Stage 1 of the Overwatch League has concluded. The New York Excelsior stand alone in first place, but it was the London Spitfire that completed an 0-2 comeback to win the Stage 1 Title match and take home $100,000.
The finals began with an exceptionally close battle on Junkertown. Both teams captured the payload, but then turned up the defense on the tiebreaker. New York was able to suffocate the Spitfire en route to taking the first map. The Spitfire hoped to rebound on Oasis, however they fizzled out on both rounds at the 99 percent mark. The Excelsior went from 0 to 100 to take the second game and put London on the ropes. London would narrowly take the third map on Horizon before waking up on defense and taking Numbani with little trouble.
The fifth and final map went to Dorado, where London's defensive dominance would completely take over. After giving up the first point, it was a RIP-Tire from Joon-yeong "Profit" Park taking out Yeon-joon "ArK" Hong and his Mercy that paved the way for the Spitfire to complete the reverse sweep.
Prior to the finals, the first Stage 1 playoff match came down to the Houston Outlaws and the Spitfire. Houston managed to take the first map, but the Spitfire were merely getting started. They would take the next two convincingly to take the series into Eichenwalde. Houston looked to have momentum there, holding London to a single point. But on defense, the Spitfire completely locked the Outlaws down. With another clutch Junkrat RIP-Tire from Profit as an exclamation point, the London Spitfire were able to clinch the series 3-1.
The day started off with another five-game series between the Excelsior and the Spitfire, who came into Saturday tied for first place. Game 4 went to Dorado, where the Spitfire forced a deciding fifth game after a long standoff on the payload. Birdring made the switch to Soldier:76 and was able to clear out the Excelsior squad to clear the way for the Game 5 tiebreaker on Lijiang Tower.
To win the tiebreaker, the Excelsior needed to clear out Jae-hee "Gesture" Hong and his Reinhardt, who planted himself like a rock on the capture point. Tae-hong "Mek0" Kim's D.Va was able to withstand Gesture's Earthshatter Ultimate and was eventually able to knock him off, clearing the way for the rest of Excelsior to wipe out the Spitfire squad and take the tiebreaker to clinch first place after Stage 1.
The second match of the day determined the third team that would advance to the Stage 1 Title Match, with the Houston Outlaws facing the Boston Uprising, both of whom entered the day at 6-3. Not only were they fighting for a spot in Saturday's playoff, but the Los Angeles Valiant were also still alive with a 7-3 record. Boston took an early 2-1 series lead, but Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin stood tall with McCree at the end of the fourth map to force a tiebreaker and eliminate the Uprising. The LA Valiant were still alive, but their hopes were dashed after the Outlaws polished off Boston in an exciting fifth game.
The Boston Uprising will enter Stage 2 with a 6-4 record. Even with this loss, the team has been trending upwards, overcoming a 1-3 start to win five in a row prior to Saturday.
"It's clear that their teamwork is just on a very, very high level," the Houston Outlaws' Jake Lyon said in the post-game press conference. "That was an insanely close series. There should be nobody sleeping on Boston anymore."
The Overwatch League will now take a week off before resuming with Stage 2 on February 21. The New York Excelsior will enter with a 9-1 record and lead the pack, with the cumulative records across all four stages counting towards playoff placement.