WAIT, I THOUGHT SLEEPY LEFT SAN FRANCISCO...
"Dang, everyone's playing off-role," San Francisco Shock DPS Jay "Sinatraa" Won remarked as he watched the Pacific team's starting roster on Nepal.
"Imagine if we just went out and hit 'em with the 3-3," Los Angeles Valiant tank Indy "Space" Halpern joked.
Though the Pacific team teased it briefly in spawn on King's Row, there wasn't a single 3-3 composition to be seen throughout Thursday's All-Star Game Powered by Intel. The relaxed, fun-filled nature of the event was a far cry from the tense, competitive atmosphere that usually surrounds Blizzard Arena Los Angeles.
Throughout All-Stars, players were generally just excited about the prospect of getting to take a break in the upcoming weeks—a concept that Sinatraa embraced with open arms, with the help of Toronto's flex support, Se-Hyun "Neko" Park.
Sleep warm, sleep well, Sinatraa.
GESTURE DEFENDS HIS CROWN
With an unbelievable 100% critical hit accuracy in Stage 2, there was absolutely zero doubt that London's Jae-Hui "Gesture" Hong was the best Widowmaker in the league.
Bet AGAIN @OnFireSemmler! @gesture is a BEAST. #OWL2019 #TheFirstHomeGame— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) April 27, 2019
The @Spitfire take Kings Row & win the series, but you know they've got their sights on a 4-0. GET IN HERE!https://t.co/U6dIipgQGs pic.twitter.com/dMNXIA0iFF
Following a monstrous performance as Widowmaker during the Talent Takedown presented by T-Mobile, Brennon "Bren" Hook's inflated ego prompted him to issue an open challenge to any All-Star player willing to take him on in a Widowmaker 1v1. Gesture accepted, clearly wanting to defend his title as the league's best Widowmaker.
Surrounded by their adoring fans, Bren and Gesture squared off at halftime. It was among the most genuinely exciting moments of the day, and although Gesture took the match fairly convincingly, Bren certainly didn't go down without a fight.
COME ON AND SLAM
One of the best parts of the All-Star Game is being able to see some of the most mechanically gifted players in the world play together, even if they lack the coordination of professional teams. In fact, that lack of coordination might even make it better.
"It's a lot of fun, because it's not like anyone went into today with set strategies or anything," Boston Uprising tank Cameron "Fusions" Bosworth said. "It was basically like a [competitive] match with six really good OWL players."
Hectic comms and cheeky role-swaps had the Pacific team down 2-0 at halftime. However, on the third map—Paris—the stars all seemed to align for the Pacific Division in one shining moment as LA Gladiators DPS Gui-Un "Decay" Jang and Vancouver Titans tank Sang-Beom "Bumper" Park pulled off an unbelievable last-minute clutch worthy of the Titans themselves.
Ultimately, the Atlantic team won the map and put themselves at match point, but the sheer individual talent displayed on both sides served as a reminder that all of these players, no matter what their team, are the best of the best.
NYXL SUFFERS FROM A LIBERO DEFICIT
The Atlantic team seemed eager to close out the match swiftly when they subbed in five New York Excelsior starting players for Map 4. London DPS Jun-Young "Profit" Park rounded out the lineup, taking the spot typically occupied by Hae-Seong "Libero" Kim in New York's regular matches.
"NYXL fighting!" the team shouted before the match began, and Profit joined in, laughing all the while.
However, nothing ever goes according to plan in the All-Star Game. Despite heroic plays from New York's flex support Seong-Hyun "Jjonak" Bang, the Pacific team were able to score their first and only map win of the series against the NYXL plus Profit lineup.
"I missed Libero, of course, but it was fun to play with Profit," Jjonak said of the match afterwards. "Win or lose, All-Stars is just about having fun and joking around."
THE ATLANTIC DIVISION STANDS TALL
Taking a look at the Stage 2 standings, it's fair to say that the Pacific Division performed better overall, with six of the eight playoff teams hailing from the Pacific side. It was the Atlantic team, however, who claimed victory, winning the All-Star Game with a 4-1 scoreline, exactly as they had the year before.
As the players began to gather their things and head out for their well-deserved break, they all agreed that All-Stars had been a good way to end Stage 2.
"You get to meet a lot of pro players that you haven't really met before, so it's a good time," Sinatraa told me. "It's nice to just play Overwatch for fun sometimes."
The Overwatch League returns to the big stage for the start of Stage 3 on Thursday, June 6, at 4 p.m. PDT, when the Stage 2 champion Shock (11-3) take on the Reign (7-7). Watch all 2019 season matches live and on demand on overwatchleague.com, the Overwatch League app, our Twitch channel, MLG.com, and the MLG app.