NYXL Destroy the Defending Champs

Match at a Glance:

  • Result: New York Excelsior win 4-1
  • Player of the Match: Tae-Hong “Meko” Kim
  • Stat: Meko rocked out with 28 Accretion kills as Sigma 
  • Full match VOD

The NYXL got a comfortable win against the defending champion London Spitfire with a dominant 4-1 victory on Friday night at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles. “We practiced a lot of different strategies and compositions,” said captain Jong-Ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park after the match. New York’s practice and preparations translated into a firm game plan that was executed almost perfectly, leaving London playing from behind on almost every map.

The NYXL were challenged in the first map on Busan, holding off some aggressive Doomfist play from Hee-Dong “Guard” Lee, who played the whole match in place of Ji-Hyeok “Birdring” Kim, in order to roll to a solid 2-0 win.

The NYXL’s practiced strategies came into their own on Numbani, where Saebyeolbe’s Bastion turned out to be the key to success, protected well by his teammates and netting eliminations left and right en route to a time-bank edge and another impressive win. His Bastion was there again to lead the way to victory on Temple of Anubis, this time cleverly teleported between devastating vantage points by Hae-Seong “Libero” Kim’s Symmetra. 

The Spitfire did manage to avoid a clean sweep by taking Watchpoint: Gibraltar, largely due to Jun-Young “Profit” Park popping off on Mei with one Blizzard after another to ice the NYXL. But success was short-lived for the defending champions, as Libero was subbed back in for Ilios, where his dominant Doomfist went to town. Tae-Sung “Anamo” Jung tallied several boop eliminations as Lúcio to help wrap up the final map and send the NYXL forward in the winner’s bracket.


Reign Take Shock to Seven Maps in Thriller

Match at a Glance:

  • Result: Atlanta Reign win 4-3
  • Player of the Match: Blake “Gator” Scott
  • Stat: As Sigma, Gator dealt 95,419 hero damage and totaled 45 Gravitic Flux eliminations
  • Match VODs

Both the San Francisco Shock and Atlanta Reign finished Stage 4 undefeated, so entering Friday’s matchup, there was plenty of excitement and anticipation to go around. In the end, it was the Reign that weathered a tense seven-map match to win 4-3. 

Early on, it was clear that the new meta was embraced by both teams, as they often rolled out identical compositions. But it was the Reign’s ability to find unexpected angles on attack and defense that pushed them past the Shock.

Very much in meta was a Doomfist showdown, which began on Busan as the Shock’s Jay “Sinatraa” Won crashed knuckles with the Reign’s Jun “Erster” Jeong. They seemed evenly matched after two rounds, but Atlanta took Sanctuary as Andrej “Babybay” Francisty’s Reaper proved to be the difference.

This wasn’t the case on Numbani, as the Shock regained momentum by taking out the Reign’s supports early in several teamfights. But what secured the Shock’s 3-0 win was Sinatraa’s extraordinary shutdown of what could have been a round-changing Gravitic Flux by the opposing Sigma. 

After the Reign fought back on Horizon Lunar Colony and the Shock evened the score again with a win on Gibraltar, the scales began to tip in the favor of Atlanta on Lijiang Tower. The Shock subbed in Dong-Jun “Rascal” Kim so he could bring his signature air assault on Garden, but he never got to show it off as Babybay’s fully-charged Symmetra pierced shields and heroes alike to get a clean 2-0 win. 

The final two maps, King’s Row and Rialto, were both slugfests in which neither team seemed to slip up. The Shock pushed Atlanta to match point with a 6-5 win on King’s Row, but in the end, on Rialto, it was the combination of Erster’s destructive Doomfist play and Gator’s unavoidable Sigma projectiles that managed to get the Reign’s payload delivered after the Shock’s frontline couldn’t quite manage a full push. It was a close affair that could have swung either way, but Atlanta's game plan was just a touch better.

The 2019 Overwatch League Playoffs continue on Saturday. See below for matchups, match times, and where to watch: