the Stage 3 Finals.
Immediately after the win, New York DPS Jong-yeol "Saebyeolbe" Park announced to a packed crowd, “I’m the best Tracer in the world!” It was hard to argue with his performance: Saebyeolbe tallied 71 final blows while playing Tracer during the match, 30 of which were against Boston’s supports.
Saebyeolbe enthusiastically added, “I love my fans! Thanks for supporting us. I love you guys.”
New York was feeling the love early on as they jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the match before Boston made it interesting with an exciting and hard-fought 3-3 draw on Volskaya. But in the fourth match, the Excelsior slammed the door shut with a 3-2 win on Numbani.
Boston came up short after an amazing Stage 3 run that carried them undefeated into the final series. Ultimately this was New York’s night, though: winning their second straight stage title sets up a chance for three in a row when Stage 4 kicks off on Wednesday, May 16.
5:05 p.m. PDT
At halftime of the Stage 3 title match, the NYXL lead Boston 2-0, but both maps so far have been nail-biters. On control map Nepal, New York pulled both rounds back from 99%, as star DPS Jong-Ryeol "Saebyeolbe" Park asserted his dominance. He accounted for 41% of the NYXL's final blows on Nepal, and 28% of their damage done, finishing with a 19:3 ratio of final blows to deaths.
4:20 p.m. PDT
Despite the loss, the Los Angeles Valiant feel positive about their improvements in Stage 3. According to Brady "Agilities" Girardi, team communication has played a big part.
"Our team environment changed the most," he said. "In Stage 1 and 2, it was pretty bad. We were not really listening to each other and weren’t really positive. This stage we really picked that up and became a more positive team. Even if we got destroyed this match, we remain positive and it feels good."
4:00 p.m. PDT
The second semifinal progressed in a similar manner to the first, with the NYXL and LA Valiant playing it close on Junkertown before the higher seed closed the door on Ilios and finally Anubis. Jong-Ryeol "Saebyeolbe" Park showed off his sniper senses to help complete the sweep:
The two 3-0 results set up the final battle that many expected: Boston vs. New York, the best team of Stage 3 against the best team in the league. Will we see another sweep, or will this showdown go the distance? Stay tuned to find out!
3:35 p.m. PDT
Although the NYXL lead 2-0 at halftime, both maps featured long drawn-out fights, and the LA Valiant have fought, well, valiantly. If you're looking for a difference-maker, it has to be New York off-tank Tae-Hong "Meko" Kim, who has more final blows (18) than counterpart Indy "Space" Halpern has deaths (17), and that's saying something. Additionally, Meko has only died eight times, in the same play time and playing the same hero.
Hae-Song "Libero" Kim also chipped in with this clutch Concussive Blast on Ilios: Lighthouse to secure the first round of control:
3:00 p.m. PDT
In the LA Gladiators' post-match press conference, Lane "Surefour" Roberts predicted that the Stage 3 title game would be Boston vs. New York.
"The matchup is kind of weird," he said. "They are really opposite in their playstyles. NYXL is very chaotic and prone to win with their mechanics. And Boston is a really meticulous, strategic team that wins with that style. I think it will be really close, but NYXL will come out ahead."
2:30 p.m. PDT
In the quickest Stage Finals match to date, the Boston Uprising swept the Gladiators 3-0, taking Junkertown, Ilios, and Temple of Anubis in quick succession. The first map was the closest, as LA seemed fired up on their attack round, but Boston managed to prevent them from a full map completion before pushing through with their own strong Pirate Ship comp, helped in part by this massive Self-Destruct from Lucas "Note" Meissner:
Stanislav "Mistakes" Danilov also came up big, doubling Lane "Surefour" Roberts' damage output on Widowmaker, while his DPS partner, Nam-Ju "STRIKER" Gwon, died just once in the last two maps, capping off a dominant Anubis with his Junkrat play:
In yesterday's selection ceremony, Boston referred to the Gladiators as the weakest team out of the field, and—today at least—that estimation was borne out. "Our team thought it would be a good warmup for the finals," Mistakes said after the match. He added that Boston would rather not face the NYXL in the final. We'll find out if they can avoid it shortly, as the second semifinal pits New York against the LA Valiant.
12:45 p.m. PDT
Stage Finals Sunday is nearly upon us! In just over 15 minutes, the top-seeded Boston Uprising will face the Los Angeles Gladiators in the first of two semifinals, with the NYXL vs. LA Valiant to follow.
Here is the map pool for the best-of-five match: Junkertown (escort), Ilios (control), Temple of Anubis (assault), Blizzard World (hybrid), and Route 66 (escort). Oasis will serve as the tiebreaker map, as it has all stage.
10 a.m. PDT
Stage Finals Sunday is upon us once again, and with the new four-team format comes three new challengers for the title. Stage 2 champions NYXL are ready to defend their spot, but they’ll need to fade the Los Angeles Valiant, the Los Angeles Gladiators, and the top-seeded Boston Uprising. The Uprising, a team that’s riding high on confidence after going undefeated in Stage 3, had their choice of semifinal opponent, another first in the Overwatch League:
Hometown fans will love the fact that both LA teams are in the mix, but they’ll need to defeat the two giants from the Atlantic Division in order to set up another Battle for LA in the final. Whatever happens, the winning team will emerge with a $100,000 USD bonus, and the runner-up will take home $25,000 USD.
Here’s how the schedule breaks down today (times for the last two matches are approximate):
- Boston vs. LA Gladiators—1 p.m. PDT
- NYXL vs. LA Valiant—3 p.m. PDT
- Winner of semifinal 1 vs. winner of semifinal 2—5 p.m. PDT
Keep checking back throughout the day as the top four teams turn up the heat. We’ll have match updates, social media highlights, and reactions from each of the teams.